171 points by latexr
2 months ago
I picked up on this last year and what frustrates me is I feel like I can't override the population-level unconscious anxiety and despair that many continue to spread through their behaviors (often being fed by these doomscrolling news narratives).
Words can be consciously dismantled in the mind, but actions are subtler and speak something subconsciously... It's like if you walked up to a pool and everyone was tiptoeing around it and not jumping in. No matter how fearless you are there's still something deep that triggers your own apprehension.
With COVID people are still behaving fearfully and there's nothing I can do about it other than suffer the harvest of ongoing social distancing stupidity, the idiotic glass walls still up in every grocery store, the "contact-less whatever the fuck", the lack of hotel room service... all the 100s of stupid anxiety-driven behaviors and changes that got implemented the past few years that were once never a thing.
Ahh whatever, back to doomscrolling.
Why did you expect the grocers to take the glass walls back down again? The item has already been purchased and even if corona is just a cold at this point... Why remove it now? You still increase the chance of infection for any airborne illness which would have the cashier go on sick leave. Literally no incentive to remove it now that the money for the purchase and assembly has been spent.
They likely won't put them into new stores but i don't expect them to go down until they're so worn down that you can't look through them anymore.
I don't buy your issues with the distancing either. There are a lot of people that always disliked others getting close to them. This group might've increased now, but that doesn't mean it's anxiousness because of corona.
You're just noticing things for the first time and blame a sickness that was overly zealously warned against for a short time.
Negative. The plexiglass increases your odds of getting covid because people have to yell more often, releasing more droplets.
I find that reminding yourself to be charitable really helps.
We just had most of the West undergo 2 years of non-stop government psy-op. Propaganda was constant. Dissent was suppressed at every step.
It's only natural that this has obliterated some people's critical thinking skills and their ability to operate in reality without being told by Authorities what reality is.
As for the hotels, I've just chosen not to participate. If you want to charge me 2X to deliver .5X that's fine, I just chose not to accept that deal. We can go through a recession and when the conditions bring us back to the previous 1X for 1X, then I'll gladly book a room.
>> the lack of hotel room service...
My cynical take is that this kind of thing is just going to be gone because at this point it's just a (diminishingly) reasonable excuse to cut services aka costs.
I have a small storage unit I rent and the bathrooms have been closed for 2 and a half years "due to COVID" and at this point I'll be genuinely surprised if they ever reopen. Same reasoning as the "room service."
Absolutely true. Even if you shut off all doomscrolling, block twitter, don't use facebook, don't read the news, you'll still interact with people in real life who are spending their time looking at doom narratives or have some sort of propaganda being pushed to them. It is nigh impossible to fight it off.
Not to invalidate the conversation here, but it just occurred to me that reading through a conversation about doom scrolling is in a sense itself doom scrolling.
> With COVID people are still behaving fearfully and there's nothing I can do about it other than suffer the harvest of ongoing social distancing stupidity
With Covid there are still hundreds of thousands of Americans who died in the past year, and probably millions more who were newly hit with significant chronic disease. Probably at least a hundred thousand more Americans will die from Covid in the coming year. Many people are either at high risk themselves or routinely interact with friends or relatives who are at high risk.
Acting carefully in times and places where there is substantial community spread is entirely reasonable behavior.
> all the 100s of stupid anxiety-driven behaviors and changes that got implemented the past few years
Tens of millions of people in the world have literally died, in the most significant public health crisis in a century, and you seem to think it is all some kind of joke.
Instead of just declaring that everyone who is different from you is “stupid”, perhaps try to be a bit more charitable.
The feeling I often experience scrolling news / social media is not hopelessness about the state of the world as a whole, but hopelessness about the state of these platforms.
HN might have a few idiosyncrasies, but it stands as one of the last places to go with a shared front-page and a high density of interesting and intellectual content.
In contrast, the algorithmically curated and individualized feeds of other platforms feel extremely claustrophobic to me... maybe because I know there's interesting stuff out there, but it's hard to find it when you have to fight through the giant mass of superficial and engagement-optimized posts and articles within the little personalized bubble that the feed algorithms think you belong in.
HN is certainly one of the last bastions of quality discussions online.
On the other hand, having such a high density of people who are probably reasonably intelligent within their subject (which I will broadly define as [Software] Engineering) has shown me that there is a very clear tendency to overestimate ones intelligence when it comes to topics that are outside that realm of expertise. I frequently get the feeling that comments will take on positions that are arguably contraire in what seems to be an attempt to show how deeply one may have thought about a given topic and to have come to a conclusion the majority of people can't even fathom.
It's difficult for me to pinpoint exactly. It is, however, a joy to see how respectful most discussions are, which I will also credit to the tight moderation on this site.
And yet people keep pushing for more and more AI. At least according to a lot of content that the AI recommends for me. Wait a minute...
This is fantastic, with a quick check every day I feel like I'll be ready to dialog with coworkers about whatever the latest news is.
Just ban political discussion on company communication channels and the problem is solved
Company politics is probably just as bad.
