Intelligence is simply talking to many people

If I could bring one thing back to the internet it would be blogs

Nowadays especially it's nice to have things to read. New things, things from various sources and various voices, various minds talking about their thoughts and experiences, telling their stories, posting pictures and things that are relevant to them. A couple of years ago, maybe 8 or 10 so maybe longer than a lot of people will be able to remember, there were blogs on the internet. You could search around and they'd come up even in websearch, and you'd find yourself reading someone's blogs. Maybe it was chronicles of their life as they got a job teaching in Japan and how it was leaving American for the first time and all the new things there and skateboarding and meeting people and trying to meet girls, or a photographer working for a while in Minorca or some island off Spain when music hit a rock scene period and all the young people were dressing up in leather and tight jeans and going out dancing to dance rock and writing about his thoughts on where he fit into the scene as he was kind of older but not old, or a compilation of weird and unexplained science and gnostic wisdom, or the things some guy was making out of wood or electronics in his garage, or some Japanese girl who posted pictures of herself looking extremely pink and pneumatic and writing little things with them.

Nowadays when everyone is on lockdown and there are days with nothing but spaces of time to pass, nights too, and you can make a hot tea or a coffee and sit down but when you look there's nothing to read. You can't access those unique voices writing about the things they care about, that are happening to them.

The other day I searched for an hour and couldn't find even one. They used to be endless. You'd just click on one you knew on Blogger and either click Blogger's random blog button, or go to the sidebar of the blog you knew where they always had a list of blogs they liked, sometimes four or 5, sometimes 20 other blogs. And the same with Tumbler.

Blogs used to exist because there were blogging platforms. But Blogger was shut down by Google years ago, and the blogs on there have been disappearing until now you just can't find really any, and they're not indexed in search anymore. Tumbler also was used by people to blog about their lives and interests, although there were also a lot of just pictures blogs, but it recently changed its policy and now permits no NSFW content, which compromised basically every blog that mentioned something not completely PG. All the old Tumbler blogs I had bookmarks for I can't even access anymore because they were deemed by Tumbler to have NSFW content. I think about how those people must feel after putting all that work into making such a special thing and then Tumbler just destroys it. And that's the end. There's no way to find blogs, and no one is writing them because there's no platform for them.

But they would be the one thing I'd bring back to the internet if I could bring one thing back. They're the thing I miss the most and the most often. They were the most valuable thing on here, besides freer availability of news, free although low quality video content on YouTube, and I guess some kinds of social media. But blogs are something you can sit down and read and get really into to the point you forget where you even are, and think about how you want to try those things maybe in your life, or just enjoy their writing, and you can read deeper into them into past blog posts, and tune back in later and see what they've posted since the last things you read about them.

When you search for blogs now on you see things like 'Top 100 Blogs.' 'How to Make a Successful Blog.' 'Most Powerful 50 Blogs.' But what you really want is 10,000 unsuccessful blogs. Web search now suggests ideas for your blogs to get views, shares, indexed, but what you really want is no ideas. It's almost impossible now to find a blog that's not on a focused theme because that's what search engines focus on and how websites profit. But you want the opposite, a blog that never tried to focus or even thought about it. There used to seem to be endless search results indexed by Google and the other search engines that were killed by Google. Maybe you'd see 40,000 results for your search. Now it says there are 40,000 but you only get 10 or 20 pages of results you can get to, all basically corporate and lame. You can't get to the 100th page anymore. It'd be nice even if someone built a crawler-indexer that you could use to search for everything including things that weren't popular or judged by algorithms to be 'relevant.' The problem with alternative engines like DuckDuckGo is they just use Google Search and don't crawl and index things in their own way. If they did they'd be fun and useful to use for reasons other than protection of privacy. Although some people say Google is becoming more and more useless to the point it won't be revived and may collapse for this reason although even if that were true we'd still have to suffer with it for years.


A couple of notes, in case anyone is thinking of starting a new blogging platform:

There's no point if you're not going to protect people, and that means their privacy. Nowadays people won't share content simply because they don't trust the internet to share content to it. You have to provide for them to be anonymous and protected forever, which means letting people create accounts easily with just an email or something similar, and log into them or recover their password throught the email if they lose their password, and never any locking them out because you noticed suspicious activity or anything bogus like that and making them provide personal details. That is abuse of trust and abuse of people. They have to be able to blog without thinking someone is going to bring it up and file it away forever and maybe they won't get a job because of it, or their tyrannical government will think they're an agitator and attack them or an adversary will use it for selective characger defamation sometime. They have to be able to abandon a blog, start a new one, blog there, abandon it, etc. Otherwise they won't feel free to write, so you may as well not say you're going to provide a blogging platform for people if you won't protect them.

