[tech] [spec] On extending gemini

avr at geminet.org avr at geminet.org
Mon Feb 22 11:30:42 GMT 2021

On Sun, Feb 21, 2021 at 12:23:15AM -0500, Michael Lazar wrote:
> This is disgraceful, shameless intimidation.

At the moment there's nothing preventing a gemini client from running
an interpreter for a gemtext embedded scripting language other than
good habits and intent. The only thing anyone in the gemini-verse
can do to prevent such things is to not play along. Self-regulation
is all we have.

Maybe it's unfortunate that this truth has been stated with, let's call it
DeVaultian flair, but that doesn't make it wrong or even "intimidation". 

> The threat isn’t to blackhole all requests to /favicon.txt, which
> might have been considered reasonable. No, the thread is to blackhole
> the IP address of every amfora user, cutting them off from a large
> swath of gemini and thereby crippling the client. Destroying the
> hundreds of hours that makeworld has no doubt spent building up his
> software and community. Unless he submits, unwavering, to ddevault’s
> ultimatum to "fix" his software.

I think a returning a 58 error code ("Client is broken and smells bad") on 
requesting favicons would be a more appropriate respons but I can see where 
he's coming from. It's a form of "not playing along" with something he might 
think is very detrimental to the health of the gemini-universe. Drew being
prolific and/or provides resources in the public interest should not be used 
against him.
> Think carefully about the consequences of using gemini://srht.site.

It's a bit early for such warning. Gemini is commercially worthless. There
are no big consequences to simply moving a capsule. And if one thinks
gemini will become big and commercially succesful, now is the time to pay 
special interest as to what might turn out to be a slippery slope.

The web didn't get to be in the abysmal state it is in today by a few
bad actors with lots of influence who ruined it for the rest. It's mostly
been well intentioned people thinking "This is probably okay. It's not really
worse than what other-site is already doing". Then copy/paste repeat that
for a couple of decades and you'll arrive at the Jenga tower of crud that
is the current web. The web is a poster child of the slippery slope argument in
action and something the gemini community should be wary of and keep a
keen eye on.

> Gemini is nothing more than a set of common-sense solutions to

> The secret to gemini is not what it restricts; but what it enables.
> Constraint breeds creativity. 
> I came up with the favicon emoji RFC because
> I thought it was a fun idea. 

And it is a fun idea, but..

Another fun idea from the web is javascript. In essence it can be a really
convenient way to cross t's and dot i's in the content, and add some fun
creative flourishes. In practice it's turned the web into a network for 
distributing (proprietary) software and burying actual content for 
nefarious purposes.

It's not about what nice conscientious people will do with a fun extention;
it's about how greed and corruption ultimately can co-opt it for their
own purpose.

The best way to prevent going down a slippery slope is to *not step onto the slope*.

I think that for every fun extension it is wise to ask oneself the
question, "Is this creative, or am I re-inventing the web?"

"Favicon" sounds particularly web-ish, especially in light of the two solutions
already brought up ("if the first level 1 title of the homepage starts with a 
unicode character, use that as a favicon" and "generating a colored icon or image
based on the hash of the domain"), which do feel more in line with gemini.

Feel free to disagree with Drew's delivery, but I think it would be best to keep 
any arguments related to current and future gemini.


More information about the Gemini mailing list