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Thoughts on Attempts to Reform Online Communication

There quite a few people talking in the Fediverse about how we can reform online communication. Quite a few Western folk. I’ve got a question for them?

Why are you “building a better Internet” before looking at how marginalized populations in authoritarian oppressive regions have been using the Internet for the past decade? If you wanted to understand the real threats that online communications face, you’d look to any of the millions who’ve challenged those threats, rather than wanting unthreatened people to gather around to hypothesize as to what those threats might be.

Folk who have no real experience in activism, yet are trying to place themselves in the vanguard of better communication technology. Interested in setting up new projects, new names, bringing together folks around them and their discussions, completely ignoring the work that’s been done by many others in the field, because… ?

Honestly it seems like most folk are doing it because they truly think their opinion is that much better. I know this is conceited but part of it is personally offensive because like, I’m not allowed to leave the country, have basically been blacklisted from real jobs, because of my work in this field, and I watch these privileged (enough) folk saying “oh well it just needed a different protocol!” or something stupid, without recognizing… like this is real life.

If they’re actually making tools that remove the state’s ability to control communication, they’re like, gonna get shot, not sent emotionally draining DMs.

And so I think it kinda belays that they KNOW they aren’t really doing these things, or that they don’t know just how aggressive the government can be, and either way, demonstrates, they aren’t qualified at all for what they’re trying to do. Like, again, conceit, but tbh if you don’t know my name, you aren’t well-versed enough in the recent history of online activism to do more than be a peon or rabblerousers.

And it sucks because like with their “we’re building better tools” that just… actively takes attention away from the folk in those oppressive regions actually doing that - and then people in those regions start using these shitty tools becuase they’re what the marketed white folk use, and then folk start getting arrested or shot.

And, on top of this, I’m concerned these folk don’t realize what they’re getting into. Guards at Guantanamo aren’t going to skip your beating that day because you’re out of spoons, y’know?

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