Bugs of social networks!

As I’m surrounded by my like-minded people, who care about software freedom and privacy, I’m usually questioned about why I’m not on social networks and sometimes get suggestions about what social network may suit me.

I have to explain to them that my problem is not with a certain network, no matter how ethical they might be, but rather is with the essence of social networks. My problem with social networks is that they’re social and they require some bare minimum that I’m uncomfortable with.

Social networks always have a system of rating and assessment of posts and people. They always have like or upvote/downvote buttons, they show following/follower counts and they rely on people to interact with each other and remain active to be able to keep up with the network and the people.

These are the bare minimum requirements of a social network to become functional for people. People love these and if a network misses these so-called features, people consider it broken. A social network with no follower/following count, no like button, no stats, and no kind of rating people is, in my honest opinion, a true “social” network.

My favorite social network will not mind-play people to compete with each other to care about the following/follower rate or how many likes their posts get; but rather tries to connect people solely based on their posts and favorite communities. My favorite social network won’t tell you that your post is good enough (so it got enough likes) or you’re not likeable (because you get few followers), it’ll tell you how beneficial or important you are for your community based on the interactions you have with other members and real communications, not by likes your post gets.

A social network should be about connecting people and members of communities, not about trying to make people compete in pointless mind-games. My problem with social networks is that they’re addictive and they somehow force you to remain active day after day but my favorite social network helps you be active whenever you need or whenever it suits you.

My favorite social network won’t exclude any people, however it moderates the communities and people. The network, which surely should be decentralized, will try to prevent any harms done to you both mentally and physically. It will protect you from privacy-invaders and it will protect you from harassment.

Networks we currently have are trying to show you more and more. That’s one way to make you an addict. Algorithm or not, the way timelines work, even in Mastodon, it’s an endless scroll; specially if you have a lot of following. My favorite social network won’t give you an endless feed, rather it focuses on giving you a feed which makes you aware of how much you’re scrolling or turning pages. This way it ensures that you’re not spending countless hours reading what you won’t even remember 10 minutes later. Of course it’ll also show you funnies or daily stuff happening to your friends but it will also make sure you’re aware of your scrolling.

My favorite social network will give you possibility to limit your interactions. It will hide you from everybody other than what you choose. You will be able to choose whether you want to be public or keep hidden for outside circles. It won’t make you public or show your existence to anyone other than who you choose. You may choose to be discoverable or not, but whatever you choose it will respect it.

My favorite social network won’t be owned by any corporation or a billionaire, it won’t be forced to implement anything because a player in network or a donor requires it, it will only implement what benefits the members of the network.

Of course not all social networks have all of these issues but they all have at least some of these problems. Sadly, there’s no social network, to my knowledge, that fixes all of these problems. And social networks create communities and not all communities are toxic for me. Federated social networks managed to create a network of communities. For example, in Mastodon, we have Fosstodon that is a FOSS community and we have SDF which is an art community all connected together.

And not all members of social networks actually care about my issues or even care about mind-games social networks play, but most people, I believe, have this kind of mindset and it has become the nature of participation in social networks. We should change that.


A while ago I asked a question from some people about where they stand on torture. I asked whether torture can be ethical in any situation but then it wasn’t about whether it can be justified, rather I asked about an specific situation.

At first people told me that it depends on the situation. So I had to ask, can torture be ethical in any way? And if yes, where do we stand on methods? Tickling can be torture, as is punching the teeth out of someone’s mouth.

Most people replied that if it’s a matter of life or death of a lot of people then they believe torture is justified however unsavory the method is. But torture is not ethical, it’s just justified. Now let’s get to the specific situation.

Imagine a mentally ill person threatening that he hid a bomb underneath the city and if that explodes, hundreds of thousands of people will die. Now we won’t be able to find the bomb or even make sure there’s a bomb except with torture. The only way to find out if there’s a real bomb is to torture that person. Now keep in mind that that person is mentally ill and it could all be part of his challenges but it also could be real. What would you do? Will you torture (or let others torture) him?

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Not a browser war but a Web war

Today’s invite to use Firefox and Firefox-based browsers is not about the browser war the Internet and Web community is typically involved in, but a war for open and free (as in freedom) Web. Since Google is trying to take away our freedom in Web browsing, it is now our duty to fight against Google and its plans.

One of Google’s power arms in this battle is Chrome. Through Chrome (and its base, Chromium), Google is enforcing new made-up standards that nobody wants except Google itself. Standards forced on users that are solely there to benefit Google and its partners. It’s now our duty to fight against them. It has always been our duty.

Any Chromium-based browser should be avoided. Doesn’t matter how the company behind your browser is removing Google’s DRM or how they advertise themselves to you, they should be avoided. I saw companies like Brave and Vivaldi protesting Google’s new war on Web but I think that’s ridiculous. They are some of the companies that are helping Google dominate in the Web browser war.

