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How to Revitalize the Internet

doktorb

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I think the most important and hardest to accomplish step would be to decentralize the internet. If we could split up sites like Twitter, Facebook, >redditcostanzayeahrightsmirk, etc. into smaller communities I think we would see a lot more meaningful interactions. I like posting on this site because there's a relatively small amount of people and I like getting to know you all.
Another issue, in my opinion, is that people seem to make content with the goal of making money rather than just doing it for fun. I really miss the internet from when I was younger and everyone seemed to be creating and sharing things just because they wanted to.
I guess I don't really have any ideas to accomplish this stuff, it's hard to compete with these giant corporations that have algorithms designed to keep you glued to their sites.
The point you make about people making content for the explicit goal of earning money is something that I've been agonising about a lot recently. I too, being elderly, came up during a time when the internet was defined by people making and sharing things for the joy of doing so as a way of connecting with others without strings attached. I feel like the big problem is that this old culture was still connected to a reality where nothing was monetised at a platform level and, if you wanted to host things to share, you had to pay for the privilege. Nowadays, we're all so accustomed to getting everything hosted for free so that our content can feed into a platform's monetisation strategy by generating engagement that we have been conned into believing we should be paid for with the crumbs that fall off the table. It's like some sort of collective amnesia where we've lost perspective of what has value. There's this weird paradoxical trap where internet culture exists at the scale that it does because we can all afford to pump out unprecedented volumes of content but in becoming reliant on doing so we've sold the future of internet culture out to whatever suits a platforms profitability. I guess what I would like to say (and see) is an internet that is not just smaller and more personally intimate but also slower where we all re-learn how appreciate the value of being able to make and share things without immediately moving onto the next thing.
 
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Fyren

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Just dump all social media and we should be half way there.
What do you consider to be 'social media'? The term has been a real deal ever since the advent of websites such as Myspace, but personally i find that it's much broader than that. I'd consider a forum like this to be social media, at the very least in its most fundamental aspect. Discord is social media. Steam is social media, etc.

So, lets imagine that from tomorrow and onward placing any public information about yourself in something like Facebook is to be forbidden, but people are allowed to take up an online alias and continue as we did, like we do here. This would eliminate certain things like doxxing, but your 'digital footprint' will still be the same. Data can still be harvested and sold. Your IP address is still visible. Algorithms will still serve you personalized content to keep you hooked. We're hardly halfway there if you ask me.
 
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IcarianDragons

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The point you make about people making content for the explicit goal of earning money is something that I've been agonising about a lot recently. I too, being elderly, came up during a time when the internet was defined by people making and sharing things for the joy of doing so as a way of connecting with others without strings attached. I feel like the big problem is that this old culture was still connected to a reality where nothing was monetised at a platform level and, if you wanted to host things to share, you had to pay for the privilege. Nowadays, we're all so accustomed to getting everything hosted for free so that our content can feed into a platform's monetisation strategy by generating engagement that we have been conned into believing we should be paid for with the crumbs that fall off the table. It's like some sort of collective amnesia where we've lost perspective of what has value. There's this weird paradoxical trap where internet culture exists at the scale that it does because we can all afford to pump out unprecedented volumes of content but in becoming reliant on doing so we've sold the future of internet culture out to whatever suits a platforms profitability. I guess what I would like to say (and see) is an internet that is not just smaller and more personally intimate but also slower where we all re-learn how appreciate the value of being able to make and share things without immediately moving onto the next thing.
bro
tears

a lot of what you're saying seems to be "personal responsibility of internet consumption" which I wholeheartedly agree with. it's so hard to break into the awareness of what internet freedom is if you haven't experienced it (ie. rip zoomers). that's why I love sites like this, they show the history of what our culture used to be in better days for less experienced users
 
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e_mail

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I think one of the biggest barriers is forming a culture that is capable of assimilating and absorbing newcomers. It doesn't matter if you have the best program in the world and the strongest protocols possible; if you just attract people looking for independent clout chasing, you're already dead.

I've tried using Mastodon and its various forks, but none break from the cancerous social media attitude and never really form a distinct subculture. They're all mostly reposts from it, and are clearly made up of people incapable of being anywhere else, usually for being fringe lunatics, or just power tripping losers with serious issues and a desire to absolutely control their space. It's the same, but with better protocols and a view of the worst parts of the prior community.

