The fictitious importance of Locality

July 17, 2022

The age of locality is not over yet, and that is an extremely sad realization.

Back when it did not matter

I've been a nerd on the web since late '90s, and back then you'd join an IRC channel and as long as your language matched, it really did not matter where you were from.
You were there, and that's it.
Especially since I lived in a small town in a remote-ish region, everything gets here about 10 years later, so there was never anyone around my area to specifically connect with, in those places.
I was on the internet, with other people, talking about whatever.
It's good, right? We're human living on planet earth, our conditions vary wildly, but on the internet we're all humans living on the same planet, and English makes it so we're even less bound by country and nationality, we're humans.
That's worked very well for years, as we nerds usually do not really care about meaningless divisions.

Making up divisions

However, as the mass invaded, the ol' division by locality took its outdated place in any online activity just like it does in the offline.
A dividing line between countries and cultures.
Some countries blocked services from other cultures and built their own, some services only played with certain countries.
So the infrastructure, government and services played the old game and brought locality in a locality-free digital world.
That's a bummer, but at least people will be free of this burden, right?

Living a brainwashed life

What does it matter if you're from Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand or Europe? As long as you can communicate in English, you can interact with others, correct?
Well, you'd think so, but I've personally seen people wish discomfort and more onto other people, just because they're on a different country that did something they disagree with, and as a result all its population deserves to suffer.
That, to me, is beyond mad and there should not be such a division in a future we're supposed to build.
Each time I end a discussion with any of these people, I realize what a good job their particular country did in making them put their own country and supposed national interests over anything else, making it so any civilian is an enemy if they're from an enemy country. That's quite sad. It's happened with people of various nationalities so far, western and eastern, these discussions left me very doubtful of any future where we can get over details about locality and focus on things that matter, no matter where we're from or where we currently are.

When Poop hits the fan, the room becomes filthy

But then the mundane world decided a war in Europe had to happen, and that's when I started to see this extremely toxic behavior online, even more than before.
I will not comment on the war itself, not something I can do anything about, nor do I have the competence to untangle the mess. I am very upset with the millions of people losing their homes, dying, and having their life destroyed.

But what I can do is analyze how people not touched by the war have acted, and there's a worrying pattern, very similar to the mandatory acceptance attitude that western culture is trying very hard to force onto everyone.

War Sucks, But Humans can choose not to suck

So it happened, there's a war in Europe, in Ukraine, between Ukraine and Russia. That happens in the real world, where people die. That sucks.
So humans can not interact with it directly perhaps, but they can help, with donations and what not, to emergency and reliefs helping the civilians whose lives have been ruined.
Or we can watch. Or we can take deliberate actions that keep on fueling the war and hate between constructed factions.

How Kraken acted

As an example of a good way to deal with it, Kraken posted this, at the beginning of March: https://blog.kraken.com/post/13215/kraken-to-distribute-over-10-million-in-aid-to-clients-impacted-by-ukraine-crisis/
Basically, they'll donate to clients impacted, and they'll use the fees they get from Russian-based transactions. They'll fuel the donation with the fees coming from Russians, but their services are still for everyone.
You help the humans, and stay out of the rest, no need to keep spreading hate.

How Namecheap acted

Namecheap dropped a mail to customers on March 1st telling them they had until March 6th to move their domains if they were russians. They basically shut the door on the whole country because of the war. Meaning that a small business with a domain, an agency with 100 domains etc, suddenly had to find a new domain/email/stuff provider, because of a war they had nothing to do with.
People and humans were inconvenienced in a minor to major way, depending on how many domains they have, because of their locality. To me, that is absolute bonkers. It's not even about helping the people dying daily, it's just to try and apply pressure to the country, and keep manipulating people. In this case, to increase malcontent. But it's always the people getting the worst of it, getting pushed one way or another.

Forcing locality on the web is a blatant manipulation

And the namecheap point is what I argued about with a british guy. To him, russians were the enemy. Any russian, small business owner, digital agency, freelancer. They are the enemy, and thus should suffer for their country's decisions. I do not buy that. They're humans like us, and they may agree or disagree but have no real saying in their country's actions.
And just because there's a war, it does not make an enemy out of every civilian, and it should never get to that.
Any war tries to make your enemies look like animals, not humans, but they're not. They're humans just like us, and on the web that should be all the more the case. It should not matter where they're from.

Unfortunately this war made this concept seem so very distant, and there are a ton of people not directly involved just adding hateful fuel, because anything that's not them is against them. They might not be pro-war, but their actions are certainly warlike.

Countries are however happy about this entrenched locality, as it allows them to regulate and control what happens, especially when most of the current web is centralized.
Decentralization is coming, but unless we also leave our entrenched locality mindset, we won't embrace it properly.

This is an environment of welcoming, and you should just get the hell out of here.

Before I end this evaluation of human failure, I want to point out something sad and funny altogether.

The Eurovision song contest prides itself on appreciating diversity and inclusivity for anyone and everyone regardless of gender and taste, so as a champion for diversity and inclusivity it was very funny how Russia was excluded from the contest, which reminds me of this excellent line:

Michael Scott to Toby, in The Office

Because as it unfortunately is, anything with the diversity and inclusivity tags is just there until it's not convenient anymore. Humans are humans, and while it is difficult to hide behind these tags when you're a douche, most people get easily fooled.

Still, I'd appreciate if humans were not dicks to each other and if they finally got over this tribalistic sense of locality, it's really outdated.

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