Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Lemmy, an open-source federated Reddit alternative, gets funding for development (lemmy.ml)
943 points by jasonbourne1901 9 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 634 comments





How is lemmy going to avoid the fate of the last reddit alternative (voat)? Voat attracted the communities banned from reddit, e.g the worst of the worst: jailbait, creepshots, beatingwomen, etc. The users most interested in an alternative to reddit are on average, the exact wrong type of user to help with the growth of a healthy community. I don't see any information on how being "federated" solves the hard problem of toxic communities, especially given that is the userbase it will attract.

I don't view lemmy as I did voat.

When I saw lemmy my first thought was that I wanted to host my own instance of this once federation works.

I'm already hosting mastodon and synapse instances for the community. I believe strongly in hosting small federated community instances. This hobby costs me about 80USD/mon.


> costs me about 80USD/mon

That sounds like it would immediately exclude a huge number of potential participants from doing something similar.


I wasn't particular enough. I pay around 80USD/month for a 4G/2CPU/3node k8s cluster where I'm able to host Mastodon, Synapse, Riot-web and Elasticsearch. Included in the price is a persistent volume of 20G and object storage for media.

The media storage is dirt cheap but it grows with the instance and users. One major issue some instance admins have is a lot of users uploading a lot of data.

My instance is very small and also blocked registrations to EU.

I expect to have enough capacity left over in my existing cluster to also host lemmy.


You don't need (and probably don't even want) every single participant doing this.

A given community can pool money on a server of their own, and federate it with other communities' servers if they want.


You can host a mastodon instance on a small server that doesn't cost this much, and you can pool the money with a few friends to have your own community for a few €/month :).

I remember people doing it with TeamSpeak, Minecraft, Counter-strike, etc. server, its the same !


That sort of cost is not necessary unless you're hosting a larger community. I run synapse (for myself, but it's idling at quite a low load so it could easily support more people) on a $10 USD/month Linode. For personal use you could get by on a $5 Nanode, but I'm using my VPS for other things, too.

The great thing about federation is that you don't have to host an entire community; just a slice of it.


Mastadon question. If there any way to search mastadon instances? It seems discoverability is an issue.

No not all instances, unless you write a script using their API.

The public timeline of all instances is by default public, without authentication. So technically you could scrape them.

Also I must advocate relaying. ActivityPub relays are very simple servers that receive all posts from any subscribed instance. Not just mastodon either, multiple AP services supported.

And then relays those posts to all subscribed instances.

Relaying does wonders for the public timeline of a small localized instance.


Thank you, INTPenis.

Their first rule would block most of that and seems to make it pretty clear they don’t want to host those communities:

> No bigotry - including racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, or xenophobia. Code of Conduct.

Code of conduct links to https://github.com/LemmyNet/lemmy/blob/master/CODE_OF_CONDUC...

Their rules are a lot stricter than Reddit’s. I’m not sure how that in practice works with it being federated, but assuming their rules are enforceable and enforced it looks like they’re just not interested in that content.


They lump porn (presumably also artistic nudity) along with hate speech, racism and so on as banned discourse. You're not even allowed to have a sexual alias.

This is not necessarily a bad thing for users - I often wish for a place similar to hacker news but with a wider range of topics - however, it almost certainly means they will never reach Reddit levels of popularity.

I do think that Reddit fills an important niche - a place where any topic is open for discussion, including porn and other forbidden topics like drugs. It's just unfortunate that the company currently ruling this niche is so morally bereft that they can't tell the difference between open discussion and fueling hate speech.


"difference between open discussion and fueling hate speech"

Do you have a crystal clear definition then, on where is exactly the difference?

I doubt there exists one.


Yes, real world problems are hard.

I'm not sure what point you're trying to convey though?

We can't just say, "The boundaries of hate speech are unclear, so we'll do nothing and have uncensored speech." This experiment has been tried over and over again, with uniformly bad results.


Early Reddit isn't what what most would call a "bad result". Ditto for early 4chan and for a lot of smaller communities that have very little restrictions on content beyond civility and anti-spamming.

The problem is that having uncensored speech doesn't scale, because eventually you'll become big enough to attract media scrutiny, which inevitably cherry-picks the worst parts of the user base. This cause 1) advertisers to pull out and 2) starts attracting more of the wrong type of users.


My point was, that it is hard and the lines are blurry.

But actually I do believe in the concept of unrestricted speech.

But I really don't know when was the last time, that was tried. There were times, when certain topics were ok to speak freely about, like racism, yes, but at those times other topics were restricted, so what exactly are you talking about?


There's a difference between largely unrestricted speech legally (being free from gov censorship) and having an unmoderated online community. Moderation is a good thong when done correctly, it raises the quality of the conversion by keeping bad actors and off-topic/toxic comments /post out. There's value in both tightly moderated and loosely moderated communities/spaces.

Do you know anywhere with truly unrestricted speech?

The US has the freest speech that I know of (granted it’s also the only model that I’m so familiar with), and even it has plenty of restrictions:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exce...


The restrictions on speech in the US are confined to “imminent lawless action”, per Brandenburg v Ohio. I think the commenter to whom you are replying might be entirely fine with Reddit’s speech policy following that precedent.

And no, shouting “fire!” in a crowded theater is not illegal and is protected by the First Amendment.


But you can't shout fire in crowed theater with the intent to cause chaos. You can shout fire in a crowded theater, if there is an actual fire.

Yes you can! That argument was made in a SCOTUS argument that has since been unanimously overturned.

https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/11/its-tim...


Great read, thanks for posting. I had mistakenly thought this for a while too.

Wow. So the argument was first successfully used to jail peaceful socialists and anti-war activists, but was later overturned for benefit of the KKK.

Yup. Today, the law benefits peaceful socialists, anti-war activists, AND the KKK — which is a big win for free speech, in my books.

> I do believe in the concept of unrestricted speech.

Including illegal things?


What do you mean by that?

In Saudia Arabia it is illegal to say, God does not exist. (and in germany under special circumstances, too - meaning, if enough people would get angry at you saying that, it would be illegal for you to say so)


> I do think that Reddit fills an important niche - a place where any topic is open for discussion

This used to be the case years ago but Reddit is anything but open now. It's a giant echo chamber and if you harbor unpopular beliefs or opinions you are not welcome.


Once federation works, porn-related instances can do what they want and you can federate with them if you want.

they did just remove r/theDonald so obviously not just any topic is open for discussion. Basically you can talk about any color as long as it's blue.

That sounds like it applies to contributing to the source, not to users of the software, or they really want to make sure that there are few "what programming language should I use" flame wars with rules like Respect that people have differences of opinion and that every design or implementation choice carries a trade-off and numerous costs. There is seldom a right answer.

True, but the things about bigotry and harassment seem more likely to apply to the site, unless big projects get weirdly abusive issues or PRs. And it is linked from rule 1 on the website, I’m guessing the website rules isn’t referring to rules for contributing. I think maybe it’s both. I certainly don’t get the impression they want to be a Voat style ‘Reddit for after you’re banned’, regardless.

I understood the general goal the same way.

As for CoC: I believe it's more of a signalling act than a reaction to past issues. Just like the KKK would add "no race mixing" to the rules, a left wing open source project needs to signal to their in group, and their main way of doing that is to say "no harassment based on [some criteria]".


"No harassment" qualifies as left wing signalling now?

Adding a code of conduct of that specific kind ("no being mean about weight" etc) not as a reaction to actual issues you've faced, but from the get go? Yeah, and it's a reliable signal as well. Inclusivity is one of the progressive core tenets.

Inclusivity is core to democracy, and to call that progressive in 2020... Its just doing your due diligence in the face of software dev now being done by an ever diverse population. Any association will have house rules, often with very similar stipulations, and now software projects are doing the same, such that the wheel doesn't have to be reinvented.

No, it's really not. Democracy can function just fine without everybody being included everywhere.

I don't have an issue with it if anyone finds inclusivity to be the most important issue, but it is a progressive policy, not "core to democracy". Please stop moralizing your personal political convictions. No, you're not a good person because of random political beliefs you happen to have, no, people who don't share those beliefs are not bad persons, and no, democracy does not rely on everyone sharing your beliefs.


It can function that way, its however no democracy but aristocracy. You could pick up a book on this subject to brush up your knowledge.

Ancient Athens had a democracy. It also had slavery. And of course women are more like children than full adults, so they're weren't allowed to vote too.

Democracy does not require Universal Suffrage.

Also fun quote from Wikipedia: In its original 19th-century usage by reformers in Britain, universal suffrage was understood to mean only universal manhood suffrage

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_suffrage


"No harassment based on certain criteria". The old FreeBSD code of conduct is a good example. Instead of having a blanket ban on harassment, it listed specific criteria that you couldn't harass someone about.

You probably saw the brackets in the quote. I imagine those were added by the poster.

Some subreddits were banned because other disliked the content. Like watchpeopledie. While the sub was disgusting banning it was for me the last nail in the coffin of social networks which decide what is the best for me. While I still use Reddit I'm looking for an alternative without the built-in censorship.

This is a really good point. Today most (if not all) social media platforms seem to be relying on a central or centralised moderation system. Meaning that the limits of the Overton window are defined by a small set of people rather than the community itself. Here, I purposefully state 'the community' rather than 'representatives of the community' as these are two very different things. Reddit for example is moderated by 'members of the community'.

If we're to take reddit as an example moderation happens by individuals rather than all members of the community. And as such it is open to abuse whether it happens or not.

I thought about this for a long time and decided to write up what I would consider to be an acceptable framework for any given social media platform which would:

1. Help define the Overton window in a more organic fashion

2. Allow the platform to function within different jurisdictions.

3. Remove the overhead of central administration and opinion checking.

If it helps, I wrote it up here: https://gist.github.com/TheMightyLlama/bb77a05d3dde4da251142...


> Meaning that the limits of the Overton window are defined by a small set of people rather than the community itself.

I wonder if that's even the case, or if the range of allowed opinions is rather set by advertisers and investors. If Reddit had a very large, very lucrative Pro-Life community that essentially "kept the lights on" by providing high ad revenue, I doubt that they wouldn't cater to that community's wishes. They lean strongly to the left, because their audience does, and they want their audience to be happy so they stay and watch ads on their site.


This is not true. It’s because they and their employees are ideological and believe in their own moral superiority. The media in general is not leaning strongly to the left as a business decision. They are run by people that are intolerant ideologues who morally can’t allow counter arguments and opinions to be heard or seen.

If you feel restricted by rules preventing you from being hurtful towards others, the problem is you, not the rules.

If you can't speak out or express thoughts against the rules, you are ceding your own ability to ever change the rules. Allowing a small subset of people to control the rules for the masses has never, will never, and could not ever work in a free society.

The small groups of Twitter and Reddit moderators are far too small to ever represent the diversity of human thought. You may think the rules prevent harm today, but what happens if and when they encourage harm tomorrow? What if the rules turned against you? Wouldn't you want to be able to speak out?

This just feels like a rehash of the "think about the children" argument. We should not base human communication on the idea that some grown adult somehow somewhere could have such an adverse reaction to your content that they suffer serious mental or physical harm. Especially when said communication is hidden behind NSFW spoilers and other appropriate trigger warnings. Nobody could have possibly stumbled upon r/watchpeopledie and thought it was anything other than what it said it was.