Still, even with this in mind, I have very high hopes for federation. Things designed with it in mind have revitalized a few small communities I've used for years and allowed them to easily share members and activity, turning multiple dying communities into places with long daily discussions.
 
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0ur0b0r0s

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I think a possible solution is to have a small group of tech-savvy individuals host small-scale servers systems (my tongue is in a knot) such as tilde.club, envs.net. With enough people hosting these servers independently (wouldn't have to be a large group), competition would be created, with groups possibly centering around distinct topics (like ZuccBook Groups). People who administrate the server could charge money to pay server upkeep.
For example, I create a server dedicated to making coffee and can be found easily by internet users. I offer an easy (normie) way for them to chat and host their own websites (see @MorphedSnowman's post above). Let's say I have 1000 users and I charge them $1 a month. $1000/mo is more than enough to upkeep a server/servers hosting 1000 users. If I have a huge influx of users (DAYLIGHT SAVINGS x1000000 HAHAHA), then I could invest more in the infrastructure (which I imagine would still leave a sizable profit for me). This provides me with incentive and also creates a nice space for users. It would also diversify the economic suppliers a bit, hopefully putting money into better hands than big tech companies.
I theorize that this would catch about 15-20% of internet users (quite a number!). If popular social medias disappeared, this would skyrocket to roughly 40-50%, by my estimates!! 15-20% isn't much but its better than like the current 2% of the internet not wanting to volunteer their personal info to huge corps to get targeted advertisements.
The idea here hinges on tech people (I guess in this case more oriented towards sysadmin) taking initiative/responsibility and hosting servers like these. Also, another prime concern is creating a modularized solution to normie interfacing (designing a website without touching the keyboard except for text, or the like) that can be self hosted. If you had 100 people each with servers hosting minimum 1000 distinct people (tilde.club, though for nerds, has around 2000 users who have created accounts), boom thats already 100,000 people. Word of mouth can balloon numbers after a certain threshold I imagine.
A good environmental force that could aid this process would be how a lot of places are starting to monetize access to their websites (mainly news sites). Lol I saw ZuccBook talk about letting them track you for ads so that they "could keep Facebook a free service". Pay $10 a month for Facebook, or $2 to join your family's personal instance of Mastadon self hosted on FamilyMeet.net. Want to buy lettuce? AgriMeetup.xyz. etc. etc. etc.
TLDR create a lot of tiny facebooks on servers hosted by people who don't like facebook
(I go for facebooks throat here because of its huge user base, but all social medias are cancer)
 
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doktorb

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bro
tears

a lot of what you're saying seems to be "personal responsibility of internet consumption" which I wholeheartedly agree with. it's so hard to break into the awareness of what internet freedom is if you haven't experienced it (ie. rip zoomers). that's why I love sites like this, they show the history of what our culture used to be in better days for less experienced users
Ahhhh shit. Sorry I've kinda been away for a couple of weeks because I got sucked into thesis crisis-mode and I missed your reply.

I really like your point that people are operating without an awareness of what internet freedom is. The internet that most people use is so colonised by corporate interests that most people think fighting for freedom is about struggling to reform what the platforms are willing to give us. It's such a sad state of affairs because freedom cannot be given to you, you have to make it for yourself. And I know that I am as much of a hypocrite as anyone in this regard because I still upload my music onto Soundcloud/Bandcamp and waste waaaaaaaay too much time scrolling Twitter wishing it was better than it can possible be. It's pretty inexcusable because as you say at the end of the day it comes down to personal responsibility of internet consumption and if I am consuming stuff that supports this dreadful state of affairs whilst being aware of how dreadful it is then how can I ever hope for anything better.

Although I do try, I spend lot more time hunting out and investing my time in person web projects that exist outside the social media ecosystem. And when I find something, it really doesn't matter how badly made it is (to me at least) what matters in my opinion is that people did it on their own terms making use of their own means. For this reason, I think stuff like Neocities is a godsend because, at the end of the day, all it really offers you is webhosting and you have to figure everything else out for yourself. Even though Neocities is still a contained platform infrastructure that will no doubt be commercially exploited in the future, I think that for the time being it is a good reminder of the days when the trade off for not being duped by mega-corps was having to do most of the work ourselves.

