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Quote Toots #12753

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catgirlsec opened this issue Jan 3, 2020 · 23 comments
Open

Quote Toots #12753

catgirlsec opened this issue Jan 3, 2020 · 23 comments

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@catgirlsec
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@catgirlsec catgirlsec commented Jan 3, 2020

The Mastodon Web Client does not have a quote button and rather requires you to reply to a users toot directly rather than adding a comment on top. Arguably this prevents some forms of harassment but is a feature many miss from Twitter. If you link to a toot in a toot an open graph preview already generates. I propose adding the following:

  • A quote toot button in Mastodon-FE
  • A ping back that notifies users when a toot has been posted.

Right now the Open Graph behavior just results in “sub-toots” where the user doesn’t know they’ve been quoted and has no ability to respond if they’ve been criticized by another user unless someone shows them the quote toot. It may even lead to more toxic behavior than we see on Twitter due to the stealth nature of it.

I wrote about the behavior at https://lgbtqia.is/@catgirl/103420943539457706

Thoughts?

@nuklearfiziks

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@nuklearfiziks nuklearfiziks commented Jan 3, 2020

Possible duplicate of #309?

My feeling is that quote retweets dramatically worsened the discourse on Twitter and I'm pretty strongly opposed to any such functionality being added to Mastodon, though it's possible that people's positions on this have changed.

@catgirlsec

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@catgirlsec catgirlsec commented Jan 3, 2020

Possible duplicate of #309?

My feeling is that quote retweets dramatically worsened the discourse on Twitter and I'm pretty strongly opposed to any such functionality being added to Mastodon, though it's possible that people's positions on this have changed.

The issue is that quoting is already possible by copying a link. The user doesn’t even have to click it to see the preview. This change would do two things:

  • Improve UX and workflows
  • Give users an opportunity to respond to criticism and reduce subtooting

It may also end the screenshots problem. With a proper quote system users are able to delete their posts freely. With screenshots it’s preserved forever or at least until instance owners stop paying their bills.

Making it harder to quote doesn’t remove the negative aspects of quoting or solve the problem at best it’s a bandaid that covers up the problem and pretends it doesn’t exist. This is the equivalent of disabling mentions because people
might use them to bully others. Mastodon is a tool, it’s up to instance admins to stop abuse of it.

@Shleeble

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@Shleeble Shleeble commented Jan 4, 2020

The image shown above looks quite clean and I'd be keen to see how this could be rendered in the webapp.

I support making toots more dynamic using quoted toots.

@trwnh

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@trwnh trwnh commented Jan 4, 2020

Improve UX and workflows

The friction is intentional, to discourage exactly that behavior. If you want someone to see something, mention them. If you want to talk about something they posted, reply to that.

And yes, this is a duplicate of #309

@catgirlsec

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@catgirlsec catgirlsec commented Jan 4, 2020

Improve UX and workflows

The friction is intentional, to discourage exactly that behavior. If you want someone to see something, mention them. If you want to talk about something they posted, reply to that.

And yes, this is a duplicate of #309

Why should users be coerced into replying to a toot rather than quoting it? Often arguing with someone won’t change anything and the reply feature isn’t the best way to go about it.

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@trwnh trwnh commented Jan 4, 2020

Often arguing with someone won’t change anything and the reply feature isn’t the best way to go about it.

Neither will posting to your followers about it.

@catgirlsec

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@catgirlsec catgirlsec commented Jan 4, 2020

Next argument: Like it or not, not everyone uses alt tags. It’s worse of a problem on mobile apps where OCR isn’t possible yet. If someone takes a screenshot and doesn’t add alt text visually impaired people can’t participate. Opposed to a proper quotes system where they can. Enabling quotes would improve accessibility. Should add it’ll save ever so slightly on media storage and bandwidth.

