I get very exhausted when people use their knowledge about how things are done in the big tech / surveillance capitalism (or maybe just "capitalist") world, and try and apply it in totally different domains, like community-focused volunteer projects.

Almost all the implicit assumptions don't hold.

Capitalist projects have a lot of resources to solve problems because they are willing to engage in destructive and extractive behaviours.

If we remove that part, the equation massively changes.


in capitalist tech: massive user growth ---> lots of money (funding) available --> pay fancy people to do fancy scaling things

in community project: massive user growth ---> aaaah everything is really chaotic now, there are loads of tasks that nobody wants to (or can) do... it's like actual work!! I thought this was meant to be fun...

the solution to me is to scale out, not up, federate don't grow. but still, people seem more focused on big ideas that need to scale up to be successful.

@nicksellen true! but federation is hard too. It requires solving a lot of technical and social problems that do not arise with centralized systems… we need to be more clever with less resources!

@pintoch @nicksellen "federation is hard" is repeated often but people often ignore that building services at a large scale requires solving most of the federation problems anyways - but internally, within a company infrastructure - in order to provide geographical sharding and resilience, rolling deployments and more.

@federico3 @pintoch @nicksellen scaling brings up its own problems. Most of Facebook's problems (not talking about its raison d'être, that's a separate subject) is because:
- content moderation can't be done at scale
- heck, content moderation policy can't be done at scale either
- lots of technical problems because of the scale. Some of the solutions are ingenious but still, many are problems that shouldn't exist

@federico3 @pintoch @nicksellen
I think there is some overlap between federation and internal scale-out, but on top of that, there is a large portion of difficult problems that are specific to federation.

And that is administrative scalability.
In other words, the ability for different parts of the network to have different rules, be administrated by different people who don't always agree, and still coexist.

@federico3 @nicksellen absolutely, but I suspect it still makes a big difference to be working on these problems inside the same organization (not that I have any serious experience in either flavours of federation, to be honest)

@federico3 @pintoch @nicksellen however, scaling up doesn't face the same social problems as federating.

@federico3 @pintoch @nicksellen sure but I don't see people agreeing to sign up for a global registry of instances or forced automatic software upgrade deadlines

Many distributed/federated systems have automated global directories or other discovery protocols and deprecate and abandon old protocol versions: #tor bittorrent #i2p various cryptocurrencies


I think this is a great point and a Fab question -
How community tech can be done in ways that out-do, or do out - capitalist tech.

Might be interesting to experiment as a conference kind of a thing..
To let solutions trickle out..
Could be done all online..

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