0 16 min 1 yr

Many whistle-blowers and activists had proved beyond doubts that large social / mainstream media brands and corporate election systems / parties have vested back-channels with even head of states and businesses of political opinion makers. It is wise to look away and get rid of popular hyped platforms and mobile apps like FaceBook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram or some desi JioKoo but still be able to make connections within social network of friends, colleagues, followers and so on. GNU Mastadon Jitsi Social are some largest open source platforms, powering sites like http://s.osspl.com and https://wisepoint.org

Consider joining a text only USENET or running an NNTP server and configure it to not allow for live links and enforce posts that are LONGER than a tweet. Otherwise Free Speech, no images and no spam. Text only, but with openness to ideas. Quest for a decentralized communication forum with no barriers to joining and debates which can also feature moderated channels for people who want to avoid things that they dislike.

For basic business profiteering reasons, monopolistic morphing Daddies like Google and Facebook had long rejected the discussion forum idea for something “simple”, the democratic social justice. The reason for this is that whoever gets to set the topic not only has the louder voice of a marketer but gets to set the tone so that his like minded followers get to abuse anyone who violates that tone. It is the idea of ownership and the creation of a bubble with followers whose interest is to protect it, clan-like, and we use that term because some of the groups are groups of blood relatives. The problem arises where the tone is not obvious or you intend to challenge it, that is where the bubble gets to turn nasty and people of the in-group troll intruders, or worse. This can happen on any popular social media because it is formed on such principle; there, because the decorum is more business-like, you are simply ignored for saying something off-topic. We used it for sometime before see it as a waste of time unless we had something to pitch.

The moderation is all informal, because no one want to spend money for it. The openness of social media is really an illusion. Free speech in the usual sense is really not tolerated, and you have to identify with a bubble first before you can speak and you must accept the tone of the bubble and any real agenda before you can speak safely.

Call for a static topic hierarchy neutral to agendas, even though people can set an agenda and do at the thread level. We had debated even with newsgroups with a clear agendas, and topics there are loaded, but anyone can contribute, even to defeat the agenda of the group that founded it to discuss creationism. Why it worked was that it was a debate and the tools existed with the message format, for which there is an RFC, that could support the features I have been advocating for social media. Discussions there were heated sometimes, but people jumped all over people who swore and called names or trolled. They were easily shamed and often by throwing back their own words back at them by quoting and answering those words. That is why at minimum we want Markdown Format in social media, but with attribution. Few social media have Markdown with attribution and tolerate anonymous posts but teases these posters by calling then “anonymous cowards”.

On Open Social, composing a topic line for a new thread could offer clues that a reader might want to avoid a thread, e.g. “Warning: Troll Alert: …”. The news reading programs that collapse threads under a topic line could also alert readers to memes and other generally facile threads by reporting the number of replies. Between signals in the subject line and the number of posts one can find the better parts of most discussions. Nowadays one would also need a tweet filter, hiding all posts as small as a tweet and encouraging people to write more.

Choose Open Social promoting free speech, unlike famous networks, don’t join one of those sociopath media brands with blatant censorship policies. Open social is about enabling free speech, not suppressing it. But remember, censorship is a problem when done by governments. For “A private community for discussions on farming, vegetable or gardens, they have right to stop posting of sex or porno videos.” It is totally reasonable. Within your domain you could make newsgroups only for your colleagues, and not make them public. If you have servers and want people to sleep on what they want to say, you could setup asynchronous update a couple of times in a day.

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