LONG rant about the fediverse 

I feel like the solutions the fediverse had to the problems of twitter only created its own, unique problems and failed to truly account for the target audiences that would be attracted to an alternate twitter.

sure, it's no longer one giant, centralized network ruled by a giant company and paid for by ad money. instead, it's a few large instances that everyone flocks to with many tiny instances dangling from threads. payment is taken care of from those who have disposable income and run by those who have been able to burrow their way into the tech world, often times this is the same person. This doesn't help with the growing racism problem, as the people who tend to be able to do both of these tend to be white and in or around the tech industry (myself included, I will be honest.)

sure, we now don't have to worry about being stuck under bad moderation - if staff is bad, you can just move! But instead, instance admins have to keep both eyes open wide for any bad instance or good instance gone bad that might sneak into their radar, and decide if they're worth cutting off manually. if one of those good instances gone bad is a large instance? well, better be prepared to decide between "defending why you didn't defederate $BadInstance" or "defending why you're disconnecting everyone between $BadInstance to $YourInstance" And if you think any of this is clear cut, just you wait. The game of fediverse telephone makes everything muddy, with everyone having the strongest opinion on everything, and if you choose to dig down deep for the source of it all, you'll usually find a few people just mis-communicated. Or racism. Could also be racism.

Yes, you can tailor-make your experience to what you want it to be by running your own instance! Here's your options for software:
- Vanilla Mastodon. Hope you're ready to make your own fork and deal with annoying upstream merges if you want to change anything of real substance, or have features that should by all means be available upstream but isn't for "arbitrary reasons"!
- Glitch-Soc Mastodon. Hope you can afford a VPS with 8 GB of RAM, or else your setup just got twice as complicated!
- Pleroma. Hopefully the good parts of the fediverse haven't decide to proactively de-federate from your instance for running Pleroma, since usually when they see pleroma, it's from an instance they're blocking! And why can't you set image descriptions on the default frontend? And why was there a debug "ignore federated blocks" option that persisted for far longer than it should've? And why are there people claiming the dev team is bad? And wh-
- Misskey. Best of luck being one of the few English instance owners using Misskey!
- *insert small fediverse server project here*. Best of luck being one of the few instance owners using *project name here*!

Sure, you no longer have people from completely different universes of thought just waltzing into your posts and harassing y-pffffffttttt, I'm sorry, I can't say that with a straight face.

And yeah, you don't have people screenshot dunking and calling a user out because staff actions aren't considered sufficient at taking care of the issue. Instead, you have people screenshot dunking and calling a user out as well as calling for defederation with an instance, because its staff actions aren't considered sufficient at taking care of the issue. You also get bonus discourse over screenshot dunking, as moderation on the fediverse should be good enough to not warrant screenshot dunking, right? Right????

We've brought twitter to the fediverse. We've joked about gargron essentially wanting to make "twitter 2", well, I'm here to tell you that it was a success. This is a second twitter - not better than the original, but different. And since everyone was promised a better time, nobody's happy, and everyone's leaving.

Maybe this is a problem with social networks in general. Perhaps I should follow the examples of some friends I have and just stick to the close friends I have with no social media accounts beyond, like, steam and linkedin, because i kinda have to have those. Or maybe there's just something wrong about how the fediverse was built that didn't truly account for all of the problems of twitter, or the problems that its implementation would create. Either way, I think it's safe to say that the fediverse is not the beacon of hope many hoped it to be, myself included.

appendix to this huge rant 

As this post makes it further beyond the spaces I tend to frequent, I see I've received new arguments.

Note that if you read this and said, "huh, i don't see these same problems here", we likely are on very different parts of the federated world that, on a fundamental level, disagrees with how federation should be handled. There's a reason why i'm not saying "the solution is to not restrict federation!!" If not restricting federation at all works for you and your instance's users, and y'all don't mind the ad hominem and the chaos of it all, that's cool for you. I'm just gonna... uh... not though. yeah. thanks for reading though

I do get that a lot of this is social norms stuff, and I do agree that if everyone cultivated their timelines, yes, the drama would disappear. I feel like if it could be engineered in a way so that this never *became* a problem, it'd also take care of it. I feel like the latter's probably something that, while would require some creative thinking, I feel like is a more likely solution than requiring a vast majority's careful participation. I will acknowledge I'm providing no solutions here, only problems, but it is what it is.

I disagree with the argument that blocklists and individual-level blocking is an effective solution, as this is exactly what was done on twitter. People left Twitter for a reason, didn't they, and it wasn't just because they were being banned, right? I can, however, acknowledge that having a ton of small instances would probably create new issues of its own, and those should be tackled if and when they came. I believe having a system where people can vet for each other's instances could be a potential solution, for example - a reputation board of sorts.

I see that Pleroma fixed not having image descriptions available to write in the pleroma frontend. That's great, and I now recant the statement that they didn't have them available. I will, however, replace it with this: why did it take so long to add image descriptions to the pleroma frontend?

