Opting out of opting in

There’s a certain thing that annoys me far more than it should, but I know I’m not alone in this. It is, of course, things that automatically opt you in to notifications, marketing messages, mailing lists and so on.

Everyone suddenly started getting these messages from Twitter saying “you have 20 tweets waiting for you!” when what it actually meant was ‘nobody cares about you, they’re just doing their usual shit’. It’s a cheap ploy to make you go to the site, and everyone was auto-signed up.

Facebook has done sinister things in a similar way.

Everyone’s a bastard, basically, for automatically signing you up to things or for making you go out of your way to opt out of receiving their pointless shit. No I do not want your daily email I DO NOT WANT IT.

I am quite aware – well aware, you could say – that you can opt out. But I feel you shouldn’t have to. I feel you shouldn’t have to spend precious seconds (or minutes, depending how annoying it is) finding out how to unsubscribe from something, or how to stop getting these daily notifications that mean NOTHING, or saying something is spam when it probably isn’t but shut up they email me every day.

The world should work as opt-in in most circumstances. Louis CK did it on his mailing list – the opt out box was automatically ticked, meaning you actually had to go out of your way to opt in. That might have been an oversight on their part, it might not. But I remember it, and I like it.

Opt-in. Always opt-in.

Apart from organ donations. That should be opt-out. Make it easier for those who are too scared or lazy to sign up.

Yeah, I’m changing the world one day at a time.

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