the below does not explain what Gemini is, but this does

Reading people’s gemlogs, I get a sense of a smaller internet. I stumble across an article about Pacific Northwest seaweed, a list of types. Someone else writes her thoughts: “Really, prepare to question groupthink”. A history of adoptable cyberpets. It is addicting to read people’s neat summaries of interests, ascii art embellishments.

But something about it makes me sad.

There’s something called the Eternal September, about how – well, should I be pretending to tell you from the position of someone who’d know? It happened the month after I was born.

Every September before, college students with new network access would stream onto Usenet fora without ever having accustomed themselves to the etiquette. Things would get rowdy and stupid for a while. Then they would learn or get bored and things would quiet down again.

That September, though, was more than just college students – America Online offered Usenet access to all its members. Ever after, the numbers would be dominated by those who had no manners, who didn’t know there was culture to learn. September continued forever.

The design of Gemini isn’t the community. I’m sure there are a few people who use the bridged NPR website available served via Gemini who are really in it because they’re Just That Mad About JavaScript, but those aren’t the people who make the place. It’s a bunch of people who learned a new markup language and installed some new fiddly tools and wrote their journals in plain text and taught me what seaweed is edible… why?

Something about Gemini strikes me as a grail quest for the Eternal August, before webscale crushed the things we love.

While everything I have seen served via Gemini is friendly and sociable, the technical barriers of what-is-a-command-line and how-do-I-use-one are a fence put up that keep out the riffraff. Certainly, you can walk around the corner and go through the gate, but ultimately the geminiverse is lovely because it is underpopulated, slower-paced, and literate. It is difficult enough to access that those who can use it can be welcoming without worrying its smallness will be compromised.

The tragedy is that I don’t think many of its denizens would claim that they only want to hear from technical, educated people, but in order to use a small internet, an August internet, they have let the fence keep out anyone else.

This is the part of the piece where I pivot to My Proposal to Fix Everything, right? Where I tell you about my new community or my idea for what people should be doing or if we only started using tags right

I don’t know that I think that it’s that neat.

I will probably keep reading things on Gemini, keep querying its search engine for terms and being delighted by neatly crafted plain-text.

But I will probably keep finding it sad.