As a lolicon, I don’t find the reason uncomfortable at all. What a great advantage of the decentralized web. About time.
Off-topic though this may be, I am genuinely curious:
(And yeah, decentralized web is great. :) )
“The point of decentralized publishing is not censorship resistance – decentralization provides a little resilience to intermediary censorship, but not a lot. Instead, decentralization is important because it allows a community to run under its own rules. “ <- vehemently disagree. The most important reason for decentralization is censorship resistence. A community run under its own rules is exactly a community that wants to be resistant to at least some kinds of censorship, even if they are more than happy to censor other kinds of things themselves.
Whatever thing you want your community to be about, and whatever rules you want to enforce in that community, there’s someone out there who thinks that that is as bad as the author of this article thinks lolicon is. Decentralized platforms are what make it possible for you to influence the censoring that goes on immediately around you, instead of that entity.
I think the idea behind “decentralization provides a little resilience to intermediary censorship, but not a lot” is that even if you run your own Mastodon instance with your own rules, your instance is online at the pleasure of your DNS provider, your ISP, your CDN, Digital Ocean/Vultr/AWS, the government…
If you really want censorship resistance, you want to think about publishing to a DHT like trackerless BitTorrent, or putting things into the Bitcoin blockchain, that kind of thing. But actually getting published information from there into people’s browsers is a lot more difficult.
“your instance is online at the pleasure of your DNS provider, your ISP, your CDN, Digital Ocean/Vultr/AWS, the government…”
Well said. That’s probably what the author meant. It’s certainly what I mean when I say using these platforms to avoid ISP or government censorship is a joke. One can just block the protocols or identified users. The other can pass laws against it or executive uses existing powers to cause trouble for users, intermediaries, or suppliers. They’re already doing that in Five Eyes per Snowden leaks at least for surveillance.
I still like these tools for giving the communities using them more control over both the platform and what’s tolerated. Definitely a step up from the lock-in-loving platforms such as Facebook. What most miss is the marketing ability to achieve wide uptake. Personally, I’d start with targeting SME’s or enterprise customers just to make money to improve the software and deploy more instances.
The issues are one and the same.
In a centralised structure, the central authority has power over others. In a decentralised structure, there’s no central authority and there is a smaller power-asymmetry in the system. A central authority can use said power to control what people are allowed to say or hear i.e. censorship, or they can use it to ‘run things their way’. Decentralisation allows people to be free to choose for themselves the rules of their systems. That includes “I can say whatever I want” or “Let’s use ABC ruleset and XYZ mod for our game servers”.
I don’t want to ascribe intent to mastodon users/developers, and ultimiately open source lets you kinda do what you want with software (bring your own philosophy).
I remember back in the PHPBB days, where people would start a bunch of forums. It’s somewhat similar to the “decentralized” stuff in practice (modulo the single sign-on-y aspects, most forums worked the same way). Main reason to start a different forum was simply for topic.
I feel like that aspect is a bit under-rated in these discussions. Just like LinkedIn and Facebook might have similar feature sets, so do different Mastadon instances. But the primary differentiator isn’t feature set, but the community. I think about this a lot when people talk about all networking apps being “the same”, and I think it applies here as well.
This discussion reminds me of covenant communities in Hoppean philosophy.
If people are free to do what they want in a framework that allows for “programmable” law (whether “real world” contracts or just digital rules), people can set up communities that follow whatever rules they think are socially beneficial, without forcing those rules on anybody outside their social community.
So freedom from forcibly imposed large-scale policies (like censorship rules on internet infrastructure) lets people set up small-scale rules in a way that’s more effective whilst minimizing the number of people who get screwed over.
Related podcast and documentary: