Let’s get our reading on with a weekly dose of linkage. No links about the unfolding Gawker scandal this week, because 1) it’s still developing; and 2) I plan to write something about it myself. But there’s plenty more stuff on the Internet that we can talk about.

  • The anti-GMO crusade is led by radical anti-science brigade that refuses to see facts or reason. Writing for Slate, William Saletan has a lengthy examination of the anti-GMO movement. Verdict: they’re full of shit, and their fight has concentrated biotech in the hands of a few multinational corporations. Here’s a hint to the anti-GMO crew, whose addiction to misinformation rivals that of anti-vaxxers: Monsanto fucking loves you guys.
  • Writing for Medium’s Matter blog, Hossein Derakhshan laments how social media has transformed the Internet landscape, turning it into a series of echo chambers. I think Derakhshan is too stubborn to see the benefits of social media, but he’s right that social media algorithms encourage us to engage only with content that we’re predisposed to agree with.
  • This is an old one, but I stumbled across it recently. Writing for The Atlantic, Emily Esfahani Smith explains the psychology behind long-lasting relationships: partners care about and show enthusiasm for each others’ successes. Sounds easy enough, right?
  • To conclude, let’s talk about the ongoing Reddit meltdown. At his personal blog, Chuq Von Rospach has a hyperbole-filled piece where he says that Reddit is irreparable and should essentially be transformed into a glorified message board. I think he struggles to differentiate between the perception of failure and actual failure, but some of his suggestions are compelling (e.g. paying mods for their work). David Auerbach’s less radical suggestions might go over better. In a piece for Slate, he proposes “quarantining” hateful users by appending a label to users who participate in toxic subreddits. Finally, Mike Masnick of Techdirt believes that we should rethink Reddit as a protocol, not a service. People would be free to post whatever they like using the Reddit protocol and host it themselves; the role of Reddit as a company would be to take the best discussions and curate them. I find this idea really interesting, even if it’ll never happen. We’re not going de-port-80-ify the Internet. (I linked to that piece by Meredith L. Patterson a couple of weeks ago, actually.)

We’re done for now, my friends. Go forth and spread joy! And remember not to out any gay executives.

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