Commit 8ce73605 authored by resynth1943's avatar resynth1943

Initial version

parent c53d5ef9
......@@ -25,19 +25,15 @@ module.exports = function(eleventyConfig) {
eleventyConfig.setDataDeepMerge(true);
eleventyConfig.addLayoutAlias("post", "post.html");
eleventyConfig.addLayoutAlias("replace", "replace.html");
eleventyConfig.addLayoutAlias("base", "base.html");
eleventyConfig.addFilter("readableDate", dateObj => {
return DateTime.fromJSDate(dateObj, {zone: 'utc'}).toFormat("dd LLL yyyy");
});
eleventyConfig.addCollection('articles', (collectionAPI) =>
collectionAPI.getFilteredByGlob('./articles/*.md')
);
eleventyConfig.addCollection('responses', (collectionAPI) =>
collectionAPI.getFilteredByGlob('./responses/*.md')
eleventyConfig.addCollection('replace', (collectionAPI) =>
collectionAPI.getFilteredByGlob('./replace/*.md')
);
// https://html.spec.whatwg.org/multipage/common-microsyntaxes.html#valid-date-string
......
---
title: "404: Damn cats!"
layout: base
eleventyExcludeFromCollections: true
permalink: 404.html
---
# Damn cats!
## 404
They've done it again. You will never win.
[Go home, and give up.](/)
resynth1943: finally on the web
===============================
Hey there! Welcome to my *amazing* (obviously) website, hosted on FramaGit; served from FramaGit Pages!
https://resynth1943.net
For more information about this domain and build system, take yourself over here:
https://resynth1943.net/domain/
License
-------
This code is licensed under the Mozilla Public License, version 2.0.
For a full copy, check out the LICENSE file.
{
"name": "Resynth",
"username": "resynth1943",
"name": "ReverseEagle ─ Developers",
"username": "reverseeagle-developers",
"url": "https://resynth1943.net",
"description": "TypeScript developer; former YouTuber. Privacy matters.",
"home": {
"title": "I'm Resynth.",
"short_bio": "I talk about online surveillance, nature, social injustices and more."
"title": "ReverseEagle ─ Developers",
"short_bio": "Privacy-conscious, ethical and safer alternatives to software for developers."
}
}
\ No newline at end of file
{
"links": [
{
"name": "Blog",
"url": "/"
"name": "ReverseEagle",
"url": "https://reverseeagle.org"
},
{
"name": "RSS",
"name": "Feed",
"url": "/feed.xml"
},
{
"name": "Responses",
"url": "/responses/"
},
{
"name": "Mastodon",
"url": "https://banana.dog/@resynth1943"
......
......@@ -7,6 +7,5 @@
</li>
{% endfor %}
</ul>
<a href="/" class="header-brand">{{ brand.username }}</a>
</nav>
</header>
\ No newline at end of file
......@@ -45,8 +45,6 @@ author: resynth1943
<main class="container {{ include.mainClass }}">
{{ content }}
</main>
<hr />
{% include footer.html %}
<!-- Goatcounter tracking code; see the analytics for this page: https://resynth1943.goatcounter.com/ -->
{% if env == 'production' %}
......
{% for article in collections.articles %}
<div class="post-item">
<a class="post-item-link" href="{{ article.url }}">
<h2>{{ article.data.title }}</h2>
</a>
<p class="post-item-date">{{ article.date | readableDate }}</p>
<blockquote class="post-summary">{{ article.data.description }}</blockquote>
</div>
{% endfor %}
\ No newline at end of file
<div class="replace-list">
{% for article in collections.replace %}
<a class="post-item-link" href="{{ article.url }}">
<div class="post-item">
<h2 class="post-item-title">{{ article.data.title }}</h2>
<!-- </a> -->
<blockquote class="post-summary">{{ article.data.type }}</blockquote>
</div>
</a>
{% endfor %}
</div>
......@@ -8,8 +8,7 @@ permalink: /index.html
{{ brand.home.short_bio }}
*{{ brand.description }}*
<!-- Horrible hack to space it out a little -->
<div class="small-spacer"></div>
<hr class="no-bottom-margin" />
{% include posts_list.html %}
\ No newline at end of file
{% include replace_list.html %}
\ No newline at end of file
aaaaaaa
\ No newline at end of file
---
layout: post
title: Discord
description: Were we wrong to switch to Discord?
