Good evening, I have some thoughts that are kind of meta to the fediverse and apply into society more broadly. One public toot, then I'll thread 🔓
So... I get torn between two principles & I think they're a reason why shared solutions like masto are so important.
Principle 1: own your shit / pay for the shit you use
Principle 2: there should be plenty of low-barrier & "free" spaces for people to congregate in some way.
This is tied to my being a librarian tbh.
There are comparatively few places you can go in the US to do community which aren't somehow tied to corporation, profit, etc.
Owning your shit/paying for the shit you use is the kind of language which could be adopted by homeowners/capitalists and leave out everyone who doesn't have that kind of capital/credit/stability/etc.
Owning your digital shit generally costs $. It's certainly better than losing access, but ... yeah. It costs $ and it costs even more $ if you have fewer tech skills.
Libraries are one of the examples of those kind of places where you should be able to go and do community/simply exist without paying money.
Here's also a thing librarians know -- libraries aren't free. They're funded by your tax $, your tuition, your employer... by something.
And like holy shit I think they're a worthwhiler return on that spending. But I am indeed paid cash dollars to work. Which is good, I work on systems so you can find books/movies/etc.! Phew.
(and by that I mean I live in a society where I must sell my labor to live, so. it's good they pay me for that labor)
How does this apply to stuff like tumblr & whatnot?
Well, libraries are no-charge spaces. They're not free, but paid for in other ways. Such spaces really don't exist online except when run by big corps and/or people with fun ideas who try to run things for free but who may sell out to big corps... or just let a place die because maintenance is HARD & $$$.
Wow, maintenance is a side tangent.
Anyway. As a person in the Fediverse, I pay money to the instance admins where I have active accounts. I am also a person who has a goddamn salary that I can live on and holy shit this is a better time in my life than when I was spending 50% of my take-home pay on rent and another 15% on car payment and... yeah, counting dollars. Plenty of folks here are in that spot.
So. Where does that put us all?
I think it's a little more complex than "well, people didn't pay money to tumblr, what did they expect?" After all, I pay money to my ISP. ... they still want to sell my data. Right, I should turn on the VPN. Hang on.
Anyway. I'm gonna circle back to libraries. I do and I probably should pay more money to instance hosts. That's my duty as a person who currently has resources in a community that I want to see flourish. But some folks just can't and I WANT THEM HERE TOO.
So......taxes, mutual aid, however we think about it... we need to build places which are free to use and which some folks who can pay for them pay for.
We should do our best to build spaces where people can share things like their art and writing. And help people save copies of that stuff.
Owning your shit is expensive & can be complex. So. Let's not shame folks for not doing that. Let's help where we can. Let's fund what we can. And let's hang out and make great shit together.
(and on another note -- bits rot, decay, and maybe everything is ephemeral and maybe that's ok too)
There are short and pithy expressions for this like "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need"
A common complaint among the working class is that we don't have time and money at the same time. One practical approach is to pool resources to create these spaces with people donating money or labor for their maintenance
We aren't dependent on government or business for cooperative action
@platypus great thread, I very much agree.
@platypus One approach our instance is considering is a gentle regular (once a quarter?) reminder of each free user's person's pro-rata share of the cost of running the instance. Then they can opt for another 3 months of free membership or, if their circumstances have changed for the better, opt to start paying in a monthly contribution. Transparency without compulsion?
@mattcropp that's not bad -- and/but also for someoen like me even if I only count as $1, maybe I should pay $5 because I can .... so showing folks minimum, encouraging paying more if they can and then telling others that it's ok that they can't pay as much because others are paying more/they can join in sharing the load when they can.
@platypus I agree with this. Sadly nowadays a lot are corporate controlled with high barrier. We don't pay for anything so they use us as payment instead.
Hopefully with things like Mastodon, things will change for the better in the future.
The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!