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    1. I'm writing this in an attempt to explain more clearly some ideas about the dangers of having an oligopoly in control of the Web, and the current difficulties of discussing that without being...

      I'm writing this in an attempt to explain more clearly some ideas about the dangers of having an oligopoly in control of the Web, and the current difficulties of discussing that without being taken as some kind of "free speech absolutist". It's an analogy and, as in any analogy, it's only valid to a certain extent. The important thing is for it to be valid enough to explain a point.


      There was a city in which four companies had ended up owning every bar, except for a handful of them in the outskirts. Upon one moment, they started to regulate which kind of conversations could be held in their bars and which couldn't, something they had a legal right to do and felt was their responsibility. So they prohibited any racist, homophobic or sexually explicit conversation, as well as conversations which they thought could carry any risk for society as a whole. Almost no one could really object to that, after all who would defend that kind of behavior? Some far right gangs said it was against their right to free speech, but they were correctly answered that they didn't have any right to determine the conversation policy of bars that weren't theirs.

      Others tried to point that, while that policy wasn't inherently wrong and those companies were in their right to implement it, in the past this was dealt with on a bar-per-bar basis, and although the immense majority of bars didn't allow that kind of behaviors, they had different degrees of flexibility about different topics so bars were more varied and diverse, and you were free to choose a bar which conformed to your interests.

      But they were quickly accused of defending some supposed right of that people to be given a place to discuss and organize, and sometimes even accused of defending those ideas. "If you don't like how the Four Companies manage their bars, go elsewhere".

      The problem is that the far right gangs and other kind of undesirable people, when forced to leave the Four Companies' bars, went straight to the bars in the outskirts, overflowing them. Some of those bars were already owned by far right people, others though the answer to the Four Companies was to keep a more tolerant policy, and were overtook by neo-nazis. The few independent bars that didn't accept to become far right havens were forced to implement policies not that far from those of the Four Companies, or else face a far right invasion. Their clients spent a lot of time discussing wether something was off-limits or not instead of just enjoying a good time like they did before, and those bars were also very small and far away. They were interesting places, to be sure, but they were cut apart from most of the night life of the city, which took place on the hundreds of Four Companies' bars.

      But now, there was a growing problem. The Four Companies had started to prohibit other subjects, for several reasons that aren't really important. Some were distasteful subjects, other were against their political interests or the city council's. But, as the far right gangs kept stabbing people and trying to reclaim their "right" to be accepted into the Four Companies' bars, most people thought that the risk they posed weighed more than anything else.

      But they were missing the point. In another nearby city, there were never a handful of companies owning most bars. Still most bars didn't allow far right gangs, and discussion was diverse and fun, and sometimes helpful to combat the excesses of the city council and local police. Still, there were some neo-nazi bars, and most bars had one or two unlikable people. Neo-nazi bars sometimes caused trouble and had to be closed by the police, most were not only under police surveillance but under the neighbors' surveillance too. And, as neo-nazis were a very small minority, if you didn't support the same team as the owner of your closest bar, you could go to another bar which supported your team without it being forcefully full of neo-nazis or otherwise disgusting people.

      Both cities had neo-nazis and sometimes problems in their bars, although Four Companies' bars were quite more peaceful on average, as they were heavily policed in a uniform and homogeneous way. But they were lifeless too, and lots of interesting discussions and possibilities of neighbors facing local injustice together were lost forever. Everyone ended up thinking the same, watching the same, liking the same sports and supporting the same teams. Bars weren't a fun and exciting place anymore.


      This is just an analogy, so it's limited. But I think it explains well my general view and worries on the subject, which have nothing to do with leaving free way to racists and neo-nazis. It has to do with putting an end to the oligopoly before it's too late.

      6 votes
    2. I really like Tildes' manifesto, and I've largely gravitated away from Reddit since joining this community. I'm generally a fan of pursuing long-form content that requires focus and thought, and...

