13 votes

How can Tildes combat corruption?

Disclaimer I was going to post this on ~tildes but thought we could have a more casual conversation about it here.

So how can tildes stop corruption from happening on its platform, it’s no secret that other similar websites have become corrupted the best example of this is Reddit they do what advertisers want them to do or who ever is giving them money, only a couple of days ago I saw this video about a guy who was running a cult on there recruiting vulnerable people and they did nothing because he was buying thousands of awards a day.

Tildes doesn’t have advertising and is a non profit with no investors so those are 2 big places it can’t get corrupted from. One place I could see problems is donations I would be interested in if all donations are Anonymous I should probably have looked into them before writing this but maybe someone else knows the answer, if they aren’t what is stopping big donators getting special treatment?

My main reason for this topic is the video mentioned above but I also thought it would make an interesting discussion on here.

8 comments

  1. [6]
    aphoenix
    Link
    Donations are not private - when I was a patreon patron it showed on my profile, and it shows now on my github profile that I am sponsoring Tildes. Anonymizing donations is almost certainly more...

    Donations are not private - when I was a patreon patron it showed on my profile, and it shows now on my github profile that I am sponsoring Tildes. Anonymizing donations is almost certainly more work than it is worth; it would mean getting rid of Patreon and Github donations (which are established ways of doing donations that work) and finding or developing another way to do donations. In addition to this taking time and effort, it would actually also be a barrier to people who want to donate, since using established donation services lowers barriers to entry and actually adds accountability in many ways.

    Corruption of Tildes is an interesting topic. I don't think I have a particularly useful answer, because in short I trust @Deimos to run a good site. My trust is because of years of "knowing" him, first via reddit, and then via other places, notably this site. Trust for Tildes is intrinsically wrapped up in trust for Deimos, and I think there are a variety of ways that he shows that he is trustworthy. This is not an exhaustive list:

    • the site is open source. You can actually see if there is any special treatment.
    • the site's philosophy is discussed at length, and the features / issues are all public. This is a community project.
    • the site is very user-first, and attracts people that value that. It wouldn't be smart to develop a site to attract people who value this sort of privacy and then explicitly break that trust, and attach your own name to that.
    • the site is a registered non profit. There are legal connotations to that.

    There are loads of other reasons to trust in Tildes, but for me, these are sufficient. I don't know if they're sufficient for anyone else, but I think they should be.

    18 votes
    1. [5]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      How does one inform the other?

      the site is open source. You can actually see if there is any special treatment.

      How does one inform the other?

      1 vote
      1. [4]
        MimicSquid
        Link Parent
        If there was a feature that provided a different experience or set of abilities for a subset of users, that would be visible in the code, assuming you can read it.

        If there was a feature that provided a different experience or set of abilities for a subset of users, that would be visible in the code, assuming you can read it.

        5 votes
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Also assuming the code being run on the server is the same as is published in the repo... but again, that's where a certain level of trust has to enter into the picture, and IMO Deimos has shown...

          Also assuming the code being run on the server is the same as is published in the repo... but again, that's where a certain level of trust has to enter into the picture, and IMO Deimos has shown himself to be trustworthy, honest, helpful, and incredibly open for a developer, both while working at reddit and here on Tildes, so I have no reason to doubt him in that regard.

          8 votes
        2. [2]
          Eylrid
          Link Parent
          To play devil's advocate: We already have a different set of abilities for a subset of users: changing tags, post titles, links, and what groups posts are in, with more planned as the moderation...

          To play devil's advocate:

          • We already have a different set of abilities for a subset of users: changing tags, post titles, links, and what groups posts are in, with more planned as the moderation system expands. A corrupt admin could play favorites in who gets these powers.

          • The site can have hidden features if the code running the site is modified from the open source code we see.

          • Open source doesn't prevent special treatment in other ways, such as selective moderation.

          Open source is a great thing, but it's not a panacea.
          /Devil's advocate

          I don't for a second think Deimos is doing anything underhanded. He's earned my respect and trust.

          3 votes
          1. cfabbro
            Link Parent
            If people start going down that deep into the rabbit hole, there is literally no way a developer could ever satisfy them with enough "proof" that the system was actually trustworthy (since...

            If people start going down that deep into the rabbit hole, there is literally no way a developer could ever satisfy them with enough "proof" that the system was actually trustworthy (since evidence could be faked at virtually every level), without completely opening up the system and undermining its ability to remain secure. So at that point it's likely a lost cause, and not worth worrying about anyone with that level of mistrust, IMO.

            6 votes
  2. mrbig
    (edited )
    Link
    Besides what you already mentioned, it is not possible to avoid corruption like this, and you should not expect this level of purity from any platform. Moderate skepticism expressed in a healthy...

    Besides what you already mentioned, it is not possible to avoid corruption like this, and you should not expect this level of purity from any platform. Moderate skepticism expressed in a healthy way is probably the best prophylactic, and it's a far cry from a permanent fixture. A truly incorruptible leadership would imply a lack of humanity (like a rule-based AI), and we cannot give up human-like flexibility.

    In any case, a significant level of trust is required.

    5 votes
  3. skybrian
    Link
    Most of Tildes is public and in theory we could do something like certificate transparency. A simple version would be publishing archives via git or perhaps better with dolt, which is a new...

    Most of Tildes is public and in theory we could do something like certificate transparency. A simple version would be publishing archives via git or perhaps better with dolt, which is a new platform that looks promising for replicating data.

    There are downsides to this. Once replicated, the data can't easily be edited or deleted if the author chooses. (I mean, you can do it, but the old version is still there in the archives.) This might even be illegal in Europe due to GDPR, though perhaps some compromise could be reached.

    Making the data immutable and replicating it only addresses one risk (the data being silently modified or deleted). That isn't the sort of corruption you're talking about, though, and I don't think this site is so critical or that we are so lacking in trust that such a heavy approach is needed. Protecting user privacy seems more important.

    5 votes