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@catgirlsec catgirlsec commented Jan 4, 2020

Oh I should point out the Mastodon Twitter makes great use of Quote Tweets:

So Mastodon Devs can't be entirely against quoting otherwise they to would reply instead of "being anti-social"

@wakest

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@wakest wakest commented Jan 4, 2020

There are already forks of mastodon that have implemented quote posts like fedibird.com
here is an example of the admin of the instance quoting Gargron
https://fedibird.com/@noellabo/103411167299803486

I am very keen to see this feature being implemented in mainline. It is the job of the community and mods to decide how this feature is used and abused. Not having it does not solve the problem we are trying to prevent. And I don't think it even lessons the problem, it may but I have not seen any evidence that it has as people are constantly subposting eachother and screenshotting eachother and just using links to do the same thing in a less visually appealing and user friendly way.

@catgirlsec

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@catgirlsec catgirlsec commented Jan 4, 2020

There are already forks of mastodon that have implemented quote posts like fedibird.com
here is an example of the admin of the instance quoting Gargron
https://fedibird.com/@noellabo/103411167299803486

I am very keen to see this feature being implemented in mainline. It is the job of the community and mods to decide how this feature is used and abused. Not having it does not solve the problem we are trying to prevent. And I don't think it even lessons the problem, it may but I have not seen any evidence that it has as people are constantly subposting eachother and screenshotting eachother and just using links to do the same thing in a less visually appealing and user friendly way.

Yup it's another example of software pretending human problems will go away if they make bad behavior slightly more difficult. Not to mention the hypocrisy involved here:

@codesections

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@codesections codesections commented Jan 5, 2020

I agree @nuklearfiziks that quote-tweets significantly worsened Twitter and introducing them to Mastodon risks similar negative effects. Indeed, I view the lack of quote tweets as one of Mastodon's killer features and have for a long time—I first blogged about the lack of quote-tweets back in August of 2018.)

As I said back then:

One of the most pernicious parts of Twitter is how people will quote-tweet something dumb, offensive, or awful that an opponent said, along with a message mocking that opponent. Over time, this leads people on all sides of an issue to see only a distorted caricature of their opponents, comprised of an amalgam of all the worst features of that group. (This phenomenon of cherry-picking the worst bits of an opposing group exists independently of Twitter, but Twitter makes it much, much worse.)

Engaging with someone via a reply is great—I'm all for dialog. Gossiping about someone behind their back is frequently puerile, but doesn't tend to do much harm. But if someone publicly criticizes an opponent and notifies the opponent of the criticism (and thus invites a response) … well, I can't think of a faster road to toxicity.

Right now the Open Graph behavior just results in “sub-toots” where the user doesn’t know they’ve been quoted and has no ability to respond if they’ve been criticized by another user unless someone shows them the quote toot.

IMO, subtoots are rude and should be discouraged. But—precisely because they don't encourage the other user to reply—they don't lead to the type of toxic behavior that drove many away from Twitter and to Mastodon.

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@trwnh trwnh commented Jan 5, 2020

not everyone uses alt tags. If someone takes a screenshot and doesn’t add alt text visually impaired people can’t participate.

So don't post screenshots without alt text, then?

Enabling quotes would improve accessibility.

No it would not. It would incentivize a lot of terrible things because it would be too prominent and easy. This has been discussed in #306 and in https://blog.joinmastodon.org/2018/07/cage-the-mastodon/ as well. The following are all inaccessible or otherwise toxic behaviors that "quote boosting" would create:

  • Broken threads (because it's just a link instead of an actual reply)
  • Nested quotes (you can quote a quote and end up with a massive onion of posts that's a nightmare to read in reverse order)
  • Performativeness (you are now posting to your followers instead of engaging with the person whose post you have quoted, which is bad for conversational usage and incentivizes soapbox behavior)

There absolutely should not be a one-click button for this kind of behavior. Replies scale. Inline quotes do not. Have you ever seen old Tumblr posts with blockquotes stretching off the page? There's a reason why Tumblr redesigned its reblogs to be flat and linear instead of continuing to use nested blockquotes.

