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Memorial Pillar

AKA stuff that has outlived its usefulness

The XMPP MUC (2019-2024)

Image of a grave, from the video game Celeste, with 'diggymuc' written on it

I'm going to get emotional here, since this was a big part of my life for well...a little over 4 years. But every ride has its finish line, and this one's just happens to have been passed now. Let's give it a proper burial with a short (edit: heh, this failed miserably) "biography" and my feelings about it all.

During 2018-2019 my site became way more popular than anything I had anticipated, and well, I thought it might be nice to have a place to talk for my community (since E-mail doesn't really fit that purpose). I always liked forums; I used to run one in 2008, which I sadly killed that same year due to my own arrogance / rashness / administration inexperience (I still feel bad about it, sorry to all the people I've hurt back then!). Setting up a forum - though - is a lot harder than an XMPP MUC, which is just a few clicks. I just wanted something quick, and didn't think too much of the implications or anything deep. So, I made a MUC on the Disroot server (the archived contact page from August 2019 already has the chat address listed; so, it has existed at least since then, but perhaps even earlier). Back then, I was somewhat involved with the Disroot community, since well, they truly seemed like an alternative to the big players focused on profit or data collection. They really seemed like a nice bunch with a plan and some of the same ideas I've had. And well, they were small enough back then that I thought I might join them and help them launch. I suggested doing translations for them, but time and motivation kind of fizzled out (translation work is extremely boring). Funnily enough, Disroot had a Polish people joke on their site, which they took down when I admitted to being Polish...hahaha. If you study my early E-mail pages, you will see they were heavily praising Disroot and Riseup - in an almost fanboyish way. Later, I became less enamored with service providers and started focusing more on honesty and good research.

Anyway, I went off road - so let's go back. The first iteration of the chatroom was on the aforementioned Disroot, which might have been a mistake in hindsight. It just wasn't too reliable in staying up. I then made an alternative room on RiseUp - though Disroot was still the main. People started getting mad as Disroot kept going down, so they ran away to the RiseUp room, screaming "REVOLUTION!" and forcing me to move with them, which was pretty funny.

The community was pretty small back then, maybe about 10 people. There weren't any problems with moderation or stuff like that, I think the topic didn't even come up. Eventually, RiseUp proved itself to be just as unreliable as Disroot, necessitating another move. Luckily, nuegia's famous TOM proposed hosting the MUC for us. Finally, we had an actually reliable host! This started the second era of the diggymuc.

Now, the move brought something new to the table, which was moderation. TOM was big on that; I didn't really like it (coming from places with "free speech" culture, especially 8chan) but was content with letting him lead. With my site and chat getting more popular, more "colorful characters" started coming in, which annoyed some. At some point, it was proposed to invite TheAnonymouseJoker to the chat, whom I back then thought to be some kind of a big celebrity (he ran a subreddit), and predicted that the invitation will surely fail (I was wrong). He ended up being one of those "colorful characters" at least in the minds of others (who didn't like his "China shilling", for example); though I never felt that way and we became good friends. I really liked the idea of the free for all back then and didn't (yet) feel like anything particularly bad was going on. Though I guess I did violate it in a particularly annoying case of the user "kompowiec". I regretted it later of course, and ended up unbanning him, but I feel like I should explain why the situation even happened:

First of all, it's necessary to understand that he had extremely poor English skills. Like, extremely - similar to the Polish youth you often see in the comment sections of YouTube videos. But maybe even worse. So it was almost impossible to understand what he was saying. It felt like spam, though he was surely trying hard. Anyway, one day we were talking about corona, one of the big topics back then for obvious reasons. And he said something like "All conspiracy theories are stupid, and I have scientific proof". So I asked him to provide that proof, and was expecting a scientific paper (you know, where scientific proofs are made?) - but he instead linked some youtube video of a *polish* eceleb talking for an hour about how bad conspiracy theories are. That somehow got me really mad and I banned him. I felt like what he did was mockery of the entire chat, considering that not only there wasn't any scientific proof found in his video, but no one could even listen to it, as they didn't know the language. But I guess no one else saw the problem with it. Besides this incident, the place was mostly a free-for-all again, as I (but not necessarily some others) wanted it.