Politics per Wikipedia:
> the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status.
The problem is the reaction to covid19 has made virtually everything political. Can I go to the office? Am I forced to (illegally) share my medical records to do so? Am I skipped over for promotion because I’m not oppressed enough by society (so the company has to oppress me as retribution)?
These are political questions BECAUSE it’s how we govern the company. Imo it shouldn’t be the case, but this happened in every community, company, organization, etc.
Interested to hear what you think is "Political" vs "Non-political".
Don't get into a bunch of dramatic fights in company slack, don't get on your soap box and post your political opinions, don't publicly endorse politicians or parties. Just work at work and use your own time to be an activist
Agreed. Continually upholding the stance of owner/renter and master/serf is such an obnoxious and persistent view that so many of my coworkers have, just stop! We're here to work, not do political ideology stuff! Always pretending like it's not a big deal does NOT help! Private property existing or not is a political opinion, and I'm glad we can agree that assuming a stance on it does not belong at work.
Few people do that. But politics isn’t separable from a workplace or any other area in life. Sooner or later someone raises something tangentially political and off you go. Could be (in the US…) something as dumb as who goes to what bathroom. Or whether the git branches must be renamed. Or whether the recruitment applications should be anonymized. Or whether it’s appropriate that the company PAC donates to candidate X.
I agree it’s good to avoid politics until that happens rather than bringing it up at the coffee machine. Keeping it to a minimum should keep most unnecessary drama out.
Reminds me of what life was like, before I switched from news to hacker news.
It's still here. But instead of doomscrolling about news, I see people doomscrolling about how they aren't good enough programmers. HN seems to promote a large number of redundant (and sometimes utterly vapid) blog posts of people trying to SEO their CV. And TBH, politics still makes it to the front page, as do controversial tech issues. There are still of plenty of zealots willing to make everything political, but then again some issues naturally are: musk, crypto, censorship, etc.
Granted, HN is not even remotely as bad as 24-hour news stations, but it still creeps in because that's the world we live in (today, anyway).
> But instead of doomscrolling about news, I see people doomscrolling about how they aren't good enough programmers.
It's Not Getting Better
Situation Has Not Improved
I much prefer to borrow the Great Reset crowd's language:
Nothing is Built
Nothing is Back
Nothing is Better.
We've tried nothing and we're out of ideas.
"There are still of plenty of zealots willing to make everything political, but then again some issues naturally are: musk, crypto, censorship, etc."
You literally did that yesterday. Textbook case of projection.
> textbook case of projection
Well, as I said if you bothered to read my post "some issues naturally are political".
But more importantly: what makes you think I _don't_ consider myself a zealot? I never said I wasn't.
Lol. Textbook mindreading thought-error.
But thanks for being so obsessed with me that went through my history from another discussion we were in. I'm flattered.
Hacker news comment threads are a different kind of doomscroll, the steady litany of expressions of all the ways this industry is going to hell in a handcart:
This isn’t a new idea
You don’t need Kubernetes
This won’t work, because of this one specific scenario
I guess nobody cares about performance any more
Developer compensation is ludicrous
This security issue wouldn’t affect you if you were on FreeBSD
I could do that with a 20 line shell script
Why does everything have to be about politics?
Etc, etc, etc..
You missed an old classic:
I could do that in a weekend
No lie, I've replaced some of my Twitter time with RSS and a HN feed of the front page, and it's been very nice.
Care sharing what you have on your RSS (looking to beef mine up)?
Not the one you're responding to, but I have a similar experience with the RSS feeds that I follow. I have a public list of feeds I follow at https://www.heyhomepage.com/?module=timeline&view=sharedlist It's not big yet - and probably some sites that you know from here - but I've a backlog of hundreds of feeds that I want to share. I have to categorize this list of feeds first before I make all of them public.
Reminds me of https://pippinbarr.com/it-is-as-if-you-were-playing-chess/in...
Except it's It is as if you are reading Twitter
In case you were curious, there are 355 headlines that repeat.
See also: http://endless.horse/
And out of those 355, a lot are repeated already. For example
"New Lockdowns Advised",
"Lockdowns Are Coming",
"Lockdowns Are Imminent",
"Lockdowns Are In Effect",
"Lockdowns Are Inevitable",
"Lockdowns In Effect",
I was wondering how this was the first infinite scrolling page that could actually keep up with the speed of my mouse wheel when I let it rip.
Would be interesting to use a scraper and some sentiment analysis to find actual doom headlines about current events and
Right at the start of the pandemic I discovered you can register .ng (Nigeria) domains.
So, I registered doomscroli.ng. I was sure it would become a huge success.
Worst $200 I've ever spent.
It's available again if anyone here wants it.
Don't be a mugu. Be aware of the risks when registering ccTLD SLDs. https://youtu.be/Ktz7vc70hZ8
Why only 1 l?
winni.ng is for sale, apparently.
Surprisingly scammi.ng domain is free
Very powerful. It really evokes a similar emotion to reading the news.