Not all rules are created equal. Reciprocity in outcome is an important differentiator and fundamental to a functioning democracy. To equate a rule like 'no guns allowed' with 'all people are granted to right to vote' would be silly and naive.

I think there is a dichotomy here, one is rules, the other is ethics, both are different discussions.

For instance, can an ethical case be made for watching people die? Is there any benefit to be gained from this beyond the first novelty factor. (A rhetorical question, just to note that the ethical debate precedes rule making)


Ideally an ethical debate would precede rule making. But last I checked nobody who didn't already work at Reddit was involved in making those rules; there was no site-wide referendum, no discussion with users, no warning that these decisions were being made.

Every other social media giant operates the same way. To my knowledge no mainstream social network has ever polled its users for changes to its community policing model. Which is crazy, because in actual society we all have the right to vote, but online we are beholden to nameless moderators and provided no representation whatsoever. It's entirely up to chance whether your case gets seen by someone who would be sympathetic to you (assuming it even gets seen by a person instead of some glorified regex matcher posing as 'AI').

I know in tech we like to outsource lots of hard problems, but nobody should accept outsourcing their moral framework to Twitter, Inc. or Condé Nast.


> Which is crazy, because in actual society we all have the right to vote, but online we are beholden to nameless moderators and provided no representation whatsoever.

I think the decision of users to continue to spend their valuable free-time using these social media sites is their vote in this scenario.

And I don’t mean that to come across as a flippant dismissal, I really don’t. When we consider those who like to say they simply want a place to explore unpopular ideas, people are correct to question why they keep coming back to these sites.

The wider internet has no shortage of places for these people to explore the craziest ideas imaginable, and if there isn’t a place for some idea, it takes minutes to spin a server up with already packaged freely available open-source platforms.

People are voting with their valuable free-time to go back to these platforms, it is personal preference in action.


Why do we need to make an ethical case for it?

I don't feel the need to make an ethical argument for or against HN


>If you can't speak out or express thoughts against the rules, you are ceding your own ability to ever change the rules. Allowing a small subset of people to control the rules for the masses has never, will never, and could not ever work in a free society.

That's funny, I find the moderators stifle talking about the rules on Hackernews via secret shadowbans, post rate limiting, and other secret punishments...yet here you are.


Nobody "stifles talking about the rules". We answer questions every day.

When we ban an account, we don't shadowban it unless it is relatively new and shows signs of spamming or trolling, or being related to past abuses [1]. When an account has an established history, we say that we're banning it and why [2].

We rate limit accounts when they post too many low-quality comments too quickly and/or get involved in flamewars [3]. We're happy to take the rate limit off (and often do) when people give us reason to believe that they'll use the site as intended in the future. Emailing hn@ycombinator.com is the best way to do that.

Creating accounts to get around these restrictions is obviously a repetition of the original abuse and will get your main account banned as well if you keep doing it, so please don't do that.

[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

[2] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...

[3] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...


the fact that you don't inform users of shadowsbans an rate limiting without due process is pretty stifling. it's the reason i have this account, as I'm sure you know.

It's very clear that this is YOUR community. I don't think that's a bad thing, community wise. Just own it. It's OK. Being dictator-like isn't bad if you have clear goals and limited scope. It's just unfortunate that one of your goals is to squelch those who have unpopular opinions. And I'm not talking about neo-nazi white supremacy bullshit, it's clear you support that edge.


People who don't want to admit that we've banned (or rate limited) them for breaking the site guidelines always strike a noble posture as "those who have unpopular opinions" and accuse us of secretly siding with their enemies. The commenters you accuse us of supporting say exactly the same things and then some. They certainly don't think they're "supported".

The tell in comments like this is that they never come with the links that would let readers make up their own minds, since that would reveal the rest of the story.


> That's funny, I find the moderators stifle talking about the rules on Hackernews via secret shadowbans, post rate limiting, and other secret punishments...yet here you are.

I'm on HN because dang and the others in charge of moderating repeatedly make good faith efforts to explain their moderation philosophy and keep the rules updated and visible.

If Twitter and Reddit moderators were as public as dang were I would feel far more comfortable relying on them to make decisions for me.


I think most people would interpret "hurtful to others" as incitement to violence, but in practice what is being enforced is a much weaker, blurry and often political standard of hurting other peoples feelings.

If you can't comprehend that hurtful is completely subjective you should not be writing any rules.

Just because something is subjective doesn’t mean it doesn’t have merit.

Most things in the world outside of pure mathematics are subjective. If you’re looking to do nothing if it involves subjective decision making, nothing would ever get done.

All around us, all day every day, we look at a problem, we take the best info and expertise available to us, and we make a judgement call.

The fact that almost always some level of subjectivity exists doesn’t mean we do nothing.


It's probably not possible in the current universe of the web, at least not without significant attention spent solely on this issue. In general a larger social network has more value if it can help you find people who share each of your interests, e.g. there is a subreddit for all things. There will always be a group of people who are drawn to new tech, but it needs to somehow actually solve a real problem that the old website didn't for most people to try it more than once.

New platforms do solve the "oh no I've been deplatformed from Reddit" problem for... people who've been deplatformed from Reddit, so certainly it has real value for them. If Reddit swings the moderation hammer too hard, that could be certainly become a draw, but as it stands Reddit has actually banned very few communities, considering.

Getting people to use a new website in any significant numbers is really hard, and there aren't that many examples of communities that have managed it in the time the internet has been alive. It's impressive that any have managed to stay relevant for more than a couple years.


> there is a subreddit for all things.

1. It needs to position itself as something other than not-reddit

2. There are a lot of issues Reddit really doesn't solve. Reddit encourages short, pithy, drive-by posts without much in the way of engagement at all. Compare old newsgroups, old forums, or even the average post here, compared to the average post (even in a niche sub) on reddit. Reddit:??Mysteryreplacement::Twitter:Blogs. I don't know what ??Mysteryreplacement will be, but there's certainly room for it.


heck, how is it going to avoid reddit's toxicity as well ? Some of the echo chambers on Reddit itself today are still very disturbing.

It can work - compare Mastodon to Gab or Parler, for example.

To me those interested in an alt-reddit are interested because they want an alternative to the echo-chamber that is reddit. Those you mention could be found on any site & just have to be banned.

Voat went out of their way to welcome banned communities.

If you find yourself collecting them too, ban them.


Because Lenny has a unique offering besides escaping the current Reddit regime: owning your own data. That’s a completely different motivator.

I believe this is more of a problem for centralized services - federation gives freedom to the user to choose the level of moderation/censorship they want - if you find certain communities distasteful, you can just join servers that block these communities.

I think it is important however to have a strong emphasis on the separation of the servers from the protocol though - no one seems to care that Nazis could use email to have their own mailing lists.


The problem is no one used the federated services.

more than you'd think! https://fediverse.network/

A drop in the ocean. Needs to be a couple of orders of magnitude greater to start becoming significant.

I like to compare the fediverse with the forums, TeamSpeak server, and nowaday discord server. It is not suppose to be a huge service with everybody on it a la Facebook, but rather a lot of small community that can interconnect to each other :) .

Everybody use to run a PhpBB or alternative for their own community. I remember being part of multiple of them in the early 2010. A lot of them got replaced by subreddit or facebook page, and this is what the fediverse can replace. Not the whole of reddit or Facebook, but if you want a place for you and your friends to organize your dnd party, run your minecraft server, talk about passion X or Y, the fediverse can do that :) .


When it is useful to even just one person, it is useful.

Open Source doesn't need 'masses' in order to 'be successful. A lot of people make the mistake of applying generic economics to Open Source and related communities.

A federated mastodon or Lemmy instance is successful the moment one or more people use and enjoy it, nothing more. It does not need to have huge audiences to advertise to. It does not need to have Big Data to mine and sell. It doesn't need to pay employees, offices and bonuses. All it needs is one person enjoying it. Or two people having a meaningful interaction, to be successful .


Sure but Lemmy is part of the fediverse. It even says so in the title.

Nothing can prevent terrible people from using an open source project. Meanwhile, Reddit doesn't do much of anything about this problem either. For, example /r/metacanada exists, and white supremacists from there are also moderating /r/canada subbreddit, Reddit hasn't taken any action on that. At least the developers of Lemmy are very clear [1] about their stance regarding nazis, that's more than I can say for Reddit. It's also worth noting that Mastodon has millions of users now, and it clearly isn't attracting the worst people. In fact, I find it's a far healthier and friendlier community than Twitter.

[1] https://dev.lemmy.ml/post/34286


The situation on /r/canada is heartbreaking. Over recent weeks, almost every attempt to post a news article involving civil rights or anything overtly related to Black, LGBTQ+ or Indigenous issues has been immediately zeroed down, and in many cases then removed by a mod (their favourite method is to just hit the "dupe" button on all posts about a given news item or opinion piece, claiming they're all dupes, and not leaving one up).

If you make the mistake of discussing this on any other Canadian related sub where the /r/canada mods frequent, they'll ban you for life and say that you were "brigading."


in case you didn't know, come to /r/onguardforthee, the sane and inclusive Canadian subreddit

Looking at the mod list of /r/canada [0]. and /r/metacanada [1], I'm not seeing any overlap of mods.

Am I missing something?

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/canada/about/moderators/ [1] https://www.reddit.com/r/metacanada/about/moderators/


The Reddit admins don't meddle in who moderates what. They'll take action on subreddits against the ToS but if someone's a mod on both /r/EvilShitThatsProbablyIllegal and /r/Kittens it's not something they're going to do anything about — and rightly so, IMO.

The problem is that /r/metacanda is a hate sub for white supremacists by white supermacists. Apparently that's well within Reddit ToS though.

What is an example of a “White Supremacist” message on there? Not seeing anything supremacist in the first 10 or so top messages.

Nazis tend to have a lot of dog-whistles, and it's hard to keep up with them, but I tend to assume that any site that includes direct slurs ('retard', etc) with a lot of more subtle symbols (pepe everywhere, 'globalists') and a lot of content ridiculing various minorites and 'leftists' is probably a Nazi hangout.

Taking such a strong proselytizing stance when it comes to Antifa is not exactly a good look in my eyes either as the entire situation reeks of thinking "Antifa" only means "Anti-fascist." I subscribe strongly to the horseshoe theory and Antifa is closer to those they purportedly fight against than most people are comfortable with admitting.

But hey, that's the beauty (and ugliness) of federation: I don't have to like it and I can just start my own server. On the flipside, it also means I need to be beholden to a considerable amount of social rules, some of them unwritten, if I want to federate with the majority of the servers out there. I know how it goes, I've seen it first-hand when it comes to ActivityPub instances. That's how you get cliques.


How on earth is being against fascism and being for fascism similar in any regards at all

In fact, I'd argue that anybody who's not explicitly anti-fascist is at the very least comfortable with fascism.

I am anti-fascist. Neo-Nazis and anyone who espouse similar views will get absolutely no love from me. That doesn't mean I stand with Antifa.

>I am anti-fascist

>That doesn't mean I stand with Antifa.

Do you know what antifa is short for


Time for you to move to move to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

After all, it's all in the name!

https://ifunny.co/picture/we-call-ourselves-the-anti-bad-guy...


