Five years ago back when this list was less than 500 people, I sent a post about how I felt increasingly reluctant to be myself online. The essay used the metaphor of the Dark Forest to explain a growing sense of danger that I and others felt.

“In response to the ads, the tracking, the trolling, the hype, and other predatory behaviors, we’re retreating to our dark forests of the internet, and away from the mainstream. 

“Dark forests like newsletters and podcasts are growing areas of activity. As are other dark forests, like Slack channels, private Instagrams, invite-only message boards, text groups, Snapchat, WeChat, and on and on. These are all spaces where depressurized conversation is possible because of their non-indexed, non-optimized, and non-gamified environments. 

“An increasing number of the population has scurried into their dark forests to avoid the fray.” 

The post struck a nerve. In the months and years that followed, hundreds of thousands of people read the piece, and some of the most brilliant voices on the internet — Venkatesh RaoMaggie AppletonPeter LimbergCaroline Busta,  Do Not ResearchNew ModelsTrust SupportLeith Benkhedda — wrote their own pieces that built on, expanded, and argued with the idea.

Over the last year, the eleven of us have been secretly conspiring in our own Dark Forest channels to turn our asynchronous conversation into something bigger: a physical book that captures a critical moment in internet history.

The Dark Forest Anthology of the Internet is a beautifully designed, 208-page book combining text and images to tell an alternately harrowing and empowering story of life on the web. Produced in a limited first-edition run of just 1,000 copies, the book is available for sale today through Metalabel in a collector’s bundle that includes:

Go here to explore the book and collect one of 777 copies available:

Purchase the Dark Forest Anthology


Today marks another significant debut: the Metalabel platform.

Metalabel is a new space for selling, releasing, and exhibiting creative work. It supports creative work of all kinds: physical, digital, IRL, music, video, writing, events, products, paywalled content, and bundles of any or all of the above. Like Bandcamp for everything.

Beneath the surface is a new operating system for groups of creative people to form labels — our word for creative groups who co-release work, share audiences, share funds, and pursue their goals together. Metalabel offers an entirely new (but yet very classic) way for creative people to release work and support one another.

We’ll be introducing an exceptional new drop every week for the next couple months to get Metalabel warmed up. Visit Metalabel here:

Visit Metalabel

Thank you

Thank you for being a part of this. Since leaving Kickstarter seven years ago, I’ve used this space to explore ideas, try out concepts, and engage in an extended open dialogue with you through these messages. I never would have guessed the many stops this would create along the way or where it would end up. I feel certain that without this space we share, neither I or this project would have landed in this exciting place.