35th birthday of the Web

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Celebrating the 35th birthday of the World Wide Web, a letter by its founder, Tim Berners-Lee.

Discussing some of the issues of the Web of today: too much centralization, too much exploitation, too much disinformation, all made even more dire by the development of AI.

What to do? Some of the solution the letter mentions are Mastodon, a decentralized social network, and Solid, a Web-standards-based data governance solution, but it recognizes that more is needed, "to back the morally courageous leadership that is rising, collectivise their solutions, and to overturn the online world being dictated by profit to one that is dictated by the needs of humanity." I agree with that, but find it a bit vague.

I first was terribly annoyed that the letter was published on Medium, as this is a symptom of the centralization of the Web. I say, completely conscious that I am discussing it on Facebook. Obviously, both of this should be happening on our own domains, and it also does: I link not to Medium, but to the Web Foundation site, and I also have this posted on my own site and on my Mastodon account. So, it is there, on the real Web, not just on the closed walled gardens of Facebook and on one of the megasites such as Medium. But there is no indication of engagement on the Web Foundation's post, whereas the Medium article records more than 10,000 reactions, and my Facebook post will also show more reactions than my Website (but the Mastodon page could be competitive with Facebook for me).

I want to believe that Solid is the next important step, but Leigh Dodds's recent post on Solid, and particularly the discussion in the post, didn't inspire hope.


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