Monday, December 3rd, 2018
On #tags in gopherspace
It is without a trace of a doubt, that today is the best time for
gopherspace at least in the last twenty years, if not ever. Right now
Bongusta aggregates 45 phlogs and if I had a bit more time to check my
notes and add The Worthy Ones, it would be maybe 47 or 48. New
gopher servers with new content emerge every month. When I created my
own gopherhole seven years and six months ago, the shape of the
gopher universe was quite different. It was a dark place with few
beacons shining all alone in the night. Most of the fresh content was
generated (news, weather, stats) or file-oriented (gopher mirror of
this, gopher mirror of that). There were more gopher server software
projects alive than phlogs. I even didn't have to bookmark those
I visited frequently, because I remembered URLs of all four of them.
But as more people come, more content is created cross-platform for
both web and gopher. That brings things like mark-up remnants in
plaintext or one more step in gopher menu just to select whether
I want to see a text or HTML version of the post. I'm not exactly fan
of these, but I can live with them, because I see some benefits, even
though sometimes just for the author. But hey, better this than no
But what just don't get, is the usage of hashtags in gopherspace.
Hashtags were pioneered by two social networks: Twitter & Instagram.
The first was limited in post size to less than one SMS and in the
beginning with less-than-perfect search possibilities. The latter was
(and still is) visually oriented and therefore quite unsearchable, so
marking the photo with a describing tag was the only option, enabling
it to be found.
None of this is the case of gopher. There is no hashtag system that
can describe well formulated and structured text better than the text
itself. We do not need wheelchairs called #tags, because we can stand
on solid two legs: good texts and good search.
I know, I won't convince anyone to stop doing hashtags in their posts
and it's not even my point to do so. I just wanted to say it aloud.
Gopherspace used to be my refuge from Web 2.0 (and even Web 1.0) and
it kind of hurts to see it infected with a plague originated there.
Especially when it seems to be completely unnecessary.
PS: This post was edited after I discovered, that someone took it
personally. It wasn't meant so and I'd prefer a debate about the topic
over personal hostilities.