      I really like Tildes' manifesto, and I've largely gravitated away from Reddit since joining this community. I'm generally a fan of pursuing long-form content that requires focus and thought, and that aims to be fleshed-out and engaging, e.g. books, documentaries, essays, etc. But, at the same time, it can feel taxing to digest things meant purely to challenge me/expand my world view/generate interesting discussion. Sometimes I want a break from thinking!

      Sometimes I like taking breaks and looking at things that don't really ask much from me. Things that make me laugh, or that make me feel safe and happy. Things that speak to my niche interests and tastes. Not necessarily throwaway, lowest-common-denominator content that aims to appeal to the widest demographic possible, (in other words, still "high quality" content), but... things that probably wouldn't be allowed on Tildes nonetheless? I'm thinking more in the vein of platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest, and YouTube. But... not those exactly, as I'm not the biggest fan of how addicting they're designed to be.

      I thought I'd ask you folk if you have any preferences or setups for this kind of content. I use RSS feeds (plain as heck, not an infinite feed) to keep track of channels and blogs and webcomics and what have you, but I'm interested in hearing what y'all have to say. If Tildes is the "improved" version of unhealthy article/discussion-focused websites, what is your "improved" version of easy-to-consume (but high-quality) content?

      35 votes
    3. Let's fantasise Tilderinoes! You can just write what comes to your mind or answer any of the questions below to get your thoughts flowing. What bothers you in the current blogging platforms, like...

      Let's fantasise Tilderinoes! You can just write what comes to your mind or answer any of the questions below to get your thoughts flowing.

      • What bothers you in the current blogging platforms, like Blogger, Tumblr, or Wordpress?

      • Is it “free” and with ads, commercial with no ads, or free and non-commercial and struggling? If it's commercial, how much does it cost?

      • Does it have comments? How are they moderated? Who can comment? Are there PMs?

      • Does it have tags? Categories? A tree structure?

      • Does it provide file storage (images, audio, video)? How much?

      • How extensible is your blog page? Can you control all of the CSS? Can you add scripting?

      • Does it allow adult content? Political content? Hateful content? Who decides?

      • Does the country of origin matter? Does it block content based on your country's laws (e.g. copyright, political stuff, etc.)?

      • What are the privacy features? Does it require an email address? A card number (if commercial)?

      13 votes
    4. It’s no secret that the Internet has significantly changed even from just a decade ago. I’ve been thinking about online communities - particularly forums - and I’ve really begun to miss the sense...

      It’s no secret that the Internet has significantly changed even from just a decade ago. I’ve been thinking about online communities - particularly forums - and I’ve really begun to miss the sense of discovery when finding a new one while browsing online. It was like lifting a rock and finding an entirely new collective of people writing to one another about anything (complete with graphic signatures). It was an internet subculture in progress. Something something Wild West.

      Small forums like that did a number of things that I feel we haven’t been able to replicate. You got to know people over time. It wasn’t a feed you vaguely subscribed to, but a forum (in literal definition of the word) that you chose to participate in.

      I often think about what probably defines a typical experience online for people these days and I feel that the smaller and more cozy feeling of actual community has been replaced by the digital equivalent of big box stores. Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, Twitch, Netflix. Big corporate places with portals and algorithms.

      These aren’t necessarily bad things in and of themselves (aside from the chasing of a world in which nothing is left unplanned), but I’m trying to hone in on the idea that the sheer randomness of this medium has more or less vaporized. The concept that anything and everything you do on the Internet wasn’t aggressively being tracked and developed into digital profiles to be traded, used, shared, and sold by ad companies and an array of other organizations was a fart in the wind compared to what it’s like online today. Websites simply didn’t have 5 megabytes+ of Javascript whereas now you need a half a dozen browser extensions to make the internet a halfway decent thing to be on.

      My hunch is that once upon a time, people (at least those that even had access to it) had a kind of amateur desire of wanting to create an account at a website (particularly a forum). Coming up on 2019, I think long and hard before creating another account anywhere. There even was an expectation to introduce yourself in some introduction subforum at many of these boards.

