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.

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 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 https://unite.openworlds.info/Open-Media-Network/4opens/wiki/Funding-of-openweb-projects this second part is a BIG problem, this first part is about democracy, the second part is hard politics, and is more nasty.

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.

Conclusion

* 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 http://hamishcampbell.com 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 🙂

#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.

https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/pub/ec-ngi0-liaison-webinars-and-workshop-april-2021

ActivityPub For Administrations 2021-04-26

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

https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/pub/ec-ngi0-liaison-webinars-and-workshop-april-2021

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 home.cern/science/computing/bi

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

My thoughts/feelings are pragmatic on a good outcome.

outreaching ActivityPub to the EU – draft

This was an interesting process playing a role to do the document – outreaching ActivityPub to the EU https://pad.public.cat/p/ngi0-ec-activitypub-liaison-presentation-2021-04-19#/13

Good to get an outcome from this:

  1. #activertypub as a cross-platform standard for #dotcons who operate in EU
  2. funding to further this – we would need democratic structures in the #fedivers style to make this real rather than a Eurocratic/power politics dead-end structures.
  3. Is the path with a good outcome – I have been involved in a number of groups/projects that have received Eurocratic money and the outcome has always been sub optional not to say a compleat disaster. I have seen no/little thinking to mediate this outcome.

So on balance good to do this BUT we do need not to go down unrealistic paths.

Am trying to shift the focus so that the story is more “interesting” and “representative” ActivityPub in the EU sense is a movement as much as a standard – standards by themselves have little/no value. If the story comes from the standard it is easy to ignore, and it will be ignored. A movement, with a bit of jingoism (the ActivityPub speck is maybe largely a European thing?) is an easer story to tell/hear.

Good points, the #fedivers while having a good community, as individuals we do tend to act like cats.

Prepping the presentation is going to be a “herding cats” so best to concentrate on #KISS and focus on the ordnance – what do they need to hear.

The second day we can reveal the all to human delight (and worry this brings)

 

Like the focus on European as this is true – the #Fediverse mirrors the federated European dream and clearly moves away the US tech imperialism (soft power) of the #dotcons something that is a #EU agender.

My thoughts/feelings are pragmatic on a good outcome.

We have a clash of languages and assumptions for example “surveillance capitalism” and the “social dilemma” both come from inside business and Silicon Valley thinking – so they are not good examples to use for an ActivtityPub presentation which itself is COUNTER Silicon Valley thinking and has its own way of expressing these issues. Just use natural descriptive language instead of quoting the terms.

I don’t have an issue with web01 and web02 yes they are not correct, but they do communicate.

 

The first question is why – 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.

But we are unready as a community if a big institution like the EU takes up ActivityPub you can see this in what happened to RSS when it was taken up by the NYT.

#activertypub like #RSS and the #www came out of grassroots movements, they bring world views with them its WHY THEY WORK. Yes the world view are in part incompatible with #mainstreaming, so the is a strong burocratic desire to hide these world views and then push them out of view/existence.

Why work with big vertical organizations like the EU – The bridges, allow our careerists and wona get statues crew a way to cross over to the mainstream to feed. By doing this they strengthen the bridge by adding mainstream value to the bridges.

Then the refuges from the mainstream shitpile have an easy path to get to alternatives gardens when the stink becomes too much to live with.

The bridge shifts out “problems” and “brings” in resources, expirence and skills to build real alternatives.

We need bridges to the mainstream to build alternatives.

Though the process will likely not go well. When dealing with power politics/vertical orgs in the end the grassroots is ALWAYS shafted – it’s the normal outcome they can’t help this behaver. So we need to keep the bridges in place no matter how bad there behaver is, keep calm and carry on – their behaver is shit to shovel for compost to plant seeds to grow a better world.

Am thinking we need more structears “from chaos comes order” rather than “order over chaos” its trust or control.

