“A honeypot for assholes”: Inside Twitter’s 10-year failure to stop harassment

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/12/a-honeypot-for-assholes.html


And that’s just Trump.


“A honeypot for assholes”


“Brainwashed Brainspore attacks me on low-energy loser site BingBong for Making America Great Again. Sad! Firewall just got ten feet higher!” ~ Donald Trump, Twitter


My own view of Twitter is it’s basically just an app for you to argue with people you’ve never met, at all hours of the day, wherever you are. Hence, I don’t care about Twitter. But then I long for the days before all social media, so yeah . . . you damn kids can get off my lawn now.

Maybe someday everyone will get off Twitter except the trolls, and they can harass each other to their cold hearts’ content.


I never saw the point of it even in the beginning. Well no, it looked to be a cool status tool for a group used locally instead of on the public net but that was not going to happen.


Yeah I still don’t really get Twitter as a model. Even with all the best “block” features they could invent, the entire thing is still just a massive “opt-out” social system rather than “opt-in.” Here’s 7 billion assholes! decide which ones you don’t want to hear from, it’s gotta be less than half, right?


There’s obviously lots of good cases for successful uses of Twitter but it seems to me that the primary use is to complain toward something/someone. So the fact that it’s a cesspool of shit is not surprising.

I only use it when entering contests, and very rarely do i use it to tweet directly at companies hoping to get help but to this date it’s never worked.


assholes dipped in honey - that’s good eating!


Let’s just return the site to its rightful owner: Jenny Holzer.

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That’s not exactly true. Your default feed only shows tweets from accounts you’ve chosen to follow, plus (I think) anyone who specifically mentions @you. That’s why high-profile accounts are subject to abuse and harassment. I guess the assumption is that a public figure using Twitter to connect with fans wants to hear from them.

(Is anyone else surprised that Sinead O’Connor gave an interview to the Daily Mail?)

EDIT: Now that I think about it I might be wrong – you might see replies to your tweets from people you don’t follow. My account is protected, so I’m not sure.

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That must be why I basically only follow politicians and political commenters.

At this rate we’ll have a space elevator.

You might have just persuaded me to vote for Trump. :stuck_out_tongue:


I don’t use twitter. It is too limiting for someone as verbose as I. You can’t even answer a question that requires any detailed explanation. It is great for snarky one liners.

But it appears the awfulness isn’t just trolls and racists and sexists. It is regular people behaving badly.

Below is a story of a Steven Universe artist releasing some sketches and then some in the queer community (which she is part of) going off on for several reasons I don’t fully understand. “Queer baiting”, I guess? Which is hinting at a relationship that may not come to fruition on the show? And others were mad because it conflicted with their fantasy relationship match up? All for a children’s show that is more about loving relationships between two “people”, people who are technically gender-less so sex and other human things aren’t really a factor.

So, yeah, that artist left twitter over that shit storm. I honestly can’t understand why people would behave so badly that caused her to leave. So sad.


For a nobody like me, twitter continues to be a good source of news, and fun, if you’ve curated the right people to follow (e.g. catching jokey arguments about burritos between John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton, etc…).

For anyone high profile (and especially women), I imagine it’s a nightmare with all the crap you get. I don’t know how you can get anything out of it when you get hundreds of replies to everything you write and half of it is hateful trolling.

I imagine Twitter could easily let the verified users set their accounts up to only allow other verified users and/or people with old enough accounts and enough followers to interact with them and that would solve a lot of issues. i.e. hellban the new troll accounts.


Of all the shows to accuse of queerbaiting … Shit like this is why we can’t have nice things.


I know, right? And the artist is gay. I can understand giving critique and some criticism (as the artist also acknowledged), but basically she was doing more or less fan art - fun sketches not officially part of the show - and sharing them, I just can’t understand how it could get toxic enough to make her leave.


Twitter is pretty shit. It’s bad for conversation, a poor ad platform, and while manages to be some indicator of zeitgeist, I don’t see how it can maintain any of this for much longer.

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There are a few uses of twitter that really make a lot of sense - it’s a simple opt-in mass-communication method that facilitates folks like Neil Gaiman or JK Rowling to keep in touch with their fans, and the ability to publicly call out corporations and the like when they screw up in a way that they can’t easily sweep under the rug, or for the mass dissemination of information in a natural disaster situation or events that a repressive government might wish to pretend didn’t actually happen.

I don’t have much use for it myself, but I can easily see it’s applications for others.


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