---
# Discord
*I have updated this article with a shorter run-down of why you should avoid Discord. Keep scrolling for the original post.*
The year was 2015.
A new chat application had launched, named Discord. Discord was easy-to-use and offers some features that the competition lacked. People gave up on the complexity of Mumble, Skype and Teamspeak for a better alternative.
Discord was revolutionary, offering unique features meant Discord became gamers' favourite chat app. High-quality voice chats; a polished UI and the simplicity of the interface were something other platforms didn't offer.
But with the revelations in the past and current, are we beginning to change our minds?
---
*Fast forward to 2020.*
**963,000,000 messages are sent on Discord every day.**
Discord has seen a huge growth in its userbase after the initial launch. Millions of users rely on Discord for school voice chats (especially since the pandemic); game streaming and socialising with friends.
Discord has apps for iOS; Android; the web, and a native Desktop client. This is awesome!
Discord isn't perfect though. It's far from it. People are continuing to lose trust in Discord, especially when [they knowingly provide a home for fascists and racists](https://slate.com/technology/2018/10/discord-safe-space-white-supremacists.html). Combined with the events that took place in November of 2019, where a 'Trust and Safety' moderator decided to allow sexual depictions of children on their platform ("cub porn"), this really does paint a telling picture of the moderators of Discord.
Users from Discord have been unjustly banned from the platform, with no explanation or apology from Discord. Pedophiles on the platform aren't being banned, but innocent people are. *That doesn't seem right.*
https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/01/29/discord-the-2-billion-gamers-paradise-coming-to-terms-with-data-thieves-child-groomers-and-fbi-investigators/ have found a home on the platform. The FBI is watching.
It's not just that. Discord is also known for its horrendous privacy. Every Discord message, activity, connected account, and voice chat is uploaded onto Google's servers. When Google has been *exposed* as [battling against user freedom and privacy](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/mar/01/google-privacy-policy-changes-eu), giving them access to billions of unencrypted communication is asking for trouble. Discord uses Google's Cloud Platform, which is a server hosting platform.
---
Discord have also been the subject of [a group that steals the data of everyday users and sells it on the internet](https://tracr.co). **This has been operating for 2 years.** No legal reprocussions have been brought against this group. This suggests that Discord doesn't really care about the security of its userbase.
I have publically challenged this group for betraying the privacy and security of users, but without the support of Discord, that was a fruitless endeavour. Discord did nothing to protect us, or stop the stalking that the above tool has aided.
Instead of Discord, I use [matrix](https://matrix.org), a decentralised, open-source, platform that doesn't abuse my trust, my privacy or my security.
{% takeaway %}
Walk away from the product before you become the product.
{% endtakeaway %}
## Some reputable links
- [Why you shouldn't trust Discord ─ Cadence](https://cadence.moe/blog/2020-06-06-why-you-shouldnt-trust-discord)
- [My views on the issues of Discord ─ Austin Huang](https://austinhuang.me/discord-issues)
- [An open letter to Discord](https://www.reddit.com/r/discordapp/comments/debr97/open_letter_to_discord/)
- [Discord has a furry pedophile problem ─ ganker](https://ganker.com/discord-has-a-furry-pedophile-problem/)
- [Discord’s lax policy on furry ‘cub content’ leads to user outcry ─ Polygon](https://www.polygon.com/2019/1/30/18203692/discord-nsfw-policy-furry-cub)
---
*Here's the original post from 14th of March, 2020.*
# The Discord privacy scandal
Recently, I have reviewed a group of people operating under the name "dis.cool". This group have been stealing the personal data of "100 million users", and selling it to the masses.
## Introduction
I'll start by introducing the group behind "dis.cool". This service is run by rogi and [relative](https://twitter.com/relativexd/). These two are spearheading the organization.
---
This group was created a while after the release of [Discord](https://discordapp.com), a communication platform for gamers, and everyone else; this service attracts young children, teenagers and everyone else. Then, three years later, the "dis.cool" domain was officially registered. And that's when things took a turn for the worst.
