Kicks Condor

#hypertext
THE WEB IN ALL ITS FORMS

Yeah, so, this is the primary tag that I use throughout this site. Anything tagged ‘hypertext’ refers to the Web: unique personal blogs and home pages and wikis, where modern hypertext is going, surviving the Internet and searching or organizing or creating hypertext. (The other primary tags are: garage and elementary.

Common tags beneath this one are:

  • linking: Discussion about mere ‘linking’—that direct linking suffices for ‘liking’/‘friending’/‘upvoting’, that Google has hindered it with its heuristic, and that I like TO DO IT.

  • catalog: How to catalog links and hypertext for yourself and others. Lots of discussion about link directories and wikis.

  • chain: Managing chains of links and conversations through hypertext.

19 Aug 2019

Ola Bini’s Letters from Detention

Reflections from a thoughtful and innocent prisoner.

I spent some of the weekend reading these letters from Ola Bini, who was imprisoned in April for basically being a friend of Julian Assange. I remember Ola from his work on the Ioke programming language—and I once chatted with him many, many years ago. He was polite and well-spoken. I am glad to hear that he is now released. (The FreeOlaBini site should probably show his release more prominently—it is more obvious on Twitter.)

Still, his blog is quite eye-opening and worthwhile. There are entries here that are simply poignant—such as Ola’s story of his birthday when his fellow inmates sang to him. In an almost deliberately Kafkaesque way, it seems he is never told what he is charged with—we can presume computer hacking, but no specifics are given. (It seems the authorities assumed this from his personal library—which Fogus catalogs here.)

I feel some cynicism toward ‘open source’/‘free software’ and cyberpunk ideologies—and I think many people also associate this with ‘tech bro’-style optimism—but Ola’s letters have me reconsidering.

[C]ode and architecture are more important than laws. Laws can be broken, but if we build our systems correctly, we can provide real guarantees. The right to privacy, security and anonymity is also a strong belief and the idea that these rights belong to everyone, not just those that can pay for it.

Related to this, is the mistrust of authority, not just governments, but any kind of authority. That means those rights cant be provided just as legal rights by fiat. Instead, these rights have to be provided by something stronger: by cryptographic systems, implemented and run in the open. This is the only real way you can ultimately provide real self-determination to everyone in the world.

A final belief: cypherpunks write code. This means just what it says. If we want a better world, we have to take the responsibility. We have to build it ourselves.

I don’t feel optimism in any of this. I just feel a person wanting to secure their life. This seems like a basic right—roughly equivalent to the very smallest property right, the ability to merely live and survive at a specific coordinate—even a prisoner has that right. Cynicism feels dangerous here—that I’d rather just wander in aloof disbelief than try.

This also has me hunting for other blogs from prisoners. Know of any?

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15 Aug 2019

2019.08: What’s New to Href.Cool?

Most of these links have been posted recently—some removals as well.

Href.cool is my personal directory to the Web. It contains one hidden directory inside of it—and I’m working on two more (one on ‘antimisanthropy’ and another on ‘fake computers’.) In the meantime, I have some casual updates.

Added to Games/Dialogue:

To Web/Wiki, I added an essential link—that of chameleon’s wiki. (Who today has introduced me to a sick term: birdsite.hell in reference to Twitter.)

Removed link to Susan Engel (susan-engel.com) in Real/Learning—DNS doesn’t resolve.

New category Real/Thoughts:

  • Meaningness Wiki ∞
    David Chapman (who also brought us Buddhism for Vampires)—to simply call Meaningness a ‘book’ or a ‘metablog’ or a Buddhist resource is to discount that this is a formidable work that seems to both tackle the question “What is life?” and to catalog its author’s every thought. It also sets a precedent for drafting in public that I’ve begun to see on the other links in Web/Wiki.

  • Visakan Veerasamy Page ∞
    This site goes real deep—you have no idea. But you might get an idea if you survey the bookmarks page (which is an impressive collection—feels similar to href.cool) or the @1000wordvomits page (dump of interesting, meandering essays) or his master list of his own Twitter threads, which is just much better than it sounds. Generous work.

  • Nadia Eghbal Blog 1h
    Started with the brilliant ‘The tyranny of ideas’. Stayed for ‘Reclaiming public life’ and ‘The independent researcher’. Essays to snack on. (See also: The Modern Essay by Virginia Woolf. That’s what Nadia does.)

  • Ribbonfarm Blog ∞
    Venkatesh Rao and friends write long articles, some of which form ‘blogchains’—a continuous riff on a subject. (Via Nadia E.)

The link for ‘Sleepingfish’ in Stories/Brief has changed to http://www.calamaripress.com/SF/.

The link to ‘HIGH END CUSTOMIZABLE SAUNA EXPERIENCE’ in Stories/Hypertext has changed to http://slimedaughter.com/games/twine/sauna/.

An addition to Tapes/Classic:

  • Radio Soulwax Mixtape 1h
    These are pretty popular—but whatever, credit to these Belgians for keeping such an ambitious project on a sheet of matte black hypertext.

An addition to Tapes/Infinite:

  • Every Noise at Once Directory 1m
    ‘…an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space, based on data tracked and analyzed for 3,295 genres by Spotify as of 2019-08-03. The calibration is fuzzy, but in general down is more organic, up is more mechanical and electric; left is denser and more atmospheric, right is spikier and bouncier.’

And an addition to Tapes/Vaporwave:

Bunch of new links under Visuals/Motion:

New link in Web/Meta to: WWWTXT—quotes from Usenet, CompuServe and such. Cool design.

Removed link to Typegram (tgr.am) in Web/Participate—DNS won’t resolve.

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Reply: Sausages & Hamburgers

Prateek Saxena

So, when Siddharth showed me what sausage links were, I knew they would be perfect for this problem. I did some research and found some other documentation websites using them too.

Hey, Prateek—good to have you cross-posting to Indieweb.xyz. It will be interesting to see if sausage links stay or if they are a fad. It’s interesting that browsers haven’t adopted them for crowded tabs (or, perhaps, it seems that they moved away from hidden tabs… can’t recall.)

At any rate, you have a nice design here. Keep up the great work!

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adamcadre.ac

This writer/game designer’s home page is full of interesting hypertext flourishes.

This link was passed on to me by David Yates a while ago and I’ve finally had some time to explore it further. And it turns out there are quite a few interesting uses of links and layout that could be useful to anyone out there who is designing a TiddlyWiki[1]—for instance, the detailed organization of Adam’s favorite songs and albums page or the multiple views for the archives of the blog (called the ‘calendar’—which has been around since the 1990s.)

One of my favorite little touches is the presence of mouseover boxes throughout the essays in the ‘calendar’. In the small screenshot above, you can see a spoiler rating mouseover shown on the Stranger Things review. But there are footnotes, images, even short videos that will pop up when you hover over certain dotted links. (These remind me of the footnotes and links on philosopher.life—but with more effort put into designing them—they may have unique colors or borders.)

More than anything, this highlights again the range of things you can do with a website that just isn’t possible on social networks or Medium blogs—perhaps only an app of some kind could be customized like this.

The site also brought to mind this quote from the recent ‘Writing HTML in HTML’ article:

But how can I then keep the style and layout of all my posts and pages in sync?

Simple: don’t! It’s more fun that way. Look at this website: if you read any previous blog post, you’ll notice that they have a different stylesheet. This is because they were written at different times. As such, they’re like time capsules.

Like Phil Gyford’s site, the pages throughout Adam’s site often each have unique designs which hearken to the author’s style and sensibilities during the time when they were created. I feel like websites like this have fallen out of favor—but access to these old designs is now full of nostalgia—so perhaps we will see more hand-crafted HTML in the same way that we now see a TON of wonderful Windows 95 ripoffs in web design and gaming.


  1. And, if you are, you should really be checking out the recent ‘outrun’-colored tags and tighter design on sphygm.us. Or the erratic page-filling that is happening on chameleon’s wiki. ↩︎

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07 Aug 2019

Wikipedia on Dat Is Looking Sweet

How to distribute 255GB of HTML and still make it browsable.

This is sick. The Dat team is benchmarking 2.0 using a dump of Wikipedia. One peer is seeding the whole archive—the peer in the video is selectively downloading files. And pages are rendered in a few seconds.

@pfrazee:
The total archive is 255GB of content with 5GB of internal metadata. This browsing session pulled down 3mb of the metadata and 6mb of content to the local device. (Again, this bench is showing the site get served fresh over the lan from another device.)

The innovation here is the new hash-trie index, which was laid out by Mathias Buus in the recent talk at Data Terra Nemo.

To me, this is reassuring. Beaker has really made progress toward becoming a stable peer-to-peer web browser—and to see them hustling on performance, working to improve the fundamentals—gives me great confidence. I can’t see Beaker becoming mainstream, but I think it could be tremendously useful to everyone else: artists, archivers, the underground—not in a ‘dark web’ sense, but in the sense of those who want to experiment and innovate outside of the main network.[1]

Anyway—just want to encourage this work. This team is really pouring work into the protocol. Happy to give them some kudos.


  1. In fact, maybe what could happen here is just that there could be a kind of Web between the centralized one and the ‘dark’ one. Fully anonymized networks just have such a target on their heads. ↩︎

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03 Aug 2019

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Poolside FM

A vaporwave OS-for-pretendsies tears up Product Hunt—what does it mean??

I’m probably not introducing you to this link—because it’s been around the block for the last week. However, it’s a bull’s-eye for me—it lands in almost every collection I keep—from OS façades (such as whimsy.space and eeerik.com) to endless home video playlists (such as astronaut.io and defaultfile.name).

Yeah, but this isn’t an obscure site like so many of those. It launched on (remove glasses, rub eyes with fists) Product Hunt (this is v2, the first launched in 2014.), a watering hole for e-mail newsletter and blockchain startups. There seems to be no troll in the statement on the ‘about’ popup:

Want to collaborate or build something like Poolside FM for your company? We’re probably down to make that happen.

Reach out with your wildest dreams.

