29 votes

Does the Internet feel American centric to you?

Maybe it's because I only interact with the side of the Internet that uses English.

61 comments

  1. [2]
    MimicSquid
    Link
    a) The USA is the most populous English speaking country. b) English is the lingua franca of computing, meaning anywhere that the underpinnings of the internet are visible, they're likely to be in...

    a) The USA is the most populous English speaking country.
    b) English is the lingua franca of computing, meaning anywhere that the underpinnings of the internet are visible, they're likely to be in English, and because of the historical background, American English.
    c) The USA is a cultural heavyweight, producing a huge amount of media, fashion, trends in consumer goods, etc. Even when things are made in other countries, they are often made for or with an awareness of a potential American audience, due to the comparatively high level of disposable income and large population.

    All of this is a longish way of saying "yes".

    26 votes
    1. Greg
      Link Parent
      This touches on what I came here to say, which is "yes, but not noticeably more than other media". The US is a kind of default cultural context for the Western world, and that remains as true on...

      This touches on what I came here to say, which is "yes, but not noticeably more than other media". The US is a kind of default cultural context for the Western world, and that remains as true on the internet as it does anywhere else.

      5 votes
  2. [20]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    Fuck yes. Americans post assuming that everyone reading their posts are American. I've been told off for spelling words "wrong", as if British/Australian English doesn't exist. People had to...

    Fuck yes.

    Americans post assuming that everyone reading their posts are American. I've been told off for spelling words "wrong", as if British/Australian English doesn't exist. People had to create alternate subreddits like /r/WorldNews for non-American news because American news dominates the /r/News subreddit (and every other subreddit that doesn't specify it's not for Americans).

    It's tiresome.

    15 votes
    1. [11]
      nothis
      Link Parent
      I'm from a non-English-speaking European country and I gotta admit: We have no right to complain. It's been decades since it became obvious that the internet is here to stay and it doesn't seem...

      It's tiresome.

      I'm from a non-English-speaking European country and I gotta admit: We have no right to complain.

      It's been decades since it became obvious that the internet is here to stay and it doesn't seem like anyone outside the US bothered to make these kinds of major, ambitious web platforms. China (and Russia, to a degree) copied some of them for political reasons but that's still all they are: Copies. Not an ounce of innovation happened in that space outside the US, especially in Europe. At least not at scale. Maybe Spotify, but that's about it and comparably small.

      So yea, even bigger platforms that have international versions/translations are fundamentally American, so that's where the focus lies, that's where their culture is defined. I don't care about the focus on English as a language, but as a small example of this affecting product functionality: Google Maps has a pretty bad implementation of public transport routes (although it's getting better) and my theory is this having to do with the poor state of public transport in the US: You don't really make that a priority if you work in Silicon Valley. Honestly, though, it's rare that the America-centricness truly bothers me.

      13 votes
      1. [4]
        DrStone
        Link Parent
        I think this is more a factor of the country and transportation system than Google Maps. The more difficult it is to get accurate information, the worse service Google Maps is going to provide....

        Google Maps has a pretty bad implementation of public transport routes (although it's getting better) and my theory is this having to do with the poor state of public transport in the US: You don't really make that a priority if you work in Silicon Valley.

        I think this is more a factor of the country and transportation system than Google Maps. The more difficult it is to get accurate information, the worse service Google Maps is going to provide. Here in Singapore, there's official government APIs for all of the transport things (e.g. bus stops, routes, real-time estimated location and arrival). Google Maps is excellent, no need for any other bus app, and I believe that nice API is the reason.

        11 votes
        1. [3]
          nothis
          Link Parent
          Oh it does have real-time data in my city now! But there's subtle stuff. For example, any map worth using here would put clearly labeled subway/tram/bus stop icons on street corners. It's...

          Oh it does have real-time data in my city now! But there's subtle stuff. For example, any map worth using here would put clearly labeled subway/tram/bus stop icons on street corners. It's absolutely essential. In Google Maps, you have to click on their tiny icons to even find out the number of the train.

          Maybe I'm interpreting too much into this. But it's IMO an example of the kinds of things affected. Another example would be stock apps using the US ticker system which isn't really a thing here. Or an assumption that everyone has a credit card.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            There’s a startup called Transit that’s specifically about public transit mapping for cities. They don’t do the whole world but you could check if your city is covered.

            There’s a startup called Transit that’s specifically about public transit mapping for cities. They don’t do the whole world but you could check if your city is covered.

            1 vote
            1. Akir
              Link Parent
              I’ve used that app a couple of times when traveling (within the US, that is), sometimes after being recommended it by the local transportation agencies. And yes, it’s drastically better than...

              I’ve used that app a couple of times when traveling (within the US, that is), sometimes after being recommended it by the local transportation agencies. And yes, it’s drastically better than Google maps. Being able to see schedules and fees is incredibly useful.

              1 vote
      2. Adys
        Link Parent
        We (France) did! It was called the Minitel. Unfortunately it was corporate-centric and corporate-controlled from the start, and there never was any will to make it an international system. I think...

        it doesn't seem like anyone outside the US bothered to make these kinds of major, ambitious web platforms.

