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said Saïd Amin (@said) on Pinned comment
"No, we are a tech company, not a media company...we build the tools, we do not produce any content" said Zuckerberg. For starters, they don't need to produce content since their users do that for them. Call Facebook a social media company, "platisher" (half platform, half publisher of user content) or whatever other buzzword that's in vogue, but Facebook is very much a media company. Sure, they may not have a news editor, but they have the equivalent in the form of human engineered algorithms that decide how content is ranked and who sees what piece of media (videos, links to articles, status updates, etc.). Cross-sell that content to advertisers (along with the data mining targeting users based on their interests) and voila, I present to you a media company.
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said Saïd Amin (@said) on Pinned comment
Good Lord, how brutal was it to read this article (VERY). Btw, I'm not talking about the article itself (which was fine), but rather the complete disregard The Wrap has for its readers.

As I scroll up/down the article my reading space is dominated with an auto-playing video ad (w/ the audio on by default), a link to another article, an oversized black header that is intended to fit not one, but two 728 x 90 ads, a 'recommended for you' widget in the right corner and prominent Facebook/Twitter social sharing buttons. Man, what a truly shitty reading experience. Publishers like TheWrap don't need Facebook algos to adversely impact their traffic and precipitate their demise, they're doing a damn good job of that on their own.

Rant over.
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said Saïd Amin (@said) on Pinned comment
A nice addition to their growing portfolio of non-Spanish digital properties. With each passing year more Hispanics in the U.S. are native-born, speaking English more than they are Spanish. This has contributed to Univision's steady loss of viewers; especially in the 35 and under demographic. They're clearly tackling the existential challenge of an aging audience head-on.
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said Saïd Amin (@said) on Pinned comment
As previously predicted, the very same media that helped build him up is ruthlessly tearing him apart. Trump is certainly testing the norms of objective journalism, but even beyond coverage of the election, objectivity be damned at any of the major US media outlets.

Here's a good excerpt from an older article that resonates...

"So long as a journalist looks at a piece of news and tries to figure out how the news can be spinned to fit with their views they are not being a journalist but a propagandist. The news is meant to help shape and influence our views, not the other way around, and it starts with the journalist and his editor. They need to be open to changing their views as much as anyone else.

So long as the media continues to jump to conclusions, look for sensationalist angles, is eager to be controversial and only cares for the bottom line, the public will become the same. The Western world is a media-saturated culture. Many people genuinely believe what they see on TV and the media knows this. It doesn’t express or reflect the public but looks to shape public opinion. If you think different to the media then it will tell you how wrong you are. It will brand you — liberal, conservative, heretic, anarchist, buffoon. And the public will brand you the same. Because we all want everyone to think we’re smart too."
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Dakho Dakho (@Dakho) on Pinned comment
As Chomsky famously has said mainstream/corporate media's raison d'être is to distort the reality, atomize the population and 'manufacture consent.'
But unfortunately a good number of anti-establishment Americans also happen to be confused and uninformed, creating other types of distortion, despite their best progressive intents.
Case in point; Mr. Kinser's 'analysis' of the Syrian Civil war.
First off he starts his narrative from when Saudi backed Jihadis enter the picture, leaving out the minor detail about how Assad's bloody repression of non-violent protesters was the reason why Pandora's box opened up in Syria.
Furthermore Mr. Kinser continues to demonstrate his expertise by grouping Turks and Kurds on one side, as if they're allies in this conflict!
The Syrian conflict is a complex nightmare which most probably won't have a resolution anytime soon. Syrian people need the principled solidarity of everyone is the world, educating ourselves is the first step towards that goal.

List of armed groups in the Syrian Civil War
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War
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said Saïd Amin (@said) on Pinned comment
A nice follow-up to the NY Times article here: "New York Times Public Editor Scolded For Suggesting Websites Should Treat News Commenters Like Actual Human Beings" goo.gl/b4hszK
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ChamoshChamoshvnd ChamoshChamoshvnd (@ChamoshChamoshvnd) on Pinned comment
The Cynical Sit-In
The congressional sit-in was not just cynical political theater — it was for a deeply reactionary cause.
www.jacobinmag.com/2016/06/democrats-sit-in-gun-control-orlando-terror-watchlist-warren-lewis/
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john John Skorick (@john) on Pinned comment
Videos of cats vs. what my friends are having for breakfast.... It's pretty much a toss up!
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john John Skorick (@john) on Pinned comment
Hear, hear.

It has become en vogue to trash Yahoo and, in particular, Marissa Mayer. Folks love to compare Tumblr/Yahoo with Instagram/Facebook but they are completely different products; on the the valuations are (relatively the same).

Yahoo threw Tumblr a lifeline, made a big bet on broadening their audience and it didn't work. Hindsight is 20/20.
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john John Skorick (@john) on Pinned comment
More (a lot more) coming out about this:

techcrunch.com/2016/05/25/thiel-says-he-decided-several-years-ago-to-try-to-cripple-gawker/?ncid=tcdaily

"Thiel has since talked with New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin and confirmed that not only has he provided Hulk Hogan (legally Terry Bollea) with $10 million to battle Gawker over a sex tape it released of the former wrestling star, but Thiel long ago decided he’d do what he could to put Gawker out of business."
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said Saïd Amin (@said) on Pinned comment
Ain't that the truth: “What they have is a disproportionate amount of power, and that’s the real story,” Mr. Carlson told me. “It’s just concentrated in a way you’ve never seen before in media.”
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ChamoshChamoshvnd ChamoshChamoshvnd (@ChamoshChamoshvnd) on Pinned comment
Reading this piece, especially these lines: "when email newsletters became “fashionable” couple of years ago, instead of what they always were: central nervous system of publishing, the boring workhorse that never went away for those building direct daily relationships with users, that promise of value that arrives in your inbox every day" left me with senses of epiphany, remembrance and nostalgia all at once!

