Monday, 25 June 2012

Don't menshn it.

Have you ever seen an idea so clever and simple that you wish you'd thought of it? Louise Mensch has. Louise Mensch saw Twitter and though "that's brilliant! It's so clever and simple. I wish I could come up with an idea like that". Louise Mensch then thought for hours and hours. After two hours, Louise Mensch still hadn't come up with anything as good as Twitter. "That's it!" Louise Mensch thought, "I will make a version of Twitter, and get rid of everything Louise Mensch doesn't like about it". So Louise Mensch thought about it and decided that to improve Twitter all you need is 40 extra characters, more censorship, make users follow 100 people they have no interest in whatsoever and the name of Louise Mensch emblazoned on every page.

Essentially she has constructed the Twitter of a Menschian dictatorship. After the glorious revolution, when the Mighty Mensch is swept to power on the surge of a popular uprising, the dissenting Tweeters will be sent to camps, know henceforth as Mensch Reeducation Centres, or ReMenschucation Centres, and everyone will, instead use











"Fuck!" Louise Mensch thought, as she woke up from her dream, "I've made a social netwrking site that sounds and looks like a gay hookup site. How do I distinguish it from all the other gay hookup sites....I mean... social networks? I know!" Louise Mesch had an epiphany, "I will include a slogan that shows how it differs from Twitter: Talk on Topic. This gets rid of all that idle chitchat about "stuff", or whatever people talk about these days, and keeps it political. Discipline. That's the one thing missing from Twitter."

Louise Mensch then called her nephew who's currently doing a BTEC in applied ICT, and by the end of the day, Menshn was born.

Louise Mensch was thrilled as 20 million Twitter users migrated to Meschn in the first day. Then she woke up again, and logged in to Menschn to check no-one was saying anything naughty. Since she last logged in an Armenian gentleman had created an account, becoming the first user Louise Mensch did not know personally, and posted a Mensh. Louise Mensch was thrilled. What would it say? "Tall, slim bicurious man seeking similar for good times in N/E England". Louise Mensch was thrilled! "That's not on topic!" she thought, "I can delete it!". She then scanned back through the older posts, checking she hadn't missed anything off topic on her previous visit. "Idle chitchat has no place on Menshn!" Louise Mensch mused. Louise Mensch removed one of her own Menshs from earlier which had seemed political at the time (it was about the Olympics) but with hindsight Louise Mensch realised was probably more sport related. A tingle ran down Louise Mensch's spine to her loins as she deleted the comment.

"There's a lot of off-topic posting going on here" Louise Mensch mused, "With those two, 50% of today's posts have been off topic. I should probably outline some rules". [https://menshn.com/pages/menshn-rules.php] She began to type:

"The first rule of menshn is you do talk about menshn. Please feel free to invite your friends, spread the word, and post about us on Facebook and Twitter."


"No" thought Louise Mensch, "that's too fucking stupid even for me. A Fight Club reference is surely too clich├ęd and will just make me look like a Tory MP trying to be down with the kids. And asking people to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter is surely an admission of defeat." But then she accidentally published it any way. Louise Mensch continued:

"menshn is for talking on topic. We're passionate about politics and we love debate. But if you harass, spam, clog feeds and so forth, we can delete your account without notice. So be like Fonzy and be cool."

"Hmm" Louise Mensch pondered, "This is terribly written and contains an extremely outdated cultural reference. This just makes me look like a fucking moron. Also, "we can delete your account without notice" makes me sound terrifyingly authoritarian" but then Louise Mensch accidentally published it any way. Louise Mensch contintued:

"you may see content that offends you; people may be horrible to you, defame you, twist your words, post nasty links or pictures, post malware, damage your computer, pretend you wrote a menshn you didn't, imitate you, and any other nasty thing we haven't thought of."

"Wait a second" though Louise Mensch, "warning people about the risks they face in the free forum that is Menshn seems oddly out of sync with my previous obsession with censorship. If people read this, they might assume I only want to delete things that I don't agree with. That doesn't look good at all". Then Louise Mensch accidentally published it any way. Louise Mensch continued:

"See those "rate" buttons by the menshns? If you like a comment, or think it's relevant or cool, please rate it. The points go up in real time, at the top of your screen. The top 5% of best-rated menshners are always seen in a community's stream (although you can block them like anyone else). menshn is designed to reward intelligent chat. You know - we talk on topic."

"Fuck" though Louise Mensch "if I use the word "rate" in the modern sense to mean "approve of", and "cool", won't I just look like a Tory MP trying to be down with the kids? Is there any point rewarding relevance since irrelevant posts will be deleted? If I reiterate my patronising slogan, won't that just annoy people? Is this rule even more poorly written than the others?" but then she accidentally published it any way. Louise Mensch continued:

"menshn can use advertising. We can promote links, and assign you followers or subscribe you to accounts, or promote given menshns. You agree to this by signing up. Hey, right now in version 1.0 we have placed the ability to donate straight to the Obama or Romney campaigns in the relevant chat rooms! Get to it, politicos! (If you want to)."

"Fuck" thought Louise Mensch, "the passage I've just written has so many annoying things I don't know where to begin. Why have I randomly written "hey"? Why have I written "Get to it, politicos!"? The imperative here might freak people out a bit. I know..." thought Louise Mensch, "...to sound less authoritarian I'll add "(If you want to)" on the end..... There, that's better." So Louise Mensch published it. Louise Mensch continued:

"On menshn, your menshns age off after one week and are not stored on our servers, except at our sole discretion."

"Shitting hell" thought Louise Mensch "It will be really annoying if you can't see posts older than one week, and your information being kept based on the arbitrary whims of I, Louise Mensch, sounds scary and authoritarian." Then an incoming Tweet distracted Louise Mensch so she forgot to delete the rule. Louise Mensch continued:

"the standard here is that your menshns will disappear into the ether, and not stick around like..."

"Tortoise's scrotum!", thought Louise Mensch "What sticks around for ages? A metaphor will really make these rules less terrifying and authoritarian. Stick around like...a bad smell? A stick? Siphilis? I know!"

"...Mount Rushmore. You agree to this, and all of the above, by signing up to use menshn. Have fun - talk on topic!"

"Jesus fucking donkey bollocks" thought Louise Mensch, "by saying "Talk on topic" I sound like a mother telling her naughty child to behave at school, which will surely patronise and annoy my intelligent target market. Ah! If I add "have fun" the problem will be solved."

Louise Mensch looked back through her list of rules.

"Fuck" thought Louise Mensch, "I've built a website based on the notion of intelligent debate, yet I've just constructed the most patronising and condescending collection of rules, and written them for eight year olds. You've really screwed this one up, Louise Mensch. Anyone would think you're just an attention-seeking imbecile looking to make a quick buck of the social networking boom when actually you don't have a single fucking clue about how to go about making one. It looks like a school project and will probably be used by no-one other than people you personally know, and will become the butt of jokes for years to come. Google, you know, that massive corporation full of technology experts, has failed to create a social networking site, so I, Louise Mensch, with my rudimentary understanding of technology, will surely fail even more miserably, particularly as I'm a Tory MP who everyone "intelligent" absolutely fucking hates" Then she thought "fuck it, I don't want a whole afternoon's work to go to waste" and published it any way.

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