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.

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
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

The first part is about democracy, the second part is hard politics, and is more nasty.

The #fedivers was booted up on grassroot #openweb passion and crowed funding, it was sustained in the early growth by crowed funding and expanded (in an often not helpful way) by #geekproblem passion. Over the last 2 years we have seen this shift sharply to “institutional” funding, some of this has been behind the seanes “think-tanks/academia” but over the last years the #EU though #NGI and more specifically #NGIzero have taken a central role in funding just about all fedivers #mainstreaming projects and much background technology.

In this, we have moved from meany 1000’s of people shaping the direction in a radically #4opens transparent way to handfuls of people controlling the levers of influence in a more opaque process. This is a clear and very obvues failing of #openweb governance, kinda normal and very obvuesly fail.

Now the wider #NGI project pour funding directly down the drain, which is a normal outcome so not an issue for us as the money is wasted anyway. #NGIzero are doing good, they are funding grassroots #openweb technology, so they are people we should work with.

How do we start to mediate this issue “In this we have moved from meany 1000’s of people shaping the direction in a transparent way to handfuls of people controlling the levers of influence in a more opaque process” And more importantly rebalance the #mainstreaming agenda that flows with this funding this second part is a BIG problem, this first part is about democracy, the second part is hard politics, and is more nasty.

lets flot a look at curuption in the #EU funding DRAFT

Think this is too strong a stick to wave around now, but it might be needed down the line.
Let’s look at ideas for rooting out/mediating the corruption in the #EU
ome examples from a resent #EU #NGI meeting you can document the same behaver at most meetings.

Example, a horizontal public BBB video online meeting where the organizers are the only one who have access to the share notepad space. Note in BBB this is open by default, so a moderator closed it on the assumption that this was the right thing to do.

The result, all the public input is lost in the transitory chat. The only record of the meeting is invisible to the pratisepents by design.

Let’s look at a second example from the same meeting but a break out session, the chare (who is likely lovely in person) took notes that were ONLY her agenda, ignoring the meeting input. Yes, I was non-directly rood about this. She was confused and started to try and take the agenda of the meeting badly.

Q. Should we have been silent and let her agenda and a few other #mainstreaming people been the only thing recorded in the minutes, thus the next round of funding?

A. we need to compost this crap, not add to it. Most time people do not STOP this crap process, we need to do this more.

As #NGI has 10’s of millions of euros at stake in the next funding round, easy to see shifting of the outcome in both cases is simple corruption.

The advantage of living in the digital era is that the whole event can be screen captured and all the behind UX actions are saved to log files to make it possible to name the people who change the open configuration to closed.

With the screen cap, we have a record of the public chat being ignored in the officel minutes etc. its a relatively simple task to compare them and find which voices were removed and which agender were pushed/added to shape where the money flows.

This is basic journalism. I doubt in the end anyone would be prosecuted as most of the people doing this are so arragent they do not realize that they are actually corrupt, but it would damage their carrears thus act as a brake on over all corruption in the #EU

#NGI there should be funding a tech platform/group to work on transparency like this, it’s a good stick to wave. I will do a project out line soon on

This view is not arrogance, I should know, having worked at the heart of this mess for 30 years.

With the growing influx of #EU funding into the #openweb we will see an increase in #techchurn due to the #geekproblem being feed by #mainstreaming #stupidindividualism of most of the #fashernista who can jump through the bureaucracy gatekeeper hoops.

Hoping for a balance of good Vs damage, though the shear blinded arrogance of the vertical crew push us to the damage side. #NGI do not won’t to see this problem, we as a community need to push back on this for a better outcome

ome examples from a resent #EU #NGI meeting

Example, a horizontal public BBB meeting where the organizers are the only one who have access to the share notepad space. Note in BBB this is open by default, so a moderator closed it on the assumption that this was the right thing to do.

The result, all the public input is lost in the transitory chat.

Let’s look at a second example from the same meeting, the chare (who is likely lovely in person) took notes that were ONLY her agenda, ignoring the meeting input. Yes, I was non-directly rood about this. She was confused and started to try and take the agenda of the meeting badly.

