Comments on 2018-06-26 A New Web

I think your premise is wrong. The old web wasn’t easy and simple to understand and everybody could participate. This is only true for nerds like you and me. Facebook and Co “won” by actually making good on the promise of participation for all. You want the good old times back where the net was for nerds. That’s fine and I wouldn’t mind to be part of it. But thinking it to be the “solution” (to whatever you think the problem is) is rather elitist thinking.

Also don’t worry about tinkerers, geeks like us always exist. They may hack their minecraft or create apps for their phones or do whatever. They will never be the mainstream though. We never were.

Andreas Gohr 2018-06-27 15:19 UTC

I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. I think one of the points I wanted make is that the current Internet is hard, even for us. Setting up a secure mail server is hard. Setting up a content management system and keeping it up to date is hard. Perhaps it isn’t in fact hard but we’re old and tired and unwilling to put in the hours, I don’t know. But yes, I agree with the basic statement: it wasn’t easy back then and it isn’t easy now.

And I agree that going back to the old web isn’t the answer. We have learned so many things. My friend and I kept talking about email (even though I argued that Email is the New Snail Mail) and we joked about the configuration of sendmail and procmail and writing sieve filters and setting up dovecot. None of that is something we want! But we also don’t want to replace all of the Internet with Facebook. We want to have the kind of Internet where tinkerers and kids can get interested in the infrastructure through play and use and develop the necessary skills to build and make. It’s a bit like Word and Facebook and phones in general making some things very easy and at the same time making it impossible to develop from there. I don’t mind things being easy for people. I mind the impossibility of the things we use to grow with us.

Or, as @dredmorbius writes on Reddit in The Tyranny of the Minimum Viable User: we must take care such that designing for normal people doesn’t drag down the experience for others, in particular expert or experienced users.

Then again, perhaps this guy on Gopher is right: Why we don't need to rebuild the internet. The old web is still there, for those of us who want it. I’d argue that my first point still stands: once you’re outside the big silos, setting things up is still harder than necessary.


At the same time:

– Alex Schroeder 2018-06-28 07:59 UTC

Also an interesting perspective:

I find the discussions about technical matters to be liberating and self-empowering, and I identify as “non-technical”. To be sincere, it was in the slow accumulation of technical knowledge and skills that I became excited about the future again. […] This feels antithetical to how people approach the internet today, but I don’t think that’s the case for the future. The present moment is one where companies are obscuring the depth of their technical processes to quietly profit off surveillance, oppression, and depression. The future is one where technology is reclaimed by everyone; it is open and welcoming and asking to be built by hand. I want us to grow towards that future with everything we share.

The Future will be Technical

I don’t want to be techno gullible, but I like the approach with a focus on understanding and empowerment.

– Alex 2018-06-28 12:12 UTC

And yet another perspective: How to Build a Low-tech Internet (2015) talks about long range WiFi and extending the sneaker net using buses, and more. A great summary of our options.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-07-14 07:18 UTC

Nick Heer wrote The Bullshit Web.

Behind closed doors, those in the advertising and marketing industry can be pretty lucid about how much they also hate surveillance scripts and how awful they find these methods, while simultaneously encouraging their use. Meanwhile, users are increasingly taking matters into their own hands — the use of ad blockers is rising across the board, many of which also block tracking scripts and other disrespectful behaviours. Users are making that choice.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-07-31 17:22 UTC

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