So, do enlighten us, what exactly do you claim antifa actually stands for if you're saying they're not acting in the spirit of their name?

Antifa is a decentralized organization of people fighting against fascism. They don’t have a positive ideology, literally the only thing that unifies them is anti fascism. Communists, anarchists, and liberals may all call themselves antifa

Using that logic Republicans could call themselves antifa since almost everyone, Republicans included, is against fascism. It's when you define "fascism" as anything right of Trotsky that people start have issues with your ideology.

Fascism is not he only form of authoritarianism. Many people commit thuggery and intimidation against people who hold normal everyday views in the name of anti-fascist action. The name of a movement doesn't mean it can't be coopted for other purposes/drift from its original purpose. Just like the nature/culture of subreddits change over time.

If you think antifa is targeting “normal everyday views” I’m concerned about what sort of views you think those are. Do you think that neonazi and alt right organizations hold “everyday normal views”? That’s what antifa targets

If you think The Spanish Inquisition is targeting “normal everyday views” I’m concerned about what sort of views you think those are. Do you think that not acknowledging God as our one true saviour and creator and those jewish/muslim/eastern-orthodox/atheist organizations hold “everyday normal views”? That’s what the Spanish Inquisition targets?

Nothing wrong with communities like that as long as you keep them segregated like reddit does with each of its subreddits.

If those start creeping into your politics, memes, and video game subreddits, then yeah you’ve got a rough problem.


>Nothing wrong with communities like that as long as you keep them segregated like reddit does with each of its subreddits.

Which wasn't enough as I understand since those communities would en-mass attack other communities that they disagreed with.


To be fair, this seems like a generally true case of how subreddits work. Leftist subs brigade, Conservative subs brigade, star wars subs brigade, subs about watching other subs brigade still brigade. It's unsolvable so long as people that disagree are allowed to freely access each other's reddits (not that that's a bad thing).

This is what happens all across the web, regardless of software. Raiding. IRC raids, forum raids, etc. Sometimes it's for fun, sometimes it's more malicious. Most software has ways to mitigate it. Temporarily closing new registrations, invite only registrations, throttling, IP bans, etc. Just like DDoS attacks, there is no true solution to this since that's how the public web and internet works.

The problem is when those communities constitute more than half of your users, they generally do creep into all of the other subreddits.

See: 4chan. It wasn't always like it is now, but since /pol/ grew to be so big, now pretty much every board has a sizable or majority far-right contingent. It's even worse on Voat.


> nothing wrong with pedophilia or nazis

You’ve got to give people a space to consider both sides of every argument. Better to cordone off that space than have that discussion elsewhere.

If you tell someone NEVER GO INTO THE LAST DOOR ON THE THIRD STORY, they’ll endlessly wonder what’s inside. If you show them that it’s your amateur paintings, they’ll never care again.


Insert paradox of intolerance here.

We want to act like we are purely rational beings, and maybe some of us operate on that level consistently, but those of us that do not, even for a moment, are ripe to have their animal brains taken advantage of for evil.


That isn't the paradox of tolerance. That's you, the upper-class intelligentia, deciding the fate of the subhuman masses.

The paradox of tolerance is an iffy justification. It's an anecdotal testament of someone who survived the Holocaust, IIRC. Not to minimize the Holocaust or any part of it. That said, as far as I've seen, there's no established historical pattern that fascism is a function of societal tolerance of intolerant ideologies.

bit of a difference between educating people about nazism vs. giving actual neo-nazis a space to use for communication and recruitment.

> consider both sides of every argument

No. Please let's stop with the "both sides" fallacy.

This is what the parent poster wrote:

>> the worst of the worst: jailbait, creepshots, beatingwomen

There is no "argument" being debated here. Only victims being harmed (more) by the sharing of the pictures.


Nobody wonders whats inside the door of pedophilia and nazism. We know. It's well documented.

[flagged]


Just make sure your handle isn't tied to your real name.

I don’t need to have a discussion with a guy who beats his wife because he never got help for his PTSD to know it’s wrong. Giving it a platform treats it like a point of view and not a gross fucking crime.

I don’t need to talk to a Nazi to know that gassing Jews and gays is wrong.

People seem to think that there are some unexplored ideas here that merit further discussion. We have already established that this shit is not what we want. Those in doubt can read accounts of domestic violence victims or a couple of history books to educate themselves.


And here is where the SpeakWrite machine was given authority to rewrite history in order to satisfy "The Grinning Fox" as Malcom X puts it.

If you don't want to talk to those people, then don't. But to stand there and claim to speak for all of us and claim you are the authority on what topics are authorised for discussion is such an disgusting level of narcisistic meglomania that needs to be stamped out.

You're just a Totalitarian, and you should be put on a podium along side your historial commrades (and their outcomes) for all to hear and see.

This shit has happened before, and many millions were silenced into the siberian wastelands for it.


I have no idea what I just read but I’m pretty sure that even if it was a cohesive thought that it is incorrect. Look, if you want to spend your time building a platform helping extremist groups communicate and coordinate, go right ahead. I think that’s a bad idea, and yes I am fairly certain I am right. Also, as someone who lived in an actual totalitarian regime, I think I know when I see a bad faith usage of totalitarianism in an argument.

> We have already established that this shit is not what we want.

Ah, yes. "We were wrong about morality all those other times throughout history but THIS time we're right! Forever and ever!"

Also, the things being banned are nowhere as far outside the Overton Window as your strawmen.


Sorry, what? Are you really saying that Nazis, racists, and men who beat women have an ideology worth discussing? Seriously?

It’s just standard “both sides” crap

Bothsidism is a straw man argument designed to present arguments that compare practical effects of different ideologies in bad faith and give rhetoric to people who have no business making the argument in the first place.

Dismissing an argument based on rhetorical sophistry is keeping your head in the sand while trying to get others to do the same. It’s reckless.


You might not need to talk to that guy to know beating his wife was wrong. But talking to him may make you realize he’s in a lot of pain, and that he’s been hurt by a system larger than both of you. That doesn’t absolve him of guilt but I think pragmatically it gives us a better shot at preventing such things in the far future.

You don’t have to browse Nazi forums to know that gassing Jews is wrong. But you may start to discover the reasons why these (mostly) young men are so angry, which I posit allows one to do more to prevent the spread of such ideologies.


> talking to him may make you realize he’s in a lot of pain, and that he’s been hurt by a system larger than ...

I'd look at fat-people-hate and beat-women subreddits more like bank robberers planning their next attack on a bank, discussing weapons, and having a good time looking at viedos of robberies from the past.

Then you can visit them and tell them "But it's wrong to rob banks, it's not your money and think of the poor people working in the bank, they'll get PTSD".

Or you say "Let's discuss the big underlying systematic problem that is larger than all of us, and makes you rob banks, and how to solve it"

Then you get banned from that subreddit, and the bank robberers continue enjoying robbing banks.


> Then you get banned from that subreddit, and the bank robberers continue enjoying robbing banks.

Bank robbers don't rob banks because they enjoy robbing banks. Bullys don't bully because "omg wow have you tried bullying it so great".

I'm all with you that bullying sucks, but if you want bullying to stop, you better damn well understand the motivation. If you reach for "they are just evil people", you're not thinking hard enough.


There is a difference in talking to someone to understand a problem and providing a communications platform for them to connect to other bullies in order to form a community that validates the practice. How in the world is that so difficult to see?

Say you build walkie talkies, and a member of the KKK shows up and says he needs 100 of them because they are rioting in a black neighborhood tonight and need a way to coordinate their plans. Do you say “sure in fact take some for free!” just so you can listen in to understand exactly how they are terrorizing their black neighbors, or do you tell them to fuck off because you don’t want to provide tools to a hate group?


> But you may start to discover the reasons why these (mostly) young men are so angry, which I posit allows one to do more to prevent the spread of such ideologies.

The hypothesis that forums dedicated to the spread of neo-Nazism can be effectively used in such a way actually help the world do more to prevent the spread of such ideologies is largely unproven.

Unlike the fact that the dissemination and social reinforcement of Nazi propaganda is an efficient way to help people in a lot of pain 'realize' that the 'real' cause of their problem is Jews.


What you say has a kernel of truth to it, but I think you are thinking of the wrong tool for the job. There was a well studied psychological phenomenon (sorry I can’t recall the name of the researchers at the moment) where if you put people of similar ideology in a room together and let them converse for a period of time, they will come out of that room holding more extreme views than they went in with, down to holding views that are more extreme than the view of their most extreme member going in. This happen every day on Reddit. Take /r/conservative. Theoretically, a great place to get a conservative point of view and discuss how it might clash with something opposite it. In practice, it has become a safe bubble. If you express a strong liberal viewpoint or identify as a liberal, you will get banned. Ask how I know. And at that point why would anyone outside that bubble go visit it, and why would anyone who is there leave? It creates the exact opposite effect of what you are describing.

Also, again, I am happy to fund research on why men beat women (or any person of any gender beats any other gender, though let’s face it, most times domestic violence is by men against women), but I don’t need 1000 angry men trying to justify to me and each other why it’s ok.

And that’s my point: the web allows us to give voice to those who haven’t been heard before. If a former Nazi wants to explain why he did what he did and why he walked away from it, we should give them voice and listen. If a current incel wants to detail his struggles and ask for help, we should lend an ear. But what help can be given to a man who beats his wife by 1000 men who do the same and think it’s totally justified? What possible good comes of helping them reinforce their beliefs while providing tools to exclude all external points of view?

Lastly, yes it is true that some points of view are just wrong. There are in fact bad ideas. Eugenics is a bad idea. Racism is a bad idea. Misogyny is a bad idea. We can let the academics study it and the therapists try to fix it, but we absolutely do not need to entertain it, pretend like there is some valid point of view there, or give it a platform just so someone can turn around, point out that the existence of the platform means there are two sides to the argument and demand more equal representation. If you really want to help, try going on those fringe subreddits and offer to pay for therapy for those young men. If they take you up on that offer, yes you’ve done a good thing. But in my experience you get a nicely worded message from a mod saying that you and your ideas aren’t welcome here.

Edit: also, I don’t give a fuck if you are in pain because crushing system, etc. If you beat your wife, you deserve a beating. If you think it’s sometimes justified you deserve two. Don’t make your problems someone else’s pain. It doesn’t make you justified. It just objectively makes you an asshole.

Edit 2: Daryl Davis is a black man who has been befriending members of the KKK and successfully convinced over 200 of them to leave. That does not justify the existence of the KKK, just shows how difficult it is to do this kind of work: https://www.npr.org/2017/08/20/544861933/how-one-man-convinc...


> Lastly, yes it is true that some points of view are just wrong. There are in fact bad ideas. Eugenics is a bad idea. Racism is a bad idea. Misogyny is a bad idea.

As someone who has been looking for good anti-racialist arguments for a long time (along with explanations for why eugenics is wrong and why we think there aren't substantial sex differences that make the sexes on average more suited to different things) the fact these kinds or things are censured and censored everywhere is immensely frustrating.

The only things I can find are sites talking about why racism is true or sites talking about why it's wrong, but I can't find resources talking about why it's false!

If you happen to have links about eugenics/racism/sexism that talk about their falseness (I mean, I presume you have actually seen arguments against them that makes you so sure they are bad/false?) then please let me know.


> As someone who has been looking for good anti-racialist arguments for a long time...

