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  • What this community space could be

    Posted by Anand Pandian on December 3, 2022 at 5:17 pm

    Hi everyone, I’m starting a thread on a speculative and aspirational note, about what this online ecological community space could be. Going head to head with Big Tech isn’t easy or straightforward. But like so many others, we’ve been thinking about the promise of smaller and more intimate spaces of shared interest and commitment. Hoping for this to work is different from actually making it work, of course, and this will take a lot of creative and improvisational thinking and tinkering. There are many reflections out there already on such possibilities. If something strikes you as promising and worth thinking through, and if you have such ideas of your own, please feel free to park them here.

    Here’s one interesting reflection to start with, on the image of the “wood wide web” in forest ecology what that might have to teach us about online community space. Claire Evans writes, in New_Public, “The project of decentralizing the web is vast, and only just beginning. It means finding a way to uproot our expression and communication from the walled gardens of tech platforms, and finding novel ways to distribute the responsibilities of infrastructure across a collective network. But we needn’t start from nothing. To build resilient decentralized networks, let us create “Mother nodes”—sites in the network bearing a responsibility of care. We’ve built institutions like these before: consider public libraries, which serve both as bearers of cultural memory and as generous sources of nutrients for our minds and communities.”

    Could this space become such a “Mother node”? I find myself arrested by the image and the possibility. Here’s the piece:

    Anand Pandian replied 3 months ago 1 Member · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Anand Pandian

    February 26, 2023 at 8:18 am

    A cautionary note from Cory Doctorow, on the death spiral of for-profit platforms.

    “This is enshittification: Surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they’re locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they’re locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle. This is why … platforms like Prodigy transformed themselves overnight, from a place where you went for social connection to a place where you were expected to “stop talking to each other and start buying things.””

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by  Anand Pandian.
  • Anand Pandian

    March 4, 2023 at 1:47 pm

    A really interesting “taxonomy” of contemporary online social networks, via New_Public. Within this classification, the EDC would be a VSOP, a “Very Small Online Platform.”

    “VSOPs are the opposite of “big room” social networks. They are social networks created for a very specific purpose, with rules, norms and affordances appropriate to that community… We believe exploring VSOPs as a way of exploring diverse systems of community governance could be good not only for the future of social media, but as a form of education in democratic citizenship. Before everyone abandons big room social networks and builds their own VSOP, it is worth noting the serious limitations of this method of social networking. It requires significant effort to scaffold healthy conversations, no matter the purpose and community being served. These networks can easily become ghost towns if they don’t meet a real need.”