Linkblog

Twitter Begins Limiting the Spread of QAnon Conspiracy Theories

Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny:

Twitter will stop recommending accounts and content related to QAnon, including material in email and follow recommendations, and it will take steps to limit circulation of content in features like trends and search. The action will affect about 150,000 accounts, said a spokesperson, who asked to remain unnamed because of concerns about the targeted harassment of social media employees.

The spokesperson said that as part of its new policy, the company had taken down more than 7,000 QAnon accounts in the last few weeks for breaking its rules on targeted harassment.

The sweeping enforcement action will ban QAnon-related terms from appearing in trending topics and the platform’s search feature, ban known QAnon-related URLs and prohibit “swarming” of people who are baselessly targeted by coordinated harassment campaigns pushed by QAnon followers.

This has crossed over from Internet fringe to real-world violent extremism, so it’s a welcome step from Twitter.

How We Do DH

Interesting piece over at the Duke Library blog on defining digital humanities (hat tip to Mike Widner).
The research model is going to be harder to quantify. We do have some measurable components: we provide some services, and we do (or will do) some grant-funded projects. We also produce output, including code, web services, papers, articles, and blog posts. But for the most part we focus on building pieces of ever-evolving, ever-growing, resources that are never ‘finished’—resources that are harder to quantify than finished books or articles, websites or databases are. So, in some ways we look more like faculty than staff, in other ways we look more entrepreneurial. Startups take risks on building big things, hoping, of course, that they’ll be profitable. Very often the things they try don’t work, but sometimes they do, or sometimes they suggest a completely different (but better) direction. The thing is: you’ll never catch anything if you don’t put your fishing line in the water. We try to control for risk, to fish where the fishing’s good, but our basic posture is still research-driven and so to some extent risk bearing.

Blue Bottle Buys Tonx

Mat Honan in Wired:

The San Francisco Bay Area-based Blue Bottle, along with other formerly regional roasters like Portland’s Stumptown, Chicago’s Intelligentsia, and North Carolina’s Counter Culture helped kick off a brewed coffee movement in the United States. And while all have grown beyond their original city limits, none have really threatened to become the next Starbucks, or even Chipotle. Given its recent investment round, however, along with its purchase of Handsome Roasters in Los Angeles, Blue Bottle is clearly looking to get big. Tonx immediately gives Blue Bottle a much better Web and app capability than it now has.

It’s also a good deal for Tonx, which was attempting to raise more money to purchase its own coffee roaster (it currently has a contract deal where it rents one on the weekends) and open a store front. While neither announced a price, Tonx did abandon a $4 million fundraising round it had been pursuing recently. Presumably, the deal would be on par with that. It’s a big win for the three year-old roaster that’s based in Los Angeles, but lives all over the internet.

Some good news for two of my favorite roasters.

The Campaign Against Coffee

In the early twentieth century, C. W. Post, the cereal tycoon, launched an ad campaign to sell his caffeine-free, cereal-based substitute Postum. The trick of the campaign: convincing consumers that coffee was bad for kids. Jordan Weissmann at The Atlantic tells the story.

Topotime

I am very excited to see the public release of Topotime, a data model, d3.js layout, and Python function for representing complex or fuzzy time. My colleagues Elijah Meeks and Karl Grossner have been working on Topotime for the last few months and I have been eagerly looking forward to its public release.

Amazon Pairs Print and Digital Books

Nick Wingfield on Amazon’s MatchBook program:
One benefit of MatchBook is that Amazon will let its customers buy Kindle editions of books that they purchased in print as far back as 1995, the year Amazon opened for business. The discounted Kindle edition prices apply to book purchases made in the future on Amazon too. In an interview, Russ Grandinetti, vice president of Kindle Content, said one of the most common requests Amazon receives from its Kindle customers is a way to build parallel print and digital book libraries, which hasn’t been practical at full retail prices. He said many print lovers will enjoy Kindle features like text searching of books, especially reference books. Kindle fans, meanwhile, still want print editions of books as souvenirs and art objects.

The MOOC Bubble

William G. Thomas: “The emergence of the MOOC offers another opportunity, one that humanities and STEM faculty should embrace. But the justifications Coursera and Friedman have offered ring hollow and the unrestrained hyperbole about the “reinvention” of higher education could have the reverse effect of shutting down experimentation with MOOCs, just when we need it most. That would be a shame.”