[smc-discuss] WhatsApp and mental torture in school communities

Nandakumar Edamana nandakumar at nandakumar.co.in
Sat Jun 6 09:39:07 PDT 2020

On 06/06/20 9:49 pm, Pirate Praveen wrote:
> I don't think waiting till something that personally affects us is a
> good strategy. Many times, things become too late. If you don't learn
> from history, you will be forced to repeat it. Like you are already
> arguing, for exact replacement for a service that they started using
> barely for a week, the more you stick with a service, the harder it
> will be to switch.
You've already convinced me. It's about convincing the community. But we
have to do it.
>> What I think now needs is a drop-in alternative for WhatsApp or nobody
>> would be ready to try. Govt hosting a Signal instance is one solution,
>> and the other I suggested is using the official Signal for the time
>> being. Does your recommendations qualify the "drop-in alternative for
>> WhatsApp" criteria? I'm asking this because I've little knowledge in
>> mobile chat apps.
> The use of WhatsApp is to send messages in groups, group for each
> class where parents and students are there. Why do we need exact
> replacement of WhatsApp?
By a "drop-in replacement", I mean as friendly as it is.
> Was GNU/Linux and exact replacement for Windows when we switched to
> GNU/Linux in schools?
No, but both are at least operating systems. So if people like a chat
app, what we suggest as an alternative should also be a chat app.
> Do you think WhatsApp to a matrix client will be a harder switch than
> GNU/Linux to Windows?
I don't know. I don't even know what Matrix is (I've tried reading about
it at times, but I lost).
> In Kerala, switch to GNU/Linux happened not because teachers thought
> it would be easier, but they were convinced by the philosophy and they
> were willing to take the effort to fix all the problems. If you are
> trying to sell convenience, we already lost the battle.

I admire these words. But my personal policy is, if the convenient
alternative you have is libre, promote it first and let them know about
other (more) libre solutions eventually. This is not about installing OS
on school machines where you can talk about philosophy; this is about
installing apps on one's phone. What if one says "it's my phone and I
don't care about freedom and privacy"? We still lost the battle.

The only reason I'm still appearing in favor of Signal (or any similar
centralized solution) is that, we need a drop-in replacement, like right
now, just to mention while arguing against WhatsApp. The final solution
of course would be developing or hosting a custom platform, but first we
need some "proof of concept" to show.

>> BTW, from what I've learned, Telegram has an extremely bad reputation
>> when it comes to security and privacy, despite being libre at the
>> client-side. Is there any reason for anyone to prefer Telegram over
>> Signal?
> People use it as a file sharing app, I think they allow upto 2GB files
> to be shared. Also it can be bridged to Matrix so you are not forced
> to use Telegram to participate in telegram groups.
Thanks for the info.

Nandakumar Edamana

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