This blog has moved to Medium

Subscribe via email

Someone build that decentralized internet already

Reddit, the home of free speech. It contains “sub-reddits” on every topic imaginable, including some stuff that most people will very offensive.
And that’s ok, because we deserve free speech – a place where every community can gather, discuss and share to their heart’s contents.

Over the past weekend, reddit has become ground zero for the leaked celebrity photos.
Subs like /r/TheFappening contained all the leaked images, color-enhanced, with proofs and verification techniques that distinguished the real images from the fakes. All was well in the realm of free speech.

Then, this happened. Yishan, Reddit’s CEO, wrote a post that I interperted as “Reddit is not going to cencor /r/TheFappening” … but they appear to have done it. As one redditor puts it, so “subs like /r/cutefemalecorpses or /r/deadkids are ok, but naked celebreties should be banned?” It’s not about morality, it’s about who has the bigger (legal) guns.

We need a decentralized internet now, a place where censorship just can’t happen, by design, and there’s nobody to sue. We need “the Bitcoin of forums”. Luckily, teams like MaidSafe, Storj, Ethereum and Xennet are working tirelessly to provide us with exactly that. Like my good friend David Johnston says, “Everything that can be decentralized, will be decentralized.”

Here’s to the revolution of decentralization and free speech.

Update: The creator of /r/TheFappening is doing an AMA.


  1. Eyal:

    Really, Ron? I usually enjoy your writing a lot. Don’t always concur. but don’t object either. Free speech, hey?!
    But this time I beg to differ. The fact that the heavyweights have deep pockets and drones of lawyers to protect them, while a miserable trusting girl who’s boyfriend got back at by posting her picture, or a poor soul whom some sicko found attractive enough to snap a picture of in the morgue (WTF?) don’t, is sad. But to come to the conclusion that anarchy is the solution? If my daughter’s picture were splattered all over the web and she’d feel her life is ruined I’d sure as hell want someone I could appeal to, or sue, or at least shame to hell. The fact that the stars couldn’t do it either wouldn’t console me one bit. If she were depressed, I’d sure as hell want it legally enforceable to prevent anyone from giving her advice on how to end it all. And don’t even get me started about websites for building weapons of mass destruction in the current affair of things.
    The world is filled with sick people with substandard morals who’ll post anything no matter who it hurts. Calling that free speech is ridiculous. The system we’ve got is seriously flawed I’ll grant you that, but the wild west where everyone just took what they wanted sure as hell wasn’t better. The fact that we can go back there doesn’t necessarily mean we should.

  2. ripper234:

    Yeah, you’re not the first one to tell me I picked the wrong example to go on a crusade for. After all, there’s nothing holy about spreading naked pictures…

    The point that I’m trying to make is that I want to have an internet where even things that aren’t “good” or “moral” have a place. I do not want a centralized authority picking what’s right. I want a place for communities can form to discuss what interests them without being policed.

    The topic of discussion here isn’t the specific content … but rather the general principle of freedom from censorship even when it’s inconvenient or illegal (breaking the law isn’t bad by definition, as long as you’re willing to pay the price).

    I’m not trying to convince you that we should support this model. I am not claiming this is a universal truth. I am saying that I personally prefer a world with uncensorable information, to a police state. Right now we are somewhere in between … thankfully, I personally don’t live in a police state (some would argue this), but China do.

    In China it is “immoral” to view porn, access social networks, speak against the government … and I support technologies that enable that.