A centralized web ain’t worth fighting for.
A perspective about NSO that I find important but not usually covered is how their success is related to centralized mobile phone operating software. One vulnerability exposes billions of devices. Perhaps if we had FOSS mobile OS options as mainstream installations, it would not be as easy for these companies to hack almost anybody at once.
For now, paying for a VPS is relatively affordable. But as was noted elsewhere, moderation is the real cost. Last week’s terrible antisemitism and racist trolling and spam is a case in point. It led me to raise signup effort (registration application etc). That has kind of eliminated local-instance spam by 99% and the random ones are from existing users, who we kick out as they post spam stuff.
The main problem now is in federating with instances that can be hijacked by such trolls and have their content propagated all over. Nothing we can do about that in so far as we want to maintain existing federation bonds. The moderation cost is still significant as we have to take them down manually.
In the end, I think this is an ideal set up for our instance. We are not after numbers. In fact, we want to have a small number of users as a sustainable path, and hopefully support other individuals and organizations spin up their instances.
Last night, Burkina Faso defence minister denies rumours President Kabore has been detained
Very interesting read. Supplement this with James Scott’s State Simplifications: Nature, Space and People
This is a brainstorm post, not a peer-reviewed paper on moderating fediverse :) Mods with finite resources cannot compete with automated systems. The signal to noise ratio will keep increasing if a new account can post 10 items immediately they join. The alternative could be restricted signups (signups by invitations, recommendations) even though a low hanging fruit could be temporal throttling for new users. Something got to give in the long run.
Good stuff @email@example.com. Successful upgrade on these shores.
If you look at their funding sources – and therefore the structure they are constrained in – you will notice there is a certain pro-American, anti-other sensibility. Philanthropies, while they look all well meaning (and most evolve into reasonable places for social change), they also serve to ‘launder’ the shady histories of their founders. Chen Zuckerburg Foundation does not sound as ironic promoting privacy compared to if this was done by Facebook.
Funding is a VERY tough position to figure out in human rights work, and while I know people need to be paid even when they are in so called non-profit (my preferred word here would be non-monetary gains, since profits could generally be social benefits, but I digress), I also believe wherever you knowingly take money from models you in strategic ways.
Also, consider this recent post on how social indexology reproduces hegemonic relations at the global stage: https://baraza.africa/post/10070
The article critically examines how the neoliberal ethos has influenced the racialised ranking of countries using indexes, or what I propose to call social indexology (SI). SI refers to the use of quantitative metrics to measure the performance of countries based on selected indicators, often drawn from a pool of Western and neoliberal variables associated with governance, corruption, development and other value-loaded concepts. The article critically examines the methodological, ideological and cultural shortcomings of SI and how it reinforces existing racial stereotypes about the presumed natural differences between ‘advanced’ European societies and ‘backward’ Global South countries. These racialised imageries have continued since the time of Enlightenment, colonialism and slavery and persist even under global neoliberal hegemony today. The use of SI metrics for the purpose of quantified measurement and ranking gives it the appearance of being ‘scientific’ and as such has the implicit ideological power of making the racialised inequality of peoples and countries much more acceptable and natural.
Indeed, it would be quite a whole discourse. When network effects are not gated in a private company, perhaps we could be on to other issues like quality of service, and selling things, not behavior. Things like storage standards, backups, portability etc. But here we are, asking how to make WhatsApp better, and Amazon more diverse.
Ironic how after every public crisis, these centralized platforms emerge stronger and more accepted in the everyday life. Perhaps because the issues that are framed as problematic are not against their existence – like EE2E debate, Cambridge Analytica, 2020/2021 censorship tirade linked to COVID and US Elections.
The other point, Twitter in Nambia :), I think we should not assume it would be better. The point, as I see it, is centralization, not nationalism. A Nambia billionaire may be just as worse as a Silicon Valley billionaire. Individual <> Individual, Individual <> State: The market wants to mediate those relations and I think not all domains need the market. Other mediation strategies like collective ownership at the community level can succeed, given time and good will.
Thank you for the article. Renata (the author) has been very consistent on the asymmetrical global relations of technology we contend with.
part of me feels the
privacy agenda has created a lot of blindspots in public discourse and issues of technological self determination (at the individual and collective level) have been put on the backburner. Fediverse and its enabling protocols offer both networked value AND reasonable sense of independence. Definitely a small piece of the bigger puzzle but yeah,
surveillance discourse without
(de)centralization aspects is a major blindspot in popular discourse. E2EE on Facebook apps sounds quite an oxymoron.
See this too:
In 1984, Palestinian American intellectual and Columbia University Professor Edward Said famously argued that Palestinians are denied “permission to narrate”.
More than 30 years later, in 2020, Maha Nassar, a Palestinian American Associate Professor at the University of Arizona, analysed opinion articles published in two daily newspapers – The New York Times and The Washington Post – and two weekly news magazines – The New Republic and The Nation – over a 50-year period, from 1970 to 2019. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she found that “Editorial boards and columnists seem to have been quite consumed with talking about the Palestinians, often in condescending and even racist ways – yet they somehow did not feel the need to hear much from Palestinians themselves.”
Hello. The horrible loss of life in this crisis is clear for all to see. Even though there is so much confusion on what is coming out of Ukraine, I wonder what is really the situation of government control like. Is the Ukrainian government controlling major areas or is the Russian army having an upper hand?