Comments on 2019-12-09 Decentralization and Collaboration

As someone that ejected my comment system from my site, and switched to entirely static, I too went through an anguish of should I preserve comments.

What I have done is made my email address available and a contact form (via Google Forms). Several people have emailed me, and we end up exchanging emails. Sometimes I’ll ask their permission to post something from their email.

I have found Reddit a reasonable way to post and share and solicit feedback. However, it does fall into the trap of non-federated. I tried Mastadon during the G+ exodus, but found it not quite in line with my approach. For now, what I have works well enough for me.

Jeremy Friesen 2019-12-09 17:51 UTC


Hm. I hardly ever get email. Would you have sent that comment as an email? I know that I hardly ever do that. Then again I was weaned off email because people started hiding their email as they tried to stay anonymous or avoid spam.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-12-09 22:19 UTC


If there is a form for sending that e-mail, it becomes practically as effortless as a comment, only non-public.

deshipu 2019-12-10 01:08 UTC


Sadly, sending mail is never as easy as it seems...

– Alex Schroeder 2019-12-10 09:43 UTC


@alex - There is a 10% chance that I would’ve sent email. Another 20% chance I might have responded in a blog. And a 70% chance I would walked away. With comments, I think the chance was about 40% that I would’ve responded to this (and I rolled a 29 on my d100 so I responded).

This conversation pushes me to consider Mastodon, but social media wears me out; It feels a little like the relationship management I do at work as a manager of software developers in a research library.

Jeremy Friesen 2019-12-12 00:10 UTC


The art of using social media isn’t well developed, unfortunately. We know very little about it. From my own experience, I’ll say:

So, I’m explicitly trying to follow no journalists, no politicians, and less white men, less programmers. It seems to be working so far.

I also unfollow anybody who annoys me even for the slightest reasons in order to keep the number of people manageable and relatable.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-12-12 07:40 UTC


“but some form of centralization is good for me”

I’m not sure I entirely understood your meaning. What did you mean by “some form of centralization”? Do you mean that there are some qualities of centralization which you consider beneficial? If so, which?

“Globalization in the hands of evil corporations” I think you misunderstand globalization. Globalization is the process of making (whatever) global. Usually, this means global accessibility. When a company is global, that means that it offers services in whatever part of the ’globe’ i.e Earth. Globalization of the internet means making it so that there is access to the internet in each part of Earth. Globalization does not require centralization, as it seems this blog entry assumes. I’m not sure why you assume that globalization is at the hands of some “evil corporations”. Which corporations are evil? How is the evil of a corporation determined?

Perhaps you don’t assume that globalization is necessarily “in the hands of evil corporations”, but then why the hackneyed phrase? Also, why does it matter whether the corporation in whose hands the globalization is is evil?

“people started hiding their email as they tried to stay anonymous or avoid spam”

In this is a popular misconception. The key is the use of the singular case in reference to electronic mail addresses. Many seem to assume that it is impossible to have multiple electronic mail addresses. This, obviously, is just stupid. The spam problem is avioded by having, for each one’s correspondent, a different electronic mail address. If an electronic mail address that is used with only one correspondent starts receiving spam, there is a high probability that that correspondent is the source of the spam. To stop further spam, it is sufficent to stop using that electronic mail address. One may, if one so chooses, start using another electronic mail address for that correspondent. (Perhaps that spam was a fluke.) If that correspondent is the source of spam, stop corresponding with that correspondent. There is hardly a better way.

“Sadly, sending mail is never as easy as it seems...”

And this is also a popular misconception. It’s really easy, you just have to have the right tool for it, the right program. Even in the case of having multiple electronic mail addresses, some persons perceive a nondifficulty as though it were a difficulty. Some persons claim that it’s difficult to use multiple electronic mail addresses, checking each for incoming mail, keeping track of which electronic mail address is used for which correspondent. This is misguided, because the user doesn’t do that, there is a program that does that. The program checks each one’s electronic mail address for incoming messages, downloads each message into one place. It can also be configured to do this check/download at randomly chosen times, via hard-to-trace network connections (e.g. via TOR), for the sake of impeding the correlation between the user and the electronic mail address. Perhaps there are other techniques for this, but randomly chosen electronic mail checking/downloading over encrypted difficult-to-trace network connections seems sufficent.

Sending is also easy, because all the sender needs to do is prepare the message, and specify the recipient. The electronic mail program is configured just before the first correspondence with that correspondent, with all the details about each correspondent, including the electronic mail addresses of the sender, of the recipient, and the keys for cryptographically signing or encrypting the message. All that an end user would need to do is, for example, (command line interface) \command{mail \subcommand{send \argument{recipient} \argument{message}}} where \argument{recipient} is some specifier of who the recipient is, such as the recipient’s ekenym, and \argument{message} is some specifier of what the message data is, such as the name of the file that contains the message data, or just the message data.

The creation or consumption of a message, naturally, happens outside the electronic mail system, because a message can be arbitrary data. If message creation is part of the system, it tends to limit what sort of data is used in the message.

“I’m explicitly trying to follow ... less white men”

I think the racism here is obvious. Your goal is to have new (to you), interesting (to you), data. Instead of using arbitrary criteria such as the author’s profession, race,, you should be considering what, exactly, you seek. What, exactly, are the qualities you like in the data you consume? I doubt that you really care about the author’s race or profession. My guess is that you have a need for stylistic novelty. If that is the case, you might like authors whose products tend to be avant-garde.

