Collected Writings: Y. Kuznetsov
SPONSORED WRITINGS
On parallel economy

I've been following closely the rise of the so called alt-tech. In particular, Gab, whom I regard as similar to Kolyma both in size and in our mutual quest for independance and self reliance, and while Kolyma has been moderately more successful, I think Torba has captured well that spirit, amongst his american users. I've even considered offering him help in total ISP level independance, but recent events in Russia make it unlikely for that to work out anymore for him.

At its core, Gab and KolymaNET share a very important objective: Zero dependance on other companies. Epik and their whole network, which includes dozens of sub services have come close to achieving this, and are in my opinion the most successful so far. Although Epik has ran into severe stumbles such as their egregious security violations the other year as I have previously wrote.

There is one major mistake that Torba made in Gab, which is his catering to political extremism. I understand that Torba wants to uphold absolute free speech, but that is something that can be done without sinking into dreadful political extremism like Gab has, a friend who runs Vidlii has done this well. Torba advertised his website in such a way as to appeal to the extreme right, and he designed algorithims and other aspects of the site around this. Leading to a very biased enviroment which doesnt serve all the users, not only are left wing and moderate right wingers de facto excluded from this website, but most importantly of all, centrists and the apolitical cannot effectively use his site.

As it stands now Gab is pretty much exclusively a right wing politics website, and extremist one at that. This means that they will pretty much never grow at their current stance, they will always be branded a politics website or some right wing kook house, which effectively destroys their chance of getting other users, who make up the vast majority of the web.

In my opinion this is a pitfall Torba hasnt even yet realized he fell into. You can give home to both left and right wing extremism on your site without catering to one or the other, and then you can avoid isolating yourself from either, which not only allows them on, but everyone in between. From a look at statistics, Gab is growing, but its clear that his user retention rate is undesirable and the level of user engagement is low, and poor algorithims are only partially to blame.

Aside from this I think Gab has done well in reaching their main objectives, like Kolyma they seem to have built everything they run themselves, while we built a Kaptcha, an imageboard software, a payment processor, and more, he built a social media website, a streaming/video sharing website, and a marketplace, and apparently he is also working on his own payment processor known as Gab Pay.

Perhaps Gab may overcome these obstacles.


Y. Kuznetsov Collected Writings
Selected writings of Yuri Mikhailovich Kuznetsov
kuz@kolyma.org
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