The interweb sucks


The internet annoys the hecc out of me. Almost on the daily, I’m bemoaning the endlessly enshittificated[1] websites and AI slop[2] shoved at me through every crack and crevice possible. It might just be nostalgia talking, but it feels like things used to be better.

A decade or two ago, we had a good thing going. Forums used to be a thing; you could literally find a bunch of people nerding out on stuff like Final Fantasy lore (R.I.P. FFFin) and rhythm games, or you could just jump in a random IRC channel and make new friends.

People created these tiny little tribes left and right, and the door tended to be wide open. Come on in, be yourself.

Even social media back then felt more authentic. Facebook actually showed you what your twice-removed aunt did over the weekend, and you could listen to the shitty 64kbps mp3 that the weird Midwest emo punk band you follow on MySpace just released.

Simpler times.

When did it go wrong?

When did it go wrong? I don’t know exactly when, but sometime in the past decade, I’ve started to feel increasingly anxious when I’m online.

A big part of it is the feeling of having lost my tribe.

Facebook, Reddit, Discord, and the like slurped every little independent site up. Communities moved to bigger platforms where they didn’t have to worry about hosting, and it was easier to gain new users as you had access a metric tonne of other users already using the service.

Forums closed, IRC channels dried up, and slowly but surely, your buddies didn’t come in online anymore. I felt less inclined to participate myself as well, exacerbating the problem ironically.


In itself, I don’t think the centralization wasn’t the main issue. New communities could and would pop up on these bigger platforms.

For me, it felt like all these communities had lost their personality. Flair, charm, je ne sais quoi, whatever you want to call it. They went from being the homeowners to being renters. New rules, new management, and the keys to the kingdom had been handed over.

This also meant that users (like me) could afford to be lazy. Why scour the deep plunges of the interwebs when Reddit had n+1 different subcommunities to peruse?

When you mix lazy users, homogenised communities with profit-seeking big corporations, and engagement optimising algorithms, you get a massive turd.

Websites are built to suck

Anyone who has talked with me for more than two minutes knows that I’m as anti-capitalistic and anti-establishment as they come. Which is why I’m sad when every website I’m visiting is:

  • riddled with ads,
  • trying to sell me stuff,
  • harvesting every tidbit of my existence to sell to someone else.

Usually it’s some unholy amalgamation of all the above.

Case in point, you could amuse or depress yourself with User Inyerface[3], how-i-experience-web-today[4] or Cookie Consent Speedrun[5]

I don’t mind the European Union. I think they mainly aim to do good things. But if we look at GDPR and cookie consent laws, and how these seemingly good ideas have manifested themselves into a huge shitshow in terms of implementation, I can’t help but feel doubly sad.

no human curation 4 u

I respect people who curate stuff. The Librarian type is cool. In every community I’ve been part of, there’s always been that quiet person who squirrels away every bit of useful information into some archive for the greater good.

Another type would be The Tastemaker. People who trawled through copious amounts of content to pick the shiniest gems to share with you. I’ve done my fair bit myself as well, rather successfully, if I might add.

“Fuck that!” said every online media platform, I guess. Why spend time and effort (read: money) curating when they could just surface the SEO spamming sites or those who spend the biggest of bucks to push their unrelated advertised content?

Instead of showing me content I actually want, I’m offered content that either riles me up[6] or earns them the most money. Whatever the content, I’m not coming out on top; my needs aren’t met.

To make matters even worse, now we have to deal with this lazily produced AI shit, aka. slop. It’s not even human-generated SEO spam, where a human has spent an iota of thought into what and how they should spam. Let’s just remove the human from the production side of things and push slop to the masses.

I am Jack’s triply sad occipital lobe.

Why not remove the human entirely from the equation? Soon, Windows’ Copilot™ AI will browse the internet for me (I’ll have no choice in this) and summarise everything that’s pertinent (what Satya Nadella allows me to know), and ChatGPT will have hallucinated some mind-altering facts I’ll base my whole new life on in a sick game of Chinese whispers. I’ll have learnt nothing; my opinions are decided for me, and my serotonin-starved brains are left begging for more.

Pls Google, can I haz some more cat pictures?[7] The internet is dead[8].

Thank dog for the Indieweb

Luckily, there’s still a tiny sliver of hope. There are people working on more independent, isolated, but connected, online tools and websites. People like Adam[9] are creating their own communities and allowing people some semblance of control over their online presence.

There’s the fediverse[10] with its’ mainstream alternatives like Mastodon, Pixelfeed, Lemmy, etc. and there are also people like Robb[11] doing their part in stopping LLMs from slurping up every bit of data from the internet.

There’s people like Jeremy[12] who are much more adept at sharing their thoughts on complex issues than I am.

And obviously, there’s me. I just want to make silly[13] things[14] online. I just hope that that counts for something.


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