Building a people centric next generation internet.
Hey folks, I've gotten some really good reading recommendations on here in the past, so let's give this another whirl.
Looking for science fiction and/or fantasy book reccos. Some authors who I've read recently include:
Robert Jackson Bennett
Charlie Jane Anders
Let the reccos fly!
Ok, rant over.
That was running around in my head for the last few days, and is just too big to fit into the FOSDEM talk I was writing. It needed to find an outlet.
It only vaguely has to do with #parler in the sense that the blocklist sharing is at the same time good and sensible, but sort of veers into peer pressure, and the point is that yes! I get it! I agree! And I also don't think it's entirely the *right* response, just amongst the best under non-ideal circumstances. Frustrating.
I've got to ask: why should we settle for that?
When every application allows users to keep all of their stuff by not tying them to any particular group/instance, we can finally find the fluidity in group-joining and -leaving we do in the offline world.
That's human centric technology.
Finally getting to the point: I could do what I did because I have the technical knowledge and/or financial security to do so. People who don't have either at their disposal don't have that choice.
This is why fully distributed applications are essential.
Decentralization, well, it's essentially centralization around a much smaller and better defined core group. It may serve your needs, and if it does, I'm happy. But when it doesn't, or no longer does, there's invariable disruption.
Well, not from a moral point of view.
It is, however, a rant about how decentralization gets something wrong about people, and that is that identity is multi-faceted and fluid.
There are reasons people choose to run alts on many different instances. There's a reason I am running/renting my own. It's how people best express the various facets of their identity in the way that fits them most comfortably. Some choose to escape peer groups, others compartmentalize.
But what it means in more technical terms is that I chose distribution over decentralization. By making myself the de-facto owner of my own rules, I no longer submit to the instance aka group rules.
(Well, that's of course a bit of BS here, because I'm renting the instance, and the hoster has something to say there as well.)
Anway. This isn't about how my choice is somehow better or worse than the choice of joining a larger instance.
So going back to #parler and instances and defederation.
When I finally decided to give the fedi another try, I ran into a nazi, called him that, and was told not to engage in hate speech. It ate at me, so I am now running my own instance.
In retrospect - several months later and in a different context - I can see that this was an act where I resisted peer pressure and stuck to my identity. I'm not advocating this, for what it's worth; it's how I feel most comfortable. You mileage may vary.
The TL;DR of this part of the rant is, people who are the nail that stands out *will* find ways to secure their vitally needed group, such that they don't stand out alone.
So here's the thing about groups. Groups only stay constant if you police acceptable behaviour. What do you think happens when this splintering of groups occurs, where each needs to have distinct defining features from the other?
Yup, exactly. Peer pressure to conform. Just like, but completely different from conservatives.
If you're and asshole are both successful, congratulations! You've managed to split "your" group into two.
It doesn't have to be assholes, you know. It can just be people who like green better than purple and vice versa (but as the Joker knows, they rock together!). And it doesn't have to be about being earth-shatteringly insecure about your identity, either.
But what happens if you don't like that?
Well, you start by trying to figure out what those differences are that self-assured people just assume are there. And when you detect some, you'll start broadcasting them. Looky here, I'm not like that asshole! (Nobody says you are, but there you go)
Asshole says: yeah, well, but my differences from YOU make ME better!
What to do? Your insecurity pushes you to seek like-minded individuals, who *agree* that you're different and not worse from asshole.
So *finding your group* is massively important not just for your personal identity, but also for a feeling of safety. Okay? Moving on.
So you meet that person that *looks* like part of your group, but is an asshole. How do you react to that?
Well, there's the self-assured and the insecure way. If you're stable enough in your identity, you will assume that people will be able to tell the difference and move on with nary a shrug. Good for you!
Quick interjection, going slightly political here. It *may* be that this affects leftist people a lot more than conservatives. The very term "conservative" means that one slots into pre-existing values without much friction, if you'd like to put it that way. It doesn't seem to hurt too badly to just accept the values that your predecessors present to you.
Leftist people often (always?) have a problem with at least some of that. We feel like the nail that sticks out, that always gets hammered.
On the other hand, people imitating *you* sort of kind of means your choices weren't all completely wrong. Maybe. You may start to feel just a little bit settled.
But then you run into someone who, effectively, looks and talks like you, but is an utter asshole.
Identity crisis drama time!
So time passes, and you start noticing that where you previously tried to find your way *into* a group by imitation, suddenly you're the one people imitate. And that's weirdly flattering and highly confusing, because, well, you probably don't really feel all that settled in your identity yet. But you keep it up anyway, because what choice is there?
I drifted into the present tense, because it is likely still the way people are.
Back to identity finding.
What we pretty much all did as teenagers was to start imitating people we admired. Often it meant listening to their music, or dressing as they did. And the "dress code" was important, silly as it may have been on some level, because it helped us find our tribes.
Personally, I drifted to the metalhead end of the grunge tribe, which felt the most like me.
Well, technically the most like I *wanted* to be. That's an important distinction.
So let me rewind time a little here, and by rewind I mean about 30 years for me. When I was a teenager, I was very concerned with finding my identity. And in retrospect, so was everyone else. With some perspective now, it seems that the ages of ca. 15-25 is the span of life in which most people figure out most of the principles by which they want to live. Very few seem to manage faster. Many give that impression, but then get a later identity crisis in their 30s.
Ok, enough armchair psychology.
I have to rant a little bit about decentralization.
I mean, it's nice. I get it. I devote a fair bit of my upcoming FOSDEM talk to the problems of centralization, though I do skim over the effects a little bit. We'll see how well that works in the Q&A, I guess.
But then the last days here, I see a lot of posts about #parler and masto admins sharing instance blocklists to avoid all the fuckers who come to the fedi from there. And I'm thinking that's all well and good, but it's missing something
🇬🇧Great: EU citizens' initiative for banning biometric #masssurveillance incl. #facialrecognition has been registered! https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_22
Building a people centric next generation internet.
A private instance for the Finkhäuser family.