Sorry I feel like this turned into an unstructured rant.
 
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Talon

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The biggest problem I believe that plagues the modern-day internet is incentivizing low quality content. On YouTube and Facebook, for instance, content farms exist based around short instructional craft and cooking videos that don't actually work. These places generate dozens of low-quality video clips a day and people are likely to engage them because either they want to attempt what was done in the videos themselves or because they know they don't work and want to point it out in the comments. All of this engagement is collected by YouTube or Facebook and the content quality itself isn't taken into consideration for monetization, it's whether or not people are interacting with that content in some way, regardless of positive or negative reactions. The proprietary algorithms these companies use also reward this type of garbage content by spreading it to people with similar interests, further driving up the engagement until ouroboros.

I think one of the best aspects about today's internet is being able to take a neat hobby, find an audience of other people who share that hobby, and being able to turn that hobby into a career. We need to be able to reach some middle ground where we can reward people who bring value to the Internet while not allowing the shit to rise to the top.
 
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PlaneWalker

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I was thinking that relatively recently that I have been growing weary of how the Internet has been restructured and remembering of how it was. Then I came across think site by accident, when I clicked on a link from the aesthetic wiki based on Y2K aesthetic page (which I like), which I was directed to from >redditcostanzayeahrightsmirk from the Starterpack called Big Tech Corporate Art Style. It was then after seeing the wishy washy pretend everything is good but not really art of Corporate Memphis that I have seen through the 2010s, that I am sick to death of that aesthetic (and never liked it to begin with).
Sites like these have once again rekindled my interest in dedicated forums (and my first post here) after what I would describe as the initial lulling in with the promises of everything being convenient and streamlined as well as life happening that also resulted in me joining the sites in the late 2000s-mid 2010s that had consolidated and the data collection that entailed(which back then was a more abstract concept to myself). Where now I have realized what has been lost. Seeing a re-decentralization internet, that is a big question.
 
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xXzoomerXx

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I don't have the coding skills and neither do hundreds of people, but you matter so much. You would be the leaders of this movement.
I made a motivational post and i offered a indirect solution.
We are a subculture.
Not only does everyone on Agora Road complain about the internet, they also have issues with the modern world to varying degrees.
People stop coping with nostalgia.
I don't want a cookie, maybe i want to form a subculture (maybe) but it's something all of you mourn for, admit it.
Nice things don't last forever, but let's take a stance.
Just like any "scene" it will pave the way until it gets co-opted by the system.
Doesn't mean we shouldn't try.
Yes, practical ways of course.
Art is the significance, the gesture.
Without both it won't thrive, Practical solutions, and expression.
Better Cult and drive than circlejerking.
Sorry, had to point out the obvious.
 
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xXzoomerXx

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Mastodon and plutoroma or whatever is filled with the same memes and "content" as twitter. Even with best intentions to make a new community you're still stuck advertising on cancer platforms because of how search engines function now.

A critical element that separates new vs old was how people discovered webpages. Honestly the meme-y culture has also homogenized it as much as the platforms have. I think communities should have a bigger push for original content tbh, beyond the personal profile that I see trending on neocities.
Search engines are the 1st target, shut the portal, behead the internet.
 
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xXzoomerXx

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Higher barriers to entry. The large corporations & social networks can only survive as long as they have a raw material of normie souls to feed on. Create platforms/networks which are hard to use, technical challenges, invite-only, not talked about... private clubs, like how rich people IRL organize their social networks. Make it hard for the kind of people who only use FAANG websites to even know the existence of our networks, much less enter them.
TRVE KVLT
 
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adoynia

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Even non social media is shit, full of a bunch of antisocial losers (like social media, but higher schizoid component) banging on about nonsense nobody in their right mind should entertain. This is the only site I can go on without getting intensely annoyed by what I see or just by the general vibe but even then that could change.
 
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siebold

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Even non social media is shit, full of a bunch of antisocial losers (like social media, but higher schizoid component) banging on about nonsense nobody in their right mind should entertain. This is the only site I can go on without getting intensely annoyed by what I see or just by the general vibe but even then that could change.
Do you mean this is the only social site you can go on without aggrivation or only site in general? I do find a lot of frustrating things getting put up on many social sites, but I do remind myself that there are other sites with just longform ideas, or even YouTube videos that are incredibly enlightening or entertaining and I can try to force myself to ignore the social aspect.
 