One time, two of the chatroom members actually met IRL. And it was exactly the disaster you'd imagine it to be, or worse. Person A actually took a flight from Canada to Ireland to meet Person B, and was forced to sleep outside in a tent (?) because Person B's father didn't want him in, or something like that. I forgot all the details but it ended with the relevant people physically fighting and Person A breaking Person B's laptop and maybe lifting some files. I think there was some miscommunication there, in which Person A was hoping to stay at Person B's place for a long time, but it didn't turn out this way, and Person A had to take a flight back to Canada, but now lacked the money. Person A got really mad at Person B and doxed him entirely with real name and city, though it was quickly scrubbed IIRC. Both the involved parties had a different version of the story which exonerated themselves, of course. I was mostly siding with Person A, really, because I felt he had been trapped. But many bullied him, which should have made me reconsider my complete free speech stance. I mean, at one point I felt like Person A was suicidal, for which I never had a proof but it just seemed that way. It's all great to bullshit around on the Internet, but maybe we should hold back once it's affecting someone IRL to the point of panic. To finish this story, Person B then bought a shotgun, and again, suicide was suspected, but there was no proof and people actually looked for funerals of the doxed name, but failed to find one. So, presumably, he just left and focused more on RL. The bigger lesson here should be to not meet randoms from the Internet, especially if you have to leave your country for it.

Originally, my site was almost entirely about technology and software related issues. But once I realized I was getting popular, I felt like I might cover more ground. Since I always had political and other ideas I just wanted to put them up. Some people didn't like this but it clearly turned out to be the right course of action. As writing about tech all the time gets boring and there are simply more important topics to cover. What does it have to do with the MUC? Well, as my site's coverage kept widening, so did the MUC topics. But with politics and religion and similar things being on the table, moderation issues appeared, again. Religion and politics are the widely known topics which generate conflicts. I remember getting into a quarrel with Baobab over a Chomsky video. It got pretty heated and that's just one of many examples. Later came loadingxml with his Islamic beliefs which proved this point even more, causing community-wide disturbances (which - again - I didn't mind and didn't think he was doing anything bad, really). These and other incidents set the foundation for another community split. Because, TOM and the other higher-ups wanted more moderation, while I did not. But I did not care to debate anyone over why I wanted it this way. I don't really like intruding into someone's wishes. So I just resigned, and let the others manage the chat according to their views (which ended up including the complete banning of religion and politics...or so I thought, but apparently the rules were more lax and / or not that strictly followed). One of the chat members - Diego - swooped in and took the opportunity to move the people who prefered my way, to his server. This started the third era of the diggymuc.

It started off seemingly great. I was even quite happy with the activity even though the bulk of people remained at Spyware (which ended up being way more popular in terms of the amount of people, but not the activity; this I took as proof that chatrooms need freedom). There were some rules against doxing, but I wasn't insane enough to argue against that. The chat worked similarly to the previous one at the beginning. Anyway - over time - the authoritarian and trolly ways of Diego started surfacing. One day, when I was sleeping (I think) Diego set up a script to kick TAJ, duion, and I think oneflux and maybe some others. So, anyone was able to go to his site, press a button, and kick Diego's chosen targets from the chatroom. That was a dealbreaker for me; I decided I'm not going to accept this abuse and fucked off immediately. Though Diego mocked me for not having anywhere else to go, I quickly disproved it by moving to a newly made chatroom at jabber.lqdn.fr. It had serious flaws though, such as the lack of darknet support, so this episode was relatively short-lived. I realized I had to take the training wheels off and finally self-host. This started the fourth and final era of the diggymuc. By the way, I have no bad feelings towards Diego now, at all. He ended up rejoining for the last era and everything was fine by me.

