august on Sat, 18 Feb 2012 09:58:09 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> [Fwd] A Spit in the Ocean (or the limits of social network paranoia)

Morlock Elloi wrote:
> It's not the economic pressure as much as it's the Clumping Effect:
> there appears to be a biological predisposition for humans to clump in
> larger ... clumps.
> Setting up a separate home mail server, with its own domain,
> practically unsubpoenable and unspiderable, or home node of a
> distributed 'social network' is technically trivial and can be dumbed
> down to one-click install process.
That's an interesting thing to mention, and  I can see how and why you would
say that.  Maybe you could elaborate, because I am not entirely convinced.

If the Clumping Effect were the _only_ case, then why did users migrate from
friendster and myspace to facebook after many years of population by large
amounts of users?  Why did so many users who had working email systems migrate
to gmail?

Also, I don't think the home email setup is as one-clickable as you suggest.
At least not right now.  You first have to register a domain with a domain name
service.  You then need to set up a running server at your house, you need to
at least lightly read all of the various protocols and documents to have some
clue as to how it works, then you need to install the right software packages
and configure their umpteen options.

I see efforts like Ebon Moglen's Freedombox, however, and look forward to this
kind of a future.

I agree that is is technically solvable and _could_ be dumbed down to a
one-click install.  But I don't think it is trivial. For that to happen, there
needs to be serious amounts of development, which require serious, although
probably not outrageous, amounts of funding.  By offloading the upkeep and
maintenance to the users, you could potentially even do it at a fraction of the
cost of these centralized services.

You might be asking whether funding is necessary or not.  If so, I would
persuade you to look at the difference between FIDOnet, which was jerry-rigged
and fraught with complications, and the internet.  A look at the many attempts
to build user-run wireless networks city-wide with might be another thing to

> However, convincing a meaningful fraction of the people to have
> separate services, when *most* of others have already clumped into few
> big clumps, is very hard and goes against the grain. This has nothing
> to do with usability - e-mail travels via standard protocols, but has
> everything to do with prevailing trends, where big clumps win.

What do standards have to do with usability? 

And, should I even mention your yahoo address?  Or is that only for anonymity?
Excuse me in advance if I am getting too personal now.  I really enjoy reading
your posts in this forum.


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