"If you are kinky, where would you go that isn't sleazy as hell and way more of a meat market than there?", you asked.
Well, that is a pertinent question, isn't it? There's certainly not a shortage of sites made by former members of FL's community, who've all had a go at making a "better" version (depending on their idea of what "better" constitutes), if a certain committed individual's research efforts are to be believed. To what extent they've succeeded in their goals (and those goals align with mine/ours), I don't know; I haven't got around to checking because I haven't been so uncomfortable/unsettled as to feel the need to. That's part of the reason why I'm hesitant to try my hand at joining forces with a few people here and make an alternative. Maybe there is something better, but I haven't looked hard enough. On the other hand, I'm afraid to fail. Separatists generally don't fare well.
"Women are, literally, your most valuable members. What do you think will happen when a better site, one with an administration that gives a shit about them, crops up and they all start leaving for it?" — A Fartloaf user, to John Baku (site owner)
Here's the key thing, though: We're not sure if there is a better site where the administration cares more about the well-being of the user base than making money. It might exist. It has yet to be found, though.
Humans are strange animals. They're the only ones, of which I know, that build mental prisons for themselves. They will put their shackles back on and crawl back into their cells to defend their oppressors when you show them that there's a way out. Here's to making money for my writing/attention for a whole month before those fuckers realise what a mistake they've made by removing my post about it and banning me from the group. Bwahaha! Thanks for the incentive and confirmation that my choosing to leave that cesspool was the right one, you dumb fucks!
From a technical perspective, the wonky UX isn't the site's biggest problem. Yes, it's annoying and frustrating at times and I'm a persnickety pedant.
"Calling Facebook a toilet is a little unfair to toilets because they make shit go away, whereas Facebook retains shit, disseminates shit to your acquaintances and reminds you of shit from seven years ago, all while allowing corporations to put their shit in front of you. What I’m saying is there’s a purity and integrity to toilets that Facebook seriously lacks!" — John Oliver; Last Week Tonight
My major issue with it is the right-wing contingent that makes itself at home there, somehow largely undisturbed/challenged (if not openly welcomed by the disaffected powers that be): The fascists, neo-nazis, Incels, homophobes, transphobes, misogynists and bigots of all ideologies, shapes and sizes that thrive there, without any real action taken against them by the fence-sitting Centrist Powers That Be, or so it seems. Personally, I and a number of others would like to see them deplatformed and booted out so fast that it makes their heads spin. My bigger issue is the heavy-handed action taken against any effort to do community policing by the Leftist user base in the face of the clearly apparent lack of it by the caretakers. They lack both diversity of representation and strength in numbers (sheer manpower) to keep on top of things, forever playing catch-up and scrambling when the user base throws its toys en masse, threatens a mass walkout. (Where are the BIPOC developers and caretakers?)
Maybe you, dear fartloafer, are fortunate to have enough strength of character and sense to preserve your inner peace by knowing when to pick your battles and simply glide over all the drama (which is enviable and admirable), but I cannot do that, because I choose not to, often to my own detriment. I will not stand idly by and go "not my circus, not my monkeys", when someone is wrong on the Internet; I get stuck in (even if I know it'll do me no good personally). My politics are very far left (possibly to the point of militancy/fundamentalism, which certainly isn't good at all); it's anathema to me to let persistent hurt, harm and hatred flourish. I am a rebel without a clue. (I realise this comes across as accusatory/sanctimonious/holier-than-thou, for which I'm sorry. It's not meant to.)
Apologies for the word salad. I am quite fired up about this at the moment, but I know I fall victim to the fluctuations of passion that Yeats describes in The Second Coming:
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
The problem with me is that my head and my heart are seldom aligned for any length of time. I miscalculate, mislocate and disproportion my energy, which is, frequently, predominantly coloured/fueled by fear. It is often masked as anger and/or indignation (righteous or otherwise). I look to others to solve a problem/conflict within me that I am either unable or unwilling to solve within/by myself. So my emotions and reason are not spent in the appropriate measure. I am either too empathetic or not enough. I care too much or too little. So being on antisocial media and not seeing behind/through the cracks in the one-way mirror on cinder-blocks, which we all take pains to keep clean and polished, exacerbates an imbalance in me. I want to see people as they really are (warts and all), not as they pretend to be. I want to find the place where the light gets out, to reach inside and touch it, while, at the same time, I am terrified of the potential pain incurred in/by letting someone do the same to me. Hence, the walls, the secrecy, the evasion. My procrastination is an emotional scheduling/coping deficiency/malfunction more than anything.
I want to know how you stay you.
The world is not enough;
I want your further truth.
⸺ Laura Jane Grace/Against Me!; "Delicate, Petite and Other Things I'll Never Be"
Sorry I was insensitive to you earlier, Darling, that I went off on a rant when you were trying to express to me something deep and heartfelt. Sorry that while I read your words, I didn't take them in and respond to what you needed from me. Now is not a good time for me to do that, but I will come tack to them/you and endeavour to be the friend you need.
I don't want to see only the smooth façades with the brightly coloured paint, with the flowers and unicorns in the mercilessly weeded garden that is the selectively edited and broadcast highlight-reel "real" where there's not a hair out of place, where everything's polished and posed, right, shallow, sweet and nice, where nobody has faults, nor pain, nor trauma. Show me who you really are underneath, if you can. Introduce me to your daemons, your nightmares, your pain. If I don't run, I'm yours.
Antisocial media, to me, is a lonely, barren, hostile and alien part of the human psyche, all glittering glass and steel, of hollow-shelled and half-filled mannequins trying to pass as human. Something's wrong with the filter. We know what it is, but we don't know how to fix it, so we try to ignore it. What it is is that there's seldom any deep, lasting connection or commitment once the initial novelty of contact fades and we go away from our keyboards. The flow of energy necessary for building intimacy stops, is diverted elsewhere. Mostly, we see our own faces reflected back to us, like they're under cold fluorescent light in a public bathroom or changing room. Rarely do we look through other people's windows to their souls. Rarely do they let us. There is no sex in our violence. (There is no sex in our violence!)
We're "just pixels on a screen" to each other. Where are the divine spirits, the thoughts, behind our profile pictures and words? There certainly seems to be an abundant lack of them. Ensconced in our sterile, impenetrable, pink, cotton-padded latex balloons, we touch from a distance, getting further all the time. I feel rebuffed. Show me the woman who hates herself, the angel standing on her halo, thinks she's boring because she's bored and her friends are far away. Show me the man who doesn't love himself, doesn't see his worth. Now watch how their "friends" try, but fail, to reach them with their words alone.
Now, reach out and touch me with your heart, like the divine human you are. You can't do it through a page, the written word alone, can you? Few possess that beautiful gift. As much as I hate the half-and-half of the thing and the anxiety it brings me, pick up the damn phone and call me sometime; talk to me like we're alone together in the same room, looking each other in the eye like true friends or lovers, not just ships passing in the dark or ignorant armies that clash by night.
This, all this, is the fundamental, real and honest problem I have with antisocial media. I don't know how to solve it, if I can solve it as much within myself as an emotional and spiritual being as with the Web technologies at my disposal. It's a human problem, not a technological one. It is of the nature of the human heart, mind and soul.
"Let's dance to Joy Division
And celebrate the irony,
Because everything is going wrong,
But we're so happy,
Yeah, we're so happy.
— Knudsen, Haggis, Murphy (The Wombats); "Let's Dance to Joy Division"; A Guide To Love, Loss And Desperation (2007)