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A personal manifesto

Principles I stand for. My takes on being genuine, build a clean online presence, sustainability and more, are connected with a will to keep my mind safe.

Simone Silvestroni's avatar

Most of the following points are interconnected. The glue that keeps them together is mental health. Modern capitalism has made a clear point in exploiting stress and weaknesses in people to make money. It’s disgusting, and I hope more people will take decisive steps to safeguard their well being.

Being real

This website represents myself online. I don’t need to project a successful persona here, nor fake anything. Owning the site, both the code and the content, has a real meaning. And yes, I love it.

I love my website. Even though it isn’t a physical thing, I think it might be my most prized possession.Jeremy Keith

I first created a personal website in March 2002, changing its domain, design and content over 21 years. It’s true that I now also offer services in exchange for money, however, this is my personal place and therefore I don’t cater to a specific category of people. I’m myself, not a brand.

I rarely swear online, but I’m never afraid to call a spade a spade.

Be kind, rewind

Should be a given. Unfortunately, it needs to be said: I try to be as kind as possible, listen to everybody (except for fascists) and avoid being judgmental. Also, and I cannot stress enough about this, whenever I make a mistake, I’m able to apologise and correct myself.


I despise patriarchy and misogyny. Even though I relentlessly refuse to participate in locker room talk, I’m well aware of the advantages I have as a white man raised in a Western country. I keep this in mind.

Attention span

I refuse to take an active part in services profiting from people being distracted, envious and anxious. Hence, why I quit Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit years ago and never joined TikTok or SnapChat. Even though I still have an account with YouTube and Spotify, I don’t interact on those sites.

Breaking news

I stopped following the news, which doesn’t mean I ignore what’s happening in the world. A system based on creating anxiety, fake urgency and designed to keep people on their toes stays out of my life. If it’s not an in-deep analysis, a long-form article or a book, it doesn’t get my attention. This article by Rolf Dobelli is a good starting point.

Exploitative, performative, informative
And we don’t know the half of it
Rhetorical, deplorable, historical
And all along we called it normal Paramore, The News

Corporate web

Being in my fifties means that I started hanging around the internet in the 1990s. IRC, BBSes, Usenet newsgroups, Eudora, Forté Agent — those things.

I dislike all facets of the current corporate-lead internet, whether that be centralised social media, gigantic monopolies, and whatever else turned the so-called web 1.0 into the current dystopia we’re living in. Having to put systems in place to browse the internet in peace, without being constantly bombarded by ads, pop-ups, modal windows and whatnot, is not fun.

I’ll never support this shit.


I think of this site as part of the small web. My online identity is here, and not in a projected persona that scatters ephemeral posts crafted to stir controversy and attract attention on a corporate-owned social network. A few years ago I joined the Indieweb. As an independent node of the larger internet, I don’t need a comment system: I can send and receive webmentions, a method for replying, liking and reposting from personal websites.

For more ephemeral discussions, I interact with people online using Mastodon.


Over the last fifteen years I’ve been heavily invested in trying to stop wasting resources. I put my outmost attention to sustainability in every aspect of my life, including web design. I subscribe to the brutalist design manifesto:

A website is for a visitor, using a browser, running on a computer to read, watch, listen, or perhaps to interact. A website that embraces Brutalist Web Design is raw in its focus on content, and prioritization of the website visitor. David Bryant Copeland

In line with a minimalist approach, fighting against bloatware means that my website doesn’t weigh on neither broadband nor electricity with useless scripts, tracking, analytics, ads or pointless stock photos. For the same reasons, I refuse to take part in anything related to the blockchain. Not that is going great anyway.


Helped by professionals such as Silvia, I made my website as accessible as possible. If a website is not catered to everyone, it has little to no use.

Digital ecosystems, or walled gardens

As another facet of sustainability, I also refuse the corporate-filled idea of attaching myself to a brand. Ever since I stopped doing so, being system agnostic has become second nature. The most common method to gradually force people into digital ecosystems, or walled gardens, is by offering convenience. Not being trapped with having to buy devices or use software from the same company, gives me considerable freedom. It might cost a couple steps more to keep things in sync — so be it.

Similarly, a business model based on subscriptions doesn’t get my money.

Planned obsolescence

All the aforementioned methods are used by their creators to induce planned obsolescence and bring people to spend more money. A progressive increase in waste is one of the direct results. A sneaky aspect is the arbitrary cycle of upgrades, usually on an annual basis. Apple is likely the worst offender here. Since I care more about degrowth, I downgraded my old laptop to an operating system from 2018. It works very well, I have sufficient security updates and I avoid using the obsolete packages shipped with the OS.

The same thing happens with my phone: old, cheap, and running the latest Android with ease.

Right to repair

Rather than buy the shiny new object, I prefer to maintain and repair hardware whenever possible. My current daily ride, a MacBook Pro from 2015, is still going strong and I don’t plan to switch anytime soon.

I pay for the tools I use

I support FOSS projects, including the Mastodon instance that hosts my account, and closed-source software built by small companies with a well-thought business model. None of them have a marketing department gaslighting their customers or plastering ads everywhere.

A few, mostly multi-platform, examples:

I don’t pirate software.

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