The aim of Aether is to deliver a real improvement in privacy to the masses. It explicitly chooses to be practical, with mass appeal, versus the narrow appeal of the instances you mention. (Well, at least try to do that.)
It would sure help to have a mobile app.
If the network is p2p, and nobody but me can delete my posts, how would you be able to deal with illegal content?
I’ll have a look, and I second the need for a mobile app. Reddit happens during train rides :)
Generally, you’re liable for the content your computer shares in all cases, so having that legality-based block list is a benefit to you. You can disable it, but you probably don’t want to.
All other deletions are just a flip switch away from being reverted. Ultimately, as the end user you have full control over both systems.
Again, the first system is is designed to be user reversible so disabling a mod is a fairly mundane, ordinary thing that can be done easily via the UI.
Disabling the badlist obviously takes more effort but a determined person would be able to disable it, I’d presume. Nevertheless, for the vast majority of people who don’t disable the badlist, they would still be protected against those who disable it since the filter would protect their computer from accepting or sharing that content. So even when badlist is disabled, the only people anybody who disables it can harm is themselves.
Basically, the badlist a courtesy provided on a best-effort basis, so that your computer doesn’t share sketchy content, because if it does, you are legally responsible for it.
This isn’t the best system probably, but until I find something that works better in practice, this is good enough. When it comes to these kind of things, hope is not a strategy.
(I'm pretty sure this is going to happen at a certain level of popularity.)
Even if you disable the badlist, you’d have to work hard to sync bad content that you don’t already have, since most normal clients would not share it.
If that's the Aether-company, we are still at their mercy to change rules around mods etc. any time? so there's not much value in the p2p except they save money on hosting and lure us in with the promise of p2p = independence?
Again, this has all been tested in the wild. It works just fine for ad filtering today.
edit: To make my point clear: it seems unfeasible to weed out bad actors without relying on good actors. Someone you place trust in (adblock list maintainers, p2p network filter maintainers) can make deals with who you try to avoid ('non-intrusive ads', mates). It's little better than letting the centralised host moderate, especially when the biggest moderators like Adblock are the ones we tell people to avoid. Otherwise it's just like PGP, perfectly designed to be never used.
We don't need a parental authority to protect us from seeing naughty images, we can take care of ourselves.
That said, you can still have it delete at a certain threshold. I know of a few large Silicon Valley companies that delete emails past 1.5-2y as a way of limiting their legal exposure. If you’re a 1000+ employee company, that is pretty much standard practice so long as you take care to not delete anything with a legal discovery hold.
Part of the problem, at least with voat and gab, is that those services were created to avoid the moderation that kept the "distasteful or hateful" content off mainstream services. I wonder if alternative services that start with communities that strongly want to keep that stuff out would fare better.
That's why pretty much every successful social network has a killer feature that everyone is potentially interested in, like Facebook's directories and news feed, or Twitter's microblogging concept, or Reddit's constantly updating Frontpage that'll give you the latest buzz on every topic you care about, or Instagram's photos-as-first-class-citizens concept.
"identical to reddit, but with less censorship of hate speech" just isn't going to make people turn their heads.
Aether proposes to store its entirety on your local drive, although it is all text content, links can still be dangerous to blindly store
There is one way around this: to actually not care about user growth. I don’t have any pressure to make this a big thing. I’ve received a very small amount of VC funding to make a private, business version of this, and that (Aether Business Edition) considers this community version effectively a goodwill exercise / marketing expense.
If it doesn’t get users because it doesn’t serve fringe people, great! Fewer headaches for me. I would rather have the community version a small group of nice people. That, to me, is success.
If you use this one, and if you like it, and want to have it as a Slack-like organic knowledge base / productivity tool for your company, that’s already a win for me.
(If you want to pilot the business version, hit me up at the email in my profile - I’m building it as we speak. It’s on a SaaS / on-prem backend, not P2P.)
> "You know what we found out during the temporary Voat exodus of r/Gundeals? As famously "toxic" as it is claimed the denizens of Voat are, they were completely drowned out once we hit ~1000 active users."
Building a new community only from rejects of a moderated one is probably still a dumb idea, and it's a great slatestarcodex article, but the popular notion that unmoderated communities will be necessarily overrun with undesirables is wrong - they're so few in number that "even" Voat could be saved.
Reddit, youtube, etc became extremely popular precisely because they weren't censored. But once they got huge, corporate and political interests took over and you got censorship.
It wasn't the "mainstream" that demanded moderation and censorship on these platforms, it was journalists and politicians working for powerful interests.
