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Feels blog

I discovered the `feels` program, aka ttbp, and I love it. Here is a link I guess: semitones's blog

I guess this is a blog now

Learning about autofs. I think it will be good for using a drive that I only turn on for backups. 10/30/2023

The Starting Question of Privacy and Safety

October 2023

The question of identity on the web is a curious thing, linked to ideas of what it means to be social, open to new experiences, and available for connection, but also what it means to be private and safe.

In the physical world, the stakes are lower. Interactions are passing, and nothing is forever. There's less risk of putting out too much information. And by interacting in the real world, we get familiar with the people around us, and learn who to trust, and who to talk to.

The digital world has much higher stakes since anything can be preserved and searched. It's harder to open up when you're not sure how much to share. The internet has unlimited reach - someone far in the future and from anywhere in the world could find anything you share now, if they try hard enough. So when posting online, the question seems to be, what would I trust *anyone* with, *forever*. Which is a daunting question. And one I hope to find answers to someday.

Because with nothing shared, nothing risked, there's nothing to be gained, nowhere to grow. So what is safe to share? Not your real name, that much is usually agreed on. Probably not your location. But already that limits so much - how much can you share without giving away details about where you live? Our lives are somewhat defined by where we spend our time, and avoiding talking about it can be a lot to keep in mind. Just by posting regularly, anyone can determine your likely time zone, if they cared enough to do so. So one consequence of paranoia is, sadly, to be as boring as possible.

So what about creating a separate identity to use online. One not tied to a physical location? Why do we like using the same usernames on multiple sites? Is there a desire to have a consistent identity; to try and be predictable and trustworthy for the people around you, even though the small, community interactions possible online have the potential to be seen by anyone? How much do we share online under these usernames? Photos, text samples, personal details; the same types of things we would share in real life to people we might meet and talk with? Or a restricted subset that is harder to trace? Our hobbies, our creativity?

The truth is, no one knew how to teach us how to be safe online. We grew up with nothing to guide us but stories of when it went wrong; when people put too much of themselves online and suffered the consequences. Very rare is a story of someone putting just the right amount, and rarer still is it *interesting*. We notice what's interesting. But we also notice everyone around us who puts whatever they want online, or so it seems; personal photos, life updates, rants and ravings, joys, problems, and it doesn't matter. Or if it matters, how do we ever find out?

I don't know how much this experience of fear, this dillema of what to share, but desire to share nonetheless, is shared among other people. It's hard to know if you don't know what is safe, and what is being unreasonably protective.

So hello, internet. I'm curious what you would think about this. And I'm curious if the home page of a tilde website (and the first update of that page!) is the right place to ask. But in a way, everyone has to decide that they're comfortable sharing, whether they are conscious of it or not. So in a sense, until I know that I am, this is what I can write. And this seems like a good community to share it in. (Even though I'm actually sharing with the whole world. Theoretically, at least.)

So welcome, whole world. :)