I don't think it's rude to, though you can now directly link gemini content.

@maya Some people have asked that their gemini content not be proxied. I don’t think that policy is good, so don’t shoot the messenger on that. It’s more of an FYI on what I’ve seen in the land of Gemini.

@maya I agree with your article and I do have such a distaste for “tech treshold”–ism.


@maya Not that I’m not guilty. More that I do see it as a bug to try to change, not a desired feature to embrace.

@Sandra ha s there been an example of something that has dispensed with the "room" model but that is still meaningfully a community? the fully distributed network graph just makes me think of 1:1 comms

@maya Imagine a garden party where you are standing such that you can talk to Alice and Bob, while Bob is standing so that he can talk to you and Carol. Is that a community in a meaningful sense? Not sure. But it can still be fun♥

With the room model, it’s unavoidable to not have one of the following two things happen:

Room becomes unwieldily big
Room becomes limited and stops taking in new people

Both of those things can be kinda bad…

A lot of the big rooms are filtered by some kind of algorithm. Twitter and YouTube for example. A sort of “what’s trending” filter. Or on Twitch where there is a “superchat” lane for those who pay more.

There are many ways to accomplish limiting rooms. Have a treshold (whether tech or other hoops—“My latest album is only being released on reel-to-reel tape!”). Or constantly keep starting up new rooms. Or otherwise keep the room small just by sheer obscurity or niche or just by being a bad enough, and boring enough, room that people don’t wanna join.

Tresholded rooms aren’t necessarily wrong. Most families are tresholded rooms—it’s possible to join them but there are hoops, and that’s fine.♥ I wouldn’t want a bunch of weirdos suddenly showing up and claiming that they are married to me or w/e.

So the room model can live and can do good things. But I really really wanna hang out with people in an non–room-model way, too.

Just like here on Fedi. The non–room-model is exactly what we have here on Fedi.

The example then would sound like email, where you can direct communications to whatever particular recipients you want, but there's no discoverability.

For me, the ability to meet new people within a shared context is pretty important to "community". To find content you didn't know to look for.

Right now, Gemini can do that because it is small enough that "all Geminispace" is a manageable room in which you can look around and meet people.

@Sandra I'm not sure fedi has been very successful at creating community. It's really hard to figure out who to follow, discoverability is pretty terrible across servers. Finding people to follow relies on eavesdropping on conversations in replies or people's RTs. Lots of projects ongoing to make that better, but at this point it doesn't have a Small Internet feel. I say that as someone with a great affection for it still

@Sandra Probably that's a judgment *very* informed by being on an almost-single-user-server though

@maya In my experience there has been a lot more discoverability on Fedi than on email. And I hold up Fedi as an example of the non-room–model.

CAPCOM used to have the feel of a mailing list almost but now it has gone random. So you get the discoverability of a room but not the size of a room.

And there’s also Schapcom where you can discover things that you wouldn’t normally follow since you get the feeds that your friends are into.

I feel like you’re not really responding to the original points here.

You and I both seem to agree that:

tech treshold is a bad way to keep a room small.
large rooms lose some of the value of small rooms.

I’m not saying that the non-room–model can do or solve everything ever that the room model could. And yes, you’ve identified discoverability is the main problem.

Rooms force us to get exposed out with some pretty scummy people just as long as the have made their way into the room somehow. (Yeah, I know that even room-based apps, like Usenet, mailing lists or IRC, usually have a way to keep an ignore list.)

My ideal would be to follow&be-followed-by a group of people that I like. Have that on my home timeline, talk to them, listen to them. That’d feel like the best parts of a room. Then some people in that group could also follow people I don’t like, that’d be OK.

Again, there are plenty of situations where the room model is better, so it’s not going away anytime soon:

Small projects
Niche hobbies
Local chapters of bigger hobbies
Subprojects of bigger projects

I mentioned families earlier but now that I think of it, many of them are also on the non-room–model. I have never met my ex’s brother’s wife’s cousin (as a made-up example), yet I could imagine that those cousins might be pretty important in each other’s lives.

@Sandra what's the point you'd like response to? I'm not sure what you see as central here


Main question is: I’m not sure what we disagree on.

@Sandra for me, what I find appealing about gemini is the sense of community you can see. it's also sad, because the tech threshold is what limits the size/nature of everything there such that it has coherency as a community -- and we're on the same page finding that threshold an undesirable one.

I think what I'm identifying as a sense of community isn't present in how you're describing the "non-room-model". that doesn't make it bad; it's just not the thing *I'm* talking about.

@Sandra what I'd disagree on would be "The "room" model is the problem" being what I'm talking about in my initial post, I guess


Thanks for the clarification.

