A Manifesto for designing "Unscale" - against Scale 

"Scale" is often code for "manageable centralization" and the alternative of decentralizing using collective common resources to increase autonomy and reduce waste never comes up as a design alternative.

We should seek systems that don't "scale" in this sense, but instead manages increased complexity by relinquishing levers of centralized management in exchange for the benefits of a cooperating plurality of autonomous systems. An example of this would be giving up centralized mutability of webpages on a server to instead embrace immutable content served via IPFS or similar technologies to the greatest extent possible. The opposite of this would be to instead insist on an increased level of control (central web server handles everything) and invest more money into scaling up your hosting capabilities with a cloud provider or CDN as demands on your centralized host accrue.

The problem is that the internet's physical infrastructure is increasingly favoring asymmetrical power relations by offering users higher download speeds at the expense of upload speeds, while physically centralizing the machines with access to fast upload speeds in datacenters and other centralized facilities. If we are going to see viable systems of "Unscale", this must change.

Design against the resource and power hoarding of Scale and Capital's demands for it, or reduce every user to a thin client chained to the central authority! Unscale, for the powers that aren't and will never be!


A Manifesto for designing "Unscale" - against Scale 


I guess part of this would be building and supporting initiatives for municipal-, cooperatively- and/or community-run ISPs and datacenters. The experience in Cuba with their SNET[1] and the asynchronous internet in remote places in India[2] are glimpses into what this might look like!



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Smol server part of the infrastructure. Registration is approval-based, and will probably only accept people I know elsewhere or with good motivation.