This idea of companies jumping on the bandwagon to fill the Internet with absurd anachronistic Windows 95 desktops is truly a grand vision—I’ll toast to that.

The reaction of publications covering Poolside FM is what I’m really enjoying. On It’s Nice That—a design magazine—Lucy Bourton writes:

There are of course, considering this is a project of pure fun and joy, a few smile-inducing tweaks in the website’s design too with a unique colour palette (customisable backgrounds are a must-try), martini glasses instead of close buttons and an ASCII art boot screen. It even involves its growing community with a guestbook for users to comment on and a shop with merchandise too.

😂 It even has a ‘guestbook’! For the users!

From The Verge:

Bell’s site even incorporates a guestbook on its site, like old-school webpages, which creates a feeling of community.

Has everyone gone back to 1985? This is getting infectious!

Poolside.FM has about 32,000 followers on Instagram, and Bell says that the site has 4,000 monthly listeners. He wants to grow that number this year and continue building up the community. Part of that is welcoming new listeners, but he also wants to encourage other artists and musicians to submit their tracks. It’s a collaborative process.

I only hope that one day we’ll have the technology for you out there—my own unique clan of snakeskin-clad hypertexting sunbathers—to load up Kicks Condor’s Russian Sci-Fi and Iranian Cinema Blog.avi straight from Poolside FM! See you then.

See also: foreignrap, somehow related.

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25 Jul 2019

Reply: Lateral Connections

vega

Serendipity in newspapers and record stores is dependent on unlike things being adjacent to each other. […] It’s the caprice, whimsy, lateral thinking, and uniqueness of the curator that decides what link stands next to what else—something that machine algorithms just can’t do. These days we rely too much on a machine serving us hyperlinks; a return to human-curated hyperlinks is perhaps a way of raising serendipity.

‘…unlike things being adjacent to each other.’

Great comments. Even without algorithms, this can be trouble—on subreddits, posts can be flagged ‘offtopic’—so overboard moderation is a problem. (Of course, Reddit is where one goes to fully ‘engage’. No /s—it’s fine to do that. Problem is: people may not know where to go to get outside of ‘engage’ mode.)

One thought I’ll add re: getting outside of my own interests—I think if we had better tools for keeping tabs on our interests, we could more easily move outside them. (Like: if my ‘reader’/‘news feed’ makes it difficult to track 100 people, then I can’t very well track 1,000 people.)

And directories are sweet here—they are little libraries. Sure, they can cover your interests. But they can be used to map the strange elven lands that you happen to sally in.

  1. @kicks re tools: I think that "unlike things adjacent to each other" helps a lot; the examples in @dancohen's article -- record store, newspaper -- depend on spatial organization to promote serendipity even when one begins at a point of their own interest. Browsing my Pinboard.in account revives and reminds me of old interests -- the links may be organized by date in a flat-file, but diverse things are adjacent to each other. I've also been experimenting with Zettelkasten for various info-management and creative purposes (haven't progressed far though).

    I'm generally in agreement with this paper that spatial organization is integral to human interaction with things outside the self; but digital tools and AI aren't that good at doing it yet. Human-curated hyperlinks and organizational methods are a step towards it, but perhaps this is an area for future IT development.

  2. @vega @kicks Vega I'm thinking about this "unlike things adjacent to each other" in the context of the Web 1.0 "free" banner exchanges. But now that I've blurted that out, I see too many downsides to it: keeping it from becoming commercial, cluttering up blogs with banner ads for poor click through ratios so never mind, too much work for to little gain. SImple hyperlink is easier and less intrusive.

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Chameleon’s Wiki

TiddlyWiki is trending??

This is getting crazy!! Philosopher.life is turning into some kind of cult. And chameleon has entered the fray with a great design—really cool styling on the tags. This is one to keep an eye on.

YOU DONT KNOW ABOUT MY OTHER CAR I GUESS ?

ITS A MACRO

AND IS PRONOUNCED ``$:/macros/’’

OK YOU FUQIN ANGERED AN EXPERT PUBLIC SELF MODELLER

THIS IS TiddlyWiki

YOU ARE ALLOWED TO POST HERE ONLY IF YOU HAVE ACHIEVED SATORI

WIKIING IS ALL ABOUT ``ABSTRACT BULLSHITE’’ THAT YOU WILL NEVER COMPREHEND

DIS IS MANIFESTOE.

I need to add this to my list—I am tracking this community at href.cool/Web/Wiki. My dream is that this list becomes untenable. What if TiddlyWiki becomes the new blockchain? Like what if everywhere you go people are talking about it? The Stranger Things cast all have theirs already.

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Reply: Clearly You Are Blind or Evil, Lol

h0p3

Thank you, penetration tester.

[…]

With great hesitation and hot coals, you pull logs out of my eye.

Haha, (head quivering in hands) these conversations are so enjoyable. You dropped the gun. It lies there in the sand, as innocent as a slice of chocolate cake, before melting into a dozen frightened beetles that shimmer in the hot sun.

I wish I wasn’t so slow to participate, wish I could be more thorough, more precise—it is overwhelming how much there is to talk about. And, anyway, I mostly just want to read. My mouth wants to be put away this summer. It is pleased to stay pursed, so something can form (not foam) inside it.

I’m sorry. I can see parts of your tooling work from Beaker Browser. I also cannot see the structure of the thing you are exploring and building from afar nearly as well as you can. You are a man who has in hands in more than one pie, so I see multiple signals. I am still squaring away where you have drawn the lines of your position here. I am doing my best to interpret your video, but surely you must say I am not charitable enough.

Your apology is unnecessary, but gracious. You are my friend, so we can rant and sling handfuls of mud, it’s all playful. I am in disarray—it’s true. It’s always been this way. Just to have you read is plenty of T42T.

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.

— Proverbs 9:8

Our mutual rebuking is some good shit, brother.

With peer-to-peer, I’m a huge enthusiast—this is the ‘leeching’ part of ‘leeching and linking’. I once had a friend who had worked for Nullsoft and I really got into Gnutella when it came out. In fact, all of those networks: Kazaa, Soulseek, eDonkey2000, LimeWire—and was head over heels for BitTorrent when it came out. There are files I’m still seeding after a decade. I was on Freenet—though Tor never caught on with me, for some reason.

I was into Bitcoin when it first came out—I have to get into all of these things, to see what people are doing. I’m too curious. (I do this with all of the things that trend at elementary school: Fortnite, FNAF, Bendy and the Ink Machine, yes, even fidget spinners. I don’t give mainstream culture my full gaze; I just try to eat my helpings.)

I must also not be correctly understanding “The Conduit” you have in mind. It looks like more than a restyling to me, but you would know better than I. I see enormous progress in how you scrape and categorize in your feed not for the sake of what is “hot.” Rather, to some extent, you are eliminating karma-whoring clickbait and instead enabling each person to have a voice less distorted or tempted by improper incentives.

Well, there has got to be a better term—I’m lazily grabbing the word that materialized as I’ve been working. The ‘conduit’ is the central place where everyone’s words mingle together. It could be a subreddit’s ‘hot’ page or a Twitter feed or an RSS reader’s main view. This is where you monitor all your ‘others’ and perhaps discover more. Does this make sense?

I still have a long way to go to get the design and infoshaping right. It still feels bland and unexciting compared to the news feed. This is good—this is the point. But it needs a little bit of frosting still.

Oh and—on the topic of handling your large wiki size—I just submitted the start of a fix (see the bottom of here) to this. I actually think this work could do wonders for TiddlyWiki. Imagine if you could do separate tiddlers (like Bob) but also stuff like embedding videos (or torrents even) right in TiddlyWiki! (And I mean the data is inline, not hosted somewhere else.) This is really what Beaker makes possible.

(I am not saying Beaker/Dat are the end-all-be-all for peer-to-peer. Just that they are definitely a stepping stone toward innovating the browser and maybe the protocol too.)

Oh, I speak with all kinds, kicks. Make no mistake: I think most of the people I speak with in FTO are disturbingly evil, but I will speak with them as best I can.

Really? I think you find a lot of really great people. Like chameleon is sweet! Sphygmus is gold. I’m not denying the existence of disturbingly evil people—but there are a lot of appealing folks out there methinks. People are one of my favorite things ever.

I agree it is always a risk to be in public, especially under mainstream scrutiny. I agree there is always at least one weakness. We don’t have to make it easy, and we can make it much, much harder to break it. We cannot achieve certainty, but we can vastly improve confidence.

Okay, this is cool—raising confidence, I can dig that.

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20 Jul 2019

Reply: Prescription Sightdawgs

h0p3

Requiring a webserver in a datacenter using a domain name I don’t own is a weakpoint I’m not going to accept. You want cohesion? Let’s not build a system on the web which isn’t meant to be owned by individuals of every stripe and status which can be so easily attacked by middleman between you and me.

Yes, of course—this isn’t clear from the vid, but my prototype requires no server and runs strictly from Beaker Browser. We’re square on that, right?

I understand if you have your criticisms of that—I do, too! But it’s not federated, it’s peer-to-peer. (In a BitTorrent sense.) So I’m not sure where we have a beef. I don’t want federation. Don’t put me with those people.

Yes, you know it’s in the realm of possibility for some TW users to join the indieweb. I’m gonna bet you could have it up and running in less than 60 minutes. What does it take? A VPS, domain name, nodejs, and some scripting, right?

This is why I showed the gif of the jacked motorcycle man. It would be pointless bravado. I’m not as lit on the Indieweb as all that.

I have no will to build an ecosystem which I already know is dead-on-arrival for those who deserve not to be censored. If it requires DNS or a VPS/dedi/webhost, it’s already a failure. That’s 99.999999999999999999999% of the web. It’s dead to me, no matter how much I use it.

I feel like you’re taking point blank headshots here because they make you feel good. I agree with you! Put the gun down already.

