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      One of the project ideas in my backlog is an aggregator like lobste.rs where the front page only updates daily. People can submit and vote however they like using Slashdot like categories (insightful, funny, etc). Once a day, a new front page is generated from the top submission per category. Discussion is only enabled on frontpage submissions.

      By design, you cannot comment on current stuff due the delay. So people who desire that should scratch that itch elsewhere. The goal of the site is not to collect hot new links but to discuss interesting things. There are clear “topics of the day”.

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        Makes sense, we could try it for a week or a month if someone wants to code it. One of the concerns repeatedly expressed about story merging has been that stories with new links should be on the homepage over and over for more attention and that not giving it feels like burying the new links. If stories sat in a queue for a week or two, it would give an opportunity for all the updates, rebuttals, and hot takes to collect for a single discussion.

        For folks who also want to break bad habits of consumption, Cal Newport’s book Digital Minimalism is a practical guide. (I’ve also heard of The Shallows by Nicholas Carr and Indistractable by Nir Eyal but haven’t read them.)

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        That sounds like an interesting idea

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      Every now and then I’ll visit a website, notice there’s nothing new since I last visited and then absent-mindedly hit cmd+L, type the website URL in and visit that same website again within the span of 30 seconds. It’s, uh, a problem.

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      This, sadly, seems to me like another attempt of a technical person to try and fix a social problem by purely technical means. I don’t pretend to have a fix for this problem or even understand it completely, I’m just noting a familiar pattern. Sorry!

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      I think that these two things are connected to each other.

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      I have a hard time believing that a web protocol is a solution to a behavioral issue.

      I had a similar “twitchy” nature regarding refreshing various web services and expecting new content. The first step was abandoning platforms like Reddit, Twitter, Mastodon, IRC, etc where the signal to noise ratio is low and the platform is designed for “engagement.”

      I now consume anything I read via e-mail newsletters and RSS. My RSS reader only lives on my iPad, which I use as a personal laptop, rather than my phone. Instead of having a free 2 minutes and twitch-ily refreshing my RSS feeds, I check them every 1-2 days. I even engage with lobste.rs this way, which allows threads time to collect a few comments of useful insight by the time I actually read them. I don’t get push notifications for emails or even group chats on my phone, and use the badge indicators to let me know that there is new content.

      None of this is predicated on some new technology. If anything, the biggest risk to my way of interaction is the slow decline in prominence of email and RSS as communication mediums. These “slow” technologies don’t provide the sort of monetization opportunities required by the popular web platforms.

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      sidenote: giving up twitter (aka. facebook for zoomers) has massively improved my life.

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      Thank for a thoughtful essay. FOMO is definitely a problem … I remember first encountering it in the mid-80s with Usenet, as I banged on the “R” key in my newsreader (rn, I think) like pulling the handle on a slot machine.

      I’m looking for an answer more in reducing the size of the network, rather than stripping down the protocols as you are. (I honestly had no idea Gopher was still in use!) Our feeds seem infinite because they come from millions of people, or at least from hundreds of “friends” forwarding content from the other million. I miss having a social circle of mere dozens, whose content was hand-written; there was a very finite amount but it was more meaningful. (Yeah, I’m talking about an idealized nostalgia-filtered memory of LiveJournal circa 2002.)

      I think P2P networks like Scuttlebutt could support this, coupled with a client that deliberately keeps your social radius small and discourages reblogs and copy/pasting.

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        Oh, yes, smaller circles do work to reduce this addiction. Mastodon and friends. It’s more like the Usenet. I don’t know anyone there personally but I feel like I do know them.

        However, the problem is still that fomo. Refresh the page more often. Follow more people. Get more stuff. I think running my own masto instance again might be worth a try. Then the only feed is mine or that of the followers. So if they don’t post, you have to get bored and think.

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      I agree with the ideas presented here, though I don’t care for the particulars around Gemini. That said, imperfect things have been known to take off :)

      The author talks about possibly wanting something that’s weekly or monthly. This is actually pretty common and popular today: the email newsletter. The podcast is another example of this. It’s possible to go overboard even with this slower-to-update content.

      I still think the idea of more of a push toward content that has a chance to go beyond hot takes is worthwhile. Even commenting systems like this one kind of encourage quick responses … some of those responses are quite helpful and interesting. Others, especially depending on the platform and moderators, can be toxic. It’s much more labor intensive, but “letters to the editor” style of comments seem potentially more valuable.

      So far, I think Lobsters strikes a nice balance. The front page doesn’t move that quickly. Comment threads don’t tend to get long and out of control, or filled with vitriol and noise (which I’m sure is due to good moderation and a community that supports better discourse).

      In summary, I think there are already ways for people to jump off of the endless scrolling treadmill if they wish, at least when it comes to “news”.

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        ^ This. I subscribe to stack overflow weekly newsletters and read LWN only once a week on Thursdays when the weekly edition is released. I browse SlowerNews.com. I much prefer Lobsters over Hacker News for this reason. Currently, I’m thinking of unsubscribing from most NYTimes newsletters due to news overload.

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      The Internet in its current form capitalizes and makes billions off of this. Infinite scrolling and live updating pages that make it feel like there’s always something new to read.

      There is in fact something new to read, and moreover, there would be something new to read in any system that made it possible to connect with a significant fraction of the billions of people alive and creating interesting content they intend for the consumption of other people.

      Fear of Missing Out is real, but I don’t think it’s caused by the specific design of notification and newsfeed software. It’s real because the world is genuinely vast, and there are many more people alive today than for almost all of human evolutionary history, and there’s far, far more things to do and see and read and know in this world than there is time in a finite human lifespan to spend on them. There’s a lot to miss out on in reality.

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      Gemtext markup is, for me, the only interesting part in all the Gemini project. And still I’m not convinced of it being much better than Markdown.

      The Gemini transport layer seems like a bad HTTP 1.0 that didn’t get the useful learnings from HTTP’s evolution.

      I just see no real reason to not use HTTP in Gemini.

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        I really don’t see the appeal in Gemtext either. Hypertext is the entire point of the web, after all.

        It just seems Gemini is worst of both worlds to me; none of the cute retro chic of Gopher, none of the actual usefulness of the web. Do something like a subset of HTML, IMHO (There’s precedent for this too - see early 2000s mobile.).

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          Yeah I think something like the subset of HTML / HTTP that SerenityOS recognizes could be a good starting point for a “rebooted” web. It renders real websites but has some limitations on complexity (namely that one person plus a few contributors is doing most of the work!)


          I actually developed a bunch of tools around an HTML subset for Oil. The CommonMark renderer outputs pretty strict HTML. And then I do a few more transformations on the HTML like adding a table of contents and expanding link shortcuts.

          That subset of HTML is very useful and easy to parse. And it’s a great feature of Markdown that you can embed HTML, so you can get pictures and video where appropriate. They are often used inappropriately on the modern web but that doesn’t mean they’re not useful sometimes. Rewriting all that functionality or omitting it doesn’t seem very appealing.

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      Is there an extension for either the Firefox or Chrome which introduces a random delay for any resource on any page, or blocks accessing particular pages for more than X times per hour? That would be a game changer for me, and by game changer I mean something that would wean me on at least one bad habit.

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        Yes, one I’ve used in the past is https://www.proginosko.com/leechblock/