(moved from this thread)
I have been hanging around social.coop for about a month or so but I still don't get it - toot and whatnot... I understand things like mailing lists and bulletin boards but this "social media" stuff is so difficult.
I am curious why do we not just use ordinary discussion systems?
Hey, good questions! I also wonder similar things myself. However, a general question/discussion like this is a bit off topic for this thread, I could move it to it's own thread if you'd like? Or maybe you can have it as a discussion on social.coop itself? (we also have two matrix chat channels you can chat on, although they are pretty quiet, links available on wiki.social.coop)
Sure, yes, please :-) I have nothing against our great community, it's just that all this technology is just killing me... and I have been (albeit amateurish) hired as a computer programmer for most of my working life!!
I'm in a funny position where almost my whole life is about making/fixing/maintaining/running software, especially for the purpose of community (very vague word...)... yet... I barely actually use any of these things myself. I sort of take it on faith that they are useful, for other people... (and probably occasionally me).
Most of my use of tools is for meta-organising... organising the tools that allows other people to organise actual people.
So, the abstraction is maybe a bit much sometimes, but also, I think it's important to do this more abstract stuff. But for me I loose the plot if I can't directly connect it back to people helping each other in their real lives at some point in the chain. Without that aspect, all the theory (and technology complexity) would feel very pointless.
... as for all the other tools, bulletin boards, normal forums, NNTP news groups, etc... my take is that we could have had a beautiful internet/web of made from standards, that allow us to all use our own clients in our own way. Feature development would have been much slower, but once achieved would have enabled much much much improved possibilities for collaboration without getting bogged down in "yet another tool" fatigue.
But, that version of the internet would not have been as profitable, so all these possiblities for open collaborative online spaces have been enclosed by private companies creating competitive walled gardens, hoarding our data to turn a profit.
In this sense, social.coop, being a mastodon instance, itself built on/with activity pub, is going in this better direction, as it is a standard, and all those other tools/technologies you mentioned don't support the communication style of social media, which turns out to be quite popular (for better or worse). There is no standard (that I know of) for "a forum".