This prototype is purely to mock up the ‘feel’ of this world that could be. I am only restyling the conduit here—not anything else. To try to look past the ‘newsfeed’ or ‘forum’ view. To me, this is an actual problem—because I see Dat and Secure Scuttlebutt trying to mimic it. It’s paltry, but it’s a piece that still has to be rethought. I guess my thinking is that if I can provide a vision for how a tool like this could work, perhaps that could spark some optimism for ‘progress’ on this front.

It’s a convenience. I don’t trust it, but I’ll take the free lunch.

This is my same reasoning for using Webmentions or Beaker. It’s here; it’s partway there.

Tox is cool, LF is cool. I’m just not working on that part of the pipe at the moment. I have some personal urgency—trying to stay on top of my list of ‘others’. Our (your and my) way of messaging works great. I’m not trying to alter that. I’m just trying to give myself a simple dashboard so I can see what’s going on. (By the way, your blog isn’t in my ‘real-time’ feed because Beaker is crashing on the large wiki file size. But I am close to solving that.)

In our past couple messages, you have some salt for the bourgeois types that inhabit all these quarters—some of whom you seem to count as ‘others’ as well—but I am definitely mining this group and very interested in it. Perhaps I’m wrong and I’m only granting the word ‘privileged’ some kind of perjorative heft. The way I see it, the middle class can be a rich source of progression because: they have enough resources to build things and they usually have a strong desire to move out of ‘petit’ status—if this is aligned with a looking backwards to the poor—well, you seem to appreciate LF (made by ZeroTier, Inc.) and Tox (made by TokTok Ltd.)—so you must see some utility in this group, too.

I serve my website over the web because no one is going to listen to me unless I do; it’s too much of a chore to even enter a key. Their pursuit of convenience is why I have to give up way more privacy and power over my voice than I ought.

Well, how can you communicate with the public if you are lost in some layers of cryptography and routing deep behind some series of anonymous hashes? Yeah, there can be a network for that—but there’s going to be a public Web that mirrors the sensibilites (or lack thereof) of the mainstream. The ‘surface’—this is where everyone is going to be.

It seems to me that there’s no system that’s uncrackable—so interfacing with the mainstream is just risky. If an utterance can be read even, it can be attacked. (I might be leaking too many details of my life or character, there are chinks in the armor.)

I live in a country with concentration camps.

And I will go to the camps when it’s my time. Daniil Kharms did it. For writing that a carpenter fell out of a window—no one understood it. Can a technology really save us from this?

Slash hug, dawg. Always glad you even take the time to listen. When you say we ought to have ‘privacy and power’ for our voice: I don’t even deserve to talk. I do realize that.

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19 Jul 2019

Fridaycat, the Friday Vid

Our work is at odds. Our networks are not neatly aligned. Links still work. Hypertext works. There is a superset—but it is haphazard.

It occurs to me that maybe the ‘conduit’ in this video—the shamanically healing ‘reader’—is an embodification of Postel’s Law: it liberally accepts everything and attempts to conservatively output all of it to the eyeball interface.

Also: the slaptrash source for this video is here.

  1. Delightful! Now you got me thinking about the possibilities too. Dammit.
  2. Is fridaycat live or is still a prototype?
  3. Still a prototype—thank you for looking into it. Part of the issue is that there have been some fixes to Beaker Browser that I am working through. For instance: github.com/beakerbrowser/…

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15 Jul 2019

@h0p3 (2019.07.12): Hey, I’m with you—I abdicated to public schools, it’s all about abdication. There are all these starvings who need someone to look back. And nobody does because forward is all that matters. Forward for them, just forward for them.

Yeah, it’s a privilege—no doubt. The IndieWeb is a meta-community, so it’ll always be that way. Its point is to strategize among the ‘capable’(?), those ‘capable’ of reshaping. It won’t work to ‘File’ > ‘Import…’ and Ctrl+A all the underpowered Android phones into the IndieWeb.

I mean, not like I know how to really solve any of this—I feel like even my best guess would summon a bunch of roving shitstorms once again—but I think if there were all these outpost IndieWebs, made of cheap static HTML and tied together with services subsidized by the gifted IndieWeb types (see brid.gy, for instance)—and discoverable by directories and link logs and the ability to mention someone to possibly rouse them (or you ignore those—or you have to have someone vouch for you to mention them), then there’s some possibility.

I’m still not sure about some purist decentralization—like, that seems awful on some 3g android, right? But like I know. The ethic of ‘find the others’ is wholesome; it’s def a starting place.

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The Missing Quests on Golf: Become Human

A sweet vaporwave descendant of Zany Golf on a sweet fairly new blog.

I have been watching this blog for a few months now—The Missing Quests by Alex Guichet. Like Warp Door, this blog plumbs the depths of itch.io—little homemade games, many released as part of the hundreds of silly, spontaneous game jams. However, Alex actually plays the games and provides generous screenshots and commentary.

Depending on how you feel about this sort of irreverent jokey complexity, Golf: Become Human may sound either fantastic or terrible to you, but you should really play it. It changes in ways that keep you guessing, in an irresistible sort of way that just made me search for another hidden level, or to keep seeing how the game will evolve next.

These kinds of little blogs are a staple for discovery in the game community—like Stately Play is for digital board games.

From the FAQ:

Why a new blog, in 2019? I think the web is a charming home for content, but independent blogging has been in a sad and steady decline. This site lets me put a new voice on the web in a unique niche, with content formatted the way I want.

I talk a lot about Hypertexting and trying to innovate the ‘blog’/‘wiki’ format, but I think sometimes a cute little blog is just the thing.

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12 Jul 2019

@visakanv’s Bookmarks

If you want to make yourself a tiny directory, it can be this easy…

So this is one of the closest things I’ve seen to my href.cool directory—a big page of bookmarks, assorted ‘interesting’ reads all listed together under some ad-hoc categories (biographies, celebrity, war). And, perhaps more importantly, little blurbs for each one that are really well-done, in that they convey a lot of ‘feeling’/‘synopsis’—I actually enjoy just reading the whole page, to get a sense of this person and what’s out there in topics that may not appear to interest me on the surface.

I think I want to make the argument that building a directory like this is a more, I don’t know, ‘worthwhile’ effort than just leaking out links here and there as you find them. This is a great thing for ‘hypertext’ or a ‘website’ to aspire to be.

A few thoughts:

  • The page says ‘March 17, 2016’—does this mean the page hasn’t been updated since then? This must be wrong—there’s a link with ‘2017’ in the title.

  • There’s a bullet point in the ‘sex’/‘gender’ topic that just says: ‘Economics of sex’ with no links. Wonder what’s up there? A placeholder?

  • Reading this has made me realize that I think I need domain names displayed next to the link. It would be nice to know where the link goes before you hover it. (And mobile doesn’t have this option.)

I also really like this person’s 1,000,000 words project. 1,000 essays of 1,000 words. This one functions like a mini-directory as well, actually—like a mind map or… well, there are links in there as well. It’s sort of like if you could browse a portion of h0p3’s wiki as a linear, chronological conversation.

I hope you’re getting some ideas now.

UPDATE: Hold up, wait, wait—this is rich: visakanv.com/blog/communities/. A kind of hybrid ‘directory’/‘blogpost’ strictly on moderating and building communities.

It is my experience that, if you create a safe space for a minority group, sparing them the stress of having to explain themselves to clueless outsiders, the level of criticism, argument, discourse, etc inside the group INCREASES. People challenge and spar with each other.

Sweet take. I also just think we have someone here who is really good at collecting. Taking note.

  1. @kicks Yup, at that scale it's a very useful tiny directory a/k/a linkpage and nicely done too. These are great aids to surfing the 'net.

  2. @kicks This is something I want to do! Although mine will be way bigger, and hopefully updated like a linkblog.

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  1. Replied to The IndieWeb Needs To… Hide! by Kicks Condor Kicks Condor

    I’m not in a rush for the IndieWeb to grow. It might be perfect like this.

    Something I’ve heard said about meetings, in my mind, can be said about the mainstream too – it’s where great ideas go to die. I don’t wanna go mainstream, thank you.

    Here outside the mainstream, there’s stronger currents running, pulling us into something special, something rare – something we kinda remember and feels like home. Shhh people, keep it down and enjoy it…

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Reply: Pure HTML All Over Again

vega

@kicks Hello, Kicks. Replying to the comment in this post in praise of creating webpages in plain HTML/CSS. Boy has the Internet come full circle – back to the status quo of the early 2000s (so not that big a circle). I’m currently playing with Hugo static site generator, and at the back of my mind lingers the thought about whether it will give me more trouble than not in the long-term. HTML really is the elegant KISS method at the end of the day. Thanks for highlighting alternative perspectives in webdesign!

Hey, Vega! You know, it’s very strange to me that static sites have become so arcane. For a brief time, Movable Type made them the dominant style of blog. I’d really like to see a return to something like that. But simpler, perhaps.

I rather envy the freeform HTML sites. I really miss server-side includes as well—that seemed like a kind of ideal form, since you could do more complex things with plain HTML. I kind of wish modern HTML would let us do HTML includes without needing to resort to JavaScript. It seems strange that HTML didn’t go that direction.

At any rate, thanks for saying hi. Yours is a blog I enjoying reading from time to time.