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adoynia

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Do you mean this is the only social site you can go on without aggrivation or only site in general? I do find a lot of frustrating things getting put up on many social sites, but I do remind myself that there are other sites with just longform ideas, or even YouTube videos that are incredibly enlightening or entertaining and I can try to force myself to ignore the social aspect.
Yeah, I meant this is the only social site I can go on without aggravation. I agree with you on Youtube videos.
 
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siebold

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Yeah, I meant this is the only social site I can go on without aggravation. I agree with you on Youtube videos.
I think there is a lot to be said about intentional networks - I find myself more aggravated by passive connectivity than a social site or chat room I join with intention (and can hope that others are doing the same) - I suppose that is quite in line with what this thread is about but have you maybe considered trying to make your own social site? Or would self-hosting lose the discoverability for you? I would love to see a lot of people feel comfortable enough to make their own community sites, as niche or specific as they are, but then I am not certain what the next move is. How would one get people to come to it? I do not have many IRL friends that would be sharing enthusiasm to join a niche small community, surely
 
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xXzoomerXx

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There is no way to reset the clock on the internet and make it 2000 again. You will never stop technology from moving forward with a niche subculture. The only thing that you can do is keep parts of it alive for as long as possible....like this place. I think at the end of the day the people here really don't want to build an internet that looks like 1998 but is devoid of the sprit of that time....which is what all this would be. There are two components to the nostalgia.....the physical objects and the spirit of the time. We will never have that sprit back, its lost in the past somewhere. At this point all that exists is tech nostalgia and memories of better times. You have all felt that empty feeling that we try to hide when trying to re-experience something from the past....its all great until you realize you are in an empty room and the world you long for is long gone and its not the same. The internet is going to move forward into dark directions because we let a few large companies control it. Everyone though AT&T having control of it was soooo bad so we let Google, Amazon, and Facebook in the door. Nice work. The reality is that the next iteration of the internet will go further and further away from what we are all looking for. That era is unfortunately over. The lockdowns and virus BS is pushing the internet further into the future which looks a lot less like it even does today. The best thing you can do is keep the pillars of the nostalgia alive to connect the like minded people and keep the spirit alive. We can't change the course of progress, but we can keep the spirit alive in small areas. The more energy that is used to try and push the clock back the more of a negative impact will be felt on the places like this. I want to live again in the golden days of the web and tech. But it's simply not possible. We are chasing a time period.....not a technology......not a service......not a new internet. Maybe those of us that lived the time have an easier time recognizing we can't go back. I can understand the desire for someone that didn't to want to experience it. I hate to say it, this is close as it gets. You'll never know what it was like if you didn't live it.

The only good news is that everything happens in a cycle. The internet titans of today will fall and things will be different in the future. The only constant in the universe is change. That being said is someone finds a time traveling Deloran set to 1995.....let me know.
You think zoomers won't hop on board and say fuck you to reality?
Anyways, yes you are right.
I am essentially trying to say by proactively taking a stance against the modern internet, it will leave a message.
Even though 90's (and early 2000's on my end) are gone we are the like minded people, I didn't offer a direct solution because everyone else has.
I know i sound hella hyped like i did 3 redbulls and took tequila, YEAAH MAN REVOLUTION BRAAAH.
No. I want to make art, i want to host websites, reject social media monopolies, inspire people and redpill them.
We are in cyberspace, don't forget it. All information infests and shapes reality, should we just bend our ass to zucc and accept his? :binTot:
There's many technical solutions everyone else offered, i'm just sharing the common denominator, the mindset.
I got 3 slogans.
  • "Social Media causes illness"
  • "Take back the internet"
  • "Web 3.0 is being corrupted"
I hope we all give something, but not giving in to our demise.
 