Racism isn't useful and isn't actionable at a policy level.

Let's suppose there is some trait X (could be IQ test score, high jump ability, whatever) that is statistically variant by rigorously defined race. Group A scores on average 98, group B scores on average 103.

The median difference between groups doesn't actually matter, because individual scores are spread on a normal distribution. Therefore some percentage of individuals of group A will score higher on trait X than individuals of group B even if on average they do not.

So how can you effectively filter out individuals for entry into some special program? (for example, the high jump event in the Olympics)

Well, you have to test each individual. And if you want the very best, it behooves you to test each individual as fairly as possible, because there's always a chance that you will sample an individual from group A who is a super star, and also find an individual from group B who is a dud.

And it is the same for any other trait you would like to filter for.

Racism is an attempt to find a convenient mental shortcut so that it may provide cover for hatred of an out-group. But racism is ineffective and stupid.


Actual discussion of racist thought is pretty off topic, I am more interested in where one could find good anti-race realist resources (and arguing for why attemptibg to censor racist thought can cause the problem of lack of said resources) then trying to rehash hundred thousand word arguments on an extremely complex topic in comments.

That said, it would be rude to ignore the effort you've made, so:

The main actionable things the HBDers I've spoken to want include no longer automatically treating mismatches between demographics in employment, prison, etc as a problem and introducing testing for those coming emmigrating into their country.

Also, there is a weakness in testing, namely that even racialists think things like intelligence are partly non-shared environment, so if you set a lower bar filter from a population with lower average IQ, then while the people you get will meet your threshhold, their children would often not (assuming this supposed genetic difference exists), which is relevant to immigration rules.


> Also, there is a weakness in testing, namely that even racialists think things like intelligence are partly non-shared environment, so if you set a lower bar filter from a population with lower average IQ, then while the people you get will meet your threshhold, their children would often not (assuming this supposed genetic difference exists), which is relevant to immigration rules.

So are we going to kick out in-group children from the country when their IQ scores aren't high enough? No? Then that is a a bad argument.

Also, I have been trying to avoid the whole debate on what IQ test actually measure...


Here's a classic article from Nick Land as to why racism isn't something worth spending too much time thinking about: http://www.xenosystems.net/hyper-racism/

The article is perhaps extreme and overly performative, but I think the central idea of "races" not surviving the near-future is a good one.


While I agree with the point of the article that current genetic imbalances are horrifying, underappreciated and getting worse (and mostly not race based), there's still plenty of suffering to be had due to racism.

If race realism is correct then job quotas, immigration and education policy will cause a fair few problems, and if it's wrong then the very large amounts of suffering enduring by some ethnic minorities will be fixable.

So while this is far from the most important issue (that goes to things like ageing, possible dysgenic trends and the possibility of true AI), it's still pretty important by the standards of modern policy debates.


Here: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Racism. Rational Wiki is a good resource for exploring arguments against bad ideas.

rationalwiki has a reputation for being extraordinarily bad for exploring arguments on controversial subjects. See:

http://nathancofnas.com/comments-on-my-rationalwiki-page/

and

https://medium.com/@NoahCarl/some-comments-on-the-rationalwi...

Frequently found are lies, deliberate misrepresentation, mocking, bullying.


You seem to be describing a meritocracy which, if I understand correctly, is an ideal promoted by white supremacists?

Would you mind if I flagged your post?


> You seem to be describing a meritocracy which, if I understand correctly, is an ideal promoted by white supremacists?

White supremacists might say they want a meritocracy, but most/all of them actually don't. They just want to create filters slightly more subtle than "no X allowed" signs for their establishments.

As I mentioned, if you are going to test, it needs to be fair and accurate, or else it isn't useful. If you want chess champions, you don't hold a quiz on trivia, you stage a chess competition.


A metriocracy being preferable isn't just the viewpoint of white supremacists. However, anyone expressing that view is labelled as a white supremacist. The game is rigged.

Imma need a big old source on this claim.

It seems like you and the word meritocracy have some issues. I never brought it up and frankly it has nothing to do with my argument. You inserted it into the conversation, then immediately played victim. I can’t tell if you are trolling or legitimately can’t figure out what we are talking about here so trying to switch the subject to your own grievance, but in either case, please stop.


"why we think there aren't substantial sex differences that make the sexes on average more suited to different things"

I don't know any sane person who thinks that.

Feminism was about that woman have the right to choose a role, that was traditionally reserved for men (and the other way around).

That women does not get discriminated for being women.

The fight against the idea, that women are made for household and kitchen (and bed).

But yes, that originate idea got forgotten quite a bit, to the point where women get he idea hat it is wrong for a woman to be at home and take care of the kids and not pursue a carieer.


I am not sure what you mean by racism/sexism/eugenics being false. If you mean why they are bad ideas, I can only do so much in terms of links, since I learned that these ideas are bad before the web was popular. I guess here are some things you might want to consider:

* Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Make sure to get the NC17 unabridged book for the non-sugarcoated version. * All humans are virtually genetically identical. Can’t find a good primary source at 6am, but start with this: https://www.quora.com/Do-all-humans-have-the-same-genome-seq.... Black people are no different than white people, and you won’t find anything inherently different about either group other than some external appearance. It logically follows that discriminating by skin color is arbitrary, like discriminating say by height or eye color. * Racism is bad for society. https://www.bartleby.com/essay/Negative-Effects-Of-Racism-FJ... * Racism is bad for the economy: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/racism-riots-economics-.... * A much better explanation than I can write at the moment on why it’s wrong: https://www.quora.com/Why-is-racism-wrong?share=1

I am not going to spend more time Googling for you on this, but feel free to continue the research yourself. Try searching “effects of X on Y” and “morality of Z” and “why is W wrong” if you want to see those points of view. Form your own opinion, but keep one thing in mind: the often cited argument for a lot of this stuff is that “we’ve never implemented it correctly”. I hear this a lot about communism nowadays. There are a lot of setups where the idea inevitably leads to an outcome. For example, the US political and elections system inevitably leads to a two party system. It can be mathematically proven that this is the case. Similarly, ideas like racism inevitably lead to human and economic suffering, and those who try to separate the idea and it’s effect as implemented should be suspect of making arguments in bad faith. Examine their theories more closely.

Lastly, there is only so much you can learn from short form articles on the web. Read Sapiens. Read a couple or history books on WWII. Talk to a concentration camp survivor if you can find one. Talk to a Nazi solder. Talk to almost any woman in your life. I guarantee you that your mother experienced sexism, sexual harassment, and chances are outright sexual assault, since a very large percentage of women have in their lives statistically speaking.


I greatly appreciate you taking the time to find things, it displays a good will and charitable nature that's often lacking in the world. :)

That said, I have done a fair bit of googling and for various reasons, which would be too much of a digression to go into, have found most of those kinds of resources unsatisfying (e.g. the idea that differences are only skin deep is trivially refutable by racists). By possible coincidence I've already looked at most of the resources you linked (e.g. Sapiens and Uncle Tom's Cabin) and the HBDers still make a more convincing case. And I think this is mostly because while the HBDers can easily read the arguments of anti-racists and come up with counters, anti-racists are not even aware of the content of HBDer stuff and so cannot argue against it.

I think the censorship of racist thought (and other outside-Overton-Window thought) has indirectly lead to anti-racist argumentation weakening due to lack of understanding of what their opponents actually think and argue.


What you are describing isn’t a situation of refuting arguments. If I tell you that you can’t find the resources you seek because the racists have bugged all your devices and are constantly messing with your search results and reading material, I wouldn’t refute your argument. I would simply be ignoring reality or outright lying. That’s the reason why it’s so easy for a racist to come up with a counter argument to “turns out we are not genetically different): their argument needs only to appeal to a feeling, not be rooted in fact. In fact, the speed with which they come up with counter-arguments indicates mental gymnastics more than knowledge of the subject. Arguments for racism often center around specific “self-evident” truths which if you examine closely turn out to be simply circular arguments. As an example, one argument is that black people commit more crime than white people. If you look at certain statistics a certain way, you could come to that conclusion. But this ignores certain facts. For example, crime is much more strongly correlated with socioeconomic status. A poor white town is going to have just as much crime as an equally poor town occupied primarily by any race. But because white people got a bit of a head start in the US (as in were not bought and sold as property and not worked to death against their will), the median income for a black family is lower than for a white family. And of course keep in mind that most white collar crime is committed by white men who make up the majority of the C level at most corporations. We rarely prosecute that kind of crime even though it can be a lot more damaging (as in murder of one person means a murder charge. Dumping toxic waste into rivers that leads to hundreds of thousands of birth defects and genetic dresses is “white collar” so we fine the company and fire the exec, but nobody goes to prison).

Look closely, and you will find inconsistencies in these arguments. Oh, sure there are plenty of them but none of them seems to really hold up to scrutiny. Few will cite scientific studies (some will go as far as saying that science is censored so you shouldn’t trust it which is an obvious red flag for someone making shit up), and ones that do often misinterpret or misquote it. If you’d like we can try it out: find the best written argument for any of these points of view and we can together break down exactly where the lies and fabrications are.


As someone on the other side of this (who can defend their position if given the chance), I think the idea that censorship of my position is going to help it be more broadly accepted is probably false. On an intellectual basis, it doesn't indicate a defensible position, but we've moved past that: the debate is not a reasoned argument anymore. People are not naturally inclined to follow reason, and if people's values are adjusted to prioritize anti-racism over reason, then there is no contest; reason will lose.

if you think you can be the arbitar of moral discussion without corruption, you are sorely mistaken. or you take us all for fools.

I’ll just leave this here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance

Again, as with other comments above: I am not advocating for a slippery slope type of thing. I am however saying that specific groups mentioned above are widely (though not universally) considered undesirables. The specific groups: men who beat women, racists, and Nazis. Do you have a better ruler by which to measure those people and whether we should create software tools to help them communicate better/easier with each other? Do you condone any of those group and do you want to publicly defend their ideas as moral or valid? Because if not, feel free to get off the high horse and shut the fuck up.


This is either misinformed or just directly a bad faith argument. Leaving these communities around is, indeed, very much like letting a wound fester. There isn't really any doubt now that people can use platforms to radicalize others to extreme and often dangerous viewpoints. What's being banned is not a rational space for discussion between reasoned gentlemen, it's a place where people escalate emotions and whip each other into a frenzy. They're not banning earnest discussions of World War II history, they're banning "hey let's role play Nazis semi-ironically until one of us flinches and shoots someone in real life."

No. Our parent made a valid argument.

The differences between your stance and our parents stance emerge from different world views not from different information levels or a difference in academic rigor. (Or faith!)

> There isn't really any doubt now that people can use platforms to radicalize others to extreme and often dangerous viewpoints.

What you actually said here ("people can use platforms to radicalize") is true but also trivial. They can use platforms for all kind of things.

More broadly:

It's neither proven that the possibility of radicalization is a problem related to new technologies nor that censorship is a tool effective in mitigating it. Last but not least there's the philosophical question: it's not even clear that this problem we're perceiving is something that should be mitigated on a technical level.

That is very much an ongoing research project and will continue to be for a long time as long as communities continue to adapt to new communication technologies.


> Leaving these communities around is, indeed, very much like letting a wound fester. There isn't really any doubt now that people can use platforms to radicalize others to extreme and often dangerous viewpoints."

