Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Diaspora Co-founder Dies At 22 312

phaedrus5001 writes "Tech Crunch is reporting that one of the co-founders of Diaspora, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, has passed away. He was only 22. At the moment, the cause of his death is unknown."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Diaspora Co-founder Dies At 22

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @03:42AM (#38046074)

    To all young, horny, self-absorbed, invincible little gods of the internet: you're never too young. The cosmos cares not for you.

    Value your health. Value your safety.

    Accomplish something while you still can, just as Ilya did.

    • by inflex ( 123318 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @03:49AM (#38046118) Homepage Journal

      Very true words... health is one of those things that gets stolen away from you almost literally overnight and from there it's a major struggle to get back to normality. Most of us as kids would screw up our faces when our parents would say "You've got your health" when we moaned about not having anything - sadly, as with so many things, you don't realise how true that is until you're older.

      The trouble is, you trip up with something, that later causes something else...and so on... you find yourself snowballing down into the pit of death .

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Most of us as kids would screw up our faces when our parents would say "You've got your health" when we moaned about not having anything - sadly, as with so many things, you don't realise how true that is until you're older.

        Mostly because it's being used in the same way as "think of the starving children in Africa". Of course there are people that are much, much worse off than us but if any comparison should always be towards the lowest possible bar then you'll lose every time. Particularly if you throw in history on how growing up today is much better than most children through history, probably including your own parents and grandparents. After all, most people - certainly kids and other young people you identify with - do h

        • by ajs ( 35943 )

          Mostly because it's being used in the same way as "think of the starving children in Africa". Of course there are people that are much, much worse off than us but if any comparison should always be towards the lowest possible bar then you'll lose every time. Particularly if you throw in history on how growing up today is much better than most children through history, probably including your own parents and grandparents. After all, most people - certainly kids and other young people you identify with - do have their health.

          Also it's sometimes used as a poor man's equalizer, it doesn't matter that you're Steve Jobs you can still die a long drawn out death of cancer. In that yes your health is important and your health can't really be bought for money, but just because there's a variable you can't control doesn't mean poor and (good|bad) health beats rich and (good|bad) health. It's a just a way to mentally put a few people in the (rich, bad health) below you (poor, good health) in the feelgood hierarchy.

          If this is intended to make you feel good about making poor choices, then carry on.

          However, I'll tell you now that most people under 30 are typically living in a dream world. "Poor health" is a concept to most such "youngsters." When I was that age I'd been ill and I'd been injured, and I thought I understood. But, now, with the mild aches and pains of age creeping up on me slowly, I realize how big that gun is that I'm looking down the barrel of. Poor health isn't about being hit by a taxi-cab at 9 and get

    • by Archibald Buttle ( 536586 ) <> on Monday November 14, 2011 @10:37AM (#38048024)

      Value your health. Value your safety.

      Accomplish something while you still can, just as Ilya did.

      Value your mental health.

      Working flat-out at all costs to accomplish something can be extremely detrimental to both your physical and mental health. The line between sane and insane is much narrower than many imagine. Whilst you may write some cool code, what use is that if you end up losing your sanity, or worse your life?

  • by DISKOTeCH ( 2507090 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @03:49AM (#38046122)
    For those wondering. Doing a simple Twitter search of @zhitomirskiyi, brings this recent tweet directly mentioning him:!/micahdaigle/status/135613279618871296 [] "@zhitomirskiyi, founder of @joindiaspora, has committed suicide. :(" about around 24 hours ago, long before it was announced on Techcrunch. Then someone else mentioned suicide as well, but they delete their tweet, not before it was retweeted however: [] "@amoration Found out colleague killed himself. Sending serenity in the passing of @zhitomirskiyi" Sad to hear it. R.I.P. Ilya Zhitomirskiy. Thank you for your work.
  • by jd ( 1658 )

    ...the blog sites can't decide if he was 21 or 22. Most copy blindly off each other - and that includes Zdnet who should know better. Given that his work was in social networking and thus communication, I can't help but feel that he has been let down by the poor quality of communication surrounding his death.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

      by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Monday November 14, 2011 @04:06AM (#38046180) Homepage Journal

      His final posting on Diaspora was of a translucent butterfly [] on the 7th. There was nothing that really stood out to be in his other postings as being suicidal, so I'm not going to go with that theory until there's something a bit more solid than the rumourmill. However, if it does turn out that that was what happened, it would alter how this image should be seen and therefore show that this was no sudden thing.

      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rie Beam ( 632299 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @04:55AM (#38046364) Journal

        When someone commits suicide, it's not always the case that they're going to smother the Internet with cries for help -- introverted especially, especially the geeky kind, tend to bundle up their emotions. Suicides can and do happen out of the blue.

        • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

          by fatphil ( 181876 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @06:15AM (#38046586) Homepage
          Unfortunately, the ones that actually are going to go ahead with it are the ones less likely to send out the cries for help.
        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @07:16AM (#38046822)

          As an educated (BS in SE), 25 year old male who has attempted suicide twice (and failed by chance/luck/bad luck), in general we do send out cries for help. They get dismissed or go unnoticed. They aren't "I'm going to kill myself tonight. Don't try to stop me." but more like "I don't really care" or "I just cause problems" along with a passive shrug cause you don't want to make the other person feel bad too.

          Personally if someone had noticed my attempts, I think I would've been better off. The ones that are vocal about it get help, the ones that are discovered before death get help, but the ones that are barely strong enough to keep from going all the way just linger on in quiet misery without being able to get help or end it.

          My respect to the guy. Humans die easily, but it takes a lot to kill yourself. He was stronger than me.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I would tend to say this post is a cry for help.

          • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

            You really didn't want to commit suicide or you would have. Truth is that it is easy to commit a successful suicide. That being said I hope you are now getting some help. Depression is a terrible thing and can effect anyone. I am dealing with it now over the death of my mother.

          • by tixxit ( 1107127 )
            Please get help. You cannot count on other people to notice these things, as we often project ourselves onto others. We are also notorious for choosing the easiest path when faced with tough decisions. That means assuming you are content and that your subtle cries for help are just quirky behaviour on your part. Therapy isn't a magic bullet, but I've seen it really help others I care about.
          • by Steffan ( 126616 )

            Hey, AC, even if your're not ready to go the full 'counseling' step, consider calling one of the hotlines for 'just a chat'. A five minute committment is worthwhile to just be able to talk to someone who doesn't know you and won't judge you.

          • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Monday November 14, 2011 @12:51PM (#38049446) Homepage Journal

            And I make no pretense to know what it is like to want to commit suicide.

            But I've always wanted to say to someone who was considering taking their life: why not just take your "life" instead?

            And what I mean by that is, your situation in life. It obviously is not working, so abandon it. Take a plane to a far flung location on the globe, without any money or means of support, change your name, dissolve all ties to your previous existence, preemptively sabotage any way anyone could trace you, and live off trash or stolen mangoes from a tree, until something better comes along.

            And become another person. Someone who might be happy someday.

            Effectively "kill" yourself: all the identities you have with your current existence, the sum of all your relationships that aren't working, the job that fills you with nothing but misery, all of the reality around you that cages you about how you think about yourself. "Kill" all of the signifiers about who you currently are and how you think about your place in life.

            And maybe the challenge and novelty of that will put you in a new frame of mind. And then you can be happy someday.

            Of course, I know, the fear is you carry the seed of your depression around inside you, and even in a new life, the despondency will return. But I think, for many people, it is a combination of nature and nurture, and you, who you are, had your life gone another path, you might not be so depressed. We all are depressed at times, we all carry the seed of depression, and major depression too, were the situations in our life and how we come to think about ourselves had evolved a different way. So write a new story. Yes, you carry a seed of it inside you. We all do, and we aren't committing suicide because our seed never grew. So cut down the tree your seed has grown into, and move to new soil where the seed can't grow.

            So restart the story. A lot of people talk about reinventing themselves, in ways they consider major, but are really minor. Consider the most radical reinvention possible, instead of suicide.

            • A few thoughts.

              If someone is convinced that everything in life is meaningless, they are unlikely to have the perspective you present. It seems a little like telling someone who is depressed from a week of no sleep that they just need to "buck up"-- their mental state at that point will make your suggestion an impossibility. Depression can be like that-- you may understand objectively your depression, but that does not make it easy to simply say "Im going to stop being depressed now".

              Also, a lot of people

        • by Hatta ( 162192 )

          Suicides don't happen out of the blue. It might be a surprise for everyone but the subject, but it's not "out of the blue".

          • by dr_dank ( 472072 )

            Paradoxically, some depressives seem like they're improving just before they commit suicide. Deciding on and planning out the deed, knowing that the end to their suffering is at hand can make them seem happier. This adds to the "out of the blue" perception.

        • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

          A lot of time they don't want "help". A great many of them happen when someone is just coming out of the "too depressed to get out of bed" phase of cyclical depression, and they just don't ever want to go through that again.

  • Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tekgoblin ( 1675894 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @03:59AM (#38046160) Homepage
    This is sad, he had a bright future. I wonder what was bothering him enough to commit suicide assuming thats what actually happened.
    • Re:Sad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @04:08AM (#38046192)
      I cannot believe I had to scroll down this far to find the first post that wasn't a brazen insensitive mockery or a joking jab at an assassination. Not that they normally bother me, but really even the announcement of Steve Jobs' death was at least 50/50. Maybe the project that he had didn't take off, but his ideals and his heart were in the right place, and if he did indeed take his own life, that makes it even more tragic.
      • Just demonstrates the cynical, borderline sociopathic nature of most /.ters =/

    • Re:Sad (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eulernet ( 1132389 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @10:08AM (#38047822)

      It may be related to this message: []
      where he announces that he just started an intimate relation, less than 2 weeks ago.

