The internet has never been so broken.
Where are the good conversations at? That was the core currency of the internet: newsgroups and bulletin boards, then blogs and forums, then social media and comment sections. And now it’s all gone.
Facebook is an unworkable mess, burying the things your friends say beneath piles of engagement-bait posts from groups you don’t follow or care about. Twitter is a collapsing building full of grifters and fascists. TikTok is linear TV for the algorithmic era. Comment sections are feral or gone because moderation cost too much (not to mention most of the good sites that hosted them have been stripped for parts, pour one out for the AVClub). Blogs are dead because outbound links are buried by every algorithm and RSS has been systematically strangled. There are a few dark-forest forums on discord and slack, and of course group chats, hidden spaces that only work well if participants are limited, and that’s about it.
Substack isn’t going to do it, either. We spent ten years getting all that stuff out of our email inbox, that pendulum isn’t going to swing back that far.
It didn’t have to be like this. But at least some awful people got very rich along the way.