often for small-scale websites and apps what you want is:

  • a participatory are for anyone to be able to add data to
  • a way for you (the website creator) to filter and moderate these responses

This mirrors the dynamics of what happens when you are a host in real life. When you host an event, you invite people to come because it’d be no fun by yourself. The contract that they sign by coming is that they agree to your ground rules and follow (roughly) the guidelines and plan you’ve made for the event. These vary in rigidity and take shape as a result of the dynamics between the host and the guests, but ultimately, it is a relationship where many decisions are made by the host, who is de-facto in charge.

For websites, this is really hard to do. Any personal site you look at will most likely be completely individual. I don’t think this is for a lack of trying or motivation. One of the best parts of having a cozy home is being able to invite people in. Instead, this is the landscape of the internet because the amount of effort required to invite people in at all is incredibly difficult (to the point of being impossible for most people with personal websites). To create an environment where you can even begin to think about this, you have to set up some sort of database to hold your “user data” and some sort of server that your client talks to to talk to the database in order to avoid leaking credentials to people visiting your website, both of which are very involved processes.

I imagine a world where these capabilities are available to anyone who uses a computer or a phone. I think it should be as simple to set up a home on the internet as it is to customize your home when you move into a new apartment.

There have been clever attempts to address this problem through

  1. stable files through website hosts like Glitch, where you can directly access and edit the file, and it persists to the hosting server.
  2. leveraging spreadsheet-like interfaces like Coda and Airtable for append-only data through using the API or forms.

Ideally, you’d be able to control the behavior both programmatically and manually from somewhere you have easy access to (for small things ideally on your phone)

maybe something hyper-optimized for a specific host and all you do is give it an identifier and it automatically does append-only

  • <form onSubmit={} data=
    • how to specify where data should be sourced from?
    • how to specify where data should go?
    • how to specify how data should be appended?