Talking about hope and dispair in tech

Q. A lot of evil stuff happens via the cyberweb, no doubt. But I would encourage anyone who still knows how it works not to give up on it. Instead, try to work around the BS and design systems which are resilient to adversaries. As conditions of life get harder and the oligarchy turns the screws we need channels of dissident communication, even if they are no longer mainstream ones. Even retro stuff may go under the radar.

A. This is a social tech problem, a #geekproblem and the solution is social tech that steps away from the #geekproblem we cant just keep doing the same #techshit it’s time for composting #indymediaback #OMN are example of this that are currently blocked.

Q. As far as I could understand from what you said, what would then be exactly the social related problem to solve ? Are you referring to the way spying agencies like the CIA that is dominating the hacktivist scene, are creating “trends” on how to be safe online, which have most of the time no true impact regarding the possibilities of such agencies to continue spying and having social control? So you mean it’s a matter of being good at creating counter propaganda to cancel

A. You are describing the problems, then adding a layer of self-destruction to the problem, that’s not helpful. The #openweb has been “destroyed” by some forces you name. But we have also played a role in destroying it ourselves in refection to the real problems you highlight. We have little power over the first and more power over the second. It’s hopeful to think about this #geekproblem

Q. The #openweb wasn’t destroyed exactly. If you look at the numbers of websites over time, the open web is still there, but what happened is that almost all of the attention got captured by a small number of enormous corporate sites. The corporate sites made themselves critical conduits for search and discovery of news and views, such that the notion of “web surfing” has become almost obsolete. Google search increasingly won’t show much of the open web, because it’s not within the targeted ads business model.

A. yes my point, the #openweb is under a thin veneer of corporate crap. The #fedivers is a tiny break out of this that seceded because it was “accidentally” anti #geekproblem we need to be hardcore anti #geekproblem is the is to be HOPE 🙂

Q. The success of the fediverse did have a very large element of luck to it. Before 2017 it was doing very badly, and I remember unsuccessfully trying to persuade people to try GNU Social instead of going on Facebook. Even people who hated Facebook were reluctant to try the fediverse. Also my interpretation is that ActivityPub was originally a corporate idea but that the corporates lost interest, leaving its development to a few remaining grassroots activists. If the corporates had stayed that ActivityPub would probably be something quite different.

A. Yep, gave me hope, though it’s failing now – we have to stop fucking up this grassroots tech. A start is #4opens talking about the #geekproblem and using these to start composting #techshit

Q. The fediverse isn’t failing as such, but is becoming an established technology and so is no longer shiny or something which a clueless tech journalist would want to breathlessly scribble about as a new phenomena. Like XMPP and other previous protocols it is getting into the “plateau of productivity” where it mostly “just works”. There are complaints about lack of spec development, and some of those are justified. But ActivityPub doesn’t need to do all the things, it only needs to do one job well – that of being a social network protocol.

A. yes, it’s not failing in its own terms. But it is not heading to success in the bigger picture of being a alt to the #dotcons I should know being involved for the last few years outreaching it to the #mainstreaming that understands it has a #closedweb problem. The #EU outreach is interesting in this and likely also going to fail in the wider mission. It’s hard to push #openweb in a era controlled by #stupidindividualism and capitalism/alt diesper.

Q. It depends on what the EU’s wider mission is, but I expect that it’s not really a grassroots type of mission anyway. Whatever the machinations or motives of the EU, we do need to maintain a viable space for people who actively don’t want to be stuck in the corporate hellscape. And we shouldn’t assume that the EU will continuously bankroll some projects.

A. At the #EU it’s a power politics fight between the need for #open in a organization that is all about #closed people know they need to change but are only brave to pretend to do this. Am interested if a little crack of #open might be enough to undermine the monolith. Problem is everyone is up for selling out #open to grab a bit of #closed so only weak #open PUSH is all we have, needs to be sharper and harder push. Think stake and vampire level of PUSH with a few blows of a mallet to drive the point home. #open has power over closed, just like light over darkness.

