Soni's Blog

Control, Delete

A couple of months ago we talked to some folks about using UI patterns to encourage or discourage user behaviour, as an alternative to moderation. We got promptly shouted at for supporting "illiberatory" crap. We quickly jumped to trying to discuss how it might be possible to use deceptive user interface design patterns (sometimes called "dark patterns") for the benefit of everyone involved.

Along the discussion, we started to question whether we really believed it was possible to use these things for good. And then, a few weeks ago, we heard of the term "coercive control", and it clicked. We're now in a process of, well, processing; and figuring out what coercive control means and how it relates to us.

We feel like we've been advocating for coercive control in one way or another for the past few years. Obviously, we don't know a lot about it yet, so we're gonna outline our goals here:

Also, we came across coercive control in the context of systems, organizations, politics, etc, not domestic violence. That's something we might have to figure out in another post, but, then again, this is an open discussion.

Anyway; Sometimes this can look like trying to threaten browser developers with user tracking, trying to shift the blame onto them, in an attempt to get them to do something. This is bad!

So... our challenge this year is that we're gonna stop doing this, entirely. No matter what it takes.