The Future of the Yesterweb

Talk about Yesterweb-specific projects and initiatives and the forum itself.
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The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by Sadness »

What is going on?

The Yesterweb Discord server, at just over 2,500 members, will be closing down and becoming read-only on its two-year anniversary, February 20th, 2023.

Why is this happening?

The main reason is that the server’s growth has far surpassed our leadership’s ability to properly administrate and moderate the space. We feel it was a good starting point for the community but over time grew to be larger than anyone expected. It’s changed from a hobby to a full-time job, and our staff is experiencing burnout and exhaustion as a result. For more information about the “why” behind this decision, continue reading below.

Is the “Yesterweb” over?

No! Not at all. We plan on continuing our other projects such as this forum, the Mastodon, the link directory and the gemini server. However, our radio is also retiring and we are in search of more hands to help take over the zine, but we can discuss that later.

========

While this is the end of one aspect of the Yesterweb, it’s also the beginning of another chapter.

The best social reward I’ve received from this community is the opportunity to make friends and connections I might otherwise never have been able to make. I suspect this is the case for many of us here. When I first approached this, I had the mind of encouraging others to make their own communities, which I still do - but I also know now from experience that it is a lot harder than it sounds. Such a thing requires a ton of coordination and action, and many things can go wrong along way.

Instead I’ve found small group chats to be the most gratifying form of online social interaction there is. I learned about Dunbar’s number recently, which proposes that humans can comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships. While the aim of a chatroom isn’t necessarily to make everyone become friends, its limitations become clearer when we take this number into account. At a certain point, so many people in one space creates a lot of noise that its members must cut through in order to be heard, and in order to continue finding those connections among the crowd.

The Yesterweb Discord has been that initial bridge that brings people together. That’s why I encourage everyone to continue at this point by building their own bridges, making connections with people they care about outside of the server.

Finally I’d like to share some takeaways that explain some of the “lessons learned” from creating and working on this space:


~ Administering/moderating a social space takes a lot of ongoing and consistent effort and maintenance. During the times in which the admins and mods were less active, it became clear pretty quickly that things were starting to unravel. In the event of moderating a large, real-time community, it’s easy to become burnt out or need a break. I wonder how it might be different if there were some kind of rotation or cycling of responsibilities to alleviate some of that.

~ At this point in time, there are many corporations, influencers and grifters who target a demographic of nostalgic, 90s and 2000s aesthetic-loving folks. This is a profitable demographic for anyone who offers paid services or commodities which that audience might enjoy paying for. This makes our community and communities like it, vulnerable. So much of what we don’t like about the modern web is that it’s based on marketing, ads, and monetization, so it made sense to disallow these things in order to protect our community and its members.

~ I don’t feel convinced that any chatroom over 100 active people would become any better/healthier/stronger than that same chatroom during the time in which it had less than 100 active people. In other words, I think growth can directly harm and stunt the development of a social space, when the infrastructure of the space itself cannot support it properly. When the server was growing, I was faced with the choice of turning off invites to keep it small. I decided not to do this because I didn’t want to prevent anyone from joining and being a part of the server. I don’t think this would have been any better of a solution, because the problem is with the method of communication available to all members in a crowded chatroom environment.

~ One of the goals which developed over time in the community was to shape the social vibe by identifying what makes the social vibe on social media platforms so terrible. Through group discussions on the server, the Yesterweb Etiquette was formed, a set of guidelines that attempted to tackle the issues that we saw being carried over from social media and into the server. I think, overall, these guidelines were accepted and embraced, so I hope that others continue to use them in future online interactions.

~ “Old internet” spaces, in general, attract a wide variety of people. There are those who are drawn to the space from a sense of nostalgia, and those who are drawn to the aesthetics of a world they never got to experience. On the flip side, there are those who are drawn to the idea of an unmoderated free space where hateful bigotry can flourish - much like it did in the days of the old web and continues to do today in “freer” spaces like Neocities. Sometimes it’s easy to glance at a space and surmise its intentions - but in other cases, it’s less obvious. Because of this, I just want to mention how important it is that we view every space with a critical lens - that is, pay attention. It’s possible to both act in good faith while also refusing things to take at face value. It’s also possible (and to some degree necessary!) to coexist with such bad-natured websites, because if we weren’t sharing that space (e.g., Neocities) with them, then they would have the floor all to themselves.


