Minds, the freedom of speech and crypto network, was years in the making and went live as of August 13, 2018, though like any social network it will always be a work in progress. A realistic attempt to give control of social media to the people, Minds.com is the first open source and arguably the first viable challenger to Facebook.com. Those of us using Minds feed back to the developers at the center, reporting on what works and what doesn't. So if you're on Minds, even if you just got here, you're on that team. That also means that you can help shape the site.
Be a useful user.
VERY BRIEF BACKGROUND
Facebook has "proprietary" code --- that is, most of it is hidden, secret and cannot be copied. The one thing that we do know is that Facebook is making its money by selling our information to global corporations and politicians while sharing it on request with the NSA -- and the government spy agencies of other nations.
In stark contrast Minds is "free and open source", with all of its code showing and shareable. Minds was started by founders CEO Bill Ottman and his father John Ottman, the chairman of the board; and by founder, CTO and developer Mark Harding in 2011. Bill, the visionary, is the public face of Minds. Mark Harding and his team are responsible for the code. COO Mark Ottman, Bill's brother, runs the administrative end.
Because Facebook is proprietary, the stalwarts who are giving us this platform could not see how Facebook did it. Moreover, refusing to use proprietary software like Google's Search, they have had to invent everything from scratch, on a fraction of Facebook's latte budget. They've DOING it! Minds is out of the Beta construction phase, and out of the brief Testnet phase, as any incompatibilities with the cryptocurrency upgrade were found! One thing has not changed. We're part of it. Here's how:
First, get comfortable, create your circle. The Newsfeed is random when you get here; sculpting it requires a little know-how. You can certainly do that but do not start that way. Start by subscribing to and working from someone else's group or channel, branching out from the links there. Once you have subscribed to a few people, you will have your feet on the ground. Subscriptions to and/or Blocks of specific channels along with your Likes, Comments and Reminds shape your Minds experience.
Whenever you see a post that you have a strong reaction to, click on the icon, the logo in the upper lefthand corner. That will take you to the person's private channel. Scroll down the page to get a full sense of that person's posts.For example, I'm [email protected]. My icon is a stylized golden dragon, in the upper lefthand corner of all my posts. Clicking on it will take you to my "channel", @authorpendragon. Be careful about finding people through Search instead. "Dragon" is simply my "display name", my nickname. So if if you look for @dragon, you'll find someone else entirely. The channel name is the address -- what comes after the @ sign, in my case "@authorpendragon".
To subscribe to someone from that person's channel, click the word Subscribe under the name. To block a channel, look to the upper right of Subscribe. Click on it and then click again on Block.
Second, whenever you report a problem, tell the coders what device you're running, and with which systems software. That's because a code fix that works on an Android cell phone may not work on a Chromebook and that may not work on an Asus laptop, and it additionally matters if you're running an Apple OS or Windows or Linux and what iteration. Detailed feedback not only gets your problem fixed faster, it's useful to the core programmers, telling them swiftly what the whole-system effect of their latest change has been.
Third, remember that the community is here for you if you need orienting. There is a ton of learning-and-using resources. If you're still stuck, though, or want to request a new feature, go to Minds' official Help and Support. That was once staffed by the developers themselves. CEO Bill Ottman popped up only a few days after I joined, commenting "Nice!" on a post that I'd made. I had no idea who he was, just said "Thank you." The level of core involvement here is extraordinary. Even with two million users, a Minds executive, Nick Lewis [@nick] is the one answering our questions.
Fourth, be patient. You're present at the creation, and there are just so many key programmers, just so many hours in a day. When we stamp our feet and demand an additional service, that new process can screw up something that was already working perfectly. Then a different segment of users howls. While we tantrum (my point of freak out was the glichy paragraphing in the original blogging platform; they do listen; this one is leaps and bounds better), the programmers labor to fix it. The coders are also aware that people from those countries who don't as yet have Minds want Minds. They're meeting that challenge too. They cannot though do everything at once,
Fifth, there are hairy new ethical and programming problems raised by the "no censorship" approach that you can weigh in on. No censorship, true freedom of speech, attracts people who simply want to speak their minds, talk, discuss.
It also attracts the professional haters -- the misogynists, the racists and folks whose fetishes and photos border on bletch. They in turn are revolted by people whom they call Social Justice Warriors [SJWs], seeing them as wimps unable to handle reality, blocking all speech they don't like. Both sides can launch into such fact-free, namecalling rants that discussion is impossible. How do we handle that clash without censoring?
]]Beyond flatly prohibiting child porn, Minds itself puts very few filters on what people can post. Except in private groups, it puts no filters on who can read.
Sixth, Minds gives increasing control to each user over what appears on that user's screens. There is for example the "E" for explicit rating that users put on their explicit posts, allowing people to raise an "E" filter if they wish. Users asked for more graduated forms of that filter -- and the coders provided it -- because blocking individual posters rather than mass-blocking is an important tool of discernment. You lose respect on Minds if you block people because they disagree with you. The basic Minds answer is that the proper response to any speech is "counterspeech", calmly answering, with fact.
Do block and delete the posts of spammers -- the people who post political cartoons in science discussions, tomato recipes in Street Art, bitcoin ads in comment threads. Report them first however. The Minds programmers need to see the patterns of bot activity. Some people moreover hate reason itself, responding to everything with personally nasty rants with no facts included. Such "trolls" think that they've won if you lose emotional control or use more words to respond to them than they just used to gig you. So the best answer is don't answer. If determined to answer, make it concise and fact-based. Actually short and snide works too. Do though feel free to block the hell out of them....
Right now blocking works unless blockee and blocker reply to a third person's post. lt's difficult to engineer complete blocking on this uncensored platform but the programmers are, yeah, working on it....
So finally and first, be courteous to coders. As @NotConvincedSmith has pointed out, some users yowl at these hardworking, dedicated programmers with all the tact and self-control of a lordling who feels that his boots were not licked properly this morning!
We Minds users are part of a revolutionary push to give social media to the people who use it, and really have only three adult options; 1) we can go away and dip in every few months to see how things are going, 2) we can stay, enjoy what works, and calmly and courteously keep the programmers posted on what's glitching on our (type, manufacturer and software specific please) devices or 3) we can learn to code at their level and help fix it.
If you want to help code, and have the skills, you're genuinely welcome to do it here. @pinn suggests, "You should start at web dev, html, PHP my SQL, css etc. easy to learn.ove from there. Also helps if you can use linux os, at least basics termilan like installing programs etc." See? They know a bit. What is therefore NOT an adult option is speaking to wizards as though they were incompetent minions. From a grateful user to the others out there, and to the core coders, thank you for all you do to make this work....
Seven more of the articles about Minds by this author:
Dragon's Interactive Treasure Trove of Resources for Learning and Using Minds (updated version) (also in Vietnamese)
Culture Shock: From Facebook to Minds (updated version)
Your Special Powers on Minds Over Internet Trolls
Where To Ask Questions, Make Suggestions -- And Get Answers -- About Minds (updated version)
For the behind-the-scenes story of Minds, a work in progress, see Bill Ottman's Minds, Leadiing the Charge Against the Globals.