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<h1>Why a simpler web is a better web</h1>
<p class='date'>Sat, 18 Sep 2021 09:32:27 +0400</p>
<p>Ever since I've gotten into self-hosting and making videos about it, I've heard people talk about <b><i>Pleroma, ActivityPub,</i></b> and other <b>decentralized social media-like</b> protocols.
It sounds excellent at first, creating new standards to re-create the centralized social media experience of Twitter, Facebook and other "walled gardens", but after a while I realized that it's not quite for me.<p>
<h2>The problem with the Fediverse</h2>
<p>The Fediverse is a simple concept: A few standardized protocols (ActivityPub, Diaspora, and the older OStatus) are used by individual servers to communicate information with each other, to allow for one massive decentralized network. <b>However, this system has some fundamental flaws.</b></p>
<p>The biggest single flaw is that <b>servers can still ban you!</b> This has happened before (<a href="https://reclaimthenet.org/mastodon-blocks-gab/">just look at Mastodon</a>) and it'll only keep happening unless people realize that any form of decentralized system that <b>still relies on a centralized host</b> (ie. the most popular Pleroma instance) isn't going to prevent censorship.</p>
<p>In the end, the real problem with the Fediverse is that it still requires the end-user to use a single web client, which can enact censorship. You might think this can be mitigated by simply switching to other, more free-speech friendly websites, but the most popular ActivityPub/Diaspora instances can just block that one, effectively cutting you off.</p>
<h2>Older standards are better!</h2>
<p>A far better standard for social media communication is <b>RSS,</b> which is what you're likely using right now to read this blog post. Because RSS subscriptions are handled directly between the <b>individual user and server,</b> it means that no intermediary server can censor them. <b>This is so much better than any Fediverse social media.</b></p>
<p>What truly makes RSS so much better is the fact that it's <b>basically everywhere,</b> from large corrupt news sites to tiny self-hosted sites like this one. This also means RSS clients are everywhere, making the technology hyper-accessible.</p>
<h2>"B-but MUH REPOSTING/LIKING/DISLIKING!!!"</h2>
<p><b>Social media is the devil.</b> While I can understand wanting to keep up with your friends' blogs and art feeds, I will never understand people's fixation with online "socializing" in this manner. <b>You don't need to be constantly retweeting and liking posts to survive.</b> Luckily, most people seem to agree with me on the incredibly detrimental effects of social media addiction, which restores a lot of my faith in humanity.</p>
<p>Also, if you want to communicate with anyone in a decentralized manner, you can always be using <a href="xmpp:alex@denshi.org">XMPP</a> or <a href="https://matrix.to/#/@denshi:denshi.org">Matrix</a> to message them. Both are effective at offering secure, decentralized communication for individual and group chats, and I think we'll see far more adoption of both of them with time.</p>
<h2>Conclusion</h2>
<p>At the end of the day, social media itself is <b>awfully structured.</b> Even if the Fediverse was completely censorship-free, it'd probably just become like Reddit: A hivemind powered by upvotes and downvotes in perfect balance so that Keanu Reeves and Big Chungus memes can reign supreme over what was meant to be a platform for proper discussion. RSS feeds and personal websites are and will always remain the most direct, simple and free way to communicate ideas and knowledge on the internet, and I can only see this becoming more and more important as the Fediverse continues to gain traction.</p>
<footer>by <strong><a href='https://denshi.org/'>Denshi</a>, <a href="mailto:alex@denshi.org?subject=Why a simpler web is a better web">(Reply-to)</a></strong></footer>
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