Hilda Bastian (@hildabast@mastodon.online)
I'd fallen for, and helped spread, what I now realize was a myth about quote tweets: That there's almost no research on them. Big mistake! Now rectified. Here's my new post, digging into more than 30 studies with data on quote tweets. They don't settle all the questions. But there are answers, or at least partial ones, to most. It's still complicated, though. It's a * very * long read, but there are summary points ....1/2 https://absolutelymaybe.plos.org/2023/01/12/quote-tweeting-over-30-studies-dispel-some-myths/ #MissedQuoteBoost #QuoteBoost #QuoteTweets

cross-posted from: https://lemmy.blahaj.zone/post/3261

In short, the existing research on quote tweets on Twitter suggest that they’re not a significant vector for toxicity.


I feel like they reduce toxicity by calling it out

Do QTs increase Twitter pile-ons or swarms?

None of the studies could answer this question or estimate how often this happens.

So the actual issue at hand is the one they couldn’t answer.

I’ll stick with ‘no quote toots, please’.


You already have them though. Most non mastodon platforms provide them.


And can only really be used by other users of the seriously fringe set, yes.

And they don’t interfere with my experience, unlike the Twitter retweets.

I’m fine with the fringe of the already fringe (Fediverse) have access to circle jerking tools that don’t pollute my space. Twitter’s circle jerking tools spewed all over me. Fuck 'em.


They’re coming to mastodon though. It’s not a hill to die on…

If they come to Mastodon with the Twitter approach (can’t turn them off, get shoved into my notices) then I drop Mastodon. It’s that simple. Like I dropped Facebook and Twitter before (for much the same reason).

I’ve seen way too many QT dog-pile calls to tolerate them for even an instant in my Fediverse experience. If they come to the Fediverse, I drop the Fediverse. End of story.


The design flaw with “Quote Tweets” is right there in the name, but not where you think it is. Is it not the “Quote” part, but the “Tweets” part. Twitter inherently works differently than the services in the Fediverse.

The design flaw of Twitter is its algorithm combined with that it is advertising driven. An algorithm that benefits from people interacting with posts. An algorithm that repeatedly pushes controversial things in front of as many eyeballs as possible, to create even more interaction. If you didn’t (re-) act the first time, it keeps doing it. It does that because it means more eyeballs watching ads too. That is what they sell.

Mastodon and the Fediverse does not have an algorithm nor do they have ads. Here a post, regardless of content, gets its slot in the chronological timeline and…well, that’s it.

To be able to quote on the other hand has been a feature of many different platforms/services for tens of years. It is one tool of many to enrich a dialogue, to make a point or to reinforce an argument with external facts etc. It has been used for years without the Twitter-like abuse, because unlike Twitter most services/platforms do not have an algorithm infested at its core, just users who wish to interact in the most sociable and simple way possible.

Further to that, in none of the Fediverse services that, as pointed out earlier in the thread, has quote capability does it work like it does on Twitter. Why? Because people here decided to do it “right”. Here a quote isn’t about someone who isn’t informed of that you’ve quoted them. In fact, depending on their notification settings they can see if someone has quoted them just as easily as they can see if someone has replied to their post. They can keep an eye on their own post, even interact with more/new users that get to see the original, if they wish. The original poster still has control.

Currently that doesn’t work on Mastodon though. On Mastodon people still quote others, it isn’t like it isn’t happening already today. They are sadly forced to “hack” their way around it in an ugly way that

a) Doesn’t have to involve the original poster at all, or send a notification to a user that someone has quoted them, and that there now is a discussion about their post “over there”. The creator of the original post has absolutely no control.

b) Is really quite bad for accessibility (turning text into images for example is very rarely a great thing)

EDIT: correcting spelling

We will see. When “Quote Toots” come to Mastodon, let’s watch and see if Mastodon turns into a toxic dogpile site. My prediction is that it will (though it will be more left-flavoured than right-flavoured like the Birdsite). Yours is that it won’t.

We’ll let history decide which of us was right. (And if I was right, I’ll drop Mastodon and the Fediverse like I dropped the Hellsite and the Birdsite.)


I doubt many instance admins would tolerate pile on organisation like that. The instances that would allow it, you’ve probably already got blocked.

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