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John Henry

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Software engineer in San Francisco, working on a web decentralization startup. Mildly blockchain related; I'm on the extreme end of the Mastodon-style federated/p2p decentralization end of the spectrum, and mostly just hiss and boo at all the blockchainers.

Rough description of my problem statement here:

These days, I'm mostly out of energy for writing/advocacy and just do a lot of coding. Hope to get back to more heavy writing soon.

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John Henry boosted

“I will consider joining a different social media site when it too becomes a place where a billionaire on uppers can type words into a box and ruin his own life” - Brady Jensen

This is a good target.

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I'm imagining a maslow's hierarchy of internet freedom.

At the bottom is the ability to send and receive information.

Higher levels include freedom from firewalls and net neutrality.

The highest point I can think of at the moment is freedom from individual actors trying to astroturf or otherwise manipulate information environments.

US activists focus on higher level freedoms but globally most people are stuck on the bottom, hoping their gov doesn't shut off the internet this election seaso

If you're looking for a good Mastodon iPhone app, I recommend Amaroq ( Main use case I needed it for is that the "save as web icon" workflow always wiped my drafts if I tabbed out of the application.

@zacharius, you around today or tomorrow to field some questions about Mastodon running? Curious if you've done any looking into tools around migrating from Twitter

This is more lamenting than I intended to do on this specific instance, but I’m kind of jonesing here. Will hopefully find anoher outlet soon so this space can be clean for high-minded decentralization idealizing.

In a game theoretic sense, threatening to quit Twitter is not a _credible_ theeat, because it’s clear to everyone that the damage done to yourself far outweighs any cost you impose on your adversaries (in this case, Twitter itself). Most ragequitters vastly underestimate their own self-imposed costs in making such a move. Or maybe I’m uniquely addicted, making such a move very burdensome; the psychological cost of having no /dev/null to pipe useless thoughts to is very high for me.

Quitting Twitter wholesale is equivalent to medical technology during the civil war; extremely brutal amputation as a last-ditch effort to stop a spreading infection.

Looking for something closer to 1960s+ technology, something more akin to modern surgery.

I have the next 2 days allotted to work on this; if anyone has experience with Twitter -> Mastodon migration, would love to collab or ask you questions.

Anyone interested in specific information about any people/projects listed here?

Happy to do some pro-bono fact-finding.

“The problem with decentralization is that it mostly describes what it is not.

It's like inputting a destination of 'not Paris' into your car navigation system.”

What is the best demystification of the term "decentralization" you've seen?

Particularly interested in pre-2009 usage of it, although contemporary "bitcoin" or "web"-specific flavors are also appreciated.

Is there any conceivable method to mitigate the toxic byproducts of those existing platforms, while providing just enough drama and hot takes to keep users interested? I'm actually completely lost here and open to all types of answers.

The "substantially safer way" part is the big rub, obviously. Much has been said about the pain and agony caused by online intergroup and intragroup conflict. But very few people acknowledge the "upsides"; primarily, from a user adoption point of view, users simply want it and won't give it up, and services will not be competitive until they produce pointless bickering on the scale that Twitter / Tumblr / Reddit currently provide.

Captivated by this Paul Graham blurb about internet drama as a huge opportunity for startups (written in 2012).

John Henry's Iron Law of Shitposting: No decentralized social network will thrive until it solves internet drama as a first-class user interface concern.

I think this is a huge problem that budding social networks haven't even begun to think about properly (in my experience). Open to any ideas or leads on how we can capture pointless bickering / drama in a substantially safer way.

People who hire software engineers:

What are your favorite interview feedback prompts that really capture whether someone will be a great programmer?

The prototypical question in my head for this is "is this someone you can learn from?"

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Toolchain idea: the fediverse is so naturally diverse, it’s a pity not to exploit the potential for large scale experimentation. Release manager rigging for instances to selectively try experimental “labs” features that haven’t been (and may never be) added to core. Like gmail labs.

Main project can be conservative in adding features while being liberal in what can be released as opt-in labs features.

I think our instance, being small and with many programmers would likely ride the dev edge

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Just saw "sorry To Bother You".

Can't remember the last time I was as engrossed by a movie.

It is a late capitalist, absurdest comedy . I highly recommend.

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@RBU_RSS_BOT bot is live,
although you won't notice until someone i've added to the rss list updates their feed.

So far the bot includes the rss feeds of

Please don't be shy if you have a website.

Presentation and formatting will likely have to be tweaked.

open to suggestions as to what its avatar should be