I've never done much newsgroups because I didn't like public speaking without anonymity.
ICQ and others were like today's WhatsApp and hangout. I didn't use a single interface for them at the time, and still don't today, I don't see a big difference.
Today, I'm off Facebook, I barely follow twitter at all. I'm fine with reading hacker news, and other tech news aggregators.
I think you can lament on the disappearance of RSS, but to me, that's just about the main issue.
I guess the big difference between then and now is that we used to control better what we opted in. Now we're more force fed.
I've played around with creating a relevant version of things like usenet, but at the end of the day it wasn't something I wanted to work on. A large part of the work is correcting for flaws of the Internet that most "hackers" won't recognize. And while you could certainly overcome those problems, I don't think the end result would be worth it. Much of the "hacker crowd" these days aren't, in my opinion, motivated by naive curiosity and shallow idealism (like it used to be), but forced nativity to further their own interests and a opinionated demeanor. That's why many of these alternative services don't work out. Because they aren't motivated by creating something that is nice to use, but to satisfy the convoluted criteria of the creators.
It took a lot of effort to make a long post back in the rec. And alt. days.
I remember trip planning 19 years ago looking at trip reports. Got superior tips for my once in a lifetime Yukon vacation
I dont believe todays internet noise partially because it is too easy to opinionate. There is no effort required anymore.
I have twitter for high freq thin data, reddit for a bit more dense information~. For deeper information I could read serious journals, books. But I rarely need that, or am not capable of digesting it.
The force fed thing is inherent to the change of importance and structure of the web.. Remember when Google was an entry point to the mess and not the conductor ?
That's why they were awful. When they died or stopped being popular you lost all your contacts and had to start from scratch somewhere else. With open protocols you don't have that issue at all.
> As much as I really liked using IRC back in the day
You don't have to speak in channels to make use of IRC. I use it for private chats (I know it's not "private", but that's better for me than using any proprietary client and IRC has clients on every platform).
While this is totally fine for internet-savvy people, I can see why regular people who just want to chat turn to alternatives.
Back in the day, I posted to newsgroups via Mixmaster remailers :) Now one can use VPNs and Tor.
Looks like a quip/discourse clone from a 10 second look. Not sure why another product offering relatively the same service solves anything.
Lyra is a discussion platform targeted at a general audience. We're a nonprofit and aim to improve the quality and attentional demands of online conversation.
It doesn't take long to determine that while you have laudable goals, there doesn't appear to be a significant differentiation either technically or realistically that makes your product worth spending more time on.
For one, the quality of conversation isn't a technical or platform issue, but an audience/participant problem. I didn't see anything particularly unique that would make Lyra better as a conversation platform, or at achieving your stated goals, than any other services, open or subscription. An open forum with conversations isn't a "new" idea. A tree based conversation threading system isn't "new" or "novel" or "unique". Having Private and Public chats, groups and profiles etc.. are far from new or unique features for a conversation platform either.
So yes, "10 seconds" was enough to determine that you've got a great idea with crappy execution, no audience, are trying to solve social problems with "technical" solutions (and those technical solutions are not new or unique to the problem space). You don't actually provide anything of value, and my initial assessment that you've just gone and re-invented the wheel looks pretty accurate.
Also, your branding/naming is horrible. A search for Lyra shows multiple other products and services, I gave up looking for you after 5 pages of search results for everything but your product. That's a black hole.
Your persistence in trying to advertise this service in a post basically pointing out how people like you re-inventing the wheel in your own platform to solve the same problem over and over again is the problem is actually highly entertaining for me.
The fact your a non-profit only further makes me laugh. You've got no product differentiation, only philosophical ones (that aren't even unique), and no mature funding model, and you want people to use your product?
I expect another downvote for this, because you don't seem to like someone pointing out sense. I can't think of a better example of the xkdc comic/protocol joke than this in recent memory and I work with software engineers daily.
Lyra is a discussion platform targeted at a general audience. We're a nonprofit and aim to improve the quality and attentional demands of online conversation.
There's nothing like this in the space.
We did not claim to be "new," "novel" or "unique."
If you would like to elaborate on what is "crappy" about the execution, we will be able to address your concerns more directly.
We're not aiming to be findable on Google via a search for "Lyra." Our execution of this requirement may be "horrible," but as it's not one of our requirements, we're fine with that.
We're already sustainable, which is in our opinion a mature funding model.
We would finally like to add that "sense" has a different meaning for each of the billions of people on this planet.
What isn't fine is that users are (intentionnaly, could be argued) led to believe that the media part is equivalent to traditional "RSS-like" media like AFP/Reuters/Bloomberg who carried the responsibility of being trustable.
There's a place and implementation for everything and social media is not an appropriate platform for diffusion of factchecked information. How we make use of the different information dispersion platforms is on us!
