This "Dissenter" chat plugin -- post comments on any website, anywhere.

FAST6191 Mar 1, 2019.

  1. FAST6191
    OP

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    23
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    When talking about email's spam problem it is generally noted it was all first cooked up by academics and military types that might not have conceived of spam, and it was also not helped by encryption and security costing very valuable resources. Fewer know that similar functionality was made at the same time for general websites with them allowing others to edit them. Obviously that did not take off at the protocol level (we usually couch it in layers of other stuff to so much as make a guest book) but the idea has always remained -- functionally that is what the likes of slashdot, digg, fark, these days reddit... have at their heart, and no small number of forum posts start with "this cool thing I found, discuss". Going way back when I even saw some kind of attempt at it with iframes.

    Anyway the folks behind Gab, a "social media" type site much akin to Twitter but with a far stronger focus on free speech (though not absolute or absolute minus what is required the law where we are at https://gab.com/about/guidelines ) and no stranger to controversy* as a result ( https://gbatemp.net/threads/gab-a-social-network-that-promote-free-speech-a-bit-too-much.522145/ ), have made a plugin that allows other users of said plugin to chat on any website they so desire. The host website will not see it as it is not on their servers, and it might even be hard to block it like some try with anti adblock scripts as nothing on the page need be altered.

    linky
    https://dissenter.com/

    *various reasons. The big ones being because their are some loud anti free speech people out there and their cases often being helped by simple maths where if you open a platform in a fairly saturated market your initial push is probably going to be from those that the others did not go in for, or were not welcome at. Naturally many of the same people that decried, or possibly smeared, gab are already a bit upset at this concept (in fact the outrage from said same and those which find amusement giggling at said outrage initially bringing it to my attention) but eh.

    This also comes hot off the heels of youtube having fun and games with comments -- say what you will about their responses to the actions of their content creating set but when a commenter can have consequences for the creating type and them otherwise not being charged with managing that sort of thing... yeah.

    I am always wary of more closed source efforts you can't self host with (see also my problems with discord and why I deem it the latest fad chat protocol), and would rather have seen some kind of distributed network, even if it adopts the usenet/newsgroups peering model at its heart. Still I find it a development that could lead to some interesting places, and it seems to have been gaining a bit of traction already. I would also like to see some kind of url magic akin to https://www.nsfwyoutube.com/ or archive.org's URL fun ( https://web.archive.org/web/20090420050155/http://www.gbatemp.net/ ) that allows this -- closed off things are odd to me and people tell me things like instagram, spiceworks and reddit are big but as I never really land there from a search I don't see them and they thus occupy less mindshare than they might ideally want to.

    It is occasionally remarked that sites like those mentioned in the opening paragraph will be the death of forums (they also said the same about usenet text chats before it) and while directed conversation and core focuses for discussion will remain a draw I could see something like changing things more than a lot that came before it.

    Your thoughts on this or this sort of thing would be where we would ideally head with this discussion.
     
  2. kuwanger

    kuwanger GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Member
    9
    Jul 26, 2006
    United States
    A couple of things. One, there's no way to avoid spam--creating new ID creation encryption very computationally expensive just makes it harder. Two, any distributed system will be censorship resistant at the risk of being spammed with illegal content. Three, there's projects like Freenet and GNUnet that could be used as the medium for a chrome/firefox plugin to "skin" websites, but it'd be quite a mess as distributed networks tend to have horrible latency.

    Having said all that, I think it's a bad idea to have comments on every website in large part because of the above and in part because I don't see the utility. People have to selectively use a tool (and many would likely appear over time) and websites that are geared towards user interaction (with moderation) just have yet another layer on top. Websites that aren't geared towards user interaction likely would be better served to incorporate the feature if they want it and to do without it if not.
     
  3. FAST6191
    OP

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    23
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    Truly distributed, sure. Middle ground stuff like usenet peering and or certain VPN type things where you have some option to peer the lot and sell sturdy access is a different matter.