The problem with voat, gab, etc are manifold. Firstly, their owners aren't pushing content and making the site more interesting. People forget that the creators of reddit, youtube, etc initially worked hard to provide content on their platforms. One of reddit's founders did an AMA a while back explaining how most of the content on reddit in the beginning were linked by the founders and then their employees. It took a long time before reddit became popular enough for it to be entirely user generated. Secondly, voat, gab, etc are trying to break into a saturated industry that already has large monopolistic competitors. Reddit, youtube, etc didn't have that. Sure digg existed but they weren't in a monopolistic position and there was plenty of space to grow.
I hope they succeed but they have a much more difficult task trying to take market share from established companies. If they do succeed, they'll face the same problems that reddit, youtube, etc faced. Journalists and politicians hounding them to censor content at the behest of powerful interests.
The fundamental problem is still there. I'm still not see how any of these platforms have solved this problem. Reddit and youtube were just as devoted to free speech until journalists and politicians started spreading propaganda and attacking them. If reddit and youtube folded under pressure, why would voat, gab, etc be any different?
People forget how reddit staunchly defended free speech for years. If I remember correctly, their motto was "free speech platform". They aren't that anymore.
I... kinda get this argument for reddit, though only a bit. But this is just not true for Youtube. There was never a point where "well I wanted to put my video on X but Youtubue will actually let me do it without censoring" was ever true.
There's the recent stuff about monetization, but all that was happening way later! Not to mention that Youtube was huge even before ad revenue sharing was a thing on the platform.
Meanwhile, there are very well documented cases where lack of moderation on social networks lead to the people who actually make content taking their ball and going home.
The revisionism of "the internet used to have no mods and corporate money has ruined it all" is so exhausting to read over and over again. Even 4chan has had mods and janitors! Turns out that just letting the worst actors on a network be loud is not fun.
... They did what now? I find it hard to believe that half the stuff on there is "properly" licensed.
I can't parse this. Can you please state your point more clearly.
The implication of the original post was that YT's growth was in part thanks to some moderation policy that made it more attractive than alternatives. But to my understanding this was never the case, and YT's growth was from a bunch of other things. Including it basically being the only reliable option for a good part of its early life (how I remember things)
Hell, I remember doing an IAmA  in 2012 about having discovered Reddit the day it opened, back in July 2005. Hard to believe that it's been as much time since then as it had been between then and Reddit's founding.
Maybe, just maybe, letting everybody post everything is not actually desirable or responsible.
It's just a difference of semantics here... About what the inflection point is for "mainstream". I think there is a reasonable argument that moderation/centralization is needed to protect the "brand" once you get to a certain level of "mainstream".
I think it was great that they banned /r/jailbait and I think that the people who are often heavily moderating and shaping their subreddits are doing a valuable job.
I've been following /r/syriancivilwar for years and even though it is an incredibly sensitive and horrible subject it has incredibly contributions just because the mods have strict rules about content.
Censoring/moderating at the platform level just gets in the way and leads to inevitable conflict over who gets to decide on "distasteful". Give users the proper tools to follow and ignore others and it'll work itself out.
Another thing that stood out to me is when I went to download, I noticed immediately I'm dealing with a DMG. So I tried to find a link to github where I could take a look at the source, and found the "Open source" link in the footer. This just listed a bunch of libraries, but not the place to build myself if I wanted to. Maybe include a link to github .
Finally, when I did reach your github, there is a big notice:
What kind of metrics? And why isn't this in big text on your homepage? Can I disable it? Why do you need to keep metrics? 99 times out of 100 people will not be able to correctly anonymise metrics. I think this is a pretty a bad decision.
It looks like disk usage is capped at 10 GB.
> 99 times out of 100 people will not be able to correctly anonymise metrics.
It's open source - I would just take a look at the code.
This seems really misleading. If I can view it, I can save it. Enough people take data dumps from reddit that even if reddit decided to follow the same policy, it wouldn't mean "no one can stalk your decade’s worth of Reddit history and figure out where you sleep."
‘It keeps 6 months of posts by default. It's gone after. If something is worth keeping, someone will save it within six months — but not from beyond that.’
Yes, other tools might be better for information sharing, but Reddit as a conversation space and Google as a search tool over the top of it is valuable.
Happy to answer any questions, as usual.
Source code is here: https://github.com/nehbit/aether (I’ll update it with the latest release as soon as I can clean it up)
The way nodes talk to each other is plain old HTTPS (TLS v1.2). So I’m definitely not inventing my own crypto here, I’ve tried very hard to avoid that. The content on a node is public though, so this is transport encryption.
