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Author Topic: Yesterweb Forum is shutting down  (Read 3168 times)
thesolitarygamer
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« on: April 06, 2023 @982.74 »

First the webring, now the forum :/

https://forum.yesterweb.org/viewtopic.php?t=392

It's a weird thing to see, I joined the Yesterweb discord due to curiousity and interest in the old internet and some of the philosophies they had displayed on there, but to see it go from the discord shutting down, to the webring shutting down, to now the forum itself shutting down is sad, all things considered.
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2023 @14.73 »

Woah well that was quick... i hope the moderation team gets some well-deserved rest, and i hope in the future some of the more active yesterweb denizens can find some nice places to hang out in
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2023 @69.50 »

I'm really upset about this news. I love the Yesterweb forum...

One thing that is annoying me is that they aren't even going to archive it. Just delete it entirely in June. I get not being up to moderating the forum, but I really wish they would at least preserve what is there, you know?
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« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2023 @87.95 »

I'm really upset about this news. I love the Yesterweb forum...

One thing that is annoying me is that they aren't even going to archive it. Just delete it entirely in June. I get not being up to moderating the forum, but I really wish they would at least preserve what is there, you know?

i agree with this sentiment, especially when it's only been a few months since they closed the Discord and hyped up the forums as the next big thing for Yesterweb. the Discord server is due to be deleted permanently soon, too, right? i remember them saying that after a certain date the server would go from read-only to permanent deletion. that's also a shame, because there was a lot of information in there that was really valuable, particularly in the help channels.

i get the impression that they're just saying "fuck it, this is too stressful, burn it all down" and i completely understand moderation being too stressful to want to keep it alive, but for a community that so strongly resents the disposable nature of social media you'd think they would at least archive things. this all being so sudden also hasn't given many people time to find or carve out their own spaces elsewhere...like, the reason i was onboard for the transition from Discord to the forums was because i felt like people would be more motivated to branch out elsewhere on the web from there, vs. hiding in a Discord server. but now the whole rug is being yanked out from under everyone's feet before the community had any real time to adjust to that change?
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Cobra!
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2023 @91.39 »

i get the impression that they're just saying "fuck it, this is too stressful, burn it all down" and i completely understand moderation being too stressful to want to keep it alive, but for a community that so strongly resents the disposable nature of social media you'd think they would at least archive things. this all being so sudden also hasn't given many people time to find or carve out their own spaces elsewhere...like, the reason i was onboard for the transition from Discord to the forums was because i felt like people would be more motivated to branch out elsewhere on the web from there, vs. hiding in a Discord server. but now the whole rug is being yanked out from under everyone's feet before the community had any real time to adjust to that change?

Yeah, exactly, and it makes me not trust them for other things, like I want to move my Gemini capsule away from Yesterweb now for fear of them deleting that as well.

I can understand the stress of it all, but I wish they would come up with a solution that doesn't involve nuking the entire thing.
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thesolitarygamer
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2023 @142.82 »

i get the impression that they're just saying "fuck it, this is too stressful, burn it all down" and i completely understand moderation being too stressful to want to keep it alive, but for a community that so strongly resents the disposable nature of social media you'd think they would at least archive things. this all being so sudden also hasn't given many people time to find or carve out their own spaces elsewhere...like, the reason i was onboard for the transition from Discord to the forums was because i felt like people would be more motivated to branch out elsewhere on the web from there, vs. hiding in a Discord server. but now the whole rug is being yanked out from under everyone's feet before the community had any real time to adjust to that change?

Think this kinda sums up why this bothers me honestly, them deleting it all.

I get the mission statement of theirs, and why they shut down the discord server. But the rug is being pulled out from people, it feels like a bit of a betrayal of trust as Cobra said. It's not looking too good with that in mind :/
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2023 @159.19 »

i think the biggest thing that attracted me to the Yesterweb movement was that it doesn't /just/ argue against the current internet and political structures i dislike; it's a front that represents everybody on the internet that has issue with how the internet exists right now. everybody is free to be, or not be, part of the Yesterweb and support it however they choose. it's an attempt to be representative of everyone, thanks to the presence of stuff like the (now defunct) webring.

