On FAN’s continued resilience

If you had told me on February 24, 2015, when I created the Freedom Alternative channel that almost nine years later I will still be writing scripts for new videos, I would’ve said that it’s likely, though not highly likely.

But if you had told me nearly 9 years ago that I’d be managing a workflow that involves work on 3 continents, a small team, and attendance to high-end meetings that shape the geopolitics of Europe and all of that under the banner of Freedom Alternative Network, I would’ve said you’re being too optimistic.

Make no mistake: I did this before and I was expecting to do it again. It’s just that I didn’t expect to be able to do it again as legit independent. And so soon!

As I’m writing these lines, I’m slowly wrapping up an episode on Kyrgyzstan from Kyrgyzstan in which I present the post-communist history of the country in a way that not even the darling of the Kyrgyz intelligentsia would dare (even though he believes it). Because he would risk being kicked out of the university if he says it like it is.

Nine years ago, being able to do this required the endorsement of a big studio and a certain narrative script had to be followed. Even the more independent-minded studios still expected you to use some tired clichés when presenting. Oh… and time limits. Everything had to fit in a segment.

I remember 11 years ago when one of the few reporters that I can respect even when I disagree with him made a segment on North Korea. A very good one, mind you. But… too short. He then struggled to tell the rest of the story in various other shows in other places, plus a book – The country with a single fat man. Only in the book he was able to go a bit more honest (and that’s because this is Romania. In the PC-driven West of 2013 he would’ve been in hot waters for fat shaming or who knows what else).

The fact that I, a bona fide nobody, can afford to do something like that is an honour, a privilege and a responsibility as well. And for that I have to remain grateful to the donors who keep this whole thing going and evolving in a way that I couldn’t have predicted (which means the enemy couldn’t have predicted either).

Every year around Christmas and the first three weeks of January we take a look around the operation on a technical and procedural level. This means backups, corrections, add of new pages/features, cleanup of things that are no longer necessary, archiving stuff (raw footage over the years means dozens upon dozens of terabytes) and other tinkering under the hood. It is the less pleasant and the less visible but equally necessary kind of work. Without it, not only you wouldn’t be reading these lines, but we would’ve achieved even less overall.

So, ever since I came back from Asia, my allotted time for Freedom Alternative time has been divided between making new videos and tinkering in the background alongside a few other people in order to fulfill even more of the wishes expressed in last year’s article on resilience.

A full announcement will be published when the period allotted for this will be over later on this month but, if you want a sneak peak, check out the Services server. It is not yet fully ready for public consumption but that’s the place where (most of) these writings will be moved going forward. It remains to be seen how the final form and procedure will look like.

At this point, even if I trusted someone enough to be my communications manager (and I might have to find such a person this year), the communications overall are overwhelming. There’s no way I can manage all of that without either going insane or start ignoring people I shouldn’t or waste time on and with people I should be ignoring. There is no solution, of course – but one acceptable trade-off is profesionalization via procedures and layers.

And that’s what the partial opening up of the internal system is for. Since I can’t convince everyone of consequence to be in the relevant Telegram group(s), then what I can do is have everyone submit communications on the same URL. How to do that without spam and how to mitigate other risks is still under testing. But one thing is certain: In order to have a fruitful 2024 and beyond, direct communication between yours truly and most people reading this will have to be winded down.

So, through a combination of a FAQ page, ticketing system and, hopefully soon enough, delegation of most of the answers… next time I reset passwords on the paywalled content, I will have to answer fewer e-mails and even fewer Telegram messages. Same with requests: I will shamelessly ignore any request that is not in the Internal System. There will be complaints and I will try to mitigate the most reasonable ones but, overall, this has to be done. The alternative is worse. Manually managing 6 categories of contacts is no longer feasible.

Also soon enough I will add paywalled articles as well. They will look something like this. But, again, needs more testing. Especially considering that I have no intention on collecting data (by making any of you create accounts) because that’d be another headache for me and for y’all. So a method of a relatively universal credential will have to be found. I don’t know yet how that will happen, but it will. Eventually.

So, yeah, that’s basically what’s been going on in the early days of 2024. Oh, and I’m also researching for the Latin American tour. And scheduling payments and soooo… much more. No pressure 😂

And with that said, see y’all soon. I got some pages to fix, create, link and synchronize.

Lucian Vâlsan on Youtube
Lucian Vâlsan
Not particularly nice. Mostly libertarian-conservative. Founder of the Freedom Alternative Network.