All I have to say to folks that just learned this week that #freenode #IRC was sold 4 years ago to someone:

It's 2021 and you're still not decentralized?


@downey @matrix Despite IRC being mainly run on Freenode, wasn't it still decentralized overall?


@Lofenyy @downey

You run a set of servers as a network, that servers sync. Not everyone can connect their server.
So it is more load distribution and making sure availability is given.
All under enforced rules and with normally managed teams.

People seem to forget tho, that this model has certain positive side effects. Cohesive rules, stability, and cost benefits.

Alternatives such as XMPP do only help so far, if later everything and their dog uses the one system ( anyone?)

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@Lofenyy @downey

It boils down to, it does not matter what System and whether we (as communities) run our federated, distributed or whatever system. We must start running our OWN infrastructure.

Federated, decentralized etc are helping to make it more easy. We need to build our skillset, help others to run it.
To in the end not end up with yet again someone else running infrastructure where we are guests.

That is the hard problem most people overlook. It is social. Long commitment.

@Lofenyy @downey

To actually give a rather sad example:

Why do hackerspaces not all run their infrastructure? Who, if not Hackerspaces would be those seedpoints?
Why do large hackerspaces run on google groups or whatever?

I do not want to blame each and every individual to make such a choice, because of workload. But our communities should help small groups run their own stuff. We (as hackerspace movement) fail if we do not even manage to run our own spaces. Physical and online

@Lofenyy @downey

And of course a lot of stuff is happening in fringe. was one example,, hackint, and many many more are run by fine volunteer groups from those different groups.

Lets help build and foster that spirit. Run small infrastructure, help others build it.

I am certain we can do it.

@mwfc @downey It shouldn't be so fringe IMO. Why aren't mainstream tech groups doing this stuff? It'd be excellent learning material for younger folk who want to learn. If you pass it on to them, they'll pass it on to others. The libre movement shouldn't be confined to us crusty folk who actively repel outsiders. We simply can't do this alone.

@Lofenyy @downey

It is not so much repelling outsiders I would say.
In general we moved a lot in the last two decades. We became way more diverse, and I do not mean gender, race and so on, but more that we value technical writers and others in our communities. Documentation started to appear and people worked on it.

It appears to me we are slowly migrating away from pure coding focused to ecosystem, with documentation and user input. I think that is a good shift. Less throw over fence code.

@Lofenyy @downey

I do not know why mainstream or group Y does it.
I am and have been part of the local hackerspaces groups and have tried to make a dent to run our own infrastructure and teach skills.
I know many others do too.

But I sadly see that there are always few running infrastructure, and not only in the sense of servers or maintain rooms, but in keeping the institutions alive. In Germany you often have a few running many coops, doing the "housekeeping" and odd jobs noone else does.

@Lofenyy @downey

They are mostly not visible, but take out few key players in a couple of local ecosystems, and the whole scene collapses. Sad truth is, we are not good in scaling work on many shoulders.

Some people get grumpy, because it is always them to do the work. Others dont bother documenting, because it is again them in the end doing it.
Some vicious circle that needs breaking, and that requires a ton of work, and caring for people doing such work.

@Lofenyy @downey

So key issue to tackle is social. yet we focus on tool discussions.
Install a wiki and documentation will appear.
a CMS everyone can use, then homepage articles appear.

Yeah, but just "someone" needs to keep the door open.
"Everyone" could welcome new folks in spaces.

And in the end?
On boarding takes time and energy. It hinders _your_ progress in _your_ project. That is the reason I heard from many hackerspace folks why they don't do this job. They come for their project.

@Lofenyy @downey

They are not malicious or ignorant, we just fail to make the work needed to run our places visible.

And off to work

@mwfc @downey Honestly, that's a very excellent take! If I had the time and energy, I'd bring it up to my local Unix user group. It's actually hard to think of a reason why we shouldn't be doing this, though to be honest, the specifics aren't 100% clear. Despite that though, as a movement we've been pretty weak at what we do. I think we need direction perhaps, and motivation. I think good efforts are made by some, but we definitely need more.

@mwfc @Lofenyy @downey I agree with what you’ve said; personally I see it as a sign that even hackers teach themselves with cheatsheets and Stack Overflow nowadays. People wouldn’t be so lazy about running their own infrastructure if they read books about e.g. reverse proxies, I believe?
@mwfc @Lofenyy @downey Like, according to what I see on the web only, people don’t even know the difference between Ethernet and CAT6, and they complain about having to implement IPv6. This is borderline with trolling, but I hope I make a point here.


I strongly disagree regarding cheatsheet.
Many have realized that running infrastructure is a pain. And to follow YOUR project, you skip things being a time sink. Running services is just this.

Many start to use community built spaces as a gym, pay a fee, use it. Not really considering how much work it requires to keep running. A lot of "is it worth it" questions appear.
In the end, many people only need to witness someone burn due to work overload.

@downey @Lofenyy


I saw awesome "Nerdpower" actions in a friendly space nearby and I think many people do not know what it means to run a place.

Sweeping the floor, doing the servers, keeping lights on, checking member dues, ordering/taking care of drinks etc pp. All this are easy jobs we all love to do once in a while. Some people not even realize how many 100 small things make up a running space.
So distribute Workload. Help with it. Make it transparent.

@downey @Lofenyy

@mwfc @downey @Lofenyy Of course! This workload distribution must be organized from the ground up; if someone starts to manage everything, soon they’re considered as the only person who knows how to do the things and how to manage the things to do.

@mwfc @Lofenyy @downey for a potential insight here, I was on a hackspace's committee in the UK and you either have to be a charity or company. Either way you start running into data protection legislation and hosting your own emails in a way that less technical committee members can manage (inclusivity remember, crochet is a valid hackspace activity) and gets them delivered without problem is very hard. Google is one of the few that covered gdpr etc


I am sorry, I think dataprotection is a poor excuse for not running a mailinglist. Or other mailservices.
It might be that UK law is a issue, but as a German knee deep in GDPR for a long a time and now working in public health I do not see any barrier. Again, I cannot speak for UK legislature.

I totally agree with the mail being an issue with gmail et al being a PITA. But the real issue is imho is NOT technical there, but the work needs to be done.

@Lofenyy @downey


Think of all the NIH solutions in hackerspaces, and the amount of time spent/wasted on various small things. Various infrastructure takes a fraction of work on that. Knowledgeable people we have. But keeping and maintaining infrastructure costs time and effort. This means as well checking the legal frameworks. And again, I do not blame invidividual people, but if a full group fails to run small amount of services for themselves, I consider it sad.

@Lofenyy @downey

@mwfc @Lofenyy @downey the trouble is a group of loose individuals whose makeup is often changing (people come and go in committees) with varying skillsets who are a volunteer organisation do not have the structure often to run internet connected services securely and with due care for data laws. Add to that, directors can be jailed for not complying with the law, why would you put yourself at that risk? Add on huge opinions on tools... No thanks!


Must be tough country with plenty of jails then.

Sorry but I see no base for discussion if you seriously expect jail time for running a internet service.

All that is baseless in Germany, and I expect no other EU country will treat groups like that. But ofc, if you happen to live in such a place, better not dare to touch a typewriter.

@Lofenyy @downey

@mwfc @Lofenyy @downey that's the problem though, if your hackerspace doesn't have the people who find infrastructure stuff fun, you don't have much choice. My day job involved running servers, and I would have had the skills but we had others who also did but denigrated even my job title, so no way was I going to get involved in that. I think you underestimate the politics and motivation for people to do it right, and if you do it wrong, jail time.

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