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[liberationtech] Stanford Liberationtech Needs Your Help

carlo von lynX lynX at
Wed Jun 20 00:56:03 PDT 2018

I support Moritz' invitation anytime and would feel more
inclined to invest energy into libtech if it cuddles up
under his umbrella of related projects.

On Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 01:43:06PM -0700, Yosem Companys wrote:
> > If it ain't broken, don't touch the thing. "Stick with mailman" is what

Actually, it is a bit broken.. the way it is cumbersome
to maintain civil interaction it happens to be yet another
mailing list and below the quality level of nettime, for

> > Remind me what it is that Discourse offers that plain-text e-mail does not?

It offers plain-text e-mail AND the extras that may prove
useful like an easier way for non-tech people to produce
structured responses. When you need to cite from several
previous mails and respond to each, paragraphwise - with
e-mail you have to open several reply editors and cut &
paste pieces together. In discourse you mark the text
passage you care to comment to and it will ask you whether
you want to cite that. You can scroll up and pick the items
you need to reply to. That's why in political projects
it has become an instrument to get less techie people to
contribute elaborate discussion items - something not so
well solved by other forum packages.

>    -
>    -

In the Italian Pirates
condensed five years of experience in uncivil interactions
and how to learn to make the civilized while keeping the
freedom of speech. We found that most software does not
exactly provide the functionality needed to manage flame
war prevention in a way that matches sociological insights.
Neither mailman nor discourse is ideal in that regard. The
idea that the community can moderate itself with social
scoring doesn't quite cut it.

What's good sociologically is the ability and right to
edit your own contributions at any time, allowing you to
reword things that may be misunderstood or perceived as
an attack against others.

Discourse can be a great win if talented people are
allowed to reorganize discussions for efficiency, moving
off-topic discussion into other threads, joining threads
that have actually been talking the same subject. I have
been doing this a lot and the result was that whenever
I wanted to reference a discussion on a certain topic,
I would easily find it in the search drop-down and
insert it in the ongoing discussion. This creates an
interweaved web of hypertext where adjacent discussions
point to each other, allowing people visiting the
archives years later to reconstruct the context and
maximize their absorption of knowledge. That's pretty
opposite to the fire-and-forget effects of mailing
lists and a great plus for rich text linkable forums.

What is frequently difficult for groups getting started
with Discourse is the structuring of categories, but
libtech has a pretty narrow focus so that shouldn't be a

Another neat detail: in the Italian Pirate Party we've
been offering also a Tor onion access to the platform
which works reasonably well.

In regards to the server placement discussion.. as long
as a server runs on intel and has a Cisco or Juniper
gatewaying it, I wouldn't call it secure. Still, we
wouldn't and can't expect the libtech discussion
platform to be safe from 5 eyes collection, so why
bother so hard? Our personal privacy doesn't belong
into libtech anyway. We hardly know each other and
we don't have a common political strategy that we
need to discuss behind closed doors.

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