I was expecting an endless stream of random DALL.E generations.
Like instagram, but no one exists and the posts are made up.
I don't really understand the "doomscroll" discourse to be honest. For one doom is sort of an appropriate mindset for a solid chunk of history. I wonder what internet optimists would have written about doomscrolling in the 1920s if the web had been around, with the world on the verge of multiple major conflicts. I can only imagine some new Stephen Pinker book going "guys, it's going great, look at all the inventions!"
People who were dooming about zoonotic viruses over the last few decades were right and we ought to have listened to them, climate change doomers from the 70s or 80s certainly look prescient and will increasingly more so in another few decades.
Rather than taking a three monkeys approach of "see no evil/hear no evil" I think a healthy dose of doom creates an appropriate sense of urgency to problems we are otherwise prone to sleepwalk into.
The problem is the dark pattern of endless scrolling, combined with a propensity for doom, makes it extremely easy to go from a healthy dose of doom, to an unhealthy cynical amount of doom, then slip into a self-harm inducing level of hopelessness about the state of the world, with not enough impulse control left to avert a mental health crisis and the only available action is to keep scrolling. Not everyone will get caught up in that but that's where the term comes from.
I think the unique potent combination is worldwide real-time sample set (there is always something awful happening somewhere) + optimized yellow journalism (clickbait outrage headlines with metrics).
This combination is the difference between recognizing a problem and doing something about it as you describe (which is certainly a good thing), versus just feeling overwhelmed and sinking into stressful anxiety.
I respectfully disagree; the "healthy (sic) dose of doom" mostly just glues eyeballs to screens, paralyzing any productive activity. A non-stop prediction of doom, inevitably, gets tuned out or else produces neuroses. Only if you're not hearing non-stop predictions of doom does one get your attention.
It is quite similar to the reason that tornado warnings cannot be too frequent, or they will not be listened to.
So what am I supposed to do, can you give a prescriptive description of how to keep up with news? This is likely the most interesting era when it comes to geopolitics after 1930s, am I seriously supposed to ignore news because it increases my stress levels and makes me "glue eyeballs to screens"? That doesn't make any sense to me, if I live on this planet, and this planet is going through an extremely important event, seems like being ignorant to it is not really the best course of action. For people who lived at the beginning of WW2, wouldn't it have made sense to keep up with the news?
Technology's advanced a bit since WW2 so what's available today at our fingertips, is easily an order of magnitude more than in 1930. What that means is that it's important to make a distinction between "keeping up", and endless doom-scrolling. You really don't need the play-by-play on every. single. news. item. There are real negative effects to you and your mental health.
Eg the Nord Stream was sabotaged. We don't know who did it. We probably never really will. Keeping track of every single detail about it dribbles out is "glue eyeballs to screen" stress inducing territory so recognize that knowing every last detail about it isn't actually good for you. Back in the 1930's you'd have to wait for the news to even get to you via newspaper. Now there's sourced wikipedia page for every information junkie to gorge themselves over. Don't get me wrong, if you're having fun then by all means, learn all about Gazprom and the board member who was recently killed, along with details about every other company involved with building the Nord Stream - but stop when it's no longer fun. It's totally fine to be ignorant about which Dutch dredging company was involved in its construction.
There's just so much information out there these days, and you can't know everything, which means there's just tons you're ignorant about so there's no shame in that. I mean, I don't know everything either. Also there's a real opportunity cost to learning about subject A, because it means you're not learning about subject B or C or D, and you can't know that subject C won't end up being of geopolitical relevance.
There is a daily email newsletter, 1440: https://join1440.com/
The idea is you get a daily email with a 5-minute or so digest of the news, which you can read once/day, and then get on with your life. It gives you enough of the high-level overview to be informed enough to do your good citizen duty, without having any financial incentive to become a doomscroller. So far, at least, it seems to do a good job.
> prescriptive description of how to keep up with news
Read books instead, real books, nothing published in the last 10 years.
Suggestion: "Things Falling Apart" (after https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Things_Fall_Apart)
By holding down the END key on my keyboard, I eventually pushed it to the end ;)
And even then, I feel like I was "Lockdown X" ony every other page. A lot of them quite close too like "Lockdowns Are Inevitable" and "Lockdowns Inevitable". "lockdowns return" was there like 4 times or more.
I don't think that's even possible, it runs in a loop perpetually adding elements every time you scroll. Perhaps you crashed your browser instead...
The real end key is our anxiety. The end of our doomscroll isn't in the infinite loop: It lies within us.
Or, you know... in the amount of of memory our browser can allocate.
'Tis a thing of beauty!
and they say Murphy was a pessimist!
"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true." -- James Branch Cabell
I realized today that being a contrarian is good in times when people are doom saying. I've felt relatively optimistic with all the talk about long term recession etc. I unfortunately had to talk to someone today who was talking about how the market might not recover for half a decade and my immediate though was "if this smoothbrain thinks the market has further to go, maybe its time for me to move more into the market."