NextDoor... but not s**t

Okay, hear me out on this one.
It’s a thought experiment by the way, and not some kind of attempt to make us all dive into a particular strand of work

Given Mastodon’s recent rise in popularity and the fact that the network itself is quite malleable, could it be used as a tool to make a less-bad version of Nextdoor?

I didn’t pipe up about it as someone else was making a much better point, but if you look at the Crunchbase profile for Nextdoor you can see a part of why it’s so shocking, $717.9mn funding with an expected valuation of $1-10bn means that the network itself is built to squeeze the money out of the people using it in whatever way it possibly can. Maybe this thing is wanted in a way, but the profit motive would pervert the ability that it might have to make a change.

Further to this and related to us specifically, perhaps the layer that we’re able to facilitate is enabling people, maybe where locus could fit in is not necessarily by building an ISP, or building tools (although I’d be keen to do the latter anyways) but by educating people on the extant tools out there, and assisting them in leveraging them in order to do bigger and better, non-corporatised, digital things with their people.

I guess this is one of the reasons why I think @themoonisblue’s talk of TWT might be a good thing to work towards; we can have ideas ourselves, but the most powerful thing that us web citizens in the know can do, is to pass on that power… in a way.


I can see a TWT session gestating.

Title: Ours to Master and to Own

Summary: Learn how the internet has been privatised and neoliberalised and what implications this has for activism and democratic renewal. Learn how to fight against this privatisation and neoliberalisation, in order to advance activism and democratic renewal…


Is this what you imagine @PrivacyDingus?

Yeah I think that the facilitation of this awareness through a session/talk like this would be great. You could pretty much take your title and summary there and it would work a charm.

I hate to steal ideas, but Keir Milburn’s sessions at TWT (from my experience) are normally in the form of a game. I don’t like to steal ideas, but I can’t help but feel this is one of the better ways of pitching.

Oh I don’t know what this is. Can you give an example of a game :slight_smile: ?

KM is a TTRPG guy (myself also as and when I have the time) and the session which i tech supported they were basically playing a game in groups where they rolled a d20 (D&D-style) to see if they were able to undertake different actions which sought to make a local council more activist.

I guess one way you could tech-ify this would be a similar concept but with people in the room using their phones to vote? Kind of a Choose Your Own Adventure designed to teach people about how VC / DC / any nefarious tech crap works. Just an idea, mind. I have kind of an in with TWT so I’m happy to get in touch and see what really makes a session likely to get picked out.

Aah I see. I will give this a think.

Okay, can you do this? We have a lead! :slight_smile:

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Will do for sure, on my list.

I’m not pushing this idea hard, but will put it here so it can be scrutinized by anyone else and learnt from. The session is themed Activists and the Surveillance State, from a pedagogy standpoint our interest here is getting those attending it to leave with a better understanding of how they can positively resist the surveillance that threatens their ability to engage in activism (see the long list of stuff that > 12 years of Tory rule has brought in.)

I would suggest that the best thing would be to flip this on its head and put participants in the driving seat, as the state itself, and take them through an interactive wargame style situation where they are using a simulacra of the kind of tools that the gov’t would have at its disposal.

All of this is very blurred in my mind, but it’s a thought that came about 1h ago and I had to put down. I think the game element especially works with this.

I think this makes sense – yes, from the state’s point of view. There’s actually a book by the same name “Activists and the Surveillance State”.

Hello! I have finally read this and think it’s a great idea.

One thing that already comes to mind in terms of making things ‘interesting’ is a controversial…

Could we illustrate the danger of tracking by making a minisite that allows us to profile the TWT audience? Some kind of online form that asks some innocuous questions that can be used to inform an outcome. Ideally this would be a web service where all responses are saved in the session - so that stopping the app wipes all data. Or maybe drilldowns of user responses are calculated on their device using localstorage?

Essentially showing how comfortable we’ve gotten with giving information about ourselves away.

I’m reminded of a european web-game a while ago that was a fictitious scenario where you had to get through a city without using google services… Does anyone remember this? I can’t seem to find it now.

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Also, to emphasise, I do think that whilst we’re at a small size emphasizing education and empowerment has to take priority over software development. Whilst it’s fine to do some, we have to be realistic about what we can achieve with a small group.

I’m 100% not counting myself out of that development, especially having just suggested what is potentially a development project haha

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I cannot, but if you find it then I’m very much into it.

Is your idea here that this is content for the post-session?

I’m very interested in this idea, and I think that our silver bullet both in pitch and presentation here is that we would be wildly different from the bulk of what makes it into the programme. For one we wouldn’t need tech support. I have my channel in (by the way the TWT crowd know me as Jay if they remember me) but I feel the best thing to do is have some kind of an idea of the session ahead of asking after it. A little work in helps with the ability to visualise the thing.