Thank you for reading this far. I'm excited for the future!
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by AuzzieJay »

A little over a year and half ago I stumbled across the Yesterweb Discord Server. I joined- not really expecting much. I had joined other servers but I was always a lurker. I despised social media and wanted to just watch other people enjoy community from afar- never did I expect to find a home in the Yesterweb.

In the early days of the server, you could catch up on the entirety of the server's activity in about 10 minutes. The pace was so much different then and it's staggering to see how it has changed.

About a week ago some members had begun to talk about what the next steps for the community should be. This sparked another conversation with the Admin team- "what do we do with the server?"

We decided there were two paths- continue collecting members and effectively become just a nostalgic hobby server- or transform and break the server up.

In the end, it was obvious that the Yesterweb has the potential to be so much more than what it was right now- and the issue is the format of the chatroom. Having 2500 people in a chatroom is so loud and noisy. So we decided that moving the community away from the server and focusing it on the Forum and smaller satellite spaces would be ideal.

I will admit that in the beginning I was struck with a sort of grief- like somehow my home was scheduled for demolition. But I realized quickly that the Discord Server isn't the Yesterweb- All of US are! The spirit of the community isn't exemplified in our discourse on Discord- it's at its best when we work together to make the web a better place for everyone.

In just about two years we have done some amazing things. I don't think any of us dreamt that the community would grow so large! But it is inevitable that people will continue to look for ways to fight back against the corporate web and we must be ready to accept them into our movement!

This is a transformation into something else, I'm excited for all of you to join us.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by madness »

Like most things in life a discord server has a cyclical development. It becomes organized through voluntary collective action and it becomes disorganized primarily through growth, whether personal or collective.

The Yesterweb discord starts with Sadness' desire to form a community around a particular interest and it attracted those who share that interest. As more people connect, obviously the need for more administration and moderation increases, but there is also intellectual growth. The Sadness of many Yesterweb months old is no longer the Sadness that created the Yesterweb. She grew and her desires changed - a very common human experience.

This creates a problem where Sadness becomes disconnected from the goal of the server over time. Many members experience this and they come and they go without restrictions, but Sadness cannot because she is the server owner. In the final analysis there were two options, either Sadness finds enough people to replace her so that she can move on, or she tries to change the goal of the community.

So we tried to change the mission of the community, to reverse the process of social alienation and combat the user-commodification which was responsible for it. This worked well for about half a year and it required a significant amount of work, since there was an aspect of cultural transformation necessary for it. This transformation was happening but it was occurring slowly, relative to the growth of the amount of members within the server. Member growth eventually outpaced cultural work to the point where staff became overwhelmed, burnt out, and the cultural work ceased.

Our goal of creating an environment that was radically different from every other web space had failed: the old culture returned and we could not progress from a tech-nostalgia-fandom server with a petty-bourgeois sense of rebellion that emulates what one would commonly find on Tumblr, Mastodon, or homes in a wealthy first world suburb. The server was unable to break free from the mold, though it had replicated some of the most progressive aspects of it. The goal may seem ridiculous and ambitious from an outsider's perspective, but it was based on a very real perceptible experience of transformation that we only had a glimpse of.

In my analysis and in hindsight, I believe the only way to save the server is to have created "duplicate" servers that we would moved half the members to whenever the main server hit somewhere around 100 members (or 25 or so active members). This of course is a logistical nightmare that is bottlenecked primarily by the limitations of Discord itself. So it is likely an impossible task, but maybe one day Discord will automatically handle server splitting.

Seeing as this option failed, the only other option was to find organic successors to the server so that the staff could retire. We were not able to accomplish this for over a year, and we can only speculate as to why. What matters is that we are left with an irreparable disconnect between what the administration wants and what the members want, so we feel it is best for us to bring the server to a complete halt on its second anniversary. In other words, the administrators will go on strike while encouraging the constituents of the server to reorganize and connect with each other in any way their hearts desire.

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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by rabbit »

Excited for the future of the Yesterweb! I think this was a good choice for a lot of reasons, tbh. I hope the forum will become more active as well ♥
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by amethyst »

I've been here a little over a year, and I am still a little stunned when I think about the fact that the server's membership has almost tripled in that time. Having witnessed some of the moderation that had to be done and discussions that were had in the channels publicly, I'm sure the overall workload was much more intense. I fully support y'all in this decision because I know you didn't make it lightly.

