Goodbye Gemini

This is my first post originally hosted on my website

For a couple years now I've been writing on Gemini, using a few aliases. I don't regret this time, it really allowed me to find my voice as a writer. However, for the past number of months I've been doubting the usefulness of Gemini as a protocol.

There's plenty to like about Gemini. I've never run into a bad-looking Gemini site, since formatting is handled by the browser and not the document, which has its upsides. The amount of viable tools and places to post make the barrier to entry pretty low and there's a lot of fun things done by the community on there. People are mostly friendly and I feel much of the discussion that goes on there is healthier than traditional internet discourse.

That being said, it is not without it's faults. There seems to be a bit of a clash between stated and actual goals of the project. Gemini says it's not looking to replace the web, yet many of the tools created are clones of web utilities. This is somewhat to be expected, implementing good ideas on a separate platform shouldn't be discouraged, but when there aren't then new, unique utilities, or new protocols like Spartan have to be created to make new utilities, what's the point? Why use the Gemini version when it's worse and unable to have feature parity?

There's also a subject shortage on Gemini. Everybody on there is interested in FOSS software and digital minimalism, and of course Gemini. That's not a problem, but there have been only a few times where I click on a post and have it be completely disconnected from these subjects. I like these things but I want to hear about other subjects too, and that doesn't really have a home on Gemini.

The last issue I have is at its core: plain text. Sometimes you want to emphasize a word in bold or italics, and I'm sure there's some unicode hackery that I could do to use that on Gemini, but when I'm writing, it's not what I want to be doing. Likewise posting anything besides text is a pain since it can't be embedded. Including photos and videos is a hassle for the reader since they have to be downloaded and viewed separately. There have been posts I've wanted to read through and look at photos and watch, only to be frustrated by the clunkiness of it all, being redirected to another page opening the file, navigating back, scrolling to where I was. The embedded images and video of the web make that simple.

The web is not the problem, the corporations that fill it with drivel are. Plain html+css can give you a lot of functionality, a lot more than Gemini. The people are already here, give someone a link and they can follow it without needing to install an alternative browser. We can choose to hide away in our own pockets of the internet, or we can be a good example for how the web should be.

I'd choose the latter.

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