      A theme that has become completely domineering is the inflated ego linked to tribalism. I see people being so serious about everything; there can be no reciprocal discussion about anything.

      I think it’s probably trivial to dismiss this as nostalgia but I feel there are some real truths to this. The Internet is something you had the choice of actually logging off and disconnecting but today, everyone is constantly connected. We are in the age of distraction and preoccupation. Think about it: how many times have you picked up your (smart)phone purely out of reflex, not even to check something with purpose? You see it everywhere in public, certainly. The constant stream of brightly colored iconography, beeps, alerts, buzzing, push/notifications, and beyond are endless. Everything demands your attention, and it is never enough.

      54 votes
    5. “There are no girls on the internet” is one of the “rules of the internet” of the olden times. It was a tongue-in-cheek saying that meant two things. The first interpretation is that women don’t...

      “There are no girls on the internet” is one of the “rules of the internet” of the olden times. It was a tongue-in-cheek saying that meant two things. The first interpretation is that women don’t hang out on online forums because only loser guys do that. This obviously wasn’t totally true, but it felt true because of the second interpretation: gender doesn’t really exist on the internet, or at least it didn’t back then. Someone posting on IRC or 4Chan could be male, female, black, white, or any combination or race or gender, but you wouldn’t know that. Your post just existed in a void, completely separate from your social identity. While sexism and racism existed, someone wouldn’t be discriminated against on those grounds, because on the internet there are no girls. Only people.

      People who brought up their gender were accused of being attention seekers who couldn’t get by on their own merits. This was probably just a shitty excuse to justify harassment (ie tits or gtfo), but there might have been some truth to the idea that your gender and race have no effect on the legitimacy of your opinion.

      Today on the internet, a the “rule” “there are no girls on the internet” is completely done away with. Not only is the social makeup of the internet much more diverse today, all of the major networking sites have profiles on which you can proudly display your gender, race, sexuality, etc.

      I only just now came to realize this difference as I was reading some threads that posted statements like “as a gay man” or “as a girl who...”. These kinds of statements used to attract ridicule, but are now accepted as the norm.

      I’m not sure if this is an improvement or not. I do think it’s an improvement that harassment is no longer tolerated, but I struggle with the concept that it’s okay to that someone’s race/gender/etc can legitimize a claim, but it is not okay to think that it could deligitimize someone’s claim.

      Again, I want to add a disclaimer that I do not think it is or ever was good to harass people, or to discriminate based on identity. I just want to start a conversation about how the internet has changed in this respect, and whether or not online discourse has been hurt by this change.

      58 votes
    6. Sorry for the minor clickbait title Let's talk about ISPs in USA. In my personal opinion, they do so much "bad" things to their clients, as opposed to, most noticeably, Europe (I guess it's...

      Sorry for the minor clickbait title

      Let's talk about ISPs in USA. In my personal opinion, they do so much "bad" things to their clients, as opposed to, most noticeably, Europe (I guess it's because, (at least in my country, IDK about another European states) much bigger competition, even in village with 500 people, there are about 3-4 ISPs, but there are even more of them in bigger cities). They throttle websites (even before they destroyed Net Neutrality), they track that you use your network too much and throttle you because of it ("they may send you a warning for excessive internet usage and throttle your bandwidth for awhile.").

      Now, they track that you download/upload too much and/or pirate movies and can throttle your account, downgrade your account, or completely refuse to provide you any service.

      Why? Why are they allowed to do this? Why they can track users and throttle them just because they download too much (I've read article about it, downloading too much, ISPs slowing down internet for few hours, link soon) or they suspect you of pirating. How they dare intercept your packets, read them and throttle you because of this? Why is it wildly accepted as completely normal behaviour?

      And I could continue on things like them publicly buying votes to remove Net Neutrality from the way, and so on.

      I honestly do not know why so much people are OK with this. Could we start a discussion on this?


