TWITTER IS CONSIDERING steps to make its conversational environment a bit more friendly. No, it's not taking its moderation more seriously - don't be ridiculous - instead, it's considering passing the buck back to conversation starters. It's your tweet: why don't you moderate it if you're so bothered?
Actually, moderation is a bit strong, because it would only allow you hide tweets, rather than delete them completely. They'd still be visible, but only for people determined to find them by pressing "show more replies". That way, public figures can't just brush all dissent under the carpet. Or rather they can, but it would be a pretty bumpy carpet, and people would keep shouting "hey, what's up with this bumpy carpet?"
As found by feature-spotter Jane Manchun Wong, the option will appear in a menu off the tweet:
Twitter is testing replies moderation. It lets you to hide replies under your tweets, while providing an option to show the hidden replies pic.twitter.com/dE19w4TLtp— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 28, 2019
The possible feature was confirmed by Twitter senior product manager Michelle Yasmeen Haq in a thread of her own, where she explained it was about conversational health, giving conversation starters the power to control where it goes.
"People who start interesting conversations on Twitter are really important to us, and we want to empower them to make the conversations they start as healthy as possible by giving them some control," she wrote.
"We think of conversations as an ecosystem of different groups: authors, repliers, the audience and the platform. We try to balance the experience across all four groups, and we are continuously exploring ways to shift the balance without overcorrecting.
"We already see people trying keep their conversations healthy by using block, mute, and report, but these tools don't always address the issue. Block and mute only change the experience of the blocker, and report only works for the content that violates our policies."
And what if people use it to make the replies an echo chamber of praise? "We think the transparency of the hidden replies would allow the community to notice and call out situations where people use the feature to hide content they disagree with," Haq wrote. "We think this can balance the product experience between the original Tweeter and the audience."
It would be surprising if this made Twitter a more friendly place overnight, but it could be a small step towards improving it, especially if you think the Broken Window Theory has any merit. At the very least, it's quite entertaining to imagine the President of the United States painstakingly hiding thousands of replies every time he treats us to the meagre fruits of his wisdom. µ
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