Setting up the server was quite the challenge. My OS did not have the package for the newest prosody (IIRC), and some modules didn't work in that version. Then, there were all the settings I've had to change and other stuff. Because, for example, the bandwidth defaults in prosody are way too low and will make your server keep shutting down. Took me a long time to figure out what's the problem. Then repeat that for several other issues. I was really tired at the end of it all and left the server in an imperfect state anyway, because I didn't want to fiddle with it anymore. But the MUC worked okay. The biggest change, though, was that finally only I was in charge of the rules and handling everything, etc. That proved to be a way too big of a burden for me to carry, in the end. See, I was really comfortable with TOM and Diego handling all the meta-stuff, even if I did not like some of the decisions. Suddenly, everything changed, and it broke me.

Every community split causes a part of that community to just leave or go elsewhere. That - in addition to the people who naturally leave during a chat's existence - has slowly turned the community into something quite different than before. But, when something happens slowly, you don't notice it that much (in other words, "the boiling frog"). Yet Diego, who was away for a long time and joined in the middle of the final era, did mention that the chat seems completely different. And he was right. The interesting discussions and fun trolling was mostly replaced by a flood of trash and bad faith arguments. One reason was the disappearance of quality members like Stella (who promised to come back if I started self hosting, but I guess didn't care enough), Skywave (who once said that being overly confrontational is pointless; I should have taken this message more to heart), geneticabhorrence, apples, yuga, Samanto Hermes, Czen (though he left during the first era, so I guess shouldn't be counted; but I wanted to give him a shoutout anyway), TAJ (who pretty much got bullied out) and many others. Sorry if you got skipped, I can't remember everyone.

There was still trolling in the old days, but it felt like fun instead of bad faith and annoying. Not that there was none of the latter during the previous eras - but the balance has clearly shifted. The second reason for the decrease in quality during the final era was that the promise of freedom - as well as the increased popularity of my site - ended up attracting people from places like 4chan who are used to...quite a different way of speaking than a "normal" person. And so, we've got people like kane / mirni who were able to hold a convo at times, but also liked spamming pictures of obese anime girls. Which is fine up to a point; again, it's about the balance, which I think has gone way too far in the wrong direction. Or maybe it's an illusion, and I just got tired and burned out. Because, there were complaints already during the previous eras. But I don't think it's entirely imagined if Diego and others have noticed it, too.

Another type of people who became increasingly common during the final era were those who just wanted to test the limits and throw shit around. At one point, ahoneko (new member) posted a "loli" image with a tail that triggered many people. With the wisdom of passed time, I'm now pretty sure it was a setup by someone who didn't like the "conspiracy theory" focus of the chat. This person (whom back then was called "anonymous") complained about Putin and questioned some of our theories regarding the war, etc. I think it was all a setup, a bait to eventually unleash that loli and destroy the chatroom. After I let that loli slide, "anonymous" posted an AI generated real-looking CP image (which I did not see, so am only relaying what others told me). Later it was revealed that that person was a "professional" in destroying chatrooms, and her usual name was "morph". Bots were unleashed which forced me to spend more effort at mitigations. Somewhere around this time, trbl coded a bot of his own that was able to deal with those and other spammers pretty effectively, and had other functionality. Later, that bot became an issue in itself as it was collecting data (but, I have no beef with trbl at all, as he was transparent about it, and took it down when I asked him). Anyway, that loli situation took a lot out of me, and I left for like two weeks, but ended up coming back partially due to "demand".

