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                               ~ The slow social network ~
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rawtext.club social contract

The rawtext.club is a place to socialize with others, learn from them, and
tinker with Linux and command line technology.

But underlying this is a commitment to a free, open, decentralized internet and
its role in pursuing a socially and environmentally sustainable future.

In the early days of the public internet, networked digital communication was
often described as a great equalizing tool that would support public education
and awareness, and that would empower popular engagement for the betterment of
society. But since then, the internet has veered dangerously in the opposite
direction. Now, the internet divides people, misinforms them, monitors them,
and leaves them pliant to the groups that control large, centralizing portions
of the network. This centralization gives a privileged few the power to pursue
their interests by manipulating and exploiting everyone else.

This is the same struggle that has existed throughout the history of society,
the abuse of power by a few at the expense of the many.

People in democratic countries might be saying, "but don't we have a government
and legal system to protect us?". In theory yes - but as history shows, these
legal systems are often distorted to encourage those abuses. The corporations
and wealthy individuals responsible are either good friends with governments,
or hard at work "convincing" them. They are funding intense lobbying efforts to
influence politicians, and entire media campaigns to erase public awareness of
their work (or, similarly, to manufacture consent). The end result is that
public service and regulations are being systematically dismantled and
neutralized as an obstacle to reckless, short-sighted profiteering. The
institutions that are nominally for the people, by the people, and designed to
protect the people, turn out to be none of those, and we are being broken apart
into a bickering sea of lonely individuals.

Why do the politically and economically powerful want to atomize society
and prevent people from organizing around public interests? Because no matter
how much money or power they have, they know that there is nothing more
powerful than people working together. And if people worked together, with
clarity of awareness and unhindered access to information, they would put the
interests of the people above the obscenely disproportionate profits of the few.

As long as the internet is centralized around a few filtered sources like
Facebook or CNN or FoxNews, this will never happen. In fact, networks like
those act to trivialize and undermine any attempts to organize and genuinely
inform.

Luckily the internet in many countries is still not technically centralized--
it is peoples' use of the internet that is centralized. So one of the easiest
things you can do to support the decentralized internet is simply to use it,
and talk about it, and help build and refine tools for it. And raise awareness
about the negative effects of large, corporate-owned social and news media
services.

Is the road ahead easy? Nope. But the power is there for the taking. We need to
take back the internet, and use it to support each other in establishing (or
rebuilding) the institutions and organizations that support life for everyone
now, and that allow us to build toward a better, more sustainable life in the
future. That is, people can take back the hijacked institutions of democracy
and use them against the broken system, thereby creating true and interest-free
self-organization.

If this sounds alarmist, that's because we are facing a dire situation. The
decisions our societies make now, for example about climate change, will
influence whether or not future generations face catastrophic consequences. And
take this interview with Noam Chomsky for further description about how the
economic and political elite use mass media to downplay the threat.

With this context in mind, rawtext.club supports building and learning about
the tools, resources, and people that make a non-commercial, decentralized
internet possible, particularly focusing on Linux technology and federation
among Linux based systems. rawtext.club is just one small node in a sea of
decentralized internet projects, but some of its big goals are to raise
awareness about the message above, to empower people through education about
internet technology, and to make connections between people supporting these
goals.

A little more tangibly, this has implications for members with accounts on
rawtext.club:

* your account data is yours, and you can take it, delete it, or do what you
will with it whenever you want.

* your activity on rawtext.club will not be monitored. the only exception to
this is if strong evidence suggests a user is violating policies toward an
outcome that is system-destructive.

* rawtext.club will never share information about you or your account with
others. the only exception to this would be a legal order.

* everyone is welcome here, and encouraged to learn and share. the only rule
is that you interact with others in a positive, supportive manner. we all lose
when we don't work together.

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