You may have seen some chatter here and there about the “decentralized web” — it’s something passionately pursued by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, for instance. But there isn’t a really clear definition of what the term means — and really, considering its nature, it would be surprising if there were.
There are, therefore, a variety of opinions, as Syracuse University’s School of Information found out when they pinged two dozen tech experts and leaders.
Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive takes a literal but admirably concise approach: “Websites served from many locations; locations that are not coordinated.”
Arizona State’s Eric Newton took to metaphor: “It is to communication what local farming is to food. With it people can grow their own information.”
Author and activist Cory Doctorow says: “A Web designed to resist attempts to centralize its architecture, services, or protocols [so] that no individual, state, or corporation can substantially control its use.”
Jake Orlowitz, of the Wikimedia Foundation, waxes oratorical: “A Decentralized Web belongs to all of us: Its power lies in our connections to each other. Its architecture encodes our values; its usage affirms our freedom to collaborate, share, and create.”
Read the other 20 quotes here; it’s interesting how they cluster around the same themes but emphasize one aspect or another. A decentralized web would look much the same way: many points connected not by a common authority, but by a shared intention.