  1. @kicks @vega My original bibliography may qualify as a Spartan Website. I built it with a simple text editor that allowed me to easily paste in the standard tags for HTML 3.2 and then type the unique text for each book. I don't remember what that software was called. Then I would FTP the html files to the server at Netcom.com. I'm not sure whether that qualifies as hand-written or not. I certainly used a computer, that's for sure. I'm sure it has no Javascript, because I didn't know such a thing existed, ditto for CSS. But I don't know whether it fits the size limitation given and don't know how to tell. There are hundreds of html files, as each completed book entry has it's own file, but I'm sure they're all very small. The TOC page has an embedded search engine from Alta Vista, which of course no longer works. That was the most bleeding edge feature I had at the time, which I was quite proud of having implemented entirely on my own, just by reading Alta Vista instructions. I also fancied it up with a frames edition, but I don't think that's anything other than more html. I no longer recall how I did it. I built the original edition entirely by following the instructions in Laura Lemay's book, Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML 3.2 in 14 Days, which I still have in my library. It has 1054 pages, weighs 5lbs 5 oz and extremely clear instructions. I don't recall any instance of not knowing what to do, after reading her descripton for any particular feature in html. It may have taken me more than 14 days, but I was in no hurry. I sure wish there was a book comparable to the Lemay book for micro.blog!! In those days, a reasonably intelligent person could build a very useful site, just by using that one Lemay book. Later I got another small book that told me how to add the color. The TOC page has a lot of link rot, but it's the only place where I dared to put in any external links. The rest of the entire bibliography uses only internal links, so it should all still be working, just like new. One day I will publish another one, but with well over 1,000 books, rather than the mere 544 books in the 1999 edition. Of course Google has been threatening to hide this site into obscurity for a long time now, as I have not converted it to SSL.

  2. @bradenslen Thanks, Brad, for a very comprehensive document! Near the end of reading it, I found it ironic that an effort to make the web robust had made me completely exhausted in reading a document which I am sure is correct, but turned out to be soooooo long that I did not succeed in making it to the end, having collapsed in the bit dust at my feet. But who am I to complain? My previous reply on this thread was far longer than most!

  3. @Ron To me the big takeaways were, she's telling other web developers that HTML is not broken and that it will keep on working on a website long after the JavaScript has gone belly up. And that you don't need all the JS with the massive bandwidth costs to make a webpage and convey information to your reader, just like you did with your bibliography. Ron your Dylan bibliography, written in ancient HTML 3.2 is still as rock solid today as it was when you wrote it. I really like that.

  4. @bradenslen Wow, I really like that too! Thanks for summing it up for me. 😃

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Reply: Cubit and Tribler

Anonymous

Hey, have you checked out cubit or tribler? they make torrent discovery in a decentralized fashion

Hey, thank you for the leads! I think what Dat could add is the ability to run your own custom tracker—in fact, I don’t even know if there would be a need for that. You could just put a simple web page up on Dat with your magnet links.

I’ll have to give Tribler a shot to see how smooth it is. In a way, we’ve seen this kind of thing before with the built-in search for networks like Soulseek and eDonkey2000 and such. I guess even Napster had that initially.

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05 Jul 2019

Reply: The Purpose of a Website?

okaleniuk

[Referring to the website wordsandbuttons.online.] It’s not a resume. It would have been an awful resume. I wouldn’t hire myself by this resume.

And keeping record is, of course, nice. But it has nothing to do with running your own website. You can keep record on Medium, too. In fact, it would be more effective since it works wonders for the small notes.

Still, I totally agree that keeping your own site is a fascinating experience and it’s well worth time and effort.

It’s amusing to me that you seem to be struggling to vocalize why anyone would want a website like yours—as if a ‘resume’ or a ‘journal’ were the only reasons to keep one.

But, as a reader, I think a website like yours is like having a chance to explore that person’s personality in a freeform way.[1] The design reflects their aesthetic (similar to how fashion does for the physical form), the organization reflects their favored mental models perhaps, and the myriad of topics and links makes it a graph-like structure for a ‘book’/‘journal’/‘life’. It’s strange to me that people question a personal website’s purpose—but accept that of a coloring or sticker book. To me, that only says that our brains haven’t quite caught up with how to use the medium. (Although, if you have read sites like philosopher.life, then I think you have a glimpse of what’s possible.)


  1. And, to me, this exploration of life is at the heart of what brings purpose and beauty to humanity—this is why I live, to try to understand or maybe to just immerse myself in what beauty I can find in the world or in the lives of its creatures. In a way, what could be greater than a website?! 😄 ↩︎

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r4ms3s.cz

A single-page home page done in ‘outrun’ style.

From what I can tell, this page doesn’t go very deep—but it’s another very lovely and imaginative home page, in the vein of The Preposterous Official Website of Erik Bernacchi or Mariano Pascual. The vertical parallax scrolling is slick and I love subtleties like how scrolling down into the building removes the audio bass-boosting. Novelty websites have really lost their scene in recent years, despite there being a handful of insanely inventive sites like Nathalie Lawhead’s Tetrageddon or the mind-blowing Retronator zine. I have to encourage these sites, because it still feels like ripe territory!

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04 Jul 2019

#SocialMediaStrike StaleStream

It’s time to riot in the newsfeeds!! I saw one guy who posted #socialmediastrike thirty times in one post—yeah, that’s it!!

I’m sorry that I’m so unchill today. I have a sore throat and giant corporations are destroying my most beloved technologies!! These giant corporations ARE ALSO soothing my throat by way of pharamaceuticals—j/k, takin’ ‘essential’ oils.

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01 Jul 2019

Reply: anon on the line

Anonymous

i sure am and always will.

Oh, you needn’t make a promise like that—but I love the grand gesture of it! I am wondering tho if while I’ve got you on the line, I might converse with you a bit longer? (Of course, if anyone else chooses to be Anonymous, I might find myself conversing with the inverse of a dissociative identity—a kind of floating, possessive identity…)

You say you read things. I guess you’ve been a long time reader? Have you read other blogs/forums/wikis along the way? Do you have any favorites dead or alive that you’ve run across in that time?

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Dat: Lessons

Okay, dove in headlong with Duxtape: I’m beginning to see what Dat and Beaker really are like—in a practical sense. I’ve also spent so much time debugging that I need to keep more of a diary of what this transition is like.

Beaker is experimental—and I’m tempted to quit it sometimes, because something doesn’t work. However, I’m learning that quite a lot DOES work—and I am just bumping my head against edge problems. It is one of my tultywits, though! I need to push for it—there isn’t anything nearly as promising right now.

Problems I’ve run into:

Sites don’t stay seeded when you close the browser. (Major.) This is a problem with Duxtape—people will create a tape and then close the browser. I sometimes find myself doing this! Since Beaker is kind of like a browser AND a server, it makes sense to keep Dat running as a daemon. And, like the link describes, to keep a system tray icon running.

There’s also a related issue: ‘increase default seeding duration’ that seems appropriate.

(Along similar lines, I wish datPeers could continue running on sites that you’re seeding. This is tricky—but it would be REALLY cool to have a kind of service worker that could access datPeers for an archive. This way a Duxtape could continue to advertise itself while it’s being seeded. I am NOT complaining, though! DatPeers is sick—I love having it.)

Large files uploaded through writeFile crash Beaker. (Seems major.) I’ve filed a bug with some clues as to where the problem is. You can definitely upload files through Beaker’s library pages—the problem here is that my Duxtape editor doesn’t allow large music files. It would be great to figure this out. Some platforms crash even on ~8MB files.

The globalFetch API doesn’t work just like the Fetch API. (Minor.) I have now worked around this, but it was frustrating at the time. I also filed a bug, specifically related to redirects. This is pretty easy to fix, but illustrates that experimental APIs aren’t hammered out yet (obv).

Address bar problems on Linux. (Minor) If I install basic Ubuntu, these go away. So this has something to do with my dwm setup. I’ve actually identified the problem! The isVisible method is always false—for some reason, the window manager is not reporting this correctly. As a result, I cannot ever type into the address bar. This seems like an Electron bug, but who knows.

Things I’m discovering:

Dat really isn’t a replacement for HTTP. For example, I think Webmentions are better done on HTTP than on Dat. And, really, Webmentions are just the dead simplest form of a REST API—which, I’m not sure how such a thing would look on Dat.

There also isn’t a “server-side” with Dat—and this is important when it comes to something like permissions. In a way, I wonder if Github is showing us the avenue: the code is all distributed, but the centralized workspace assists negotiating collaboration—although it would be nice if more of it was distributed: the logins, the issues, the messaging. I could see Dat and HTTP having the same relationship in Beaker as Git and HTTP do on Github.

(Still dreaming more dreams for this page…)

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Reply: ty anon

Anonymous

I love this. I found you via things and have now learned more about things from you. The blogosphere is dead - long live the blogosphere!

Hey! I love anonymous people tossing their note through my transom!

Hey! Are you still there?

  1. Reply: anon on the line

    Anonymous

    i sure am and always will.

    Oh, you needn’t make a promise like that—but I love the grand gesture of it! I am wondering tho if while I’ve got you on the line, I might converse with you a bit longer? (Of course, if anyone else chooses to be Anonymous, I might find myself conversing with the inverse of a dissociative identity—a kind of floating, possessive identity…)

    You say you read things. I guess you’ve been a long time reader? Have you read other blogs/forums/wikis along the way? Do you have any favorites dead or alive that you’ve run across in that time?

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I love hearing that the Indieweb Summit this year really pushed for DISCOVERY. Don’t forget that discovering each other isn’t just about automating and algorithms—just basic linking to each other can go a long ways! Highly recommend the talks at twitch.tv/indieweb. What a chill vibe, looks like a great time.

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Social Media Strike, July 4th & 5th

Okay, okay, you in on this? I sure am.

I don’t get the sense that this has really caught on yet—and, I’m not sure why, throwing shade at social media seems like good fun, yeh? If you’re thinking about starting your own sweet, shitty little website like mine—get in!!

At first I was like: “A hashtagggg?? wtf??” But now I see this as an opportunity—if you exit social media (to your own blog or TiddlyWiki or website that day), use that hash tag and WE CAN FIND YOU!!

But better yet:

  • Post to /en/socialmediastrike on that day—an even better way to find you all out there, without needing to resort to social networks.

  • I’m going to work on a new secret directory page on href.cool for the things I collect on that day.

  • I have some other surprises for that day—presuming anyone else out there is jazzed about this fun reactionary day!!

I know a lot of people are like, “Facebook is not going to pay attention to this!” Gah, fuck em—this is good fun for us. Is it not?

See you there.

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25 Jun 2019

The Spartan Web

Href huntin’ by Andreas Zwinkau

A few days ago, there was a thread on the link-sharing site Lobste.rs entitled: “What are your favorite personal websites around the internet?” So this was a great thread for href hunting. In fact, commenter ‘qznc’ dropped a link to /r/SpartanWeb—a subreddit collecting custom personal websites. qnzc is Andreas Zwinkau.