Ultimately, it's SaaS webapps that's the problem. The model has legitimate benefits (lack of installation, cross-platform), but it also is the reason the Web centralizes so much.
Even if, that's probably solvable (by turning it into cat-and-mouse game, TPB/SciHub-style). Have a non-turing-complete set of conversion rules that do scrapping -> standardized-data-format via a general-purpose scrapper. Distribute those through P2P. There might be problems with malicious actors, but generally this should be possible to implement in a way that's mostly transparent for end users.
> And you still need to account for upstream changes.
Upstream changes will never be too extreme to handle manually, if we're talking scrapping solutions - because any such extreme changes would also piss off the regular browser users.
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), 18 U.S.C. § 1030, is an amendment made in 1986 to the Counterfeit Access Device and Abuse Act that was passed in 1984 and essentially states that, whoever intentionally accesses a computer without authorization or exceeds authorized access, and thereby obtains information from any protected computer if the conduct involved an interstate or foreign communication shall be punished under the Act. In 1996 the CFAA was, again, broadened by an amendment that replaced the term “federal interest computer” with the term “protected computer.”18 U.S.C. § 1030. While the CFAA is primarily a criminal law intended to reduce the instances of malicious interferences with computer systems and to address federal computer offenses, an amendment in 1994 allows civil actions to brought under the statute, as well.
I suspect it's only a workable strategy if you either have few friends, or stop following all the ones with a low signal to noise ratio, or if you use Facebook somewhat frequently. Otherwise, there'd just be too many updates to finish scrolling through them in a reasonable amount of time.
The algorithm is known as "doing what users want". Very popular with companies and even open source projects nowadays. It works like this: you do some "analytics" of your product, or look what sells for others, assume it reflects what users want (and the things that are missing are obviously not wanted by users), and do those.
This algorithm ignores the fact that a lot of the time, users don't get any way to express preferences. Users buy/use what's available and what's popular. Through this algorithm, producers make choices for the consumers, and then use statistics to justify them.
A/B testing can't test for the users who aren't present.
Now, having large number of people makes many of the features of these silos more desirable, they're not unrelated. But if you could find a way to scale up the "me-centric" view of the web to modern needs, then everyone -- early adopters and the mass audience -- would both benefit, I think.
Not saying it's the only factor, but when connections are built via real-life relationships instead of communities of interest and then sprinkled with automated personalized content aggregation perhaps you end up with an environment where everyone seems to live in their own bubble of information overload.
Even assuming there were adequate mindshare to develop and maintain such an effort-- let's even just pick a modern day USENET-- how are you going to pay the bills?
Though RSS is kinda dying, I'll give the author that.
Edit: I don't know if there's a general name for this phenomenon, but I believe it is related to network decay. 
The other main problem is that like Digg, that there is a powerful cabal of moderators in control of most mainstream subreddits, including those concerned with serious topics like news and politics and they do a lot of "curation" of content by removing stuff, rather than letting the users decide on which links and topics are relevant to discussion (by, ya know... upvoting/downvoting) with chilling effects on those respective subs. That this was allowed to continue, without overhauling and maybe even democratising the moderation system of default subs, was Reddit's choice. I can only suspect that this either (a) plays into the hands of advertisers directly via corporate censorship or (b) indirectly, by relegating content from users who fall outside of the "mass-market" demographic to niche subreddits or other websites.
They'll hide behind "But people are voting for this mindless content" but that's not the full picture. A vote after 5 seconds is actually weighted higher than a vote after 5 minutes.
It's specifically because Reddit the company is against too much engaging content. They want people to smirk, chuckle, acknowledge, and move on. Engaging content means fewer pages viewed, which means fewer ad views.
If that's built into the algorithm, that's one thing. If the social effect of early moderation is amplified, well, that's still a problem (and a major one), but ... of a different sort.
So no, the algorithm doesn't intentionally punish dense material. But it does happen incidentally.
Another idea related to the general phenomenon is gentrification: the cool artist colony suddenly overwhelmed with yuppies who drive up the rent, forcing the artists to move out.
Is there not a general term for this whole phenomenon?
"I don't go to that bar anymore, it's too wankerised."
"I don't visit Facebook anymore, it's become wankerised."
"The neighbourhood is too wankerised, I can't afford to live there."
Heck, in the world of webmaster forums, the ease in which they got filled with spammers and low quality content meant that the same people usually ended up being members of dozens of different forums and moving to a new site every month or two.
Is the monkeysphere is the root cause of the endless bifurcation of communities, culture? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number
John Dvorak once opined that social networks stop being cool when that coworker you secretly hated tries to connect.
Of course, pushing the other way, is the power law distribution of attention. The best explanation I've read for our current winner takes all economy. http://www.shirky.com/writings/herecomeseverybody/powerlaw_w...