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xXzoomerXx

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Okay everyone, I have heard your complaints about everything that's wrong with the Internet. Now, let's hear your ideas on how to improve the internet.
To me, decentralized social media (i.e. Mastodon) and having the power to make our own websites on Neocities, leprd.space, and other free webhosting services are a start.
This is the agora road I am on, DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organization), NFTs and Ethereum name service. I am currently looking into leaving my DNS for my ENS which is my Ethereum Name, vaporwavevista.eth instead of hosting on a central server I am researching about IPFS (InterPlanetary File System) for peer to peer node hosting and file storage. Lots of stuff to look into/research and start building in the decentralization space, I truly believe Web 3.0 is what comes next, just thought I would drop these images to paint a better picture for you about the idea you are yearning for. <3
The return of independently owned websites, platforms, etc. Most people run their communities on centralized platforms. It's digital serfdom. We need more landlords and less serfs
Even with best intentions to make a new community you're still stuck advertising on cancer platforms because of how search engines function now.

A critical element that separates new vs old was how people discovered webpages.
what if there were more apps that forced or encouraged you to engage with the real world? a la Pokemon Go. I didn't even play Pokemon Go and people would come up and ask if I was the one in their gym, etc. etc.. Encouraged interaction with real, physical life.
Too many people are clout chasers and trend followers, almost nobody is a trend setter. More trends need to happen and also people need to stop recycling memes so much.
I think the most important and hardest to accomplish step would be to decentralize the internet. etc. into smaller communities I think we would see a lot more meaningful interactions.
Another issue, in my opinion, is that people seem to make content with the goal of making money rather than just doing it for fun. I really miss the internet from when I was younger and everyone seemed to be creating and sharing things just because they wanted to.
I really think going back to decentralized networks, blockchain social media, using web like Gemini.

Getting rid of central large companies
Shrug mentioned as well - to disincentive the role of financial gain on the internet. I strongly believe that big business is the major contributing factor to the internet's decline. Centralizing all that video and audio content on a single website makes it prone to being chased down. Smaller video hosting service sites don't really get that problem as much. Small fish in a big pond.

Back in the day, content was mostly provided as a pure hobby or passion project at no or little financial incentive with a few exceptions here and there. Production quality was naturally low, but at the very least more genuine.

Reducing financial incentives should, hopefully, also lead to less of these problems, and a more decentralized internet as a whole.

I don't really view the Internet as a single contained space anymore. It hasn't changed much protocol-wise, and what has changed has been mostly positive.
What happened was it's popularization, the amount of users increased and with that came the corporations. They set up a bunch of websites that centralized everything for the new waves of users that flooded the Web. But we are still here, we aren't really being forced to join those websites because the Internet still mostly works the way it used to, we can still create our own corners for like-minded people. Even when we do need to use the corporate websites, most of the times we can do our little hacks to make them bearable.
Maybe one day our corners will expand to swallow the rest of the Internet. Until then, we can keep chillin.
Just a positive counter-view here.
Well, being here is at least a good start. There would have to be a complete reversal in the mindset of the average internet user and the tech companies (Not only social media, but hardware and software companies as well) in order to fix it.
Bring back StumbleUpon, that site made "channel surfing" the web a fun experience! I would come across so many strange websites and interesting blogs because of it!

They now have a new service called Mix.com, but I'm not feeling that at all.

On a different note, an aesthetic known as Webcore also focuses on the Y2K web, interesting term to look into.
Another thing that could fix the Internet (and even real life) is to bring back the neat and quirky logos which will always prefer over the overly simplified logo designs.
I think one of the biggest barriers is forming a culture that is capable of assimilating and absorbing newcomers. It doesn't matter if you have the best program in the world and the strongest protocols possible; if you just attract people looking for independent clout chasing, you're already dead.

I've tried using Mastodon and its various forks,
but none break from the cancerous social media attitude and never really form a distinct subculture. They're all mostly reposts from it, and are clearly made up of people incapable of being anywhere else, usually for being fringe lunatics, or just power tripping losers with serious issues and a desire to absolutely control their space. It's the same, but with better protocols and a view of the worst parts of the prior community.

Still, even with this in mind, I have very high hopes for federation. Things designed with it in mind have revitalized a few small communities I've used for years and allowed them to easily share members and activity, turning multiple dying communities into places with long daily discussions.
I really like your point that people are operating without an awareness of what internet freedom is. The internet that most people use is so colonized by corporate interests that most people think fighting for freedom is about struggling to reform what the platforms are willing to give us. It's such a sad state of affairs because freedom cannot be given to you, you have to make it for yourself.