Thank you Sadness for forming this space and sharing some of the insights learned along the way. I am very grateful for this community, and look forward participating in many more discussions both here and in offshoot spaces.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by Sinclair-Speccy »

It was sad to see the announcement. Although our original intentions on joining the Yesterweb may have not been good, we stayed because we were told one thing: "Here's the community I think you should be a part of instead of [redacted] (name has been redacted for privacy reasons)". Someone understood our need for a community despite being in a bad place before :)
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by qt3.14 »

It was a good time ya'll. Fun while it lasted and I'm happy it happened. Thanks staff and Sadness for throwing a good party.

You folks planted a seed in barren soil, and nurtured it well. May the closing of this space provide rich fertilizer for the next.

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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by sacrebisous »

I'm actually really excited to see a focus on other spaces like the forum! I actually barely even knew it existed until now, and hopefully I'll be able to be more active here. The server definitely was feeling way more crowded, disjointed and fast-paced, so having a slower more intentional format like a forum feels much more welcoming.

I do wanna ask though, do y'all see the forum having a longer lifespan than the Discord server? Obviously things will be a slower and less reactionary here, plus it's an old-timey format that most people have drifted from, but what if it does end up getting a lot of users and activity? Discord moderation is obviously a lot more difficult than forum moderation by virtue of being a real-time chatroom but from what I'm reading here it sounds like there were a lot of issues with burnout, not being able to recruit many more mods, and drifting from the Yesterweb (or some aspects of it).

Also with some things like the radio, wiki and Gemini hosting service, there's not a lot of information about them out there and seem a bit more like ideas that didn't take much traction and felt a bit "off to the side". There is a lot of ambition in the Yesterweb sphere but it feels like many ideas do not get a lot of development/organization or much of a "push", if that makes sense? At the same time I'm sure that closing the Discord will allow for more focus to these other sections of the Yesterweb, at least I hope so.

I hope this doesn't come off aggressive or confrontational or anything, I love this community and appreciate the admins and mods soooo much! But since I care so much I have some concerns as well. Regardless I am always excited to see where this next era of the Yesterweb will go. :D
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by qt3.14 »

sacrebisous wrote: Tue Jan 10, 2023 10:26 pm
Also with some things like the radio, wiki and Gemini hosting service, there's not a lot of information about them out there and seem a bit more like ideas that didn't take much traction and felt a bit "off to the side". There is a lot of ambition in the Yesterweb sphere but it feels like many ideas do not get a lot of development/organization or much of a "push", if that makes sense?
I can speak to this a bit. As someone who has participated in a project or two in the space and someone who kept pestering folks to work on things.

1) This place is supposed to be bottom up, not top down. If you want to see something done, do it. There's no need to pitch it. If you need help ask for it. Run it, no one is going to do it for you, ya know. Run something yourself, or gather a group and do it. It doesn't need the Yesterweb™ seal of approval before you start.

2) A lot of folks talk a lot and do little. People have a ton of energy early on, and like talking about a project. When it comes time to actually doing the work few people actually participate. People like the idea of being someone who does something more than they like actually doing it. I'm guilty of this as well.

3) The wiki and the Gemini were both started by random people and adopted. Kinda, a bit of nuance there :p
I do wanna ask though, do y'all see the forum having a longer lifespan than the Discord server? Obviously things will be a slower and less reactionary here, plus it's an old-timey format that most people have drifted from, but what if it does end up getting a lot of users and activity?
Some bridges are best crossed when it's time to cross them :p
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by sacrebisous »

qt3.14 wrote: Tue Jan 10, 2023 11:37 pm 1) This place is supposed to be bottom up, not top down. If you want to see something done, do it. There's no need to pitch it. If you need help ask for it. Run it, no one is going to do it for you, ya know. Run something yourself, or gather a group and do it. It doesn't need the Yesterweb™ seal of approval before you start.

2) A lot of folks talk a lot and do little. People have a ton of energy early on, and like talking about a project. When it comes time to actually doing the work few people actually participate. People like the idea of being someone who does something more than they like actually doing it. I'm guilty of this as well.