Q. Should we have been silent and let her agenda and a few other #mainstreaming people been the only thing recorded in the minutes, thus the next round of funding?

A. we need to compost this crap, not add to it. Most time people do not STOP this crap process, we need to do this more.

As it said on the side of my blog for the last 10 years:

“A river that needs crossing political and tech – On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over complexity”

Orgs such as #NGIzero are unwitting feeding the “geek side there is naivety and over complexity” where the #mainstreaming #NGI are pushing the political side “arrogance and ignorance”

As I have been at the heart of this garden for more than 30 years, I think I have a better voice on this than most. That’s not arrogance, that’s truth 🙂

If you feel like talking shit please read this first

I think the #EU guys find it hard to see how low our apion of the #mainstreaming mess they work in. The #EU people at these events are clearly incompetent on the subject of #openweb (and meany argue life on the planet in general) we all understand this in the grassroots.

If you wonder why grassroots people see the #mainstreaming as children. An example, due to the crap behaver of voting for piss poor politics, we have this boat land to look forward to. To call #mainstreaming incompetent is a clear understatement of the issue, talking to the wide #ngi project here.

We should talk about this survey and some of the more scary issues it brining up:

NONE WOULD DO FEEDBACK IN PUBLIC, this is important. The #EU funding has some “terrorism” in the cliques that run it, as people are actually afread that they will lose their livelihood if they speak out about these issues.

Me am “chaotic governance” so I ignore this, but you guys maybe need to take this onboard if you have not already.

A carrot and stick approach is a good path. I see @ngizero as the carrot and us the “community” as the stick. With this leverage, we can push harder for a better balance of good/damage from the funding influx to the #openweb from the #EU

Good to remember here, I am seeing @NGIZero as the solution and not as the problem in what am talking about #NGI

In the end, my difficulty is that I see the #openweb funding from the #EU being pushed by a “childish” point of view that is hard to respect and that it’s likely to do more damage than good, this we need to fix somehow, if anybody wants to help with child care.

Some things to think about:

It’s interesting how the truly aporling behaver of vertical minded people is excused by power (majority vertical) when they act in easy to understand crap ways in horizontal situations. And on the other hand, how the horizontal people are vilified at every point often for simply pointing out how bad the vertical behaver is. We need to look at crap behaver in vertical organizers, as they often do not see themselves shiting over the preceding. Though this act comes ever so naturally to them.

You can see this with the suffrages, the hunger marches, the Spanish Civil War, the Greenham women, the miner’s strike, corbinisam and just about anywhere you look where the two groups meet.

It’s crap that we keep letting this happen, take note I have near zero tolerances for this!

Positive projects for a better outcome:

* One practical idea is that we do need “chaotic governance” to have a voice

* Better focus on social tech

And more…



Hope is a swift flow and the strong current that pushes change/challenge

Talking to the #EU crew

Hope is a swift left wing flow and the strong current that pushes change/challenge. Simple truth telling is a deep upwelling, the spring that feeds this fresh flow. We need to nurture truth and hope in every part of our society, both our tribalism and bureaucracy are part of this river, more important than ever in the era of #climatechaos we are fast moving into #XR

Bring simple truth to the surface, pure spring waters helps to nourish.

In the #fedivers and wider #openweb rivers, we have increasing inflows of funding from the traditional bureaucracy. This, on the one hand, is feeding the grassroots and on the other hand shaping to a more #mainstreaming river. We need to strive to have a better outcome from this, the tools they are funding are all open licence, we need to build into them that the more bureaucratic/closed agender can be switched on and off in all these funded projects. This is a simple solution we can work towards.


* All flows have value, we need this influx of funding to grow the #openweb and #fedivers if we are to do challenge/change, so use this opening to shape the influx of value and to shape these institutions that push this flow. See this as an opportune for activism, rather than something to be #blocked

* On our-side, we can nurture our tribalism to this “common” course with the #4opens and simple political statements like #PGA hallmarks.

