Today I Will Launch My Infant Son Into Orbit


Master, sir, did you see my MAD SKILLZ?

Part of the reason the internet is in the state it's in now - a handful of walled gardens all trying to turn it into 1980s cable TV, where you consume consume consume and have no say in the construction of your environment - is that the conditions that allowed the "old Internet" to exist no longer pertain. The people running those forums you liked, the IRC servers you hung out on, your Usenet site? They were getting paid! That was at least a part of their job, whether they were sysadmins at an ISP or other early-adopting company, or were part of the tech club at a larger university and it was part of their work as a grad student, or even that they worked at a company with an internet link and wangled their way into getting the network admins to let them hang a machine out on a public IP, and they worked on their "personal" stuff on work hours. Those conditions just don't exist anymore.

As a consequence, rebuilding some of those environments requires co-operative effort. People are struggling to find new spaces outside of those walled gardens, whether the Fediverse, or Cohost or any other place new (or old, as we see with the gradual increase in text posts on Usenet again!) Part of that comes down to problems the users face after leaving the big sites like Twitter or Tumblr. Wherever they go, the users:

How do we solve this? Again, it's going to require some co-operative effort. That means things like Fediverse servers actually talking things out instead of defederating over anything or nothing; this probably also implies whitelist federation. This means things like people working together to find workarounds for site limitations. It also means people taking responsibility for their own presence again; instead of relying on site DM systems that could be taken away at any time or may not exist, get email addresses for your various identities! Get multiple Discord accounts, get a small website homepage, and so on. And if you're positioned to do that, help the people around you who aren't.

Paul glanced at Halleck, took in the defensive positions of his guards, looked at the banker until the man lowered the water flagon. He said: “Once on Caladan, I saw the body of a drowned fisherman recovered. He — “ “Drowned?” It was the stillsuit manufacturer’s daughter.

Paul hesitated, then: “Yes. Immersed in water until dead. Drowned.”

“What an interesting way to die,” she murmured.

Paul’s smile became brittle. He returned his attention to the banker. “The interesting thing about his man was the wounds on his shoulders — made by another fisherman’s claw-boots. This fisherman was one of several in a boat — a craft for travelling on water — that foundered . . . sank beneath the water. Another fisherman helping recover the body said he’d seen marks like this man’s wounds several times. They meant another drowning fisherman had tried to stand on this poor fellow’s shoulders in the attempt to reach up to the surface to reach air.”

“Why is this interesting?” the banker asked.

“Because of an observation made by my father at the time. He said the drowning man who climbs on your shoulders to save himself is understandable — except when you see it happen in the drawing room.” Paul hesitated just long enough for the banker to see the coming, then “And, I should add, except when you see it at the dinner table.”

— Frank Herbert, Dune

Posted by decay on Sunday, February 25th 2024 at 4:16 pm PST
Last updated by decay on Tuesday, March 5th 2024 at 11:21 pm PST