3) The wiki and the Gemini were both started by random people and adopted. Kinda, a bit of nuance there :p
Oh yeah, I don't mean that we need to focus like, 100% on Yesterweb labeling/approval or anything! I think people were talking about this in another thread - I like the idea of members of this particular community branching off into their own projects that aren't tied into the Yesterweb label. I've been attempting to start my own web project with someone I met in the server. It's just that certain projects that ARE being run as part of yesterweb.org have felt underdeveloped for a long time now. If some have just been "adopted in" like you're saying then yeah I do understand why that may be the case. I just dream of some of these things getting a bit more support and/or the development of what the collective of yesterweb.org (the main site + its subdomains) wants to focus on delivering/providing(?).
qt3.14 wrote: Tue Jan 10, 2023 11:37 pm
I do wanna ask though, do y'all see the forum having a longer lifespan than the Discord server? Obviously things will be a slower and less reactionary here, plus it's an old-timey format that most people have drifted from, but what if it does end up getting a lot of users and activity?
Some bridges are best crossed when it's time to cross them :p
That's fair!!! I'm probably thinking WAY too far ahead in that regard, lol

It's probably related that I just ended up having a Bad Time in the server as time went on, alongside the growing aimlessness and confusion among its members about what the Yesterweb's focus even is. That's been partially fueling my criticism here.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by vincent »

sacrebisous wrote: Tue Jan 10, 2023 10:26 pm I do wanna ask though, do y'all see the forum having a longer lifespan than the Discord server? Obviously things will be a slower and less reactionary here, plus it's an old-timey format that most people have drifted from, but what if it does end up getting a lot of users and activity? Discord moderation is obviously a lot more difficult than forum moderation by virtue of being a real-time chatroom but from what I'm reading here it sounds like there were a lot of issues with burnout, not being able to recruit many more mods, and drifting from the Yesterweb (or some aspects of it).

I'm going to start off by saying that I'm speaking as Vincent here, not as Staff or Staff Spokesperson.

I think one of the big benefits of this move is that we're going to see who is committed to the Yesterweb in terms of ideology and message. A lot of people just want a social space, and that's fine, but I think part of this move has been a soft reset in the way that we look at our community and engage with it. With the Discord, it felt like there were some social waves that were made and not stopped in time, and it led to some behavior that:

* Was not really appropriate for the space or our ideas of what a better internet would look like
* Was being picked up by a lot of people to the point of defensiveness when this was pointed out
* Was not addressed at the time due to staff burnout or just being generally unsure of what to do.

With the forum, we can start steering the community in a direction that is closer to what we wanted. Things being slower and less hectic means that we can start laying actual foundation for a good, healthy community. If the forums get some massive spike in users, then I hope that the foundations we laid will allow for more community moderation as well as a better idea of what our culture is that doesn't seem inconsistent.

So, to answer your question, I think that a big influx of users is less of an issue on a forum, especially one that will hopefully allow staff to sort of hold the reins a bit better when it comes to moderation and curating the space we want to see which we felt was not only incredibly difficult but too late to do in Discord, with streams of messages being able to allow people to dogpile and drown out staff or other suggestions for change.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by sacrebisous »

vincent wrote: Wed Jan 11, 2023 12:11 am
sacrebisous wrote: Tue Jan 10, 2023 10:26 pm I do wanna ask though, do y'all see the forum having a longer lifespan than the Discord server? Obviously things will be a slower and less reactionary here, plus it's an old-timey format that most people have drifted from, but what if it does end up getting a lot of users and activity? Discord moderation is obviously a lot more difficult than forum moderation by virtue of being a real-time chatroom but from what I'm reading here it sounds like there were a lot of issues with burnout, not being able to recruit many more mods, and drifting from the Yesterweb (or some aspects of it).

I'm going to start off by saying that I'm speaking as Vincent here, not as Staff or Staff Spokesperson.

I think one of the big benefits of this move is that we're going to see who is committed to the Yesterweb in terms of ideology and message. A lot of people just want a social space, and that's fine, but I think part of this move has been a soft reset in the way that we look at our community and engage with it. With the Discord, it felt like there were some social waves that were made and not stopped in time, and it led to some behavior that:

* Was not really appropriate for the space or our ideas of what a better internet would look like
* Was being picked up by a lot of people to the point of defensiveness when this was pointed out
* Was not addressed at the time due to staff burnout or just being generally unsure of what to do.