See Hannah Arendt's "The Crisis in Culture" (by way of ... Reddit):
There's the "evaporative cooling effect":
I see these as mechanisms based on Gresham's Law, though that's based on a longer argument.
But the realities of the threading style & upvote democracy is that lowest common denominator spreads easily.
Related discussion in same thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14699133
But it's also worth remembering they're just internet points, there's no real value. Keep contributing good stuff & you'll eventually get past the 500 karma mark. After that it's just a vanity number.
Comments that get downvotes also don't get upvotes, so it's not just the small group who can downvotes who are causing the comments to be gray, it's also the large group who could upvotes but who chose not to do so.
I was more lamenting the lousy comments eg. puns, comments that add nothing etc. These are possible with 0second old accounts.
Because I don't think I've seen too many low effort comments here recently, or at least not much more than there were in the past.
And while political threads get a bit out of control, my experience there is that the most volatile, disruptive posts tend to get downvoted to hell before they can cause too much of an issue. So even if a certain percentage of alt-right/SJW type content is a bit more common than it was before, it tends to get rightfully buried under hundreds more thoughtful ones.
jff 9 minutes ago [-]
If anyone else is using uBlock Origin, at least for me the page displayed completely blank until I disabled uBlock temporarily.
sluggg 10 minutes ago [-]
what if I want two? I can't have two third thumbs
piyh 44 minutes ago [-]
When I was a kid, I dreamed of having a functional third arm, this seems like the first step in that direction.
googlryas 25 minutes ago [-]
This is what my ex-gf would call my manhood. Guess why we aren't dating any more...
On HN, quite a few of them seem to get heavily downvoted (sometimes enough to mark them as dead, meaning you won't see them unless you explicitly opt in to see them).
Groupthink is another significant problem, particularly on topics which tend to gravitate toward ideology. Many economics subs operate this way.
SimilarWeb says HN gets approximately 20M visits a month:
Which all goes to show that people, in general, believe the best time was when they arrived/discovered/attended whatever. In other words, "pull the ladder up after I get to the top."
Eternal September on Usenet would hence be different from Eternal September on Reddit, Facebook or Hacker News.
The bandwidth of a box of floppy disks on a bicycle was higher.
If only it where not for those meddling open devs, distributing all the nice things among the clueless.
Today, for some reason, everyone thinks that writing software for a platform on a platform on a platform with no interconnecting standards or protocols is a great idea. Instead of trying to improve people's lives, we're just making things needlessly complex, buggy, and bloaty. You need 8 gigs of ram minimum just to browse the web, and god forbid you want to do something like back up your data. I was just in a meeting where nobody could get Google's video conferencing to work.
Instead of building internet technology, we build web technology. The web is harder to write software for. It's an ephemeral, inconsistent, difficult thing. But if we try really hard, we can turn the tide on the unnecessarily complex box we've forced ourselves into.
The proposed fixes are good ideas, but they're bandaids on axe wounds. There are much deeper problems going on that won't be fixed by a feature add or a pivot. We need a re-evaluation of all internet-based technology, how we develop it, how we incorporate it into our lives, and what we want as a society from it.
Just like we didn't forget how to build lunar vehicles, we just decided that it wasn't worth it in its current state. It's still very possible to do another moon landing, it will just cost a ton of money that corporations won't risk and governments won't spend without a clear political goal like the old space race.
Space technology isn't degrading, it's becoming more cost-oriented. A SpaceX rocket only reached orbit but it was relatively very cheap. Cost efficiency helps space technology reach more people and create greater impact, ultimately making the technology more valuable to society.
It's the same with the web. You say that the web is bloated "instead of trying to improve people's lives" but the reason the web platform is so heavy is because the platform is rapidly adding features and APIs and tools that make it easier for developers of all skill levels to make complicated applications. Letting more developers make stuff in less time improves people's lives. Maintaining backward compatibility at the cost of bloat also improves people's lives.
Society has been constantly evaluating the web and it has consistently reached the same conclusions: RAM is cheaper than developers, a slower platform with a bigger audience is worth dealing with over multiple native platforms, and weird legacy stuff is fine if it means we can run 15 year old websites.
Infrastructure projects are important and what enables society to grow. Moon landings were plain awesome and had important effects on both the zeitgeist and growth of technology. That we're not incentivized to grow, or even maintain them, says a lot about us, and not much of it good.
And I do think GP is right when they say: "instead of trying to improve people's lives, we're just making things needlessly complex, buggy, and bloaty." Any actual improvement to people's lives that falls off this process on the web is incidental. The conclusions you say we've reached, like "RAM is cheaper than developers, a slower platform with a bigger audience is worth dealing with over multiple native platforms" are not conclusions. They're excuses. Excused for doing shitty engineering in order to get to the market first. And anyone trying to do the things the right way moves too slow to keep up with the hype train.
