Private small self run social media already exists. It's personal Minecraft servers.
When I was younger I ran a Minecraft server out of my toaster of a PC. Friends hopped on, made their own little houses, built stuff and talked. Friends would pass in and out and in order to get in you had to be invited! I'd say max there were 10-20 people on there somewhat consistently.
It was great, and better than social media or even game for hanging out with your friends IMO because it emulated synchronous human interaction instead of just setting up feeds where everything has to be "perfect".
It was easy enough for a 14 year old to setup, and administer. Mods made it hackable and fun.
I guess the metaverse was already a thing back then huh?
I've gone back to play Unreal Tournament 2004 this past year in such dedicated servers, and it made me realize how badly matchmaking ruined the sense of community in MP games.
Pretty soon after that World of Warcraft was introduced and games started getting more "massive" and I lost all interest in endless games with people I didn't know personally.
Almost 20 years later and when I'm able to sneak a game in, I only play single-player mode to follow the storyline.
My second year of college my roommate and I were chatting and found out we both frequented that server and knew each other by our handles.
Even though I didn't use the dedicated servers as a social mechanism, just hanging out and playing with/against each other for countless hours was enough to seed a lasting friendship when we did meet irl.
I used to enjoy playing TF2 until 2013/14 or so. I settled into the No Heroes servers and after a while you get to know people. You pop on, see familiar names, say hello and you'd have a good time. It was like a small town which had a lot of other people passing through keeping things lively yet familiar.
Recently I tried to play TF2 again just for kicks. The community is dead. I played for maybe 30 min before exiting uninstalling and never looking back. Good job valve.
There is also the option to provide ramps for people in A towards some other form of socialization (double dates? dinner parties?), but I don't think anyone really tried it yet.
As for Tinder... I'm pretty sure you can find the equivalent of "dedicated servers" where to form a community, but I don't think that's what most people would want.
A sprawling list of servers to join. Ahhh the memories. headshots jumping off the upper area of deck16. Console gaming and auto joining servers like in CoD. Bleh. Zero sense of community. Before we all met on IRC quakenet in random clan channels.
> OldUnreal took over maintenance of the Unreal Tournament code base after reaching an agreement with Epic Games in 2019.
A shame this vibrant and creative element of the game was stamped out.
The advantages you get with a more traditional-style private social media site are accessibility and asynchrony.
These days I kind of have the same thing with a private Discord server (5 people including me) and Twitter. My Twitter account is private, most of my friends (~10 people) are also in private. I can have a window on the "outside world" by following stuff from the outside, but interactions are limited to me and my friends.
We usually set up a new Minecraft server every year and play a lot for a month or two (most of us are still students), and having a 3D world that we can modify at will is always very special. I've thought a lot about what the future could look like for us. I have this idea of a "3D coworking space", though for now frequent Discord calls and Twitter interactions are enough. I do miss the feeling of building something together and living in a (virtual) space together. Just like it's easier to remember things with a mental palace, it's easier to remember the memories we made together while visiting our Minecraft servers.
I've tried FocusMate, though that is along the "match-making" model, and I didn't get much out of a random pairing for 1 hour at a time.
Actually, Open Simulator (an open source implementation of Second Life's protocol) is kind of already that, although one might debate whether it's a game and the tech is pretty dated by this point.
Learn a lot with spare time on your hands and wanting to build something for your friends!
I feel old knowing people in college now were born in the 2000s.
Here's the thing that may save you if you're trying to pull one of these together: You can't do it without something else. Meaning, the idea of a "local" Twitter/Facebook killer is great but (if you're me) no one will see the value and you won't be able to onboard ANYONE without some sort of "social carrot" separate and apart from the mere idea of "hey, new social network."
(This is one of those ideas that nerds like me just have trouble digesting, so hopefully it helps someone get through this. I've tried and failed this many times over. Will probably do it again :) )
If I was hanging out with a friend in person and they kept showing me pictures of other stuff in their life I'd get bored pretty quickly. If I'm hanging out with someone, I want to be talking with them and doing stuff with them, not getting a slideshow of their most glamorous recent moments.
Each to their own, I guess, but I find the normal mode of interaction on "social media" (including all that photo sharing and commentary) to be super weird and undesirable.
If you don't realize interactions with people are different when you are: face to face, in same VoIP call playing same game, playing same game with text only, in same VoIP but not actively doing same thing, and on a website like Facebook or Twitter there really is nothing to even start conversation on.