      Throttling because of piracy sources: 1 2 3 4
      Pre-NetNeutrality-End websites throttling: 1 2

      29 votes
    7. I myself is a pinboard user since 2011 and have since bookmarked 4 274 links. But I find it funny that I never visit those URL or page ever again. When I bookmark something I thought it was useful...

      I myself is a pinboard user since 2011 and have since bookmarked 4 274 links. But I find it funny that I never visit those URL or page ever again.

      When I bookmark something I thought it was useful or important. But often it turns out not the case.

      Am I the only one? What do you guys do with thousands of stuff you bookmarked?

      17 votes
    8. Inspired by the post on HN, was curious about your favorite memories or nostalgia you feel about internet in the 90's or even earlier. I really didn't come fully online until the early 2000's. We...

      Inspired by the post on HN, was curious about your favorite memories or nostalgia you feel about internet in the 90's or even earlier.

      I really didn't come fully online until the early 2000's. We didn't have the means to get internet at home so until I could get online unless it was at school. Even so my most pleasant memories were spending time playing games on yahoo (yahooligans), with a tetris like clone being my favorite. Also spent a huge amount of time playing macromedia shockwave based games on various sites that I don't remember anymore. I do remember playing a game where you had to build up your hobo soap box car to see how far you could jump it.

      It was soon followed by the discovery of various chat groups, making up identities, lying about age, revealing too much personal information in the process. At one point I even convinced a woman to send me photos that she claimed were for her modeling career. Not sure if it was some creepy old guy trying to lure me in with promises of being a real woman or if I legitimately fooled some poor girl into sending me modeling pictures.

      Also remember my first foray into fan theory sites with the show LOST, ended up getting chewed out for suggesting a theory that was apparently well known. Was too embarrassed and scared to post after that and ended up lurking for the duration of my time there.

      Some folks say that the "old internet" is now gone with the likes of reddit and Youtube, but for me it seems like what really changed was us and the sense of wonder. For those who are still discovering the internet as they're growing up, that sense of wonder is still there just waiting to be turned into nostalgia as they get older.

      34 votes
    9. Let's take Google, for example. Google tracks where you physically are - why are some people so much against it? It doesn't hurt me, google just uses it to serve me personalized ads. Why are...

      Let's take Google, for example. Google tracks where you physically are - why are some people so much against it? It doesn't hurt me, google just uses it to serve me personalized ads. Why are people so concerned about it?

      Google even tracks, which websites do I visit - again, why should I care? When I want to browse anonymously, I use VPN. If I wanted to do something illegal, I guess I won't use google at all and install tor? I'm not sure what should I do in that case, but I'm sure, there are ways to get away from google's sight when people need to.

      I don't understand, why some people fight for internet privacy so much. Could someone help me to understand it? What's your opinion on privacy and internet tracking?

      29 votes
    10. I do this a lot. I did it just now. I wrote about five paragraphs on a topic, deleted it and started over, wrote about five more and did the same thing. Got frustrated. Some thoughts that went...

      I do this a lot. I did it just now. I wrote about five paragraphs on a topic, deleted it and started over, wrote about five more and did the same thing. Got frustrated. Some thoughts that went through my mind:

      • "this is not concise at all. It's disorganized and needs to be re-done"

      • "this is going to trigger an emotional response and that will filter how they read it, so I'll be less likely to get interesting responses"

      • "maybe I should just do this as a journal entry and keep it private"

      • "these thoughts are worth something, and even if they aren't super cogent, maybe they can be a starting point for a collaborative thinking process"

      • "that's dumb, nobody cares about my ramblings anyway. everyone has thoughts like this, mine aren't more important"

      • etc.

      So what usually ends up happening in instances like this is I just don't post. Other times, I get wrapped up in trying to make a post super-high quality and it comes across as over-produced... and if I've somehow triggered an emotional response then that aspect becomes an avenue for attack.

      Does anyone else experience something comparable to this? Is it a good thing for helping to maintain quality content and discussions? If not, what are strategies to improve situations like these?

      26 votes