So, there's this concept of "implicit feudalism" in online communities. Essentially, the vast majority of online communities - from old-school forums, to facebook groups, to large platforms like Twitter and Facebook themselves, even to fediverse instances - they're all run as dictatorships by default. It's built into the software - you'll have a top admin who has full, unconstrained power, they might delegate mods who have some limited powers, and anyone else has to listen to what these dictators and lords tell them. We talk about "federating" here in the fediverse, but each individual community - as far as I'm aware of - is a little dictatorship. A federation of dictatorships is not a free society, anymore than the UN, an international body composed of "liberal democracies" and authoritarian regimes is truly democratic. We need a way to start governing online communities through actual forms of democracy.


@anomaly Interestingly, Plato said the best form of government was a "benign dictatorship"... The problem is finding a benign dictator... I think that communities can have benign dictators when the opportunity for real power or vested interests is limited... which is why I think the Fediverse is our greatest hope. The dictatorship model is forced upon us by the relative scarcity of technically competent people to run communities.

@anomaly Then, one day, when everyone understands this stuff, we can distribute power more broadly.

@lightweight @anomaly I have mostly given up on the idea of broad appeal and a democratic basis for free software, mostly because I feel that its ethics and values are incompatible with mass demand, and that a singular focus on democratic values will ruin it, as it ultimately ruins anything beautiful and good. I think free software would benefit from abandoning the idea of reaching the mythical "critical mass" of users for broad acceptance, which ultimately just adulterates what makes it special and unique, and instead focus on solidifying and defending what we've got. I think Albert Jay Nock put it best in "Isaiah's Job":

@tejrnz @anomaly I'm coming around to a similar conclusion, Tom. Will read the reference you provided with interest.

@lightweight @anomaly Thank you. I know from lurking on your posts for a while that you have vastly more experience in this than than I do!

@tejrnz @anomaly that's very kind, Tom. I look forward to seeing more of what you have to say for vimself ;) (very good)


@lightweight @tejrnz Gosh, that's quite a long ref, but I'm curious to read something more from the Mises institute, it's been a while.

Have either of you read the 'An-aargh-chy' paper?

This was a very enlightening and empirical investigation into practical democracy for me.

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@douginamug @tejrnz yes - I wasn't immediately able to see the kernel of relevance, I must admit.

@lightweight @douginamug I should have perhaps made clearer that it's a somewhat abstract view on the issue...!

@tejrnz @lightweight I read it :)

A nice Bible revision session! And nice to read something pre-WWII.

I do wonder what Nock would make of our modern social data scraping! Perhaps not so hard to find the Remnant... or should I say, the Remnant you're looking for.

The Remnant concept seems most topical within the climate-collapse frame: those who read the science and understand the implications are preparing in different ways while society churns on.

Hmm. Thanks.

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