05.29.20

If You Want to Support and Follow Us ‘Properly’, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is Most Reliable and Robust to Censorship

Posted in Site News at 6:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Follow us directly, not through intermediaries/middlemen (where innocent uses of non-gender-neutral terms can get one de-platformed)

QuiteRSS
Last year we moved from Thunderbird to QuiteRSS, as it has a broad range/wealth of features (we compared it to many other RSS/XML tools; we also developed our own)

Summary: Our longstanding position on social control media (we reject it and don’t participate in it) is only proven ever more justified now that the mere idea of fact-checking is seen as controversial if not illegal

TECHRIGHTS is not on social control media. It never was. Partly owing to principles. I myself was recently at risk of censorship at Twitter. Someone tried to de-platform me using something I had written years ago, taken out of context and misrepresented (of course, the usual). The centralisation associated with social control media is very dangerous because it places great power in very few hands. Unlike E-mail or newsgroups (USENET) or even some assorted bulletin boards, what we have is communication conglomerates. They get to decide who can and cannot speak (or who to). This in itself is a form of injustice. It’s also dangerous because it encourages uniformal thinking, which permits no real deviation from some norm (and that norm too gets changed over time, can be applied retroactively). Last week Daniel Miessler wrote about the upsides of Really Simple Syndication, or RSS for short (same as my initials!), listing the virtues of it. It’s a decent little list and an associate sent it for sharing in our latest Daily Links. To quote a little portion:

The point is that curation of an RSS reader forces one to think about their inputs, and to exercise their values in doing so. Are you building a list of inputs that agree with you? Are you including people who you respect but disagree with? What about people you can’t stand at all?

I understand that a lot of people, especially very young people, don’t know what RSS is and likely never used it at all. But it’s never too late to learn. There’s not even much to learn, it’s very straight-forward. It helps remove the noise from one’s reading and amplify the signal (of one’s choice, preference, without anybody else interfering in this process). Throughout the day I deal almost entirely with RSS feeds for my readings. A lot of the reading I do is in plain text; no ads, no “recommended” links, no nonsense basically…

It helps me concentrate, it helps me keep focus and composure. Even one minute on Twitter is enough to throw me off my train of thought and sometimes it leads to loss of calmness. The site is designed for controversy and signal pollution. It’s a rollercoaster of disorganised, non-chronological statements of entirely different topics, narrated by opposing spectra. If Twitter was a marketplace, there would be lots of shouting, no amicable debates, no exchange of ideas. It reinforces divisiveness and tribalism. It’s also full of falsehoods and if Twitter tries to add a little fact-checking, an Orange Menace goes ballistic and makes threats. What happened a few days ago (we don’t want to link to that agitation and pseudo-presidential trolling) simply served to prove the hopelessness of such platforms. Social control media, as a concept, is flawed and utterly broken (guess whose side Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook took; answer in Daily Links).

“A lot of the reading I do is in plain text; no ads, no “recommended” links, no nonsense basically…”Techrights has one main RSS feed, a secondary one for wiki changes (if someone wants to keep abreast of those), and few others that aren’t important enough to list. The feeds are dynamically generated and cached.

To avoid us having to self-censor for fear of retaliation from private companies (sometimes foreign-owned) please follow us using RSS feeds, i.e. directly. We’re still the subject of some DDOS attacks (the latest was only hours ago) and we predict further efforts to suppress access or limit our reach/audience.

My personal views, expressed in personal accounts and my personal site (schestowitz.com), aren’t the stance of Techrights. They’re also full of typos as I very rarely proofread/spellcheck anything outside this site. I preserve and reserve the time for fact-checking and I focus on ensuring the accuracy of everything published in Techrights (final works). Social control media was never — and will never be — a substitute/surrogate of proper investigations. To certain type of ‘presidents’ it’s difficult to write more than a single sentence (let alone ensure it contains truthful statements). And to certain constituents it’s also difficult to read and digest more than one barely-coherent sentence full of insults or at least dog-whistles.

As a side note, for those who think that “subscribe for updates” (over E-mail) is a substitute to RSS, well… it’s not. It doesn’t scale well. Imagine having to send out (without risk of centralised blacklisting) 10,000 E-mails each time you publish a single post. If there’s some company or service offering to do this, it will only be a matter of time before the service goes out of existence (along with subscribers’ lists), starts charging heavily, or sticks unwanted ads into the E-mail. That’s hardly a way to control distribution of messages in a decentralised fashion. Our RSS feeds have had exactly the same addresses since 2006 and some of our subscribers really do go this far back (having just checked, the RSS feeds get about a quarter million requests per week or a million a month). We also maintain similar layout and format. We can proudly claim to be a site that’s compatible with old browsers, computers and setups. So-called ‘phones’? Not interested. They’re generally a bad form factor for reading anything but social control media “quips” and “tweets” and “selfies” or whatnot…

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2020/05/29/rss-robust-to-censorship/

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4 Comments

  1. k4n30 said,

    June 2, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Gravatar

    Been following your feed for awhile (through RSS of course). Is there anyway to have the Links articles in their own feed? Having so many links on one page (and one link) can sometimes be time consuming to sort through.

    Or even a link to whatever feeds you get the links from?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Do you want a link for RSS of links only or for everything except Daily Links?

    k4n30 Reply:

    An RSS entry for EACH of the daily links. Rather than 1 article with 500 links, 500 articles each with their own link. It may not be practical for the site, but they’re being consolidated from somewhere so it would be handy to have access to it

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    In that case, an RSS feed already exists, but not locally here in Techrights.

    For GNU/Linux only: https://joindiaspora.com/public/linux.atom

    For everything: https://joindiaspora.com/public/schestowitz.atom

    Those are similar to what ends up in Daily Links, albeit in ‘real time’…

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