Last night we said goodbye to Chels one last time. She was 13 years old. She was the world's only introverted dog. She was never interested in other dogs (except for a couple of exceptional boy dogs), and she only ever met a handful of humans worthy of her affection. I was lucky enough to be one of them. She had the best smile. She had excellent judgment when it came to the men in my life; I only wish I had realized this sooner. She tolerated the cat. She was an insistent poker. She hated the water. She hated going to the vet. She loved to bury her head in my lap for a good ear rub. She never held a grudge. She had the best happy dance. She was my best friend and I miss her.
I’ve worked on many content management projects in the past, and to be honest, I’d be perfectly happy if I never worked on another one again. For some reason, finding an adequate balance between usability, flexibility, and performance is nearly impossible.
When building content management systems there are two options. You can base your work on an existing system which is just inflexible enough to make your life a living hell on a daily basis, or you can build something from scratch and spend a large amount of time repeatedly reinventing the wheel. Frameworks like Rails and Django make it a lot easier to reinvent the wheel, but you still can’t escape the fact that you’re spending time creating forms that enable users to enter content that will be inserted in a database so that it can be presented on a Web page.
What I do care about is this company advocating for a pretty radical social change to be inflicted on half a billion people without those people's engagement, and often, effectively, without their consent. As we saw with the rollout of Facebook's user names feature, the tech industry is very poorly equipped to talk about complex issues of identity and strongly prefers to talk about companies and features instead of communities and choice.
Because, let's be clear, Facebook is philosophically run by people who are extremists about information sharing. Though I choose to talk about my politics, or my identity, or my medical history or my personal relationships, I can do so primarily because I have the privilege to do so thanks to my social standing, wealth, and the arbitrary fact of being born in the United States. I also have an identity that isn't considered offense or off-putting enough to face serious repercussions.
But what if I weren't my own boss? What if my family couldn't accept parts of my identity? What if I weren't technologically savvy enough to know how to engage with all of the choices about public sharing that Facebook forces me to understand? What if it were important to my own personal identity that public representations of me be colored purple instead of blue, as on Facebook? It's easy to say all of our choices and all the aspects of our identity can be shared if we don't face any serious social or personal consequences for doing so. But most of us are not that fortunate.