Emancipatory migrations

The Great Untangling: Part 2 – Paving a path to the new frontier.

I've been feeling a growing sense of anxiety related to account lockout lately. Horror stories about people getting locked out of their Google/Discord/GitHub accounts without due process and any form of appeal weighs heavy on my mind. While this type of event is extremely unlikely, the chance of it happening the way it does (sudden data unavailability) ought to be exactly 0. And as someone who is explicitly working on alternatives to the dominant platforms, that does add a multiple to my chances of suffering a lockout, however small that chance may be.

Here's the rough migration plan for 2023 and beyond. This is not a fixed path, but rather a demonstration of available options that are becoming increasingly viable.

Conversation around the Bonfire 🏕️

Status quo Transition End-state
Discord Revolt Revolt (+Matrix)
Discourse Gitter Revolt (+Matrix)
Telegram - Element (personal edition)
Element - Element
Gmail CubeMail Dust+Stalwart Labs

My indie game studio Spicy Lobster is already using Revolt in production as a 1:1 mirror of our Discord server. It serves two purposes:

  1. Backing up our Discord data for posterity.
  2. Providing a two-way bridge for collaborators who cannot access Discord (due to firewalls et.al.)

For a button-click service focused on #1 plus SEO, I recommend Linen.

Thinking in the Garden 🌳

Status quo Transition End-state
GDdocs Notion (Markdown) Subconscious
GetPocket Raindrop.io Omnivore
PocketCasts PocketCasts open source Teacher-app?
Substack Write.as Weird (Noosphere+ActivityPub feed)

The introduction of the Noosphere protocol and its accompanying Subconscious app unleashes the true potential of the digital garden. My apps for notes, articles, blog feeds and podcasts will all be hooked into a common connectivity layer.

ActivityPub might play a similar role as a publication layer, but it needs to become less chronologically inclined to better accommodate timeless knowledge artifacts.

Flowing through the Stream 💧

Status quo Transition End-state
Twitter/Tumblr Tumblr/Mastodon ChatterNet (ActivityPub)
Reddit/HN Lemmy/ChatterNet ChatterNet (+Matrix?)

Chatter Net is a companion protocol to ActivityPub. It's still in the prototyping phase, but a functional demo is available at conversely.social.

My micro-thesis: The AP network has already onboarded the ~10 million early-adopter techies who cared enough about their personal tech to jump ship when Twitter began leaking. The first big move is over. The mainstream >100 million users won’t do anything until there’s a proper paradigm shift. Mastodon is just an incremental change, from centralized to federated. It’s still the exact same UX paradigm. It’s gonna take a while for the 10m community to iterate and innovate further until we’ve arrived at the true paradigm shift of a brand new interface for the AP protocol.

Chatter Net is able to play the Mastodon game on par with everyone else, while layering on top a lot of extra capabilities that can spring into action once we’ve run up against enough limitations in the Mastodon (Twitter-legacy) paradigm to necessitate a more radical shift.

Solving for nothing else other than the account-loss issue (which causes the exact same anxiety as the global-scale authoritarian platforms) is already a very strong sales pitch for CN, which it has a built-in solution for with its DID-based identities.

Conversing, Thinking, Flowing self 👤

Adding to the three outer layers, we include the inner core: Identity, I.e. the digital-self.

Status quo Transition End-state
Linktree - Weird
Google/GitHub GitHub/Matrix Matrix/Chatter Net

Linktree might seem like an odd addition here, but I believe it's on track to becoming a personal website protocol. More on that in part 3.

With the introduction of OIDC support in Matrix, it has a chance of establishing itself as a primary authentication platform.

Key technology

The next generation of identity-enabling technology is becoming possible this year thanks to the maturation of some foundational building blocks. I will not get into why I think this tech is so important; I'm merely putting this out to signal alignment with other builders working with the same stack.

Emerging web standards


I predict ALL of the app-archetypes listed above will exist in the form of a Tauri-based app by 2024. And by then, Tauri Mobile will be stable (enough).


Rust is leading the charge for The Great Rewriting. Maximized performance without foot-guns is a huge force multiplier on its own, but Rust is so much more than that. All of the end-state apps listed above are using Rust to some extent.

The Great Untangling: