If you're used to centralised networks like Facebook, you may be wondering why Mastodon and the Fediverse are spread across thousands of sites. Why not just have a single site where people sign up?
There are many important reasons, but maybe the most important is this:
Networks on single sites tend to be bought by bad people when they get popular 😠
It happened to Instagram (bought by Facebook), it happened to Whatsapp (bought by Facebook), it happened to YouTube (bought by Google). It can happen to ANYTHING built entirely around one site.
No matter how much you trust the people who run a site, when someone offers them billions of dollars they may just take the money.
Decentralised networks, where there is no central site, are much more resistant to buyouts.
No one owns the global email network, thousands of indie players like @Tutanota and @protonmail are able to offer alternatives, and if one provider behaves badly you can switch to a different provider.
It's definitely great that we aren't being run by corporations. But single instance communities can still be at risk of selling out to corporations.
For example, the Internet Movie Database was originally a community project, but it got bought out by Amazon within just a few years because it got popular 😔
As long as the Fediverse stays decentralised though, there's much less risk of this happening.
Actually, according to wikipedia, it became a private company before Amazon purchased it.
Though I agree communities or nonprofits can be "Captured" in many ways, but if the code is opensource and can be forked, we can easily move onto a different platform if needed.
And yes, decentralization helps prevent a lot of issues as well.
@geotechland IMDb became a private company. #Wikipedia is secured from such events, because:
* Wikipedia is published under the CC-BY-SA licence;
* AFAIK a dump of the entire Wikipedia can be downloaded anytime as few huge files;
* the software of Wikipedia, #MediaWiki, is published under some free licence (possibly, GNU GPL, not sure).
But (I suppose) if Wikipedia would be sold, the sold thing would be its name. And it would be a real problem, because most readers would know the old name only.
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