Decentralised Software is a Joke

if it's even actually decentralised in the first place

alternative titles: – The Corporations Already Won [over the Internet] – I Attempt to Justify my Irrational Hatred of Discord in the Form of a Pointless Rant

I hate most centralised software. Anyone who has the misfortune of knowing me knows I hate most centralised software. My personal website has links to de facto decentralised forms of communication. I have a Twitter account I refuse to post on or even look at the 2 times a month I look at cute Japanese cats. I have a Discord account I will never ever advertise beyond a few friends that refuse to use anything other than Discord. GitHub is full of faults but it's probably one of the least bad, though I will laugh every time some new cargo cult (read: Rust, Nix, Deno [DISCLAIMER: I actually like Deno]) is extremely heavily reliant on GitHub. Video bandwidth is so infeasible that monoliths like YouTube come into sole existence because of massive corporations like Google.

Using Discord as a bug tracker(?)

This rant got inspired when I was looking at the documentation page for an alpha of a software I quite like. One of the first things on their contributing page for issues was this (paraphrased):

If you find a bug, please let us know [..] on Discord.

Wait, what?

You want to not use GitHub issues, something extremely easily searchable and indexable, for DISCORD? The reason given (on a GitHub issue, lmao) is because (paraphrasing again):

to reduce noise [...] and keep all the information in one place.

My siblings in Christ, you already have a place where you can keep all the information in one place. It's even centralised, and you already use it. It's called GitHub. You can even use GitHub's silly Discussion feature and segregate alphas into its own category. Why in the name of advertiser friendly content would you EVER need to only use Discord?

It's the convenience, isn't it? You already live on Discord so why not make others too. Well, tell that to anyone on an IPv6 only network, all 3 of them. (Not that they would be able to use GitHub, either...)

Aside: Using Discord as a ticketing system(??????)

Bluesky recently started its “federation” programme. To sign-up to their allowwhitelist, you had to do one simple thing: Sign up! their Discord server. That includes making tickets to get allowed in. Yes, apparently some insane person made a ticketing system for Discord. Why would someone ever need such a thing?

I don't know but programmers seem to exclusively live on Twitter and Discord, occasionally travelling to other dumpsters like Reddit or GitHub when their usual caves start to rot.

TL;DR: I hate Discord and absolutely fucking despise being forced to use it.

Alternatives exist!

There are alternatives to all of this highly centralised corporate slop!

Lack of Reach: The Decentralised/Alternative Ouroboros

this is a strawman I won't use decentralised software because I don't know anyone else that does/no one else will leave with me/will think I am weird for not using the central alternative!

The central problem with decentralised software is [it seems like] that no one actually wants to use it. Want to contribute to software projects? Sign up to GitHub. Want to chat with your friends or those software developers? Sign up to Discord. Want to post cats and complain about American politics? The Twitter dumpster fire welcomes you. It's easy because it's advertised and everyone else already does it. The decentralised problem is typically many of them are the 2018 Hacker News “Uber for X” but for decentralised software. – Why would most people ever use “Discord but decentralised” when Discord exists and people are using it?Why would most people ever use “Twitter but decentralised” when Twitter exists and people are using it?Why would most people ever use “GitHub but decentralised” when GitHub exists and people are using it? Non-technical people don't give a shit about centralisation. If they did, Cloudflare would have gone bankrupt in 2013.

Decentralised software will never catch on because it did not already. Unless it becomes such a killer app it will dethrone any alternative like what Discord did to Skype in the mid-2010s, lovely projects like Matrix and Gitea/Forgejo will rot in the sidelines while their corporate competition continues to curb stomp it into irrelevancy.

Some Decentralised Software is Actually Centralised

I really like Matrix. I help host a Synapse server. I also host a personal Dendrite server and have all the bridges set up. But good luck trying to use Matrix and trying to avoid The flagship instance is so utterly massive that trying to block it is a very easy way to shoot oneself in the foot. The same could be said of Mastodon with and Misskey with Bluesky doesn't even pretend it's currently decentralised. Good luck using that behind an IPv6-only network! Pay up for those IPv4 addresses!!

Also please unblock me I only did one joke please

Yes, you could avoid them (or get blocked by them for simply no reason), but then your potential outreach falls of a cliff. The Ouroboros eats its tail.

An Attempt at a Conclusion

I love decentralised software. I host everything that I use beyond the servers myself, from the DNS nameservers resolving my domains to the blogging software you are currently reading this on. I was excited by Bluesky before I ever opened the “What's Hot” feed. I got excited by the fediverse before I realised it was just a group of cliques that hate each other for no reason other than existing and guilt-by-association. I use Matrix everyday, even though like 90% of the time it's to message my boyfriend. (Love you, Grumb!)

But no one else I know does. They post Twitter screencaps on Discord. Not that I want to control them, they're their own people and make their own decisions. Many of them burnt out of the fediverse even harder than I ever could. We tried Matrix but the Discord bridge broke and the only person who had access to it just didn't care about Matrix enough to want to ever fix it. Don't get me started on my few real life friends, they're even worse.

Decentralised software exists and can be lovely and sometimes objectively better than its more popular centralised counterpart (though getting stabbed will be a better experience than using Twitter and graffiti on a wall is probably more searchable than anything on Discord ever will) but won't catch on because of the ouroboros of convenience/no one else using it.