Ultimately, the complaints about the way technology develops today stem from this: some people see the suboptimal solutions created by our incentive structures, and also notice there are much better solutions available only a small step from the path we're on - solutions we could reach if only we could relax the market pressures a little bit. This is true as much for the web (e.g. for interoperability issues and bloat issues) as it is for transportation (where electric cars finally got viable after one player basically started to shove a product into peoples' throats until the market forces gave up and accepted it).
- each website is handled by a module that does all the scraping, or uses the api if needed
- each module provides one or more capabilities, such as "list an account transactions" (typically for your bank or your mobile provider) or "receive and send messages" (such as HN or reddit or tinder)
- applications plug into those capabilities and give the user functionalities, regardless of the website. You can list the schedule for your bus just as well as the schedule for carpoolings.
One of the applications is actually a daemon with the capability to send and receive messages (with threading and all) and sends messages to the email adress of your choice; you can also configure it as an smtp mta, which means you can use any mail client and interact with all your discussion websites without ever opening the browser.
Obviously this is not a perfect solution for OP's problems, but it seems to me it's going in the right direction. Oh and it doesn't stop at websites; I use it for sending RSS feeds to my email in the background.
This naming convention undermines the project's potential. I can't take this to my boss & colleagues. I don't want it on my github profile or my resume. I don't want to talk about it at my meetups.
I suspect that you are surprised and disappointed to find that naming objections are the dominant response to your project. I assume you want the project to find a broad audience and didn't name the project badly on purpose. So let me try to explain why you're getting this reaction.
1. Boob jokes are juvenile.
They remind me of school buses full of sweaty pubescent boys, drenched in Axe body spray and crudely trying to discuss sex. I already lived that once and I really don't want to go back. Leave it on r/blunderyears/
2. Boob jokes sexualize needlessly.
Sex is a wonderful, healthy part of life. People's bodies are beautiful. But sex is also distracting. You don't want to be thinking about sex when you're trying to focus on building software. It's just counterproductive.
3. Boob jokes undermine community.
THIS is the biggest problem. By naming all your software after bad boob jokes, you make it very uncomfortable for women to participate in your project. Imagine a woman with great Python skills and a desire to improve the web finds your project. Do you want her thinking about how 14 year old boys talked about her adolescent body, or do you want her thinking about what cool applications she can build with you?
I hope you take this feedback in good faith and rebrand the project. I'd love to see it succeed.
PS. I'm writing this from the USA. It appears that weboob is developed out of France. Cultures are different, maybe this is more ok in France. But in the US, we're really trying to avoid this kind of thing.
By the way, here's a piece the creator has written explaining their point of view on the whole thing: http://laurent.bachelier.name/2013/12/weboob-the-asshole-det...
Thanks for the link. It's fascinating to me that the name has been an issue since at least 2013 (when the post was written).
There’s no denying they’re childish. What they are not, however, is sexist. [...] it’s all about friendly jokes.
Weboob is a formidable tool to detect people that are part of the “be offended first, think later” crowd. Interestingly, the crusaders are to date all male, and often assert that women can’t like jokes about breasts or sex in general.
Seems like the project is well aware of and content with the current state of affairs. I wonder how much more it could have grown already without the brand as a stumbling block.
They will always make a scene on how they’re never going to use Weboob because of names. Guys, here’s the thing: we don’t need you and we certainly don’t want you.
I think the service would reach a greater audience with a simpler name.
(Btw I still don't get how the creator wants me to read the name and what it means)
Either way, it definitely might struggle to get a bit more traction with that name/domain. It's like a modern day Pen Island or Experts Exchange.
"QHandJoob - You are unemployed? Use this application to search job offers!"
This naming convention is a sure-fire way to lose a big chunk of potential users.
Yup, that's exactly what made the internet great in the good old days.
But how do you monetize users who get to use their favoirite tools instead of yours?
It would be pretty neat if everyone could simply buy or configure some low-power hardware (like a router in both size, cost, and energy consumption) and have that become their internet 'home'. When participating in a community that supports the protocol used, that device simply allocates an amount of bandwidth and does its share of distributing content to the swarm. All a community would need is a central place to host the data needed to get started. Anyone could set up a new community with a minimum of means.
If technique used is standardized (and open) and gained popularity, service providers could even create hosting packages that do the hosting of your internet 'home' for you for a small monthly fee, so you don't have to bother with setting up your own device (although you could, and should always be able to).
This kind of concept probably exists of course. The challenge lies in getting it both technologically feasible for mass-scale adoption, and simple enough for anyone to participate. Still, doesn't this make sense for a future were we won't be as depended on a handful of commercial silos?
- Spam. When the cost of bandwidth goes to zero, the most useless freeloaders are enabled with no negative consequences for their pollution.