Recently, [a very good friend of mine](https://reddit.com/u/InterestingSometimes) wrote a brief Reddit post about dis.cool. He had contacted the ICO, and many other organizations in a bid to stop this group. We had discovered that dis.cool was not only collecting data without consent, but *selling it for $7 USD a year*. This is a direct violation of regulations such as the GDPR (Europe), and the CCPA (California). If you'd like to read more about this, I suggest you visit [the Reddit post he wrote](https://www.reddit.com/r/discordapp/comments/f50qil/discool_is_creating_profiles_of_people_who_have/), and [my lengthy comment which explains why this is a danger](https://www.reddit.com/r/discordapp/comments/f50qil/discool_is_creating_profiles_of_people_who_have/fhvzw0n).
We were appalled to find that the information being sold included the connected accounts of users, the server list of users, and information about servers worldwide.
Please remember that *children* use this platform, and the selling of their personal information could potentially put them in grave danger. We, as a community, need to be protecting our aspiring young gamers, and provide a safe environment for them. Right now, that's nonexistent on Discord.
**Also, this is illegal.**
## *How did this happen?*
First off, Discord has had an everlasting problem that goes by the name of selfbots. Selfbots are banned by the Discord ToS. A selfbot is a bot masquerading as a user, and it logs into a user account. These selfbots are then joined into millions of Discord servers, sending data back to dis.cool such as: channel information, information of the users in the server, and all messages sent in channels the selfbot is permitted to read . I have witnessed the selling of these tokens for myself, and it seems to be quite a big business. Discord have put some measures in place (like the prevention of the `Bot {user-token}` `Authentication` header), but it is not enough to stop people like these.
However, I'd like to credit Discord for sending an official letter to [Donuts](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donuts_(company)), which thankfully got the dis.cool domain shut down. They have since moved to new domains, such as [dsc.cool](https://dsc.cool) and [tracr.co](https://tracr.co). Furthermore, their new Twitter account is [here](https://twitter.com/tracrco).
## *Why not ask them to delete the information?*
That's the thing. When anyone requests to have their personal data *removed* from this service, they are redirected to a meme instructing them to "delete your account". This is not only ethically unacceptable, but the refusal to delete personal data is a violation of the GDPR, and the CCPA. Also, their advice is meaningless, considering that if you *do* follow their instruction, [nothing will be deleted](https://www.reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/fbhv5t/help_us_fight_discool_and_stop_the_scraping/fj5twho).
It is clear to see that these people believe they are [above the laws](https://imgur.com/a/ryf5ycf) set out to protect victimised users.
## Tips on staying safe
### General advice
Currently, you should refrain from posting your server on popular Discord server listing sites. This includes sites such as [top.gg](https://top.gg) and [Discord.Me](https://discord.me); I have good reason to suspect dis.cool are scraping information from these services, because (as quoted by them) there is no ratelimiting system present on some listing services. Following this, you should disable your Server Widget. This allows *anyone* to view information about your server without joining. While some information such as discriminators are anonymized, this is still a security hole.
Also, you should be careful about *where* you post invites. I am unable to gain insight into every service they scrape, but I'd imagine things like server listing subreddits are scraped too. There is some manual work to the scraping too, which makes this a bit harder.
There is no way to limit the information that user accounts can see in your server, aside from limiting the channels they can see. They can still get the name of every channel, and the topics of them too; don't store sensitive information in channel topics.
In addition, a well-established verification system is invaluable in these circumstances. I recommend bots such as [Valkyrja](https://valkyrja.app), which only allows new user accounts to see one channel; the verification process of good bots will definitely slow down selfbots.
Me, and a close friend have been in touch with Discord to limit the information that can be seen by user accounts in your server(s). Stay tuned for updates. Systems such as the [Gateway Intents](https://discordapp.com/developers/docs/topics/gateway#gateway-intents) system have the capability to solve issues such as this, but time will tell.
### Bots
You should also be careful with the bots you add to your server. These bots can ultimately store any and all data you permit them access to, so you should be sure to only allow the permissions required for the bot. As an example, a music bot *definitely* does not need the Administrator permission (looking at you, Rythm).
### Everyone else
If you have any connected accounts (you can access these in the `Connections` section of the settings menu), you should disconnect them immediately. There is the obvious risk that dis.cool have already scraped this information; in that case, there's nothing you can do aside from not connecting any more accounts, and removing the current ones. Over time, their data will grow stale and will essentially be useless.
Moreover, encourage server owners to follow the guidelines above. This is a stepping stone to a more secure system.
