It's even worse than it appears.
Sunday June 9, 2019; 10:33 AM EDT
  • I've been emailing with longtime friend and open web advocate Jon Udell about my campaign to convince Elizabeth Warren to post her position papers on the open web. Of all the presidential candidates Warren is, imho, the one who would most likely support the open web, and getting her campaign on board would help raise the issue for other American political leaders. I admit I am using the political campaign of 2020 to try to make the survival of the open web a more visible issue. I think it's important. #
  • This is what Jon said, and the questions he asked.#
    • I agree Warren should be on the open web. Now I'm trying to sort out exactly what I think that means nowadays, given the option to use one or another service behind your own domain name. If the campaign asked my advice, what would it be? That's what I'm asking myself. What would yours be? You've said what not to do. But what should they do?#
  • So here is the basic criteria: Her position papers should survive the failure of a single company. Currently, Warren's presence, and the presence of many other political leaders, is dependent on the survival of Medium. That's the most important point of failure. It's one thing if we lose Warren's writing, that would be bad enough, but the idea of losing all the political writing, that's an unacceptable risk. It's bad tech, and bad politics, which are increasingly becoming the same thing. And for elected officials it might be illegal. In any case it's exactly what got the Clinton campaign in so much trouble in 2016, the Hillary's Emails issue. #
  • So at a minimum, the Warren position papers should be hosted on a domain that Warren owns. They should have a near-perfect archive, and be ready to redirect to the archive when there's an outage. #
    • Jon: I gather from your previous email that Medium offers part of this service. That's a surprise to me. I know they did at one time, but I also heard stories about them canceling the feature, and thereby taking content offline. At least there's confusion as to whether they offer the feature, but here's the really important thing -- they can change their policy at any time, and they have changed policies, and business models, many times. So there's no argument possible that Medium has allowed for survival of writing they host beyond their own existence, when there's no guarantee that they, or their survivors would be bound by that commitment. In tech we have lots of experience with companies going back on their promises, esp when they get in trouble and have to refinance. #
  • Probably the best place to host her position papers is on, a site they already own. I understand why they wouldn't want to mess with their fund-raising site, if so create a sub-domain. If they're posting their position papers there, then they should use that URL in their promotions, and then as far as I'm concerned, the problem is solved. They are no longer sending a message to users that Medium is a safe place to post, they're not helping to make Medium too big to fail, which right now, they certainly are. A crash of Medium would be a shock to the web the way the crash of Lehman Brothers was to the financial markets. #
  • PS: I wrote a piece called For-the-Record Blogging in 2018 that outlines a strong solution to this problem. #

© 1994-2019 Dave Winer.

Last update: Sunday June 9, 2019; 11:53 AM EDT.