Yes, of course, if I play Minecraft with someone there usually no photos shared, but we probably are on Discord for VoIP and use the screen sharing function if we want to show something.
When it comes to photos specifically, not being able to send media is also a huge advantage when dealing with creeps or other malicious people. Spam is pretty much non-existent in most games because you generally can't click on links, and the worst "malware" incident is typically a troll telling you to Alt+F4 to fix a bug.
Wireguard or similar simple VPNs would make file sharing 1:contacts makes everything easier now.
Kubernetes + Kilo obsoletes cloud DCs.
But you won’t get to participate in agency manipulating big business that way.
> Kubernetes + Kilo
How is maintaining an app on top of a Kubernetes cluster easier than setting up a Minecraft server on an old PC back in the day? Who pays for that and maintains it?
HN is great, but it's very point in time. If I find an interesting topic posted over a day ago, it's never getting new replies. It's a snapshot of the thoughts on that topic for that single day, nothing more.
I’ve been in two “tiny forums” in the past and honestly I prefer that to the idea of a Twitter clone. Let’s people put in more effort, have real topics (like about events) and isn’t just streams.
But it's very noticeable how the forum audience is aging, even compared to Facebook which is already the retiree home amongst corporate social media. I can't imagine how lopsided interaction must be on the "influencer platform" generation of social media must be..
A lot of sufficiently niche hobbies still do. E.g. if you get into rare fruit growing, a lot of the best information is in various Discourse forums.
Question: Would the absence of a forum (or some sort of group chat) be a deal breaker for you?
I am interested in a small forum ability as well, but it doesn't have to be in the same application.
A webring is also a feature I really like. Good for related - but still random - discovery.
GDPR is not just "not exploiting their personal data for commercial gain" but a lot of busy work with massive fines if you make any mistakes. How is most community forums going to work with that?
Contrary to all the BS the tech lobby says, you don't even have to have a cookie banner today I'd you don't collect datat beyond what is technically needed.
You do have to avoid leaking, though; it's effectively a requirement to do information security.
OK, slightly flippant might take half an afternoon of training for all staff.
Labour and the Tories are trying to extend The online safety bill to put forum owner in prison if found to be causing harm (whatever that means) and you would have to pay for staff to monitor the forums 24/7 (no one is going to help out if they risk going to prison). All with a fuck ton of vagueness that can millions of pounds of fines.
That will make it impossible for anyone but big tech to run online forums.
You are not wrong though that running forums or any website with user generated content is becoming increasingly difficult for individuals, though the real culprits here on EU level are the recent copyright reform which requires you to remove infringing content quickly and the upcoming Anti-Terror regulation which requires removing content in one hour. Though it might be true, that many of these laws might be toothless against individuals or non-profits, even though they do not specially exclude them. But it really seems lawmakers don't think much of the internet beyond facebook, twitter and google.
Don’t you basically just need to stop collecting any data that is not put up there by the user itself? At least with regards to gdpr.
I am in the process of starting a forum so I am quite curious to know if I am wrong in this?
But I like your sentiment.
* how to make them ubiquitous (easy hosting, maintenance, moderation)
* how to federate flexibly and effectively (private/public boundaries, social graph discovery, integrate different media, polymorphic clients)
* how to nudge behavior, extract people from their digital prisons and reboot them into more sane behaviors - not trivial, some real social scientist input required
* how to make them self-financing without creating distorted incentives for any stakeholder
etc. there are lots of things to work out but its clear we've been through an centralized web / walled garden aberration period that inflicted untold damage to the broader "digital transformation" enterprise and legitimized / rewarded abusive practices that can not persist as a permanent pattern
An example instance is at https://littr.me
The same content can be found at brutalinks.tech (but I doubt this domain is much better :D)
Would this be correct?
Edit: I searched HN and the only reference I could find to Kalido was your comment(!).
It looks so promising yet from the comment it doesn't seem like either something I shouldn't want to touch (like Something Awful) or something that wouldn't survive long.
Is there anyone here either you or anyone else who wants to share some lore?
Edit 2: It seems on a closer look to look more like a weird enterprise cross breed between linkedIn and Google+, not a general social network. Still interested to hear more about it, I feel I am reasonably well informed about such software and yet this has slipped by.