it's not just the more politically-centric stuff that's kept me engaged in ghosting the Yesterweb - there's discussion pertinent not only to stuff like the mechanics of web design (which you can read from any source on HTML anywhere), but /actual words/ from /actual people/ about the /ethics/ of the internet - people that have no incentive to say anything outside of just wanting to. taking that away from people by permanently deleting what's been said simply feels morally wrong. it's silencing folks that are (most of the time) discussing stuff that's important to them, something i believe to be a cornerstone of what the web should be to digital residents

which, honestly, is the whole reason im 110% against this change. the forum is being decomissioned and folks dont have a say in it. if the idea of a better web is a decentralised one where things like net neutrality exist, then why is the decision up to the owners as to whether the content that other people have put up there is kept or destroyed? i can understand stuff mentioned: the social and financial gain - but to distrust an entire community based on a few individuals reminds me of a line from this song:

Quote
Politicians picking what's best for the Internet
Without the common knowledge of everything that it will affect
And yes there are some who take the system and abuse it
But you don't throw out a batch of apples 'cause of a few bruises

if we're fighting for a better web where packets of data are treated equally, then why do we, as everyday people, not have a say?

i'll respect the decision of those that maintain the Yesterweb, but i don't (as of now) understand or support it
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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2023 @176.49 »

Think this kinda sums up why this bothers me honestly, them deleting it all.

I get the mission statement of theirs, and why they shut down the discord server. But the rug is being pulled out from people, it feels like a bit of a betrayal of trust as Cobra said. It's not looking too good with that in mind :/

i will say, to Yesterweb's credit, i don't think it was ever intended to be the main community hub for the Web Revival movement; i think that was a role that was kinda thrust upon it because of its popularity and visibility, so i can't say i feel like my trust has been betrayed when i never expected Yesterweb to be the center of everything for me, if that makes sense? i always got the impression that YW was supposed to be more of a statement than a discussion community. maybe it was a mistake on their part to try and adapt themselves into that role, but i do respect that they at least tried! i just wish it wasn't all being deleted and treated as a failure so suddenly.
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2023 @410.64 »

I should probably look into moving from the Yesterweb mastodon server soon...
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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2023 @646.30 »

Oh wow. Maybe I'm ignorant, but I'm not sure what there is to moderate about the forum? It seems pretty slow, way slower than this forum, for example.

Just the attitude of the moderation there is weird. For many posts already they have complained about how much they hate Yesterweb, the community, how they want everyone to leave so they don't have to run it anymore etc. It's just weird to me. Like yes you should shut it down if you hate it but they speak about it like doing "old web" stuff as a hobby is undesirable. I am confusion. Maybe this is result of the Discord saga I don't know much anything about.
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purelyconstructive
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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2023 @725.63 »

Immediate Thought:

Adjacent spaces will now probably get a large influx of users...Melon, do you have a system in place that will keep you from getting burned out on maintaining Melonland, especially if the member count suddenly baloons? Is it sustainable in the long-term?

General Assessment of the Situation:

Trying to create a welcoming space for community to flourish often takes a huge investment of time and effort, so I can understand the feeling of burnout and overwhelm.

I think a factor contributing to that situation is unintentionally "biting off more than one can chew". In my opinion, Yesterweb kept prematurely spinning off into different projects (i.e.: webring, chat, zine, radio, forum, etc.) operated by only a handful of people with no clear list of specific tasks that need to be done in order to run each of them so that others can help. However, the situation is also a "catch-22"...

Many people are willing to use a service without contributing to its moderation in some manner. They want to connect with like-minded people, but do not want to deal with the anti-social aspects of it that are bound to arise (e.g.: taking the time to filter out the spam, acting as a mediator of conflicts, etc.) or lack the technical understanding (e.g.: how to implement the cybersecurity practices necessary to run a server).

Likewise, how does one distribute control of the infrastructure in a way that keeps it from being abused? It can be tricky navigating structural changes when so many different people are involved, and implementing some kind of vetting process might seem like a form of "elitism", contradictory to the goal of building community.

Short-Term Resolution:

If I am understanding correctly, there are two things that current members want...

1. Ample forewarning (instead of the closing of multiple projects in quick succession)
2. Reliable archives of what has been built by the community (particularly the chat logs and forum posts), especially if no one can "take the reigns" without compromising on the constructive principles

"Small Web" vs. "Big Tech":

It certainly puts the rise of social media in perspective. People often forget that MySpace, Facebook, and many other companies were started by relatively small groups of people, just like many of the things here. How easily it can become a "slippery slope". The temptation to compromise one's values is massive when there is a lot at stake, not just money.

