User talk:Jimbo Wales

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How to fight back against Turkish censorship? Build a better, cheaper internet without the corporate domination![edit]

I just did a news search of recent articles about Wikipedia Turkey, and happened across this ray of hope in a dark world: http://observer.com/2017/05/turkey-wikipedia-ipfs/ The answer is to reinvent the Internet in its original spirit, with a brand new alternative to HTML HTTP called IPFS. The IPFS protocol allows peer-to-peer transmission of files identified by their content rather than their location. Ideally, the users' machines somehow manage to keep a tremendous amount of unique searchable content between them, though I don't pretend to understand all. A practical manifestation is that they have a mirror of the Turkish Wikipedia set up at ipfs.io. However, note that this is only a gateway, and any other IPFS gateway can deliver the same content from distributed networks using the same address (which is actually a cryptographic hash of the content).

I never heard of this before an hour and a half ago, but I just went through testing it works - this is still early days, and I ran across a few foibles. Most notably, the "gold standard" way to access it is via installing the command line interface from dist.ipfs.io, in this case [1] for a Windows system. Most people smart enough to want this program are smart enough to use Linux, so Windows is kind of bottom of the pecking order here - it is necessary to figure out that the command shell has a little hidden option menu in the upper left corner to do pastes, or those hashes will drive you mad. One thing that hung me up is the initial demo link they give you has the command ipfs cat /ipfs/(some-long-hash) but you have to do ipfs QmT5NvUtoM5nWFfrQdVrFtvGfKFmG7AHE8P34isapyhCxX/wiki/Anasayfa.html, without ipfs or the domain name, to get the content that they have on their link I gave above. Still, it does work, and they promise to integrate the whole thing into web browsers directly, avoiding this command line stuff altogether!

This document details that they are interested in working more closely with Wikipedia, and indeed, even decentralizing Wikipedia in a way that I have long hoped to see. They cite a featured strategy discussion at Wikimedia here. Wnt (talk) 00:35, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Peer to peer connections are hard to block, but for the average user Tor (anonymity network) or a VPN may be a better option. It would take an enormous amount of bandwidth to provide a P2P version of Wikipedia at a decent download speed if a large number of people wanted to access it at the same time.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 00:52, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I assume that you meant HTTP rather than HTML. In a more general scope, peer-to-peer, ad-hoc networks and distributed, decentralized protocols, while not necessarily new, continue to be developed and that cannot be easily stopped, indeed. With the advent of cheap low-power devices and longer range wireless networks, they are becoming more ubiquitous; they can be completely independent of the mainstream internet, but can also proxy to it. Unfortunately they are usually smaller infrastructures that are often slow in bandwidth as well as subject to DDoS attacks, triangulation if wireless, etc. Or they can be implemented on top of the internet (like most darknets and the cases you mentioned like Tor and IPFS and others like FreeNet, I2P and Kademlia). There also are performance challenges. I agree that alternate networks, decentralized protocols (DNS alternatives, DHT/Kad, VPNs, distributed storage, etc), p2p and crypto-anarchism are part of the future. An unfortunate aspect is that the same technologies are also increasingly used to avoid scrutiny, for spying, for covert or anonymous money transactions and malware-distribution.
But it's a fascinating topic, one of my interests. BTW, there were also previous incentives for most browsers to internally support Torrent, although that failed. Browser integration would be a way to achieve mainstream popularity, although this also means bloating even more those "software monsters" and partly remaining subject to their existing vulnerabilities (versus cleanroom protocols and implementations not depending on all the previous and current kludges of the web-culture). — PaleoNeonate — 01:59, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for spotting my error with HTML above. Some commentators think that the decentralized structure should be safer from DDos; I agree with you that a "believe it when I see it" attitude is warranted. That link above also describes some alternatives approaches competing with IPFS. Wnt (talk) 02:11, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Paleo. I also agree with ianmacm. "It would take an enormous amount of bandwidth to provide a P2P version of Wikipedia at a decent download speed if a large number of people wanted to access it at the same time." @Wnt: it is an interesting thought :-) —usernamekiran(talk) 07:43, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
It takes an enormous amount of bandwidth to access Wikipedia anyway! And remember, the more people are interested in a document, the closer they can download it from. Sources like [2] seem to believe that bandwidth costs will be massively reduced by use of this protocol. Wnt (talk) 20:18, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
It would be interesting to know how much bandwidth Wikipedia's servers have got. After the Death of Michael Jackson in 2009, there were nearly a million visitors to Jackson's biography within one hour, crashing the system. In theory, Wikipedia could set up an I2P version tomorrow at wikipedia.i2p, but I2P is famously slow and unreliable; it's sometimes not much better than the old Dial-up Internet access connections. P2P undoubtedly offers more possibilities for resistance to censorship, but it is not ready for prime time at major websites with huge numbers of visitors.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 20:29, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
If only there were some place you could look things like this up. ‑ Iridescent 22:53, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Well, a (very) generalised assumption is "every task will have upsides, and downsides." @Wnt: In our use-case, the cost cutting definitely trumps the bandwidth issue. But frankly speaking, by now I know only rudementry stuff about IPFS (I am familiar with P2P a very good deal on theoretical levels). Again in general, Wikipedia needs reliability/stability. As ianmacm stated, "P2P undoubtedly offers more possibilities for resistance to censorship, but it is not ready for prime time at major websites with huge numbers of visitors." I hope we soon get the performance reports/reviews of IPFS; it definitely deserves a thorough consideration. —usernamekiran(talk) 23:06, 27 May 2017 (UTC)