## *What can I do?*
You should lodge a complaint with the relevant parties immediately. A good starting point would be to email these companies:
- OVH (Server hosting) (abuste@ovh.net)
- Epik (domain registrar) (abuse@epik.com)
- DDoS-Guard (DDoS protection) (abuse@ddos-guard.net)
- Discord ([request form](https://dis.gd/request))
There are templates for emailing these companies [here](https://gist.github.com/resynth1943/0185f55207dc4d84be99c8d74da9221d).
## References
- [UK GDPR enforcement contact info](https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/live-chat/)
- [German GDPR enforcement contact info](https://www.datenschutzkonferenz-online.de/kontakt.html)
- [My post on the r/privacy subreddit](https://www.reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/fbhv5t/help_us_fight_discool_and_stop_the_scraping/)
- [My friend's post on the r/discord subreddit](https://www.reddit.com/r/privacy/comments/f5bbz4/discool_is_creating_profiles_of_discord_users_who/)
- [My friend's post on the r/discordapp subreddit](https://www.reddit.com/r/discordapp/comments/f50qil/discool_is_creating_profiles_of_people_who_have/)
- [The Twitter thread where I first confronted them](https://twitter.com/resynth1943/status/1229012009909411840?s=20)
- [The (unofficial) disdotcool subreddit](https://reddit.com/r/disdotcool)
## *Which articles of the GDPR are they breaching?*
*Probably best to skip this if you're not a lawyer.*
<details>
<summary><a href="https://gdpr-info.eu/art-6-gdpr/">Chapter 2; Article 6</a></summary>
<blockquote>
Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies: the data subject has given consentto the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes;
</blockquote>
</details>
<details>
<summary><a href="https://gdpr-info.eu/art-8-gdpr/">Chapter 2; Article 8</a></summary>
<blockquote>
Where point (a) of Article 6(1) applies, in relation to the offer of information society services directly to a child, the processing of the personal data of a child shall be lawful where the child is at least 16 years old. 2Where the child is below the age of 16 years, such processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that consent is given or authorised by the holder of parental responsibility over the child.
</blockquote>
</details>
<details>
<summary><a href="https://gdpr-info.eu/art-17-gdpr/">Chapter 3; Article 17</a></summary>
<blockquote>
The data subject shall have the right to obtain from the controller the erasure of personal data concerning him or her without undue delay and the controller shall have the obligation to erase personal data without undue delay where one of the following grounds applies: the personal data have been unlawfully processed; the data subject withdraws consent on which the processing is based according to point (a) of Article 6(1), or point (a) of Article 9(2), and where there is no other legal ground for the processing;
</blockquote>
</details>
<details>
<summary><a href="https://gdpr-info.eu/art-20-gdpr/">Chapter 3; Article 20</a></summary>
<blockquote>
The data subject shall have the right to receive the personal data concerning him or her, which he or she has provided to a controller, in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format
</blockquote>
</details>
<details>
<summary><a href="https://gdpr-info.eu/art-21-gdpr/">Chapter 3; Article 21</a></summary>
<blockquote>
The data subject shall have the right to object, on grounds relating to his or her particular situation, at any time to processing of personal data concerning him or her which is based on point (e) or (f) of Article 6(1), including profiling based on those provisions.
</blockquote>
</details>
<details>
<summary><a href="https://gdpr-info.eu/art-25-gdpr/">Chapter 4; Article 25</a></summary>
<blockquote>
Taking into account the state of the art, the cost of implementation and the nature, scope, context and purposes of processing as well as the risks of varying likelihood and severity for rights and freedoms of natural persons posed by the processing, <b>the controller shall, both at the time of the determination of the means for processing and at the time of the processing itself, implement appropriate technical and organisational measures, such as pseudonymisation, which are designed to implement data-protection principles</b>, such as data minimisation, in an effective manner and to integrate the necessary safeguards into the processing in order to meet the requirements of this Regulation and protect the rights of data subjects.
</blockquote>
<i>Emphasis added to relevant points.</i>
</details>
## Conclusion
This is very scary for the privacy of Discord users worldwide. I can only hope Discord are able to collaborate with their community to foster brand new, and more secure systems. As an observer, privacy seems to be an afterthought with Discord's API. Thank you for reading this blog post, and I hope I have informed you of the data this group collects and sells, and how you can protect yourself in the meantime.