: I had great hopes for MeWe, but last I checked they were still lacking a great deal IMO, especially in that they don't seem to see the value of not broadcasting my actual identity to everyone.
I can't speak to the communities on there - I just worked there, never really used it myself (but the founders and others who work there do use it to make connections, I believe.)
> more like a weird enterprise cross breed between linkedIn and Google+, not a general social network
Yeah, the main thrust is that it's an "AI powered LinkedIn for generating communities" but there was good support for "find people who like <X> near <Y>" and get suggestions if people appeared near you with similar interests ("<A> also likes <X> and is near you in <Y>").
> this has slipped by
I don't think they've got around to making a big publicity push yet.
I cannot stand the apps and systems that, when blocking, just totally purge and puff the conversion out of existence, not just for the block-er, but the block-ed. Both sides have the right to their memories! Maybe Y poured their soul there, and they want to continue having access to those moments; X does not get to have ultimate control over that.
If X or Y want to block, then the blocking action should just lock and prevent further replies. (And there's definitely way more nuance possible here that I will be getting into here.)
The "nuclear" version would be to hide the blocker's part of conversation of which I also extremely disagree: everyone needs to learn, experience consequences, and evervigilantly practice to stand behind one's words — but those should always be remarkated with he fact that the stances, feelings, opinions expressed then should be considered ephemeral in an ever-evolving state, and not etched in stone. (And even add a short revision note tag function: "This is no longer considered valid, more info here / ask me more".
And while I have presented this example here as a private conversation between two people, my thoughts on the group conversations are very much aligned to these.
However, I am mainly of the opinion that block as a function should he reserved for the gravest of offences, and that people should (continue to) learn to settle their differences of opinion peacefully and as amicably as possible. Blocking willy-nilly does the exact opposite of it, and just builds the ever-more-impenetrable echo chamber(s) of samethink.
eg. a quick search found a Ham radio group in SD: https://www.facebook.com/groups/856599821517281.
More Ham radio groups in San Diego (you can do a similar search for retro computing): https://www.facebook.com/search/groups?q=ham%20radio&filters...
Meetup also has some retro computing groups, though I don't see one in San Diego (why not start one?): https://www.meetup.com/topics/retro-computers/
(Caveat: I work on FB Groups)
To give a clear counterpoint to the idea of using Facebook groups - forums had anonymity. You could be a different version of yourself - for better or worse. It's not possible to do that on Facebook without accountability.
Sure it is. Our local town Facebook groups have a wide variety of clear sockpuppet accounts. Facebook's detection and processes for this are laughably bad; quite a few people have reported the "Count von Brokenhymen" style ones to no avail.
so sock puppet might not be as easy as it once was.
Both for false positives and false negatives. I had to register an account to participate in some local town stuff, and my account got locked every week, regular as clockwork.
You and your team members do really great work -- it's one of the only reasons many people still use Facebook. If you bail and create something that is more decentralized and web3, but with the same quality and consumer accessibility, it'd be a hit. And, you'll replace one super-voting-share emperor with a large community of crazy but well-meaning stakeholders, who are a lot more fun to work for.
Web3 is super interesting, and I'm excited to see it grow.
I used to be a "forum junkie", but FB Groups has completely replaced that behavior. I don't know if it's better or worse, but at least I am not checking 5 different forums anymore. The forums come to me.
I want something in the middle, a site to explore the fringes of my social graph. Look up people that I barely know. Understand who is connected to whom, who is a friend of a friend. And have a low-key way of staying in touch with people who are not in my closest circle.
I think this was realized with Facebook in the late 00s (or in Germany, StudiVZ). It was literally a people's directory where you would enter information you wanted to publicly share, and basically "everybody" was there.
This is what Iris is going for. https://github.com/irislib/iris-messenger
I like this perspective because free speech is considered fundamental to the point that if you don’t uphold it, you’re considered a totalitarian. Not having an absolute view of free speech is what we would call a more nuanced view. Although I wouldn’t want a University, the ACLU, or Facebook taking this view, I think it’s fine for a small community to take it and is one of the things that can attract people to small social networks.
There is no such thing as absolute free speech. We know of the many nuances like "fighting words", incitement, libel, child pornography, slander, etc. I would like Universities and the ACLU to respect these exceptions to absolute free speech.
Nuance requires everyone is on the same page. What looks like a masterwork to you, might look like something a child could paint to the teeming millions.
