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Letter to the Web, January 27, 2019

I’ve created this mailing list as a place for me to carry on a conversation with the Web on whatever topic seems of interest. It’s an alternative to carrying discussions through my microblog.

A current problem I’ve been perceiving with my microblog is that despite the Fediverse’s platforms’ potential for a curated experience, the overall culture of the Fediverse around me seems to swing toward a more… average… online culture. Put another way, as the Fediverse grows its membership from those who come from legacy social media, I see them bringing their culture and it spreading to those parts of the Fediverse older than those “immigrants.”

My hope is that by using e-mail for the same sorts of discussions, I can increase the distance in culture between conversations around me, and, as I said, the average online culture.

There’s a concept I was taught as a child, that I cannot find any information on in searching online today. Basically, the sharing of opinions should escalate from private discussions with family, to more open discussions with friends and associates, and finally presenting the ideas publicly. First the bedroom, then the family room, then the parlour, then the tavern, then town hall. (I also personally relate the idea to the four boxes of liberty, as a way of splitting up the “soap box”)

There were a few reasons for this, as I was taught. The main reason was that it kept you from looking like a fool: trivial flaws in your thinking could be pointed out by a loving spouse or compassionate friend, before you went sharing them with folk at the deli.

Another reason was so that when you said your ideas to someone who would brusquely disagree – more likely the more public the conversation – you would be more experienced in thinking-through and discussing the ideas, so better able to defend the notions, or see that it’s not worth the debate at all.

I’ve been thinking about how to apply a similar thought to communicating online – I’ve already taken some steps toward that, in working with Org-mode and Emacs I’ve made it easier to privately share drafts and then share them more publicly as I choose, before eventually publishing them on my blog.

This list is one of those steps – somewhere between “sharing with acquaintances,” and “sharing publicly .” Yes the list is public, but my hope is the oddity of a mailing list – and the more bespoke culture I hope we cultivate – will make it clear this is a conversation among friends, though we’ll hear what guests have to say.

I would ask that if you’ve made it this far in reading this, you take a moment to consider replying to let me know what you think of this notion. I haven’t laid it out before – was there any part of the above explanation that was exceptionally unclear or disagreeable? I’d like to present these ideas more wildly but – as I’ve just explained – I want to suss them out with friends and like-minded strangers first.

Date: 2019-01-27 Sun 11:16

Author: emsenn

Created: 2021-01-30 Sat 10:44