FUD is strong in tech

Q. Who creates a non-crypto-based Web-version calculator that has the complex algebra to determine if we deal with #Web1, #Web2, #Web3, #Web4 or #Web5?

Or let’s keep things simple and go with #Web0

A. This stuff is now #FUD so best to start to ignore it https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty,_and_doubt

Just keep it #KISS and use #openweb and #closedweb as this is a good descriptive and a check on the #geekproblem

A final hashtag to make this relevant #nothingnew

Talking about the #geekproblem in funding

Q. #nlnet – The problem we face with funding http://hamishcampbell.com/2022/06/06/the-problem-we-face-with-funding/

A. KiCAD, some warrant canary and Armbian aren’t “open internet” projects by any stretch of imagination, but the ones relating to routers and mesh networks are. They’re “open internet” at the infrastructure level – like Guifinet or Freifunk.

Q. yep and are useful for a tiny number of people so worth supporting. BUT the call-out for the funding is for a much wider social affect in the #openweb, so the is an obvious #geekproblem can you see this?

A. Whatever funding they put into the applications layer will be cautious because they probably don’t want to be dealing with Twitter-like problems. Infrastructure is more narrowly technical, and so it’s hard for that to blow up into a scandal, which could happen if they were more directly funding social networks.

Q.  yep… but the #openweb needs better USER-FACING code not more backend, the backend is not helping to address the social problems we face where it is being digested by the #dotcons and then adding more mess to compost. How to communicate this problem to the geeks?

A. Really it’s the backend – the plumbing – which needs more funding, because when you peel off the layer of ultra-trendy ActivityPub apps underneath you will find tools and systems which have been neglected for years if not decades. The application layer is currently a house built on sand. Or quicksand if you include Javascript.

Q. We do see the #geekproblem here you are right, and at the same time the view is irrelevant when you step back to look at the problem.

An example, #activertypub would have been still born without the outreach social UX of #mastodon. We have the #fediverse due to the social side of the mastodon project.

Adding more backend is feeding the #dotcons not the #openweb because we need BOTH, and we need to fund both. Yes, we can play “safe” and build tools to feed the future #dotcons, or we can do both and live life with the possibility of social change challenge…

UPDATE

Talking about the problem:

Q. Am thinking the #fedivers is in a bad way, so being angry and annoyed is understandable. The #openweb momentum we had is stumbling, the people sellingout growing as funding shifts… the problems grow, am interested in ideas to mediate these? The fedivers is a CULTURE first and a standard second… ideas?

A. I agree with your observation on the state of the fediverse. And on the cultural aspect too. I envision a Peopleverse (social) that is enabled / supported by the Fediverse (technical). And much more diverse social activity taking place here, that goes well beyond microblogging. And the funding should shift accordingly. You can fund as many innovation projects as you wish, but if the adoption of the technology grinds to a halt, then there’s a high risk this money is wasted.

 

The problem we face with funding – nlnet

User-Operated Internet Fund

“Software is eating the world. Maybe the world ought to consider biting back” let’s talk about the #geekproblemby looking at https://nlnet.nl/useroperated/

“Individual autonomy” it gets off to a bad start as the WWW/internet is a group project, made up of meany different groups of people. The is NO UNDERSTANDING OF THIS in the text or the funding outcomes.

This is a common thinking to all this funding, little will affect real number of human beings, building social technology is a group project, any technology built outside social groups is always poring money and focus down the drain.

“We need your ideas and contributions to help reshape the state of play, and to help create an open, trustworthy and reliable internet for all yes… and what did they fund, lets look:

LIST:

Armbian — Versatile OS for ARM-based single board computers

This has nothing to do with the call-out text/subject, this is not a project based on people – it obviously should have been funded under a different track.

Canarytail — Warrant canary standardization and automation

This has little to do with the call-out text/subject, this is not a project based on people – it obviously should have been funded under a different track.

CeroWRT II — Make Wi-Fi routers faster and more reliable

This has nothing to do with the call-out text/subject, this is not a project based on people – it obviously should have been funded under a different track.

