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    I’ve been experimenting with Gopher for the last few weeks (mainly after having discovered gopher://bitreich.org), and while it does offer quite an interestig form of serving and organizing content, it’s exactly the overall lak of content that’s a bit disappointing. And it’s quite understandable too, for most people, gopher offers no upsides besides a wierd design. I remember people saying the don’t use the internet, they just use facebook - try convincing someone who belives this to adopt a 30 year old protocol (a what?) without pretty animations or an interactive layout.

    And I don’t mean this in a pejorative way, looking down at the “normies” for not understanding the enlightened way of using esoteric web protocols. It’s just that without a certain network effect, media just won’t gain traction, and what’s the point of it then? People usually don’t use the internet just for it’s own sake, but want an experience, to learn something or to buy something (something I’d most certainly not want to use gopher for in it’s current state).

    Maybe we need something between the freedom of http/html+css+(js) and the prestructured limitations of gopher that prevent the protocol from being perverted and misused. I have been playing with the idea of limited subset of html+css taking such a place, without many of the particularities of official html or css, with which anyone should be familiar with if they’ve ever programmed for the web, without extensive use of frameworks. And if gopher were to use this hypothetical subset, then we certainly would need need clients (eg. maybe we don’t need a android client supporting all versions from 0.2 and beyond).

    As a final note, I’d like to remind people to not belive “oh, the web would have been so much better if only gopher had won over http/html. I’m fairly sure that the web would still be pleasant and rather simole experience, if it were to be used the way it was intended to be (as a hyper text network). But as we all know, that’s not the case, for multiple reasons, but I primarily belive it was because the web had a potential beyond it’s intention. Games, shopping, social networking or interactivity in general had to be skewed into the already establish standards, to not harm backwards compatibility, resulting in a bigger and bigger mess over time. Furthermore browsers and servers, in competition with one another break rules and extended the standard (as is to be expected), this time not because of it’s potential but it’s impotence. Gopher, had it had it had the inertia at the time, would have probably have falled victim of a similar, but of course different fate, depending on what people would have done, wanted to do and had been able to do with it. And eventually we’d have people writing about how great that esoteric but sadly underused protocol called “http” just is.

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      I remember people saying the don’t use the internet, they just use facebook - try convincing someone who belives this to adopt a 30 year old protocol (a what?) without pretty animations or an interactive layout.

      I think the average person might find something like gopher attractive if you compared it to Google’s AMP pages. Of course, not many people would understand if you just asked them about “AMP”, but I’m sure they’d understand if you asked them about those news articles on Google that have a little lightning icon next to them and load really fast and don’t have any junk on them.

      That said, if we serve HTML over Gopher then I don’t think there’d be much difference between modern web sites and this new gopher, besides menu-based navigation that is built into the browser. Dunno if that’d appeal to people. Maybe if there was a standard way of adding metadata (images, descriptions etc) to listings then browsers could display them in a nice-looking, fast interface.

      Gopher, had it had it had the inertia at the time, would have probably have falled victim of a similar, but of course different fate, depending on what people would have done, wanted to do and had been able to do with it.

      Good point. Right after browsers implemented the hypothetical listing metadata standard I talked about above, someone would’ve implemented an extension that allowed animated images, or themable menu entries, or <marquee>, etc.

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        I think one thing to think about is that users don’t actually want web apps. They use web apps because that’s what’s available. Developers make web apps because that’s a target that works on every device.

        But what users want is things that make them feel good. They don’t particularly care how that thing is delivered, so long as they don’t have to work too hard. That’s the second thing users want: the opportunity to be lazy. In other words, users remain human beings, and want the exact same things every other human wants.

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      Gopher being only a protocol, nothing prevents people from serving 10Mb HTML/CSS/JS pages over gopher.

      Imagine a world where gopher become cool again, you’ll soon see browsers scan (i) lines for tags specifying the styling of each directory listing, then these tags will point to other files served over gopher, forcing clients to perform multiple requests to serve a single page. This will soon be too limiting and gopher servers will provide the ability to generate content dynamically, ala CGI. Clever people will find a way to retrieve data from the user (it already exist after all, veronica has you enter text in a box!), and use thia way to geolocalize you, and would present you hot girls in your area using the simplest, lowest overhead protocol on the web :)

      Gopher is pretty cool, don’t get me wrong! It won’t prevent the web from being the clusterfuck it is already though.

      Perhaps we (tech people) can all agree on using gopher to build an alternate web that is cleaner, but we have to keep it secret, and boring to avoid turning it into the web 3.0