        We (France) did! It was called the Minitel. Unfortunately it was corporate-centric and corporate-controlled from the start, and there never was any will to make it an international system.

        I think back then most people (in positions of power) just didn't understand the incredible good, value and reach that open standards can bring. In fact, I'd say a lot of them still don't.

        7 votes
      3. [4]
        Thra11
        Link Parent
        I don't use it very often, but I usually find google maps fairly good at UK public transport. I'm not generally a fan of google, but I'm not currently aware of another website which can do public...

        I don't use it very often, but I usually find google maps fairly good at UK public transport. I'm not generally a fan of google, but I'm not currently aware of another website which can do public transport routing the way google does.

        • What I find it's really useful for, is when you don't know exactly what the best way to get to your destination is. For example, you might think, "A and B both have train stations, so to get from A to B, I'll look up train times between the two", whereas google maps will show you that, e.g. it's quicker to walk 5 minutes to station C on the mainline, get the train to D, also on the mainline, then get the bus to B.
        • From what I can see, it appears to find pretty much all the relevant options in my area.
        • Sometimes it offers some "silly" options that would technically get you there in a reasonable time, but which don't make sense under normal circumstances. For example, it once offered me two options: 1. Get off the mainline train, wait 40 minutes for the local train, or 2. Get off the mainline train, catch a bus to the bus station, catch another bus to your destination. Normally the 2nd option would be madness (With the buses round here you risk missing the connection and ending up arriving much later, also you have to buy a different ticket). However to be fair, it is good to be aware of it in case the local train is cancelled.
        • It'll never be a complete substitute for local knowledge. For example, having a friend drop you off or pick you up somewhere handy can sometimes slash your journey times, but there's no way to let google know about that. It would also be better if it simply let you customise the maximum walking time/distance.

        So yeah, google's public transport routing works pretty well in the UK, so I don't think that's an example of US bias.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Greg
          Link Parent
          I've found CityMapper to be reliably better in the places where it operates - maybe you wouldn't call it US bias per se, but my working theory is that Google Maps is basically one size fits all...

          I've found CityMapper to be reliably better in the places where it operates - maybe you wouldn't call it US bias per se, but my working theory is that Google Maps is basically one size fits all and they compensate for any weirdness by pouring in more data, whereas CityMapper seems tailored to each location but covers far less of the globe as a result.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Thra11
            Link Parent
            Cool, nice to know about another option! It looks like it could do with a bit (/ lot) of polish. For example, the first journey I tried, it said, "Out of bounds Citymapper Birmingham, Nottingham &...

            Cool, nice to know about another option!

            It looks like it could do with a bit (/ lot) of polish. For example, the first journey I tried, it said, "Out of bounds
            Citymapper Birmingham, Nottingham & the Midlands only works in Birmingham, Nottingham & the Midlands."
            which is really confusing and unhelpful:

            1. I didn't choose "Birmingham, Nottingham & the Midlands" and there was no indication that it was selected
            2. Neither the origin or destination are anywhere near those cities.
            3. It looks like only one of the locations is unsupported, but it didn't tell me which one.
            4. If you're not actually in a city, you have to guess which city to click on to get the right region.
            5. If you get the wrong city, it just complains about Birmingham again.
            6. When you go to change to the right city, it wipes your locations so you have to re-enter them.
            7. Some cities are supported but you have to select a different city from the list (e.g. to plan a journey in Exeter, you have to select "Bristol"!

            Seriously one of the worst user experiences I've ever encountered on a routing website. Literally can't believe somebody would publish that without a big notice saying "alpha version / under development". Maybe the focus is on the apps?

            Once you get past the terrible UI, its does seem to give fairly reasonable results.

            2 votes
            1. Greg
              Link Parent
              That's unfortunate - it sounds like they might be overextending themselves and losing exactly that attention to detail that made them better in the first place. For context, my experience of using...

              That's unfortunate - it sounds like they might be overextending themselves and losing exactly that attention to detail that made them better in the first place.

              For context, my experience of using it is app-only (I wasn't even aware they had a web platform, and that may well be a recent development) and the user journey starts with a splash screen saying "It looks like you're in <city>, is that right?". I seem to remember London and Edinburgh being the only UK cities supported when I started using it, and it was very clear that you get super high detail within your selected city, but that's it - nothing outside is covered.

              It was very specific about what it was (a way to get around within major cities like London/Paris/New York) and what it wasn't (a general-case mapping application). It seems like they didn't make that expectation clear, perhaps because they're trying to cover too much territory and brushing up against that general-case world, and gave you a really crappy experience because of that.

              2 votes
      4. skybrian
        Link Parent
        Sometimes the copies can become better than the original though? I don’t use TikTok but it seems to be doing well.

        Sometimes the copies can become better than the original though? I don’t use TikTok but it seems to be doing well.

        2 votes
    2. [6]
      Protected
      Link Parent
      Americans correcting other people's spelling and grammar? The irony! I see a lot of americans online who can't spell their own language to save their lives (Tildes is pretty good but not...

      Americans correcting other people's spelling and grammar? The irony!

      I see a lot of americans online who can't spell their own language to save their lives (Tildes is pretty good but not representative of the general state of affairs). I've always suspected that the culture of rejecting corrections from other people does american people no favours in this regard. People get irrationally offended!