With the forum, we can start steering the community in a direction that is closer to what we wanted. Things being slower and less hectic means that we can start laying actual foundation for a good, healthy community. If the forums get some massive spike in users, then I hope that the foundations we laid will allow for more community moderation as well as a better idea of what our culture is that doesn't seem inconsistent.

So, to answer your question, I think that a big influx of users is less of an issue on a forum, especially one that will hopefully allow staff to sort of hold the reins a bit better when it comes to moderation and curating the space we want to see which we felt was not only incredibly difficult but too late to do in Discord, with streams of messages being able to allow people to dogpile and drown out staff or other suggestions for change.
Thank you for this response!! I think it's going to be really interesting seeing who and what ends up on this forum - I had high hopes when the #forum channel was added to the Discord server although it ended up feeling like more of the same chatroom stuff, just with slowmode. Having a actual slow-paced format with more room for discussion like this seems like just what the Yesterweb needs. It'll be fun seeing how everything evolves from here and what ends up coming out of this change.

Admittedly it's been so long since I've actually been on a forum that I forgot they probably don't suffer from high traffic issues, especially not nowadays lol.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by urinternetgurl »

Honestly, this move has motivated me to get more involved with the Yesterweb community. (This is actually my first post on the board. Hey everyone!!) I contributed to one of the zines and very occasionally popped into the discord, but honestly found it too overwhelming even as a user. The organization and slower pace of an old-school web forum is more my speed, and more importantly does seem more aligned with the values of the Yesterweb.

Thanks to everyone involved for being so thoughtful about the future of the community! I hope this appeals to others the way it appeals to me.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by inbtwn »

as someone who first joined the yesterweb discord very early on in it's lifespan, I totally think that sunsetting the discord is the right move.

when I first joined back in early-mid 2021, the discord server was a much calmer place that was relatively easy to keep track of compared to now. most of the active people were using complete sentences and trying to foster genuine communication, which was quite a surprise to me at the time and it really did feel like a breath of fresh air. for a while within early-mid 2021 checking the server almost felt like a delight, as new people slowly poured in, telling us about their websites and asking questions about them.

unfortunately (and i think this started happening around late '21/early '22), for some reason the server started to exponentially grow in members super quickly. like, *really* quickly. so quickly, in fact, that a) the server quickly lost track of what it was supposed to be: a club for like-minded people who miss the old internet and want to talk about it in a relatively polite manner, and b) i didn't feel comfortable talking in the server anymore. once i realized what happened i shoved the server into a folder i rarely use and muted the whole thing. i don't feel that safe talking in super-crowded servers, and it doesn't help that the closeness that the original small iteration of the server had went away as it grew, which is a real shame.

i'm glad some of the moderators took steps to calm down the crowd during the server's sudden expansion (by instating guidelines to keep conversation more like conversation and less like a general chatroom), but when you have a server that big it can only do so much, so i feel shutting down the whole thing was the right move. at first, i thought *maybe* remaking the server to only have a few rooms and most of them be HTML-centric wouldn't be a bad idea instead, but with a Discord community this large it's only a matter of time before the coziness of that would fade away too.

although... what if there was still a (more limited) way to chat with yesterweb community members directly without having to deal with discord's multi-room megaplex server setup? maybe you could set up an irc server or a matrix room... but then i was thinking. what about setting up a MUSH or a MOO? it's like an old text-only virtual world that can inhabit characters, objects, and places. i've been on one recently and it's super cool that they're still around! maybe it would be the perfect little chatroom for this community, who knows? but i'll let all of y'all to decide.

so yeah, the discord is dead, long live internet forumz!!1 :D
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by AuzzieJay »

urinternetgurl wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 11:07 pm Honestly, this move has motivated me to get more involved with the Yesterweb community. (This is actually my first post on the board. Hey everyone!!) I contributed to one of the zines and very occasionally popped into the discord, but honestly found it too overwhelming even as a user. The organization and slower pace of an old-school web forum is more my speed, and more importantly does seem more aligned with the values of the Yesterweb.

Thanks to everyone involved for being so thoughtful about the future of the community! I hope this appeals to others the way it appeals to me.
Hey! So glad to see you here and welcome! That was the idea! Deciding to close the server was a very difficult decision... but responses like this make it completely worth it!

The server atmosphere has so much noise, I'm excited for the next chapter and I'm glad others are too!
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by irkeneon »

Rejoice, screw Discord!