Scary in jurisdictions where possession is a strict liability offence.
The main difference between this and mine is that mine required accounts to have a certain amount of hashcash-style proof of work before they were accepted. This prevents people from creating a large number of dummy accounts, which means that banning someone actually has teeth, since they can't come back with a fresh account instantly.
Additionally, the posts were encrypted with the name of the community, so that you could make "private" communities simply by using hard-to-guess names.
I toyed with the idea of making hashcash style PoW required for posts, as well as accounts, but I gave up on the project before I got that far.
Which news specifically? Also, it might be useful for the blog posts to have a date at the top. I saw there was a “1 day ago” notation at the bottom, but having it at the top would be more convenient/conventional.
I started to use Usenet years back to download shows. Around 10 years ago it was unusable due to spam, now there's actually a few active newsgroups and some people came back to post so they could remain pseudoanonymous and not deal with upvote economy. For whatever reason, spam seems to have mostly gone away. The infrastructure is still quite robust and unlike Aether, posts stay up for many years.
Honestly, the only super annoying thing on Usenet today are noobs coming in from Google Groups and responding to threads started in the 90's.
What would really help is if there was a website I could explore the content on before hosting anything myself. Imagine there's many instances each with many users that all sync between each other, and of I lose trust of one I can seamlessly switch to another.
But of course this has been done before and died, so the point still remains of why people should switch.
(It’s more decentralised than Usenet - everyone is an ‘Usenet server’ in Aether, vs large university servers in the original Usenet)
Maybe you should add support for NNTP clients to make it even more like an updated Usenet.
I wish things like Reddit, HN, email servers, and everything else that handles threaded discussion would provide an NNTP interface. That would let the user use the same program for all of these things. They could still provide web interfaces for use in browsers, but those could internally use the NNTP interface.
I suppose this would be hard for Reddit and some of the others, because it would be hard for them to show ads over the NNTP interface, but for anything that is not ad supported give me NNTP.
So, basically, there's an opt-in "Dark Aether".
> The Linux version provided as a courtesy, it might work, but is completely unsupported.
And the Linux version is provided as a snap, which really works best on Ubuntu and doesn't work at all on some distros (due to the Snap people's poor decision to make snap have an unnecessary systemd dependency).
I really doubt you are going to make a lot of headway with a very 'techy' alternative to Reddit with such poor (and snippy) Linux support.
> ~100 people who use desktop Linux (I'm one of them) a generous 1 (rounded upwards) uses a non-systemd distro
You also may want to brush up on your arithmetic.
I'd suggest getting a refresher on sarcasm first.
That seems suboptimal. And what happens if you make a duplicate username while it's not being paid for, and then it gets paid for?
Not keyboard friendly at all.
Took me a couple of minutes to find subs. I was about to give up.
You cant have a Reddit without pictures/gifs. And it should open in the app.
This should be like sabnzbd, or couchpotato. A local software that you can access in the browser http://localhost:xxx/
It seems like I'm just moving to a less efficient platform with more open moderation and socialized bandwidth and storage costs.
It's not censorship resistant, but at least it tries to be transparent (all moderator actions are visible). I'm still not seeing how this would be any better than Reddit if a small group of people have centralized control over the content distribution.
I still think this is a really awful, completely useless product. I really like that HN & Reddit & Discord are persistent. It's very valuable to me and the general population to be able to search from stuff that happened years ago.
The worst comment history usually does is get you a snarky reply on Reddit. Losing your job for no good reason is bad, but showing support for those people is more of a solution. People will need to get used to other people not being perfect as far as opinions go, and that people's opinions can change.
I am very uninterested in Aether, the general population is not interested in Aether, and this will never catch on. The only people who care about this are a few tech people. Even people who get kicked off Twitter / Facebook / Reddit go on to centralized Gab / Voat / et cetera without a problem, this is not useful.
Edit: Also trivial for someone maliciously or otherwise to just archive stuff, so you lose the benefits and gain very little.
Someone needs to fork this so that it doesn't operate under any jurisdiction.
How exactly does this work?
I assume the first part means that you can disable certain mod and then the content deleted by him will be visible for you, but still invisible for others (if they didn't disable this mod)?
But what does it mean that I can choose a mod? Will it be my "personal" mode, i.e. the content removed by him will be invisible to me and me only, or will it be applied to everyone's content? So what stops everyone and their dog becomes mods eventually?