---
title: "Isolation; the effects on mental health."
tags: [social]
layout: post
description: How is isolation affecting you?
cover: /assets/cover/isolation-mental-health.webp
date: 2020-05-18
---
# Isolation; the effects on mental health.
Years of research have proven isolation is detrimental to mental health. This is one of the reasons why the American justice system continues to use techniques such as solitary confinement. The scale of the coronavirus has been unprecedented, and continues to baffle intrigued persons around the *World.* In this article, I'll try to observe and consolidate *how* and *why* isolation affects us, and how we can adapt to it.
## Isolation: how *does* it affect us?
The year is 2018. It is the 21st of November.
A professional US poker player named Rich Alati bet US $100,000 that he would be able to survive **30 days alone and in total darkness.**
Rich Alati bet he could live in a bathroom: without light, no perception of time, nor **any communication.** Food would be delivered, but at irregular intervals to prevent order and routine. Isolation is something many people are terrified of. Rich Alati however, being an experienced poker player, was brave enough to step into the void. Or was he?
*Four days* into his isolation, he started to hallucinate.
In the general sense, this ultimately suggests that humans struggle with isolation, especially for a prolonged period. The daily comforts we rely on are crucial to our wellbeing, and we would struggle to maintain a lifestyle which is completely different from what we are used to.
The above bet also included the ban of *any* electronic devices, alcohol or drugs. The ban of electronic devices included social media, as digital communication could be used to contact family members.
Coming back to the above experiment with Rich Alati, we see a confident man harming his wellbeing. Across the world, scientists warn of the effects of prolonged isolation.
Loneliness often leads to stress, which is the primary cause for self-harming thoughts. However, our environment also contributes to loneliness, as in some cases it can isolate us from our peers.
Scientists have concluded that isolation has the following impacts on the brain:
+ A part of the brain known as the **[ventral striatum](https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/ventral-striatum)** is less stimulated with lonely people. This is part of the brain's reward center, and displays less activity when the host has been in isolation. This suggests that the brain adapts to loneliness.
+ [Isolation affects cognitive function](https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad180501), and has an effect in the long term.
+ Lonely people are commonly more anxious than that of their social counterparts.
+ [Isolation can lead to mental illness.](https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-health-newsletter/mental-illness-isolation-and-loneliness)
+ [Isolation can lead to physical illness.](https://www.bbc.com/news/health-21517864)
+ > University have shown that people who are socially isolated develop changes in their immune system, which leads to a condition called chronic inflammation.
+ Lonely people have a tendency to release higher levels of cortisol, which, in large quantities, can lead to **inflammation and disease.**
## Isolation: its impact on our society
Time and time again, the evidence suggests that social isolation is increasingly detrimental to our mental health. When one envisions the modern age, booming with digital communication mediums, this only *compounds* the problem.
In most cases, when someone is unable to maintain a relationship in the real world, they fall back to communication via social media. However, when someone has neither, they begin to almost turn on themselves. This can be seen by the suicidal thoughts experienced by the majority of people that undergo isolation for a prolonged period of time.
When we are unable to communicate, the evidence almost suggests we lose confidence in ourselves, with our self-esteem dropping, and our self-worth plummeting.
A good example of this would be the education system, where some children that find it hard to communicate are labelled as 'nerds'. This almost places a constraint on the child, encouraging them to fit into the label provided by someone else. This is actually quite harmful: in most cases, children learn by their environment. If the people in that environment essentially reject them, the person loses respect for themselves.
Social isolation comes with extreme internal conflicts. Some in prolonged periods of isolation also hear voices, and envision imaginary friends to keep them company. The simple truth is: **we need people.** Rejection has been proven to dispirit people. They lose self-respect, and the respect of their peers.
## Isolation: the American 'justice' system
Juxtaposing the above point with the American justice system, prisoners can almost be seen as rejected by the rest of the world. This creates social pressures, which see [a shocking increase in prison suicide rates](https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jan/26/prison-suicides-in-england-and-wales-reaches-record-high). Moreover, with the above points in mind, I believe isolation is *not* a constructive method of encouraging prisoners to integrate back into the mainstream society. [**Isolation does more harm than good.**](http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/what-does-solitary-confinement-do-to-your-mind/)
Instead of maniacal measures such as forced isolation, the justice system should encourage prisoners to socialise, giving them a handle to integrate back into the modern society. When isolated, prisoners almost forget the social expectations of the modern world. This creates internal conflict in the prisoner; they forget how to fit in. When prisons are supposedly designed to rehabilitate prisoners, one finds it hard to imagine how such a gross technique such as solitary confinement was ever approved for use.
