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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] resources about mailing lists vs. forums (e.g.

From: J.B. Nicholson
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] resources about mailing lists vs. forums (e.g. Discourse)
Date: Sun, 5 May 2019 16:42:46 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.6.1

U'll Be King Of The Stars wrote:
Usenet was one of my favorite things about the internet.  I would love
for it to be revived.

Usenet is still around and working quite well. Usenet might not be as popular as it once was but it's not dead. In fact, I'd say that the principled response to hosting discussion forums which respect freedom of speech is to encourage people to use Usenet more (or set up any widely-distributed newsgroup network and use that too).

This cause should be taken up along side a principled reaction to RSS feeds -- a decentralized means of promoting one's own material that doesn't rely on adding another possibility for censorship.

Corporate media tells us that RSS is dying[1] but that frame of debate puts aside any discussion of whose interests are served by moving away from decentralized standards we are all free to use and toward proprietary software (sometimes referred to as "walled gardens") such as Apple's iTunes. There's quite a pressure to move users away from decentralized free standards toward single points of failure and censorship. I'm sure that there are some people who stand to benefit from pushing this view with email, despite no clear improvement made in doing so. It seems to me that a free software discussion on this is needed and should not accept handing users over to software proprietors.

[1] for example -- this author wants us to see Google Reader going away in terms of giving Google's business desires undeserved primacy, not recognizing the lack of software freedom from Google in this, and giving no perspective on Google's penchant for continuing services that help it spy on users. It's unsurprising that the author tacitly suggests switching to other spying mechanisms including Facebook.

At the time I wanted to run my own INN node eventually. By the time it became possible for me to set up anything resembling a server-on-the-Internet, Usenet was pretty much over.
I suggest that you help the people at FreedomBox find a way to host an NNTP server on FreedomBox. It would be great to have a news network which included a lot of FreedomBoxes sharing copies of posts using an encrypted NNTP connection. I can't say if INN is the right program to do this job, but that's a technical detail. Some free software NNTP server should be able to let FreedomBox users easily host some newsgroups with reasonable default settings aimed at letting novices easily get started with peers.

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