      Someone runs a bot who replies to language mistakes in portuguese from Portugal speaking subreddits with corrections, and people in general seem to appreciate the service (usually they will edit their original comment to correct the issue). This helps people learn to spell and speak better. But I seem to recall someone attempting something similar for english comments and the hate was immeasurable. People even made bots to reply to the corrections bot chastising it.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        joplin
        Link Parent
        Yeah, this can get pretty insane. Blame our crappy public education system in the US. In an attempt to teach us how to write better, we're often taught stylistic rules like those found in Strunk &...

        But I seem to recall someone attempting something similar for english comments and the hate was immeasurable. People even made bots to reply to the corrections bot chastising it.

        Yeah, this can get pretty insane. Blame our crappy public education system in the US. In an attempt to teach us how to write better, we're often taught stylistic rules like those found in Strunk & White or The Chicago Manual of Style. These rules are somewhat arbitrary and often reflect the preferences of the creators of the rules. (That's not to say they're bad or incorrect, just that it's not wrong to choose not to follow them.) But the way they're taught is often internalized by students as "this is correct writing, any other way of writing is wrong." And then they see people posting casually on forums on the internet and they go ballistic when others make different choices, or no choices, or heaven forbid make a mistake and write something in a way they didn't intend to. It's pretty irritating. (Although, being really sloppy when posting is irritating, too.)

        6 votes
        1. Akir
          Link Parent
          Oh god, I hate that so much. The business I work for has implemented a Grammarly-like system for emails and it bothers me so much how much it tries to “correct” me. No, I am not making mistakes....

          Oh god, I hate that so much. The business I work for has implemented a Grammarly-like system for emails and it bothers me so much how much it tries to “correct” me. No, I am not making mistakes. Style is not a mistake.

          4 votes
        2. [2]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          Or when we spell "colour" with a "u". :/

          And then they see people posting casually on forums on the internet and they go ballistic when others make different choices, or no choices, or heaven forbid make a mistake and write something in a way they didn't intend to.

          Or when we spell "colour" with a "u". :/

          2 votes
          1. Pun
            Link Parent
            English is not my first language and we're taught British English over here. Having spent a decade and a half online, I've definitely developed a weird mishmash of both. It leads to some quirky...

            English is not my first language and we're taught British English over here. Having spent a decade and a half online, I've definitely developed a weird mishmash of both. It leads to some quirky sentences that probably weirds out English speakers on both sides of the ocean. To give a nonsense example, I might write "Mom, what's the colour in the centre of an herb?" instead of "Mum, what's the color in the center of a herb?" As far as I'm concerned, neither sentence has a mistake. Luckily I don't work anywhere I'd be asked to adhere to strict spelling rules.

            I do get a twitch in my eye when I see "could of," though. Don't even get me started on misspellings of "your" and "their".

            3 votes
      2. ClearlyAlive
        Link Parent
        I think there is one thing that isn’t being considered here. English orthography is a lot harder than Portuguese orthography. A study which asked children to write words after their first year of...

        I think there is one thing that isn’t being considered here. English orthography is a lot harder than Portuguese orthography. A study which asked children to write words after their first year of school showed an average error rate of 25 % for Portuguese, but more than 70 % for English. With this type of difficulty, it’s no wonder English speakers don’t manage to learn the language at the same level as other languages. I think culturally, anglophones address the issue by simply not caring as much for spelling, unlike Portuguese or in my case, French. Getting corrected here and there is one thing, but I think a significant minority in English would otherwise suffer constant corrections, and all of this to no real benefit.

        3 votes
    3. NomadicCoder
      Link Parent
      Yet I was looking at a thread about the election in Germany on r/worldnews, and every comment was about US politics, except for the ones complaining about every other comment being about US politics.

      Yet I was looking at a thread about the election in Germany on r/worldnews, and every comment was about US politics, except for the ones complaining about every other comment being about US politics.

      4 votes
    4. vord
      Link Parent
      I think that's in part just to due internalization.... I hear everybody's posts in the same generic "other person" voice in my head, which is also American. Digital media at large being...

      Americans post assuming that everyone reading their posts are American.

      I think that's in part just to due internalization.... I hear everybody's posts in the same generic "other person" voice in my head, which is also American. Digital media at large being American-centric makes it extremely hard to override that, even as a (relatively) mature adult.

      3 votes
  3. [12]
    lou
    Link
    Yeah, absolutely. The internet does feel US centric. That is more salient in English, as you suspect, but happens in other languages as well. The US is kind of an universal context.

    Yeah, absolutely. The internet does feel US centric. That is more salient in English, as you suspect, but happens in other languages as well. The US is kind of an universal context.

    12 votes
    1. [11]
      kuch
      Link Parent
      Do you mind elaborating on how US centric other language spaces are? (What languages / sites; what's the context? etc).

      Do you mind elaborating on how US centric other language spaces are? (What languages / sites; what's the context? etc).

      3 votes
      1. [3]
        Adys
        Link Parent
        I sometimes browse /r/france and I think it's a pretty good example of the extreme. It's a French-speaking subreddit but it uses very literal translations of english reddit terms, memes, etc and...