So I agree that it’s sad that it’s a tech treshold that is the room-size–limiter. But is there a room-size–limiter that you would find acceptable?

That’s what I wanted with the non-room–model: to have my own selection, my own curation, as the limit, plus the curation of a few others (for discoverability purps to not create too much of an echo chamber).

To me, when I am in a community with some pretty scummy people (along with a bunch of people I absolutely love♥♥♥) that makes me feel bad and that has happened again and again with the room model. So I feel like “Oh. Since we have a shared hobby or a shared tech stack we’re now somehow supposed to remain in this li’l locked room together. And I don’t feel great about that.”

I also think of the the old labels vs boxes issue. It’s hard to make a box that can perfectly fit a lot of things. Because things can usually only be in one box. But things can have many labels.

(BTW I hope you’re feeling OK about this convo. I’ve had my share of sealions on here, and I hope that’s not what I’m doing now.)

A big, unlimited room is like a river or a flood. That’s great for discoverability purposes—I can’t keep up with everything but there is a lot of stuff that flitter past. And I can bring some of my faves from that river into my own curation♥

@Sandra I think there could be *tons* of good limiters and there should be lots! I think it's good if lots of people are trying out lots of different models because every time you make a community of 15-20,000 people you have a good chance of making something better than, like, Facebook. Maybe we need technology that makes it easy to make a local community, like a Nextdoor with intention. Maybe we need interesting limits on expression -- handwritten posts only? [cont.]

@Sandra I think there probably aren't perfect answers to bad people w/ the room model. It really depends on the kind and degree of scumminess. There are some jerks that can be tolerated in the same way that an asshole cousin is still family. There are some people who need to be kicked out for the health of the community. You're right that it can be a big problem.

For me, I don't want to express myself absolutely publicly in the same way I can within a more limited context. [cont.]

@Sandra That means that I'm more comfortable trying to figure out what rooms I can socialize within even when they're imperfect.

I've probably got to get back to work here, but I have enjoyed this conversation! I think it's good to discuss how different people want different things from their internet, and how that impacts what we should build.

@maya Thank you for your ideas.

I think… just as I still see the value in the room model for some things, I am really grateful anytime I can carve out some space for the non-room–model.♥ It is so awesome to me when different worlds intersect.

@maya The inaccessibility of it is a real problem, and there's quite a few people who are trying to address that.

There are at least two iOS browsers that I know of, though both are still in beta and only accessible through Testflight for those who've found a link.

For the desktop both Kristall and Lagrange are popular GUI browsers (I don't know how to install any of them, since I go the CLI way for now).

@maya There are also communities dedicated to making gemini publishing easier, such as flounder.online and midnight.pub.

I'm working on an article about Gemini that I'm hoping will be quite exhaustive from a non-technical viewpoint. If you have any thoughts or ideas for improving geminispace and making it more accessible I would *love* to hear them -- even if they're half-baked :)

@tinyrabbit I *adore* midnight.pub, I'd found it before I realized anything had anything to do with gemini (maya.land/responses/2020/12/18) and flounder.online looks similarly great.

my pessimistic instinct is that if it *were* made to be as easy to use as e.g. mainstream social media *and* more people were therefore able to use it... would it still be lovely / distinctive?

@tinyrabbit it troubles me re:gemini as a project that what has been made accessible as flounder.online and midnight.pub seems to boil down to fundamentally HTTPS sites that have adopted some GMI limitations so they can have read-only canonical GMI. like, that's valid and not a problem and those projects are still great, but it makes me feel pretty down on gemini as a concept

@tinyrabbit if a person believes that the reason the wide internet is terrible is inline images and CSS and javascript, then that person would believe that geminispace *would* still be lovely because it wouldn't have those things.

I think eternal september suggests otherwise. it wasn't because of protocol changes that usenet lost its former character

@maya because gemini is — as you say — a read-only protocol we end up with some pretty huge accessability issues when it comes to publishing. It’s either https, be a geek, or simply don’t 😐

And if we do overcome some obstacles and geminispace grows, then the character of geminispace *will* change. Not everyone will want that... it’s a double-edged sword.

@tinyrabbit absolutely! and I'm not at all trying to say that I think anyone is doing The Wrong Thing relative to some right answer. it's just sort of saddening to me to think about what it is that allows geminispace to be so lovely right now

@maya I'm hoping there will one day be a Firefox add-on that will allow us to seamlessly hop between http(s) and gemini. That would lower the barrier significantly even if everybody and their cousin uses Chrome these days. Supposedly there's a whitelist of schemas in Firefox to which gemini:// has to be added.


@maya I love the phrase "grail quest for the Eternal August"

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Conventicle of the Lesser Occult Institute

The Conventicle of the Lesser Occult Institute