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2020/05/29 Re:Re:Replies with Prosthetic Conscience

Being a reply to Prosthetic Conscience,
wherein he advances several astute points
on the nature of phlogs, replies, and
the Mercury protocol:

=>gemini://carcosa.net/journal/20200529-some-replies.gmi Replies to Solderpunk and Shufei

Rerererereplies! :)

I believe this topic is what is indicated by the contemporary online slang term, “meta”. Very well. We’re all nerds here, so we shall meta. One of the opportunities for wisdom imparted by so-called retro tech is the agency to discover different choices, I challenge. We can look across the scramble of recent years and survey with a more judicious eye: What do we like or not? Why? Should we do things differently?

So how ought we reply? I do hope this topic is given wider consideration, both as a practical point of conversation and as a philosophical inquiry into the social effects of infotech media.

I have “lurked” on gopherspace for many years, almost since before the web. And in recent years have enjoyed phlogs. But the odd lack of any standard or customary response mechanism rendered gopherspace as almost lacking in vivaciousness. Perhaps from the first Gopher has been a medium for _reading_ far more than conversation. As such it’s fruits are often far more private than the Zeitgeist may dispose people to appreciate.

And I enjoy that! One of the virtues now imprudently overthrown is that of contemplation. Gopher and Gemini seem to retain something of the flavour of actual _correspondence_, by which conversant parties must wait for replies, and ought to wait to reply. Words thereby can become both more precious and less shallow by expediency.

So I suggest several needs, somewhat in tension, are in order:

Textnet (Gopher, Gemini, Finger, &c) needs some standard or regular custom by which to reply. This usage needn’t be too technical.

These replies, I challenge, should avoid the cloying immediacy of mainstream social media. I would viscerally recoil at “likes” or comments appended to a text. Replies should at best take the form of formal, oldschool correspondence by exchange of either email for privacy or phlog replies for a public exchange. (Christina, if you are reading, please chime in.)

Some kind of _notification_ is in order in which one may opt-in to receive a pingback: “Aha, Bar has replied to you, Foo!” Optimally one may block bad faith actors by whatever widget.

I’ve not used Webmentions, I think, but if some solution could enable notifications, it may prove fruitful. Given the low volume and presumption of slowness, I can’t see it would needfully be vociferous.

Perhaps it could be a script appended to the subscribed aggregators? If your handle is grepped, it emails or such. This would allow some mostly passive editorial control, as well.

Perhaps RSS or ATOM could do it client side? I could see a bookmark folder easily becoming an ATOM aware doohickey to do the work of grepping for replies. I’d volunteer gladly to code that, if we can wait another decade or so for my Lisp to be up to the task, haha.

Gemiphloging A Dead Horsey

I shall confess I enjoy perversity when it comes to tech, haha. Mutants and liminal beasts. The old and the new comingling into fresh and unruly patterns. It’s one thing I like about ham radio and retro tech both. Techno fatalism is transcended.

The seed of my question on gemiphlogging with something like Brutaldon was an old desktop programme which Live Journal had for Windoze back in the day. It was simple, quick, and accessible. One opened it and typed, then sent.

I’m just handy enough to know how to do sftp from a programme on my tablet, to keep it synced and can thus phlog in this way easily. But it’s heaps of setup and requires another programme for email and/or Gemini and/or gopher to read replies.

This difficulty perhaps is a charm, a feature. It demands time which may, at best, enable the contemplative. It is slackful.

But if it were to be easier, quicker, and perhaps just fun, I could see a programme which is a Gemini / gopher newsreader. Bookmarks up front, doing its own aggregation on boot up. Then one could reply as it has a separate frame in which to type a ,gmi to a gemiphlog by sftp. Then whatever pings, if not by email, could show up as notifications on ui. The ui would be suitably minimal, like Brutaldon I was imagining, but all the back end stuff scripted and packaged so anyone could set it up on SDF or Circumlunar Space or Tilde &c without much fuss.

Just a notion! If I get better in CL-GTK or Racket for X I might give it a go if anyone else doesn’t.

Mercury Bubbling

Oh, haha, I knew Solderpunk was mostly thought storming or letting off steam. I hope I well indicated that I was only 1/3 apoplectic, gents.

TLS is good on principle, I reckon. And your use case of private areas is also good, and one thing I’d dearly hope Gemini people develop further. But beyond that, yes, we should be cautious. Heaven forfend any “astrocookies”. I also hope there is eventually a consensus against Gemini as application platform.

That said, I’d love to see more stuff dynamically served via Gemini. Like Groundhog Weather. Chatbots. Fun stuff. Some of that could be nice if done privately, like notification of replies.


Glad you’re doing well and hopping. Sorry for lack of brevity; mine is not the soul of wit.



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