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    I use it myself and I really like it. Although I self host it, I still bought a subscription to support the dev. It used to be partly proprietary but he decided to just open source everything, which I thought was really cool. If anyone wants a dark theme scss file for it let me know.

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      I was originally planning on following the “open core” model a la Gitlab, but I became so disillusioned with proprietary software that I decided to never go down that path again. I’d never comfortably self host proprietary software in my personal servers, so why subject others to it?

      Sometimes it’s perfectly possible to build a sustainable business with free software to support yourself; as an example, Commento is already profitable [1].

      Btw, thanks for supporting the project!

      [1] the same can’t be said of many IPO’d Silicon Valley companies, eh? ;)

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      The most impactful part of this for me was:

      I took a punt and searched Google for “privacy respecting commenting systems” as I wasn’t having much luck with DuckDuckGo.

      That hits home, ouch. I’ve had so many searches that were just not coming up relevant on DDG where I’ve had to sigh and throw in that “!g”

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        If you’re using Firefox, consider adding a “keyword search” for Google, so that you can just type “g something something” in the url bar, instead of routing your request through ddg.

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          Unfortunately, you’re right. I’ve tried Startpage a few times (which proxies search results through other search engines, including Google, but I just don’t like the UI/UX all that much.

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            I started using Bing, and I’ve had much better luck than DDG and have forgotten that I’m not using Google. In fact, the results are sometimes better as they don’t have as much direct manipulation.

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              There’s also Startpage if you want Google search results without the tracking.

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                it’s: !s query from ddg.

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                  On Firefox, bypass DuckDuckGo to hit Startpage directly from address bar with search keywords. I’ve been using that ever since a Lobster (@freddyb maybe?) told us about it. My default search is DuckDuckGo. If results are crap, I put sp in address bar followed by the search terms for Startpage results. If they are crap, then I go with !G for Google results.

                  Yeah, that actually happens sometimes despite Startpage supposedly going Google with supposedly the same tech in background. They give different results on some of my queries with Google instantly taking me to what I need that Startpage was nowhere near. (shrugs) DuckDuckGo works most of the time, though.

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                So decided to give your data to Microsoft as opposed to Google?

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                  I think you will find it was more a transaction than a give-away, they traded some data for some data ;)

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                    Microsoft has less of an overall tracking footprint, and again their results are better. Just throwing it out there as a suggestion for people like myself who aren’t satisfied with DDG and don’t want to move back to Google.

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                      Microsoft has less of an overall tracking footprint,

                      Do you just mean JS file size? I’m curious about this claim and how it’s quantified.

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                        A lot more webpages are running Google Analytics than are running any Microsoft code. Microsoft just has less data to triangulate on me.

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                          Ok, that’s fair. Wasn’t sure if you were monitoring what the JS actually grabbed or what.

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                Tangential, but I have a question for people who write things like “it’s the cost of a cup of coffee per month” - do you actually reduce your coffee consumption by 1 every month for each service you pay for like this or do you continue drinking that same cup of coffee and add another “coffee” per month? I get the intent behind the statement, but the financial reality of paying out “a coffee” per month to every service you use is not a nice one. There’s a reason things like cable/hulu/spotify/amazon prime/etc are bundled together rather than individual things you pay for.

                Regarding commenting as a whole, they’re one of my pet peeves about websites. There’s really no reason for every article to have comments, it’s providing fuel for the outrage culture we’re in and not bringing about very interesting discussion like a forum would. I don’t understand the point of it beyond feeling like “someone wants to talk about what I wrote.” Imagine a world where you write articles and people discuss them in their own circles without the entire public seeing what they have to say.

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                  Personally when I use phrases like “it’s the cost of a cup of coffee”, it’s less that I’m trying to say “instead of buying that coffee, buy this instead”, and more that I’m word the offer in a way that makes the client see a different perspective on the price. For many people, their daily coffee isn’t a purchase they have to stop and think about, it’s just something they do – it’s something they spend a negligible enough amount of money on that they don’t have to think about it, and it’s something to do rather often.

                  In a modern day when so many services are just free, any price tag makes people stop and think, equating it to a coffee is just a nice, slightly-more-subtle way of saying “This is cheap. Really cheap. Cheap enough that you probably spend the same amount of money on a cup of sugary, dirty hot water this morning,” and sometimes that alternative perspective on a price works.

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                    Personally, I don’t drink coffee at all (nor did I ever have a daily thing I would buy), so maybe the analogy makes even less sense to me. But $5 still isn’t the price of a cup of coffee. When i did drink coffee, I would grab one from Wawa for 99¢ and it was the size of small child (i.e. too much for me to even drink). The unit doesn’t make sense to me in any way.

                    Are people really buying $5+ drinks as a daily habit? It seems like a myth.

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                      Honestly, the amount of people I’ve met with a daily Starbucks (which, with a ~$1.50 or so margin either way, is generally close-ish to $5) definitely makes it feel accurate, personally. I think it’s a little strange, but it’s definitely something people legitimately do.

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                    I get the intent behind the statement, but the financial reality of paying out “a coffee” per month to every service you use is not a nice one.

                    This. A thousand times this.

                    All those SaaSes and Patreons and Netflixes add up. People who hear the “cup of coffee” or “it’s only such and such” a month should call bullshit immediately.

                    Buying goods and services is a function of added value in proportion to the cost with a subjective modifier. That should not be muddled behind non-arguments which can only serve to fool people into paying a hundred bucks total for every streaming service out there.

                    We need a world where people understand their budget and are vigilant about it.

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                    What would be interesting would be a comment system based on activity pub, where each post would be a Object that other members of the Fediverse could send comments to.

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                      It’s very nice to see these things becoming more in vogue.

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                        In the spirit of preserving privacy and data ownership, I have a proposal. A commenting system such as this ties together the logic of the comment system and the ownership of the data. What if we had a service - self-hosted or a privacy respecting company like Fastmail, for example - that provided a data store. It would be inter-operable with apps that read and write to it, like Commento. With APIs evolved by committee, like the web, we can ensure that many data stores and many apps can work with each other. Such separation will have bad performance in some cases, but should work for a commenting system.

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                          The use of “privacy” here is a little rude. They mean that they fulfill the most basic requirements for avoiding illegal usage of their users’ data. I was hoping for a comment system that prevents unauthorized people from reading comments; that is, comments are private by default and specific credentials are required to view any particular comment.

                          Still, I suppose this is slightly better than other third-party comment hosts, but it’s still a third-party comment host, and so it’s not really much of an improvement on the status quo.

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                            “The use of “privacy” here is a little rude. “

                            I don’t think so. The default use of an online commenting system is that the comments are publicly-viewable. The privacy risk (linked in article) is collecting, analyzing, and selling out the content owners and users, mainly their behaviors. There’s also a liability in that the surveillance model has incentives that make the buyers of that information the real customers, not the site owners using the product.

                            That it’s a more private and user-focused product is a worthwhile distinction. It’s the user behavior, not comments, that’s private.