Robert King, who was subjected to **29 years in solitary confinement**, shares his experience with the world: 'To this day, I find it difficult to associate myself with my surroundings. My terrain, my geography is way off'. This reinforces the above point. **We need to discourage use of solitary confinement**. Scientists say it is 'damaging and unnecessary'.
Solitary confinement takes a huge toll on the host, both physically and mentally. To consolidate both points, it can be seen as a *waste of a human.* Solitary confinement has proved to have a permanent impact.
## Isolation: the coronavirus
*The strangest and, in some cases, lethal disease is affecting everyone.*
In tune with the current crisis, self-isolation is more relevant than ever. Currently, billions of people are actively seeking to *avoid* contact with anyone else. While this will combat the disease, the government are well aware of its [impact on the population](https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/we-are-social-species-how-will-social-distancing-affect-us).
The effects of self-distancing during the coronavirus tends to manifest itself to a greater extent within the younger population. [Studies have shown that children facing isolation have experienced greater mental health difficulties](https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890856714008600), and children with behavioural problems or disorders at age 5 had an elevated risk of becoming more socially isolated at age 12.
This evidence reinforces the fact that the younger population suffer with social anxiety to a larger extent, when compared to that of their older counterparts. When said child also lives in austerity, the effects of social distancing are even more hard-hitting. To the contrary, as children's curiosity with on-line social media platforms continues to rise, social media platforms have the ability to *reduce* mental health issues with teenagers.
Will social media companies adapt to our modern society?
Social anxiety is also very common in the younger population. Social media, while positive, can also have a negative impact on children: [filters and plastic vanity are to the detriment of children and adults alike.](https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/jan/15/impact-social-media-children-mental-health) This raises the question of what social media platforms are doing to combat isolation, while also providing a worthwhile, collaborative and friendly environment. [As social media companies continue to come under heavy scrutiny](https://www.internetmatters.org/hub/question/social-media-obstacle-childs-mental-health/), this almost seems like a wasted opportunity to instill positivity into the younger population.
## Isolation: *why* does it affect us?
A staggering amount of psychological research highlights the need for human contact.
However, loneliness does not necessarily mean being in contact with nobody.
For example, some people tend to place their work ahead of themselves and their family. This can lead to a feeling of loneliness, as they lack *personal* relationships. This cannot be compared to a business relationship. Personal relationships, in many cases, reduces the feeling of loneliness within a person, as they feel they have **people who care about them.**
In some cases, a person will opt for social withdrawal. This is more common with people with anxiety problems. This leads to solitude, and the symptoms range from [sensory deprivation](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_deprivation) to a low stimulation of the sensory systems.
How could we help people in isolation?
**We are social creatures.**
If you're feeling lonely, **reach out to someone.** Just 5 minutes of communication can affect your physical and mental health.
---
layout: post
title: "Mastodon: The Reunion."
tags: [social, social media]
description: "I'm using Mastodon, a calmer social network."
date: 2020-05-06
---
# Mastodon: The Reunion.
**This post is the second post in a series** where I explain why I have chosen to use Mastodon for a week. Follow me, and see what happens:
- [Twitter: we need a break.](/2020/05/02/Twitter-we-need-a-break.html)
---
I will be detailing the **community**, **privacy** and overall **user experience** of Mastodon.
## Community
In July of 2019, the [Mastodon](https://joinmastodon.org/) community went through major scrutiny. For example, they were accused of [having a "Nazi problem"](https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/12/20691957/mastodon-decentralized-social-network-gab-migration-fediverse-app-blocking). The owner of Mastodon has also been condemned for his [unsympathetic attitude towards the more vulnerable communities on Mastodon](https://www.dailydot.com/debug/mastodon-fediverse-eugen-rochko/). To the contrary, Mastodon has been praised for its unrestricted nature, mainly due to its suite of functionality providing [federation](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fediverse).
So far, while using [a specific Mastodon instance](https://vis.social), I have observed a general positive attitude, and a less distilled take on social media. Mastodon seems to be an increasingly organic platform, with users less eager to fabricate their life for public attention. About time, as the public is repeatedly suggesting to social media "influencers".
Ultimately, the platform seems to be for the older generation. Sadly, the large majority of the younger generation prefer a rose-tinted view on others' lives, using platforms such as Snapchat. [This is to the detriment of their mental health](https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/04/26/reddit-worst-for-mental-health-for-covid-19-news-consumption-survey-says/), which [studies have previously suggested](https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/social-media-mental-health-negative-effects-depression-anxiety-addiction-memory-a8307196.html).
