The internet has changed again.

I was explaining Mastodon to a friend, who asked about arcane terms of service.

Best way I could phrase it: TOS are simple and mostly about privacy; this is just a network of sites run by random people, not a collection of mega-corps and lawyer swarms.

It used to be that a large company running a site became a sign of stability and maturity, not something to be wary of.

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Funny that we seem to be going in circles.

The web started as a bunch of individuals running their own servers. Then things got professionalized, and we got the mostly benevolent, for-pay corporate services. Now that your data is more valuable than whatever meager subscription fee you're not going to pay for anyway, we're back to trusting the randos.

The plummeting server/software costs help, but it would be impossible without volunteer labor.

It behooves us to support the randos.

@hamishcampbell @ricardojmendez The disappointing take is that there never was a golden age of the web.

The web didn't begin as individuals. It started off in academic institutions and was extremely professionalised. This was what I call the "profdoctor" era, in which the web consisted mostly of academic profile pages and scientific papers. Individuals were only able to run servers much later.

Also the profit-seeking corporations were never trustworthy. Back in the day web users literally hated Compuserve and AOL with a desk-thumping passion. They were an early form of Big Tech monopoly.

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