        I sometimes browse /r/france and I think it's a pretty good example of the extreme. It's a French-speaking subreddit but it uses very literal translations of english reddit terms, memes, etc and the way it "molds" into Reddit means that it generally feels like an american subreddit, except it's in french and you're reading about France. Also because lots of americans frequent it (they want to learn french, move to france, just have a hard-on for french food, whatever the reason).

        Reddit overall has had that effect of carrying american culture across a host of not-necessarily-american communities, that are themselves gateways to off-reddit communities and so you end up with that cross-pollination.

        Normally I'd say that's a good thing, but in this case what you end up noticing is … lots of incorrect assumptions about lifestyle, culture, language, etc. I actually ranted about this recently here in a similar context.

        On politics in general it seeps out a lot. For example you see american liberals being systematically anti-european-right-wing because they assume our political splits are the same as the US split. (Which is of course not the case. Warren and Macron have a very similar political background and socio-economic outlook; Warren is US progressive left, Macro is FR center-right).

        On the internet in general you often see "localized" websites which are not at all localized. For example something translated into your language, asking for a "zip code", or asking you to call a +1 phone number. Of course this goes both ways, I've seen plenty of hyperlocalized websites and services here in Belgium (eg. illegally not supporting non-BE IBANs, requiring 4-digit postal codes, etc). I think in general people don't understand internationalization. Maybe I could do a course on this, it feels pretty hopeless sometimes.

        13 votes
        1. [2]
          PetitPrince
          Link Parent
          Could you elaborate this bit? I am confused about the "mold" part. I feel that it's natural for someone to use its platform specificities (jargon, meme) . Being a regular on two old-time French...

          the way it "molds" into Reddit means that it generally feels like an american subreddit

          Could you elaborate this bit? I am confused about the "mold" part. I feel that it's natural for someone to use its platform specificities (jargon, meme) .

          Being a regular on two old-time French message boards (older than reddit, Facebook, Twitter ), I feel /r/France is different "because it's reddit" instead of "because it's americanised".

          About the literal translation :
          I feel its half about language pride, half about ironically use the platform jargon by nonsensically use a literal translation.

          Like "croix poteau" for cross post should be translated as "inter-publication" or something like dimilar, but "croix poteaux" is deliciously non-sensical (it's using both cross and post as the object instead of the adjective and verb).

          4 votes
          1. Adys
            Link Parent
            Oh yeah I mean I find the French translated jargon beautiful and delicious as well. Croix poteau is funny as hell. I am not sure everyone employs it ironically though, you need to remember that...

            Oh yeah I mean I find the French translated jargon beautiful and delicious as well. Croix poteau is funny as hell. I am not sure everyone employs it ironically though, you need to remember that for some French people, that subreddit is all they see of Reddit. How many people in there do you think can actually speak English?

            So it’s funny for you and me. But I suspect the subtlety is lost on most and thus it just feels like an Americanised French community, that is what I meant.

            5 votes
      2. [7]
        lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        News sites tend to treat the US as the default."Next election is close" works, no need for "Next US election is close". United States is non specific. That happens on forums as well. You also have...

        News sites tend to treat the US as the default."Next election is close" works, no need for "Next US election is close". United States is non specific. That happens on forums as well. You also have to worry about American sensitive issues. Things in the US are so polarized and politicized there are topics you better avoid at any cost. I once suggested a story on /r/writingprompts which involved firearms. Seemed fairly apolitical to me. It took me a while to understand why it got removed.

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          kuch
          Link Parent
          That's hilarious (and sad) about your prompt. US Election time is indeed insane. Even people in my (very distant from US) country go a little crazy with their consumption of US election politics...

          That's hilarious (and sad) about your prompt.
          US Election time is indeed insane. Even people in my (very distant from US) country go a little crazy with their consumption of US election politics and it wracks my nerves. With news sites I still understand, because they are us-soil publications.

          4 votes
          1. hook
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            What bothers me is how much media coverage US elections get compared to other elections. I am from an EU country and whenever US elections are on the horizon we hear about it constantly. It feels...

            What bothers me is how much media coverage US elections get compared to other elections.

            I am from an EU country and whenever US elections are on the horizon we hear about it constantly. It feels like the (even official public) media give it as much attention as our national elections. But when EU elections happen - which impact us much much more - there is almost no coverage.

            This is something entirely of our fault though, nothing we can blame the US, let alone its citizens.

            5 votes
        2. [4]
          nukeman
          Link Parent
          I’m curious as to what the prompt was that got deleted.

          I’m curious as to what the prompt was that got deleted.

          2 votes
          1. [3]
            lou
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Every firearm in the world disappeared overnight. You check your safe. Inside, you find your 38 revolver and five boxes of ammunition.

            Every firearm in the world disappeared overnight. You check your safe. Inside, you find your 38 revolver and five boxes of ammunition.

            6 votes
            1. [2]
              nukeman
              Link Parent
              I’m one of Tildes’ resident gun nuts, so I’m not exactly a fan of “all but one of the guns disappear of the face of the earth,” but I’m sorry that got deleted. That’s a very interesting prompt,...

