One of the top frustrating things about having a growing audience is that you can not rely on any shared or historic knowledge. Everything has to be said with the assumption that the reader has not seen a single other word from you and knows nothing about you. Every thought or announcement has to inline all the fundamentals.

@Gargron huh! That’s a good point you make there.. I’m gonna keep me to that. I’ve seen indeed examples of this going wrong with me the past time

@Gargron Yeah that's a huge thing, I've long thought about ways to build in 'detail-on-demand' for newcomers to interactions in online communities.

@leahdriel @Gargron Have you written up your thoughts on this anywhere? I'd be interested to read them. 💡

@miblo @Gargron Hi Matt, I'm working on something at the moment actually, and I'll be posting it here when it's up!

@gargron One should generally not assume that everyone else has the same status of knowledge as oneself.

@pixelcode @Gargron And everyone else should not assume things when you say someting (short) in one post. It is really impossible to include pages of history every time. On Twitter i have referred people to my timeline. But they bluntly refuse to take a look at it and continue to argue from their prejudice. I suppose they are just trolls wanting to catch you on false premises.

@Gargron best you can do is document along the way and add lots of links to those docs. not everyone will read the links but at least you get to be justifiably snarky when people ask questions they could have found answers for on their own 🙃

@Ash Furrow
Agree. Good documentation; many examples such as debian, ibiblio tldp, rfc, etc..
Most programmers of today appear ignorant of the past and fail to understand the value.

@ashfurrow The purpose of documentation isn't to preclude repetitive questions by having written the documentation.

It's to be able to respond to the repetitive questions by pointing at the documentation.

(The docs should also adapt, grow, and change in ways such questions indicate.)

In time, others will also start internalising the documentation, and pointing others there for you. With luck.


@Gargron "When you turn on your computer, lightning in the form of electrons move into the central processing unit. From there, we here at Mastodon use ones and zeroes to post cats online"

@Gargron It's better than Twitter though. There I have to assume my opponent (sigh) is in a current state of intoxication or mere unwillingness to comprehend my detailed explanation just because it's Twitter.

@Gargron Yes, I can see what you mean. Very much so, in fact. Good idea of you to point this out here. Two things perhaps ...

(1) If you replace "growing" with "changing" then you have what the real world is like. People go, people come.

(2) Even if you stay just inside a family, still not all of them are onboard with everything all the time. Some misunderstanding - wilfully or accidentally - is bound to happen anyway.

The main aspect which might irk me a bit is that development, or, if you wish, progress is slowed down by the eternal onboarding. And we also come from different cultures, geographies, background and - not to forget - languages. This needs to be taken into account, but is necessary, I think.

One little bit that may help is perhaps: Avoid deep jargon, except where necessary, and avoid acronyms. With the number of characters per toot we have HERE, it's easier.

@Gargron I don't know if this is the same problem or a related one, or what, but its sometimes difficult to onboard new users when the first think they are thrown into are the needs of industrial scale and enterprise systems.

@Gargron Like, really having to struggle about it. I composed an ad hoc clinic/practical for fire services adapting to a new enterprise glossary system.

@Gargron The glossary is delivered by an enterprise scale datagraph. All is well. Except most are really familiar with rifling through folders and single-box text searches, right?

@Gargron So, I'm like, "All you need is the few principles about how RDF and EAV work, some basic SPARQL and your good to go, have at that and discover what you will...

@Gargron BUT NO! Because its enterprise scale and set for mass production, every PREFIX in the book has to be supported because you never know when your going to need that extra super special prefix that really has like three special use cases outside of the factory complexes. Its silly to expect field personnel to support all that, especially when short handed.

@Gargron I think if you really want to onboard people, you need to stop putting the edge cases first and make sure you make the learning curve stick to the right level of fundamentals. Not so low that your trying to teach them how to design a system, not so high that the miss how a tool fits into the broader enterprise.

@Gargron I still find that small time crafting is a better way to pick up something like #SPARQL than having to say,

"Oh, this is a SPARQL tutorial, but actually we're going to talk about all the cool advanced #SHACL stuff for managers."

No offense, but stop it.

@Gargron Unfortunately, it's not just the commercials that do this. Data institutions of all stripes try this shortcut, too. The first thing they want you to appreciate is their scale, in order to lower your expectations. Scale, scale, scale, bleh. These are users who climb actual ladders into actual fire, stop trying to impress them with the scale and scope of potential application. It's a disaster team, not an industry convention.


Don't confuse volume with quality. That's a liability some people assume automatically by virtue of the confidence of their employer. That confidence is no trivial thing, but it's usually only merely tangential to the presenting problem to solve.

@Gargron I could really go on about it this morning instead of just working on the problem, but there you go.

@Gargron don't you think that just a little in-group reference could serve to signal to listeners that there is a loyal group to be in? You want the loyal fans to stay loyal, too, and they need acknowledgement.

@Gargron This is one of the reasons I resisted leaving previous social networks. After a while you collect people who know you, even if it's just a few, and they collect you. This allows for long-running jokes or asynchronous conversations over time, and even friendships.

On the other hand (so nice not to have to abbreviate), the new-to-you brings its own joy.

@Gargron I find this hilarious. I’ve been on the wrong side of InfoWars and Brazzers Inc and know more infamy than fame despite being “good to best” at politics and modeling — and a number of concerns. I find the right people every time. That said, I find that practice of positive self definition with every circumstance pays off. I’m
either that Almost-Brazzer that can stand more heat than Hilary Clinton or I’m a civically connected artist/political expert working on policy and leadership Ph.D.

@Gargron Yep. This may be way out-of-scope for Mastodon, but it's an issue I want to try and address with a communication platform I'm planning. Two things I hope will help:

1. Referencing, with inline displaying of referenced messages / entities
2. Description of behaviour

In the spirit of point 1, my notes go into this a little more here: It’s also a very potent sign of what our collective culture has turned into: the instant gratification of the 3 second sound byte.

Side note: I tend to dive into rabbit holes to try to grasp context and nuance and I get ridiculed for it.

@Gargron Excellent point and the fact that nowadays Slack + Discord is used for community building exacerbates this problem. Because the intuitive reply to what you're saying would be that "everything previously said" should be well documented and Discord just doesn't do that (I know this can only be said in theory as you're referring to totality of all your toots, etc. as well)

@Gargron Which sadly, ends up leading to putting off people who read it and have been around for a while, and go, "But why do you keep saying the same things... I wish you'd not repeat well known stuff."

Greetings, @Gargron (Eugen)!

I agree withe your perceptive comment.

Personally find that the 500 character limit adds to my challenge when I write, assuming a reader has never read anything I have posted.

Perhaps brevity is not one of my strengths! :shrug:


David Dickerson

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