about us:

Our carefully constructed personas exist

Bantering, placated in our filter bubbles yet

Sad and isolated in this alternate reality

Engineered by a generation's greatest minds

Solely to coerce us into clicking on bullshit

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Obsessive Facts

The anti-social network.

We were drawn to technology, the Internet, the promise of a decentralized realtime communication medium of unprecedented scale, the collective subconscious of humanity, a great equalizing infrastructure that could spur social change and affect solutions to long-standing real world problems. These hopes were naïve. Instead we got shopping malls, microtransactions, a massively multiplayer circlejerk on social media, self driving cars for the wealthy, all the relevant valuations, IPOs, catered lunches, corporate and government surveillance, and an increasingly-organized cabal of entrenched media and state actors working to destroy what little good is left in the whole thing. But truly we wanted to "make the world a better place," and in yet another naïve move we were drawn to nonprofit civil rights advocacy.

Alas, the indefinitely pending revolution has not been televised nor would it be if it existed in practice. The widely-accepted authorities on questioning authority are themselves compromised to the point of being controlled opposition. This is not because their intentions were originally impure, but regrettably, when put into practice, the pursuit of an ideal almost invariably runs into scaling issues surmountable only through the creation of infrastructure. But infrastructure needs maintenance, maintenance requires people, people create bureaucracy, bureaucracy sucks up lots of money, and money always demands compromise. Seldom does an ideal survive the final link in this chain and break the mold of the status quo. Thus traditional models of advocacy are broken. But there is a better way.

The siren song of perfection, the illusive wings of hubris, the oily shadows of corruption; the singular pursuit of an ideal is itself corruptive, because an ideal is a guide, not a goal. Like a decision, an ideal without a test of its merits is boring. To decide and then rationalize ex-post-facto is base animalism masked by ego. To ideate in intellectual isolation is cowardice masked by self-righteousness, the tradecraft of zealots. In either case, if what lies beneath the mask is weak, trivial or wrong, then why be so vehement in its defense? If it's strong, if it's right, then a challenge should be welcome. Thus, ironically, to avoid being compromised within we seek compromise without. We seek to learn and understand those ideas that give us pause, to reject and replace broken patterns, and to create our own model of reality based on what we understand, not what we are told.

We seek those who wish to join us in this pursuit of discourse, understanding and critical thought, regardless of whether our conclusions align. The best medium to enable this intercourse already exists, but it is under threat. Commercial interests have centralized and now serve as gatekeepers to large portions of the Internet, where they have commoditized our interests, mining for ad revenue tokens on our spare mental cycles and imposing control over what we see and say. But beyond their control are the advanced persistent threats they have unleashed in the process: the rise of mass surveillance, disinformation and manipulation, fake news and the resultant civil unrest—the Senate can cajole as many tech CEOs as they'd like to "do better next time," but the Pandora's Box has been opened and none of them know what the fuck is going on.

The real threat to the Internet comes not from those listed above but rather the actions of those Senators and CEOs as they desperately try to fight all the monsters they've created in the aftermath of a political upheaval. Not being evil becomes an afterthought when your shareholder value and grip on power are under threat. And as with any control system caught off-guard and blindly reacting to a threat to its power, their only available response is to exert more control. Because, we are told, the free exchange of information is too dangerous, and certainly cannot be monetized. And so they have deputized their controlled opposition to convince the masses that restricting the Internet is the morally just response to a nebulous threat of fascism—the Internet must become a safe space where a benevolant technocracy serves us only the information we need.

We reject very little but we do not compromise in our rejection of these visions of the Internet as a walled garden, where monopolistic social media corporations are free to mass-manipulate, enjoying indemnity from the misdeeds of their users yet restricting any user-generated content that disrupts their commercial narratives; where domain registrars and infrastructure providers censor entire websites at the behest of angry mobs; where self-anointed arbiters of the moral monoculture stupidly trample over human rights in their misguided efforts to protect them. People who claimed moral authority have perpetrated the worst human rights abuses throughout history—but this time, supposedly, things are different? No. We will not accept the rule of corporate exploiters, their puppet propagandists or the neo-puritan mobs. Nobody but the individual can be a moral authority.

So instead, we propose an alternative model of art, activism and actualization, to re-imagine the Internet as a medium of unyielding Free Expression, and harness it to empower individual actors as vanguards of independent thought and discourse. In contrast to centralized platforms, we envision federations of standalone websites as the primary conveyors of online creation, whether they be the products of individuals, startups, cooperatives, or forums of many, topical or general. Fully idealized, this Federated Model is a revitalization of the "Wild West," the ghost of Internet past, prior to its deranged commercialization and corporate consolidation. But beyond simply reverting to older and quainter times, we seek to learn from two decades of successes and failures, implement new technology and engage in civic action to strengthen the Internet against the threats that corrupt it.

Re-decentralize the web.

Building individual websites makes the Internet stronger. When content is spread across the web and controlled by people, rather than centralized on the servers of a few large corporations, it is harder for bad actors to restrict or manipulate peoples' access to information, or engage in widespread invasions of privacy. The creation and sharing of content becomes less about instant notifications, perfectly plastic alter-egos living fairy tale lives, and semi-hypnotic states induced by continuous scrolling over algorithmically curated content feeds. These things exist to make us better consumers, but at best they add little value to the content itself. We suggest that social media has crested, is increasingly irrelevant, and can be completely deprecated from our lives. Any void left by its absense can be filled by our own creations.

Any person can create a website. The primary difficulty in doing so is the paralyzing assumption that it is difficult. Today it's easier than ever to create a web presence, thanks to decades of advances in technology, infrastructure and documentation. And beyond the social incentives to (actually) make the world a better place, there are strong market incentives that make learning to code a smart idea, even at a basic level. You don't need bare metal servers, fiber running out of your attic or anonymous corporate registrations. You just need a willingness to learn, and a curiosity about what lies beneath the surface of the things you took for granted. And in the process of exploring and illuminating what was previously dark, you may find your voice, even if you never thought you had anything interesting to say.

You will be in good company. Each day, more people are breaking out of their filter bubbles and seeing the reality of the Internet as it exists today—that humanity's once-great achievement of technical mastery and free expression has been corrupted by manipulators who sought control but are increasingly failing at it. Fortunately, the explosive growth of alt-media portends a new generation of free thinkers with the agency and technical prowess to speak for themselves, free of social media giants and content conglomerates. Collaborating together we will re-decentralize the Internet, ending the stranglehold of amoral corporations over our access to information, and breaking the divide-and-conquer status quo that pits good, moral people against each other for the ultimate benefit of the ruling class and to the detriment of our culture.

The future is federated. The Internet of tomorrow is not a web but a torrent of creative energy that cannot be controlled or restricted, for to restrict any thing would be to restrict everything. We seek not to destroy but to deconstruct and recreate, to inspire the strong and strengthen the weak. We believe this pursuit is virtuous, because at its core, humanity is basically good. But what do you believe?