IndieWeb has interesting and somewhat pragmatic approach to this issue: make everyone a Brand (I.e. personal domain) and then spray lightweight federation on top (WebMentions, microformats, etc.). As for auth they propose IndieAuth which is almost oauth + personal domains. TL;DR each correspondent sets up once their website and can effortlessly communicate with anyone after that.
I like the idea and the ideals of IndieWeb, but I think the bar of “set up a personal domain, and make a webpage on it with these microformats” is still a little beyond people outside of tech.
I think there are actually three problems folded in one: a) the technical difficulties of registering and setting up domain (which is potentially solvable by nice UX), b) difficulty of putting something on the Web (servers, maintenance, etc.), and c) the costs. Domains cost money as do servers. And paying $6.25/month ($5/mo for VPS; $15/year for domain) is a lot more than $0 to use Twitbook.
So I think that IndieWeb is correct on focusing at people who can do b) and already put off by Big Brands to bear c). OTOH, the Web should be more simple and accessible for non-tech people, that I agree.
As someone who can afford a $5/mo VPS I’d love to have a decent framework for easily adding users as part of the Fediverse. I’m talking about something more personal than just being a node in something like FreeNet, and more “secure” than letting randos get a shell account. Something like a GeoCities page with defined storage limits, and an easy-to-use interface for web publishing, mastodon etc etc would be great.
Maybe it already exists?
I’m kinda working on something along this idea, but hadn’t officialy anounced anything yet. The basic idea is allowing to upload HTML files and enhance the experience by providing HTTPS, posting interface, generating various feeds from user files, etc.
Edit: allow me to expand a little more, this project is about developing a hub of sorts. So the more techy user can deploy it and provide indie experience for friends and family.
That sounds great! Please update us when you feel it’s ready for the world.
This sounds very cool! +1 on the “please update us when you feel ready to”
Re: why I think it’s pragmatic: any identity system relies on some authority. In case of DNS+TLS it is spread between domain registrars and CA (letsencrypt is good). New system would necessitate new authority you’d have to trust. Meanwhile the Big Brands have vested interest in keeping old system working and trusted.
The other benefit of IndieWeb approach is that it keeps information visible and accessible, as opposed to some “standard” JSON. That leads to easier adoption (you can send webmention by hand) and keeps focus on making it work, not debating ideal JSON schema by committees.
I don’t want to define people on the Internet. Everything’s a machine, leave it there. We keep our security, we keep our identity.
It’s already been mentioned here that the author substituted the word ‘brand’ for domain. A lot or all of us crustaceans recognized that immediately.
My spouse uses a Pixel 2 XL and the default Chrome+Google branded homescreen widget. When she unlocks her phone and quickly performs a search and points the screen at my face, I can’t tell if she’s in Chrome or the widget and the search results don’t display the domains. But, there are “brands” displayed in the same green color that domains used to be displayed in.
A more useful Layer 2 would be Named Data, or a similar named-data-first approach. Sadly, the idea of giving everybody a domain has fizzled. The best we should hope for is that everybody gets a silly number of IPv6 addresses. On top of that, rather than the Web, we should have a focus on data. Almost all Web usage is for the purposes of data access, and we can realign incentives if we focus on named data first:
It is quite a dream: We have to imagine data before domains!