Reading Review #3

Once again, this one’s really late. Some of this reading is from back in February. I’ve been dealing with some depression issues lately that have kept me from doing what I know I want to be doing. That said, I do want to spend more time thinking about what I’m trying to do with these reading reviews. Here’s a rough brain dump of what I’m thinking right now.


There are a few chief motivators for my reading reviews. I’ve already hinted at them in the first reading review I did back in January. I want to spend a bit more time thinking about it now though.

First, for a long time now, I’ve had a vague desire to keep track of how I come across the links I read each day and to keep track of what I read, journal like, in a way that is web-native: that is, not just keeping a document somewhere hidden as a list of links, but actually publishing the links along with comment if it’s needed. I want to know not only what I’m reading but how I come across what I’m reading: from what sources. I want to see how this changes over time (a long time if possible). I realize this is not at all an original idea. That’s not the point. The thing that is original about it is the particular form this journey takes for me.

Second, well over a year ago I came across the Wordyard project by Scott Rosenberg. There’s not one particular piece of his writing that motivated me. The whole site did in a way just as it has inspired me to try writing of any kind.

Third, I wanted something that would generate somewhat regular content on here. Ideally one per week, but I’ll settle for one every two weeks. We’ll see …

What Will I Post?

Pretty much anything I read that I spend more than a couple of minutes reading.

General Reading

What I Want Out of Twitter via @wilw

This is a good read that details actual constructive recommendations for how to deal with harassment on Twitter.

Bold emphasis mine:

Notice that none of this so far requires Twitter to penalize or punish the accounts being muted or blocked, so mewling cries of “censorship!” can be easily ignored. Leaving aside that Twitter is not the government and as a private entity is allowed to say who may and may not speak on its service (and has a user policy that spells this out in any event), nothing above stops anyone from saying whatever they want on Twitter. It merely means that others are not obliged to listen. No one is guaranteed an audience.

It occurs to me that a lot of what he talks about is some sort of spam filtering. It would be interesting if it’s possible to apply similar techniques here. That said, the problem space is probably very different.

He links to Putting out the Twitter trashfire by Randi Harper which is also a great read, and pre-dates the above link by a few days.

What was fake on the Internet this week: Why this is the final column via this via this RT by @Crell.

Emphasis in the original:

Frankly, this column wasn’t designed to address the current environment. This format doesn’t make sense. I’ve spoken to several researchers and academics about this lately, because it’s started to feel a little pointless. Walter Quattrociocchi, the head of the Laboratory of Computational Social Science at IMT Lucca in Italy, has spent several years studying how conspiracy theories and misinformation spread online, and he confirmed some of my fears: Essentially, he explained, institutional distrust is so high right now, and cognitive bias so strong always, that the people who fall for hoax news stories are frequently only interested in consuming information that conforms with their views — even when it’s demonstrably fake.

Kentucky Senate approves bill to require two different marriage license forms

The phrase “separate but equal” with all its historical context, comes to mind.

An Open Letter To My CEO via this via @TimothyS

I haven’t read any follow-up on this piece other than reading some of the replies to this reply to the piece. I have mixed feelings about all of it and not enough mental energy to unpack it all. Mistake or no, I wish the author success. The piece was very well written.

Technical Reading

Don’t create a sense of urgency, foster a sense of purpose via this via @glandix

A strong sense of purpose manifests when a software engineer watches a potential customer struggle with a workflow and stays late to make the changes that make it easier. It shows itself when a designer spends their weekend on a few extra iterations because they felt engaged with the problem at hand and want to produce a better solution.

Tackling the #1 employee-leadership divide: lack of communication

Engagement, while arguably a form of communication, is about bringing the team along on the journey. It is not about feeding them with information (although that is also important) but rather ensuring that on an ongoing basis they are part of the conversation re: how the organization moves forward. At the core of engagement is to create as many opportunities as possible for bidirectional communication (vs. unidirectional communications). It needs to include many discussions, asking for opinions, soliciting feedback and more. Or said differently, communicating in a way which involves people and makes them a part of every day [sic] decision making and change management.

Problems should not only be shared but should be jointly tackled involving the appropriate players. And these players do not need to all be in the same function but cross functional involvement should be encouraged where possible. In fact, as result of the right level of engagement in the organization you quickly benefit from management actually owning less problems on its own, there is an increase in cross-functional communications and alignment, and employees and their managers have enough visibility into the decision making process so they can more easily “disagree and commit” when they don’t agree with the decision.

Send A Patch To Someone Using git format-patch

The git format-patch [BASE_BRANCH_NAME] form is not something I’ve used or seen before. It seems rather handy.

Slack, I’m Breaking Up with You

I’ve never used Slack. But it’s not the first time someone thought they were going to get rid of email. Slack will continue to be successful, no doubt. But it always smacked of Google Wave to me: more threads more asynchronous communication, which is precisely why I don’t want to use it. I want a one-dimensional searchable list of textual objects I can organize and shuffle around at will. I don’t want a hydra of opaque objects (pings or chats or status updates or notifications) that live, where exactly? The cloud?

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