Interesting... I don't think I've previously seen the argument that such communities are, in effect, an "attractive nuisance".

A similar argument applies to pro-anorexia communities, although the danger there is self-harming behavior.


Example of the "both sides" fallacy:

https://i.imgur.com/jdaacRk.jpg


Gab has similar problems. The thing is Reddit is making the definition of objectionable broader and broader. At this point it includes basically anyone with mainstream conservative political views. They have gone (way) too far and people are looking for alternatives anywhere and everywhere where they won't be banned, shadow banned or quarantined. I just got text from a high school friend inviting me to something called Parler. I have no idea if it's worth while but I am happy to see that people are pushing back.

I have to say, at the very least, the UI is a breath of fresh air compared to new Reddit. New Reddit is just...I can't quite put my finger on it, but it just feels awful to look at.

While I agree that new reddit is awful, I still much prefer old reddit to this. Also what's up with this new trend of having the main content width-restricted, but not the header [0]? The new GitHub UI that went live this week has the exact same problem on wide screens. What kind of UX designer ever approved such a mess and why do so many sites do this?

The main UI itself, again very width restricted, but also has strange paddings [1] which limit severely the area for the title (which is the most important UI element). Doesn't really make sense to me. The vertical centering is a bit of a mess, and the size of icons is also either way too big or way too small [2].

[0] https://i.imgur.com/gZEWEdJ.png

[1] https://i.imgur.com/nayP548.png

[2] https://i.imgur.com/XZPToxy.png

EDIT: Huh, I hadn't used new reddit in a long time, I actually took a look now and it seems like it has improved significantly. I actually don't hate it as much, it looks much closer to old reddit now, with full width content and much less padding [3]

[3] https://i.imgur.com/c1QBucR.png


> Huh, I hadn't used new reddit in a long time, I actually took a look now and it seems like it has improved significantly.

The UI itself isn't horrible, it's the UX. It's incredibly bulky and slow, and some user links have been hidden while others completely removed.


I can't wait until reddit removes old.reddit altogether. I will have so much more free time.

I pretty much only use Apollo to read reddit so unfortunately I will not be freed from the shackles quite so easily :-/

New reddit must be the slowest website out there, on mobile where I'm not logged in it takes ages to load. Then ages to kill all sort of pop ups that force me to use their app. I believe they don't care about UX and speed of the site, it's all about the app. They measure app downloads, not the experience on the site.

I still am in awe regularly at how damn sluggish the site is. Even with an ad blocker it is at least an order of magnitude slower than every other website I've seen.

Not to mention the worst video player

Not even the "feature" which hides most comments in a post and makes you click on a button to load a bit more of them? And to make it even better, even when you open a post, it still renders other posts directly beneath the comments of the current one so it's easier to miss where the comments end!

> Also what's up with this new trend of having the main content width-restricted, but not the header [0]?

For extremely wide screens it obviously looks awkward, but the idea seems sound in principle.

IIRC, the reason you'd want to restrict width of content is that it's hard for your eyes to track back all the way left, to the start of the content, when you need to go down a line. But the header is just a single line, so it doesn't have this problem.

In the case of very wide screens they should probably restrict the header width too, just not quite as much.


But often these sites start doing the right thing and then restrict it, tkaing a step backward.

Before: https://i.imgur.com/sgODcLW.png

After: https://i.imgur.com/8j7P1YE.png

The latter is objectively worse. I understand that > 1080p monitors are a small fraction of your user base, but that's still not reason to not test your UI on larger resolutions, for a site as big (and prominently used by devs with large screens) as GitHub.

My eye still has to jump back and forth long distances if I want to fork the repo for example.


Agreed, the UI in the after picture is awful. I really doubt it's intentional there, unfortunate that there's an oversight like that.

Do that many people use maximised windows on 16:9 or greater screens? Maybe it’s just because all my early experience was on 4:3, but I’d never maximise a browser window on a modern screen.

I’d agree this is bad design, but I’d be somewhat surprised if it’s a big practical problem for most people.


There are many many people who keep a single window maximized at all times and alt-tab between windows.

It's the most basic form of window management, and it works pretty well.

It's especially helpful if you want to be able to focus on one thing at a time only, and not have multiple different windows with disparate screen noise visible at once.

I often operate in that mode, using a tiling window manager to have a single maximized window on my primary monitor, and optionally a tile of auxiliary windows on my secondary monitor.


I agree. I will do side by side quite often when I'm programming or doing a specific multi-tasking work, but my "regular" browsing is fullscreen. I don't see why I would browse the web (single focused task) on the left or right half of my monitor, that just seems... silly?

I maximize the window height, but limit it in width precisely because so many websites aren't designed for wide screens. Windows makes this easy: just double click on the top or bottom edge of the window. It's also sticky, so I can easily drag it to the centre of the screen.

I'm in quite a small niche: tiling window managers. When there's only one window open it takes 100% width and height. Every app I use other than some websites handles this extra space well.

You can reduce it by making real or fake windows on the left and right. Haven't gotten around to making a macro for that yet. If it's an article reader mode also exists.


The idea that anyone wouldn’t maximize all applications, especially their browser, is utterly bewildering to me.

I do not maximize some of my applications because i want to have several of them visible at any time when i'm working on more than one. I do maximize some other applications, depending on what i'm doing. I do not maximize the browser because i want to have the content i'm working with/looking at/reading in front of me (especially on the reading aspect since reading long lines is tiresome) and maximizing on a 16:9 monitor means that a lot of content will be at the sides.

Now combine the above with the fact that i'm using a ~23" 1366x768 monitor, the tendency of pretty much every site out there to use the window width as a means to differentiate between mobile and desktop sites and the stupid trend to use ginormous font sizes everywhere and you get an idea of how much i like browsing many sites out there (at least HN and old Reddit is perfectly fine). Well, i'm thankful that browsers have a zoom option at least, many of the sites out there are only usable at a 70-80% zoom for me.

But yeah, last time i had my browser maximized all the time was when i had a 4:3 monitor.


There are better monitors at my local thrift store for 5 dollars. It's like 68ppi the last monitor I had like that had a huge floppy drive and kings quest III.

It's time to upgrade.


No there are certainly not better monitors at your thrift store for $5 dollars.

This is a brand new monitor i bought some months ago (late 2019) and the cost was much bigger than 5 dollars. In fact it was the most expensive VA monitor at this resolution (i avoid IPS because i actually want to be able to see dark colors and contrast and every single IPS monitor i've used, regardless of resolution, is garbage when it comes to that with the awful backlight glow), it has a ton of inputs at the back, relatively fast response time (for VA), etc. It is one of the best monitors i ever had.

The resolution was something i explicitly opted for, partly because at the time i had an APU-based system that i wanted to game on and i didn't want the blurry mess that a higher resolution would have and partly because 1366x768 on a monitor (as opposed to laptop) makes for very sharp icons, fonts (after you disable antialiasing) for everything (as opposed to using a hidpi monitor where some apps look crisp and others look either too tiny or blurred from scaling). Also as a (very high) bonus, it looks great when playing older games that often use 1024x768 as a resolution since i have 1:1 mapping there.

Finally 1366x768 is currently by far the most common resolution on PCs (mainly thanks to laptops, but desktops use it too - see mine) according to statcounter and the second most common on gaming PCs according to Steam, so it isn't something you'd only find in obscure old PCs, it is as mainstream as it gets.


>1366x768 is currently by far the most common resolution on PCs

According to steam 10.9% of users are running at that resolution. Only 4% are running at worse and 85% are running at higher resolution mostly at 1080p at a whopping 65%. Calling it the second most common is true but deceptive is it just means that its so old that there are so many different better choices that people are spread out over the many and varied better choices.

https://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/Steam-Hardware-Softw...

>i didn't want the blurry mess that a higher resolution would have

https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/285860-720p-looks-bad-o...

If you mean that your apu is so weak that it can't do more than 720p and this would look bad at 1080p you are correct but that seems like a uniquely bad choice given that one would logically want to either get an actual gpu or give up on gaming and get a screen worth using instead of picking a compromise that is the worst of both worlds.

Regarding scalling 800x600 scales evenly to a 1920x1200 with black bars on the sides. 1152×900 scales to 1600x900 in the same fashion. You can also run the game in a window and avoid having to match it up evenly.

>1366x768 on a monitor (as opposed to laptop) makes for very sharp icons, fonts (after you disable antialiasing) for everything (as opposed to using a hidpi monitor where some apps look crisp and others look either too tiny or blurred from scaling).

I think your eyesight is bad.

Your PPI: 68 Common Resolution for your screen size: 95 Best in class: 191


> According to steam 10.9% of users are running at that resolution.

Which is why right after the part you quoted and apparently ignored, i wrote "and the second most common on gaming PCs according to Steam". Gaming PCs are more likely to have higher resolution, but not every PC is a gaming PC. Statcounter.com has 1366x768 above 1920x1080.

Also 10.9% of Steam's user is still around 10 million active users, which is a lot of people.

> but that seems like a uniquely bad choice

That is your opinion, i find it a great choice and i like my monitor.

> given that one would logically want to either get an actual gpu

I have an actual GPU nowadays.

> or give up on gaming

I do not think you are in position to tell anyone give up anything.

> and get a screen worth using

I find my monitor worth using.

> instead of picking a compromise that is the worst of both worlds.

That is your opinion that i disagree with.

> Regarding scalling 800x600 scales evenly to a 1920x1200 with black bars on the sides.

1920x1200 is not 16:9 which will cause either black bars or stretched UIs on actually new titles and videos, i wouldn't personally buy a non-16:9 monitor these days. Also 800x600 looks fine on my 1366x768 monitor centered (even if a bit smaller image) with 1:1 pixels.

> 1152×900 scales to 1600x900 in the same fashion.

Pretty much no game where you have to use fixed resolutions (mostly 2D games) uses 1152x900. Earlier 3D games work at 1366x768 by centering 1024x768 but almost all of them have workarounds to work at higher 4:3 resolutions (when i used a 1920x1080 monitor i often ran older 3D games at 1440x1080).

> You can also run the game in a window and avoid having to match it up evenly.

If i had Windows 7 or using Linux, perhaps, but with Windows 8+ and the forced compositor that adds input lag i avoid running games in a window.

> I think your eyesight is bad.

Yes it is, which is why i sit close to the monitor so i can see stuff (and the reason i prefer smaller monitors). But i can clearly see the pixels, which is what i mean with "sharp" here.

> Best in class: 191

Subjective and it has all the issues with scaling and blurring i mentioned in my last message.


> the tendency of pretty much every site out there to use the window width as a means to differentiate between mobile and desktop sites

How would you differentiate them? At least with the width you can use css media queries so no Javascript is needed.


By using some mobile specific pseudo-selector? There are pseudo-selectors for printing, there could be selectors for mobile too.

Not sure, i'm not into web development, i just see using the window width as the wrong way. I keep my window down to that size even when i'm using monitors with larger resolutions (1080p or 1440p), it is a bad idea to assume window width == monitor resolution == device type.


It's bewildering to you that people want to look at multiple windows at the same time? Really?

When I have two apps side by side, they’re both maximized in split screen mode. This is a rare occurrence.