Privacy protection and the inability of this to be changed to be used maliciously must be baked in at the start. I doubt Larry and Sergei or even Gates would have created what they did the way they did if they knew what it would be used for. Those guys now can try to find other things to do with their lives now, or make up for it with charity, but their inventions are tools terribly used against people on such an extreme level. Anybody creating anything they think might someday become big should bake in at the start prevention against the possibility it could be used negatively when it becomes useful to powerful entities. I'm not sure the hosting servers could be based in the US because the US doesn't protect privacy or internet usage. I'm not sure where does. I read that Argentina has constitutional law that protect insternet expression, although that freedom is tempered by the prohibition of writing about their own government. Entitites that hate that Argentina has a protected free speech internet while the US and Canada and Europe don't protect human rights on the internet will say 'Well because of that Argentina is providing for terrorism and harming children, the two favorite claims of people who want to attack people or systems when those people or systems haven't done anything actually wrong and they need to raise alarm in their supporters. Of course, those acts are prohibited in Argentina, but speech and expression on their internet is not, including of those things, as far as I know. I mean, just the idea: 'illegal information.' 'Illegal speech.'

I'm not sure how a platform could be protected. Perhaps by partnering early with a trusted, transparent organization like the EFF and having them publicly audit the platform on a regular basis and saying that if this is ever altered and public transparent regular audits of the platform stop it's users should immediately consider it compromised and stop using it. Another thing might be to route all traffic through a VPN, a kind of server-side VPN protection, so while ISPs would log the domain they wouldn't be able to log which specific blogs they visited or what they did there.

Also, you have to keep the content on the server of backed up forever, otherwise they won't feel their effort in blogging for years will be worthwhile if the platform will someday just erase it like Blogger and Tumbler did. Maybe the platform doesn't have a ton of money so it has to not save the images or videos, but at least the text should be maintained.

Also, the platform must be profitable or promise future profit without abusing users or guests. This can simply be ads provided by one of the big internet ads companies or an ads company that's part of the platform. Not too many ads so the blogs are ruined, but maybe an ad at the bottom or perhaps the top and bottom, preserving the space that belongs to the blogger. A Patreon or other anonymous financing option could also be an option. Also the company probably should not ever go public, as we have seen how the involvement of a couple of big corporations or governments made the internet (and past forms of expression) worse, and that any degree of involvement of either of these two things will eat away or completely destroy it.

Ie, a platform where people can securely and privately blog, where it can't be converted into a tool for abuse of people, and where freedom of privacy, thought, expression and discussion is maintained and there is no 'chilling effect on speech.'


Some people have started to send blog links. You can comment whatever you want of course, but here's a page on reddit where you can post links to blogs as well: https://old.reddit.com/r/TTTThis/comments/gqivbv/post_links_to_blogs_worth_a_look_here/

Comments: 22

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Peter Molnar
2020-05-16 19:27

Also, the platform must be profitable or promise future profit without abusing users or guests.

There are nonprofit organisations in the world; why can't a blogging platform be one?

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Roberto
2020-05-16 20:17

I have been wondering this for a while as I'm working on a social network. Does EFF audit apps or is there a form to get some validation from them?

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confused
2020-05-16 22:20

Blogger has not been shut down.

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Ev
2020-05-16 23:39

Great post. I’ve had the same feelings and ability to find decent content on pretty much anything, so I’ve done what you have and started writing. It’s not much but I’m enjoying it ekroberts.com

I do wonder what blogging would look like if Google didn’t kill Reader

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Guillermo
2020-05-17 00:30

If you want to read some blogs. Here you have a feed of them.

https://trivial.observer/100daystooffload/

A small community of bloggers writing daily.

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kobutri
2020-05-17 02:21

Great post I would love an internet with more blogs.
I do however however have differing views on what a centralised platform should prioritise and how it should be structured.
Personally I care more about technical blogs, political opinion pieces, rather than general blogs about ones life.
This scene was quite alive, but recently moved to dev.to, medium and other portals that try to monetise this content.
This external incentive to produce content, has led a steady decline of quality.
Ones monetisation comes in and the incentives change, user generated content looses quite a lot of its appeal. Look at YouTube or podcasts.
So in my opinion a blogging platform should not be run by a company but a non-profit and only display ads to cover server costs, which by the nature of blogs shouldn't be that high.
The reward of writing a blog should be intrinsic to the writing and engagement with the readers.
Privacy is important, but hosting it at some super expensive, super secure location.
A blogging platform wouldn't have much non public information a government agency could request.
The free speech laws in western countries are also protect most content that sensible community guidelines wouldn't ban anyways and for the little rest like leaked government documents there are probably better places.
Authoritarian governments however would likely just block the entire platform, when it doesn't comply with censorship, so it doesn't really matter where its hosted.