      The relation has probably been broken, as his heart :-(

  • What is Diaspora? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @04:18AM (#38046244)

    Please, guys, I know only a moron like myself doesn't know what this Diaspora project is, but couldn't you put a link or a two-word explanation? Yes, I know Google is my friend. Feel free to mod me down now.

    • Re:What is Diaspora? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @04:34AM (#38046302)

      Open Source Facebook Clone

      • It's not just an open source facebook clone. that would be simple as setting up a website with users, and user content, and the ability to link other's content. Bam, Facebook clone.

        No, Diaspora was to be distributed. There's no central authority to decide who gets banned, blocked, censored, spied upon, and sold to marketers. It would be YOU in control of your social network. It was a noble goal. But it didn't seem to go anywhere.

        I don't know anything about the guy, but suicide is always a damn shame. A
    • Re:What is Diaspora? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by epine ( 68316 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @05:05AM (#38046384)

      Google is my friend, too, yet I would have been ever so grateful for the tiniest social grace of sparing me yet another Google result set.

      I'm pretty sure Lewis Thomas in Lives of a Cell (or possibly Et Cetera, Et Cetera: Notes of a Word-Watcher) comments about the sad decline of the elder statesmen: he hasn't forgotten anything so much as piled it so deep in the attic he can't find it without a substantial jog.

      For about five minutes a year ago I knew what Diaspora was. Then it went directly to the Lewis Thomas attic of things I can only possibly remember once reminded.

      Hard to understand, I guess, when you're twenty two.

    • It is a Facebook-type social network, whose key feature is its distributed design and that you retain control and ownership for everything you post.
    • Re:What is Diaspora? (Score:5, Informative)

      by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @08:02AM (#38047070)
      Diaspora is like Facebook mashed up with Twitter. You have a stream to write musings and to listen to other people's. You subscribe to topics using hash tags and you have "aspects" (akin to groups / circles) to put associates / friends / family / followers into. Where it might appeal to geeks or just people interested in their privacy is that privacy is concretely defined and the project itself is open source so there are likely to be many hosts cropping up over time. Once hosts pop up you should be able to export your data as xml and import it into the new one. It would be nice if hosts joined together with some Jabber like IPC so it didn't strictly matter where you or your friends resided as long as they were reachable between nodes.

      One area of particular appeal I see for the project is in serving enterprises. I can see Diaspora being pretty useful for places that want a facebook like application to serve an internal audience. e.g. you have 20,000 people in the company you might use aspects and the wall for general team and company level chitchat. Perhaps that's how the project ultimately intends to make money, selling support to these places.

      Anyway I think it's early days for the project. It got a lot of bad press about 12 months back but its really rolling out in alpha form. It's still slow (and currently suffering from a bit of a Slashdotting), but it shows a lot of promise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 14, 2011 @05:05AM (#38046382)

    Condolences to his family and friends.

  • May not have been much of a movie, but it seems it got many predictions right.

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <> on Monday November 14, 2011 @02:36PM (#38050660)

    Don't kill yourself. Just don't.

    Throw away all your stuff, shave your head, leave your home and your hometown, and start walking, heading in one direction. Drop your job. Stand and pee on the desk of your Boss. Run away from school. Do whatever you must, but do *not* kill yourself. It's about the stupidest thing you can do.

    My Grandpa who dug the whole Nazi-Wehrmacht thing back then and went on to invade and fight on the eastern front in WW2 as a Waffen-SS Officer (Kompanieführer) gave me this advice he took home after the war: If everything you believed in is gone, the 3rd Reich, the Wehrmacht, your hometown and half of your homeland burned and lost to the russians of which a few million are now rightfull super-pissed and heading straight your way, raping and killing their way through whatever is left of the eastern german population, if your entire Kompanie is dead (two assistants aside, which got captured a few days ago) if the beloved Führer is dead (*his* beloved Füher - not mine (emphasis mine!)), Berlin is falling and you're hearing the gunfire, the Stalinorgel and their bombshells crashing in near Zossen just a few Kilometers away, your injured and they are coming to get you and they will tear you to tiny bits and pieces, and the maggots are eating away at the festering wound in your leg, your career and your life and everything you've ever believed in is basically over and out with no stone on another in bombed out Berlin for Kilometers in each direction ... if all that has and just is happening before your very eyes right here and now ... you might aswell just crawl on a few more meters and see if something interesting happens instead of putting a gun to your head.

    He crawled on, found a deserted Wehrmacht horse, crawled on to its back sideways. The horse eventually rode to a gathering-camp. The nurses picked him up and the russians didn't deport him because his injuries were to severe - the lucky bastard.

    Long story short, he lives to this very day (age 97) to tell us this advice. Old Type-A nazi or not, that actually *is* a very valuable advice. If *he* in that situation decided *not* to kill himself, so can you.

    Bottom line:
    Don't kill yourself. It's that simple.

    My 2 cents.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"