The Constraints of Platforms
Ritwik Deshpande

Pushing against constraints is one of the main things that got us the good parts of the web we have now—adding images to the HTML spec, and eventually wacky ideas like animation and embedded video—so it’s always nice to see that impulse still burning even within the highly constrained platforms where many of us spend most of our time.

I like your (and Diana’s) thoughts about embracing platforms, and I also wonder if there isn’t room to combine the expressiveness and creative control of the standalone website with the advantages of participation in more constrained channels. The indieweb movement ( is a gesture in that direction, but remains pretty clunky from what I’ve seen. Likewise I see plenty of people syndicating posts to Medium from their canonical home on a personal website—but it’s hard to tell if that’s an admirable way to engage with platforms while maintaining control over design and data…or just a nostalgic/paranoid response to the platform world from people who (like me) came up on a wilder, weirder web. Your exchange with Diana is making me reconsider my own withdrawal from most social/publishing platforms, so thank you for that.

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