Although I do try, I spend lot more time hunting out and investing my time in person web projects that exist outside the social media ecosystem. I think stuff like Neocities is a godsend because, all it really offers you is web-hosting and you have to figure everything else out for yourself. Even though Neocities is still a contained platform infrastructure that will no doubt be commercially exploited in the future, I think that for the time being it is a good reminder of the days when the trade off for not being duped by mega-corps was having to do most of the work ourselves.
The biggest problem I believe that plagues the modern-day internet is incentivizing low quality content. On YouTube and Facebook, for instance, content farms exist based around short instructional craft and cooking videos that don't actually work. These places generate dozens of low-quality video clips a day and people are likely to engage them because either they want to attempt what was done in the videos themselves or because they know they don't work and want to point it out in the comments. All of this engagement is collected by YouTube or Facebook and the content quality itself isn't taken into consideration for monetization, it's whether or not people are interacting with that content in some way, regardless of positive or negative reactions. The proprietary algorithms these companies use also reward this type of garbage content by spreading it to people with similar interests, further driving up the engagement until ouroboros.

I think one of the best aspects about today's internet is being able to take a neat hobby, find an audience of other people who share that hobby, and being able to turn that hobby into a career. We need to be able to reach some middle ground where we can reward people who bring value to the Internet while not allowing the shit to rise to the top.
I was thinking that relatively recently that I have been growing weary of how the Internet has been restructured and remembering of how it was. Then I came across think site by accident, when I clicked on a link from the aesthetic wiki based on Y2K aesthetic page (which I like), which I was directed to from >redditcostanzayeahrightsmirk from the Starterpack called Big Tech Corporate Art Style. It was then after seeing the wishy washy pretend everything is good but not really art of Corporate Memphis that I have seen through the 2010s, that I am sick to death of that aesthetic (and never liked it to begin with).
Sites like these have once again rekindled my interest in dedicated forums (and my first post here) after what I would describe as the initial lulling in with the promises of everything being convenient and streamlined as well as life happening that also resulted in me joining the sites in the late 2000s-mid 2010s that had consolidated and the data collection that entailed(which back then was a more abstract concept to myself). Where now I have realized what has been lost. Seeing a re-decentralization internet, that is a big question.

Alternative: start a cult.
Higher barriers to entry. The large corporations & social networks can only survive as long as they have a raw material of normie souls to feed on. Create platforms/networks which are hard to use, technical challenges, invite-only, not talked about... private clubs, like how rich people IRL organize their social networks. Make it hard for the kind of people who only use FAANG websites to even know the existence of our networks, much less enter them.
Just make some old school forums (not just twitter for people banned from twitter), and make life for phoneposters as difficult as humanely possible.
Eventually some do-gooder will come in and write software to simplify it for the masses and ruin the entire experience. If you make it source code only, they may distribute ready to use binaries.

If you make it invite only, they will blab all over the place via different accounts.
The darkweb, as in Tor, is a pretty good barrier of entry since people are usually scared of "being hacked" or will just stop using it because it's slow, so things like anonymous imageboards can stay anonymous and open while still keeping out the masses and without resorting to random technical barriers or password protection.
Good luck trying to moderate anything there, though.
Tor is good on paper but nowadays there are too many mentally ill people that want fame on small forums/ibs. Most IB's on tor are infested with extremely stupid people that are terminally online and post solely to ruin discussions. There is also the issue of pedos on tor, not only do they attract feds, they are also retarded and terminally online.
I think about bad minimal UI design on websites, check this website for example:
View attachment 9223
These bad looking websites with extremely basic designs filter most cancer, but attract some lesser cancer.
Extension
I usually don't understand why some think that we need some blockchain decentralized social media to make the internet a bearable place. Whenever you run twitter centrally or not doesn't matter when it's still essentially twitter. I mean, majority of these decentralized social platfroms are even worse than their centralized versions since usually they just attract computer nerds or people who think their personal boogyman is out for them, which is a deadly mix.

In my opinion all that is actually needed is few things to make social media obselete: A universal and decentralized chat application, which kinda exists if you've used XMPP or something similar, it just needs a better client. An application to deliver feed of what everyone is doing that you are interested in, maybe some way to rank what it shows too. Lastly a personal page creator that's easy to use. You can leave CSS and HTML for people who enjoy it, but majority of people just want to have a basic page that shows their name, pictures, etc.