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Cristian Paul
2020-05-17 03:03

Isn't this a blog?

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Bahadir Balban
2020-05-17 03:36

This is an exciting idea. Would you pay 5 - 10 dollars per month for such a service with no ads? I attempted to build a modern blog network from scratch that resemble a social network like facebook. I think if monetization was solved, and ideally if users paid for it, an authentic platform can be created.

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Decentralized web
2020-05-17 07:51

There is a technical solution: the decentralized web, using for example IPFS and Ethereum name service (see MetaMask). A blogging platform built on this would solve most of the problems you mentioned.

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Pankaj Doharey
2020-05-17 08:41

Medium is a disaster for educative blogs the lure of monetary gains is an impediment to sharing knowledge freely.

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Vladimir Haltakov
2020-05-17 08:59

I think a lot of this type of writing shifted to Twitter and Instagram, but I agree this microblogging is not the same... it lacks the immersiveness of a good long story.

On the other hand it has never been easier to set up your own blog with services like Netlify, Jekyll, Pelican etc.

I recently started my own blog in this way, however it requires some coding skills... I know it’s a shameless plug, but here it is: https://haltakov.net/blog

To not be too selfish, let me also share one of my favorite blogs of a guy telling amazing stories about his hikes and adventures (unfortunately, he hasn’t written in a while): https://www.otherhand.org

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Joseph Daniels
2020-05-17 10:31

This is dumb.

There are more blogs than ever before, you just won't find them by googling 'blogs'.

Plenty of people, like yourself, are still writing and publishing to their blogs.

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Andrej
2020-05-17 17:05

I've started my blog microfocusing on a dying technology a few months ago.

Due to the privacy issues you mentioned above, I'm running it under a pseudonym.

If anyone is interested: https://metamorphingmachine.neocities.org

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Anon
2020-05-17 17:32

This and last year I've been toying around with the idea of creating a blog, which I've been interested in since around 2012. I did and ended up taking it down a few times because of the issue of privacy. I moved to Blogger but ended up abandoning it for now. I remember certain blogs I really enjoyed because of how unique they were and now it's really hard to find similar ones. Since tumblr is down and I'm still unsure about Blogger, I just use Flickr now. But Flickr the same way, it's really hard to find active people who're doing it blog-style and it's kind of sad what the internet has turned into.

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Adam Bell
2020-05-17 18:44

Ihave been reading much more. Both books and blogs. I think Twitter really got me more engaged online and led me to the things your talking about.
Here is my blog:

https://www.adamwbell.com/stories

Here are some good ones to check out:

tynan.com/share
putanumonit.com

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John
2020-05-17 20:53

Centralized Platforms just don't work in this manner. Look at the degrading quality on dev.to or the horrendous quality of medium.

I think a better approach would be a decentralized solution like StumbleUpon.
Where you have your own blog no matter the platform or technology and then you connect it via snippet into the network of the StumbleUpon-esque service.

StumbleUpon randomizes where you land. The randomization isn't necessary, but this way you would get quite a lot of blogs without the need for googling or going on medium.com

Or does anyone remember RSS Readers?
I'm old.

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red quest
2020-05-18 03:17

Bro I got you https://theredquest.wordpress.com

Esoteric and subject focused, but about a personal journey and some other things too.

Material no one else is doing.

Plus a blogroll right there.

For anyone "toying around with the idea," just do it.

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Lukas H
2020-05-19 08:00

What about an RSS Feed for your blog?

Thanks

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Renne Rocha
2020-05-19 20:32

You must have a RSS feed easily available in your blog. You write true things about the lack of blogs but you didn't provide one the best things that can help us to make blogs easily accessible.

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Hope
2020-05-20 08:06

Lol, I've been blogging since 2003! I'm not as consistent as I used to be, that's for sure, but I still blog. http://hopeslife.blog
Also, check out micro.blog, lots of people are blogging over there!! I also still use RSS. Yep, it's still a thing.

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Jem Turner
2020-05-24 14:39

"The other day I searched for an hour and couldn't find even one. "

I'm not sure you looked very hard - there's literally millions of us out there. If you got really desperate (and you'd have to be, because there's a lot of dross) start with the #blogger hashtag on twitter.

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Gerard vanderleun
2020-05-30 01:34

Massive number of blogs of high quality on any subject everywhere you look. Including many, such as mine, that reach back twenty years and more, and are of high high quality.

I have no idea how you can miss this.

Interested to discuss? Leave a comment.

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