Aether

Aether is a free app that you use to read, write in, and create community moderated, distributed, and anonymous forums, an “anonymous reddit without servers.” — The Verge

Download for Mac OS X
Download for Windows

Open this website in a desktop computer to download Aether, or join the mailing list, so you'll be reminded.

What is Aether, and why you might like it.

Imagine a world where you could say absolutely anything under any name and make it heard, while having no body of your own. What would you say that you normally wouldn't?

Would you be calling more people out? Distributing your very own scarlet letters? Lashing out on the new craze in tech, even if you know your significant other is into it? Writing up columns even The New York Times would be too embarrassed to publish on the opinion pages? Squashing pseudo–experts? Making fun of self–righteous prudes?

Aether enables you to act that unfiltered self on anything that tickles your fancy. That also means others get to have the same, too, so nurture a thick skin. We talk politics, gadgets, gossip, philosophy, tech and everything in between.

Why?

Mostly because true anonymity is a rare, marvellous thing that's becoming rarer very fast, and there needs to be somewhere it can be retained, even if it is not profitable. A virtual Hyde Park alive in thin ether.

Also, it's interesting. The idea of having no person brings with it a few immediate results: the first one is that anybody can say anything. This is mostly a good thing.

The second is more curious. Aether is not pseudonymous, it's anonymous; people do not wear masks, they are not. Anonymity makes ad hominem attacks impossible, as you do not know whether you are conversing with the same person when you get a reply. The burak who you replied to and burak who replied to you might not be the same one. The former could be a reasonable man and the latter a formidable troll, and there is no way to know which one is which. This leaves only one way to continue discussion: assuming flaming is from the troll and the logic from the reasonable man, and to answer as such. Therefore even in the case a particular person devolves from logic to flaming, the argument will inevitably follow the path of reason regardless of who is making the case so long as the user wants it to be so. Aether gives the user an explicit choice by removing the sting of personal insult—the guy who called you out might not be the same burak—and without emotional appeal, trolling loses much of its lustre. In the general case, arguments from reason, emotion, trolling or all others become more obvious as themselves because Aether deëmphasises the authorship behind.

The final implication is that when there are no people, there can be no authorship. Anything and everything said in Aether is free to take, edit and improve.