    I agree spam is hard to control, however most of the earlier takes and fundamental premise of email was not built around dodging it and thus we have seen layer upon layer try to mitigate things, and features dropped (have you stuck your email in a LDAP of late?).

    Utility wise. I reckon if it serves better as a "cool thing I saw, discuss" than a simple link, video embed, screenshot or similar like we see with current setups then it could corner some kind of share. Competitor services without a bridge would also be an issue but same for most things really.
    As far as selectively using then sure, same also applies to most modern takes on the concept and said same companies are somehow valued in the billions. Facebook fundamentally seems to be a combo of blog, RSS news feed, email and IM, but all done badly (if somewhat shiny for those that don't do tech).
     
  4. Hyro-Sama

    Hyro-Sama I'm from the fucking future.

    Member
    11
    Oct 25, 2009
    After Earth
    I thought this was pretty cool until I found out you could only comment within the confines of Gab itself. Meaning the only other people that can comment and/or see your comments are other Gab users. Unless I'm missing something. Anyway, not interested in adding another account to my password manager for now. Pass.

    Moreover, link to your anti-Discord stance? I wouldn't mind giving that a read.
     
  5. FAST6191
    OP

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    23
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    How would it magically appear on every website without operating within a platform of some form? Or were you thinking it was some kind of alternative to disqus?

    As for discord I pretty much said it above. You can't run your own servers and are trapped within theirs, the reason why you don't want that is they have already started to play moderator in a more serious capacity, shifting the goalposts too (see the recent community guideline introduction/expansion, and even without that their history of moderation is spotty at best (see their mods that got fired), their protocol is closed source and guardedly so, and further to that their APIs are bad even if I could get past that. To that end I write them off as another fad along the lines of ventrillo, teamspeak, mumble and so forth. I find it a bit sad that we already had nice open source chat programs, and also somewhat amusing to me that good old IRC still represents a truly viable option, but hey.
    These guys cover some of the specifics and while some of their points are not where I would end up they cover most of the "high" points.
     
  6. kuwanger

    kuwanger GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

    Member
    9
    Jul 26, 2006
    United States
    I'd argue usenet was something of a fluke. It was created as a standard early enough to be something like the whole internet's message board. That invariably lead to it being a portal to some of the worst stuff imaginable and then most ISPs decided to outright drop it precisely because of the difficulty of moderation.

    The thing is, Facebook (at least originally) heavily focused on friends/family getting together and that created a sort of self-censorship. When it became this explosion of access, well, it turned into any other public/private space. So, Facebook has been heavily pushing at least the appearance of heavy moderation--practically, I think it's as impossible as the spam or usenet problem. Overall, Facebook is the Microsoft version of unified platforms--good enough to get people to adopt it and enough vendor lock-in by group effect for few people to leave. So long as they can keep placate government, they can continue to exist.

    This is why I said usenet was a fluke. Because it was an "internet standard" by definition, anyone could implement and it could organically grow. Any other platform either has to exist either because it too organically grew or because there's some money trying to create a platform--another Facebook--which means not only they own the moderation and the risk but also inherently limit availability. As for organically grown platforms, look at how well freenet and gnunet are doing...

    IRC is okay for real-time chat. It doesn't have a buffer. This is both a blessing and a curse. It means that it's enough to ban a user to resolve issues. It also means there's no backlog--not at least to the public--to worry about having to scrub. It doesn't hurt that while for a while IRC was a chat platform of choice, it's heavily dying--there's only ~8,000 on dalnet as a type this. Beyond that, IRC has always been a platform where the IRCop was granted a lot of power and the issue of scaling meant there were several IRCops to deal with things. It's real-time enough to get near-instant results.

    Really, your statement about usenet is correct. It'd be the actual proper conduit for such a thing. It'd allow enough local moderation to placate government. But, good luck getting ISPs to bring it back. Like you were saying, it's become a premium service and like email ISPs want to off-load the work.
     
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