“I also unfollow anybody who annoys me even for the slightest reasons in order to keep the number of people manageable and relatable”

It can be dangerous to use nonannoyance or relatability as criteria for data to consume. Nonannoyance is a dangerous criterion for data to consume because you may be annoyed by something with which you disagree. Relatability is a dangerous criterion for data to consume because you may find relatable only that with which you agree. The danger is that you might be consuming only data with which you agree, which tends to make one stupid, because one has less exposure to different thoughts. (“I don’t care about their different thoughts, different thoughts are good for me” —Tanita Tikaram.) By thinking through a different thought, one becomes smarter by figuring out everything wrong about that thought, and everything right about that thought.

From under the comment box:

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What’s wrong with contributing work licensed under the ISC license?

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That’s not a question.

Muirzow 2019-12-17 08:03 UTC


Your simplistic definition of globalization misses the point. See Wikipedia on Globalization.

As for the benefits of partial centralization, I think it’s all in the blog post.

All the people I knew started hiding their email addresses back when the web started growing and rumours started spreading that web spiders were harvesting email addresses of web pages. Your solution is one of many, but it’s complicated and I don’t know anybody using it. You want to redefine how people use and think about mail. I don’t care about rethinking how mail should work.

Sending mail is never as easy as it seems refers to the difficulties of setting up a mail server on your web host and configuring it correctly so that mails sent from it actually get delivered. Your definitions of what messages are or could entail are besides the point.

Your accusation of racism is noted. My interest in talking to you is significantly diminished.

Your comment on my preference to avoid annoyance is noted. I do not share your point of view.

Your comment on the security question is noted.

What can I say? I’m already annoyed by your style of writing. I can’t really imagine how this discussion could end up being considered time well spent. I fear our communication styles are fundamentally at odds.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-12-17 08:26 UTC


Your simplistic definition of globalization misses the point.

Are you implying that it’s better to use an unecessarily complex idea? Also, in what way does it miss the point. What point does it miss? (Again you state something nonconducive to it’s discussion.)

As for the benefits of partial centralization, I think it’s all in the blog post.

No, it’s not. I even re-read it just now. I do not see any sentence which describes something that is a benefit of centralization as a benefit of centralization. If there is a description of a benefit of centralization, it is not described as a benefit of centralization. (Again you state something nonconducive to it’s discussion.)

Your solution is one of many, but it’s complicated and I don’t know anybody using it.

Complicated relative to what? Many a thing is complicated. Even some of the simplest things are complicated (e.g. quarks). I would agree that it’s more complicated than not using electronic mail. I would agree that the whole my proposed electronic mail system is more complicated than the whole standard electronic mail system. It includes the standard electronic mail system, adding an elegant interface. I would disagree that using my proposed electronic mail system is more complicated than using, with the same level of security, the standard electronic mail system.

You want to redefine how people use and think about mail.

No, I don’t. (Again you state something nonconducive to it’s discussion.)

Sending mail is never as easy as it seems refers to the difficulties of setting up a mail server on your web host and configuring it correctly so that mails sent from it actually get delivered. Your definitions of what messages are or could entail are besides the point.

No, it doesn’t. That statement was clearly about sending mail, not about installing a mail server. Accordingly, my comment discussed sending mail, and how it could be made easier. If you had meant that installing a mail server is more difficult than it should be, then that is what you should have written. Do you expect that a person who reads “sending mail is difficult” is going to interpreta that as though it had meant that installing a mail server is difficult? Only few persons are telepathic (probably none). According to my estimation, the probability is high that it is in your best interest that you compose, and write, your texts accurately, and as precisely as apropos. (At least this your statement is conducive to it’s discussion.)

Your accusation of racism is noted. My interest in talking to you is significantly diminished.

Racism is racial discrimination. That sentece described racial discrimination. (Again you state something nonconducive to it’s discussion.)

I’m already annoyed by your style of writing.

What about it annoys you? (Again you state something nonconducive to it’s discussion.)

I can’t really imagine how this discussion could end up being considered time well spent.

I can. I won’t. Imagining that is not productive.

I fear our communication styles are fundamentally at odds.

That is a strange fear. There is no conflict between my communication style and your communication style. It is impossible that a communication style conflicts with a communication style. Perhaps your fear is that, my communication being exact, you’ll read something which is true, about which your preference is that it is not true. If something is true about which your preference is that it is not true, pretending it is not true shan’t make it true. The only way you can change it’s truth value is by seeing it, understanding it, understanding how to get from it being true to it being untrue, and doing what is sufficient to make it true. (Again you state something nonconducive to it’s discussion.)

(Perhaps state more conducive-to-it’s-discussion statements, less nonconducive-to-it’s-discussion statements.)

– Muirzow 2019-12-18 03:38 UTC


Globalization or globalisation is the process of interaction and integration among people, companies, and governments worldwide.

is the first sentence on that page to which you pointed. How does that differ from my conception? Are they not effectively identical? I do see a minor difference, which I suspect is an error. The difference is that this first sentece of Wikipedia/Globalization forgot the word “increasing”, between “the process of” and “interaction”. I would, perhaps, change the sentence to be: “Globalization is the process resulting in the integration of, and increasing interaction among, persons throughout Earth.” (A company is a sort of person. A government is a sort of person. There is no such thing as the world. There are worlds, some which contain, some which are contained by, Earth.)

– Muirzow 2019-12-18 03:50 UTC


Ugh, please leave my blog forever. I am not interested in this conversation.

Your style of communication makes me want to discontinue the conversation before we even get to the various points where one could be right or wrong.

Feel free to conclude whatever you want from this, but do it elsewhere. You are not welcome, here.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-12-18 06:42 UTC


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