              I’m one of Tildes’ resident gun nuts, so I’m not exactly a fan of “all but one of the guns disappear of the face of the earth,” but I’m sorry that got deleted. That’s a very interesting prompt, and I really liked it (and it hits close to home, since one of my guns is a .38 Spl revolver which belonged to my great-grandmother).

              Someone adept with prose could do something great with that (i.e., you should post it here on Tildes).

              3 votes
              1. lou
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                It was definitely not something I thought with an agenda. Just seemed like it might generate a good story. But not one I'd want to write myself :P

                It was definitely not something I thought with an agenda. Just seemed like it might generate a good story. But not one I'd want to write myself :P

                3 votes
  4. [3]
    Thra11
    Link
    As someone in the UK, not as much as you might think. Thinking about my own internet usage... Online shopping: It's generally easiest, cheapest and quickest to buy from online shops based in the...

    As someone in the UK, not as much as you might think. Thinking about my own internet usage...

    • Online shopping: It's generally easiest, cheapest and quickest to buy from online shops based in the uk. (Personally, I don't use amazon, though I know many others do)
    • Sites like bandcamp: Yes it's based in a California, but my personal experience of the site is naturally based on the bands I follow and the music I listen to, so no real US bias there.
    • Youtube: As with bandcamp, the website is based in the US, but it's the people making content that affect how it feels. I watch some US creators, but most of what I watch is by UK or European creators.
    • Sites like Tildes: Canadian site, but again, it's the users that matter. I believe US users are in the majority, but there are enough non-US users that most threads don't really feel US-centric.
    • News sites: I tend to look at UK and European news sites for obvious reasons
    • Random Information and blogs: When searching, I often have duckduckgo's region turned on and set to UK, which might help to create a "bubble". If I'm looking for information, UK or European sites are generally more likely to have information that's relevant to what I'm trying to do (with some exceptions), so I intentionally favour them (they're less likely to recommend some random brand name product that doesn't exist here, won't tell me to measure things in cups, etc. DIY is a big one: I'm always amazed by just how completely different American houses and plumbing are compared to the UK and Europe).
    10 votes
    1. [2]
      Tardigrade
      Link Parent
      I still find the duckduckgo bubble doesn't always keep me in the bubble and it's frustrating to be looking for things online and constantly come up with the US shops and similar. Maybe due to the...

      I still find the duckduckgo bubble doesn't always keep me in the bubble and it's frustrating to be looking for things online and constantly come up with the US shops and similar. Maybe due to the placenames I search for having larger US places with the same name.

      5 votes
      1. Thra11
        Link Parent
        In theory, I want the bubble to be a little bit leaky. If the topic is related to the US, or the best website on a topic happens to be from the US, then I'd rather see that in the top results than...

        In theory, I want the bubble to be a little bit leaky. If the topic is related to the US, or the best website on a topic happens to be from the US, then I'd rather see that in the top results than less relevant UK results. However, there do seem to be certain searches that just fail. For example, searching for anything vaguely medical with the UK region set will often turn up a couple of NHS links with basic info, and then a load of sleazy-looking US garbage ranging from self diagnosis stuff to wacky DIY remedies and pharma companies pushing pills.

        4 votes
  5. [4]
    nothis
    Link
    The thought of the internet not feeling America-centric is so absurd to me, I had to laugh. Google, Youtube, Wikipedia, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn, Netflix,...

    The thought of the internet not feeling America-centric is so absurd to me, I had to laugh. Google, Youtube, Wikipedia, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, LinkedIn, Netflix, StackOverflow, IMDB, a gazillion porn sites... if anyone in Europe ever bothers to make a website that counts, I'll happily check it out. It just doesn't seem to happen. China has its own ecosystem but that's mostly due to them banning everything else. TikTok leaked out and I imagine that staying a rare exception.

    8 votes
    1. Wolf
      Link Parent
      Pornhub is Canadian, but I can't think of any other examples.

      Pornhub is Canadian, but I can't think of any other examples.

      5 votes
    2. Tardigrade
      Link Parent
      There's about 10% of online content using russian and similar Cyrillic based languages and once you're on that side of the language bubble it is very much not US dominated due to the large...

      There's about 10% of online content using russian and similar Cyrillic based languages and once you're on that side of the language bubble it is very much not US dominated due to the large language barrier but that's a bit extreme.

      5 votes
    3. hook
      Link Parent
      EU’s Next Generation Internet is an interesting project, that I hope at least some stuff sticks. Many projects there are also FOSS. From its FAQ:

      EU’s Next Generation Internet is an interesting project, that I hope at least some stuff sticks. Many projects there are also FOSS.

      From its FAQ:

      The Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative aims to shape the development of the Internet of tomorrow into an Internet of humans that responds to people’s fundamental needs, including trust, security and inclusion, and reflects the values and the norms that we enjoy in Europe.

      The NGI initiative aims to build the key technology blocks of a human-centric Internet, which gives end-users full control of their personal data. Through advanced technologies, new decentralised business and social models will ensure secure and trustworthy access for all.

      The mission of NGI is to re-imagine and re-engineer the Internet. The information age should enable human potential, mobility and creativity in an inclusive way – while dealing responsibly with our natural resources.