I guess I don't have a split screen mode on my window manager, so I just keep a bunch of small windows floating around.

That's my feeling as well. I bought a large monitor with nice resolution and I want to run my applications at full size. Window tiling is nice but its also a distraction for me and I always seem to forget which app has focus.

And thus the overwhelming challenge of UX becomes clear. People like different things. I don't maximise any of my windows.

I use a tiling window manager, meaning all windows combined take up 100% of the screen, and all of them are always visible. The only UIs that never handle this correctly are modern, responsive websites which sometimes become unusable and show baffling design decisions at certain window sizes.

Although in the case of Reddit the old design isn't perfect either, because if the browser window is narrow enough it'll have a bug where you can shift the whole website out of the visible area by writing a long line in a comment.

To be clear, I know this is not a trivial thing, but when UI designers don't know how to handle certain viewport sizes they should rather just let the browser's scrollbars do the job they've been doing fine for decades.


Yeah, it feels weird. I haven't maximized a window in a long long time. Well unless watching a video counts.

I use xmonad as a window manager and do have one workspace where my browser lives. I find the new layout to be a pretty steep downgrade.

Wow, you're right. It did improve quite a bit. Not in an "OMG I'm switching right now" kind of way, but definitely in a "maybe I'll play around with this and see if I can configure it to my liking."

Never would have happened if someone hadn't made a post like this, so thanks!

edit: Aaaand instant regret, wow. Are you guys seeing this "Top Broadcast Right Now" shit? The best part for me is not just the ~1000px high random garbage video that takes up my whole screen, but before the video itself loads I actually get a ~1000px "white noise" animation, except it isn't just white but brightly colored, too.

I had a brief urge to heat up my soldering iron and stick it in my eye.


Hah, yeah I played with it more myself too and instantly found still many issues. The biggest one for me was the comment section is still using the short width format, which is a no go for me.

I just did the same thing. I lasted one minute on the new interface.

https://www.coldheat.com/

One of the few infomercial products that are actually good.


Looks cool, thanks!

Agreed. At least old Reddit didn’t require JS to load anything a didn’t show spinners every time you clicked on something.

"New" reddit (not that new anymore) still _frequently_ just gets stuck on the spinners. Also with some frequency, when navigating to a page I've been to before, it will load everything from cache nicely, and then REPLACE THE CACHE WITH SPINNERS THAT NEVER LOAD THE CONTENT. Sometimes it will do this with a page I've never visited before, ie it will load the page and then replace it with the spinners and never load. Worst of both worlds. Grinds my gears.

The _old_ reddit always just worked. I never had to reload the page multiple times, sometimes giving up entirely.

Obviously I'm still using the site or I wouldn't be complaining, but like, what exactly was wrong with old reddit again?


I just tried it for 30s, and on my first try opening a comment section, it just failed and gave me an error, then I had to press retry to get it to load. I get reddit failures maybe once a month normally, so I'm either super unlucky or new is very broken.

I'd be interested to know what the rationale for the new design was. Some kind of dark patterns? Make people so disgusted with the web version they just download the native app, which provides better monitoring and "stickiness"? I mean, is anyone at Reddit actually proud of the redesign?

I assume a little of column A, little column B. Web devs who wanted a greenfield project and a PM willing to be convinced, because 1) old reddit still exists to fall back on and 2) in retrospect outcomes pushing users to mobile seemed to be good for monitoring and stickiness.

I blame typical tech dysfunctions and the interests of users not align with short term stakeholder interests.


> What kind of UX designer ever approved such a mess and why do so many sites do this?

UX design used to be about good usability. Now it's all about shoving the latest hipster trends from Dribbble and Behance that look all "Shiny" and gives the CxOs orgasms.

One more odd thing that I found - maybe this is anecdotal - Developers who design interfaces based on OTS frameworks (Eg. Bootstrap) have a much better sense of UX than dedicated UX designers.


On mobile, Baconreader app solves all my problems. On desktop, adding old. as a sub domain takes you back to legacy reddit.

takes you back to web and them gets annoyed with open Reddit app feature. Yet baconreader is awesome, yet I find 8t difficult with Search like the native one.

old.* works well for me on mobile too, with the one exception that links opened from modmail open in the bad ui

Well, I'm glad to report that I'm working on a federated link aggregator project that tries to keep the good parts of old reddit. A test instance can be found at https://littr.me

Regarding content width, shorter lines are far easier to read, so there is some justification for the ridiculous amounts of padding on your widescreen. 2500 pixels wide lines are very hard to follow.

I think OP doesn't take issue with the content being narrow, but with the headers being wide while the content is narrow. The whole looks quite unbalanced and jarring (at least on the new Github).

I had to go into my user settings and change the feed display to compact instead of (what I presume is the default of) card, which is the nasty timeline-like display.

"what kind of UX designer approved...." If you want to say that about GitHub, fair, but what an incredibly out-of-place sentiment for a FOSS project

My biggest anger with new reddit is that it just doesn’t work. It’s rare that a video will play twice without a reload, infuriating if you want to share a funny video with a spouse, and it will regularly go into a mode where all videos stop working until a complete reload happens. This has been a consistent drag on my reddit usage now that my primary consumption of sites like this is via my iPad, and I suspect I’m not alone.

It's the same on desktop Safari... The video playing experience is just awful.

Yeah, video playback sucks both on desktop and mobile websites

Do you use reddit on a mobile browser?

Yes, I said that.

Reddit has been garbage on mobile browsers for a while have you tried any of the unofficial reddit apps? I in particular like RIF but there are several.

As a general rule, I avoid native apps for most social media platforms, just to avoid over-using them.

> JavaScript is required for this page.

Offering a second opinion; they barely know how to display text without using JavaScript. There is a lot of room for technical improvement.


Yeah, enabling JS meant it's already worse than old reddit, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt just to give it a read and enabled JS, only to be greeted with a neverending spinner. No console errors either, just the eternal spinner of doom.

Absolutely. It's not a bad interface, and for better or for worse I think this is critically important to get right, and was a huge part of Mastodon's success. I think so many other well-intentioned projects fail because of inscrutable interfaces, so it is good to see the UI taken seriously.

Oh, has Mastodon been successful? I haven't heard much about that.


It’s a little bit ironic that the post you link to was posted on Twitter though, isn’t it? :^)

Teasing aside, I like Mastodon. I’ve used it a bit myself too, and I have a profile on an instance of it.


Success is not a meaningful metric.

Gopher is a success when you browse wikipedia on it.


> the UI is a breath of fresh air compared to new Reddit

I agree. I find this interface extremely readable (It clearly displays "JavaScript is required for this page") and simple to use; I close it and move on to something that actually works. Very minimal and intuitive. I approve.


It also devours resources compared to the old version

50% of the functionality also doesn't even work on Firefox in my experience.

I didn't use reddit much anymore, since it's mostly a cesspool of politics, but if I have to, this plugin is very useful: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/old-reddit-re...

I just found this one. It's awesome!

Also, on mobile it gets rid of this "switch to the native app" nag!


Seeing as new reddit feels like new Google as far as UI elements are concerned, I’m not surprised - it’s made for Chrome.

You can always go to old.reddit.com to use the older reddit interface.

Only until they inevitably turn it off

If I was forced to use new reddit rather than old reddit I would probably never visit the site again. I can't stand the new version.

I joined Reddit when the new UI was the default. I was relieved when I discovered old.reddit.com and i.reddit.com. I use them on PC and mobile respectively.

One thing that stands out to me is lemmy has public modlogs[1], this is a great feature in my opinion. Something that should be more common.

Quite a few people on reddit are frustrated by how opaque moderation is, but looking at the meta community of power users that seems to mod the bigger subs, I doubt the devs will ever copy this feature.

[1]: https://dev.lemmy.ml/modlog


I moderate a couple of subreddits and agree moderation is a disaster. For popular subs, moderators are basically swamped in a never-ending avalanche of shit. Even if you want to be a good mod, doing so for the long haul is an insane time commitment.

The fact that being banned from one sub doesn't usually get you banned from another sub is totally understandable, but combined with how easy it is to make a new account, in practice it's just never-ending whack-a-mole with shithead posters.


Has anyone thought about building something like Twitter blacklists for Reddit so a group of mutually trusting subreddits can share their list of who they ban (for reasons not unique to their own rules) to a list then all ban that person/account proactively?

Doesn't matter because reddit accounts don't hold the same weight as twitter accounts. Making a new reddit account is trivial and you lose absolutely nothing.

is that not true of Twitter as well?

On Twitter you follow people, on a site like Reddit you subscribe to subreddits.

Switching between accounts on Twitter means your follows/followers are lost, switching accounts on Reddit doesn't lose you anything (unless you're subscrived to private subreddits or are a moderator for a subreddit)


Twitter sometimes requires a verified email and phone number, which I assume they globally ban when they can. Not sure how effectively they are, but they do at least something make throwaways harder than Reddit does.

Aren't echo chambers a more real problem than the always fuzzy "hate"?

The mods only have themselves to blame. They create insanely broad rules allowing them to ban anything and then limit mod positions to concentrate their power.

The role of mods is to delete off topic submissions and remove illegal content. Nothing more.


The role of mods is to establish and maintain the community they wish to have in the space. That takes a lot more than deleting off-topic submissions and removing illegal content.

And deleting off topic submissions and removing illegal content is what they do the most. Just because you read that some seemingly related post got removed, does not mean everything the remove are those.

I admit, I don't understand the tendency of people like this to insist that their hyper-libertarian ruleset must be so. That for a community to have its own set of rules that they enforce is inherently wrong somehow.

FYI you can review reddit mod actions via https://www.reveddit.com

Disclaimer: I made this


The entire moderation aspect of reddit is a disaster that only goes un-examined because there's so many other glaring issues with reddit. You can piss off a random guy with no affiliation or responsibility towards reddit and get banned from basically 90+% of reddit's content.

I don't think modlogs and otherwise increasing moderation transparency on reddit would have any effect whatsoever.

Many mods of popular subreddits abuse their power and enforce their world views on redditors. This is only possible because reddit admins don't care. That's why there is so much drama now and again when mods will wholesale-ban or delete legitimate content that doesn't break the rules and they just won't respond to questions. Or even worse - they respond by taunting the redditors who would like to know the reason behind the decision.

I was banned from a large sub for linking to statistics on official government website to help support my argument. This happens all the time on reddit.

And it's not like it's only my experience. Ask anyone on reddit what they think of mods and you'll hear the same story.


We have something similar to this, Aether. https://getaether.net. (code at github.com/nehbit/aether)

Always glad to see more eyeballs on the space, so I wish then the best. Here are a few differences I can see at the first glance:

- Aether is decentralised (as in torrent) this appears to be federated. That means Aether truly has no servers and every user is a peer, while federated means there are smaller ‘Reddits’ as servers that talk to each other.

- By proxy that means we can’t really have a web app unfortunately (working on it by the way of running a daemon on a raspberry pi) and they can - we need a native app running on your machine and seeding context to the network.

