This website was archived on July 21, 2019. It is frozen in time on that date.

Sonya Mann's active website is Sonya, Supposedly.

A Perfect Storm of Free Speech

Photo by Viktor Nagornyy.
Photo by Viktor Nagornyy.
Photo by Viktor Nagornyy.
Photo by Viktor Nagornyy.

Here I am, reproducing a Hacker News thread:

“Pedophilia and necrophilia in writing is protected as freedom of speech. […] I thought we’d finally (already) won this fight in the US with Howl/Naked Lunch, but maybe not?” — forgotpwtomain [italics and Amazon links added]

“Freedom of speech protects you from Government prosecution for expressing your opinions. Google is a private company.” — eng_monkey

“This line is getting way over-used. Please notice the last sentence in grandparent’s comment: ‘This is not a Google issue; this is a law enforcement issue'” — jordanlev

“Today, Google controls more public discourse than the US government, if they are censoring freedom of speech – it IS a big deal.” — forgotpwtomain

“I wholeheartedly agree with this. First Amendment was written at the time when government was almost the only organization powerful enough to silence dissenters. Nowadays corporations like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc have more effective control of the venue of speech, and they should be subject to the same scrutiny then, not be given leeway as ‘private entities’.” — netheril96

“The government still is the only entity that can silence dissenters. All the entities you listed are limited to merely kicking you off their platform. Facebook can’t 404 your posts on Reddit, and none of them and none of them can stop you from standing on the sidewalk with a sandwich board. [¶] Saying that social media platforms should be subject to ‘scrutiny’ (which is pretty vague and non-actionable), or are somehow beholden to public opinion, is nonsense. They’re beholden to users, at most.” — throwaway160303

The Barnacles Forum Is Worth Your Time

Barnacles is a clone of the Hacker News clone Lobsters, but Barnacles is aimed at bootstrapping entrepreneurs instead of general software devs. It’s a lot like Hacker News, actually, but maintained for small-scale internet businesspeople instead of enterprise employees. Barnacles is pretty low-volume compared to a place like /r/Entrepreneur, but that means it’s more thoughtful. So far I’m enjoying interacting with the frequent contributors, and the links that rise to the top usually feature concrete techniques that you can readapt to your own business.

Barnacles on a rock. Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.

Most social venues yield what you put in. My personal Twitter account is enjoyable as well as promotional because Twitter is a platform that perfectly fits how I want to interact with strangers (through ironic jokes). I spend a lot of time on there, quoting the articles I read and commenting on other people’s thoughts. I do that on Facebook too, but it’s more of an afterthought. Barnacles provides something in between — I can post a link without extensive commentary, but if it’s not valuable, I’m not using the forum correctly.

I also self-promote via Barnacles. For instance, I’ll post a link to this article. When you make sure to post links to useful articles and generally provide value to others, they don’t mind a little bit of self-promotion.

“If you’re truly talented, then your work becomes your way of doing good in the world; if you’re not, it’s a self-indulgence, even an embarrassment.” — Kathryn Chetkovich

I think a lot more people are “truly talented” than we typically acknowledge. Marketing is still hard, but when we band together, we build up our collective knowledge and do a better job.

“Software is a completely new type of good in that it is both infinitely differentiable yet infinitely copyable; this means that any piece of software is both completely unique yet has unlimited supply, leading to a theoretical price of $0.” — Ben Thompson

Barnacles is a place where new entrepreneurs collaborate on raising that theoretical price from zero to something more tolerable like $100 per download or $15 per month. Even though software is trivial to copy in a technical sense, it’s very possible to convince customers to pay a premium if you deliver value that they need. Sell convenience!

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