      The Next Generation Internet – An Open Internet Initiative (NGI), is a key priority in H2020 ICT work programme 2018-2020 (WP2018-20) which includes calls covering eight technology-oriented topics with an agile and dynamic approach to Research and Innovation in the Internet.

      NGI uses cascading grants to support individual teams of researchers or startups in short research cycles with a clear aim to quickly bring research results to the market.

      The EC’s ‘NGI Key Priority’ covers additional related topics beyond the NGI Initiative in the areas of Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Future media, Interactive technologies, Language technologies and inclusion.

      For more information, consult the NGI Brochure.

      5 votes
  6. [15]
    kwyjibo
    Link
    Personally speaking, certainly, but I know from experience that people are able to create their own local experiences if they have to, or if they want to. English is not a prominent language in my...

    Personally speaking, certainly, but I know from experience that people are able to create their own local experiences if they have to, or if they want to. English is not a prominent language in my country, so people in my close vicinity do not experience the internet the same way I do. Companies @nothis mentioned are global in their reach, so they are no doubt popular here as well, but that doesn't mean the experience is anywhere near the same compared to someone who's from the US.

    There are small outlets that resemble sites like this that cater to different niches, and if language barrier is an issue (which it almost always is), people just create their own groups. I'm not specifically talking about social media sites like Facebook where people can form private groups in their own language and people they know. Even public platforms like YouTube have small communities consist of people with shared interests (this can be just limited to speaking the same language), especially after YouTube introduced the join feature with local pricing. COVID conditions also helped exacerbate this.

    All that being said, these communities, varying in sizes, are affected by the gravity of external and much larger communities at large. Sometimes this is by design, meaning the members of the in-group import and appropriate the stuff they find outside in, and sometimes it's not. Speaking from an anecdotal experience, I don't think this is enough to change the perception of those in-group members about whether their own communities are US-centric or not because what's being talked about in these communities still reflect the daily life of their members.

    This separation has actually been a problem for me in my real life, because I've felt detached to most of my school and work friends. Being bilingual to the extent that I am and having more interest in culture at large, rather than culture at home, limits the amount of shared experiences I can have with people around me. I find my country's culture and in-groups neither interesting nor thought-provoking, so I avoid it when I can (it's not even avoiding, I'm simply not exposed to it), but that leaves me with limited social opportunities. I'm an introvert, so I can't really complain about it all that much, but it does make me feel like I live in this kind of purgatory where I have more in common with people who I've never met, than with people who I see every day.

    7 votes
    1. [8]
      Protected
      Link Parent
      I see myself in this paragraph and I don't like it... As a more general comment, language is one hell of a barrier. There are some countries where more people speak better english, and those...

      This separation has actually been a problem

      I see myself in this paragraph and I don't like it...

      As a more general comment, language is one hell of a barrier. There are some countries where more people speak better english, and those countries are more clearly part of the "english language internet" (which is definitely american centric). For example, if you frequent english language websites and participate in english speaking communities, it's easy and common to encounter dutch participants. But other countries are more locked in their own language bubble and it's much more rare to meet people from those countries. Those people are still online - they have "their" internet, the internet you can touch if you speak their language. Those other internets feel much less american-centric to me (if at all).

      5 votes
      1. kwyjibo
        Link Parent
        This is pretty much it. English proficiency in my country is abysmal. In our education system, I shit you not, we have mandatory English classes for 11 straight years. (And if you manage to pass...

        This is pretty much it.

        English proficiency in my country is abysmal. In our education system, I shit you not, we have mandatory English classes for 11 straight years. (And if you manage to pass the university exam, add another 5 years to that.) I myself had to endure those classes. I had some well meaning teachers, but they did not contribute a single thing to my English education. I'm not going to act like a Randian bro and say that if an individual wants to learn a language, all they have to do is suck it up and study. Yes, that matters, but there are bigger sociological and systematic issues at play if you can't get people to put together a few words to form a coherent sentence in 11+ years.

        4 votes
      2. [6]
        Adys
        Link Parent
        I want to share my experience with you and @kwyjibo as I also, as a trilingual who feels more european than country-bound, recognise myself in that paragraph. I moved around and lived at least 1...

        I want to share my experience with you and @kwyjibo as I also, as a trilingual who feels more european than country-bound, recognise myself in that paragraph.

        I moved around and lived at least 1 year in France, Greece, England, Sweden and now Belgium and visited countless more.

        Brussels really is the city where I finally found my home. It’s francophone which gives me some limited feeling of being native, but it’s also not French. It’s a trilingual city bringing together all of Europe in a country that is itself bicultural.

        I love it here and found people I can actually connect with. Meetup.com is very active here as well which makes it very easy to meet new people around common interests.

        If you don’t feel at home where you are, consider moving to a new country if you have the means. I will be happy to assist with advice if you ask; we can make another threads for those interested.

        4 votes
        1. joplin
          Link Parent
          I've started a thread here to discuss this, as I'm interested!

          If you don’t feel at home where you are, consider moving to a new country if you have the means. I will be happy to assist with advice if you ask; we can make another threads for those interested.

