So I have an announcement. I sent an email to my work saying that I wanted to be able to focus on my work on taking advancing the federated social web to the next level. Read: better security / abuse resistance, richer interactions, virtual worlds.

How will I be funded to do this? I don't know. I do know that the state of the political world scares me enough that I feel I have to do this. If you want to support me: patreon.com/cwebber

Wish me luck. More updates soon.

Let me clarify what "virtual worlds" means. Those who were around in the 90s may remember MUDs and MOOs and etc, which were massively multiplayer games before that term existed. In a sense, social networks today are degenerate forms of this design: we can talk to each other, but we aren't immersed in a sense of *place and interaction*.

The system I intend to build (Spritely) will allow you and your friends to program your social worlds together. Build it, dream it, make it.

If you want more hints as to what I'm thinking, I gave a presentation on this which contains some of my thoughts earlier in the year dustycloud.org/misc/mmose.pdf

Here's the crux though: I think making a decentralized social web that's hard to censor but focuses on protecting users is *critical* for the survival of freedom and autonomy of everyday people, *especially* in this political environment.

But what's the most common self-hosted server on earth? It ain't fediverse software, it's Minecraft. Why? I think the appeal of building a world with you and your friends is very appealing.

If we can make it very easy in-world to be able to program the entities you're interact with as you walk around and talk, that could be a big win.

Imagine if we ran fediverse software *as a game* that people played... that would give motivation for people not currently interested in the fediverse to join. Kids would play it, teenagers would play it... and now imagine if we hook it up to Tor .onion or I2P addresses, etc. This could help normalize the behavior of using those systems as much as https is normalized today. When everyone uses it, that can help protect politically at-risk groups, activists, etc as well.

@cwebber Interesting approach: unlike apps/tools, the best of which are unobtrusive, efficient, and get you to your goal as quickly as possible with the minimum of effort and then get out of your way, games are the opposite. Sure, the controls must be usable and the mechanics fun but the whole idea behind a game is that it is a challenge and a journey and you don’t win right away. Hmm… 🤔

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@aral @cwebber so kind of like second life but easier, with more programming languages but easier to use and completely open source, federated and with, like you said, the ability to use it over TOR and I2P? Sounds amazing. Have you considered looking at the open source version of second life’s server software: OpenSimulator?

@UnclearFuture @aral I haven't looked at it... I doubt I'll use it, but maybe I can mine it for ideas.

@cwebber @aral Fair enough. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking even if you don’t use it directly it might be useful for ideas :)

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