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Is this platform a trap?
What can be done about it?
I agree with Dr Yeadon’s analysis here.
*Correction, he’s talking about twitter/x, but there are similarities to this platform.
The biggest problem is that hardly any minds are converted, at least on big issues. A second concern is that we are on a centralized media platform. This provides those who wish to control others very valuable insights about our precious little “fishbowl” of ideas. Additionally, Mike points out that there is a massive time sink that at minimum raises a large opportunity cost.
All of the above can be true, even if the platform was created with wholly noble intentions. It’s important for people to primarily consider results rather than mere intentions.
That said, this doesn’t mean that I have anything against anyone who decides to use this platform. I’ve come across many excellent people who I’ve been grateful to connect with. I will say that much of what makes the communities I’ve seen on Substack great is that many of the readers who choose to participate are great people as well.
My ambitions on this platform were never particularly grand. After losing my job to a mandate, and suffering a variety of personal issues, I needed something to stay productive over time. This project has helped me stay focused on a longer time-scale which has helped me in some ways. The guilt of not publishing something after a while was enough to keep me at it while things were difficult.
I think an advantage of me being on this platform is that I provide a perspective about digital autonomy that many within this place wouldn’t often consider. This is because I have specifically chosen to write about something different than what many of us here agree on. This puts me significantly at odds with others here though. There are many notable names on this platform that treat their success here as a meaningful result for those who want justice for the assault on people that was the covid response. It’s disheartening to see.
It was clear from the beginning that the tyranny and abuse hadn’t begun in 2020, in fact you can find patterns that seem like preparations decades before. The main pattern I’ve focused on is censorship, but particularly online censorship. Since 2008, social media giants taught people that being able to easily publish online in exchange for control was a good deal. Maybe it could have been in a better society, but that’s not what we’ve got. Instead now the culmination of people’s choices is that we have enabled public-private partnerships all but complete control over what ideas people can learn from.
This is why a great deal of my focus has been encouraging and empowering others be able to self-publish, easily without giving up power to large institutions. It is still possible for those of us to care to make mass censorship impossible. Like anything else it requires time and effort and the bad guys aren’t going to do it for us. Power is being consolidated and the tyrant’s grip that took over in 2020, hasn’t let go. It’s merely lengthened the leash.
Unfortunately, it seems like I’m running out of steam. I’ve considered leaving this platform many times. In many ways I’ve said what I set out to say. Demands on my time have started to pull in from other areas, and there are still my own issues I need to resolve. Some of the areas I consider worth covering, are already very saturated. How many pieces have you seen that tackle topics like Digital ID or CBDC actually encourage you to take action now instead of “just saying no” after some hypothetical future event? Or without fully discussing the very same risks in platforms like Facebook, X, or even this one? It’s interesting to see my pieces on anonymity get such a cold shoulder, when many big names are happy to relegate all criticism to so-called “anonymous trolls”. I’ve come to suspect that they’re more interested in their brand than about justice, or even the truth.
I don’t feel technological concerns are taken very seriously in this space. For a time I thought I merely needed to be patient, because in 2021 there were more urgent matters at hand. Suggestions in local activist meetings would fall on indifferent leadership, and over time it seems very little has been learned. Years have gone by, and I’m not convinced that we have managed to mitigate or reverse any of the immense censorship gains that have been made. From large organizations to small groups, priorities are set in a way which explains to me why there is so little competition for techies fighting for freedom: the bad guys pay a lot for so little, and the good guys don’t even care.
One last huzzah
I’m not throwing in the towel, and even if I was, the Libre Solutions Network wouldn’t be going anywhere. I’ve specifically created a web presence to outlast this one, and expanded to other platforms. In no small part due to the encouragement I’ve gotten over time from a variety of great people, this particular project isn’t over.
I still want to get a Rebuilding the Net series out. I also want to finish writing my other planned operations (Hearth, Bankroll,Stone) and put together curated lists of how-to guides for them all. I’m hoping that over the next year I can acquire some better hardware and a better internet connection so I can take on more interesting projects.
How can you help?
There are three things you can do to make almost all mass censorship nearly irrelevant to you:
Develop a preference for open protocols (RSS, Websites, Fediverse) over corporate controlled platforms.
Disconnect from the more egregious top-down controlled platforms, LibRedirect can help view from a distance.
Share important resources yourself, instead of relying on amplification algorithms to decide what your friends and family should know about.
Getting connected does matter a great deal too, it’s one thing to have your own uncontrolled perspective alone, it’s another thing entirely to be able to work towards the truth with others.
I’d also recommend following Matthew Crawford’s work. I’m not sure I would still be able to proceed without his support and helpful mentorship. If you want to directly learn from somebody who sees the social engineering for what it is, he’s where to go.