Andreas’ term “Spartan Web” indicates websites that are:

  • Non-commercial. Amateurs, hobbyists, nerds.
  • Less than 1MB. Unless it’s illustrations, photos.
  • Very little JavaScript—especially no analytics. (Yikes! My site is heavy on JS—although none of it is for gathering statistics and the site should work with JS turned off.)
  • Possibly hand-written HTML and CSS.

Interestingly, I’ve seen a bunch of recent articles praising HTML and attempting to foment a return to HTML. Writing HTML in HTML—someone who started a new blog without any type of an ‘engine’ or static site generator—it’s all just custom HTML. Words and Buttons Online, a directory-style personal page.

One thing I’d love to see is some static Indieweb HTML (in other words: microformats) where you can copy and paste pages to add blog entries. Then an index page where you can add a link to that page and JavaScript can optionally add in date/time/author details from the link. It could also use Webmention.io to load comments over JavaScript.

  1. @kicks Hello, Kicks. Replying to the comment in this post in praise of creating webpages in plain HTML/CSS. Boy has the Internet come full circle -- back to the status quo of the early 2000s (so not that big a circle). I'm currently playing with Hugo static site generator, and at the back of my mind lingers the thought about whether it will give me more trouble than not in the long-term. HTML really is the elegant KISS method at the end of the day. Thanks for highlighting alternative perspectives in webdesign!

  2. Reply: Pure HTML All Over Again

    vega

    @kicks Hello, Kicks. Replying to the comment in this post in praise of creating webpages in plain HTML/CSS. Boy has the Internet come full circle – back to the status quo of the early 2000s (so not that big a circle). I’m currently playing with Hugo static site generator, and at the back of my mind lingers the thought about whether it will give me more trouble than not in the long-term. HTML really is the elegant KISS method at the end of the day. Thanks for highlighting alternative perspectives in webdesign!

    Hey, Vega! You know, it’s very strange to me that static sites have become so arcane. For a brief time, Movable Type made them the dominant style of blog. I’d really like to see a return to something like that. But simpler, perhaps.

    I rather envy the freeform HTML sites. I really miss server-side includes as well—that seemed like a kind of ideal form, since you could do more complex things with plain HTML. I kind of wish modern HTML would let us do HTML includes without needing to resort to JavaScript. It seems strange that HTML didn’t go that direction.

    At any rate, thanks for saying hi. Yours is a blog I enjoying reading from time to time.

  3. @kicks @vega My original bibliography may qualify as a Spartan Website. I built it with a simple text editor that allowed me to easily paste in the standard tags for HTML 3.2 and then type the unique text for each book. I don't remember what that software was called. Then I would FTP the html files to the server at Netcom.com. I'm not sure whether that qualifies as hand-written or not. I certainly used a computer, that's for sure. I'm sure it has no Javascript, because I didn't know such a thing existed, ditto for CSS. But I don't know whether it fits the size limitation given and don't know how to tell. There are hundreds of html files, as each completed book entry has it's own file, but I'm sure they're all very small. The TOC page has an embedded search engine from Alta Vista, which of course no longer works. That was the most bleeding edge feature I had at the time, which I was quite proud of having implemented entirely on my own, just by reading Alta Vista instructions. I also fancied it up with a frames edition, but I don't think that's anything other than more html. I no longer recall how I did it. I built the original edition entirely by following the instructions in Laura Lemay's book, Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML 3.2 in 14 Days, which I still have in my library. It has 1054 pages, weighs 5lbs 5 oz and extremely clear instructions. I don't recall any instance of not knowing what to do, after reading her descripton for any particular feature in html. It may have taken me more than 14 days, but I was in no hurry. I sure wish there was a book comparable to the Lemay book for micro.blog!! In those days, a reasonably intelligent person could build a very useful site, just by using that one Lemay book. Later I got another small book that told me how to add the color. The TOC page has a lot of link rot, but it's the only place where I dared to put in any external links. The rest of the entire bibliography uses only internal links, so it should all still be working, just like new. One day I will publish another one, but with well over 1,000 books, rather than the mere 544 books in the 1999 edition. Of course Google has been threatening to hide this site into obscurity for a long time now, as I have not converted it to SSL.

  4. @bradenslen Thanks, Brad, for a very comprehensive document! Near the end of reading it, I found it ironic that an effort to make the web robust had made me completely exhausted in reading a document which I am sure is correct, but turned out to be soooooo long that I did not succeed in making it to the end, having collapsed in the bit dust at my feet. But who am I to complain? My previous reply on this thread was far longer than most!

  5. @Ron To me the big takeaways were, she's telling other web developers that HTML is not broken and that it will keep on working on a website long after the JavaScript has gone belly up. And that you don't need all the JS with the massive bandwidth costs to make a webpage and convey information to your reader, just like you did with your bibliography. Ron your Dylan bibliography, written in ancient HTML 3.2 is still as rock solid today as it was when you wrote it. I really like that.

  6. @bradenslen Wow, I really like that too! Thanks for summing it up for me. 😃

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21 Jun 2019

@h0p3: Gahh, spelling. Drop the prefix. In the same way that you condemned Reddit TIL for being “antipleonasmic”, I am lately thinking of the generosity of the long-winded. As if length ≅ a greater shot at originality, perhaps just with probability on your side. (Oh and has the TL;DR acronym ever driven you nuts? I like it now, it can be self-deprecating. Originally it was just absolute antipleonasm.)

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20 Jun 2019

Reply: Listening to Dux

Neil Mather

Listening to Kicks’ Kicks Mix on Duxtape, his dat-based remix of muxtape (mp3 mixtapes). The music’s good, the technology’s decentralized. Maxin and relaxin.

Sweet! A few others are sharing some nice tapes on there as well. I have some improvements that I hope to throw out soon. To clean up the empty or unseeded tapes that might be on there. Glad you posted this—I’m unsure how serious to take the project.

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Reply: And The Infostrat Goes On

Ton Zijlstra

Indeed, when I think of ‘knowing someone’ in the context of information strategies, I always do so as ‘knowing someone within a specific context’. Sort of what Jimmy Wales said about Wikipedia editors a long time ago: “I don’t need to know who you are“, (i.e. full name and identity, full background), but I do need to know who you are on Wikipedia (the pattern of edits, consistency in behaviour, style of interaction). As Wikipedia, which is much less a crowdsourced thing than an editorial community, is the context that counts for him.

Cool quote—your next sentence is interesting:

Time is another factor that I feel is important, it is hard to maintain a false or limited persona consistently over a long time. So blogs that go back years are likely to show a pretty good picture of someone, even if the author aims to stick to a narrow band of interests.

This is true. I have some experience with this—personas are kind of a ticking time bomb. I also think they are going to be pretty important going forward.

Jennifer Hill:
And you’re probably all sitting there and you’re like, “This girl wants me to delete Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… I got a following! I got a brand!”

No, that’s not what I’m saying. You have two selves. You have a career self, who—I’m pretty sure all of us have to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for work or Medium or whatever other platform in the world you want to use—and then you have your personal self that knows the things that they’re doing. And what I’m speaking to right know is your personal self. You know, I understand you gotta make money, gotta make that dime…

Then during a bit of Q&A at the end, she makes the comment:

Jennifer Hill:
With the idea of websites comes the idea of allowing people to have multiple identities that they can throw on and off like hats.

I’m not making a definitive good/bad comment or recommendation, just tying together these thoughts with those you’ve made about ‘knowing people’. I think social media sets up the idea that you’re seeing a real portrait of the person—when it’s just a representation. (This makes we wonder if a social media ‘infostrat’ is more difficult than an RSS one, for instance.) Blogs and wikis are an obvious representation—they demand an infostrat.[1]

Instinct and intuition, hopefully fed with a diet of ok info, is our internal black box algorithm.

Cool, this is sick. Don’t want to code that internal algorithm too tightly.

News, as pretending to be neutral reporting of things happening, breaks that. Because there wont be any potential overlap between me and the news channel as filters, no feedback loops. And because it purports to lift something from the background noise as signal without an inkling as to why or because of what it does so. Filtering needs signifying of stories. Why are you sharing this with me? Your perception of somethings significance is my potential signal.

Ok, ok—I think I see what you’re saying. The specific kind of neutrality you’re talking about is a neutrality of relationship. To me, this might not be expressing ‘neutrality’—events no longer exist because they happened in the past. I think I am just trying to understand your low valuation of ‘news’.

There is a distinction between news (breaking: something happened!) and (investigative) journalism (lets explore why this is, or how this came to be). Journalism is much closer to storytelling. Your blogging is close to storytelling. Stories are vehicles of human meaning and signification. I do follow journalists.

After a certain event in my life (itself newsworthy,) I began searching online for others who had suffered catastrophes. I often found quotes from survivors in headline news articles which resonated with me. I messaged many people; heard back from one. My discovery of her has been monumental for me—and I still often revisit the original news articles.

You could simply say that these ‘news’ articles contain journalism—but the original articles describing her sudden event feel neutral—factual? Because of their urgency, they are raw details and quotes. And they could lead to further journalism—they shed the initial light on this woman.

But addressing your statement: neutral isn’t useful in a filter. I’m not sure I agree. If my filter is able to weed out certain search terms—like say I want to be notified if my own name ever occurs in the news, or if “Bernie Sanders” and “flossing” ever show up together—it seems the filter could potentially make the neutral useful. ‘Neutral’ seems to be synonymous with ‘clickbait’ or something—which I don’t think of as being ‘neutral’ but as being ‘devoid’.

I feel like I’m still missing your point—especially when you say: “Factual and neutral are often taken as the same, but they’re different, and I think I prefer factual.” Can you give me a more concrete example of ‘neutral’ that illustrates what you mean? (Also, if I’m harping on about something meaningless, feel free to just drop the thread.) I guess I feel like you’re onto something—but I want to actually understand it.

