10 may 2020


I just got access here to tilde.town.

I think a lot about internet communities and how things have changed over time. Anyone who was moderately active on the internet through the 90's and early 00's has some kind of community they were active in. A forum (shoutouts to invisionfree), a chat, IRC or in my case, a custom rolled blogging-and-game-publishing website.

I joined my community when I was 13 if I recall correctly. I'm 28 now, and so that group has been a part of my life for more than half of my existence. I still sorta keep in touch with some of them, but the website and largely the community has since fallen apart, sucked up by what we now call "platforms".

It's strange how we went from small, focused self-governing communities to these massive "platforms" who host as many folks as they can. Inside those platforms, people create their own groups, but it means that everyone from outside that group can see, participate and harass. Banning from a platform is a major impact on someone. It can break your career. The term "deplatforming" is a thing for that very reason. In the past, if you were a dick, you'd get banned. I did my fair share when I became a moderator and then administrator on my community. Someone would get barred from the one space. It wasn't a death sentence, but it helped keep things running clean and positively. Maybe that person would come back in a few years, having matured a bit, and we'd let them back in. Maybe not.

That era is mostly gone now, at least to the general public. But now we've got stuff like tilde.town, mastodon, etc - we're seeing people self sort back into places they have some kind of control over and some sense of belonging. I've spent years searching for that feeling of belonging to a real community again. I don't know if I'll ever find it, as it may well just be nostalgia manifested, but I'm not going to stop trying to recreate the positive nature of communities.