Need to Blog Again

I need to start blogging again.

But more than that, I’ve been thinking lately about the use of the internet to communicate. I haven’t really been reading my friend’s blogs. Dissapointed to learn that one of my friends blogs at http://raymondscientific.com had gone offline. Hopefully it isn’t entirely defunct. People running their own blogs seems to make for a healthier internet than people using one of some small number of monopoly services as a client. It seems, when people want a forum to contact their friends, they all pile onto facebook or twitter.

The advantages: Everyone’s on there.’As I’ve learned in the past, it’s hard to have an active internet social life on an empty PhPBB forum. If no one is on an IRC channel but bots, then you can’t very easily have a conversation.

The disadvantages: Facebook isn’t a platform that you own or control. You’re putting your personal data and a record of your personal sentiments, as well as detailed information on who you’re friend’s with, how often you communicate, etc in the hands of this company. A company which, these days, seems hell bent on manipulating their users.

The belligerence of the tech monopolies has spawned various movements to produce alternatives. I’m not familiar with most of them, but may investigate later.

I’m going to start looking into doing more with my servers. It seems like in the early internet everyone had their own space/forum/what-have-you going. Popular webcomics all had their own forums. Every hobby on earth had it’s own forum (I remember one that I liked a lot – I think it was run by SEDs or the Mars society.) People owning and operating their own servers and forums seems like a desirable end goal (to me at least, to “people”, who knows?) Maybe if I figure out the ins and outs of some of this I can help by posting tutorials. “How to Internet: 101”.

I’ve tried before to create a dovecot/postfix e-mail server. Past attempts produced ill-configured junk and corrupted package lists. Maybe I’ll try again this weekend. This is apparently one of the more complicated and fiddly parts of setting up server services.

In Ye Olden Days there were mailing lists: Why don’t people use wide-distribution e-mail the way they use a centralized forum like Facebook? There wouldn’t be a forum to censor or shut down, just everyone’s e-mail server forwarding the messages. There would have to be a way to separate “serious/business e-mail” from “friends-and-family spam”, from “everyone else’s spam”. People probably don’t want their inboxes filling up with junk. Maybe a better set of sorting filters could take care of those sorts of problems?

Why do people use Facebook instead of PhPBB style forums?

Why do people use centralized chat services like discord, instead of everyone running their own IRC server?

Why do people use YouTube instead of hosting their own videos on their own servers?

(Monetization – YouTube makes it easy to collect ad revenue. That is, if they like you. If they don’t they’ll abuse you and play head-games with your listeners.)

(I expect there to be reasons in each case: Maybe pointing the way to the development (or re-development, as the case may be) of a less centralized internet.)

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