I've kind of wanted Yesterweb to do this for awhile, though I didn't expect the Discord to be completely shut down I kind of hoped Yesterweb would at least move away from Discord in some bigger form. Also in the Discord server a lot of people seemed to echo that they prefer forums and dislike how much of a monopoly Discord has and all the drawbacks to Discord, but the Yesterweb's own forums and other alternatives were dead.

I can also second Ibtwn's observations and pretty much the same thing happened to me and my system. The server suddenly became too fast and there were a lot of people who seemed to be missing the entire point. I used to feel like Yesterweb was one of the best Discord servers but in the past year its steadily gotten to be more like a typical big Discord server in the worst way, and not by any fault of the staff it feels like just an inevitability with Discord.

but yeah, very happy that the discord is going to be closed lol
I wonder if this might spark a small revival of forums in general
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by rina »

im very glad the server became a forum tbh. i really liked it but someone posted the server on chan sites and i didn't feel safe and so i just left the server
Last edited by rina on Tue Jan 24, 2023 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by juette »

i honest to god had muted the server and stopped looking at it because it felt like people only talked to the same 10 or so members they knew and that whatever i said people never really cared or made an effort to talk to me so it just felt. really alienating lol. i feel this way in a lot of discord servers but its usually just timezones, so when the yesterweb forum clearly had people online and active at the same time as me but they just didnt really try to interact with people they didnt already know really well it was really annoying. also big discords do get very scary you nevr know when an asshole might jump out.

though i have to say i am a bit sad about the end of the yesterweb radio. i thought it was a neat idea
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by Eyre »

It must have taken some guts to close the server, but on reflection I fully support the reasoning. I always felt like "there are a load of great people here and I could absolutely accomplish what I came for.... but they're either too busy running this thing or they're just buried in here somewhere".

I absolutely want to continue interacting with and meeting Yesterweb-minded-folks in a realtime chat format. And, for convenience reasons, I'm not opposed to using Discord for it. I'd also like to collaborate and work with folks more as well - that being the reason I originally joined.

But, a smaller group, possibly requiring some application step, maybe more full of folks who want to accomplish similar things is really the only practical solution.

I'm pretty sure there are channels on the Discord I've never visited, I've never kept up with it, I only added one person in private DMs, who later closed their account.

I'd leave the server right now if I wasn't low-key anticipating that some serious discussion start at some point where folks group off and start forming new, smaller communities. BUT... given that I never check the discord anyway because it's so full and hard to follow ... would I notice?

The moment someone is starting those conversations please hmu :)
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by Cobra! »

I fully support the closure of the Discord server, but I will say it's probably been a great starting point for the community to help it grow, but I think as a movement that is trying to get away from Big Tech (or at least that's how I interpret it), it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to have a Discord server as the central space for the community.

The decision to close the Discord server has gotten me way more active on this forum, and on other forums I haven't visited in a long time, but are thankfully still alive. I can see from other replies to this forum that I'm not alone!

So thank you for helping me (and others) get away from reliance on Discord, even if it's just a little bit!

That said, I just noticed the server is muted, and the announcement says
even though no rules are being broken, the spirit of the community is being betrayed.
Is there any chance someone can explain to me what exactly they mean by this? What happened?
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Post by Starfia »

It seems like Discord served its purpose – it was marked from the start as an easy but temporary venue, and a simple and untethered web forum seems to fit the spirit much more closely.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by madness »

Eyre wrote: Thu Jan 26, 2023 1:11 am I always felt like "there are a load of great people here and I could absolutely accomplish what I came for.... but they're either too busy running this thing or they're just buried in here somewhere".
yes that is how I felt as well. the people most capable of leading the community in a positive direction had reduced their participation, or disappeared, or were too busy with moderation. maintaining the server was eating all of our time and energy, leaving us with little ability to counteract the worsening social condition of the space.

there were always good and bad aspects of the server, but for half of its existence it was clear that the good outweighed the bad. then for a couple of months it was unclear whether the good outweighed the bad. finally, we decided to destroy it when it was clear that the bad aspects outweighed the good aspects.

