Ariel Waldman is a prominent tech blogger and also the community manager at Pownce. She has ignited a huge online debate about Twitter failing to police a harassing commenter at Twitter, comments that appear to have come from a person who had been harassing her for some time.
I’ve really been leaning to her point of view though I’d like to see the dialog and I’d like to see the community working harder to make sure this type of abuse is dealt with more harshly. Ariel seems to think Pownce does a great job here.
However, at Ariel’s own Pownce page commenters are calling Sarah Lacy the C** word, with only a small admonishment from Ariel and no removal of the comment. Ariel can correctly say that ongoing harassment is a lot more serious than a “one off” insult, but the use of th c** word plays heavily in her critique of Twitter’s response to her harassment.
The point here is NOT that Ariel is wrong here or that she should be banning everybody at Pownce that uses the c* word, though maybe that is a good idea as you can hardly make a case this noun can’t be replaced with less objectionable material to get any point across. Ariel presumably has the power to ban comments and/or users as the community manager at Pownce.
The point is that the community standards *including Ariel’s* are far too low. Twitter is only a small part of the problem here. The problem is … all of us, and only all of us can fix this.
For some time my working hypothesis about new niche tech sites is that they appear to have explosive early growth followed by traffic stability or only slight traffic increases as all the early adopter tech enthusiasts sign on, and other people show little interest. The following Alexa data really supports this hypothesis:
TechMeme is one of my very favorite sites and I know this is true for many others. I’m surprised TechMeme’s growth seemed to have tapered off so early, but in some ways this makes sense because there are only so many people – a small percentage of all onliners – who are heavily absorbed with the latest buzz from the technology world. Twitter would have broader interest and appears to be growing still, yet I’m skeptical enough people have time to play the Twitter game to make this a mainstream application. Pownce is a great application but I think people are unlikely to abandon Twitter for Pownce, and thus Pownce will struggle to grow from an entirely new set of social networking non-twitterers.
I’m experimenting with Pownce, on which I’ve had an account for some time but which is now taking off as a social application after public release a few days ago. So far it seems a lot like a “prettier” twitter with a few more features. I’ve been very impressed with the way you can import friends and contacts from Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and many more applications. I still don’t like the fact that no productive person has enough time to really engage with any of these networks – thus the idea application would be one that would carry me around as I’m online rather than force me to log in and off and participate on the applications terms rather than mine. MyBlogLog still – for me – offers the best functionality of all of them and now with their new API I think it might be the best platform for our US History and Travel website where we are hoping to build something of a travel community from the many users who just drop in for a bit of info.