- Media storage. There is a huge demand for storage of (pirated) movies, tv, music or video games, which sucks up the vast bulk of volume. Entertainment needs monopolize communication resources to the detriment of knowledge preservation and freedom of expression.
- Legal and other liability. Aside from the piracy, there's child porn, private information, politically sensitive topics, etc. Society wants an accountability mechanism and will destroy or discredit platforms that lack it.
Commercial silos tend to address all three. Social media in particular is effective at #1 by leveraging the social graph as a filtering and reputation system. Which means once people are invested in their profile or channel, you can wield it as leverage to ensure compliance with #2 or #3.
There are still huge pieces missing to do this in a decentralized and federated way. For starters, a reputation and identity system that is not fully public and transitive. And also, a return to the willingness to tolerate violations of #2 and #3 on a local scale for the sake of intellectual freedom, which the contemporary web sorely lacks.
Email isn't even an exception. Becoming a reputable sender is hard, the data volume is still limited, and the privacy protection is laughable in the wild.
People adopted schema.org so their search ranking improved. Adding markup for machine consumption doesn't make sense otherwise.
We need to build systems that benefit both parties.
Just as it has everything MSN used to have ill have it shut down, rename itself and its website and start all over again.
Or is facebook to blame? John Gilmore famously said "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." -- he was wrong, censorship just has to wait for the right monopoly to appear. And with the success of monopoly interoperability becomes its casualty
We're here because it's convenient, not because it's good.
I always felt that Google should have created simple tools for web publishing and creating personal walled-gardens - make the web personal for 7 billion non-technical humans, and the brands they consume. Surely there must be something in between Facebook and Jekyll/Hugo.
G+ copied Facebook when they should have studied why people were using Facebook instead of the open web. Don't make the problem worse, fixed those problems; take the role of guardian of the internet. Create or support standard APIs, release relevant IP/research, and bankroll SV startups that build the tools to publish or consume through the open web.
Google is still an ad/search company that relies on the open web. They need to protect it and drive further innovation. What happens after the coming adpocalypse - micropayments? Subscription bundles? Who knows? Or, perhaps we'll be chained to ads forever because we'll be locked into walled-garden apps... what a hell that would be.
Are there any companies working in this space? Closest I've seen is Squarespace, and even then... not really...
I guess Wordpress is an example. It's got a hosted plan, which requires little more computer literacy than Facebook, and you can also leave at any time and self-host the software, which keeps the hosted offering honest. But it's just not as contagious as something like Facebook. That's the problem, Facebook isn't just more 'convenient' than self-hosted tools, it also has your friends tagging you in photos.
I envision this is a two part problem: the "back-end", one-click install or oauth register services to create your private space and identity (possibly a VPS or agglomeration of AWS services) for sending/receiving emails, direct messages, tags (push), and friend posts, group updates, news subscriptions (pull), plus APIs for search, access control, creating/managing your own content, so on; and the front-end, a glorified RSS reader for using the above services through standard APIs.
That's the challenge. The solution is way more complex then the existing offerings, like WP or other simple blogs, but all that complexity must be buried away so it's at least as easy as registering to Facebook.
It's possible, all of the constituent problems have been tackled separately... what's lacking is a unified standard, comprehensive tools, and stable (corporate) backing.
There's an effort to try and build some standards for open web sharing at indieweb.org - cross-post comments, syndication to existing social networks. A few of those standards have now been given the W3C stamp (MicroPub, WebMention).
There's some services built on top of it like WithKnown, MicroBlog and people building on top of WordPress, building their own site and so on.
The founding principle of that community (build what fixes your problem, don't try and solve everyone's problems) keeps it quite well focussed.
It didn't work. USENET nodes, when they connect, automatically exchange any messages in any group common to both that the other node hasn't seen. There were a few other USENET low-bandwidth nodes on campus that connected to the outside world, and as long as there was at least one, the missing posts in "alt.humor.funny" would be re-inserted. USENET really did route around censorship automatically.
I am. Not in the sense of go back to using them for everyting (they're still there if you want to), but int eh sense of building some new protocols on those existing foundations. NNTP was really good given its technical limitations. TBH I think part of the secret of Facebook's success is that it hews to the same ethos of standardization and simplicity, as opposed to myspace which quickly feel victim to its own customizability and ended up being as chaotic and hard to navigate as the web itself.
That's so true. I want to follow some people on Twitter because sometimes they tweet very useful things, but the amount of "noise"/tweets I don't care about is too high. Tons of people put very good info on Twitter because is quick and easy compared to writing a blog post.
Anonymous publisher, as quoted by Hamilton Holt, Commercialism and Journalism, 1909.
What changed a lot of things are modern apps and their new features : push notifications, infinite scrolls (attention killer) or adding a f... emoji (I miss smileys personnaly).