Using Chromium, which only results in Google winning the Web war, is a betrayal to the Internet and Web community and to all of us. There’s no excuse, there’s not “but”, there’s no good reason, it’s all false and hopeless justification of helping Google take away our precious Web.

Of course, I’m not saying Firefox and Mozilla are perfect but they’re now our only tools and power to fight Google. Our best shot is now Firefox and the cooperation of webmasters and sysadmins and an online civil disobedience against the Google’s efforts to impose its dictatorship on us.

Managed and controlled sleep: end of experiment

I’m super tired right now. Since I started my experiment, I’ve been trying very hard to keep up with it and it’s been 15 days since I started not sleeping well intentionally. 15 very hard days indeed.

At first I thought it becomes easy when I go with the experiment a few days. i thought it’s hard at first and I get used to it but as I was moving forward, it became harder and harder. I’ve become exhausted more and more and I tried to get energy with food and sleeping in quiet rooms to make up for it but it wasn’t working.

I tried to save my energy with limiting my movement and avoid hard work and drinking a lot of water for hydration but it also wasn’t enough.

More I went on with the experiment, more I got distracted and I became less and less focused. It was hurting my job and I couldn’t keep up with everything that was going on. After the first week, to better my work quality and prevent damages to my business, I changed the schedule to bring sleeping hours closer together but it wasn’t enough.

Sometimes I would suddenly come to my senses and realize that I had not been conscious for the previous minutes. But in the same moments that I was doing something, I was aware that I was doing it. I didn’t pass out, I just phased out for some minutes. Something like a muscle memory, you’re aware that you’re doing something but you do it automatically and without your control. For example, I did sell the products and did log the record on my computer but I did them unaware of myself. It was like looking at myself in third-person.

I didn’t have any problem driving or eating. Nothing was changed and I didn’t phase out or sleepy. I didn’t notice any change and nobody told me anything so I guess even if there were some change or inconveniences, it wasn’t that much for people to notice.

Communicating with other people was also good. Only a few people told me I look tired and I could keep up with people and conversations. I also faced no issue with remembering stuff. I thought my short-term memory would be affected but I faced no problem.

Sleeping became hard at some point. I had trouble going to sleep a few times but it wasn’t too much of trouble. I think it was the fifth day of the experiment. Waking up was also hard. It was the hardest part of the experiment. i thought about giving up a few times.

I could still go on with the experiment. I still have some energy left in me, enough to continue the experiment for at least another week but I stopped because I didn’t want to bother my business or people around me anymore. Sleeping hours and crankiness didn’t only affect me, it also affected those around me.

Anyway, I’m gonna sleep like a baby tonight and I’m gonna enjoy every second of it. It was a good experiment and I’m not regretting it. I enjoyed it overall.

Google launches another war at web

I was going to put an exclamation mark after the title but I realized there’s no need as I don’t get surprised by hearing Google is doing something bad to the web. As Google does, they’re launching another attack on free Internet, this time by “Web Environment Integrity”.

Put in simple words, Google is giving developers an API through which they can approve certain browser configurations while forbidding others from accessing a service or a page. This means, assuming one implements it, one can prevent you from accessing their web page or using a service because you used Firefox instead of their choice of web browser.

The intro explains that the goal is to make sure the browser hasn’t been modified or tampered with in any unapproved ways. Given that Google is behind this, unapproved ways surely means whatever hurts Google’s tracking and data-harvesting.

See how you can read this post using your favorite web browser or RSS reader? That’ll no longer be the case if this WEI thingy is put in work. Do you use tracker-blockers on your browser for safe and painless browsing? With WEI they can force you to use the browser the way they want and it can force you not to block ads.

Imagine being forced to use an specific browser of their choice (not yours but theirs) and being tracked not by cookies only but by the browser itself (just like how Google Chrome does) and worse than that, imagine you’re blocked from accessing a web site because you tried to block trackers using an extension.

Well of course they claim that’s not the goal but what’s stopping them? Google has a long history of abusing users and collecting personal information to sell or use for advertisers. Google is not a hero when it comes to keeping promises and they’re not trusted with people’s data.

In the “non-goals” section of the project, it says they don’t want to “interfere with browser functionality, including plugins and extensions.” That’s a promise to not killing ad-blockers, even though the project mentions better advertising support as some of its goals.

It’s dangerous. Google will do anything to collect more and more information from users and to fight those who resist it. It’s dangerous to privacy, security, freedom, and integrity of open web. It will cause a lot of problems for people which are far more bigger than whether we see or not see advertisements.

Think about political activists who are forced to browse web using Chrome instead of Tor and their data is collected by someone who sells them to tyrannical governments. Imagine a human rights campaign organizer being forced to give away personal data and the whole campaign being compromised because of it. The Internet and web were never completely safe but imagine the last traces of privacy being wiped for the profit of a company and some CEOs.