My views on technology as well as methods is that we must keep it close to humanity, keep driving humanity into it, not abstract it so we become its object, instead of being its purpose.

Dig this. Thankyou for all the bonus words, Ton!


  1. I might be hasty here—need to think about how to articulate this better. ↩︎

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Reply: Against Blogging

Chris Aldrich

What he’s getting at here, but isn’t quite saying is “Why can’t we expand the Domain beyond the restrained idea of “just a blog.” And isn’t that just the whole point of the IndieWeb movement? Your website can literally be anything you want it to be! Just go do it. Invent. Iterate. Have fun!

While it grates on me to seeing ‘blogging’ derided, I think it’s a good step if it moved away from being homework. One of the ‘generalizations’ in the slides is: “Most students don’t read blogs unless required/forced to.” I think you would agree that reading is actually the foremost activity when blogging—you and I do a ton of reading, all of my favorite hypertexters do. And possibly the biggest problem with social media today is how much writing is done without sufficient reading. (The term ‘the shallows’ returns to mind—which isn’t a good adjective for any of the blogs I really get into.)

To me, it is the method of reading that needs to be questioned—not the method of writing. Express yourself however you want. But now we’ve got mixed media everywhere and it’s been very hard for people to adapt to consuming a variety of it. (Certain people have adapted to listening to podcasts, others to YouTube, very few to blogs—possibly as a result of the complexity of hypertext.)

However, Ton’s recent stuff on reading by social distance seems to show how early we are in fathoming how to read the world of dynamic, criss-crossing text.

It kills me how many in the edtech/Domains space seem to love memes. It’s always cute and fun, but they feel so vapid and ineffectual. It’s like copying someone else’s work and trying to pass it off as our own. English teachers used to say, “Don’t be cliché,” but now through the use of digital memes they’re almost encouraging it.

It seems similar to clip art of previous generations—it prevents the paralysis of a blank canvas for many people. It also seems to be part of the movement to make text more visual—as seen in Twitter embeds or using screenshot images of text—people seem to be getting more averse to just straight text. (This could get even worse if VR ever takes off.)

But I really agree with your point. Even in this video, many poor reasons are given for dropping ‘blogging’: it’s not “disruptive” enough, students don’t intuitively understand it (lacking a historical context for it), it’s not trending any more… But text still has real power. If anyone doubts me on this point, go read Nadia Eghbal’s essay “The Tyranny of Ideas”—I thought this was tremendous. Sure, she could have done this as a video—but it would have likely taken longer, required more equipment, and I think it would be more difficult to review again and again. Does text need a performance?

I think h0p3 is spot on with the term pleonasmic (pleonastic?). Which could also be rephrased: “the dogged attempt to resist cliché.”

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Reply: Olia Lialina

joe jenett

I love it when you go all metaphysical in plain language. While I continue thinking about this, I must share something I just encountered - http://art.teleportacia.org/ - cheers

Heya Joe. I love this! I have linked to her before (The GeoCities Research Institute)—but I wasn’t aware how many of her other projects I had encountered before. That main page that does the scrolling trick—I had thought about using that technique on my own page, but couldn’t remember where I’d seen it.

Oh and one recent link you’ve shared (Edwin Wenink) is a great discovery! I love how turning on “dark mode” turns on laser eyes for his self-portrait. It’s also a great portal to other things.

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15 Jun 2019

Reply to cunt_monger

AHa—ok, I’ve got this, I can help: right-click on your mixtape and select ‘View Source’. Add the file to that screen and it won’t crash. Then go back to your mixtape’s page on Duxtape and drop the file AGAIN on that page. Golden? (Apologies—I am new to Beaker.)

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14 Jun 2019

What Draws Me to Surrealism

A few reasons, thoughts behind what is driving the current movement, as well as all of life everywhere.

It’s now time to tell you about myself. I feel like I should tell you something very revealing. From what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure that a revelation like this must occur in order for anyone to care about me. I don’t exist unless I tell you something!

I think that if I am to talk to you, it must come by communicating something, surely. But it’s more than this. I’m also in this mood—I’m reeling with rambunctious energy! I feel like I can say anything and it will be true—but I also want to open my mouth and to say something that actually IS true. So I might try that! We’ll see, in just a moment.

Okay, let’s see. I am compelled to talk intensely about all of life, about the very core of myself. About all of the Earth. About animals. About the sky! About the lightning that descends from it. About little keys and chains and about ornate knobs that exist apart from the original bureaus to which they where attached! I feel suddenly enabled—and this is by what I’ve seen, by just a simple mouse cursor I saw—to attempt to explain this consciousness and to paint my full perspective in a shattering way, to dispel every pretense and to unveil all of life and to do it by talking about surrealism. (Especially surrealism as it exists on the Web, on blogs and on zines as they are coming through the postal service.)

The mouse cursor that I saw was of a simple Jersey cow, lowing in the field. I was not looking for a new mouse cursor at the time, I was simply drinking from a clear canister. The circumstances could not be less intriguing. I was drinking from a clear canister and I had my hand resting on the bough of a tree.

Normally I close my eyes while I am drinking. I close them very tight actually. Sometimes my eyelids hurt from closing them so tightly! I have to tell myself to not close them so tightly. And that’s what I did in this moment: I was telling myself not to close my eyelids so tightly. I was repeating to myself the phrase: Decci Estefani Epcot—which is a phonetical reading of an acronym which stands for “Don’t Ever Close Your Eyelids So Tightly That the Force of Your Entire Person is Concentrated There.” I repeated this again and again in my mind. Decci Estefani Epcot. Decci Estefani Epcot. In my mind, many times.

I am very careful to say it precisely, as it is a slight tongue twister. Not a notable one at all. But a minor one. My eyelids love it. Let’s just say: they were doing fine. And as I said, the vision of this Jersey cow mouse cursor was conjured in my vision, moving across my neighbor’s yard.

I was standing on a ladder, looking into this neighbor’s yard, while this mouse cursor clicked on different things. The grass. Then an in-ground trampoline. Then a bush. A bird flew out of the bush. It clicked on a screen door and it rattled slightly. It clicked on the bush a few more times, but there were no birds there, just a rustling.

I marveled at this cursor—I hadn’t even thought to look at the bush or the in-ground trampoline before. I wouldn’t even have tried. Not before this. But now I looked, I really looked! And I truly saw them in all of their splendor. The pleasant thump of the trampoline’s tarpaulin! I thought to myself that it would be lovely to have a mouse cursor in my life that would click on various things, bringing my attention to them and making them fully interactive. It didn’t occur to me that I actually did have one now. I looked, and it seemed totally independent and detached from me, not mine in any sense, not belonging to any of us, but just a translucent layer, existing on top of the projections of my eyes. It shook its head from side to side, nervously. But I could see that it was beaming with a raw, youthful embarrassment.

Now, this is not the revelation—many of you have written in to tell me about your mouse cursors and what you like to do with them. And also I should say, I worry about bringing up the wrong thing here. Do you ever say something offhanded to someone and then two days later you suddenly throw yourself BACKWARDS against the wall in the middle of the day and you yell HEY WAIT THIS IS A BAD SITUATION! Of course, when someone notices you, you laugh playfully, as if it you were just kidding around—but in secret, you struggle to breathe again and you close your eyelids way too tight, and you find you are trapped in this situation from then on, paralyzed by what you can ever do right again.

What I am saying is—well, first off, I have many times seen a wolf on top of my neighbor’s house. It is usually just licking its paws or staring at children who are playing. It’s sitting on shingles as if they were just another natural biome. But what I’m saying is that I’m afraid that many of you will think I am saying “wolf”—as in “German.” (Because I often used that word to derogatorily refer to Germans when I was a young person. And it was true back then—many Germans were wolves in those days, they would steal my train tickets. But it’s no longer true—so I no longer say it, but I’m afraid to now even bring up the word “wolf” even if I have a good reason, like if I want to tell you that I’ve seen one on my neighbor’s roof.)

So this is the revelation—why exactly I struggle to use the word “wolf” on this blog or even in my private life, in the most intimate moments. Well, no, I do use it there very frequently.

Now it is nighttime and I am confronting this digitally, to see how it goes. The FBI and the KGB are here watching my every move. They love to peep in and to announce their presence on my screen. There is a little icon of a man’s face. It appears in my system tray and it winks once at me. But if I try to show anyone else the man’s face, it fades into an ordinary Dropbox logo. This is quite maddening. But, being a former computer expert, I do know what it takes to make a smooth fade transition.

So, yes, this is what draws me to the surrealist community. And to bee videos, which is the closest thing I have right now to my mouse cursor.

  1. I love it when you go all metaphysical in plain language. While I continue thinking about this, I must share something I just encountered - http://art.teleportacia.org/ - cheers
  2. Reply: Olia Lialina

    joe jenett

    I love it when you go all metaphysical in plain language. While I continue thinking about this, I must share something I just encountered - http://art.teleportacia.org/ - cheers

    Heya Joe. I love this! I have linked to her before (The GeoCities Research Institute)—but I wasn’t aware how many of her other projects I had encountered before. That main page that does the scrolling trick—I had thought about using that technique on my own page, but couldn’t remember where I’d seen it.

    Oh and one recent link you’ve shared (Edwin Wenink) is a great discovery! I love how turning on “dark mode” turns on laser eyes for his self-portrait. It’s also a great portal to other things.

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@h0p3: (re: ugh) I guess this is the ‘hyper’ part of the hyperconversation. There’s conversation splattered on the ceiling at this point. (Take, for example, that I am responding to three letters here, which has tons of context around it—and I don’t know if anyone else but you and I can trace it!) It’s weird that I’m writing to you indirectly lately—but I feel like you’re okay with it for the moment. ✌️

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13 Jun 2019

Infostrats

One does not simply read the Internet…

(Draft.)