For example, some saw nothing wrong with using advertising to pay for a dedicated staff, or algorithms to retain user attention to increase those advertising dollars. "We can do more if we expand our reach!" It is easy to justify behaviors when a person interprets their own intentions as more "pure" than another's.

Even if one "future-proofs" systems by planning ahead, their operation will always come down to personal choices. Transparency aids accountability.

Conclusion:

I have a lot of friends in the Yesterweb that I hope will stay in touch, and I am sad to see it go. While I do not know all of the details behind its operation, I think Sadness, Madness, Key, Auzzie, Xandra, and many of the other people who helped to run it did a fantastic job.
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Cobra!
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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2023 @749.46 »

Immediate Thought:

Adjacent spaces will now probably get a large influx of users...Melon, do you have a system in place that will keep you from getting burned out on maintaining Melonland, especially if the member count suddenly baloons? Is it sustainable in the long-term?

General Assessment of the Situation:

Trying to create a welcoming space for community to flourish often takes a huge investment of time and effort, so I can understand the feeling of burnout and overwhelm.

I think a factor contributing to that situation is unintentionally "biting off more than one can chew". In my opinion, Yesterweb kept prematurely spinning off into different projects (i.e.: webring, chat, zine, radio, forum, etc.) operated by only a handful of people with no clear list of specific tasks that need to be done in order to run each of them so that others can help. However, the situation is also a "catch-22"...

Many people are willing to use a service without contributing to its moderation in some manner. They want to connect with like-minded people, but do not want to deal with the anti-social aspects of it that are bound to arise (e.g.: taking the time to filter out the spam, acting as a mediator of conflicts, etc.) or lack the technical understanding (e.g.: how to implement the cybersecurity practices necessary to run a server).

Likewise, how does one distribute control of the infrastructure in a way that keeps it from being abused? It can be tricky navigating structural changes when so many different people are involved, and implementing some kind of vetting process might seem like a form of "elitism", contradictory to the goal of building community.

"Small Web" vs. "Big Tech":

It certainly puts the rise of social media in perspective. People often forget that MySpace, Facebook, and many other companies were started by relatively small groups of people, just like many of the things here. How easily it can become a "slippery slope". The temptation to compromise one's values is massive when there is a lot at stake, not just money.

For example, some saw nothing wrong with using advertising to pay for a dedicated staff, or algorithms to retain user attention to increase those advertising dollars. "We can do more if we expand our reach!" It is easy to justify behaviors when a person interprets their own intentions as more "pure" than another's.

Even if one "future-proofs" systems by planning ahead, their operation will always come down to personal choices. Transparency aids accountability.

i will say, to Yesterweb's credit, i don't think it was ever intended to be the main community hub for the Web Revival movement; i think that was a role that was kinda thrust upon it because of its popularity and visibility, so i can't say i feel like my trust has been betrayed when i never expected Yesterweb to be the center of everything for me, if that makes sense? i always got the impression that YW was supposed to be more of a statement than a discussion community. maybe it was a mistake on their part to try and adapt themselves into that role, but i do respect that they at least tried! i just wish it wasn't all being deleted and treated as a failure so suddenly.

These are good points, actually. Yesterweb did launch loads of projects in such a short time. It does seem like they bit off more than they can chew like @purelyconstructive said.

I guess it also brings to mind the idea of Eternal September, where something becomes so popular that it actually overflows and ruins what made that thing so great. Perhaps that was what was happening to the Web Ring, and I guess there's always the fear the same will happen to other Yesterweb projects.

Maybe Yesterweb was becoming too big. One of the messages they were trying to spread is to make the web less centralised, but much of the community was centralised around them.

Oh wow. Maybe I'm ignorant, but I'm not sure what there is to moderate about the forum? It seems pretty slow, way slower than this forum, for example.

Just the attitude of the moderation there is weird. For many posts already they have complained about how much they hate Yesterweb, the community, how they want everyone to leave so they don't have to run it anymore etc. It's just weird to me. Like yes you should shut it down if you hate it but they speak about it like doing "old web" stuff as a hobby is undesirable. I am confusion. Maybe this is result of the Discord saga I don't know much anything about.
Yeah that's the vibe I got. The forum isn't as big or popular as here.
I just got the impression that the Yesterweb crew were just tired of maintaining the project as a whole and want to offload as much off them as possible, and that's their choice to do so, they have lives, too. If someone doesn't want to do something, we shouldn't force them to.