Telecommunication in HF using the Internet Protocol (IPoHF) — High-throughput software-defined wireless telecommunications

This has nothing to do with the call-out text/subject, this is not a project based on people – it obviously should have been funded under a different track.

KiCad — Professional open source electronics design application

This has nothing to do with the call-out text/subject, this is not a project based on people – it obviously should have been funded under a different track.

Local Production of Antennas for LibreRouter (LoPaLiR) — Reliable open hardware Antennas for LibreRouter

This is far away from the call, but closer than the rest of the projects.

LTE support in OsmoCBC (Cell Broadcast Centre) — Open source Cell Broadcast Centre for mobile networks

This has nothing to do with the call-out text/subject, this is not a project based on people – it obviously should have been funded under a different track.

GPRS/EGPRS support in Osmocom CNI for Ericsson RBS

This is away from the call, but maybe closer than the rest of the projects.

Open source ePDG for VoWiFi — Enhanced Packet Data Gateway for mobile infrastructure

This is away from the call, but maybe closer than the rest of the projects.

Pion — Network congestion measurement for adaptive real-time applications

This has nothing to do with the call-out text/subject, this is not a project based on people – it obviously should have been funded under a different track.

RADIUSdesk — Open wifi mesh deployment application

This is away from the call, but closer than the rest of the projects.

“Technology should be commons for everyone to enjoy and contribute to”

The outcome they funded tiny and irrelevant in social impact terms projects, much of the funding going to a single NGO project which will obviously achieve NOTHING at all.

“The internet in whatever shape or form it will take is already part of the social fabric of our societies” they funded no projects that deal with societies.

“Have a look at other NLnet funded projects to see what we mean, but don’t be afraid to send something completely different if you think you can contribute to the technology commons and the user-operated internet.” with this round they funded projects that should have been funded in different rounds – the is nothing human, nothing social, the outcome a BAD refection of the #geekproblem

It is unlikely they see this as a problem, that they clearly failed in their selection brief. Who are the people in the selection community, can we get some #4opens process on this strange and compostable outcome.

We should not be doing progressive technology unless the is a non-tech social group around this technology. We have to stop feeding and thus reproducing the #geekproblem

Though DIRECT criticism is difficult as the projects they fund are useful, but at a friend of a friend level, lack involvement of wider-tech folk me thinks.

More articles http://hamishcampbell.com/tag/ngi/

A conversation on trust/control in social technology

Q. In a nutshell, my manifesto could be “form your own little communities and federate them”

A. What would be the “common” understanding/agreements/standards that would bridge these communities, or would it Only be code, if only code what standards?

Q. Federation just depends upon the willingness to do so. The code is just the plumbing which makes it happen. And I think nearly all fediverse federation is opt-out, so that you are federating by default but can opt-out (block) if you want to.

A. Interesting to look at #peertube backend for a opt-in federated model, this aproch is the social/technical model for the social/tech of the #OMN project. That is building a human network first, technology is to support and mediate the very strong #geekproblem that is #blocking the human change/challenge we need #KISS

Q. Opt-in is ok if you are trying to build a small federation or an institution with different departments (eg a federation of libraries with particular rules and membership criteria).
I don’t think the fediverse would have been as successful if it had been opt-in from the beginning, though.

A. The #peertube network is an working example of this opt-in for content sharing. Think commenting is opt-out. It’s not got any “social” UX for this, which is why its kinda limited at mo… it suffers from the #geekproblem like just about all coding projects so worth looking at/using but its not core #OMN

Q. The problem with peertube was that the way it was federated initially was pretty bad, and the large majority of the videos being posted were not self-made and were just copyright violations, inviting legal takedowns. Initially, they also didn’t have enough moderation capability to combat disinformation and spam.
Often developers are expecting a twee world in which everyone is nice, but this is never the case for social networks. That expectation has a lot to do with the socio-economic position of commercial software development and its demographic homogeneity.