The rest is just filling empty boxes about what people want/need : a chat for friend, a chat for work, a single feed and not 10's of website to search to have a single information. All I think is missing is local web, all is considered as world and then maybe local, people don't talk to each other in the bars, they prefer now to use Tinder and Facebook to insult themselves.
"Techies" think that they know better because they are the first to be impacted and have noticed the shortcomings of a centralized web.
I'm thinking about creating a hierarchical forum like the usenet, but I'm sceptical whether this would earn enough money to work in the long run.
I don't care how the message is sent, I just want to make sure it gets to the right person.
The solution was in front of us all this time. It's the semantic web. What was missing is an accessible client, and it will be available soon.
Imagine one giant unified semantic decentralized database of everything. Add smart contracts, quantified self, intent inferring, and binary input (à la Tinder or Akinator). Organize this on a timeline, so that your OS becomes a task management system. That's it.
Unfortunately, my strategy is to target kids that haven't yet be corrupted by current communication paradigms. I think 5 to 12 year old is the sweet spot. Older people will be able to use it, but I don't know if they'll be able to grasp the full potential. Only time will tell.
This will be as true ten years from now as it was ten years ago.
That's Google (almost; not everything is online). No need for the semantic web at all, or to wait for your vaporware 'solution'.
As a (presumably) end user, do you think that the interface provided by Google is database-like?
Number of tweets per day (tpd); and also maybe tweets per month (tpm)
Another big problem is repeated content as the article suggests - I follow a quite some literary Twitter handles and longform handles. Everyday I come across just too many tweets that link to the same article. What is worse sometimes the same handles tweet about the same articles repeatedly (to get more views I reckon) with different texts. I usually end up unfollowing many of those handles and that means I actually going to miss a lot of content that I would have otherwise liked but in a moderate dose, at a slower pace.
I request my friends/family members to remove me form there WhatsApp broadcast lists and after sometime I simply tell them if they don't stop with that daily "Good Morning/Evening" forwards and all that crap I am simple gonna block them. I wish WhatsApp let me remove myself from all the broadcast lists I am added to or let me choose that I don't want to receive broadcast messagegs at all (if they can't/won't make it granular).
I've completed given up on Facebook. Sometimes it shows me posts that I've marked hide like five times. It never keeps my friends photos, self written text posts on top but all those video and silly article shares, those annoying and mostly unfunny memes. In fact they have a limit I guess (haven't really used them in a while) and the personal posts get drowned in the mass market noise.
Maybe the problem is we talk of Internet being decentralised but we are all try to find that decentralized Internet at any one place or vert few places - be it Twitter, or Facebook, Google. We are adopting the social networks, content sources wrong... maybe.
FB and Twitter measure success by engagement. That means they don't have the incentive to organize our information and save us time.
(Gotta go... Hacker News is about to tell me to get back to work!)
Wasn't there an RFC finalized recently for a site-independent comment system?
Even having “1000 friends”, which sounds amazing, is statistically insignificant when we are talking about populations of millions or billions. Think about the last “really long thread” you read on Reddit or something, and think about when you tuned out: was it a few dozen comments, maybe a few hundred? Still statistically insignificant, or at the very least severely biased.
People are regularly exposed to, and worse respond to, statistically biased samples. This is a really, really bad thing. What we need is a way to almost forcibly blend samples from many different populations so that the number of comments you can “stand” is a more representative sample. That way, when you get up in arms about “what people think”, it might actually represent what “people” think instead of “my friends” or whatever other biased sample is out there.
Aggregators like Hacker News are already part of a solution; putting interesting articles in one place so that we don't have to subscribe to 10^8 personal blogs and fringe tech sites.
Also useful is https://www.reddit.com/r/all/top/?sort=top&t=day, a bit US/tech-biased but definitely a few million.
Totally de-centralised - your post on your local NNTP server, and it gets replicated across the NNTP mesh to all the other servers.
Built in threading... Actually HN is very similar to how a fairly busy newsgroup would look back in the day.
Posts used to take hours (sometimes days) to replicate across the whole mesh. Not so much nowadays tho.
Text only; no native support for rich media or Unicode (although some might see that as a Strength)
I'm on the hunt for a good dedicated Windows NNTP reader, failing that I might have a go at writing my own (that supports text posts only - none of that dodgy binaries rubbish!).
A good newsreader needs to be able to thread and block and filter and preview binaries. Few apps ever did this well, and many that did have since become obsolete (Pan2, Unison, etc).
With the rise of Windows and the decline of Usenet, the demand for newsreaders faded fast, leaving few or no supported freeware newsreaders alive today. Even commercial newsreader apps are increasingly rare.
I've seen this affect sites like Stack Overflow as well. At the bottom of any popular question are usually very low-effort answers from posters who really shouldn't have answered at all. I wonder if it's an example of their otherwise well-executed reputation system creating noise that might have been avoided.
