Hyphanet: did it help people?

“what I'm really wondering is, if all the networks have really helped people over the years”

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That is a question streetcoder asked on Mastodon. This is my answer.

In the case of Freenet / Hyphanet: there are people from around the world talking about politics and personal stuff.

We have several personal blogs, though few long-lived ones.

In the FLIP chat I already exchanged deeply personal experiences with strangers who would otherwise never dare to talk about these (legal, but something they otherwise wouldn’t dare speak aloud). This is something which had stopped to a large degree among those who know the extent of todays surveillance (chilling effects).

Places people talk:

and I have year-long (sometime decade long) kind-of-friendships with people of whom I only know their pseudonyms and couldn’t find out who they really are.

I only know a single forum which actually persisted for longer than the community in Freenet.

Every other community I have been part of over the years dissolved and died when their online hosted solution died. Some I met there are still friends and we keep contact, but the larger community is gone.

The one in Freenet / Hyphanet persists. And sometimes people return who were gone for half a decade.

So yes, it did help people. Having a place to talk that does not have relevant infrastructure costs, because it is provided by the participants themselves, actually creates a different kind of space than the usual comparatively short-lived (when compared to two decades) platforms people turned to the past years.

And effective moderation that grew from the need to block anonymous spam and disruption — a moderation system without inherent power-imbalance — helps to keep discussions friendly.

ArneBab 2024-01-30 Di 00:00 - Impressum - GPLv3 or later (code), cc by-sa (rest)