Bubble and Geminispace.org - Worry About Centralization

πŸ“… 2023-05-16

🏷 Gemini, Bubble, GmCapsule

I have begun a new Gemini project:
πŸ’¬ Bubble
It is a Gemini-based bulletin board system that can be summarized as a union of Station, Reddit, WordPress, and issue trackers like GitHub Issues. It is implemented as an extension module to GmCapsule, my Gemini server.

If you missed the original announcement, please do have a look at the post linked above for a summary of the key features and use cases.

It has been a busy couple of days ironing out the worst bugs, but things now seem to be running smoother. People have been stopping by and some fun stuff has been popping up, for instance:

I'm really glad to see Bubble working as intended!

If I were to choose a core mission for the project, it would be to enhance social interactions inside the Gemini community. I think something fundamental was lost after the Gemini mailing list shut down. While aggregated gemlogs are a sort of a communication medium, the level of friction is very high and there are quite high technical barriers to participation. (The Usenet group is good to have around, but let's face it: in the year 2023, Usenet is a relic.) I would be very happy if Bubble and, for now, Geminispace.org, can bring a sense of cohesion and connectedness to the community in a way that is "native" to the Gemini protocol.

Of course, it has only been up a few days, so we shall see how it stands the test of time...

[Aggregators] are not mandatory pieces, just helping with discoverability and access to content. If geminispace.org is stopped however, then everything in there is lost.

That is indeed the huge downside of centralized services. This drawback is balanced by massive advantages in other areas, though. Building a similar system in a distributed, decentralized fashion would be difficult not only technically but because it involves the mandatory cooperation of a large number of people. Many things would have to fall in place for that to succeed, and in my opinion, Gemini's resistance to things that seem like "unnecessary bloat" would be too great a hindrance.

Also, I want to be very clear: I am not interested in holding anyone's data hostage at Geminispace.org. At any time, you can go to:


and download a ZIP (Gempub) archive with all your posts, comments, and file attachments you've uploaded. You could even have a script do that for you every day, as a backup. And of course, I am periodically backing up the entire site.

Furthermore, the Python source code of Bubble and GmCapsule are readily available if anyone wants to run Bubble on their own server. If this turns out to be a popular thing to do, there's this to work on:

A bit of centralization may seem like a bitter pill to swallow after we've been cruising through the ideologically satisfying decentralized-but-aggregated gemlogosphere for a couple of years, and nobody is forced to leave their gemlog, but at least there is some subset of Geminauts who want to benefit from living in a larger collective and not just sit alone in the void, contemplating if anyone is picking up the signal.

(There is totally an attraction to the calm serenity of the latter, but maybe that's just my introversion speaking. 😊)

I believe that through the established infrastructure like Antenna, everyone can continue to take part in the community in the manner that feels most right and proper to them.

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The original Gemtext version of this page can be accessed with a Gemini client: gemini://skyjake.fi/gemlog/2023-05_bubble-and-gs-org.gmi