I think it’s awesome what you’re doing, I grew up on BBSes and I didn’t think they were weird at…
Simba Lion

Hi, first, thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Second: No. A website is not a modern BBS. A website can serve some of the same purposes as a BBS, but a website differs from a BBS in that a website is connected to the internet. This is an important distinction.

Websites are great! I’ve designed and developed websites professionally for the last ~15 years.

If I just wanted to reach out and do vintage BBS style websites, I would. (And I do: http://ofmanytrades.com, as do others: http://tilde.town) That’s not what this is about.

I am specifically looking to build things that are not connected to the internet. I want temporary networks. I want local networks. I want a distributed, decentralized, peer-to-peer alternative to the internet.

I used my mBBS to serve phpBB, a streaming media service, a lua based chatroom, and various other webpages we built. We federated the posts from the forum to our other installations by hand, or over long range wifi, without ever connecting them to the internet.

Partly, this is a technical experiment: How useful can a smaller, local, distributed network be? How well will it work?

But there’s also a social element to it: This is a network through which you can primarily interact with members of your local community. This is an ephemeral space.

And then there’s the security aspect: The modern internet is a mess. Everything we do is tracked and recorded, both by governments and by companies. That’s less likely to happen on a network that never connects back to the internet, and is run by someone you know personally.

So yeah, for most people, a webpage can fulfill most of the same functions that a BBS served, and the barrier to entry is pretty low. For people who want to learn about tech or work with a community, any of the great selfhostable software out there, plus a $5 droplet from the VPS provider of your choice is great!

But that’s not at all what I’m talking about here.

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