- By another proxy, this means Aether avoids the issue of having a ‘middle management’ in the form of the ownership of your home server that federated networks have. You are the home server, so no one can control what you see. We call this user sovereignty

- In Aether we have elections which elect mods based on popular vote and you control who is a mod, precisely because the ‘social compiler’ runs on your machine and allows you to compile it however you want. Two people with two different mod lists for the same community can see drastically different communities

- We have a mod audit log and have had it for a while - everyone’s mod actions are visible to everyone (this I think they also have)

- Lastly, we have made the decision to not monetise Aether itself and create a team communication app called Aether Pro, and monetise that. This creates a ‘Chinese wall’ between where we make our money and the P2P network, which means it’s a shield against drifting towards trying to make money from a social network. The code bases are separate but similar, so that also means work done on the Pro helps Aether as well. We have gotten some funding for the Pro, and we consider the P2P version a ‘marketing / goodwill expense’ in the context of that funding. That aligns us towards making sure Aether is long-term viable, well maintained and monetisation-free.

In contrast I think they’ve gotten money to work directly on this, which has both good and more hazardous sides. In summary, we opted for a long term structure that has less moral hazard (in my opinion, of course), in favour of a more stable app without a need for monetisation that has fewer, more stable releases.

For context, here's how a recent thread looks on my Aether client: https://i.imgur.com/45tXQEO.png


> By another proxy, this means Aether avoids the issue of having a ‘middle management’ (...) so no one can control what you see.

This right here is the main thing that will never let any fully-decentralized system become mainstream. Two problems:

- Most people do want "middle-management". They don't want to deal with security risks, technical issues, understanding how the protocol works just to be able to share memes and score points with their social peers. All they want is to open their browser, see what their friends/peers are posting and be done with it.

- This trade-off between federated systems/giving up control does not exist. A federated system can degenerate into a fully-distributed graph. Those that want to keep full control over their system can easily do with a federated system: they just run their own instances.

Decentralized systems for social networks fail the Zawinski test and do not provide one single use-case that can not be done with a federated alternative. I fail to see any benefit of pushing it except for buzzword investors.


> Those that want to keep full control over their system can easily do with a federated system: they just run their own instances.

Is running your own instance hard? Then at best you’ll inevitably have some users who lack the know-how or time to set up their own instance. At worst, federated systems often link identity to home instance, so you can’t switch to a new instance without giving up your profile. Or they may even require other instances to have a human agree to federate with you, which is a big ask for a one-person instance.

Or is running your own instance easy? So easy that anyone can do it? Then there should be no disadvantage in bundle that into the client app so that everyone does do it. But now you have a decentralized system.


> Then at best you’ll inevitably have some users who lack the know-how or time to set up their own instance.

Yes, and those users will use managed services, something that the "principled" decentralized community (not your keys, not your money/not your identity/etc) is completely against and invariably leads to re-centralization of the system around market players that go to serve this market. Case in point: Github, Coinbase, MtGox, Signal, any of the big cloud providers...

> At worst, federated systems often link identity to home instance

Why? I can have a domain name and move email providers freely. Same for XMPP, Matrix, websites in general, etc. The identity part of the system can be separate from the service provider.

If anything, this idea is more of an argument against decentralized services. It is an all-or-nothing approach: do you want to run this service with your identity? Great, then you need to be responsible in managing the service and secure your identity.

> Or is running your own instance easy? So easy that anyone can do it?

There is no such thing. Nevermind the case for those simply can not control the hardware where they run their systems, UI/UX of decentralized systems is always an afterthought. Even something as "easy" as bittorrent requires so much of a learning curve that most people simply do not want to be bothered to learn.

Besides, it's not just "running". It's keeping it up. Paying for operational costs. Decentralized systems by definition need to be able to do everything by themselves. There is no way to achieve any kind of economies of scale.

Worst of all: it's not having any one to blame/be responsible for things when it breaks. Oh, you got scammed into downloading a keylogger: fuck you, you lost all of your keys. Oh, you "just" bought something with Bitcoin from a site that seemed legit, but they delivered a counterfeit product? "Consider it an lesson in how to look for things online"

What I am trying to say is that decentralization vs centralization should be considered as a continuous spectrum of choices and trade-offs that need to be made by users. Federated systems allow basically everyone to be whatever is best for them on this spectrum, while this "decentralize all the things!" and treating it as binary choice does little to non-technical users and basically guarantees they will be confined in the walled gardens.


The trade-off is that when you run your own instance you have to then attract users to it for it to be useful, which burdens others.

In a fully decentralized network you can meet new people and moderate your own view of the world without putting any burden on others to adapt to what you want. Moderation can be done with a system like this: https://adecentralizedworld.com/2020/06/a-trust-and-moderati...


> The trade-off is that when you run your own instance you have to then attract users to it for it to be useful, which burdens others.

This really depends on the design. Email is "federated" but that doesn't require you to get anybody else to use your email server in order for you send or receive emails with them.

What I'd kind of like to see is a system that separates hosting and accounts from moderation.

So you have a host, like email, and a username on the host. Then you have a forum, which has operators/moderators (who are users), but the forum is host-independent. Maybe it only actually runs on a specific host at a given time, but the operators can move it without anybody noticing and anybody can use it regardless of who their own host is.

It makes it so you can be a forum operator without having to be a host.


Sorry, either you don't understand the concept of federation, or you are bullshitting me.

I can run a single-user Mastodon instance and follow people from any other instance. They can follow me as well. I can send emails from my personal server to anyone on gmail, and vice-versa.

Where do I need to "attract other users" to my instance? It's quite the opposite!


I thought you meant similar to hosting a forum or Lemmy like site.

With Mastadon if say I'm on another instance and the host of that instance blocks yours (because they don't agree with your politics or whatever) then won't I be unable to see your feed? I'd have to setup my own Mastadon instance to get around this? What if I'm not technically inclined enough to do this? Then I'm subject to the whims of the moderators of the instance.

What if I live in China and they block access to the biggest instances so I'm cut off from all the big communities and can't participate?

What if an instance of Mastadon crashes and the admins can't be bothered restoring it. As a user on that instance haven't you lost everything?

These are the problems decentralized networks are solving, being subject to the whims of other people.


> With Mastadon (sic) if say I'm on another instance and the host of that instance blocks yours...

First: Mastodon, with an "O".

Second: I already had this discussion before. This "blocking" of instances is something that is going on only on Mastodon, AFAIK, because most of the current members are conflating the idea of federation with tribes. They want to be insular at this point. This will change as soon as there are more people using ActivityPub like email or Matrix and stop associating the instances with the identities/ideologies of its members.

So, no. You won't have to "setup your Mastodon" instance to get around this. You can do it, but you also can just find a more professional hosting provider that is not managed by a fourteen year old or tweenagers that love to spout their love for diversity and yet can only tolerate any conversation that is exactly aligned with their existing preconceptions of their uniform peer group.

> What if I live in China and they block access to the biggest instances so I'm cut off from all the big communities and can't participate?

What if you live in China and they block the decentralized service altogether? What if they use the decentralized nature of the service and set up honeypots to find dissidents? "Decentralized" != "Private" != "Secure"

> What if an instance crashes (...) the admins can't be bothered restoring it.

If it is important to you, then (a) you run your own service or (b) you pay someone that actually cares about this. With a decentralized service, the only alternative you have is (a). Then not only you have to make this choice, but also everyone that you would like to join the network.

My point all along is that federated systems are already enough for those that do not "want to be subject to the whims of other people", while decentralized systems shut out those that don't care about it or would rather trust/delegate these concerns to someone else.

"Decentralized systems" bring no benefit that can't be had by federated systems and remove all sorts of free options from the potential users. It is limiting instead of liberating.


Care to explain the Zawinski test? Google gave me zip on it.

One does not link from HN to jwz site

Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned it, given that he retracted it on the grounds that too many people subverted the idea to justify all of bad practices related to social software.

Anyway, archive is your friend: https://web.archive.org/web/20050217051819/https://www.jwz.o...


zawinski's law? Though not seeing how it is relevant to their point though.

> Aether is a relatively large app with an Electron and Go toolchain, at 100,000+ lines of code. Getting it to compile requires setting up a correct build runtime with the latest versions of Go, Node (for Electron) and C dependencies and development environments. Expect the initial set-up to take a few hours. Be patient!

Is Electron a hard dependency or is there a core lib that can be wrapped by the GUI framework of choice? And several hours of initial setup is pretty scary . Maybe providing a dev docker, snap or flatpak could get devs up and running much faster than that.

Other than that, I love the idea of a decentralized forum. If there are specs I'll have a look at them to see how the intricacies of operating something like is were solved.


Actually, we have recently improved on this, it’s probably now less than half an hour of setup, at least on Linux. The new guide is on the Github repo: https://gist.github.com/nehbit/4a8c3d81d543e85c9df974f521732...

We use Electron exclusively for GUI. The real app is a Go binary with a GRPC API. It’s all fully isolated, so if you don’t want to touch any Electron, you don’t have to. Use the API to build a CLI app, for example.

To be more specific, we have two Go binaries that we ship, one is the aether-backend that talks to the network, the other is the aether-frontend that compiles the content coming from the network into a social graph. Both are properly isolated and talk to each other only over declared GRPC APIs. I’ve tried very hard to keep it hackable that way.


There's a fully JavaScript implementation of gRPC[0] that you may be able to use should you implement a web app using Service Workers[1]. This would be installable for browsers in a manner that should provide long-lived access to the network.

0. https://www.npmjs.com/package/@grpc/grpc-js 1. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Service_Wor...


> Both are properly isolated and talk to each other only over declared GRPC APIs. I’ve tried very hard to keep it hackable that way.

That's a great architecture! I look forward to hacking on it when I have the time!


Have you thought about implementing a decentralized, user centric moderation system instead of electing mods? Like this: https://adecentralizedworld.com/2020/06/a-trust-and-moderati...

Would this work with Aether?


The way it works in Aether is that we have a few rules on choosing what 'effective' mods you have on your view. From weakest (as in, most prone to be overridden) to strongest:

- Default mods, which are either the creator of the community or those that are assigned by that person

- Elected mods, mods which are chosen by the community. Election goes both ways, you can both be elected or impeached. For example, a default mod can be impeached by the election system, and that would render that mod a non-mod for you

- Mods you've personally chosen. Choosing someone to be a mod for you is your vote in the election.

So the system isn't 'enforcing' mods you haven't chosen onto you as a result of the elections. Elections only make the decision only if you haven't made a decision for that mod in either way — if you make a decision that is ironclad (for you, in your personal, local view), since nothing can override your personal vote for or against somebody. The more you vote in elections, the more you shape your own view of the universe.

The article is long, but what I can see there that is not implemented in Aether is the transitive property of trust, instead of having a vote which is binary, he seems to be advocating for a 0 to 100 trust, and the idea that trust of the people you trust means something to you. (Let me know if I got this wrong).

This is great in theory — and this was actually considered for implementation at one point. The issue isn't that it doesn't make sense but it is quite literally impossible to implement, since it makes it so that almost every trust decision made by someone on the network at some point in time affects almost all other entities, which leaves you with an almost entirely 'dirty' graph that you have to traverse in entirety and recompile.

This can be done on a centralised service since there is one graph to compile and everyone submits to it. However, in Aether, what we try to do is that we try to keep the graph compilation part on the user end, both because it's a P2P network, and also because custom graphs compiled on the client end is what allows the votes to be able to modify the graph structure itself. That sort of gradual outflow of trust across a social graph making decisions on what to show or not show for every single piece of content is an intense amount of computation to do for every new modification to the trust gradient.