Oh I should point out the Mastodon Twitter makes great use of Quote Tweets [...] So Mastodon Devs can't be entirely against quoting otherwise they to would reply instead of "being anti-social"

Those are not the same people, and I think you'll find plenty of people have issues with the way the twitter account is run, too... Still, even from the examples you used, I would say that those are performative. "Look at this person being awful" is not something that should be more prevalent. Constantly pushing awful people into the spotlight is something that becomes too easy and too rewarding if you give people a button to do exactly that. Yes, you can highlight good people by quoting them, too, but this still leaves the issue of broken threads and nested quotes. It should be a reply. If you want your followers to see it, boost that reply. If you think that's too much or not appropriate, then the friction has worked in discouraging behavior.

software pretending human problems will go away if they make bad behavior slightly more difficult.

The problem doesn't go away. It just becomes less common, which is still a good thing. And the human element should be used to bridge that gap. This is just my opinion, but moderators should discourage or moderate against screenshot usage as well, where appropriate. If people are being abusive, then it doesn't matter what they're using to do it -- moderate against that. That doesn't mean making it easier to perform actions with less thought.


I am very keen to see this feature being implemented in mainline. [...] And I don't think it even lessons the problem, it may but I have not seen any evidence that it has as people are constantly subposting eachother and screenshotting eachother

Except:

just using links to do the same thing in a less visually appealing and user friendly way.

It is, as you say, less user friendly. If it were more user friendly and more visually appealing, then more people would do it.

@Cassolotl

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@Cassolotl Cassolotl commented Jan 5, 2020

not everyone uses alt tags. If someone takes a screenshot and doesn’t add alt text visually impaired people can’t participate.

So don't post screenshots without alt text, then?

I'm not really interested in participating with the rest of the discussion, but this isn't an appropriate response. The OP raised a systemic accessibility issue, and regardless of whether or not you think it's a valid one, advocating for individual action doesn't make sense on a personal level (it isn't a response to the words that they said) or a development level (it won't make the system more accessible). Your response comes off as flippant.

(It would have made more sense to point out that Mastodon has an OCR thing built-in that transcribes images with words on into the alt text box, but you have to tell it to do so and it's not very obvious where.)

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@Cassolotl Cassolotl commented Jan 5, 2020

I feel like this discussion is a bit pointless. Gargron decided that quote-tweets were bad and enabled harassment, so he resolved to never introduce them into Mastodon, and has used this among other similar things (post text search is limited to hashtags, etc.) as a selling point. This is one of those things where the buck stopped with Gargron and he decided according to how he felt and that's that. It comes up every now and again, and Gargron says no to it every time.

It's definitely a duplicate of quote + boost #309 (Nov 2016, closed Mar 2019 as a won't-fix), but I feel that doesn't necessarily mean this issue should be closed, because #309 isn't open so there are no open issues about quote-toots currently aside from this one.

#309 has 94 👍s. It's the 5th most 👍ed issue ever (open and closed), out of some 5,000 issues - even though it's closed. It's a very popular feature request.

@Sasha-Sorokin

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@Sasha-Sorokin Sasha-Sorokin commented Jan 9, 2020

I was passing by this issue over and over again but didn't want to add anything until now.

Actually, I think — adding comments to boosts would be a nice feature, BUT. Users should have a choice whether they want to be quoted or not. Simple checkbox in the settings (default value for new users could probably be set by server admins) “Allow others to quote my toots” with description somewhat like “Other users my boost your toot and add comments to it.”


I would also propose that if user later checks this box after they were quoted, the quotation will disappear with tombstone “This quotation is no longer available.” Or give users option to “De-reference this toot” in ⋯ menu, prompting that “This will send requests to all known instances that interacted with this toot ordering to remove all boosts of it. Processing would take some time and certain instances may not comply with the request because of incompatibility. You can re-draft this toot for more efficient action.”

GOING FURTHER, we probably should have privacy settings category where users could select default toot privacy setting, who can boost them (everyone, “People I follow”) and who can add comment when boosting. On the same page search indexing opt-out can be moved and a few other settings, but this is for discussion in another issue.