I suspect they mean Jackson Pollock:
I personally lack sufficient “nuance” to appreciate his work.
'How to convince all your friends to jump ship and join you on a platform you built, and abandon their friends in the process.'
I always wonder who are these people who have so many friends and who are these friends who are willing to try experimental social networks with no one else in them.
Having a forum account doesn't delete your Twitter.
the pedantic me would like to point out that mastodon is "free software" more than anything "open source" because that terms can mean a lot of things that free software isn't but i get the point. yeah.
there is this amazing software called pleromaPi.
so you simply install it on a raspberry pi and you are good to go with your own social network. this is by far the easiest way to dip your toes into free software social networking via the fediverse.
then there are https://fediverse.party/ , which if you get started with pleromapi can be much easier to understand and you will have a good time learning about technology and stuff.
Old-school Unix systems. Mainframes. BBSes. Mac vs. PC. Hondas sporting spoilers. F150s sporting certain bumper stickers and exhaust modifications.
In cases, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For at least a signficant portion of the Fediverse, Pleroma use has come to be associated with a certain set of users, to the point that the servers are blocked on sight.
Which those seeking to join the Fediverse might care to take into account.
I am pretty sure I am not the only Mastodon admin who feels this way; anyone coming to the Fediverse should probably be informed that this is a reputation this particular software has.
If this bugs you then do something to clean up Pleroma's overall act and make the racist trolls know they are no longer welcome to use it.
Any offensive domain you come across could be running Mastodon, Pleroma, Misskey, etc. The behavior of individual servers doesn’t reflect on the open source technology they are using.
I guess it just so happens that offensive people prefer to use a more resource efficient technology. Not sure why that is, but I think it’s funny that people like yourself prefer crappy technology if it means that it aligns perfectly with your political beliefs. Just weird to think of servers in this way. As if NGINX could be political.
The original question was "What makes Pleroma different from for example Mastodon? Why would one choose one over the other?", and "Masto admins are less likely to cut you slack in a dispute if you're on a Pleroma because they see a lot of jerks using Pleromas" is a difference, IMHO.
I can't say I "prefer" Mastodon. It's the server that was there when I decided to start running one. One of my friends switched over from Masto to Misskey and seems to be happy with it but it was a lot of hassle to do the change, more than I'm willing to bother with.
There are apps that exist already to keep these private if you wish. But the key is curating the chat so there is good signal from friends who arnt starting flame wars.
Sadly, it just did not catch on, people were not invested enough in it. These days, I'm not too sure there is a point to this kind of thing instead of a group WeChat/FB or Discord or what have you chat.
I do wish the community of HN had a forum kind of site, not quite social media but something with more persistent interactions on topics and perhaps among users.
And tumbleweeds and dust bunnies.
Facebook killed it.
I keep it going, but no one really uses it.
From a software pov I'm less convinced. Seems to me that "just make a Telegram / WhatsApp / whatever" group is where most online communities seem to be coalescing...?
I help curate networks for my fraternity (US, college for those of you not familiar with it). Many of us are in the same or related career fields, and there’s a few hobbies that are common to find in the group (sports, music, etc). These are people who, for the most part, genuinely enjoy spending time with each other, meeting up a few times a year as at larger events like our colleges homecoming and our founders day. Many spouses are close friends too and people who live near each other often hang out together, kids play sports on same teams, etc.
But even with those things going for us, it is damn hard to curate any sort of social space with continued interaction. People have become accustomed to things being so niche, that groups with wide-ranging topics are dead. If people want to talk guitars, they’ll do that on a subreddit, or find the Facebook group for their cars. People self-select into hyper-specified conversation groups. I have been unsuccessful in finding a way to successfully foster wider, continuous conversation in a group setting.
The closest I’ve seen to that is in larger family text threads where aunts/cousins/etc will occasionally share pics of what they’re doing or share that they got a promotion at work or something. It seems rare outside of a family dynamic.
I hope the OP, or someone figures out a good way to build community that isn’t just laser focused on a specific thing, or built around a cult of personality, but I fear that’s more or less human nature, at least in current US culture.
I think that's exactly the point. OP wants a human-sized community, without the cancerous mandate of growth. It's meant to be a bulletin board for your immediate community, around dozens of people in size on average.
Personally I haven’t seen anything work for more than about 5-10 people, and group chat really works fine at the < 10 scale in my opinion.