That makes sense. With the trust system described trust is only calculated for you personally rather than calculating how much everyone trusts everyone else.

From the benchmarks [1] of a simple naive JavaScript version is can recalculate one persons trust in a huge network in just a few ms. With partial updates when new ratings come in it could be done even faster.

1: https://github.com/adecentralizedworld/decentralized-trust-d...


Yeah — trust level is only one component of a multivariate calculus that we call graph compile. So it's very possible for the trust only to take milliseconds when it's the only thing you compile with objects that only carry trust, but Aether compiler also moves the content around too. To give you a sense of the real world results, our initial compile takes multiple minutes even with binary (0 or 1) trust, even if only a vanishingly small portion of it is actually calculating trust. If an object is made dirty, regardless of the reason, it has to be touched, loaded into memory and processed. The disk is where you it the bottleneck. If your dataset fits into memory (mind that Aether has to work with computers with 4gb of RAM) then yes the whole thing is milliseconds. But once you start to do sequential reads on what might not even be SSD, you want to avoid any sort of dirtying if you can. Gradient Trust is one of the worst offenders in that almost any change to it dirties almost the whole graph.

How do you mitigate voting fraud?

It would seem very easy to just create a lot of accounts to vote or trigger impeachments (if that is a thing).


We have proof of work to rate-limit spam (of both content and signals), and there would be no reason for anyone to spam the network (for votes - for other things there are plenty of reasons) because anyone can get exactly the moderation they want by picking out their mods. Elections cannot override local selections — they exist as 'recommendations' to the local user, in the case the user has not made a selection.

That said, there is still quite a bit of power in controlling the view of those who can't be bothered to make a decision, so we make it so that an election vote only counts after the user actually first posted in that community 2 weeks ago. So if there's a flood of new votes, the mods can temporarily suspend voting process.

Lastly, the elections are not mandatory for all communities, so if a community is created as a 'monarchy', for the lack of a better word, the elections are not applied by default. This makes it so that there is no incentive for mods to keep 'temporary suspension due to vote flood' state indefinitely, since they can just switch to monarchy if they want to do that.

Mind that in that case, the user can still make choices, or even enable elections - the only thing that would change is that the default user would not get election results applied to the default mods. But if that user wants, it can still enable elections and vote, and by enabling that it would get the election results applied — but due to his or her own explicit choice, not by default.


This sounds pretty interesting, but is it a lot of work to moderate a home server yourself?

> You are the home server, so no one can control what you see. We call this user sovereignty

I’m wondering what I’d have to do to just bare minimum make sure no illegal content gets onto any hardware that I own. Just to use the obvious extreme example, I don’t want to see any illegal pornography, which in addition to not wanting to see I’d have to report to authorities, which I’d presumably have to explain the presence of, which I’m guessing worst case involves them confiscating my devices for some time. There’s a practical benefit to me in having some middle manager taking responsibility for making sure that never gets to my network.


All the content on Aether is text — it's pretty hard (but not impossible) to make text illegal. Of course what is on your computer is your responsibility, nothing changes that. There is a SFW list enabled by default that only shows the 'safe' communities to you in the app, but your app still communicates everything as of today.

However, this is actually the most common feature request we have right now, an ability to block certain communities from transmitting. We are converting the SFW list to a 'filter lists' feature, much like adblock filter lists. These lists can be whitelists or blacklists, and they will be able to control not just visibility, but also the receiving and transmittance of content as well.

So the expected behaviour is that if a community is in your blacklist, your computer will never fetch that content from that community by checking against its fingerprint. That should be helpful to solve this issue. We'll be providing a default whitelist as well.


I would like to know this as well. If it is clear how to do so, I'd gladly join.

I responded to the parent, sending this over as a notification: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23694615

> we can’t really have a web app

Are you familiar with https://notabug.io/ ? IIRC this is decentralized.


At first I kinda found the idea of an Aether Pro (and I'd go so far as to say using the "Pro" moniker is rather misleading as it's kind of an entirely different product altogether!) existing kinda iffy, but after reading up what it truly was I think it makes sense to have something similar to that and avoid many common pitfalls when it comes to securing funding for an open source project, so kudos for that!

I do think both decentralized and federated platforms can coexist just fine. They serve slightly different needs and both provide alternatives to the centralized platforms that pervade the Internet these days.


You guys are on the right track with Aether. I love the features especially decentralized sovereignty and the moderation based on that. This needs to get adopted widely to stop censorship.

What does it mean the communities are ephemeral? Because reddit archives is one their strengths. Public Slack channels are lame to me because of their limits.

Sounds like there's some really interesting ideas here.

> Two people with two different mod lists for the same community can see drastically different communities

Reminds me of the 'sharding' idea in World of Warcraft. I'm really curious if you'll end up with issues of 'social dissonance' where your perception of a community differs drastically from someone else's because you literally see different content, and if that affects how people engage with the community.

Also, it seems like with user sovereignty and decentralization, that there will be various objectionable or even vile communities is inevitable, right? Is there a plan for how to deal with that, should Aether ever become popular enough to get more mainstream news attention? I imagine responding to tech blogs with, "yes, there are white supremacist sub-communities, but you don't have to see them if you don't want to" won't come across as a very satisfying answer from their perspective.


> I imagine responding to tech blogs with, "yes, there are white supremacist sub-communities, but you don't have to see them if you don't want to" won't come across as a very satisfying answer from their perspective.

It's always irked me that most people seem to think that people with different politics to them shouldn't be allowed to communicate.


1. Referring to them as just "different politics" covers up the hateful, violent ideologies we're talking about.

2. Wanting them to be banned from a particular platform isn't a general ban on communication. Private communities are under no obligation to tolerate the intolerant.


The domain-name removals, the mastercard and visa bans, and the app bans are the actions of private companies in name only. What this is, despite pretending otherwise, is an exercise of a form of state power. When exercised against a nation, we recognize it as a sanction. But when exercised against an individual, it is something different. In reality, there is no practical difference between this and state censorship in China.

Personally, I don't object to this kind of power in principle, I just think that it is used in the wrong direction in the United States. Rather than being used to target and remove individuals who promote instability, it has been used to target and remove individuals who promote stability. Much of the United States now believes property destruction is acceptable if it achieves honorable ends.


> The domain-name removals, the mastercard and visa bans, and the app bans are the actions of private companies in name only.

No, they're completely the actions of private companies.

It turns out, private companies exist in a mostly-shared culture and often have similar ideas about how to behave. Currently -- thank god -- deplatforming blatant bigots is generally agreed upon as A Good Thing. No conspiracy here, just good sense.

> Rather than being used to target and remove individuals who promote instability, it has been used to target and remove individuals who promote stability.

Seriously? White supremacists are now "individuals who promote stability"?

> Much of the United States now believes property destruction is acceptable if it achieves honorable ends.

I mean, yeah, the US has always believed that. The country had basically two starting points, after all: stealing the natives' land, and then later on destroying property as part of a protest.


> It turns out, private companies exist in a mostly-shared culture and often have similar ideas about how to behave. Currently -- thank god -- deplatforming blatant bigots is generally agreed upon as A Good Thing. No conspiracy here, just good sense.

It currently is recognized as a good thing, but it wasn't before. Before the consensus was "I may disagree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." That said, a consensus cannot be defended simply because it has previously existed.

> Seriously? White supremacists are now "individuals who promote stability"?

I'm talking about people who opposed defunding the police. In a healthy society, people who supported defunding the police would have been fired from their jobs and sanctioned, but the opposite has happened. 'White supremacy' has been redefined to include fundamental state structures that are required for the functioning of society.

> I mean, yeah, the US has always believed that. The country had basically two starting points, after all: stealing the natives' land, and then later on destroying property as part of a protest.

The United States does not need to justify its existence. Almost every nation in existence today was formed on the backs of millions of deaths, and most of the natives died through communicable disease that was inevitably spread once any european landed on the North American shores. The only major mistakes the United States ever made were 1) allowing the establishment of slavery in North America and 2) trying to spread 'freedom and democracy' around the world.

Otherwise, the United States is responsible for almost all fundamental technology that the developed world employs and may (hopefully) be responsible for spreading human life to another planet. If the latter happens, then that alone justifies the sins of the United States.


[flagged]


Describing journalists concerned about bigoted communities present on your platform as "a mob" is certainly a hot take.

Allow me to add one of my own: Journalists' jobs aren't to share their "concerns", it's to report the facts. So much of the media's pathology is a result of the problem that news doesn't even try to be impartial anymore.

If you want to "share your concerns", the place to do that is an op-ed, or a blog post, or twitter, or something. But it isn't journalism anymore.


News never was impartial. Just by selecting what to report and the order in which you report things you influence the reception of the world. I'd argue that it's impossible to have objective news.

That's not what I'm talking about here. We've gone beyond mere story selection to actual agenda-pushing. I.e punditry, not journalism.

The word 'bigoted' is getting thrown around all over the place in this post and most commenters, including this one, seem to have never actually looked it up in the dictionary.

Bigoted does not mean right-wing, objectionable, or things one disagrees with.

Bigoted means unwilling to change one's opinion. Which certainly applies to the hard left wing end of the spectrum just as much as it does to hard right.

Bigoted: obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, and intolerant towards other people's beliefs and practices.

If anything, so-called journalists using a platform to express 'concern' over things they disagree with is a better fit for the term. The job of a journalist is to report, not to preach their own brand of politics or dislikes or concerns.


> The word 'bigoted' is getting thrown around all over the place in this post and most commenters, including this one, seem to have never actually looked it up in the dictionary.

On the contrary:

"""One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ."""

It applies very well to people intolerant of other groups, ethnicity or race.


It's not restricted to ethnicity, groups or race. Bigotry is merely the refusal to entertain different beliefs; whatever their groupby factor may be. Cherry-picking parts of the definition to meet one's idea of what it 'should' be, is the actual meaning of bigotry.

Please refer to the Oxford dictionary definition if you're still confused.


Everybody can see what little game you are playing.

Well, I guess there's a little bit of a bigot in everyone! It may sound like an insult but really isn't.

No.

> Definition of bigot

> : a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices

> especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bigot


Not sure what the 'no' is in regard to. That's entirely aligned to my comment.

Or did you think obstinate devotion to opinions and prejudices only manifests in the the group of people you happen to disagree with?


You focused on unwillingness to change one's opinion. That's certainly a definition, but the more common one in use is about prejudice, especially prejudice based on inherent traits like sex or race or sexuality. I'm sure you're aware of that, which is why it's confusing that you're acting as if you're not.

I don't dispute that it's extraordinarily difficult to get people to change political opinions, especially on the fringes. That was never my contention, I made that pretty clear with the example of bigoted communities I chose being white supremacists. Not sure how you could misread that, unless you wanted to.


[flagged]


> It's the inability to accept new viewpoints

No, it's not just that. I don't understand why you're being intentionally obtuse here, other than that the framing helps your viewpoint if you can trick others into accepting it.

Words can have more than one definition. Yours isn't the one I was using, no matter you wish it was otherwise.

Again, since you apparently missed this the first time around, or intentionally ignored it:

> especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance


"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."

Excellent. I am trying this. Thank you.

Please do! We have a small, friendly community. Always glad to see new faces. Let me know if you have any issues.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: