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Facebook is bad, just think about the children (but not the way you thought before)

published: 2018-03-27T16:30:44+02:00

I was walking home from the metro. I was passing by a few kids when I heard the words they uttered:

…asterisk scared asterisk…

The words surely rang a bell, but I wasn’t sure what exactly they meant. But I was sure immediately that my inability to communicate with the youth these days came from proprietary software.

Let’s tear this down cleanly.

The group passing by was boys, so presumably League of Legends players, and judging from my brother’s online behaviours, such people use two messengers: Discord and Facebook.

Now, if they were speaking like on Discord, what they meant was scared, because they spoke Markdown. That’s how Discord rolls.

But if they spoke Facebook Messenger, they actually meant scared, which in Markdown would be **scared** or __scared__.

Because Facebook decided to completely screw up at implementing Markdown-like syntax. They did away with the idea that asterisks and underscores are the same and it’s the number of them that counts (cue rimshot). So _text_ is text but *text* is text.

And frankly this rant was meant to be just another argument against Facebook – because just think about the children and the bad habits it encourages – but then I thought it would be unfair to say Discord is a better alternative when it’s outright proprietary and despises third party clients, while making their main client an Electron app, which in turn hates my 1 GB of RAM netbook.

So, be a good person and introduce children to free, libre, open source software for communication, be it Matrix or Mumble. Just think about the children.