This term I lifted from Ton Zijlstra—what is my strategy to comb through the gigs and gigs of input I can plug myself into on the Web? My aim here is to keep my finger on the pulse of individual personal activity on the unwalled Web, so my infostrat is mainly about attempting to track and discover thousands of people. But Ton also includes: deciding what and how to bookmark or archive stuff, sorting through conflicting news stories and accusations, and alternating “periods of discovery with periods of digesting and consolidating”.[1]

In a way, the effort is to establish a personal internal algorithm to help the Web survive—the infostrat. This seems essential.

But, first, is tracking thousands of people a worthwile effort? Doesn’t that just lead to a large, thin layer of links for people that you really don’t know much about? (And, thus, leading to the same kind of linkblogs that we’ve seen over the years, which chase one novelty after another—a giant conveyor belt that just rolls by?)

From Ton:

A useful method all through human evolution is expanding your range of interactions by off-loading things to your environment[2], and so diminishing the amount of information you have to remember or handle at the same time.

Much like a traveller who wants to see the world, experience cuisine and stand in front of important paintings—I want to find all kinds of people and see if we can talk and get along and work together even.[3] I know it’s probably not possible to have 1,000 deep relationships. It’s sick to even discuss numbers in this way. The only reason I say ‘thousands’ is to open myself up from my old way—which I felt was to have only a handful of close friends. But now I am wondering what is possible.

So now, with my aim quite clear, I think of the tools. Inately, I feel that simple and obvious tools are best. This is a reaction to the inscrutable algorithms we see on the social networks. If I don’t understand the workings of the algorithm, then it is arbitrary to me. However, I know that I will need some complexity—I already find usefulness in crafting detailed tag queries on Pinboard.

Tools are tools because they provide agency, they let us do things that would otherwise be harder or impossible. Tools are tools because they provide reach, as extensions of our physical presence, not just across space but also across time. For a very long time I have been convinced that tools need to be smaller than us, otherwise they’re not tools of real value.[4]

So what does it mean for tech to be ‘small’? From the essay “Small Tech Provides Agency, Big Tech Takes It Away”:

Technology to provide us with agency needs to be not just small, but smaller than us, i.e. within the scope of control of the group of people deploying a technology or method.

An example is given: ‘Facebook groups are failed tools, because someone outside those groups controls the off-switch.’ This is a useful distinction—the tool needn’t necessarily be small in purpose. But it must be entirely within your control—or the group’s control. Another example: ‘Like the thermometer in my garden that tells me the temperature, but has additional value in a network of thermometers mapping my city’s microclimates.’

Ton has a very good summary of agency (a way of thinking through the purpose of the tool) and Aral Balkan has a list of criteria for ‘small tech’ that I think I agree with.

Now, given the goal of “find the others”—here is my cheat sheet summary:

  • My tools must aid both discovery and digestion. (I sound like a velociraptor here.)
  • Specialized ‘digestion’ tools: RSS reader, familiar ‘planets’ like Indienews and Indieweb.xyz.
  • Specialized ‘discovery’ tools: search engines, crawlers, directories.
    • Do I use my feeds as a starting point? Search engines and crawlers could begin there. “Here is a big list of newly discovered items among the places you frequent.”
    • It’s also very important to get outside that. My instincts say that this is the place for ingenuity, following random epiphanies and trying unknown tools and networks, to see what shakes out.
    • Encouraging the development of directories. Once a new directory emerges, there is suddenly an expansion in reach for ‘discovery’.
  • ‘Blogs’/‘wikis’ are a good tool for both, because they network the discovery and digestion process. This is already collaborative.
    • How does this improve in 2019? Well, for now, by using a hybrid blog and wiki—to combine the reverse chronological order of a blog with the information storehouse of a wiki. (Hypertexting)
    • Right now there are stark lines between text, audio and video. Do the lines blur somewhere? I’m far from knowing how this media comes into play.

Of course, there are people everywhere and I could spend all day on Instagram. But I find that unsatisfying—I hate scrolling news feeds. These are not ‘small tech’—perhaps the interface might be, but the algorithm and the network is not. I wonder to what extent the corpypastas (or CorpASAs) limit the infostrat.

Social Distance

My father:
Conversation is a sacrament.

Ton:
My filtering is not a stand alone thing in isolation, it is part of a network of filters, yours, mine, and other people’s. My output is based on filtered input, and that output ends up in other people’s filtered input. I treat blogging as thinking out loud and extending/building on other’s blogposts as conversation. Conversations that are distributed over multiple websites and over time, distributed conversations.

h0p3:
Hyperconversation. It’s more than the usual penpalling.

The core of Ton’s infostrat is ‘social distance’—in a way, how deeply nested into conversation are you with this person?

I know many people, some very well, others less so, or I only know what you’ve shared on your site recently and we haven’t met at all. The social distance I perceive between me and you is part of the context of filtering. This is an otherwise unspecified mix of personal, professional, and other aspects that I am aware of with others.

In my RSS reader, I use a weight called ‘importance’: do I read this person daily? Weekly? Do I need be notified the minute they have something new? And my reader simply shows an overview—I actually have to go to the blog to digest. This ‘importance’ is a misnomer, though—I think ‘social distance’ is a better term.

Conversations prove out and strengthen the signal. They are also generators of source material and topics that line the conversation. (I may not necessarily converse with someone—I may just admire their art or writings, which all might become important.)[5]

This means that where I source information can’t be of the ‘news’ type, stuff that pretends it is neutral. Neutral isn’t useful in a filter. Commented, interpreted, augmented material is useful in a filter, as it adds context that help determine its information value. I source information from individuals as a result.

I’m not sure what to think about this. “Neutral isn’t useful.” What about Wikipedia? What about neighborhood events? These all feel like they can help—act as discovery points even.

Is the problem that ‘news’ doesn’t have an apparent aim? Like an algorithm’s workings can be inscrutable, perhaps the motives of a ‘neutral’ source are in question? There is the thought that nothing is neutral. I don’t know what to think or believe on this topic. I tend to think that there is an axis where neutral is good and another axis where neutral is immoral…

Who you are as a person is an essential piece of context in how to judge information. If you’re walking on the street and a random stranger asks to have a coffee, you interpret it very differently from when your partner walking next to you asks you the same thing. We are all walking information filters, our brains are very well used to doing that. So what I know socially about you helps me interpret what you share, as it will be coloured by who you are. Let’s call this social filtering.

Knowing people is tricky. You can know someone really well at work for a decade, then you visit their home and realize how little you really know them. This is worse on the Web because we are so much more concealed. On the other hand, you can meet someone and instantly grasp a huge part of their ‘self’.

I wonder if ‘knowing someone’ drives ‘social distance’—or if ‘desire to know someone’ defines ‘social distance’. How can we know Banksy? Is there a conversation there? What defines my social distance from @alienmelon or The World (a favorite band)? Maybe it’s worse than I thought—just a momentary, fragile vein of interest…

(I think about They Might Be Giants, which was such an important band to me as a teenager—and to all my friends as teenagers. But no one in that group would listen to them today. Today is for other things. Some say they haven’t aged well or that they are just for children. And I struggle to find any part of me that would want to listen to them again. But those arguments never stop us from listening to other things—perhaps there is a sensible, evolutionary argument for why these types of people go away for us—like we periodically need to clear space for new people. This ‘interest’ in some ways a social fabric type thing: zeitgeist, (‘spirit of the times’), this mood that effects all of us and acts as a superfilter on the culture—such that we can all agree that Holmes & Watson was a bad film.)

So we all live on this giant graph paper and we all have coordinates in different places—and when I look at h0p3 and I on the graph, we are way across from each other. Except the labels are all Socialist, Mormon, Aesthete, Atheist, Pluralist, Hikikomori, Cynic, Taco Bell Enthusiasm Levels, etc. When we turn the paper over to the Pleonasmic Rating, we’re right there, side-by-side, and the zeitgeist is well away.

So I think it’s instinctual. If you feel a closeness, it’s there. It’s more about cultivating that closeness. I just need to listen to some They Might Be Giants, as a thankyou for an old, forgotten closeness.


  1. No, I haven't read Ton's entire blog, but I've read everything under the tags that seemed relevant. It's very enlightening stuff! It is very focused on just being a human who is attempting to communicate with other humans---that's it really. ↩︎

  2. I would also like to suggest that it is much more difficult to control myself---in the Nike sense---than it is to control my environment to control me. (A simple example would be: setting an alarm clock.) So 'tools' can be an external actor on my own behalf, towards myself! ↩︎

  3. I can't help but feel that this is all motivated by an urgency that death has brought on. I have had seven people close to me die before middle age---three of them under the age of 10. My time and yours is small. I avidly read the wiki of luxb0x (a child) both because I fear losing him and because it is a gift for him to ACTUALLY BE ALIVE! At the same time that I am! ↩︎

  4. "Tools Valuable On Their Own, More Valuable When Connected" by, again, Ton. ↩︎

  5. Also interesting to think that the limitations of social networks hinder all of this---I personally can't have a conversation like this on Instagram or Facebook, because the network is inflexible or because it's unknown where my notes will end up in the feed. Imagine this steno trying to exist anywhere like that---though it would probably be fine on Reddit, I'm not sure. ↩︎

  1. Kicks Condor dives deeply into my info-strategy postings and impressively read them all as the whole they form. It’s a rather generous gift of engagement and attention. Lots of different things to respond to, neurons firing, and tangents to explore. Some elements with a first reaction.

    Knowing people is tricky. You can know someone really well at work for a decade, then you visit their home and realize how little you really know them.

    Indeed, when I think of ‘knowing someone’ in the context of information strategies, I always do so as ‘knowing someone within a specific context’. Sort of what Jimmy Wales said about Wikipedia editors a long time ago: “I don’t need to know who you are“, (i.e. full name and identity, full background), but I do need to know who you are on Wikipedia (ihe pattern of edits, consistency in behaviour, style of interaction). As Wikipedia, which is much less a crowdsourced thing than an editorial community, is the context that counts for him. Time is another factor that I feel is important, it is hard to maintain a false or limited persona consistently over a long time. So blogs that go back years are likely to show a pretty good picture of someone, even if the author aims to stick to a narrow band of interests. My own blog is a case in point of that. (I once landed a project where at first the client was hesitant, doubting whether what I said was really me or just what they wanted to hear. After a few meetings everything was suddenly in order. “I’ve read your blog archives over the weekend and now know you’ll bring the right attitude to our issue”) When couch surfing was a novel thing, I made having been blogging for at least a year or two a precondition to use our couch.