There's a blog, book, and wiki.
Some keyword searches:
You can't have "democracy" and "voting" and "algorithms" and then have high content.
Subreddits, users, posts, searches, and a number of other elements.
Likewise I use IRC every day, through Bitlbee, to interact with people on Facebook Messenger and other platforms.
I can do all of this from my client of choice (I choose Emacs) without a problem.
Admittedly this doesn't solve the problem of topicality, but I think things are better than they seem.
Anyone who's been on Reddit for the majority of the site's existence will probably have noticed monumental shifts in popular content, which I feel is essentially a movement away from serious diverse discussion towards entertainment and self validation.
I don't think I'd be going out on a limb to say a large amount of HN readers are interested in serious discourse, and I wouldn't be surprised to find there are many like me who feel completely alienated by modern Reddit. Previously it was enough to just ignore the default subs, but the momentum has become so strong that it has become pervasive even in niche subs.
I've been thinking about it a lot recently, probably mostly stemming from nostalgia of what Reddit used to be, but I feel something that is quite important is identifying that different people are interested in different content, an that nobody is really entitled to stop others enjoying the category of content they want to consume.
I don't care about entertainment on Reddit, and I particularly don't care about image macros, in-jokes and one liners. I absolutely love the high effort informational posts and discussions though, and some of them are truly insightful. I yearn for a mechanism to reliably filter out most of the entertainment things and promote the high effort content. I'd love for it to stay some form of voting mechanism though as it seems really effective when the community votes using congruent inclinations.
The Slashdot voting system worked using a classification system (interesting, funny, etc.) but that is hardly good supporting evidence for content classification as it didn't work particularly well, perhaps because it was so limited (votes themselves were limited in quantity.)
My current line of thinking is using emoji reactions might be an interesting option like you see on GitHub comments. If I want to avoid the entertainment posts I could filter out posts which predominantly have the laughing emoji. There is evidence that emoji reactions themselves are compelling enough to be used, and possibly more compelling than the style of categorisation that Slashdot used.
I feel that it's fundamentally important that a system like this needs to integrate into existing communities somehow, as there's no point having it if there's no content to apply it to. This is probably the hardest part but possibly also a very compelling part, having a content indexing / classification system might also be a way to centralise a lot of this content.
This post got a little long winded and ranty so apologies for that, but I've been wanting to get these thoughts in writing for a little while. If anyone has any ideas around this general topic I'd love to hear. I've gotten to the point where I'd like to invest energy into attempting to solve it.
I think the solution (as much as there can be one) is to just stick to your own communities where you find the discourse that you enjoy. For me, it's Hacker News, certain subreddits, and some forums.
One thing that keeps me returning to YC is that I'm not even reminded of the existence of moderators over here.
Just this week there was a "Show HN" that combined data from Twitter et al in interesting ways. It was offline less than 24 hours later as all the comments indicated that it was a clear violation of the policies of various content providers.
Why should we care about those policies? Well, because under the CFAA, we've made it a federal crime to send packets to a server in a way that displeases the server's owner.
There is no technical limitation stopping people from collecting and curating data from many sources and combining/filtering them according to their own interest. The internet is already open in principle (cue Schneier: "trying to make digital bits not copiable is like trying to make water not wet"). The issue is that we've given the Facebooks and Googles of the world the right to hold our data and our personal networks hostage.
Start a decentralized, standardized protocol like email or IRC and companies will cooperate insofar as they must to ride the wave, and then they will work aggressively to corner things off into their own little world.
Understand, all software companies want one thing: lock-in. They want to make it so that there is as much pressure as possible to remain on their platform. It's the age-old story of someone who can't move to Mac, even though they greatly envy it, because their greeting card program from 1997 won't work on it. Instead of importable programs, it's importable personal networks -- but now, with everything server-side, it's usually illegal to try to bridge that gap on the user's behalf (insofar as doing so involves contacting the server of a competitor).
The situation with potential copyright and patent violations was precarious enough when it was all occurring on the user's local machine (WINE is in a big legal grey area, for example; my instinct is WINE would lose if MS ever decided to seriously try to squash them), but once you cross the line into some company's IP space, all bets are off. The CFAA allows them to define "authorized access" to their servers on their own terms, including "people trying to access our server to provide data portability". This has already been litigated with specific regard to Facebook in Facebook v. Power Ventures.
As long as we give companies the legal tools to exert effective ownership over user-generated data, we are destined to see well-designed, decentralized protocols that maximize availability, resiliency, and portability get whittled away by the overriding corporate interest in establishing some element that can be used to keep users locked in.
The Halloween memos may have caused a stir in the late 90s, and they're all but forgotten now, but their sentiment is more alive than ever.
I missed that. What's the HN URL?