These four words really caught my attention "...building direct daily relationships..."

It reminded of an essay by the late Raymond Williams (from mid 80's) in which he argued that our most valuable resources are our relationships, and the quality and care we put into and apply towards our relationships in our communities.

"Resources of Hope" was the name of the that book by Raymond Williams. Can't recall exactly which essay in that book he made the above point, but that entire book is truly a must reading for all interested in creating resources for Hope in their respective communities.

Indeed one could argue every single book Raymond Williams wrote is worth reading and pondering.
----------------------------------------------------------

Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, Socialism
by Raymond Williams
Edited by Robin Gable
Introduction by Robin Blackburn

Collected essays and talks from one of Britain’s great thinkers, ranging across political and cultural theory.

Raymond Williams possessed unique authority as Britain’s foremost cultural theorist and public intellectual. Informed by an unparalleled range of reference and the resources of deep personal experience, his life’s work represents a patient, exemplary commitment to the building of a socialist future.

This book brings together important early writings including “Culture is Ordinary,” “The British Left,” “Welsh Culture” and “Why Do I Demonstrate?” with major essays and talks of the last decade. It includes work on such central themes as the nature of a democratic culture, the value of community, Green socialism, the nuclear threat, and the relation between the state and the arts. Here too, collected for the first time, are the important later political essays which undertake a thorough revaluation of the principles fundamental to the idea of socialist democracy, and confirm Williams as a shrewd and imaginative political theorist. In a sober yet constructive assessment of the possibilities for socialist advance, Williams—in the face of much recent intellectual fashion—powerfully reasserts his lifelong commitment to “making hope practical, rather than despair convincing.”

This valuable collection confirms Raymond Williams as a thinker of rare versatility and one of the outstanding intellectuals of our century.

www.versobooks.com/books/642-resources-of-hope

Resources of hope Raymond Williams - pdf
emipefyz.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/resources-of-hope-raymond-williams-pdf.pdf
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martin martin (@martin) on Pinned comment
Le Baus gears up!
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MashGhasem MashGhasem (@MashGhasem) on Pinned comment
“Is there a future in journalism and writing and the Internet?” is the main question asked in this piece.
And the answer ain't pretty!
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john John Skorick (@john) replied to James Philip Morrow (@lyncmob) on Pinned comment
haha... We just had a conversation about a daily or weekly summary for member activity, as an alternate to the transactional sort we currently employ.

It's in the infancy stages, and we've discussed Topic discoverability, which is a perfect time to consider the same for comments.

Nice stuff, James!
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john John Skorick (@john) replied to James Philip Morrow (@lyncmob) on Pinned comment
Thanks for the input @MashGhasem and @lyncmob

I feel the same about seeing the latest comments on the right hand side. I believe @said has touched on this somewhere but we are working on an All Comments page which would utilize the Top/New functionality. I think we're all looking forward to this.

There are some other great considerations here and certainly key is helping members discover the contents (and Topics/posts) which may be most interesting to them. The easier we can make this, the more engaged everyone will be.
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lyncmob James Philip Morrow (@lyncmob) on Pinned comment
To add another thought to my other reply in this thread, it would also be pretty cool to send a (opt-in or opt-out) daily digest of top comments and/or top comment threads to site/community users.

Quora uses this model for me, and I find that it's consistently added to my engagement in quality comment threads there.

It's another great way to highlight the densest and highest-quality comment threads going on the site... and can be either curated by a community manager, selected via algorithm, or both.
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lyncmob James Philip Morrow (@lyncmob) replied to MashGhasem (@MashGhasem) on Pinned comment
I think one of my favorite features on TopTopic, that I glance at first on refreshing the front page, is the sidebar element containing recent comments.

I think that initially, giving greater real estate and some sort of carousel/scrolling mechanism, would be a nice start toward exposing great comments (and their greater thread context) to a larger audience of site visitors/community members.

Eventually, I think that should probably be the basis for a deeper dive into how to best connect users for great/rich dialogues within the context of a given comment thread.

One way to do this would be via weighted algorithms that display comments based on their upvotes/tops, possibly factoring in the activity/quality of the overall comment thread (and/or submission context) as well as making educated guesses on what a given user is likely to be interested in (and involved in via commenting).

This approach is definitely one that requires an iterative approach and a lot of tweaking - it's also necessary to keep your algorithm current as the usage patterns (and traffic/load) change - hopefully via a continued acceleration of growth!

It's also something that you should start thinking about now, as a development team. There are a lot of different ways to tackle this problem, and I've personally seen some cool success on a solution utilizing a hybrid approach, where application logic uses statistical models built in R. You can also start a lot simpler - the key is building an extensible mechanism/facade that the site can use to find the best comment threads to show a given user (that are most likely to build into a high-quality and relatively dense comment thread).

Once you have the API facade in place, you can add complexity via things like statistical modeling, which adds the most value when used against a robust set of historical data.
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MashGhasem MashGhasem (@MashGhasem) on Pinned comment
There's also how much the space lends itself to conversations between users, this space is so dispersed, there's no premium on dialogue, as there were in previous two ICs.
The digital Smorgasbord and its seemingly discreetly evolving
structure is noteworthy.
Yet the question remains: is this the best design for a collective dialogue on this site? And what could be an optimal design, its main features?
Sometimes the Form is everything.
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