But this all may be technically hard to accomplish :(

@catgirlsec

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@catgirlsec catgirlsec commented Jan 9, 2020

I was passing by this issue over and over again but didn't want to add anything until now.

Actually, I think — adding comments to boosts would be a nice feature, BUT. Users should have a choice whether they want to be quoted or not. Simple checkbox in the settings (default value for new users could probably be set by server admins) “Allow others to quote my toots” with description somewhat like “Other users my boost your toot and add comments to it.”

I would also propose that if user later checks this box after they were quoted, the quotation will disappear with tombstone “This quotation is no longer available.” Or give users option to “De-reference this toot” in ⋯ menu, prompting that “This will send requests to all known instances that interacted with this toot ordering to remove all boosts of it. Processing would take some time and certain instances may not comply with the request because of incompatibility. You can re-draft this toot for more efficient action.”

GOING FURTHER, we probably should have privacy settings category where users could select default toot privacy setting, who can boost them (everyone, “People I follow”) and who can add comment when boosting. On the same page search indexing opt-out can be moved and a few other settings, but this is for discussion in another issue.

But this all may be technically hard to accomplish :(

My concern would be people deleting a toot when they realize it’s unpopular and then deleting all criticism of it. The original toot author shouldn’t later be able to delete people’s quotes if they said something stupid they’ll have the live with the criticism. Copyright doesn’t extend to you deleting quotes of yourself when someone says something about you that you disagree with.

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@Sasha-Sorokin Sasha-Sorokin commented Jan 9, 2020

I disagree. If original tooter wants to delete their toot or account, the quotations must be gone too, leaving us only with boost comment and sad “This toot is no longer available” text. Nobody has to live with anything.

Demo screenshot

@catgirlsec

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@catgirlsec catgirlsec commented Jan 9, 2020

I disagree. If original tooter wants to delete their toot or account, the quotations must be gone too, leaving us only with boost comment and sad “This toot is no longer available” text. Nobody has to live with anything.

Demo screenshot

Hypothetically speaking if I wrote a WordPress blog post on a disagreement I had with one of Mastodon’s maintainers and I quoted something they said and they decide that they regret saying it do they have the right to take down the blog article on copyright grounds? If the answer is no the same applies to quotations on Mastodon.

The US presidential candidate Andrew Yang actually has a Mastodon instance, if I quote him should he later have the right to delete his toot and therefore my quote? This behavior would obviously not be in the publics’ best interest as politicians using Mastodon could just delete any criticism of their posts and minimize reputational harm.

I already disagree with Twitter removing quotes when a tweet is deleted, this harms political discussions and harms transparency let’s not bring that behavior to mastodon keeping quotes up is in the publics’ interest.

@CoWinkKeyDinkInc

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@CoWinkKeyDinkInc CoWinkKeyDinkInc commented Jan 9, 2020

I support the implementation of quote toots. I think this will be really helpful to news sites to promote more posts and activity on Mastodon as it lets users easily share articles and their thoughts with it with their followers.

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@Sasha-Sorokin Sasha-Sorokin commented Jan 9, 2020

@catgirlsec

I already disagree with Twitter removing quotes when a tweet is deleted, this harms political discussions and harms transparency let’s not bring that behavior to mastodon keeping quotes up is in the publics’ interest.

If you want to preserve toot, you better go to Internet Archive and request that toot page archived like that. What you're suggesting is a vector for abuse, which is why previous requests about quoting were rejected. If we want to have this functionality, we have to ensure it is safe. Disallowing quoting of toots, de-referencing or deleting them later are the ground methods for this safety, I believe.

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@catgirlsec catgirlsec commented Jan 9, 2020

@catgirlsec

I already disagree with Twitter removing quotes when a tweet is deleted, this harms political discussions and harms transparency let’s not bring that behavior to mastodon keeping quotes up is in the publics’ interest.

If you want to preserve toot, you better go to Internet Archive and request that toot page archived like that. What you're suggesting is a vector for abuse, which is why previous requests about quoting were rejected. If we want to have this functionality, we have to ensure it is safe. Disallowing quoting of toots, de-referencing or deleting them later are the ground methods for this safety, I believe.

