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ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ Herman's blog

How the internet became shit

I recently replaced the battery on my iPhone 8 (it's the perfect smartphone; fight me) in an attempt to prolong its life by a few more years. However, the iStore service centre required that the phone be wiped to comply with the POPIA act prior to any kind of service work commencing. This was annoying, but being a thin client with good backup hygiene it was just inconvenient and not a major issue.
我最近更换了我的 iPhone 8 的电池(这是完美的智能手机;来辩论吧),试图延长它的使用寿命几年。然而,iStore 服务中心要求在任何服务工作开始之前,必须根据 POPIA 法案清除手机的数据。这很烦人,但由于我是一个有良好备份习惯的瘦客户端,这只是有点不方便,并不是一个大问题。

Once I had my phone back up and running with all my apps re-installed I found myself browsing Hacker News and followed a link to an article on one of the bigger news sites. And there were ads EVERYWHERE. I'd forgotten to re-install my adblocker.
一旦我的手机恢复正常并重新安装了所有应用程序,我发现自己在浏览 Hacker News,并跟随一个链接到其中一个大型新闻网站的文章。到处都是广告。我忘了重新安装广告拦截器。

Having not been on the internet without an adblocker in over 10 years, this was eye-opening. It was literally impossible for me to read the article due to all the slide ins, animated banners, giant separators in the content, hot girls in my area, and the like. And it wasn't alone. Most of the sites I visited via Hacker News were covered from head to toe in ads.
在超过 10 年的时间里没有在没有广告拦截器的情况下上网,这次经历让我大开眼界。由于所有的滑入广告、动画横幅、内容中的巨大分隔符、我所在地区的性感女孩广告等等,我根本无法阅读这篇文章。而且这并不是个例。我通过 Hacker News 访问的大多数网站都从头到脚布满了广告。

"Enshittification" is a term coined by Cory Doctorow, which accurately describes what was happening here. A decreasing quality of online services in an attempt to monetise. It is also used to describe companies that offer a free service but start charging once they've locked in a client-base (I'm looking at you Heroku).
“Enshittification”是 Cory Doctorow 创造的一个术语,准确地描述了这里发生的事情。为了盈利,在线服务的质量不断下降。它也用来描述那些提供免费服务但在锁定客户群后开始收费的公司(我在看你,Heroku)。

I'd rather a product not exist in the first place if their business model requires them to eventually enshittify after they've lured people in. Because, unfortunately, a subsidised product crowds out products that are more basic, yet more sustainable in the long run. Creating something that captures market share and then turns the tables actively harms their users, and the market in general.

On the other hand, I love the internet. It's a place where people come to share ideas and digitally congregate. I see it as a bunch of campfires sprinkled throughout the darkness of cyberspace. I currently hang out on a Slack channel of devs in South Africa, where I can talk shop. I also spend a decent amount of time reading about people moving to new cities; interesting side projects; thoughts and musings; slices of life; and more on the Bear discovery feed.
另一方面,我喜欢互联网。它是一个人们分享想法和数字聚会的地方。我把它看作是散布在网络空间黑暗中的一堆篝火。我目前在一个南非开发者的 Slack 频道上闲逛,在那里我可以谈论工作。我还花了不少时间阅读关于人们搬到新城市的文章;有趣的副业项目;想法和沉思;生活片段;以及更多在 Bear 发现频道上的内容。

I feel like these niche communities are so much harder to organically stumble upon since the wide-spread commercialisation of the internet. The first page of any major search engine, no matter what you search for, will be entirely populated with SEO goop, quite possibly written by AI, or indistinguishable from it.
我觉得自从互联网广泛商业化以来,这些小众社区变得很难自然地偶然发现。任何主要搜索引擎的第一页,无论你搜索什么,都会完全被 SEO 垃圾填满,很可能是由 AI 写的,或者与 AI 写的无法区分。

There's a reason many people are now searching Reddit rather than Google. Since it's more difficult to monetise content on Reddit, there is less incentive to stuff it with SEO goop in an attempt to capture keyword rankings. That being said, even Reddit is becoming worse to use. Every page load tries to get me to install the app, they've killed off most third-party apps, and old.reddit.com is almost impossible to use on mobile. So even the "alternative" to traditional search engines is getting shittier.
许多人现在搜索 Reddit 而不是 Google 是有原因的。由于在 Reddit 上变现内容更困难,因此没有太多动机用 SEO 垃圾填充内容以试图捕获关键词排名。话虽如此,即使是 Reddit 也变得越来越难用了。每次加载页面都试图让我安装应用程序,他们已经关闭了大多数第三方应用程序,而 old.reddit.com 在移动设备上几乎无法使用。所以即使是传统搜索引擎的“替代品”也变得越来越糟糕。

Here's the part where I try to wrap up this post with a nice little bow, and say something like "and all we need to do is X" (damn, X is now a thing...so maybe Y). But I can't. I don't have a solution. The internet is a decentralised free-for-all, and there are obvious economic incentives to be exploited. I foresee communities becoming more exclusive, and I predict a future where curation and moderation are the hills that content sites and feeds live and die on. I'll hold on to RSS right until the end.
这是我试图用一个漂亮的小结来结束这篇文章的部分,并说一些类似“我们只需要做 X”的话(该死,X 现在成了一个东西……所以也许是 Y)。但我做不到。我没有解决方案。互联网是一个去中心化的自由市场,显然有经济激励可以被利用。我预见社区会变得更加排他,我预测未来内容网站和信息流的生死存亡将取决于策划和审核。我会一直坚持使用 RSS 直到最后。

P.S. If you're looking for something nice to read, the Bear discovery feed is worth checking out.
附言:如果你在寻找一些好读的东西,值得看看 Bear 发现推送。

Enjoyed the article? I write about 1-2 a month. Subscribe via email or RSS feed.
喜欢这篇文章吗?我每月写 1-2 篇。通过电子邮件或 RSS 订阅。