* Our more theoretical friends can use their skills to resurrect the ideas that shaped past movements and feed these into the new movements.

How can we make our media better.

* Use the carrot and the stick, talk about balance rather than conflict.

* Bring the liberals in, but keep the basic #4opens #PGA strong and visible, everyone has a role in the era of #climatechaos so be hopeful and friendly.

* If the river is cool and fresh, the #mainstreaming and #fashernistas will soon jump and swim with this flow.

We live in creative times, let’s enjoy creativity.

Invisible agenda on the #openweb

A. #NGIforum21 #NGI #EU It’s not “usability” its “control” – the #dotcons are built for control the #eurocrates need, the #openweb tools which work fine is for people to people.

The #openweb tools do not have the control that the #Eurocrats need to move onto our tools and be a part of our community. This is going to lead to a “invisible” fight, as they are increasingly funding development we face a crisis in the #fediverse A Sheldon crises talking the language of our crew.

Q. Yes, we should keep things people-to-people and avoid getting involved with large hierarchical organizations who will try to appear friendly but will move the development into a more centralized mode which they can then influence and have control over.

What the EU people want I think is a Silicon Valley in the EU. A digital portfolio from which they can project influence internationally and a vehicle for venture capital and new digital markets. If you read their blurb this is what they say, and I don’t have any reason to disbelieve them.

Obviously something like the fediverse doesn’t really fit with the cunning EU plan (fits like a fish riding a bicycle) and so at some point there will be an ideological parting of lovers (perhaps it has already happened, I am not following the NGI conversations).

A. The #mainstreaming funding of the #fedivers is already completely dominated by the #EU all the big projects are funded by #NGI

This is more #fuckup than conspiracy though am shore conspiracy is growing as people see the levers of power and control which comes with money agenda.

It’s an “invisible” hot war, standing aside is not an option.

Q. Maybe there should be a plan for whenever the EU launches some venture capital fediverse product. I expect it would be like what Trump is doing, but under some EU branded “incubator” and maybe with centralized moderation.

Something like that would create a tug-of-love between the revenue of projects and a centralizing agenda. I’ve been around the bloc enough times to know it’s bound to happen. These things are so formulaic.

A. I think that’s jumping ahead of were we are for the next year or two. Most of the People at #NGI pushing this agenda simple do not see the damage they do. Only a tiny number are actively “evil” currently.

We have a opening the last few posts are a way to step away from this “crisis”.

Q. It’s like you can see the truck driving towards the cliff edge.

“If you go in that direction, you’ll fall off the edge”.

The driver says “Nah mate, it’s different this time”.

And you watch the truck as it reaches the precipice, and then falls off.

A. yep but need to look in the back of tuck as it’s filled with much of the #fedivers infrastructure that’s going to go over the cliff.

Actavisam is to sit down in front of the truck and refuse to move, while talking to the “press” about the issues #fluffy

Or pour sugar into the truck fual tank in the night #spiky

Standing and watching while shrugging shoulders is kinda #mainstreaming 🙂

Been takeing part in online #openweb events – and resisting the urge to bite people.

Looking at this event Way to meany stuffed shirts, technological fantasists (blockchain) and a lot of #EU money what could go wrong…

Spent a hour looking through the list of participants opening in new tab all that said something interesting. Of these more than 2/3’s had the tag blockchain so closed them, and then looked at the rest, then closed them… as we all know the is little hope in places like this, but worth a look, sometimes you find something useful. Someone has to turn over the tech shitpile to make compost.

Last week attended the online event by the Knight Foundation (huge #openweb funders for the last 10 years) in the USA on #reimagining the Internet. It was 100% about the #dotcons kinda nutty how bad things are in the funded #NGO #openweb world

With this in mind I moved the #4opens to its own space it’s a useful #openweb tool for moving tech projects in to the right pile.

Here are 10 sample #4opens reviews to help you to understand what its about and how you can use this simple way of judging if a project is worth supporting or not

Please add to this, sign up for the site and add more or just publish them on your own #openweb site with the hashtag #4opens


Why go to these events? Its about connection to people building bridges and resources for bridge building. The problem is all the resources at these events are poured down the drain and/or consumed by social parasites – the chattering classes.