In addition, I have decided to disconnect myself from "mainstream" social media for a calmer platform. Mastodon may just be what I am looking for.
## Privacy
Mastodon has been the subject of rigorous testing revolving around privacy. This has encouraged users to engage with the platform, instead of using proprietary alternatives such as Twitter.
Fortunately, the core of Mastodon is [completely open-source](github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/). This means anyone can review the code, eradicating the need for exterior security audits. This bears no correspondence with platforms such as Twitter, where the source code is hidden from the public eye. A commitment to open source instills trust in the Mastodon-focused community. Following this, anyone is free to host their own instance of Mastodon, ensuring their data remains in their hands.
## User Experience
One of the positives of Mastodon is the community support. This has proved to be useful when one looks at the sheer number of clients, applications and utilities for the Mastodon product. For example, if one is displeased with the user interface of one Mastodon client, they can freely switch to another. Contrary to closed-source and restrictive platforms such as Twitter, this provides the user with enough freedom to customize their experience of Mastodon with ease. With the growing marketplace for user freedom, Mastodon has seem a surge of new members, and continues to do so.
One of the platforms I favor is [Pinafore](https://pinafore.social). Pinafore is a minimalistic, privacy-focused and performant client for Mastodon. The variety of configuration options focused on the user's mental health is also rather touching, considering platforms such as Twitter or Facebook offer no solutions for such a far-reaching crisis. Alternatively, they offer stopgap solutions that barely do the user any good.
## Federation
Another critical concept of Mastodon is federation. Users from different instances can communicate with one another. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of free Mastodon instances available for public use. This encourages an open mindset along with the freedom of user choice. Compared to Twitter, where there is one monolithic instance, users are free to choose *any instance they like*. Furthermore, the topics of different instances may differ. There are instances focused on [technology](https://mastodon.technology/about), and others centered around sharing [artwork](https://mastodon.art/about).
Another advantage of allowing self-hosting is reliability. If a single Mastodon instance is unreliable or experiences a service outage, users may transfer their content to another instance. If Twitter goes down, it is a waiting game.
## Conclusion
Presently, I am rather content with Mastodon as a service. It has proven to be a privacy-focused, open source and a superb platform as a whole. Many Mastodon instance tout a safe, collaborative environment, where users feel at home in their instance of choice. Meanwhile, the community wholeheartedly supports these core values.
It is definitely worth a look. If you would like to follow me on Mastodon, you can [view my account here](https://vis.social/@resynth1943).
**Try Mastodon**, see what it brings you.
---
title: "Twitter, we need a break."
date: 2020-05-02
tags: [social, social media]
description: I'm leaving Twitter for a week. Read why.
layout: post
---
# Twitter: we need a break.
For better or for worse, I am leaving Twitter for a week. I have removed the app from my phone and my bookmarks. Sayonara, Twitter.
One of the main reasons would have to be my mental health. Twitter accelerates people with 'engagements', 'click-through rates' and 'influencers'. This is to the detriment of the community, and especially to the working class that are consumed by platforms such as Instagram.
So, to see if I can remedy the above situation, I am going to commit to using Mastodon for a week. Mastodon is an open-source alternative to Twitter to accomodate decentralization, privacy, as well as freedom to its users.
One of the critical concepts behind Mastodon is federation. There is not one monolithic instance. Instead, users can freely self host their own instance to remain fully in control of their data. On top of that, users can also freely create their own mobile or desktop application to use with Mastodon. However, this is not to the detriment of the ordinary user: Mastodon allows users from separate instances to 'interact'. You can follow and 'boost' posts from people using a different instance without any limitation.
If you're confused by the term 'boost', a boost is simply a retweet, which will be familiar to users of Twitter. Mastodon also features 'updoots', which, you guessed it, means to upvote a post. This rhetoric is one of the reasons why Mastodon really shines, it's touted as a more welcoming environment than alternatives such as Twitter.
One of the main attractions of Mastodon is the fact that it collects a lot less data on its users. Following this, the majority of Mastodon instance owners don't sell data (do any of them do that?). In addition, Mastodon is a lighter service than Twitter, as it does not waste its resources on gathering your personal information, and it is also customizable in terms of the user interface.