Sorry if my questions don't make sense, but I have no clue how it works from these words.
Like if a mod removes it and you don't follow that mod, then illegal content would still be distributed to your machine?
They also do have a moderation function already, although I can't really comment on how it's used in practice.
Moderation isn't an issue too early on.
Beyond that... For a decentralized network, if the different sub-reddits (essentially) are moderated by their creators, they should end up with their own cultures in time.
Good leadership is always key to building good communities.
Also, why the aether protocol in uris? Wouldn't that preclude browser support? Safelisting should happen for generic protocols, and apps demanding that of browsers will be a slippery slope.
Also, curious how this different from SSB channels. It seems very similar, but I could be wrong.
> Like Reddit, you can link to Aether from the web
> Here’s an example link:
> and Aether app is offered to you conditioned on your acceptance
> If you use this [...] App [...] You may not assign or otherwise transfer your account to any other person or entity.
> You are granted a non-exclusive, non-transferable, recovable license to access and use [...] Aether App
> You will not modify, publish, transmit, reverse engineer, participate in the transfer or sale, create derivative works, or in any way exploit and of the content, in or oin part, found on the Site or App.
While normally boiler plate I find this term particularly amusing given the whole focus on anti censorship
> Aether Technologies Inc. reserves the right to review materials posted to a Communication Service [App] and to remove any materials in its sole discretion.
This term seemed reasonable (apart from a EULA at all on a "open source" project) - until I saw the example. I'm sure I can do that on reddit.
> Don't break it, or do anything that interferes with its normal use. By way of example, and not as a limitation, do not post base64 encoded images (or similar) in text form
This part would just read like ass covering, except it's immediately followed by "In addition by [...] submitting your Submission, you are perpetually and nonrevocably licensing your Submission under Create Commons BY-SA license.". As such the only possible uses of it would seem to be abusive.
> by posting, uploading, inputting, providing or submitting your Submission [to the app] you are granting Aether Technologies Inc., our affiliated companies and necessary sublicensees permission use your Submission in connection with the operation of their Internet businesses including, without limiting, the rights to: copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, translate and reformat your Submission; and to publish your name in connection with your Submission.
In the best of practices it includes a mandatory arbitration agreement
> In the event the parties are not able to resolve any dispute between them arising out of or concerning these Terms and Conditions, or any provisions hereof, whether in contract, tort, or otherwise at law or in equity for damages or any other relief, then such dispute shall be resolved only by final and binding arbitration pursuant to [blah blah blah blah]
Just to be extra sure they won't be held accountable by the law they include a class action waiver (the caps are in the original)
> Any arbitration under these Terms and Conditions will take place on an individual basis; class arbitrations and class/representative/collection actions are not permitted. THE PARTIES AGREE THAT A PARTY MAY BRING CLAIMS AGAINST THE OTHER ONLY IN EACH'S INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN [BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH].
And just in case any arbitrators get any ideas
> Further, unless both you and Aether Technologies Inc. agree otherwise, the arbitrator may not consolidate more than one person's claims, and may not otherwise preside over any form of a representative or class proceeding.
Maybe this sentence is supposed to just apply to content from Aether itself? If so the wording does not actually say that.
Pleasantly surprised I found no mention of blockchain$$$ anywhere, but this probably can still change
tl;dr: I concur on the pain, and I’m working on it.
It may protect the site, but it doesn't protect users.
The app keeps using 100% of my IO for 20 minutes now, writing to files like "KVStore.kv" and "searchindex/store". If I had an SSD I would close it, afraid of it frying the disk.
Eventually I complained to K-Software (the reseller) and the guy then referred me to some account rep or something with a Western name. Then she sent me instructions which I followed and uploaded their notarized form. Which the instructions did not even say to upload the documents, just the notarized form. Then they said nothing and I eventually asked them what was going on. Then the Comodo rep replies and first of all does not acknowledge that I uploaded anything, 100% contradicts what was in the instructions, saying that not only the form needed to be notarized, but every individual page. I told the K-Software guy I was not going back to the notary. Then he calls them, I wait, I email him again, then they say I have to have my phone number in a valid third party registry. But they don't say what the ___ is a valid third party registry. And they never said that was required before -- I gave them the phone bill with my phone number on it.
Anyway it took almost two months and maybe thirty emails before I finally got it.
AFAIK that will never happen because authenticode signing certificates are all essentially EV certificates, because they require verification of an individual's (or company's) identity. That's very expensive to do compared to DV certificates that letsecrypt currently issues, which have essentially $0 marginal cost.