which brings me to this:
Cobra! wrote: Fri Jan 27, 2023 4:00 pm
That said, I just noticed the server is muted, and the announcement says
even though no rules are being broken, the spirit of the community is being betrayed.
Is there any chance someone can explain to me what exactly they mean by this? What happened?
we've grown to a point now where we have to deal with a problem that I can only summarize as "clout culture". there are people who participate in the yesterweb whose dominant reason for being there is for exposure, visibility, self-promotion, and other related things, usually with the intention of making money or becoming a niche internet micro-celebrity. An obvious example would be adding the webring to a website or submitting links to yesterlinks to improve SEO. within discord it typically manifests most clearly as those who show up to do next to nothing but spam their website or social media presence, or to advertise for followers or commissions in often indirect ways.

the yesterweb has become an influencer entity of its own, and because of our size and our understaffing it has become very easy for some random hustler or opportunist to take advantage of us. sometimes it manifests in ways that are not at all obvious, where people are taking out significantly more energy from the community than they are putting in, or who have different, self-serving, goals in mind and actively work to push the community in that direction.

so depressingly the yesterweb is beginning to reproduce the problems that would characterize the larger web that we were always against. our growth is outpacing our ability to combat these trends, so to stop us from becoming the monster that we despise, we are destroying the server, encouraging people to form smaller spaces, writing the manifesto as guidance, and rethinking/reorganizing some aspects of the project.
we seek greater knowledge to make greater decisions when the time for making decisions appears - to be the most capable versions of ourselves in any situation that arises - this is why we study - this is why we learn
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by Arevakhach »

People from this community inspired me to make my website. I could never consider anything that spurred me to action like that to possibly be a failure. And even if it were: "Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of it." I can only imagine community management to be quite difficult. More-so in one such as this, where, if I'm reading into it correctly, individuality is valued over the homogenization of corporatism. Managing themes like free speech, website autonomy, harmful / dangerous ideas, taboo topics, exploitation (financial or otherwise), etc. must be a mess. The group and the individual, a push and pull, pros and cons to each. Where are the lines? Who draws them? When do they change? When does pushing the envelope go from "how brave" to "how dare you?"

I don't know. But no one, including yourselves, should ever fault you for trying. If I were to push for a virtue: it'd be transparency, honesty. Perhaps we cannot find common ground, but we can know where one another stands. 1000x thank you's for all the effort and time you dedicate to this project.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by BeeMilk »

Im sad to have missed the initial party. Regardless, I'm happy to have found this community and excited to see where it goes. I Like the idea of focusing more on the forum. Things like discord chats tend to be really intimidating to me. Also, hopefully the radio will be back up and running at some point :P
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by GlitchPhoenix98 »

Finally moving away from discord. One less reason for me to use it.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by m1k3 »

I'm totally on board with this. I'm new here but glad to see this direction. In my opinion, one of the great aspects of the yesterweb was the more asynchronous approach to communication - mainly forums and email. You can respond when you feel like it or when you've formulated some thoughts. Discord leads to fomo because you're not sure if you missed something important and ultimately is a big distraction. Slow computing FTW!
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by lulu »

Late to the party, but I hope it's okay that I share some thoughts.

I joined the server when it was small, a fun way to meet other people making sites. And it was nice for a time, but I couldn't keep up and it just got very overwhelming. It was cool checking in and seeing all the new projects and directions the group was taking, I admit to becoming an outsider, though. I wanted to participate, I even felt ashamed for *not* participating. But, to be honest, I just want to make and visit websites. Maybe that's how I participate in the movement, if we're calling it that, and I'm just now realizing there's nothing wrong with that.

It began to feel like Yesterweb was a synonym for certain personal sites, and that worried me, for the same reasons I worry about Neocities at times. The centralization puts a lot of pressure on.. well, the center. I'm bummed to hear about staff burnout. The community was created from a place of passion and excitement, and the thought of that being snuffed out.. well, that's a drag. I hope the staff feel relief, and can get back to doing what they love, whatever that is these days.
qt3.14 wrote: Tue Jan 10, 2023 1:24 am You folks planted a seed in barren soil, and nurtured it well. May the closing of this space provide rich fertilizer for the next.
I don't mean to take this quote out of context, merely using it to illustrate a point. Sadness planted a beautiful garden, but the soil was never barren. There was a community before Yesterweb. We were a different sort of community, but very much alive and vibrant. Smaller, that's for sure.

I bring this up, not to take away from what Yesterweb is/was/will be. It planted many seeds, and helped show folks that they didn't need the corporate web. Honestly, that's all I ever wanted to see, and I'm glad people more eloquent and organized than I am were able to get the message out. There are more sites now. That's awesome. The web is infinite.