From my first experience with Mastodon, it has felt similar to Twitter. This is of course the intended effect. As Mastodon is designed to be a more privacy-conscious alternative to Twitter, the developers have very carefully mimicked certain aspects of Twitter's UI/UX.
Out of the vast selection of clients available, I am going to be using [Tusky](https://tusky.app/), and [Pinafore](https://pinafore.social) on the web. Tusky is an advanced mobile client for Mastodon, which is the most-used client for connecting to Mastodon on Android. Meanwhile, Pinafore is a simpler web interface for Mastodon.
Pinafore is quite unique in how it treats users, as it contains a settings menu geared towards your mental health. I have never seen a platform treasure the mental health of its users to this extent. It is something every platform should be aware of, and tackle with the appropriate measures.
One of Pinafore's features for its users' mental health is hiding functions that may cause the user stress, such as like counts. Countless studies have been focused on the impact of the like button on the mental health of its users, which is detailed in this article: [Why Do We Get Obsessed With 'likes' On Social Media? — Grazia](https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/opinion/care-likes-social-media/).
In addition, Tusky is a feature-packed Mastodon client. It bundles a profusion of components which prove useful to the average micro-blogger. Features such as scheduling toots and managing your Mastodon profile are available in this application. It 8
is classed as the primary gateway to Mastodon on an Android device.
Another of the great things about Mastodon is that you can use your own client. You can use the normal web interface your instance provides, or use one of the front ends available on the web.
Mastodon is also free to modify. Instance owners regularly add instance-specific features for their users. Mastodon is truly a network designed for the *people.*
As part of this transition, I will commit to uploading regular updates on how Mastodon is working out for me.
P.S. I scheduled Tweets prior to my Twitter hiatus. They will still be coming through.
Try Mastodon. **Free your social media.**
*A gigantic thank you to TheMainOne for helping me write, and encouraging me to write articles. Explore your writing, and see where it takes you.*
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---
layout: base
title: About this Domain
---
# About this Domain
This domain is actually powered by NameCheap.
To host the site, I use [FramaGit; see the source code of this ~~super cool~~ website here.](https://framagit.org/resynth1943/resynth)
Relying on [Eleventy](https://11ty.dev), a JavaScript static site generator, this whole thing has been relatively easy to make. This is coming from the guy that tried out [HarpJS](http://harpjs.com/) (we didn't get on).
Like the fonts? For the titles, I use Aldrich, a pretty geeky font. For everything else, I have taken a liking to the default monospace font that's on your computer!
I have built this site without adding any JavaScript (except analytics) on the front end, so it should be relatively quick in terms of TTI (time to interactive), a metric used for determining how bloated a page is.
I have taken the liberty of stealing the cursors from [NES.css](https://nostalgic-css.github.io/NES.css/), which is licensed under the [MIT license](https://github.com/nostalgic-css/NES.css/blob/develop/LICENSE). If you like them, you'll probably like that project too. It's awesome!
For my analytics, I use [GoatCounter](https://goatcounter.com), an ethical privacy-respecting and open-source analytics tool, which is free for personal web pages. It's pretty simple to embed, actually:
```html
<script data-goatcounter="https://resynth1943.goatcounter.com/count"
async src="//gc.zgo.at/count.js"></script>
```
Want to see the analytics? [Take a look!](https://resynth1943.goatcounter.com) All statistics gathered from this website are available to anyone (even your mum).
---
## Some history
Before using FramaGit, I was using [Vercel](https://now.sh). Sadly, I felt I could no longer support them with my business, as they are hosted on Amazon servers. I was also using a [Glitch](https://glitch.me) app for collecting analytics, but they are hosted on Amazon too.
In the past, I wasn't very open about analytics. Granted, if anyone *knew* about the analytics, they could easily [view the public statistics](https://write-that-down.glitch.me), but I failed to tell anyone. This wasn't out of malice or a desire to keep this secret, but it was an oversight on my part.
Nevertheless, this page is now 100% free of dependencies on companies that abuse trust. Vercel seemed to be the convenient option, so I hope I am setting an example that other developers can look up to.
---
Did you find out what you wanted to know...? If not, I'm always available on [matrix](https://matrix.to/#/@resynth1943:privacytools.io).
---
## Try it locally
So... this isn't enough Resynth for you?
To run my page on your localhost, you'll need to clone the Git repository which contains the source code, like so:
```