I spend a bit of time going to the events every 10 years to see if this has changed. COVID-19 and the onlining of the events is a time to do this. This time, like last time, am feeling an “opening” but think the parasite classes are going to be stampeding through it. For a useful outcome we would need a soughted #openweb group to take up space, without this the opening is not going to have any good outcome.

This mythical group does not exist, there are individuals scattered about, but nothing that has much social power to be able to work with/bridge the power politics.

Kinda sad and bad but its where we are at #XR


This strategy can work (up to a point) to get resources, the last time, 10 years ago,  I got a big chunk of dosh to set up which the remains of is funding the #OMN infrastructure.  But this is another story – you can likely find articles about this back on this blog.


In any burocracy there are always a few people trying to get out, its what bridges are for, and there will likely be lots of people on our side who want to get in, also what bridges are for a post that touches on this bridging subject and why it has value.


Only now reading up on the background of this #EU stuff

“What is Horizon Europe?

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.”

No wonder the is such a feeding frenzy of pigs at the trough was wondering why this sudden interest in the #openweb


This comes to mind when talking to just about everyone on subjects like this today “They are casting their problems at society. And, you know, there’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look after themselves first. It is our duty to look after ourselves and then, also, to look after our neighbours.”

Should we do something that is native to the Fediverse, and what would this look like?

The #Fediverse is #anarchism this is likely the best description of the community.
A represents the Greek anarkhia (‘without ruler/authority’), and the circle can be read as the letter O , standing for order or organization.
We currently have a Herding cats governance in the Fediverse and the projects that make it up
An idiom denoting a futile attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are inherently uncontrollable
This was very evident in the outreach to the #EU project.
We have the A but we do not have the O – we are asking what would the O look like in a online social tech project?
The #liberal #foundation model will be forced onto us if the Fediverse is taken up buy large #Burocratic orgs like the #EU and yes the will be a figleaf of “democracy” placed over the self-selecting oligarchy that will be put into place by “power politics” that this path embeds.
This path is the default outcome.
Should we do something that is native to the Fediverse, and what would this look like?

Q. how can someone “take up” the fediverse while it’s based on free software and open protocols like #activitypub, that are available to everyone and cannot be taken up by anyone?

A. Microsoft used to be very good at “taking up” open source projects. Google is VERY good at doing this… I think this is a part of the crises in #FSF foundation currently. When a big institution brings money and resources into an underfunded project it takes power and shapes the agender.

Q. Platform cooperatives, owned and run by users. Coupling this with netcommons. I am trying to launch PoC in ****

A. This is a path. My experience of this path is problematic and have repeatedly seen “process geeks” kill social movements by ossification of process, without any idea of the damage they are actually doing.

The whole tech co-op movement smells like this issue. But I don’t know anufe about this to make a judgment so kinda put the movement to one side for now.

Looking for places where it works on the ground is always a good thing. Examples please.

#mainstreaming #openweb standerds to the #EU

I have been working with a group based around the activitypub socialhub to outreach the #fedivers and #activitypub  standard to the #EU in seminars you can see the video recording in this post. Looking like the #EU will trial a few fedivers apps as tools for communication.

ActivityPub For Administrations (with chat) 2021-04-19
This is a recording of the first webinar in the ActivityPub for Administrations series.
This version also displays the live chat during the webinaire.

ActivityPub For Administrations 2021-04-26

This is a recording of the second webinar in the ActivityPub for Administrations series.

My thought on -Outreaching ActivityPub to the EU

It’s a good fit both strategically, in challenging the big US tech corporations dominance and tactically, in it being simple to implement and open to innovation as it is outside of anyone group control and agendas.

The #EU implementing AP could help to reset the capture of the WWW (which made the internet human) its good to remember was a European project – The birth of the Web | CERN

Let’s look at practical small steps to make this happen.

My thoughts/feelings are pragmatic on a good outcome.