Vikshepa Blog

Mental Distractions

22 Apr 2022

2022-04-22 - Hubzilla | state of the web

Growing this site

I haven't had much time for blogging lately, but, in my free time I have been tidying up my Hubzilla site and making various improvements. One intended improvement resulted in the accidental deletion of one of my wikis, but it was not such a significant loss. After going back and forth on the question of how to collect web links - such as for comment in blogging. Hubzilla's bookmarks module looks like it still needs some work, though it is very easy to share bookmarks to it, via a browser bookmarklet. See my channel timeline for a discussion on the pros and cons of the system. In the meantime, I will be using another Hubzilla module.

Along the way, I discovered that sharing from the photos module can result in disaster (by sharing a bunch of uploaded photos from the photos module, each photo becomes a separate status post - eek!)

Chris Trottier has a short article [1] on the imperfections of the Fediverse as a decentralized social network, and why it is still the most viable solution that is currently available. He says that although better protocols exist for decentralized social networking, the Fediverse is currently the only one (other than email - which has become increasingly centralized) that has sufficient engagement and momentum. As for me, while it would be possible for a system like Hubzilla to incorporate social networking via XMPP (the protocol is already supported by Hubzilla), I think it would not be possible to do all that I do in Hubzilla with a protocol entirely based on XMPP.

I too have various gripes with the Fediverse. I was unable to subscribe to Trottier's Pixelfed account through Hubzilla. And I discovered today that while I am unable to subscribe to any Diaspora account, they can subscribe to me. I have yet to see whether Diaspora posts will show up in my stream. The web

There were a couple of other interesting articles on the web lately. We discovered that DuckDuckGo is filtering out search results that reference the Pirate Bay and YouTubeDL [2].

DDG also announced lately that they will filter Russian "disinformation" from their results. SearX is the engine I try to use, but the Disroot instance that I use seems to depend mainly on results from the other big search engines, which do the same filtering.

There are more search engines mentioned, but many of these are "not supported". On the Disroot instance, or completely?

Anil Dash has a positive piece, "A web renaissance" [3]

"Thanks to the mistrust of big tech, the creation of better tools for developers, and the weird and wonderful creativity of ordinary people, we’re seeing an incredibly unlikely comeback: the web is thriving again.

"… now, the entire ecosystem has seen that there’s no safety in being subject to the whims of the tech giants. Some don’t like having to pay to promote their content online. Some don’t like being deranked by capricious algorithms. Some don’t like being on a treadmill of constantly trying to optimize for search engines. Some don’t like being on platforms that promoted hate or abuse. Everyone has something that frustrates them.

"On your own site, though, under your own control, you can do things differently. Build the community you want. I'm not a pollyanna about this; people are still going to spend lots of times on the giant tech platforms, and not everybody who embraces the open web is instantly going to become some huge hit. Get your own site going, though, and you’ll have a sustainable way of being in control of your own destiny online."


I have decided to give George R.R. Martin a rest, or put him permanently to rest, for similar reasons that I eventually gave up on Gene Wolfe. Their world-building and force of imagination deserves praise, but, they demand too much of our time. Though their gift does not fail them, artificial worlds eventually come up against certain limits, like the hero of "The Truman Show".

I feel a need to spend time with something else. Candidates are the writings of Christopher Isherwood and more Patrick Modiano.


  1. Why I'm all in with the Fediverse even though I have gripes

  1. DuckDuckGo Removes Pirate Sites and YouTube-DL from Its Search Results

  1. A Web Renaissance

Unlike Dash, who advocates benefiting from new web technologies, here is a piece that speaks out for keeping things as simple as possible, and make sites that are designed to outlast the latest technological whims.

This Page is Designed to Last: A Manifesto for Preserving Content on the Web

Indeed there was a time not so long ago that every site seemed to depend upon Flash. What a horror that was.

Tags: blogging web search-engines
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