What I'm Ditching in 2023

New Year, New Start for 2023

I saw a relatable plea on my social media feed this month: “Please, 2023, I don’t need you to be my year, I just need you to sit quietly in the corner and not make any noise.”

I don’t really do New Years Resolutions, but one of the side effects for me of the past three years has been an ever increasing clarity on what works for me and what doesn’t. Along with that clarity has come a willingness to simply say “Ok, Bye!” to anything and anyone that doesn’t bring me in the direction of being the person that I want to be.

With that in mind, there are some professional tools that I have been using for most of my career that I will be stepping away from this year, for various reasons.

Here’s what I’m ditching, in no particular order:

CloudFlare

As a blogger and internet professional, I have always believed in the importance of convenience as well as security. That is why, for a long time, I have been using CloudFlare as a content delivery network (CDN) and DNS provider for my websites. However, after the events of last fall, I have decided to ditch CloudFlare and find a new provider.

The reason for my decision is CloudFlare’s support of Kiwi Farms, a website that has been known for promoting illegal speech and harassment. While CloudFlare eventually agreed to repeated requests from members of the community and advocacy groups to de-platform the website, it took them way too long.

I believe that companies have both an ethical and a legal responsibility to take action against hate speech and harassment. By refusing to take immediate action against Kiwi Farms, CloudFlare failed to live up to that responsibility. Their initial reluctance to ditch a website that promoted hate speech and harassment is unacceptable, and I cannot in good conscience continue to use their services.

Twitter

I’ve been using twitter on-and-off since 2006! This past year I moved into Developer Relations and twitter took a prominent role in my day-to-day activities.

Twitter has always been there as a sort of virtual rolodex of the amazing people I’ve met in tech and life over the years. At conferences, I maintained the line that a twitter handle was better than a business card — and as a result I rarely carried business cards.

I’m not completely quitting twitter or deleting my account, but I am going to be stepping back and no longer actively engaging or posting original content. Instead, I’ll be focusing my social energy in community-built spaces like hachyderm.io, and smaller communities on discord and slack.

I am extremely eager for the future of federated and distributed social networking. Mastodon and ActivityPub represent huge strides to the open, interconnected internet that I imagined in the 90s. As others have pointed out, the discussion and communities on Mastodon feel much more like the bulletin boards and forums of my early internet life.

I look forward to seeing how the community handles the challenges of scale that come with the new wave of interest in Mastodon and other federated social networks. I’m not yet convinced that ActivityPub is the final destination for social networking, but it is absolutely an exciting stepping stone.

Here are some places where you can find me in 2023:

WordPress

I love WordPress for what it has done to democratize publishing on the web. I am also forever grateful for the accessible on-ramp to development that WordPress represents for so many software professionals. But I’m moving this website to a static site builder.

This is a really tough one for me. WordPress has been a tremendous part of my development career. I first used WordPress in 2006 and started building custom themes in 2010. WordCamp NYC 2012 is where I decided that I wanted to commit to becoming a developer. I was the organizer for the Burlington WordPress Meetup for six years.

Why am I walking away after all of that?

Well, mostly just because it doesn’t work for me any more. But I’m also not sure who it works for now. The leadership of the WordPress community needs to decide if WordPress is going to embrace the consultants and agencies that made it the defacto publishing standard or if it is going to continue trying to be a less usable alternative to Square Space.

It’s been a while now since I’ve been paid to build anything in WordPress, and my own WordPress installation was starting to look a little… crusty. I never even updated it to start using Gutenberg.

And so, I’m moving this website to Jekyll. I’m looking forward to the ease of publishing with markdown and a future-proof JAM-stack.

Google Analytics

I can’t remember the last time I launched a website without the Google Analytics tracking snippet — it probably had a hit counter. But whether its a low-res gif in the style of a car odometer or Google’s “Universal Analytics”, it serves the same purpose for me — a little hit of dopamine at the knowledge that you somehow stumbled across my blog.

I don’t have anything to sell you here, and I don’t have any reason to gather any information about you. I certainly don’t have any reason to involve a 3rd party in the process of tracking your identity and time here. So for those reasons, I am ditching Google Analytics.

For now, I’m giving Plausible a try. I pay for this service to anonymously track traffic and protect your privacy.

If you like something that I wrote, please come find me and tell me. I’d love to hear from you.

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Josh Lee


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