Programmers:

We are people who are relentless about self-analysis. We challenge all accepted wisdom daily, throw out entire tool ecosystems weekly, brutally refactor our enterprise logic every month. All for one goal: maximum efficiency.

Also programmers:

It is perfectly normal and sane that the only workable way of sharing a text quotation on the Internet in 2019 should be to take a screenshot of it and post the JPEG.

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This derailment of thought brought to you by my Twitter feed tonight:

twitter.com/crcsmnky/status/11

in which a Google Cloud software engineer responds to a quotation from some unknown source, posted as an image.

yay metadata

yay discourse

I mean I know this is all we got, right now, but,

we used to have better messaging tools than the entire 2019 Social Media Ecosystem on Usenet

in the 1980s

heck we had better message-responding tools than this on FIDONET in the 1980s

and this is how the Web of 2019 is being built, apparently

on useless messaging tools

why

Somewhere there's actually the Illuminati Internet, right? the real one? the one that works?

one server sitting in a cave somewhere in Bavaria, running the Platonic ideal of the perfect operating system, with a tiny cluster of hooded ex-Google acolytes who are, once in their life, given a glimpse of the Great Mystery and then must swear never to implement it until society is ready for the wonder?

The Illuminati Internet works so well because it has only one server and one user ('Guest') and nobody ever, EVER switches it off, because they lost the source code during that whole unpleasantness with the Newton-Liebniz calculus priority war and the alchemy bomb that SOME JERK WITH A BIG GRAVITY FIXATION in the Cambridge mathematics department uploaded to the kernel. (Security was a lot more lax back then).

@natecull This is the secret internet. We even have the incredible ability to not only post images, but also subtitle them.

And you know what, I'm fine with my part of the internet being relatively unknown and unused by so many because I came and stay here on the fedi because this place is small and familial.

Why be big when you can be small?

@natecull If I'm being honest, there's many many tiny communities on the rise, but the thing is... they're not open. They're not spoken about.

Fedi is a different case as it's open but there's many communities online these days you get invited to rather than find yourself.

Who's left? The people not worth inviting. The people too loud, too weird, too obnoxious. And the temperature rises as more calm and more sensible voices just decide it's not worth engaging thoughtfully.

@natecull yay for fidonet! And yeah, I always thought that 120 chars initially for Twitter was just a completely insane discussion-crippling limit. I don't thing 240 is any better.

@luka It made sense back when Twitter was just 'mailing lists for SMS', so, 2006

@natecull maybe if you compare to Mastodon and the big ones. Pleroma has excellent threading.

@kaniini It's not *threading* but *excerpting* that's the empty hole at the moment.

Eg, we have well-understood semantics for basically three types of Internet / social media content right now:

* text (mostly raw text; Markdown if you're very, very lucky)

* URLs

* images (for some reason; they just sorta got grandfathered in because sharing photos is what a lot of people do on mobile)

And the problem is that everyone abuses 'images' for all data that doesn't fit in those three types.

@kaniini If we had something like, eg, 'URL, but, just the text at some sub-location', that might help.

HTML 'anchors' are almost entirely useless for this purpose, even though it was sorta what they were invented for.

@kaniini and even then, anything URL based is likely to vanish or change randomly.

so it's the problem of "how do I point to a piece of content X on another website, or inside a file like a PDF, not the whole document, prove attribution that it's real, and also preserve it for future reference"

And so far the only answers have been "use Internet Startup Y" and Internet Startup Y generally goes out of business within five years.

@natecull Pleroma has the ability to excerpt via Markdown, but it could be better.

@kaniini I doubt it has the ability to exerpt content from *a source which isn't Pleroma*, which is kinda the whole problem.

On Mastondon, I could easily link to a Mastodon toot! That's not my problem. The information I'm referencing isn't in bite-sized form.

@natecull @kaniini A more talmudic web would be amazing but it seems to be a tricky problem. If I you comment on the 3rd sentence of a page on my site, you could maybe make a url out of that. But what happens when I edit that page and move the sentence or delete it? You'd need a versioning system, perhaps like DAT. Or you need to make a copy for the quote (and talk to some lawyers!) Hypothesis¹ (and their semantic web predecessors) are doing interesting things though.

1. web.hypothes.is/

@KnowPresent @kaniini

Oh yeah, I can start to see where Hypothes.is comes in now.

I hope they, and/or the W3C Annotation group, survive.

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