If you have these things and they aren't dependent on any company, no one really owns the internet and there's no reason to use any platform. You just need to package that into something that's easy to use and can be run without any external service. Which is how the internet operates already tech wise. You can right now host a server and everyone who inserts it's IP or domain can access it. There's a reason that lot of nerds in the 80s/90s thought about internet as some technology which will erode borders and make censorship obsolote. It's because it already can do that tech wise.

and lastly, to bitch a little bit about all of these decentralized, libre and whatever else communities, I wish they actually set trends instead of picking a popular service and making it libre. The only thing the additude they have now can lead to is making a worse version of that service with less spyware. Which if you think about it, why would anyone switch to it? Majority of information doesn't need private. We don't exchange bank information or sensitive personal info 98% of time, and those times we do most likely no one sees it anyway. Maybe some algorithm scans these messages without really understanding their meaning. Which is not me saying privacy isn't important, but if that's the only reason you have to use some service, no one will switch. Why can't we have a community driven project that actually produces something new and exciting?
The point you make about people making content for the explicit goal of earning money is something that I've been agonising about a lot recently. I too, being elderly, came up during a time when the internet was defined by people making and sharing things for the joy of doing so as a way of connecting with others without strings attached. I feel like the big problem is that this old culture was still connected to a reality where nothing was monetised at a platform level and, if you wanted to host things to share, you had to pay for the privilege. Nowadays, we're all so accustomed to getting everything hosted for free so that our content can feed into a platform's monetisation strategy by generating engagement that we have been conned into believing we should be paid for with the crumbs that fall off the table. It's like some sort of collective amnesia where we've lost perspective of what has value. There's this weird paradoxical trap where internet culture exists at the scale that it does because we can all afford to pump out unprecedented volumes of content but in becoming reliant on doing so we've sold the future of internet culture out to whatever suits a platforms profitability. I guess what I would like to say (and see) is an internet that is not just smaller and more personally intimate but also slower where we all re-learn how appreciate the value of being able to make and share things without immediately moving onto the next thing.
I think a possible solution is to have a small group of tech-savvy individuals host small-scale servers systems (my tongue is in a knot) such as tilde.club, envs.net. With enough people hosting these servers independently (wouldn't have to be a large group), competition would be created, with groups possibly centering around distinct topics (like ZuccBook Groups). People who administrate the server could charge money to pay server upkeep.
For example, I create a server dedicated to making coffee and can be found easily by internet users. I offer an easy (normie) way for them to chat and host their own websites (see @MorphedSnowman's post above). Let's say I have 1000 users and I charge them $1 a month. $1000/mo is more than enough to upkeep a server/servers hosting 1000 users. If I have a huge influx of users (DAYLIGHT SAVINGS x1000000 HAHAHA), then I could invest more in the infrastructure (which I imagine would still leave a sizable profit for me). This provides me with incentive and also creates a nice space for users. It would also diversify the economic suppliers a bit, hopefully putting money into better hands than big tech companies.
I theorize that this would catch about 15-20% of internet users
(quite a number!). If popular social medias disappeared, this would skyrocket to roughly 40-50%, by my estimates!! 15-20% isn't much but its better than like the current 2% of the internet not wanting to volunteer their personal info to huge corps to get targeted advertisements.
The idea here hinges on tech people (I guess in this case more oriented towards sysadmin) taking initiative/responsibility and hosting servers like these. Also, another prime concern is creating a modularized solution to normie interfacing (designing a website without touching the keyboard except for text, or the like) that can be self hosted. If you had 100 people each with servers hosting minimum 1000 distinct people (tilde.club, though for nerds, has around 2000 users who have created accounts), boom thats already 100,000 people. Word of mouth can balloon numbers after a certain threshold I imagine.
A good environmental force that could aid this process would be how a lot of places are starting to monetize access to their websites (mainly news sites). Lol I saw ZuccBook talk about letting them track you for ads so that they "could keep Facebook a free service". Pay $10 a month for Facebook, or $2 to join your family's personal instance of Mastadon self hosted on FamilyMeet.net. Want to buy lettuce? AgriMeetup.xyz. etc. etc. etc.
TLDR create a lot of tiny facebooks on servers hosted by people who don't like facebook
(I go for facebooks throat here because of its huge user base, but all social medias are cancer)
 
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