In the internal process. It’s interesting that people coming into non #mainstreaming projects and spaces then push “common sense” #mainstreaming ways of working and outcomes can’t see that they are creating a problem.

You then inevitably get Clouds of smoke to cover up the mess. When it clears everyone is covered in soot. it’s not a good look for anyone.

We need ideas on how to mediate this without going down the #mainstreaming paths.

https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/webinar-with-the-european-commission-and-ap-community/1507/179

https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/meeting-notes-for-prep-call-ec-webinar-19-april/1567

https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/outreaching-activitypub-to-the-eu-are-we-ready/1589/11

 

The Fourth Estates

We need to do better. In the battle of open vs closed we failed as much as they won. We have power over OUR own failer we only have liberal wish fulfilment over THEIR control.

Key areas I am thinking and acting on:

* horizontalish “governances” process and coding to make this real.
* openmedia based on “trust” rather than power and scarcity and the coding to make this real.

Worth thinking about this old issue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Estate as it illustrates our current problems.

The clergy, the nobility, the commoners and the press

* Yes do worship the #deathcult, so religion is still a social force and the economists are the priests and “sound money” the offering.

* The nobility are the increasing divide between the rich and the poor, they are rooted to capital and fame – rather than land and titals.

* The “commoners” are us.

UPDATE

We live in oligarchy.

“Democracy arose from the idea that those who are equal in any respect are equal absolutely. All are alike free, therefore they claim that all are free absolutely… The next is when the democrats, on the grounds that they are all equal, claim equal participation in everything.

It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as oligarchic when they are filled by election.”

The “liberal fig leaf” we put in front of our opensource foundations will fall off the first time the wind blows.

Yes it is easy to run down this hill, yes you can force this into place, few people will try and stop you.

But before you do this please think – Do we in the #fedivers want to live in oligarchy or are we actually building something different.

We need to think about this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governance

The fedivers – We need to now not fight like we always do

Let’s look at tech politics for a moment, all technology is based on political and economic assumptions.

The fedivers is born outa “stupid” anarchism

There are a crew pushing for cooperative socialism

The is the #mainstreaming of common-sense capitalism

We have our athoratern side but it has little focus

All of human history has been mediated by struggle around these issues. And what is happening now has a long inhumane history, look back to the Spanish Civil War for an easy-to-understand example.

We keep making HORRIBLE mistakes.

The #fedivers in its decentralization is at its roots an anarchist project, yes we have our remnants of feudalism in ???? As king and a few growing “influencers” princes. What we do not currently have is strong socialist roots, just the crew and structures around #activertypub which touches on socialism and capitalism with a anarchist undercurrent.

We need to now not fight like we always do http://hamishcampbell.com/?s=process and look with open eyes at what to build from. The first #ESF article is a good example of the mess we could be heading for.

That would be a battle worth of a saga

Challenges the #fedivers faces and were next.

The #twitter #bluesky thing comes from #blockchain crap – but don’t think it will end there – they will likely come up with a “new” standard that will #fashernista flash then promptly be forgotten.

Would be interesting if they tried to colonize #activertypub we would see a wholesale selling out balanced with a community fightback – think the selling out would win, but this would kill the value in the standard, so everyone would lose. If #bluesky and the #dotcons go for #activertypub and the community wins the fight for the standard in long bloody trench warfare vs the #fahernista sell outs funded by the #dotcons then you see the possibility of real social change.

That would be a battle worth of a saga and a story to tell your grandchildren siting in front of the camp fire.

“When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read…”

If you want to have a hope of having a good outcome with a CONTROL battle with the #dotcons you need to build structures that are attractive we have this with #activertypub AND they must have no hard structures that can be captured to take CONTROL, this is counterintuitive as people feel they need harder structures to stop capture. This feeling is obviously a trap and needs to be strongly mediated 🙂

I start outlining a workable path to think about with a good outcome in mind http://hamishcampbell.com/index.php/2021/03/13/bluesky-thinking-of-a-governance-body-of-the-fedivers/