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Also, unavailable to most people.

Yes, I suppose it was kind of nice when the internet was only available to the tech-savvy, to those who didn't mind maintaining a second job as a Unix administrator. But for people who just wanted to _write_, it was not welcoming.

Yes, you can go to wordpress.com and sign up for your own blog, but then you're just on the wordpress platform, and subject to their whims. If your plan works, then wordpress.com becomes so big that they're the bad guys now.

Facebook, Medium, and others are here because we, the tech world, didn't give the rest of the world any other options. We didn't settle on a standard, containerized server platform that was simple enough for users to drag "Wordpress.server" onto "SomeHostingProvider.com" and get a working server. The tech ceiling was _always_ too high, and it was our own hubris that we weren't willing to build a more welcoming environment.




I think the problem is not with being tech-savvy but with not wanting to spend anything. It isn't difficult to create a ready-made self-maintaining decentralized publishing tool in the form of a VPS image that people could run. But then people would need to pay for hosting the VPS (single dollars per month) and probably for the software, so that somebody maintains it (also single dollars per month).

I think people are too cheap for that and will rather throw their work into one of the black holes (like facebook), than pony up those dollars.


Also, what happens when I'm not around to pay those peanuts? All gone? Not acceptable to most people.


This is a weird line to argue from... What guarantees any platform you use (yes, even including wordpress) won't delete you data or terminate your service agreement? Even more laughable, if it was unfairly terminated, how can you argue when you are dead?

If you want longevity -- and want a VPS, just load up your vps (in the case of DO) wallet, pre-purchase out your domain name for a few years in advance and sit back. That's the best you are going to get, without paying somebody specifically. If you are popular enough, your stuff will be archived anyway.

But for heavens sake, if you actually have a need for post-life longevity for your content, put it in a will. Plan for death.


Your data should be local and in your backups. It's then posted somewhere publicly when you want to share it.


Didn't people used to say that sort of thing about music? That people are too cheap so they'll just pirate everything?

Maybe it's convenience that is required.


I agree that its not money that is the obstacle. But I dont know if its convenience either - there are platforms out there now that will let anyone host a website with less effort than sigining up for facebook and learning the platform.

Maybe the problem is that unlike buying, music making a website requires people to be creative and the majority of people are just not creative and don't wish to be creative.


I agree that convenience is required, but hosting has an inherent cost to it, which can't be ignored. Similarly, maintaining software (any software!) has a cost to it, which we do our best to ignore, but which in the long term needs to be taken into account, otherwise we end up giving our data to corporations which offer "FREE" hosting and software.


I don't recall it being hubris. What happened when Web browsers appeared is that there was a brief period when a university (usually you were at a university) would host your pages, and you could believe the decentralized dream (if you heard that part), but there was a sudden commercial gold rush, and motivations switched to greed (not hubris).

You didn't want to see X happen; you wanted you to get the money for X happening. And maybe that reduced to you want you to get the money, and X was a path to that, and the actual X didn't matter.

Also, there were relatively few people who already understood Internet, online, or software development at the time. Perhaps the majority of people pitching Web startups were all new to all of that.

CS department culture never recovered from the gold rush, and a lot of the gold rush ideas were institutionalized.


This is a very interesting angle, care to expand upon it? Which gold rush ideas do you feel where institutionalized?


I've not fleshed out his angle on this, but the first thing that came to mind was the gamification of every social interaction. "Ratio-ing" on TWIT comes to mind. There was a time when we measured threads by the level of social engagement (response) rather than like/share and it was a good thing to have hundreds of replies and sub-conversations.


The real reason this isn't available to most relates to today's DDoS supporting Internet.

Today everyone has to use a CDN to even try to defend against such attacks; and all they do is bulk filter the attack out while degrading the end user transparency of the service. Under 'load' some websites have to load an active filter page and execute code on the clients to authenticate that it's a valid client, rather than an attacker.

The proper solution is to identify compromised devices and isolate them from the Internet. For hosts under attack to use a side channel to the ISPs routing the packets to ask them: "Please do not send anything from X to me for a bit; unless they satisfy to you that a user is in control." The request should be 'signed' by an end user key, authenticated by their ISP, and filtering should begin at the edge of that ISP. If they feel it necessary, they too can send a request to their ISP. Until this escalates to the backbones. Then it can press further back, down to the compromised node. That would allow infected end users to be quarantined, informed, allowed to download security updates and some other limited website interactions (manufacturer websites for updated firmware, some after-market firmware sites/tool sites like OpenWRT/DD-WRT/Linux distros, etc).

