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If web bloat is a problem, I don't think that looking at whether <insert buzzword framework of CURRENT_YEAR> can be removed is the answer.

I suggest that at the moment, we have basically two camps of website, with rough, fuzzy boundaries.

1. A place where someone sticks up an insight, or posts a wiki page, or whatever, to share some thought to others (if anyone actually cares). The blogs of many users of HN. Hacker News itself. Wikipedia. The Arch Linux Wiki. lwn.net. Etc. The sites are very roughly concerned with 'this is what I care about, if you do, great, this is useful to you'.

2. Commercial web sites that employ sophisticated means to try and enlarge market share and retain users. AB testing. 'Seamless' experiences which are aimed at getting more views, with user experience as an afterthought (a sort of evolutionary pressure, but not the only one).

Complaining that camp #2 exists is strange. It's a bit like lamenting the fact that chocolate bars aren't just chocolate bars, they have flashy wrappers, clever ingredients, optimized sugar ratio, crunchy bit and non crunchy bit, etc.

It works! A snickers bar is a global blockbuster, and 'Tesco chocolate bar' is the functional chocolate bar that just does the job, but will never attain that level of commercial success, it serves a different role.

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My personal view:

Fundamentally what I want when we click a link from an aggregator, is an 'article.txt' with perhaps a relevant image or two. Something like http://motherfuckingwebsite.com/ maybe.

But if a site actually does that, a website like The Guardian, I'd fire up wget, strip all the advertising, strip the fact it's even The Guardian, and read it like a book. If everyone does it then no-one makes any money, site dies.

So what we actually have is this constant DRM-style race to try and fight for our brains to get us to look at adverts. It's not about jQuery, it's about advertising, branding, 'self vs other' (the integrity of a company as a coherent thing), etc.

I don't know what the answer is here. I think this is why I find concepts like UBI so appealing - I find it kind of alarming that we seem doomed to infect more and more of the commons with commercialization because we haven't found a solution to keep each other alive otherwise.




With stories like these, you have to know where to find the real problem. At least some percentage can be ignored whenever nerds use the word "bloat" because it's a code word for "the only things that should be allowed are things I approve" in a surprisingly large number of contexts.


I dig that you tie this domain-specific problem with that much larger social issue.


Thanks. I've been struggling a lot with life in general lately (depression, etc), and it's nice to have some glimpse that someone else shares the view, maybe.

I think we have a real issue at the moment with people funneling their efforts into ways of dealing with issues at the micro level, rather than the macro level. Local optima. Something like that.

It makes me happy to see the sort of political revolutions that the Internet can bring about, but sad to see that we're still thinking so small. e.g. "Get x into tech" rather than "Make it so that you don't need to be in tech to live a decent life". That sort of thing.




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