    I wonder if ‘knowing someone’ drives ‘social distance’—or if ‘desire to know someone’ defines ‘social distance’. […] So I think it’s instinctual. If you feel a closeness, it’s there. It’s more about cultivating that closeness.

    This sounds right to me. It’s my perceived social distance or closeness, so it’s my singular perspective, a one way estimate. It’s not an estimation nor measure of relationship, more one of felt kinship from one side, indeed intuitive as you say. Instinct and intuition, hopefully fed with a diet of ok info, is our internal black box algorithm. Cultivating closeness seems a worthwhile aim, especially when the internet allows you to do so with others than those that just happened to be in the same geographic spot you were born into. Escaping the village you grew up in to the big city is the age old way for both discovery and actively choosing who you want to get closer to. Blogs are my online city, or rather my self-selected personal global village.

    I’m not sure what to think about this. “Neutral isn’t useful.” What about Wikipedia? What about neighborhood events? These all feel like they can help—act as discovery points even.

    Is the problem that ‘news’ doesn’t have an apparent aim? Like an algorithm’s workings can be inscrutable, perhaps the motives of a ‘neutral’ source are in question? There is the thought that nothing is neutral. I don’t know what to think or believe on this topic. I tend to think that there is an axis where neutral is good and another axis where neutral is immoral.

    Responding to this is a multi-headed beast, as there’s a range of layers and angles involved. Again a lot of this is context. Let me try and unpick a few things.

    First, it goes back to the point before it, that filters in a network (yours, mine) that overlap create feedback loops that lift patterns above the noise. News, as pretending to be neutral reporting of things happening, breaks that. Because there won’t be any potential overlap between me and the news channel as filters, no feedback loops. And because it purports to lift something from the background noise as signal without an inkling as to why or because of what it does so. Filtering needs signifying of stories. Why are you sharing this with me? Your perception of something’s significance is my potential signal.

    There is a distinction between news (breaking: something happened!) and (investigative) journalism (let’s explore why this is, or how this came to be). Journalism is much closer to storytelling. Your blogging is close to storytelling. Stories are vehicles of human meaning and signification. I do follow journalists. (Journalism to survive likely needs to let go of ‘news’. News is a format, one that no longer serves journalism.)

    Second, neutral can be useful, but I wrote neutral isn’t useful in a filter, because it either carries no signifcation, or worse that has been purposefully hidden or left out. Wikipedia isn’t neutral, not by a long-shot, and it is extensively curated, the traces of which are all on deliberate display around the eventually neutrally worded content. Factual and neutral are often taken as the same, but they’re different, and I think I prefer factual. Yet we must recognise that a lot of things we call facts are temporary placeholders (the scientific method is more about holding questions than definitive answers), socially constructed agreements, settled upon meaning, and often laden with assumptions and bias. (E.g. I learned in Dutch primary school that Belgium seceded from the Netherlands in 1839, Flemish friends learned Belgium did so in 1830. It took the Netherlands 9 years to reconcile themselves with what happened in 1830, yet that 1839 date was still taught in school as a singular fact 150 years later.)
    There is a lot to say for aiming to word things neutrally. And then word the felt emotions and carried meanings with it. Loading wording of things themselves with emotions and dog whistles is the main trait of populistic debate methods. Allowing every response to such emotion to be parried with ‘I did not say that‘ and finger pointing at the emotions triggered within the responder (‘you’re unhinged!‘)

    Finally, I think a very on-point remark is hidden in footnote one:

    It is very focused on just being a human who is attempting to communicate with other humans—that’s it really.

    Thank you for this wording. That’s it. I’ve never worded it this way for myself, but it is very to the point. Our tools are but extensions of ourselves, unless we let them get out of control, let them outgrow us. My views on technology as well as methods is that we must keep it close to humanity, keep driving humanity into it, not abstract it so we become its object, instead of being its purpose. As the complexity in our world is rooted in our humanity as well, I see keeping our tech human as the way to deal with complexity.

  2. Reply: And The Infostrat Goes On

    Ton Zijlstra

    Indeed, when I think of ‘knowing someone’ in the context of information strategies, I always do so as ‘knowing someone within a specific context’. Sort of what Jimmy Wales said about Wikipedia editors a long time ago: “I don’t need to know who you are“, (i.e. full name and identity, full background), but I do need to know who you are on Wikipedia (the pattern of edits, consistency in behaviour, style of interaction). As Wikipedia, which is much less a crowdsourced thing than an editorial community, is the context that counts for him.

    Cool quote—your next sentence is interesting:

    Time is another factor that I feel is important, it is hard to maintain a false or limited persona consistently over a long time. So blogs that go back years are likely to show a pretty good picture of someone, even if the author aims to stick to a narrow band of interests.

    This is true. I have some experience with this—personas are kind of a ticking time bomb. I also think they are going to be pretty important going forward.

    Jennifer Hill:
    And you’re probably all sitting there and you’re like, “This girl wants me to delete Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… I got a following! I got a brand!”

    No, that’s not what I’m saying. You have two selves. You have a career self, who—I’m pretty sure all of us have to use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for work or Medium or whatever other platform in the world you want to use—and then you have your personal self that knows the things that they’re doing. And what I’m speaking to right know is your personal self. You know, I understand you gotta make money, gotta make that dime…

    Then during a bit of Q&A at the end, she makes the comment:

    Jennifer Hill:
    With the idea of websites comes the idea of allowing people to have multiple identities that they can throw on and off like hats.

    I’m not making a definitive good/bad comment or recommendation, just tying together these thoughts with those you’ve made about ‘knowing people’. I think social media sets up the idea that you’re seeing a real portrait of the person—when it’s just a representation. (This makes we wonder if a social media ‘infostrat’ is more difficult than an RSS one, for instance.) Blogs and wikis are an obvious representation—they demand an infostrat.[1]

    Instinct and intuition, hopefully fed with a diet of ok info, is our internal black box algorithm.

    Cool, this is sick. Don’t want to code that internal algorithm too tightly.

    News, as pretending to be neutral reporting of things happening, breaks that. Because there wont be any potential overlap between me and the news channel as filters, no feedback loops. And because it purports to lift something from the background noise as signal without an inkling as to why or because of what it does so. Filtering needs signifying of stories. Why are you sharing this with me? Your perception of somethings significance is my potential signal.

    Ok, ok—I think I see what you’re saying. The specific kind of neutrality you’re talking about is a neutrality of relationship. To me, this might not be expressing ‘neutrality’—events no longer exist because they happened in the past. I think I am just trying to understand your low valuation of ‘news’.

    There is a distinction between news (breaking: something happened!) and (investigative) journalism (lets explore why this is, or how this came to be). Journalism is much closer to storytelling. Your blogging is close to storytelling. Stories are vehicles of human meaning and signification. I do follow journalists.

    After a certain event in my life (itself newsworthy,) I began searching online for others who had suffered catastrophes. I often found quotes from survivors in headline news articles which resonated with me. I messaged many people; heard back from one. My discovery of her has been monumental for me—and I still often revisit the original news articles.

    You could simply say that these ‘news’ articles contain journalism—but the original articles describing her sudden event feel neutral—factual? Because of their urgency, they are raw details and quotes. And they could lead to further journalism—they shed the initial light on this woman.

    But addressing your statement: neutral isn’t useful in a filter. I’m not sure I agree. If my filter is able to weed out certain search terms—like say I want to be notified if my own name ever occurs in the news, or if “Bernie Sanders” and “flossing” ever show up together—it seems the filter could potentially make the neutral useful. ‘Neutral’ seems to be synonymous with ‘clickbait’ or something—which I don’t think of as being ‘neutral’ but as being ‘devoid’.

    I feel like I’m still missing your point—especially when you say: “Factual and neutral are often taken as the same, but they’re different, and I think I prefer factual.” Can you give me a more concrete example of ‘neutral’ that illustrates what you mean? (Also, if I’m harping on about something meaningless, feel free to just drop the thread.) I guess I feel like you’re onto something—but I want to actually understand it.

    My views on technology as well as methods is that we must keep it close to humanity, keep driving humanity into it, not abstract it so we become its object, instead of being its purpose.

    Dig this. Thankyou for all the bonus words, Ton!


    1. I might be hasty here—need to think about how to articulate this better. ↩︎

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PLUNDER THE ARCHIVES

This page is also on dat.

MOVING ALONG LET'S SEE MY FAVORITE PLACES I NO LONGER LINK TO ANYTHING THATS VERY FAMOUS

philosopher.life, the 'wiki'/'avatar'/'life' of h0p3. serious rabbithole. k0sh3k. j3d1h. luxb0x.

nathalie lawhead of so many good things, where does one begin. T, U, I.

surfpals: things by j, also joe jenett (of linkport), brad enslen (of indieseek), 'web curios' at imperica.

an eye on: ᛝ ᛝ ᛝ — lucid. jacky.wtf, fogknife, tiv.today, j.greg, box vox, whimsy.space, caesar naples.

indieweb: .xyz, eli, c.rwr, boffosocko.

nostalgia: geocities.institute, bad cmd.

true hackers: ccc.de, fffff.at, voja antonić, cnlohr, esoteric.codes.

chips: zeptobars, scargill, 41j.

dwm, julia, tridactyl these are things you'll want on linux.

neil c very famous but should be a world icon.

the world or cate le bon you pick.

sammyclassicsonicfan the original teen rage adventure.

innovation.isotropic.org probly the best carl chudyk game.

and opinionated gamers for non-chudyk game analysis.

my twitter. my github. minor things.