          I've started a thread here to discuss this, as I'm interested!

          5 votes
        2. Protected
          Link Parent
          I've never considered Belgium! I've been there just once, as a kid (Bruges), but I barely remember it. I had that experience of meeting interesting people much more easily in London. Harder...

          I've never considered Belgium! I've been there just once, as a kid (Bruges), but I barely remember it. I had that experience of meeting interesting people much more easily in London. Harder post-brexit though!

          3 votes
        3. [3]
          kwyjibo
          Link Parent
          Thanks for your input! I considered moving to the States a few times and was invited to France twice with a job offer, but unfortunately there are relationships I simply cannot leave behind. I'm...

          Thanks for your input!

          I considered moving to the States a few times and was invited to France twice with a job offer, but unfortunately there are relationships I simply cannot leave behind. I'm sure I'd be much more comfortable being myself in a country like the States or even France, but I fear the guilt of having left some people behind would eat away at me. I do not feel good about staying either, but at least there are remedies like relationships you can form with like minded people. Those relationships have to be through a screen and that's certainly not ideal, but I can't fathom any other way.

          I am glad you've found a place where you feel like you belong though and thanks for the kind offer!

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Adys
            Link Parent
            I don’t know your relationships, maybe they genuinely are the type you cannot leave behind, but just keep in mind that unless someone is incredibly close to you, they may themselves be the one...

            I don’t know your relationships, maybe they genuinely are the type you cannot leave behind, but just keep in mind that unless someone is incredibly close to you, they may themselves be the one leaving you for an opportunity.

            Moving to another country isn’t a relationship death sentence. I left my mom’s country at 18 and I have never been closer to her than today. I’ve had close friends who had to leave the country and I’ve kept in touch with them despite that.

            People move on, move out, have kids and are too busy to talk to you, etc. There are lots of situations where relationships die out, I would highly recommend you do not put your life on hold for them if you don’t feel comfortable where you are.

            7 votes
            1. kwyjibo
              Link Parent
              I'm aware of all of that, but unfortunately it's not as simple as that.

              I'm aware of all of that, but unfortunately it's not as simple as that.

              1 vote
    2. [6]
      vord
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I would love to hear more about how they do, and in particular, does their interaction seem more or less toxic than average? I've always noticed in my own interactions online that the smaller the...

      English is not a prominent language in my country, so people in my close vicinity do not experience the internet the same way I do.

      I would love to hear more about how they do, and in particular, does their interaction seem more or less toxic than average?

      I've always noticed in my own interactions online that the smaller the initial group, the easier to minimize the toxicity. I wonder if removing English from the equation would have a similar effect.

      3 votes
      1. [5]
        kwyjibo
        Link Parent
        Every group differs and as I said, I don't participate in these groups. I do observe a few of them though, and they seem to be pretty decent but they live in a world of their own, so I have no...

        Every group differs and as I said, I don't participate in these groups. I do observe a few of them though, and they seem to be pretty decent but they live in a world of their own, so I have no idea how friendly they'd be to outsiders or people who think differently than them. These groups consist of students and educated white collar workers. The conversations are usually limited to what the group is about. If it's a film group, you seldom hear someone talk about politics, for example. (If it's a political film, exceptions are made but the political discussion is abstracted from the political realities of today.)

        All that being said, I can say with certainty that the experience above is a pretty unique one. If groups are mixed with people from different backgrounds and they're not moderated in a heavy handed way, the conversation always leads to politics and then it becomes a toxic mess. This almost always happens because my country is extremely polarized. (Not even comparable to the US.) The only difference I see from the American centric communities are the magnitude of toxicity and the way people respond to it. That being said, I'm honestly not sure which part of the internet is more toxic. I know people on the American centric internet can get pretty crazy with their toxicity, to the point where there are life threatening situations. Here, it's pretty much contained to online spaces, where people call each other the ugliest names they can come up with, but that's where it stops. Perhaps this is why the way people respond to such toxicity is different as well. When things go downhill, people usually just take it on the chin.

        "It's just the internet, who gives a shit" is a common sentiment, even among more vulnerable groups. I think this is mostly due to the understanding that there are more "real" threats out there. I firmly believe one of the things that exacerbate this dynamic is also the lack of common spaces where people can voice their differences, and have them heard by someone who can do something about it. There's a real chasm between what the people want and what the government does. People feel powerless against the government, so they take it out on people who they see as the other.

        5 votes
        1. [4]
          vord
          Link Parent
          This is quite insightful, and you definitely identify a lot of good and bad. This alone is a marked improvement over the internet at large. I think we'd all probably do well to adopt this...

          This is quite insightful, and you definitely identify a lot of good and bad.

          The conversations are usually limited to what the group is about. If it's a film group, you seldom hear someone talk about politics, for example.

          This alone is a marked improvement over the internet at large.

          "It's just the internet, who gives a shit"

          I think we'd all probably do well to adopt this sentiment. :-)

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            kwyjibo
            Link Parent
            Hey -- thanks! I agree. I believe moderation and selecting your members are important aspects to achieve this. Of course there can be downsides to this. I wouldn't want to be a part of a community...

            Hey -- thanks!