The quoted text can still remain up for transparency purposes. And like you said the internet archive exists so toots can’t be completely erased anyways. So why should I need to copy a link onto the internet archive manually when software can preserve it for me and do it decentralized at that.

I don’t understand how this is any less safe than using the internet archive links. Perhaps you could elaborate.

People wouldn’t be able to reply to your toot only the quote if the toot is later deleted, the text would just remain up so people could see the context of a quote. That’s not unreasonable and occurs with traditional media all the time.

The idea that people should be able to instantly take down criticism of themselves is scary and I hope this doesn’t occur on Mastodon.

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@Sasha-Sorokin Sasha-Sorokin commented Jan 9, 2020

@catgirlsec

So why should I need to copy a link onto the internet archive manually when software can preserve it for me and do it decentralized at that.

Because it's against interest of developers of that software to compromise theirs users' right to delete any information associated with them. Archiving by manually saving the page or making screenshots is makes information less trustworthy because you could have edited that information.

Almost same applies to Internet Archive, but it's actually more trusted as you don't have access to its infrastructure, but AFAIK their dedication is to provide more reliable information sources, thus archive useful information, but the archiving function is no wonder primarily abused by people to save literally any stuff; and they [IA] delete your information on request, same as with DMCA takedowns.

People wouldn’t be able to reply to your toot only the quote if the toot is later deleted, the text would just remain up so people could see the context of a quote. That’s not unreasonable and occurs with traditional media all the time.

If we are going to keep the quotation, any identifying information must be gone too then, including any media, only text and nothing else, no referencing to original sender. But I personally still against keeping even the text:

The idea that people should be able to instantly take down criticism of themselves is scary and I hope this doesn’t occur on Mastodon.

“Criticism” is a very wide term, y'know — it can start from insults/harassment to actual criticism, you can't tell difference — so yeah, I'm all hands to be able take down all references to my posts, leaving some “critics” with their comments, post unavailability placeholders (“tombstones”), but not my actual posts.

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@catgirlsec catgirlsec commented Jan 9, 2020

@catgirlsec

So why should I need to copy a link onto the internet archive manually when software can preserve it for me and do it decentralized at that.

Because it's against interest of developers of that software to compromise theirs users' right to delete any information associated with them. Archiving by manually saving the page or making screenshots is makes information less trustworthy because you could have edited that information.

Almost same applies to Internet Archive, but it's actually more trusted as you don't have access to its infrastructure, but AFAIK their dedication is to provide more reliable information sources, thus archive useful information, but the archiving function is no wonder primarily abused by people to save literally any stuff; and they [IA] delete your information on request, same as with DMCA takedowns.

People wouldn’t be able to reply to your toot only the quote if the toot is later deleted, the text would just remain up so people could see the context of a quote. That’s not unreasonable and occurs with traditional media all the time.

If we are going to keep the quotation, any identifying information must be gone too then, including any media, only text and nothing else, no referencing to original sender. But I personally still against keeping even the text:

The idea that people should be able to instantly take down criticism of themselves is scary and I hope this doesn’t occur on Mastodon.

“Criticism” is a very wide term, y'know — it can start from insults/harassment to actual criticism, you can't tell difference — so yeah, I'm all hands to be able take down all references to my posts, leaving some “critics” with their comments, post unavailability placeholders (“tombstones”), but not my actual posts.

You shouldn’t be able to have all references to your identity deleted on demand. Imagine someone posts something supportive of the nazi party, later on should they be able to delete the quote of them and any reference to their identity? Hopefully the answer to that is no they’re being an asshole and are being called out for their bullshit. Quoting them is fair use even if it hurts their feelings.

Using DMCAs to remove criticism is illegal. The DMCA and Copyright Law specifically allows for fair use of someone else’s content. It’s illegal (US Code 17 512(f)) to send falsified notices and you can face both civil and criminal penalties for abusing the process.

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