[Freedombox-discuss] Raining on the parade

Bjarni Rúnar Einarsson bre at pagekite.net
Fri Jun 29 11:33:34 UTC 2012

On Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM, Jonathan Wilkes <jancsika at yahoo.com> wrote:
> There's no way out of this problem without educating people about
> privacy.  For the average user, nearly everything they do on the web
> is supported by the hypothesis that the data they provide about
> themselves is worth more than the services provided to them.

I would just like to respond to this particular point, because I think
it's wrong in an important and fundamental way.

There is another way out: innovate and provide features on
decentralized and self-hosted social networks which the current
generation of centralized networks cannot or will not provide.  If
people get some new, compelling feature by moving off the centralized
platforms onto decentralized ones, then they will become motivated to
educate themselves and spread the word.

In this forum people have focused on freedom and privacy as the killer
features, but there are others.  Things the current networks do which
decentralized networks could do differently:

   * They do not allow you to customize or skin how your personal space looks.
   * They do not let you share files and media.
   * They impose a lowest-common-denominator U.S. morality code on everyone.
   * They don't care about individual users, due to economies of scale.
   * They don't work if your Internet connection is down.
   * Their UI is a web browser or mobile App.
   * They are not hackable/programmable except in very limited ways.
   * They force upgrades on you even if you are happy with the status quo.
   * They ignore/waste your existing resources (1TB hard drives are
common and cheap, but cloud services impose limits measured in

I'm sure there are many more bullets that could be added to this list. :-)

Pulling at a few of those threads could lead to killer apps which the
centralized networks could never compete with due to structural
differences and scaling constraints.  Using their centralization
against them is the only way to win at this game.

Bjarni R. Einarsson
Founder, lead developer of PageKite.

Make localhost servers visible to the world: https://pagekite.net/

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