That said, they shouldn't just delete everything, otherwise you kind of go against your entire message of making a free web where nothing is temporary.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2023 @752.73 by Cobra! » Logged




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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2023 @794.85 »

Just the attitude of the moderation there is weird
To me, the YW is a cautionary tale about what happens when you take something that should be all about fun, and remove the fun. Their staff got very burnt out on Discord and they started seeing the worst in everyone around them.

I don't like the way they treated me (we had forum admin drama), and I don't like how they are treating their community; but is it correct for them? Maybe! @thesolitarygamer is right, they took on so much so fast! Ultimately, only they can say what's right for them. However, if I ever behave like this to you guys, I hope you'll give me a good stern talking to :drat:

People need to express their emotions about this, and so many people here are also on the YW forum, so it's good to have this thread. However, I'm wondering if maybe this should be the last YW topic we have? At this point, it's turning into a drama subject; the YW did a lot of good for a lot of people, but if it's no longer a positive we will need to move on.

Melon, do you have a system in place that will keep you from getting burned out on maintaining Melonland, especially if the member count suddenly baloons? Is it sustainable in the long-term?
Thank you for this great reply! And yes! I think about this a lot. MelonLand is a long-term project for me, I'm planning 5-10 years out most of the time.

Firstly, I should be clear, MelonLand is an art project and I run it in parallel to my art career. I'm not a commercial artist, I don't sell anything, but I do get sporadic funding from artist institutions here in Ireland (That's how I eat). So MelonLand's existence benefits me because it supports my work (and I hope it can also support the work of others interested in web art).
With that in mind, Melonland can run at a financial loss, and even without any active users, indefinitely because its existence is part of my wider work promoting digital arts (I also just enjoy it) :grin: This is actually really really important because it means that the measure of my value/success here does not depend on the community; I don't expect anything from people here, so I won't be upset if things go in an unexpected direction or I don't always get the kind of engagement I want (this comes from past experience).

As far as I know, the YW was the first online community its staff managed... whereas this is like.. my 10th? I've done this for a long time; my first ones were shakey, but I think I'm getting pretty good at it? I've had burnouts and successes and failures already and I feel like I know how to navigate those risks :ok:

What happens if ML gets really popular though? Well, it suits me to have it become somewhat popular, but not toooo popular!
However, there are a LOT of safety mechanisms that I use to moderate this project and keep it manageable, for example:
  • The Surf Club is fully automated, and the wiki shares login accounts with the forum - eg far less work to maintain.
  • The forum is vibe moderated, it's not intended to suit everyone and it's only intended for people who are here to enjoy the experience.
  • Mastodon is approved only - and it also serves other projects like my bots, so its worth it for me even if I was the only user!
  • The forums design is deliberately a little intense; you have to get past it to join in :tongue:
  • We have the "Melon's Welcome Rule" e.g. if I can't welcome everyone who joins, I must pause or slow new memberships.
  • I am being very cautious about spinning up new services like the IRC server people have been asking for; if it's not easy and cohesive to use and manage, it won't happen.
  • I am slowly building a casual network of people I trust to help out, or even just provide moral support!

I think most importantly, my focus here is to have fun; I think the best art comes from fun, and longevity for a community comes from it being lighthearted and kind. The world is full of troubles, but I want every visit to this space to be wonderful. I don't just mean that for you guys visiting, I also mean it for me; running this space must be a joy, and I put a lot of effort into making it something that I look forward to checking every morning :ozwomp:

I hope that answers your question and assuages any fears about this space  :4u:
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thesolitarygamer
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2023 @821.79 »

Honestly your post, Melooon, gave me a lot of respect for ya, yo :) The work you put into the forum is amazing honestly and I'm glad to see that it'll last for as long as you will it!

I'm wondering if maybe this should be the last YW topic we have? At this point, it's turning into a drama subject; the YW did a lot of good for a lot of people, but if it's no longer a positive we will need to move on.

Honestly understandable if ya want this to be the last YW topic, shit's depressing.
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« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2023 @857.72 »

i agree w/no more Yesterweb topics on this forum— this is a separate space, after all :ok:
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