I grew up in the late 90s when the web was a lot different than now.
- AIM was more common than SMS
- I didn't have a cell phone, and people who did have cell phones used them mostly for making phone calls (what a concept!).
- Pay phones were a thing.
- And an Arizona Ice Tea was still 99¢!
My early web-years were filled with gaming and design forums that fostered small communities. People on the forums knew each-other. If your values weren't aligned with the moderators of that forum, you could likely find another forum and community of more like-minded individuals.
There was no "deplatforming" because people weren't centralized around one platform. Content filters were actually people called moderators, not high-tech expensive machine-learning systems that often make ham-fisted mistakes. It was a time when tech-giants weren't yet giants.
I remember my in highschool getting an invite to Gmail. Before gmail there was yahoo and hotmail. Some people had addresses from their ISP. Many had email addresses from their school or university.
Overtime it seems almost everyone has moved to Gmail. Even companies with their own email addresses are often hosted using a Google Suite for Business.
I loved Gmail when it came out. It was a great alternative to yahoo or hotmail. But it seems weird to me a decentralized set of protocols like email are mostly centralized from one company. And that company can read your emails. And that company can serve you Ads, based on content from your emails that they read!
I didn't realize as a high-schooler, but I was forfeiting my privacy for free email hosting. Services aren't free, if you aren't paying for them, then you're likely the product being sold to advertisers.
So I found an alternative called Mail-in-a-box. It was very easy to set-up, and after an hour of set-up I free! Yeah for Libre software!
The main down-side with mail-in-a-box is DNS. The open-email-stack comes with DNS in the box. It certainly has some advantages, setting up sub-domains is really easy. The management interface is fantastic.
But integration with CDN providers is an issue. Many CDN providers want to take over your DNS and proxy back to your server. And TTFB on my small email server for my webpage isn't the best with self-hosted DNS. The main culprit of the A slow DNS server is fine for email, but not the best for my website.
I could fuss a little more with nginx and get things properly sorted out on my
email box. But I like keeping my email infrastructure separate from my website,
and because the
tomleo.com domain is tied to email, I decided to move my