In November, I was given the chance to create non-developer resources for Scuttlebutt. The goal for these would be to make Scuttlebutt understandable to folks who do not identify as “technical”, and to help communicate our culture to the rest of the world.
I soon discovered this was a far more subtle and spread out task than initially proposed. My initial checklist of resources implied an agreed-upon strategy for how our scuttleverse should grow--which was widely and quickly. I no longer think this a good strategy; an incident in early November where SSB was tweeted as a free-speech haven for gab.ai fuckboys made it clear that we don't want our community appealing to all.
My goal switched, then, to helping foster the wonderful culture that has emerged here. I thought I could document our non-technical aspects, and invite folks to join based on these aspects. This new goal is its own difficult moebius strip, though, because our culture is technical. Dev discussions and tutorials are an essential part of our community, and should not be obscured or downplayed. Scuttlebutt is building an optimistic future and we are doing it ourselves with skills we are teaching each other. This fact should be celebrated alongside everything else that makes us great! In fact, I find the discussions about technical matters to be liberating and self-empowering, and I identify as “non-technical”. To be sincere, it was in the slow accumulation of technical knowledge and skills that I became excited about the future again.
And so! I no longer think we should find non-technical ways to explain Scuttlebutt. Instead, we should invite folks to discover Scuttlebutt and their technical side, in an empowering way.
This feels antithetical to how people approach the internet today, but I don't think that's the case for the future. The present moment is one where companies are obscuring the depth of their technical processes to quietly profit off surveillance, oppression, and depression. The future is one where technology is reclaimed by everyone; it is open and welcoming and asking to be built by hand. I want us to grow towards that future with everything we share.
That last paragraph includes what I like to call “SOME PRETTY BOLD CLAIMS”(SPBC), so this modular essay is an attempt to make my case. To put another way, my “Non-technical Resources” will have a distinct technical tone, and this essay aims to provide the reason why.