Anybody paying attention these days will be concerned about the way social media has normalized the use of the heckler's veto. It's not just in legal contexts (although there's plenty of e.g. state-funded schools that break the law and are constantly getting sued over this). Small groups of people claiming to care about some silly thing someone said have done a lot of damage. Luckily, that's abated, but there's still plenty of attempts that can muck up people's lives. I hope we get even more sophisticated about this and stop using the judgment of strangers as a proxy for the truth. Trust exists, and is real, and we should all be pretty hesitant to trust "person online". Or just "person". It's a huge world, and even if it only had reasonable people, we aren't so perfect as to avoid a convincing yet mistaken outrage.

As much as I encourage you to urge that process along, of asking your own questions of the world, I think it's okay for some people to signal boost nonsense if there's a larger herd immunity to caring.

I'm actually much more fascinated by a strange cousin of this behavior, where a small group doesn't dictate the world for others, but asks for special compensation for themselves (not through the law, although that sometimes happens – I find the informal, person-to-person stuff more interesting than political favors, which you can assume I universally dislike). I think the metaphor works best with the name The Heckler's Pander.

I know the name sounds pretty bad, but I'm pretty sure that, almost universally, I'm in favor of Heckler's Pandering. If you want something, ask for it. It should be an option. If you can get people to make you a fat free potato chip, as much as I think that is a mistake, you and that business should find whatever happiness you can with each other.

For food-related Hecker's Panders, there's been a slow shift over time to people making more and more options available for vegetarians, and sometimes even vegans. I don't think anyone thinks that necessary, but I'm willing to go out on a limb soon and say this gets some attention for being something people need to be "reminded" is required to be a generous host in the next couple years. Kosher and Halal will likely never get this courtesy, but I think "vegetarian" overlaps quite strongly with the "publicly making demands of others and shaming them" crowd lately, so I think they've got the juice for it. Health-related options might accompany it – low-carb is probably the only one I can think that has the legs to last, regardless of quality. Too many other systems have dorky not-for-the-ages names like Paleo (pun very much intended), and I don't think that, in 2025, people would specifically look for Paleo options (it's on the way out already). Slow-Carb? Was that ever a thing? Anything with a brand name is doomed from a social perspective – Weight Watchers will never have a place at my get togethers, and if Jenny Craig herself wants to figure out how to figure out my snacks, she'll do so without my assistance.

I'm curious about using correct genders for transgendered people, but I strongly suspect that it'll become a non-issue. Transitioning is becoming better understood, and so you'd anticipate the social technology to evolve along with it. I imagine it'll be pretty unusual to even notice someone is transgender in 2030, so misgendering is more likely to be a sincere error than something people would ascribe to bigotry. That whole arena of life seems extremely private to me anyhow, so I wholeheartedly welcome it's irrelevance to strangers – I'm still nervous to ask a friend if he's gay, despite it being somewhat relevant to our friendship, due to me asking a female friend if she wanted to be set up with him, and her insisting, much to my surprise, that he's definitely gay. I have a totally friendship-motivated reason to ask, but find myself quite shy. I cannot even fathom knowing someone is transgender without them telling me, unless they make no particular effort to present as their desired gender and I get a hint from pronouns alone.

The Heckler's Pander I'm most intrigued by is media representation. I've said this a couple times, but it's worth repeating: I find Big Bang Theory to be a somewhat disgusting parody of physicists. I'm not even a physicist, but it really does seem like a vehicle for people to sneer at "losers", I find it distasteful, and don't watch the show.

Because that's the solution – if you don't like how something appears in media, just don't consume that media.

And the converse is also true. I apologize for subtracting the social justice of it all, but if I want to see positive depictions of people like me ("nerds") in media, I'll just go see them. I like the representation in the Fast and the Furious franchise – they have two "nerd" heroes, and one "nerd" villain, all of whom program computers, and all of whom are beautiful and cool. The villain is scary, despite being a hacker, and the female hero is desirable, maybe even more so because of her expertise. The whole series has a lot to offer when it comes to representation – for instance, it's the only action series that is explicitly pro-Christian (or at least portrays it positively), suggests family life is worth more than exciting adventures, and yeah, obviously the cast has tons of minorities, too.

And ya know, I like those movies, even though I shouldn't, on paper. I'm not even licensed to drive a car. But something about it appeals to me, and maybe that's the representation? And I think that's a good reason to make things that show people heroes that make them feel like they, too, could be cool.

What will people ask for next?