Thinking about Gemini, the biggest problem isn't the tech stack (which is pretty much perfect, despite many many bad takes out there from tech bros who've just discovered it 'it doesn't even have images!' 'no inline links?' 'why not use Markdown?' etc etc).

The biggest problem is articulating why it's so good for lay people. How do you sell this idea that it's practically incorruptible in an easy-to-grasp way, and how to contrast that to the web in a way people will easily click with?

@oppen The best selling point for me for now has been that it’s simple, and not that hard to learn.

@lilletale I hope it stays simple, there's constant lobbying on the mailing list to add more and more to the spec, shoehorning functionality into code tags and various other stuff. There's been very little innovation in actually building services with what's there already though.

@oppen So maybe another selling point would be “it’s not advanced enough for tech bros”?
I don’t even know what a code tag is, but building a site with gemini seems manageable.

* No Login/password stuff. Your identity is in a cert. Want to "be" someone else? Just change your certificate. -> no tracking, no manipulation.
* It's content all the way down. Having it presented to you the way you like is a killer-feature.

Those are just 2 things I find great about it. Maybe if I had more time I could come up with more/better arguments.

@stapper identity management is something I want to work on, automatically swapping client certs for different domains. There could/should be a lively ecosystem of services already.

@oppen I beg to disagree: the biggest problem is articulating why anyone should give a damn. Are you sure it's techbros who complain? Far as I can tell Gemini is made by techbros for techbros. Most other people just want some way to express themselves online.

@felix I'm thinking of the usual critisism I see on the-orange-site from people who live Elon and Bitcoin. I don't see much bro-ism happening in Geminispace itself though?

@oppen Well, no. People who use Gemini either are happy with it or else gave up trying to make suggestions.

@felix but yes, articulating why anyone should give a damn is exactly the same thing I said, just put differently.

@oppen There's a nuance. It's not hard to explain why ordinary people should care about privacy or open source. (Convincing them to pay attention is another matter.) But Gemini?

@felix not sure I understand your angle. What do you mean, 'but Gemini'? I think that's my point, to put across the benefits of Gemini over the web. As for content, I don't see your point either, you said it's full of techbros, but the content I see just isn't like that which would suggest it isn't.

@felix the 'by techbros for techbros' comment is just specious nonsense. Solderpunk is the antithesis of that for starters, but the content in Geminispace is just not what you're suggesting. Cool little quip though, utter bollocks, but cool soundbite.

@felix While I feel there definitely is some gate keeping. I'm not seeing the techbro's being over presented in the gemspace.

@felix @oppen


One of Gemini’s benefits is simplifying by taking away “features.”

People hate hate hate things being taken away, even if they don’t use it.

Privacy, ability to focus on content, etc are not clear benefits to most people.

Gemini is a niche service. Nothing wrong with that but we all need to temper our expectations.

@oppen a complaint ive heard about gemini is how terribly it handles internationalisation stuff

@eris that would be a valid improvement, I think it's already supported in the response header? I'll look into it because it'd help a great deal with screen readers if the client could set the language.

@oppen this criticism doesnt get made by techbros tho lol

@oppen "You won't have to click any 'Accept all cookies' banner ever again."

@oppen I don't believe Gemini can ever take off among the lay people, as it's way too limited and not flashy enough. It gives up too much of the convenience of the web to every be comfortable for a non-techy

@Ravenhelm yes, I think I agree, but I also don't think it needs scale to be considered a success. I like the Gemini-first approach a lot of people take, using it (and Gemtext) as an authoring tool, that's accessible on the web. Then as well as that there's a healthy Geminspace-only community and culture bubbling happily away too. Maybe my 'lay' phrasing was bad. I struggle to articulate why I appreciate it so much to anyone really.

Quoting myself from nytpu "why gemini" page (sorry if that sounds vain, that's not the goal^^):

For me, one of the greatest aspect of gemini is that it is made to focus on content.
No monetization around ads and tracking create a space where people can focus on what they want to read and/or write about, in a non-intrusive and non-distracting access to content…


But that will never be enough for users that like the web as it is… And I think it's fine…

@oppen mmh get really funky browser designs, hit them with the customisation angle? 🤔
or mark it out as something that is Not the Web but more of an information network similar to a library

@oppen reasons i fell off using it, which i think are all fixable though some are social not technical:
- having a presence on it requires either self-hosting (out of the reach of most people) or using a service (fine)
- lack of a built-in or good-as-built-in authoring environment, ie something less of a pain than uploading files, that can be used just as easily on mobile as on desktop
- huge majority of the content on it is tech people talking about tech stuff

@oppen 1 is already met by services like, i wouldn't mind if we got a late 90s web (geocities, angelfire etc) type landscape where non technical people don't have to think about hosting.
2 i think could be accomplished with the right software and good UX, but it's harder than writing a good client, which many have already done (including you!)
3 i think is partly a matter of getting 2 plus a lot of cultural outreach, ie challenging human interactiony stuff.

@oppen I wouldn't underestimate how big a part the (basically incorrect, on a pure technical level) "no support for images" crit plays for getting average non-hacker people interested. For a huge number of people, sharing images is a non negotiably critical part of the experience of any connected activity. Clients can display them inline easily enough, so the challenge is mostly on the authoring and hosting ends, ie what is a low friction way to get an image on a capsule page.

@oppen If all that were in place, I do think the pitch for Gemini to ordinary users is potentially incredibly strong: zero ads or garbage-choked pages, easily searchable archipelagos of people talking about stuff they care about, great security with straightforward trust propositions, none of the addictive design of engagement driven platforms. But IMO it all starts from Gemini space being a read+write from anywhere environment (at the UX level not the protocol level to be clear)

@jplebreton I can imagine a mobile app with flounder or similar support built in. With authoring, image upload etc.

@jplebreton the privacy aspect with images only applies to 3rd party hosted ones. A lot of people argue for autoloading of images on the same domain. The additional reasons against it are to keep client complexity low, and also to keep bandwidth use down. It's tempting to add autoloading into Ariane but I've resisted thus far, it'd piss off a lot of people I think.

@oppen yeah totally, it's a pretty simple question on the client side and i think the camps probably break down to "hell no, never" and "why wouldn't i?". the UX challenge i didn't phrase very well there is "i just took a photo and i want to put it on a particular page on my capsule". which again i think is entirely solvable.

@jplebreton I did start an authoring tool, agree it's needed, but life got in the way again and I have to prioritise projects.

@oppen For example #Markdown. Many years and there isn’t one standard. Thinking in Gemini way I can say because Markdown is too complicated for Gemini.
We can write full featured software for #Gemini which is not more than hundreds lines of code, and without any popular, heavy, useless dependences.
Inline links or images… you can use some browser which render the content in such rich manner, or you can use text raw-content one. In big web you don’t have such choices.

@oppen people don't see the web or big tech companies as "corrupted". It looks like a solution without a problem to them.

@coldwave a definite problem, but that tide is turning a little. Distrust of Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Twitter is on the rise. You have to somehow make people care first, and I think there's a rise in anticapitalist sentiment in general that goes along with that.

@oppen Gemini shifts traditional model of the Web Browser is a All-In-One to the Gemini Browser uses Apps to do things. Want to load a mp4 no problem xdg-open will load the URL in your video player. Want to download a Zip? No problem we'll xdg-open your Download Manager, PDF Viewer, Image Viewer, Bookmark Manager, etc... by design the Desktop apps you choose make more of a difference in Gemini.

Imagine too -- no Ads except text adds either -- ever.

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Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.