I assigned some mods to handle things in my absence, one of which was jsj, who ended up banning a few people. I had no problem with that, by the way; at this point, it was obvious that the "complete freedom" thing doesn't really work. That loli situation already showed it enough. Even though it was a setup, it doesn't really matter; "complete freedom" does provide an entry point for these kinds of things, as well. And if you weren't there back then, you won't realize just how much that incident shook everything up. During the older eras, a few people were complaining about "privilege abuse" already, and I think one mistake I've made was taking them too seriously and allowing malicious actors to establish themselves because of fearing that installing any kind of restrictions will bring more complaints. It's important to realize, though, that one thing the lack of restrictions accomplishes is displacing quality people in favor of the ones who are "overly confrontational". And for some people, complaining is the entirety of their existence, even if there is nothing to complain about.

Anyway, those banned people got really mad and started whining about their bans in my PMs. One of them made a separate chatroom for "digdeeper refugees", or something silly like that. Another organized a DDoS of my site, which took it down for a few hours. They also kept spamming the chatroom, which necessitated making approval required for posting messages. This added yet another layer of effort needed to even have the chat be functional. The spam sessions were seemingly cyclical, and some people really wanted me to be there to turn off the block once the spammers left, and then turn it on again once they were back. And then to keep doing that all day long! The Internet has made some people fucking insane, I swear. I guess it might have something to do with the way some YouTube "content creators" manage to record videos every day, so some people begin to think this is something normal, to have another person do your bidding all day. But that's for another topic. Anyway, all of this ended up being too much for me. I really didn't want to deal with it anymore and gave the MUC up to the Devil himself, jsj (sarcasm BTW).

I made it clear I do not want to be involved in the MUC anymore, but am leaving it for the benefit of the people. I wanted to kill it right there but cuddlybear and jsj convinced me not to. While being away, I got more complaints than ever. "The Islamic terrorist is posting!" "Oh no, people are discussing pedophilia!" And again, "spammers" and "jsj bans for no reason". Having to turn off whispers because spammers were using those, then having to create a separate XMPP account for approvals (since the chat still had to stay approval-only). Despite being away from the MUC, it felt like my life was still the MUC.

The MUC, for me, was supposed to be a place to relax, throw some news commentary, and maybe have some light debate every so often. But when it became 80% meta-things and 20%...the things it was designed for, I began to lose interest. The server setup, constant reconfigurations, restarts because it went down, dealing with spammers and shit throwers and having to decide whether we want "full freedom" or "a little less freedom" (both of which will get someone out there really mad and forcibly throw me into another hour long debate). Keep trbl's bot or not? And boom, it's another hour long debate. And it's a fucking constant stream of CRAP you have to deal with, just to have a place to talk. I knew it's going to have to die, I just kept it alive for way too long because well, I thought people still use it - and I didn't want to be the "bad guy" who steals it from them. But am I the bad guy, really?

The reality is that the MUC is fucking addictive, and it's obvious in the way some people got mad when it didn't run exactly how they wanted it to. I mean, someone really made a secondary chat for "refugees", complete with a bunch of impersonated members. Someone else coded a (pretty advanced, I'd say) bot for spamming the chatroom. And you could almost feel Mike Tyson punching your screen with the power of some people's whines. Some told me they NEED the MUC. "MUC went down!" "MUC went down!". It was clear that the MUC took over the lives of some people. Young people, who really should have better things to do. But instead they sit there all day talking bullshit. And here we come to an underappreciated issue with XMPP MUCs:

It is simply a suboptimal format. It works in the worst way possible, as a constant drip of homogenized "content". The messages come out one after another, making direct debate pretty much impossible. You might be involved in some world-changing discussion, but in-between that will be 50 messages talking about banal things. The forum, on the other hand, has categorization built-in. In XMPP chats, there is no way to do moderation, really, aside from banning undesirables who promptly come in with another account. The forum has advanced capabilities for deleting or modifying singular messages, moving topics, merging, etc. But the categorization itself can keep crap contained in a "bullshit section" (this is commonly done). Quoting someone in an XMPP MUC consists of mentioning someone's name and hoping they notice; the forum has actual quoting. In XMPP MUCs, posting a message is just too easy, motivating people to keep posting CRAP all the time; in the forum, it is significantly more involved. Knowing how all this works, I can't justify keeping it up. I mean, at some point you have to think about the ethics of what you're doing, instead of screaming "muh freedom" like those toys for kids, programmed to say a certain phrase over and over. I just know some young people in there could become world class security researchers, but will instead waste their lives whining about "evil jsj bans".