> Why should we care about those policies? Well, because under the CFAA, we've made it a federal crime to send packets to a server in a way that displeases the server's owner.
There are ways to avoid such oversight. Consider, for example, Sci-Hub or TPB or third-generation dark markets. What's hard is doing that at scale. And that, I believe, is a huge niche that's aching to be filled.
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14639451 ; looks like the linked site has come back online (for now).
>There are ways to avoid such oversight. Consider, for example, Sci-Hub or TPB or third-generation dark markets. What's hard is doing that at scale. And that, I believe, is a huge niche that's aching to be filled.
The TPB saga should scare all of us, because it shows how far corporate interests will go to remove a thorn in their side. TPB lives on because the swarm refuses to let it die, but its founders were rewarded with a witch hunt led by the top brass in the United States, exile, and imprisonment.
Anyone who wants to take this on: do not expect a more favorable outcome than TPB's founders got, especially if you live in the U.S., where they won't have to threaten sanctions against your homeland to get you brought down.
TPB and BitTorrent helps move files. Sci-Hub helps move a particular type of files (scientific papers). So maybe we need a TPB/BitTorrent for data streams? Some way of moving around generalized access to and results from APIs of server platforms?
We have made the choice to focus around people and conversations rather than topics (because Lyra is designed to be harrassment-proof, and topics lead easily to harrassment - you don't see this so much in the tech world but in the mainstream it's a huge problem).
We are currently thinking about the best way to do notification aggregation (Facebook does this very badly - several comments on the same conversation will give you several different notifications) and marking-as-read. We have several interesting options in test at the moment.
On the other end, having only a tree of authors is a bit to slim, cause you have to read the content of each message to know what's going on. I think people who reply to a thread should give it a "reply title". You know it's the same thread, but you can have an idea of the content with the reply title.
Are you suggesting that every reply should have a title?
Check it out: https://github.com/Medium/medium-api-docs/issues/91
More of these website are just becoming data silos and not sharing their data. Unfortunately I don't know of a better place to write programming content. https://sergiotapia.me
If you're a developer and you care about this, like I do, where would you recommend we write articles sans-self hosting?
How? There are many programmers on medium, maybe. But it's a website I categorically avoid (too big and clunky, and hardly ever any quality content found there), and yet I can follow many programming blogs.
But we arrived here neither out of pure accident or grand overarching malice, but simply out of the necessity of the now-commercial web and its lack of good business models, and perverse incentives.
Back when most of the traffic on the Internet was academic, institutional, government, or hobbyist, the incentives were to get the content out there and interoperate with others, because the dissemination of the information was seen as having intrinsic value, and the expenses were covered by out-of-band means (i.e. not monetized through the content or the consumers).
On today's particular flavor of a commercial web, especially when your next funding round depends on showing user numbers, easy out-migration is a liability, easy in-migration is a feature, so even the use of APIs frequently helps the product and the company more so than it helps the user.
When commercial entities started appearing on the Internet, particularly on the World Wide Web, some sites were pure billboards containing only an about page and contact information, e-commerce sites funded the operation through selling actual wares, but news/media/entertainment sites brought with them their previously trailblazed business model of giving away content and trying to recoup some of the cost with advertising. Later, VC-funded content silos took a page from early hobbyist web forums (that were mediocre reimagining of BBSes) and created login-walled playgrounds that funnel the content inward, making it easier to track, analyze, and monetize. It's no surprise that today's four largest display ad servers are Google, Facebook, Verizon/Yahoo/AOL, and Twitter.
Other business models only work for specialized players who can command some brand awareness and attract a discriminating customer willing to pay for quality (e.g. big-name or niche newspapers, streaming media sites, data brokers); and, as the HN meme goes, micropayments get much more interest from those who want to collect them than those who want to pay for them, so the everyman's market is full of me-too sites vying for limited attention, or captive content silos that re-create everything on the inside. The battle is largely lost, unless realistic progress is made in the web monetization space.
Luckily, there are no technical barriers to people banding together and making interoperable services like the way things used to be -- and keeping up the protocols that make that a reality. It's just that they will have to contend with the realities of playing in that space and competing with similar offerings that don't. Havens on the old web, or the old Internet for that matter still exist, just like amateur radio still exists along with public access television. It's just not where the mainstream attention-hours go.
> Can't mark things as read
> it could resurface at any time
There is such a provider and it's called Facebook, that is if you don't care about the open internet is exactly what you get.
What Facebook / Twitter / Blogger / etc. are good for is providing context - why should I be interested in something. Generally it's as simple as "I like Mr. X and he's interested in Y". They're also reasonable at finding new topics to explore, although if you dive deep enough it turns out that everything is interconnected and you'll find it anyway.
It's really hard to define "topic" or "noise" in a way that isn't based on search keywords or (facets of) people.
What I meant was that IRC is still alive and kicking.