It’s against everything that we stand for but most importantly it’s against our freedom. It’s targeting our freedom of choice, freedom of computing, freedom for information, freedom for Internet and people using it, and freedom of us against tyranny. We should fight against it. It’ll destroy what’s left of our free web and Internet.

Managed and controlled sleep: an experiment

It’s been days since I had a good sleep. I’m going to bed late and wake up early these days. I get no more than 5 hours of sleep a day and it made me exhausted, until it didn’t!

Since three days ago, it’s been hard for me to wake up because I feel very tired but then when I get ready and go to work, I no longer feel the tiredness. It made me thinking about how sleeping and resting works so I’m gonna start an experiment.

Starting tonight I’m gonna manage my sleep. I’m gonna add to the number of times I’m gonna sleep in 24 hours but in each session, I’m gonna sleep no more or less than 2 hours. I’m gonna have 4 sleep sessions during day and night so I’ll get eight hours of sleep in every 24 hours.

The sleep schedule will be two hours from 1 to 3, Two hours from 6 to 8, Two hours from 14 to 16, and two hours from 20 to 22. Since the two hours from 20 to 22 I’ll be at work, I’m gonna liquidize the schedule and adopt changes if necessary. My partner will take over when I have to sleep during work hours so the business won’t get hurt.

I’m not gonna achieve anything from this experiment, I’m just curious to see what happens if instead of eight hours straight, we sleep for two hours, four times a day.

The urge of microblogging

The picture shows three people. One of them looking at a computer. The second person (middle one) asks the one behind the computer (one on the left) "what are you doing?" He replies "I'm writing" and the middle person asks "but you're not typing" and he replies "first I have to think about it". The middle person tells one on the right (the third person) "have you heard that?" and the third person replies "strange." On the bottom of the drawing it shows a title which reads "The age of microblogging".

I’m doing backups right now. I take a backup of everything I know I’ll need of my computers get lost or stolen or wiped and I encrypt them and store them on storage I have on different locations. I store copies on different storage to be able to recover my stuff if one of the copies gets destroyed or inaccessible.

While doing the backups (which includes a copy of this web site), I wanted to share with my friends that backing up stuff we care about is important and a must do. However, I’m not on any social network! That urge that I wanted to enter a URL on my browser and type to my friends that they must back up their stuff is amazing.

It may be an old habit of course, because I was microblogging for a long time, but it still fascinates me that I want to share small notes with my friends and communicate with them on a social network even after I have deleted all my accounts and decided I no longer have to use them.

I have considered signing up on a Mastodon instance a few times since I left and some people even told me that they miss me there and I should go back but I still have resisted it. I still believe I’ll be more healthy mentally and physically without social networks. My blog is enough for me (even though I even thought about deleting this blog as well).

Microblogging is so addictive. Whatever you do or whatever interesting happens to you will go online with microblogs and we do that unconsciously because we’re used to it. We see that kind of stuff and we do that so constantly that we don’t even realize what we’re doing no more. That scares me. The urge for microblogging, no matter how wonderful it is, scares me.

I’m still resisting this urge and I still tell myself that if there’s something so important that I have to tell other people, there’s my blog for it. I’m not gonna use my blog for microblogging or stuff like that. I’m gonna use it as a real blog like we used to do 20 years ago and I’m gonna keep it that way. All important stuff that need to be shared with others goes here.

For example, back up your important stuff people. Backups are important. I’m doing it right now and it takes about 10 minutes of my day. You can do it as well.

Move people to free software

Meta (formerly Facebook) has recently published a social networking app to compete with Twitter. It’s named Threads. Threads allows users to create text-based posts with up to 500 characters, share photos, and upload videos up to five minutes long. It looks similar to Twitter, with an interface that gives users the option to like, comment, repost, and share threads.

Users can choose to log in with their Instagram usernames or create a new account. Threads does not currently support ActivityPub, but there are plans to integrate the protocol later down the line.

The plan to support ActivityPub is good news. However, the app is proprietary and it will be privacy-violating. The app is not available in the Europe due to the EU’s strict privacy regulations. That’s how dangerous it is for people’s privacy. (Update: I came to realization that them supporting ActivityPub is not actually good news!)

But privacy issues aside, Meta is a huge proprietor. The news about supporting ActivityPub, which is the protocol behind the fediverse (most notably Mastodon), should not misguide us about the nonfree app. We should move people to free software and open networks. The solution to Twitter, and the opportunity we now have, is to guide people to use free programs and networks such those that build Mastodon.

People should be in control of their computing and that’ll be possible only by using free software. Using social networks such as Mastodon which are built upon the idea of openness and freedom will encourage people to learn more about the issues we’re worried about and will enhance the ability of activists in our movement to promote freedom more and more and help more people understand what we stand for.

We should help our developers and activists to teach more people about freedom now that we have the opportunity to move people from proprietary software to freedom.