A. think the resion they did not do good moderation was a question of priorates, we have endemic BAD history for most of our tech, good to keep this in mind.
There are two paths out of the mess you touch on, one is social, one is hard tech. Agen we have only BAD history of thinking about this, good to keep this in mind.
The #geekproblem that writes this bad history is #BLOCK ing the social technology we need, good to think about this.

#OMN #KISS #OPENWEB notice the last hashtag, we DO NOT NEED more #closedweb if we have any hope of mediating the #geekproblem for tech/social progressive outcomes that we so urgently need.

Q. And opt-in is kinda closed. “Your name’s not down, you’re not coming in”. That sort of thing. Exclusivity isn’t really going to move the needle on anything, though.

A. This reply is a #geekproblem view of the thinking.
Good to look at a social view, all society are based on #TRUST and healthy society have more reliance on trust and unhealthy society more reliance on “hard” process/structure.
There are academic bases to this, a sadly right-wing view https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_trust_and_low_trust_societies
The #geekproblem fails in building “good trust” based society, it’s an endemic failing of our tech/thinking.
TRUSTLESS is the #geekproblem good to think about this when coding social/technology.
We need to build tech social networks that “fail” so that human beings can fix this “failing” based on TRUST and from this build a real progressive society.

Q. I don’t advocate trustless. You can’t prove trust merely by doing some complicated blockchain math. Trust is earned, or broken, by people. Not by machines.
Also, vaguely related to #chatcontrol. The EU is going to lose a lot of trust by trying to do policing-by-algorithm. The algorithm approach is a sort of abuse of trust.

A. the #OMN is this project: “We need to build tech social networks that “fail” so that human beings can fix this “failing” based on TRUST and from this build a real progressive society.”
No geeks/technologist are building this, let alone thinking like this. The #geekproblem we need to mediate for any outcome.

Leave the #EU to one side on this, as they are well hopeless on social technology, though some of them are looking (with blindfolds on)

Q. I’ve been around the block enough to have seen many online communities fail. I think you have some experience of that also.
When communities fail, there can be a lot of bad outcomes, and sometimes it’s actually fatal. Social networks are a lifeline for a lot of people and when the network fails so do its members.
This isn’t even about narrowly technical failures. Social engineering attacks such as the ones of the last few years can cause enough aggravation and fear that people just lose trust and quit.
So when building this type of software, we need to be mindful of the potential consequences, and not design failure into the system. People’s social lives are not a demolition derby for the entertainment of others.

A. it’s normal, that you are finding it difficult to see the point am talking about. All humane relationships fail It’s what makes us human, the #geekproblem trying to fix this is taking away our humanity. You see this in both mainstream #dotcons like #failbook, and you also see it in all ALT_TECH it’s a (social) systematic problem.
Build stuff that is messy, human. Please DON’T TRY AND FIX problems created by the problem you are trying to fix is basic. Take the #geekproblem blindfold off is a good step.

Reading this book would help https://archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli.2015.101521/2015.101521.The-Sciological-Imagination_djvu.txt

Real social change needs shared storys

Horizontal people are always getting fucked over by vertical people as the first gives away “power” to build social where the second “concentrates” power to use individual.

Horizontal only has social outcomes if the is a shared world view. It is easy to defeat if it has non #stupidindividualism

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Examples of shared world views are #4opens

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Vertical people will keep wining in till we have some shared world-view on the progressive/left and some examples of practical working alternatives for people to rally round #OMN

Stepping away from our tech mess – you need to compost it


It’s good that people try not to push pointless tech projects… And the majority of new tech projects are obviously pointless. To get an idea of what to push do a #4opens review and publish this, let’s build a community of useful tech together. We need to do better.

#techchurn has made so much #techshit over the last 10 years. There are piles of #mainstreaming and alt tech that needs to be composted to grow a more humane world. Focus on what we CAN change and what we do have directing (social) power over, our mess.

From a grassroots prospective, we don’t have alternatives as they have been devoured and turned into shit by #NGO #fashernistas and social #deathcult worshipping (40 years of neoliberalism)

Thus, your/our lack of motivation, in my lifetime there were meany anarchist/ecological/socialist alternatives which kinda worked in imperfect ways.