>If you have no programming experience, this is for you.
I can't tell if there's a typo here, or if the "Who is this for?" section could be shortened to simply "everyone", haha.
Servers should just be public utilities, and no further associations should be given to them; leave the people who use them to decide what a community is!
A lot has been said here about privacy and how social media company might abuse it; the reality, is that they don’t care much about your private conversation, unless they can target ads based on this, or grab your attention. They don’t have the time or the inclination. Your colleague who can see all private message on Slack without notification and probably does religiously (yeah, that’s a thing) on the other hand…
Apple essentially does this with iMessage, both for sending a message to each of your devices as well as to each recipient in a group chat.
People do somewhat expect this stuff for messaging, but it'll get really messy really fast for posts and photos and similar long-lived content. It'll get even messier when you consider that privacy options in this style of social network are the likes of "friends only", so they include dynamic collections of users.
Probably? I don't know. The problem is that it gets really complicated really fast. When someone adds a friend, how do you grant that new friend access to their older friends-only posts? How do you revoke that access, and access to any future posts, when they unfriend someone?
> Can you elaborate more on the risks around automated key management?
The biggest problem for my project in particular is that it requires the ability to run arbitrary code and reliably store valuable data on the client side. And client-side rendering. I can't quite do that. I have a requirement that everything must work in a regular web browser and JS is mostly optional.
And even ignoring that, question remains: how do you make sure the server doesn't have access to the key while the client does, while keeping the user experience sane?
It runs entirely in the browser, using the Web Crypto API. For key management, I store the user's private keys in the browser's password manager, and friend keys in IndexedDB, backed up to the user's host in a client-side encrypted blob.
> When someone adds a friend, how do you grant that new friend access to their older friends-only posts? How do you revoke that access, and access to any future posts, when they unfriend someone?
My project publishes an encrypted post as one file, then 1 keyfile for each of your friends to unlock that post. When you unfriend someone, you can just delete all their keyfiles and cease generating them for future posts.
I run a FB group with 5,000 members. It's active daily, on a controversial topic but I don't do a moderation actions more than a couple times a week. I'm in reddit with a million members that does fine too. Clear direction is really helpful. "No trolling at all, none" is much better than "don't do much trolling".
Otherwise, I like the instructions.
There's also a distinct difference between total registered members and current active users. Especially on any group more than a few years old, there will be many registered-but attrited members who aren't regularly active. The active membership may be anywhere from half to 1% of the nominal registered count (and even smaller on very large groups). Unless you've got accurate insights into those patterns, I'd discount your experience strongly on these grounds as well.
Looking at Google+ groups in the months prior to that service being shut down, I noted a number of patterns. Peak engagements, indicated by visible post, comment, and +1 (equivalent to "like") activity seemed to peak on a per-user basis at around 10,000 users or so. Not only were there far fewer very large groups (1 million+ members) than would be expected, but those that did exist were far less active than their raw size would suggest. Post activity was a much stronger predictor than size for engagement. Spot checks of larger groups showed many were overrun by spam and low-effort posts. (This despite Google's own anti-spam and anti-abuse measures.)
If you're in but not moderating that large subreddit, I'd also tend to discount experience. Reddit also has its own automated anti-abuse systems, though AFAIU it relies far more on moderators, and the load and tools are a constant source of contention between the site and its (nominally) unpaid volunteer admins. Lack of trasnparency also leads to many suspicions and complaints (most unfounded, some not) against mods.
I was all-in on it being a new decentralisation of the web, that Facebook et al. would become syndicators of our broadcast content. We'd publish the content from our own computers and online services would cache it for access, but it would always be available as long as there was a direct route from my home computer to yours.
Still, I see that this sort of system could happen, basically a web-mesh.
However, the trick would be convincing NON-technical people to use it rather than ad-hoc group texts or (ugh) Facebook.
We are happy to have the backing of orgs as the UN and the European Commission. Goal is to go fully decoupled using React and GraphQL next year.
There are no pricing information or demo videos on the website, so it's hard to know if the saas pricing is even feasible, and no video to help engage interest. It just says "request a demo". Why can't I watch a pre-recorded demo?
I wish there was a service to allow only real people to sign up on small sites / forums.
Being a US company, there are a fair number of circumstances where they have to turn the contents over to the government without a warrant or probable cause, too.