Here is what I have done with my weekend: I have made the dumbest publishing platform on the web.

Check it out at txt.fyi

All you can do is post text. Bang it out, hit publish, and it’s live.

There’s no tracking, ad-tech, webfonts, analytics or javascript. There are no user accounts, so there’s no friending, likes, follower counts or other quantifiers of social capital. There isn’t even a database! The only practical way for anyone to find out about a posting is if the author links to it elsewhere.

All you can do is scream into the void and know the form of your voice is out there forever—if you remember the URL, that is.

I’ve been working on something more complete (with accounts, edit/delete options and maybe even image uploads!) and will post it soon. But in the meantime, I thought it’d be fun to experiment with something as simple as possible.

This is, in fact, significantly dumber than even the dumbest contact form.

Without any social features whatsoever, harassment seems unlikely, but I’ll do my best to make sure this isn’t used as a tool by the abusive. If it dies fast it’ll probably be because of that. Spam’s another matter. Even if it’s never seen (search engines are instructed not to index posts), a zero-friction submission form is surely catnip to the bots.

Use “Dumbdown” to format posts: #header, **bold**, *italic*, `code`, >quote, and hyperlinks in the format [link](http://example.com). Real Markdown support will be forthcoming if the demand presents itself.

Be sure to email and tell me how to make it better! I’m tellin’ BBS first because I know you’ll be gentle with it before the rest of the internet stamps it to death – if I’m lucky we might figure out how to make it live.

“No user accounts” and “no tracking/adtech” are sacrosanct.

One cool feature I thought would be nice might be “sharing to twitter shares with it an image of the text to be automatically embedded there,” but that also seems ludicrously baroque for a minimal thing like this.

Anyone with magic incantations against spam that don’t require third-party services?

Long live the independent web!


How post-Web 2.0.


My point of reference is those post-apocalyptic cartoons from about 1980 where everything has been reduced to the stone age but there is nice technology just lying everywhere for educated barbarians to find.






So, if you don’t copy the link at the time, how would you find it again if you wanted to?

Seems like adding wasteful bulk to the bits and bytes of the WWW without adding substance. What am I missing?


Why does it give me the same message whenever I try entering a random URL?
e.g. https://txt.fyi/+/bfb3453d/


How long before president Bannon starts using it for his numbers station?




If you wanted to find it again, you could save the link!

Still, the big thing I think it might need on a “minimal usefulness” front is a preview page between the form and it going live. That page could also include a “here’s the URL it will be at; here’s a secret URL to delete it later if you want,” allowing it to cover three essential complexities – edit, delete, remember – as minimally as possible.

txt.fyi could end up with it trying to remember you so you can get a list of your posts without an account, but that heads into “what can be done with a session or a cookie?” territory and my feeling is that whatever could be done badly with a cookie should probably be done well with a user account.

“Seems like adding wasteful bulk to the bits and bytes of the WWW without adding substance. What am I missing?”

I want to meet the need: “I want to publish something without google and facebook watching me or anyone who reads it, and without obligating me to be fucked with by other users. But I want to do exactly no work whatsoever myself with respect to establishing a website”

Think “minimalist pastebin for people who write” but also good for your sinister numbers station needs. Also choose your own adventures and ASCII art, assuming I don’t improve the font stack.


Playing with primitive tools to see where established patterns of interaction go when the invisible built-in expectations are gone? Screaming into the void? A handy dead-drop on the web?


If you don’t immediately delete your history, you can go back and copy url.


It’s very zen.


My contribution to the board





Hmm, I’m here on the Discourse app, not sure I can do that without jumping to chrome proper after publishing.


I’m on BBS, and I went back to chrome and then found it via a history search.


Perhaps I will use it to store and generate my passwords…
Just paste the site URL as the message and use the random 7 digit text.info URL as the basis of my password - just have to insert some symbols until I meet a given sites’ requirements.


Seems like it should get the ASCII treatment…


That’s a standard url-shortener type joaat hash so no good for passwords. Easy to change, though, to something longer and more robust.

(If txt.fyi is just too elaborate, I wonder how hard it would be to make something even simpler based on “the content of your post is contained and encrypted in the URL itself”)