To be fair, I did get a lot out of the chatroom. For one, I met some nice people that I kept contact with (though many more that disappeared, or what I call "the shuffling of the human cards"). And sometimes, someone even said something that made me think (gasp!). I had the opportunity to reevaluate (or alternatively, confirm the validity of) some of the arguments I usually use, which was valuable. And the Islamic debates with loadingxml and Hat were pretty educational, to be honest. Though I still think I'd rather have had a forum for all this time. I put lots of effort into the MUC messages, that often went unanswered and just disappeared into the digital black hole. The trolling was fun, sometimes - but again, would I have done so on a forum? Isn't it something I did just because it was easy and convenient? It's addiction, pure and simple. If left with time to think, no one really wants to spend as much time on a MUC as I have. There is still a use case for the MUCs, of course. Maybe if I ran things a little bit differently, some problems could have been prevented. Maybe I should have been more of a dictator from the start. But, that just isn't me, I don't think. Either way, you can't make a MUC into something it isn't; the format necessitates some concessions.

Anyway, I think it's time to finish this up. It got way longer than planned (but I couldn't stop myself). It's probably the length of some of my articles already (though I still failed to mention many important details, for sure). But again, being a big part of my life, it deserves a big finish, too. RIP diggymuc 2019-2024. Also read Elda's report for some more early MUC history.

Edit: clearly I am unable to stop thinking about the MUC yet. So let's explore the topic of chat freedom more deeply. It turned out that people can't really deal with it. Something always bothers someone - whether it's real or fake pedophile material, or even just discussing pedophilia. It might be "Islamic terrorism" or "not following basic social conventions". It might be doxing or fat anime girls. And then the whines start. Try as you might to resist the complaints and fight for freedom, people will keep putting on the pressure. And if you (well, me in this case) finally buckle under the pressure and decide to limit something, the secondary whines about "privilege abuse" begin. Everyone has his own idea of what's the right level of freedom and wants YOU (me in this case) to enforce it. Maybe this is what broke me in the end.

Thinking about it more, I still really like the concept of chat freedom, despite the inconsistent - maybe even falling - quality, that it naturally brings. I mean, people like Skywave pretty much admitted to me to have left because of it. So there are clearly negatives to it. But on the other hand, it allows for situations that would never ever happen in a curated chat. And I just thought, it might be a nice experiment in a world where every other chatroom is heavily curated. But again, people couldn't use it responsibly; either by "testing the limits" or just trying to limit the freedom of someone they didn't like. I tried my best to defend the freedom of people like binl, and even the so-called "pedophiles" (the issue that makes many freedom lovers panic); but again, the complaints and drama eventually prevailed. Turns out I was too soft to run a chat the way I liked.

But what about doxing? Surely it's an example where freedom should clearly be limited? Maybe. But, people should have enough ethics to not do it regardless. And it is sad that it's something that even has to be mentioned. Either way, if someone really wants to dox, then he will. Like what happened to "Person B". MUCs - of course - don't even have the ability to remove singular messages, and automatically send them all to every participant. So everyone will be instantly informed of the dox (unlike on a forum). As I've said before, you have to make some concessions due to the format. The diggymuc was also configured to not store any messages, so you had to sit there all day to be able to see everything. That's another thing people whined about, but I knew it was the right decision in the end.

Long term, nothing could have saved the MUC. As my heart just wasn't in it anymore. Reading all those messages, and posting news and debating and whatever, it all stopped being fun at some point. And when you add up the meta-things, again, it just turned into a burden for me and I started looking for an out. So, that's how the story of the diggymuc ends. Rather kill it now, while it was still somewhat free, than let it turn into yet another heavily curated chat which bears no resemblance to what made it originally valuable.