            This alone is a marked improvement over the internet at large.

            I agree. I believe moderation and selecting your members are important aspects to achieve this. Of course there can be downsides to this. I wouldn't want to be a part of a community where everyone is single minded on every issue, but when you narrow the scope of the community, like the example I gave, the in-group differences become inconsequential.

            I think we'd all probably do well to adopt this sentiment.

            I used to think that way, but internet has become so much bigger than what it used to be that I'm not sure I agree with this sentiment anymore. I think Westerners tend to overly dramatize some stuff and miss the forest for the trees and in most cases it is just the internet, but not everyone's equally equipped to deal with what the internet throws their way. EFF's Eva Galperin does great work on this where she demonstrates how stalkerware can be used to harass women, for example -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              vord
              Link Parent
              I chewed on this a bit, and I think I should have elaborated on why we should adopt more "who gives a shit" to the internet. In short, it's because we've used the internet as a full replacement of...

              I used to think that way, but internet has become so much bigger than what it used to be that I'm not sure I agree with this sentiment anymore.

              I chewed on this a bit, and I think I should have elaborated on why we should adopt more "who gives a shit" to the internet.

              In short, it's because we've used the internet as a full replacement of physical interactions, and knowing people in real life. I suspect this exacerbates various mental disorders, because chatting with strangers on the internet just isn't the same. Ask any therapist and they'll likely agree. They love telehealth but many also have been pushing for face-to-face time as well.

              There's definitely plenty of reasons to care greatly about what's occurring on the internet, however using it as a full replacement for socialization offline is part of our problems.

              3 votes
              1. kwyjibo
                Link Parent
                I largely agree. I think the internet not only exacerbates certain needs we intrinsically have and want to fill, but it also helps create new needs by making us think we're dependent on it. The...

                I largely agree. I think the internet not only exacerbates certain needs we intrinsically have and want to fill, but it also helps create new needs by making us think we're dependent on it.

                The world is very chaotic and no one has a handle on things and the internet makes that very visible and tangible by shrinking the world that'd otherwise be immensely big and unreachable. We simply don't have the toolkit to deal with everything the internet throws our way. I don't know how much harm reduction there would be in decoupling oneself from the internet, but I can't imagine it'd be harmful. But I think, and I'm not saying you argued this, reducing the internet's impact to individual action would be overlooking vast externalities it has had over every single person in the world, whether they avoid it or not.

                Thank you for your thoughtful reply!

                3 votes
  7. knocklessmonster
    Link
    Yes, and it is. America's major export is culture. The majority of internet infrastructure originates largely from here as well, in the form of social media and general web sites. I'm not on many...

    Yes, and it is. America's major export is culture. The majority of internet infrastructure originates largely from here as well, in the form of social media and general web sites.

    I'm not on many sites these days (tildes, reddit, twitch, youtube), but if you take a step or two in the right direction, even on most of these, you can feel like you're in a decidedly not-American space. /r/yerbamate, hosted on Reddit, an American site, typically dominated by Americans, is effectively run by Brazilians, Argentinians, and Uruguayans, because it is devoted to a South American beverage. The reason I bring this up is it gives you a taste of what the greater internet must feel like to a non-American, particularly when things start to lean towards particular American regions.

    I've noticed a increasing non-Americanness as various other countries become more online. South American (mostly Brazil, I think) and Indian cultures seem to be touching things more on Reddit, for example, which is, in a way, a barometer of the mainstream internet these days. The content is still largely in English, but I'm seeing increased references to cultures that aren't somehow related to American culture or cultural exports.

    6 votes
  8. Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    I get my (English-language) news from a variety of global sources all scrambled together in a feed, and one thing that sticks out; whenever the headline--and often, even the summary first...

    I get my (English-language) news from a variety of global sources all scrambled together in a feed, and one thing that sticks out; whenever the headline--and often, even the summary first paragraph or two--doesn't bother to mention which country they're writing about, you can pretty much bet that they're writing about the US. I'm not sure if that qualifies as US-centric or US-isolationist or US-exceptionalism, but it certainly feels like all of the above.

    5 votes
  9. NoblePath
    Link
    I’ve noted this too. I’d love to hear from some natives elsewhere, especially uk and europe, because I assume at least part of the experience is based on my using us based servers and portals. I...

    I’ve noted this too. I’d love to hear from some natives elsewhere, especially uk and europe, because I assume at least part of the experience is based on my using us based servers and portals. I sometimes connect to international vpn servers to see what different results i get, but they tend to still be us centric.

    2 votes
  10. vegai
    (edited )
    Link
    Not only the Internet, but the whole world has felt pretty America-centric for pretty much all my life. Internet has actually made things more diverse. China for instance has managed to push...

    Not only the Internet, but the whole world has felt pretty America-centric for pretty much all my life. Internet has actually made things more diverse. China for instance has managed to push itself into the sidelines at least, and it was practically nowhere (besides mediocre restaurants) before Internet.

    2 votes
  11. PhantomBand
    Link
    Yeah. Not a fan of it, but what can you do? Of course they're the ones with the biggest presence.

    Yeah. Not a fan of it, but what can you do? Of course they're the ones with the biggest presence.

    1 vote