Let’s use federated #4opens tech to reboot these from before they were killed and eaten by this mess, and innovate om this.

#4opens #OMN #indymediaback

Our friends the liberals

In protest camps, squats, rainbow gatherings, akt-tech the is a long history of “liberals” pushing in with “common sense” agenda to distroy working alternatives. Our “liberals” have little understanding of the damage they do when this happens, for them this disstruction simply proves the alt’s are NOT posspable and thus their common sense is reinforced and the disstruction feeds back this “common sense”.

Worshiping the #deathcult in the era of #climatechaos the #OGB mediates this.

CRT are not fit for purpose

A. Not a esey ansear: we should break #CRT this is relatively easy as their next state funding round is coming up. This does create chaos, but it also stops the push for privatisation of the London waterways. As replacement of CRT is a government decision the is little point in pushing real change. Scary path #CRTnotfitforpurpose

Q. are C&RT really trying to privatize the London waterways? How are they going about that?

A. They have anounced that the central eco moorings are going to become pay moorings and then roll out more eco moorings. The “safety zones” are going ahead. We are now in a 3 steps forward 2 steps back slow loss of our a
14 day moorings in London.

Q. do you know who gets the money for the pay moorings?

A. #CRT were set up in a way that they would have to pay there own way with out government subsidies. Of course they being #notfutforpurpose they have failed in this after selling off lots of canal side land and buildings. The are asking for more government money in the next year or so.

Q. part of the problem C&RT faces is that the combined income from moorings and licences only covers about a quarter of its maintenance costs. Selling off property helps plug the gap in the short term. Sooner or later some tough financial decisions are going to have to be made.

A. The obvious way #CRT can help “pay there way” is by privatisation of all London moorings, the is domand for static boats. Keep 7,3 and one day “visitors moorings” to keep the outa town boaters happy. This is the outcome already in the waterways of Northern Europe, just came back from a 13 country boating expedition over 5 years. They have a model to Follow.

Q Surely breaking CRT gives the government an even easier opportunity to directly privatise the whole lot though (as one or piecemeal)? If the charitable trust they set up fails to successfully to replace the failed government body and they have to choose a replacement, privatisation might look like the next thing to try (especially given recent government inclinations).

A. The government does not have the focus to deal with such a small issue. So braking #CRT that is forcing their current management to resign by blocking their funding #CRTnotfitforpurpose would leave the waterways with broken management… Kinda like we have now, just with less effective attacking of CC boaters in London.

It’s not a easey path to take. But if people won’t to keep scruffy CC boating inside the M25 then this is likely no other option.

Q I think you are right that chargeable moorings will become more and more common. But C&RT doesn’t seem to enforce its mooring charges for people who overstay at the moment so I’m not sure how that will work. I suppose they could contract the collection of mooring fees out to a private company, as happens now on parts of the Thames.

A.With the safety moorings defeat they have realised they need to play the long game. 3 steps forward 2 steps back, they lose each time but they just keep steping forward.. looking like they have a non dickhead doing strategy, This is a very hard thing to campaign about for groups like #NBTA as every time they “win” they still LOSE… It’s demoralising…

Our worshipping the #deathcult (neo-liberalism)

For the last 20 years, everyone in the ruling classes has failed you

Our governing glasses of every colour has failed us

Our media and entertainment elites have failed us all

Our NGO and their leaders have betrayed us all

Our business and academic classes have grasped and dithered

We face the #climatechaos naked and disjointed at war and in the shopping centres

We have failed ourselves, it’s pastime to step away from this mess.

Don’t drink from the #mainstreaming

Go with the flowing #undercurrents

Compost this mess

In the lives of our current generation, we face the world sliding into eco-chaos, both social/political and directly climate related. It’s a truism that if we can’t radical change society now in 10 years, we face a world of BIG DUMB UGLY MEN WITH GUNS telling us what to do. The money we are now poring into “defence” in reaction to the Ukrainian crises will be buying weapons that will then be used on “us” as social chaos grows to shape our society.