Things the world should and could learn from the most widely used decentralised system - e-mail: How to organise shared blacklists (hello, Spamhaus!), how to become more resilient (hello, backup mx!) and a lot, lot more.


When you think about it, e-mail is the OG federated social network :) So let's learn from their many, many years of experience instead of trying to reinvent the wheel yet another time again :)

(and yes, I know what I am talking about. I am running my own mail server successfully since many, many years. I have programmed a ton of code around email solutions for e-commerce sites etc.)

And also yes - I do sense deep in my gut that we are seeing a return to more e-mail as alternative to centralised social networks. I cannot (yet) really explain, but there already is a bit of a renaissance of mailing lists and the cc: based social networking of the olden days ;)

@jwildeboer even though email is technically the biggest federated network - by now it’s also basically gmail. How can we learn from email how not to ultimately become just another version of a google product?

@uncontemplating gmail is big, for sure. They have tried since like forever to proprietarise email, also correct. But I never used gmail and I see many more people using non-gmail addresses than I saw maybe a year ago.

@jwildeboer I really like email. I don't understand why it's become almost legacy. With md and some rendering it could be just as good (and better) than many other social network approaches.

@erAck @jwildeboer FYI the mailing list support in Delta Chat was continuously improving over the last releases. You can participate and also post to mailing lists.

It's getting harder and harder to host your own mailserver, with providers' IP ranges getting blacklisted and them (e.g. DigitalOcean) recommending to send mails via one of the the few big mailing services (e.g. Mailgun) instead.

Also, E2EE still hasn't taken off with email.

Email must die. After more than 30 years we really need a better solution.

@maze I just set up my new Mail server at OVH. With correct SPF, DKIM, DMARC. The blacklist Problem didn’t happen. Microsoft, Google etc happily accept my emails and send me DMARC reports. Some arguments against e-Mail are a bit outdated, IMHO ;)


What about the Usenet?
Though that became a hell of spam, pirated copies, malware, and worse so quick, it's probably not that good a role model. And "real names" which were required esp. in German groups (if you didn't want to end up in most killfiles), didn't help back then either.

@Mort Usenet is a good example too. I think the main difference to e-mail is the ego-driven power play many group admins/mods fell for. We still see that for example in some F/OSS projects with a similar kind of flamewar over pull requests ;) e-mail was better, as most mail admins cared about the machines, not about the content of the emails.

@Mort But my thought process is just at the beginning. I try to focus on e-mail as I know that the best from experience, not just from participating as I id in Usenet/NNTP. Or IRC.


True. But the admin/mods issue is a problem wherever you look.
Wikipedia was meant to be a democratic system as well and ended up to become an oligarchy of those who cared for long enough.

Shareable lists are a start, but they only work as long as it's obvious spam. Ads that might also be helpful answers already become complicated, not to start with "freedom of speech" vs. hate speech and moral issues.

@Mort I will try to avoid those argumentative honeypots and focus on the infrastructure side. Again, my main point is there is a wealth of solutions that evolved ver the years in the e-mail world that can be of good use, at least as positive or negative inspiration, in the whole federated realm.


It wasn't meant as honeypots. With "open" social networks the issues appear time and again. I've also seen mailing lists die or split over admin issues as well.

But I can see focussing on the technical aspect might at least help to make some things easier.

Maybe it'd be a good idea if there were multiple lists managed by different people/teams, and you can pick those closest to your needs.

@Mort I am on some mailing lists since at least 15 years, which still run perfectly well, are full of thoughtful content etc. They are all invite-only ;) That should be telling, I guess :)


Yes, that's what I've meant with "open". Social networks usually live from being "reachable" for everyone.
You can do great with invide-only mailing lists, closed Facebook groups, private Twitter accounts following each other, and similar, but imho, that's not quite the idea of social networks.
Also, it can get complicated when it comes to who to invide.

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