Musk rolls out new Twitter feature, declares it "terrible"

Originally published at: Musk rolls out new Twitter feature, declares it "terrible" | Boing Boing


“Yeah, the format is terrible. Update early next week.”

“Yeah, the requirements I gave - ‘Make it longer’ were terrible. I was sorta half making a dick joke…which I don’t think anyone got, because no one laughed. No one had any idea what I wanted it for or how I wanted it to work, but they were all too afraid to ask me for clarification because, you know, I am a total asshole and they were terrified I would fire them for even asking. I guess I have really failed not just my customers, but my employees as well.”*

*This text was generated by providing the prompt “How would Elon Musk react to this story if he was being honest and had any degree of self awareness” to a General Natural Intelligence (me) which then automatically generated the text. Note that this response may reflect the biases in the NI’s training corpus and may contain factual errors.


He’ll probably demand that the update reduce the length of all tweets back to 140 characters “to get back to Twitter’s roots”.


Let me guess… He allowed longer tweets for $8, but without some kind of buttons for markup formatting?

I could have told him that. In 1983. :roll_eyes:



Thinking…4000 is awfully close to 4096, which is a limitation on 32-bit systems, I believe. Could mean that twitter still has 32-bit hardware/software in their data centers, or that their own internal software has not been updated.

Which would be odd


Best comment I have seen on anything in months. Bravo!


4096 is 2^12, it’s not any sort of limit on 32-bit machines. Even Unicode that would only be 8192 bytes (UTF-16) or 16384 bytes (UTF-32).

Hitting a hardcoded buffer of 4096 somewhere? Yeah, sure.

The number beginning with 4 that’s a limit on 32-bit machines is 4,294,967,296 which is a LOT bigger than 4096.


I think it’s safe to refer to long-format tweets as “Preach Mode”.
(I almost prefer “Squawks”, in deference to “Tweets”. Ornithologically speaking, I think the proper term would be “Scrarks”)


“Manifesto mode”.


That headline picture reminds me too much of Brennan Lee Mulligan who is a treasure and wonderfully plays the crazy pissed off guy.


Imagine how miserable life must be for the remaining engineers at Twitter. Long hours, reduced benefits, no job security, and constantly scrambling to enact the latest crazed edict from the unhinged manchild who runs the company. All the time knowing that there are only two possible outcomes every time Musk makes a new demand:

  1. Explain why the proposed change is a bad idea and get fired as a result
  2. Work to enact the proposed change and get publicly shit on by Musk when it turns out badly

4096 is the new disk sector size. It’s also a common memory page size. But for variable-sized data where you usually pack a lot of tweets in 4096 bytes, this limit doesn’t really matter.

The extra room can be used for metadata - like who tweeted it and when.




“Not that I could have given them clarification even if they asked because, shit, I don’t have any clear idea of what I want either.”

Or why it’s not actually possible…

Despite insufficient time, resources and unclear (or contradictory or absent) vision from the top, and probably after spending some time sleeping in the office to get it done to please Musk. Who will never be pleased by the outcomes of his demands because what he wants is consistently stupid.

Yeah, this would be absolute hell. I have a lot of sympathy for people stuck there - though none for the Musk fanbois who should have known better. (Or maybe they do at this point, but oops, too late…)


Sounds like what the professional civil service went through from 1/20/17 - 1/20/21.


Wasn’t the whole point of Twitter to make people emit tiny tidbits? No wonder he thought it was terrible. What was he thinking when he proposed that silly idea?


The whole point of Twitter was to facilitate mass SMS messaging, which had a built-in limit of less than 200 characters per post

That’s not the point anymore, of course

Today the point of Twitter is oops there is no point


Maybe this should be a lesson to tech workers that unions aren’t such a bad idea. Many tech workers are fully indoctrinated into the “unions bad” mindset and say things like “I make good money, why do I need a union?” And then get happily exploited by megalomaniacal bosses like Musk and work terrible hours and in terrible conditions because they are being made to think they are doing something amazing. (They aren’t.) A tech worker union would be really powerful. Good luck getting your middle managers or C suite to rotate certificates, patch a 0-day bug, or debug a performance issue that is taking down the entire infrastructure when all the staff walks out because of unfair conditions safe in knowing they can’t be fired in retaliation as a result.

Hmm, ever wonder why doctors, professional athletes, and actors have unions? They probably make a lot more money, too and don’t have to worry about getting fired because they dared to contradict the dear leader during a code review.


More Ratnerian behaviour.
I knew he reminded me of someone:


Exactly this. It’s further compounded by a view that unions are a blue collar thing, and most tech workers (in my experience) have a pretty high disregard for anything blue collar. In other words, basic classism. They like to LARP blue collar life by wearing flannel shirts and buying a mitre saw for their condo, but they’ve never actually had a job that involves being handed a shovel at the start of your shift.

Tech workers are also bamboozled in several other ways. They are given ping pong tables and catered lunches instead of rights to their time. This has proven very effective. People think they don’t need unions because their jobs are “fun” (for 16 hours a day, 6 days a week with no overtime). In many sectors (mainly gaming) basic fear of getting fired prevents unionization. In gaming people tend to believe they are at their dream job and there is a line of 20 year-olds behind them to take their job for less money if they rock the boat (which is largely true). Most don’t figure out for decades that the “dream” of working on someone else’s shitty game design for 80hrs a week isn’t actually any more fun or creative than any other software job. It’s actually the people that make work fun, and lots of jobs have fun people around.

Furthermore, in my experience, 99% of tech workers have never worked at any other job in any other industry, so they have no basis for experience comparison. They don’t understand that even fast food workers get overtime. That bank employees get weekends and go home at 5pm. That industrial automation engineers get paid twice as much and have 40hr weeks for the same work. That sort of thing.