After the Flood: Finding the Path to Healthy Communications Technology

The cost of information transmission has collapsed. As a result of the profit opportunity this presented, human interaction has been centralized in platforms of truly enormous scale. Centralization makes it possible for these platforms to monetize our clicks and eyeballs to the tune of billions of dollars, through billions of users. We are only beginning […]

Facebook Moderation and the Unforeseen Consequences of Scale

Parable of the Radium Girls In 1917, a factory owned by United States Radium in Orange, New Jersey hired workers to paint watchfaces with self-luminescent radium paint for military-issue, glow-in-the-dark watches. Two other factories soon followed in Ottawa, Illinois and Waterbury, Connecticut. The workers, mostly women, were instructed to point the tip of their paint […]

Implementers and Integrators

Organizations need both Implementers and Integrators. Implementers are those who specialize in nuts and bolts execution work. Migrating a database, designing a landing page, and running event logistics are all examples of implementation. Integrators observe disparate pieces of a system working in tandem, and discern ways of helping them work better together. This could mean […]

Exploring the Human Implications of Conway’s Law

Conway’s Law states that: “organizations which design systems … are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.” In other words, the communication patterns in your team are duplicated in your software. I recently had a chat in which my counterpart made the point that if we take Conway’s […]

Will voting functionality on Facebook solve anything?

Word came out earlier this week that Facebook is running an experiment, giving a small number of users in New Zealand upvote/downvote buttons on comments. I’m wondering what Facebook is looking to learn. Upvotes and downvotes have been around since forever on gamified platforms like Reddit and Stack Overflow. Voting introduces a sense of right […]

Commit History

This is primarily an exercise in record keeping. Two years ago I wrote a post about burnout and went silent. Here are some things which have transpired since: I found work which fits the parameters outlined here. I published Contributions to put myself on the hook for figuring out more purposeful work, aiming at either […]

Reset

About three weeks ago, I said goodbye to my team. I’ve been in need of a break and after spending a year and a half working on technical infrastructure for the dev community, the company is increasing their focus on enterprise products. It was a good time for me to step back. Since leaving, I’ve […]

So You Want to Work With the Developer Community?

When I transitioned into working with technical communities, I was pretty sure I was a weird outlier who was suddenly getting to explore my passion for developer culture. Then I noticed something funny; some of my peers followed the same track shortly after I did. Investment in developer tools has also been on the rise, […]