RIP Ted, one of the great thinkers of our times

April Fools 2023

April Fools 2023 image showing the digdeeper.club domain being seized by glowies thanks for giving me a heart attack diggy - Anon Y. Moose

Thanks to Skywave for designing the image. Too bad he became one with a machine and didn't get to see it in action :(

Mastodon / Pleroma / Fediverse

Another instance I was using went down and I kind of don't care to rejoin (thanks Baobab / Ryo for keeping me around for so long though, and not being bothered by my hot takes :D). Social media sucks, either way - even if it's open source / decentralized social media. You never get any engagement on your effortposts and - due to the chronological nature of social media - they basically evaporate in a few hours, never to be seen again. The software even discourages effortposts with the character limits; the whole thing is pretty much designed for flamewars / fucking around, which just isn't what I'm looking for. With how hated Elon Musk is, you can also expect a mass exodus from Twitter to the Fediverse, including the corporations that will now advertise there. I am already tired of the low effort posts by Mozilla, Tutanota, etc. that pretend to want a conversation but only want to shill their software - and this will get a lot worse soon. If the instance you are using dies, you will need to find another one but you won't be able to import the posts. There are no good clients outside of the web service - and even though I've been using it for so long, the interface is still confusing to me. It is also very resource intensive and in Pale Moon, freezes your entire browser on occassion. Anyway, my test drive with the fediverse has now passed the finish line. I hope I will be able to focus more on my site or other useful things from now on - since the fediverse is quite addictive in terms of checking whether someone has replied to your effortposts, or scrolling to find something to reply to (there is nothing). Maybe GNU Social or other implementations lack some of the flaws, but I won't be around to check anymore. Sayonara, Fediverse!

RIP Ray Peat

I think I've paid him enough honor by now. Goodbye, hero.

April Fools 2022

April Fools 2022, showing female diggy

April Fools 2021

April Fools 2021

Did you really think I'll give up so easily on something I've worked on for so long? And especially become a normalfag after being so autistic about privacy and other stuff? Hopefully not, but if so...

Daryan Crescend from the Ace Attorney games laughing

2021 New Year message

2020 will be remembered as the year the ruling vermin tried their best to kill it for us. They will surely try to continue in 2021, so let's make it a resolution to not let them. Spread the word about the fake pandemic - which is what allowed them to do everything they needed. Avoid all big corpos that have censored people or spoke in favor of it (G, FB, Twitter, Moz, Wikipedia). Use Freenet, TOR, encrypt your files and communications. Try to move your activities to the physical sphere as much as possible, which are more meaningful and harder for the fearmongers to takeover than the Internet. Don't wear a mask if you can avoid it, don't take the vaccine, don't watch corona "news", give your grandparents Vitamin D if you're worried (this will help them more than muh masks). Remember that we heavily outnumber the fearmongers. By working together, we can end this circus.

April Fools 2020

April Fools 2020

Fun times. Didn't think people would fall for it at all. You motherfucker hahahaha.

2020 New Year message

Happy new private year and decade! Looking for a new year's resolution? Try standing up against the Tech Giants - who are trying to censor, control and destroy the Internet and the world. Avoid Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Cloudflare, Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla. Go even further and support the creation of a new Internet and a new world with tools such as Freenet. Also inspect these articles to know who's our real enemy and what do we have to eventually do.

Old, low quality articles

Each of the listed articles fits one or more of three categories:

But, they're here for historical purposes and well, someone might derive some value from them anyway. And, it's not out of the question I will refurbish them at some point. Anyway... here they are: The dangers of artificial intelligence || Refuting Freetardism || What Linux struggles with

News

Too much work that drains my creative energy. Actually, I recommend a news detox for everyone even if you're reading alternative news sites. News = a concentrated dose of toxicity in your brain every morning.

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