Fix the DDoS issue, also fix the home upload bandwidth issue, and you too can host your own family photos/videos.


> fix the home upload bandwidth issue

The “home upload bandwidth issue” is “it's not a thing consumers demand, and we have business-class service for people who do have a need forit.”

I'm not sure what there is to solve...


> also fix the home upload bandwidth issue, and you too can host your own family photos/videos.

Not possible without investing literally dozens of billions of dollars into laying fiber - and no matter where you look, actual physical infrastructure like roads, bridges and public transport is outright decaying so where should that money come from, and where in the world do enough actual digging crews exist to lay all that fiber.

DSL simply is physically unable to do symmetric high speed and for coax/cable-tv internet there always remains the problem of oversubscription.

This is the core fuck up of our time.


Is there any other physical reason for asymmetric speeds except the asymmetric spectrum allocation? Either for coax or adsl?

People don't usually use much upload and providers don't want you to upload, so you get lower upload speeds vs. download speeds, even in hardware and standards.


I assume you are talking about the US. Seems like a pretty reasonable investment if you cut some military funding or put a small tax on the richest Americans?


IMHO, there is no shortage of ways the US government's spending allocation could be improved; doesn't mean any of them are politically viable.


Or maybe, ask those consumers to pay $200/month for the Internet that they use, instead of stealing other people's money?


Creating essential infrastructure is stealing but having military spending higher than the next seven countries COMBINED is business as usual.


Well, the United States Constitution obligates the government to do a fair number of things. Providing IT infrastructure for people wanting to self-host family photo albums is not one of those things.

There is a mechanism for amending the constitution of the United States if enough people want to elect representatives to force other people to pay for their upload bandwidth.

Military spending is a different bucket. If you object to Military Spending (and I do, as you appear to do), take it up over at the counter of not-false-equivalences.


I am aware of the reality, I was just making a facetious comment.

I'm not in the US. We have our own problems here in Australia. We did all pay for IT infrastructure but the government completely fucked it up as expected.


The whole Telstra privatisation, split-up-ification, semi-not really privitization, going public with monopolist rights thing was a little weird to watch from over here. But, hey! At least some "very important people" made a lot of money!


If you get your own domain for that wordpress.com hosted site, you're free to move to other hosting if you need to.

One option is to learn enough to do it yourself on a barebones server, but that's not the only option. A google search for "wordpress hosting" turns up several turnkey solutions that a person without a lot of tech background could move to if they were sufficiently displeased with something wordpress.com did.

I think this is a good model for the hosting/platform piece of the puzzle. I'm not sure anyone has a great answer for discoverability yet


So I have been putting together a way for people to more easily make their own blogging platform. It would kind of mimic a blog or social media platform, but since everything is committed to a repository using the JAMstack it could easily be converted to a fully managed platform. Any feedback would be wonderful. https://your-media.netlify.com/post/make-your-own-media/ Everything is owned by the end user. This is only providing a recipe for people to use. I will also mention that https://www.stackbit.com/ is doing basically the same thing but more from a “Make life easier for Website designers” perspective.


The problem these platforms solve is more discoverability than it is actual hosting.

A blog hosted somewhere on some user-owned server is not going to be easily discovered.


It never was too high, the bar for what constitutes an education in at least the US has been far too low for far too long.


>The tech ceiling was _always_ too high, and it was our own hubris that we weren't willing to build a more welcoming environment.

I hate this meme and other criticism like it. It belittles work accomplished (asserting that there was nothing done). Ascribes intent from that perceived outcome (that nobody even tried). And ascribes motivation for that intent (hubris).

I haven't found a better way to demoralize people from trying in the future than this sort of quip.


> The tech ceiling was _always_ too high, and it was our own hubris that we weren't willing to build a more welcoming environment.

Building a more welcoming environment is a mountain of work, and most people would prefer to get paid for it.

And monetizing your work becomes a lot easier when you are a company selling an end-to-end product, then when you're a lone dev working off donations.


I seem to remember being able to use something like geocities, or a cheap/free /~user/ hosts and FrontPage or similar to generate badly formed HTML that let me share a lot of ideas before I was deeply familiar with programming and specialty knowledge.

Yeah, I had to learn about FTP, and not much more. There was a lot of availability, and diversity without a lot of overhead to it.


Well, we already have numerous explanations of why things are the way are. Is there any proposal for changing the status-quo that people can get behind? That is always the stumbling block. Only a handful of people seem to be bold enough to let their convictions guide them..


jesus, man why are the top comments to posts like this always like this? Is everyone on HN that apathetic and jaded?




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