I guess what I appreciate most about the mod posts here, is the push towards building smaller communities. But also.. don't limit yourself! Build sites, share your vision, create new servers if you want. Talk on forums. Create your own projects... but here's my main suggestion: Send emails. Seriously. Reach out to the people behind the sites you visit, just to say hey.

Thanks for everything :)

Connect ~ isn't that what we're all trying to do?
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by madness »

lulu wrote: Sun Apr 02, 2023 7:16 am I joined the server when it was small, a fun way to meet other people making sites. And it was nice for a time, but I couldn't keep up and it just got very overwhelming. It was cool checking in and seeing all the new projects and directions the group was taking, I admit to becoming an outsider, though. I wanted to participate, I even felt ashamed for *not* participating. But, to be honest, I just want to make and visit websites. Maybe that's how I participate in the movement, if we're calling it that, and I'm just now realizing there's nothing wrong with that.

It began to feel like Yesterweb was a synonym for certain personal sites, and that worried me, for the same reasons I worry about Neocities at times. The centralization puts a lot of pressure on.. well, the center. I'm bummed to hear about staff burnout. The community was created from a place of passion and excitement, and the thought of that being snuffed out.. well, that's a drag. I hope the staff feel relief, and can get back to doing what they love, whatever that is these days.
qt3.14 wrote: Tue Jan 10, 2023 1:24 am You folks planted a seed in barren soil, and nurtured it well. May the closing of this space provide rich fertilizer for the next.
I don't mean to take this quote out of context, merely using it to illustrate a point. Sadness planted a beautiful garden, but the soil was never barren. There was a community before Yesterweb. We were a different sort of community, but very much alive and vibrant. Smaller, that's for sure.

I bring this up, not to take away from what Yesterweb is/was/will be. It planted many seeds, and helped show folks that they didn't need the corporate web. Honestly, that's all I ever wanted to see, and I'm glad people more eloquent and organized than I am were able to get the message out. There are more sites now. That's awesome. The web is infinite.

...

Connect ~ isn't that what we're all trying to do?
ahhh yes, there was always a movement there but it was spontaneous and disorganized. we just worked to make it conscious of itself, to encourage it to grow in a healthy direction to the best of our ability

which also means fighting its regressive and harmful tendencies. the more we did this, the more we painted a target on our back. there were people foaming at the mouth over things as simple as listing pronouns on a forum. we've dealt with transphobia, misogyny, and racism on a weekly basis, even the occasional death threat, predatory and abusive behavior, and invasions of privacy/security

so this push for decentralization is sadly not ideal, it is partly about the reality of our limitations. we are not equipped to handle any more escalations of problems

we pushed it in a particular direction at a particular stage of its development. now it's in a different stage which requires a different effort. what we were doing before is no longer effective for its growth and we still have to work to discover what is actually going to be effective. my guess is that it will require a greater amount of social cohesiveness that doesn't exist at this moment in time

personal websites are a good solution for a particular situation, but once they have been "maxed out" we become aware of their limitations, because we grow, too.

so I hope in the future that we work to become better connected.
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Re: The Future of the Yesterweb

Post by lulu »

Sadness wrote: Mon Jan 09, 2023 10:44 pm We plan on continuing our other projects such as this forum, the Mastodon, the webring, the link directory and the gemini server. However, our radio is also retiring and we are in search of more hands to help take over the zine, but we can discuss that later.
Apologies if this isn't the right space to ask this - I didn't want to post in the mastodon thread, since that space seems reserved for sharing handles. I also wanted to post this instead of sending a private message, in case others have the same question (searching the forum didn't yield results)

I was thinking about joining the Yesterweb mastodon instance, but I'm not sure what the long-term plans are. Sadness's original post mentioned the plan to continue this project, but the webring was also mentioned in this post and, well, you know! Please don't take that as me being huffy, people can and should re-evaluate and change as needed, and the reasons for closure make sense.

There's no pressure here from me personally as I know there are other instances! And anyone who maintains them are doing a massive service to their communities, which I don't take lightly - I just wanted to see if this is a stable place to create a home. No worries if not :)

Edit, a day later: ok I apparently missed some stuff and didn't maybe gauge the situation correctly, so probably wasn't the best time to be asking this.. sorry! It's not the biggest deal
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