I feel like the majority of people care that much about decentralization. But I also think they don't care that much about centralization.

Often whatever comes first and works is what gets ingrained.

Contrast: if some big corp came along and tried to centralize email, people would (hopefully?) tell them to eff off. But, trying to decentralize microblogging is a big effort because Twitter was there first.

Let's get there first with things then, I guess.


Oops, that should say: "...*don't* care that much about decentralization"...


So, uh, in re: centralized email:


It's not completely centralized, but there has been a big trend towards what could fairly be called oligopoly, I think. The average experience of email is, essentially, Gmail.

Perhaps most galling has been seeing universities, where so many of us got our first email accounts & who use to run their own infrastructure, outsourcing their email to the few big providers.

@deejoe @neil this is what I'm most worried about for the fediverse. federation is useless if it's a federated oligopoly. and when I point this out to people, the usual (but extremely frustrating) response is 'well just don't let it get that centralized then, man.'

while I agree, how does anyone actually plan on doing that? cause we're up against the two most powerful centralizing structural forces in human history - the accumulation of capital, and the network effect.

@gc @deejoe It is worrying. Because it's a slippery slope where Google will start adding gmail only 'email' features (like that self-destructing email thing.)

We need counteranti-disintermediation. I guess there's various routes? education (make people aware of the perils of one company running everything); politics (legislation against monopoly of core services); tech (favour p2p rather than server-based?); direct action (don't know how you would do that against google.)

Big job though.

@neil @deejoe thank you for reminding me about counterdisintermediation

@gc @neil

Agreed that we don't want oligopoly, and that it's a problem, but I'm not sure it renders federation *completely* useless. The process of whittling away user freedoms with regard to email has taken time and, most importantly, remains incomplete.

@deejoe @neil yes, absolutely!!federation can be a crazy powerful tool to use to fight centralization when used purposefully. however, individual effort is not enough - we must build out the fediverse in a way that automatically, systematically and structurally resists the centralizing tendencies of both capital and the network.

how do we design the fediverse so that it's impossible for its degree of decentralization to do anything besides monotonically increase over time?

@neil the point is strategies that show decentralizing architecture is better for users, rather than relying on users' ideology.

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