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posted by janrinok on Friday August 30 2019, @12:08PM   Printer-friendly

Mike Masnick, usually editor for Techdirt, has written an essay on a technological approach to preserving free speech online in spite of the direction things have been heading in regards to locked-in platforms. He proposes moving back to an Internet where protocols dominate.

This article proposes an entirely different approach—one that might seem counterintuitive but might actually provide for a workable plan that enables more free speech, while minimizing the impact of trolling, hateful speech, and large-scale disinformation efforts. As a bonus, it also might help the users of these platforms regain control of their privacy. And to top it all off, it could even provide an entirely new revenue stream for these platforms.

That approach: build protocols, not platforms.

To be clear, this is an approach that would bring us back to the way the internet used to be. The early internet involved many different protocols—instructions and standards that anyone could then use to build a compatible interface. Email used SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). Chat was done over IRC (Internet Relay Chat). Usenet served as a distributed discussion system using NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol). The World Wide Web itself was its own protocol: HyperText Transfer Protocol, or HTTP.

In the past few decades, however, rather than building new protocols, the internet has grown up around controlled platforms that are privately owned. These can function in ways that appear similar to the earlier protocols, but they are controlled by a single entity. This has happened for a variety of reasons. Obviously, a single entity controlling a platform can then profit off of it. In addition, having a single entity can often mean that new features, upgrades, bug fixes, and the like can be rolled out much more quickly, in ways that would increase the user base.

Earlier on SN:
Re-decentralizing the World-Wide Web (2019)
Decentralized Sharing (2014)


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  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Sunday September 01 2019, @12:00AM (1 child)

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Sunday September 01 2019, @12:00AM (#888349) Homepage Journal

    Which is why I started calling the secretive powerful elites "lizard people".

    I can't bring myself to refer to any of the mostly innocent, sometimes downtrodden groups that are often blamed for the world's ills.

    Then someone complained, saying "lizard people" is a codeword for . I suspect that happens when someone pastes his/her own prejudices onto the phrase and propagates it in that context.

    The phrase seems to have originated [wikipedia.org] in Robert E Howard's Conan fiction.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by meustrus on Tuesday September 03 2019, @05:42PM

    by meustrus (4961) on Tuesday September 03 2019, @05:42PM (#889238)

    That's what I'm wondering though. If the rant was about "lizard people", it would still be the same basic rant. Which alleged manipulator is more descriptive of reality: jews or lizard people? How many of the "lizard people" tropes really only make sense adjacent to stereotypes about jews? Is it possible to remove the anti-semitic association, or are rants about "lizard people" still ultimately spreading specifically anti-semitic tropes?

    If it's not possible to remove the anti-semitic association, then how is anyone supposed to fight abuse of power when assholes keep making them look bad by agreeing for the wrong reasons [youtube.com]?" It's a huge problem right now regarding the oppression of Palestinians; nobody can complain about it without getting accused of anti-semitism, followed by anti-semites rallying behind them. Frankly, if the anti-semites were smart at all (lol oxymoron) they'd figure out that the best way to hurt Israel is to stop joining and thereby de-legitimizing pro-Palestinian movements. But that's a whole different thing.

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    If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?