Anyways, I've spent enough time ranting, and this post extended a lot further out than I expected. I'm muting this thread, I'm gonna go step off of the fedi and do something fun.

Show thread

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon you've hit the nail on the head with this post

"learning from the mistakes of other social media platforms" was a cruel joke

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon your points about instance administration being limited to those with disposable income and the tech knowledge to run things are very valid and it is something i think should be worked on, so that there's better systems in place so that anyone can lead things.

however i feel like everything else in this post is a matter of social norms, and thus if one chooses to just, not participate in the social norms and rejects them, they can start to create a community of their own where this isnt an issue. ive been drifting into this space with some adjacent instances where it's like, whatever, go defederate everyone and their dog, you're making the experience worse for yourself. i'll be over here more occupied talking with cool people than being on edge for the "ever-present bad actor" (that in 90% of cases isnt actually bad).

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon nevermind i guess you're defederated from my instance so you're part of the no fun allowed gang lol

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@nik @chirrveon >disposable income and the tech knowledge How would you solve that apart from a p2p model? Poor people tend to own phones instead of desktop computers so even with all other requirements removed they’re probably not going to be doing much instance administration anyway.

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon fediverse is great, what you talking about

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@Moon @chirrveon It's basically a re: Canceldon essay, not an illegitimate complaint. You'll never have to worry about unknowingly blocking or being blocked by sometimes hundreds or thousands of people for reasons that weren't communicated.

I think a lot of us are just used to it and choose not to be bothered because there's a large enough community of sites that won't arbitrarily put walls up

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

> - And why can't you set image descriptions on the default frontend?

Not the case.

The problem with the Fediverse, as with all social media, is moderation. The Fediverse has made moderation more personal - which makes the network more toxic, if you chose to employ it.

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

running an instance costs about $60 a year (plus like 10 maybe for a cheap domain name). pretty expensive to me, but maybe not to most people? (definitely can be but)

also requires bit of compute-ability, but hoping here that encourages people to learn a bit. seen it happen a couple of times at least, setting up a single-user instance (though people who did it were at least "academic" types, if not in computing fields)

and not had any problems with people over using pleromer either, at least personally; think that more affects the multi-user instances (like taylor's, blocked by you seems?) that attract attention from angry people who like being angry

the culture things feel more like a united-states problem than anything else; for here friends are basically all asia and europe (+ russia / occasional sudamerica), and it's generally open-discussion and kindness (and pets and language-learning and ero jokes

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon this place is beginning to make us very weary, and for the most part the shit hasn't hit us, it's that it feels like we're going to be the target one day for something shitty like this.

LONG rant about the fediverse 

@toydragon oh, they fixed it? Well, it's about time, and that's one complaint I have with pleroma gone! That was one of my big issues with pleroma when i was using it - the fact I'd have to go to the masto FE whenever I wanted to have an image description and didn't want to use an app.

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon I think it's kinda neat TBH

LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon I think the problem is less with Twitter culture, and more with the general format of microblogging - something that is designed for talking *at* people rather than *to* them, with a restrictive number of characters so that you can't really say anything deep and meaningful in one single post.

LONG rant about the fediverse 


So basically racism, bigotry, hatred and other similar twisted and wrong ways of human thought, speech and action cannot be solved away by different software or alternate mechanisms of communication and interaction.

TL:DR Technology cannot cure racism.

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 


>Hopefully the good parts of the fediverse haven’t decide to proactively de-federate from your instance for running Pleroma

I love the #Fediverse and I really like #Pleroma ❤️ and I don’t understand this kind of behaviour… I’d prefer if we de-federate because of the content/users and not because of the tool…

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@titi @chirrveon

if one of those good instances gone bad is a large instance? well, better be prepared to decide between “defending why you didn’t defederate $BadInstance” or “defending why you’re disconnecting everyone between $BadInstance to $YourInstance” And if you think any of this is clear cut, just you wait.

I’m not sure this is a problem if your instance is a small one… as I think it should be. If you run a small instance of 50 users, who from outside will care? And inside, you can discuss with calm.

I think your point on white people who can afford technology is very interesting.

LONG re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon First of all, thanks for accepting to read this, I hope you can bear with me for a bit.

Personally I consider it's up to three things, which have been mostly preserved from Twitter as well as other social media:

- physical detachment: you have full control over your online identity, while, at large, not having to face people with the constrains and risks you would physically - and you can reach and be reached by millions who would have never otherwise
- social need: you might be at control of your online self, but since people are come driven by social incentives and it's open to literally anybody alive, there's bound to be conflicting personalities, worldviews and feelings - leading to fear, hate, mob thinking, conflicts, etc. (It's Just Like Real Life™!)
- dopamine gambling: fedi copies the same key concepts that make Twitter addicting to use: real time feed and notifications, either demanding your attention, or giving you instant content and attention - this can make you dependent on it for every minute that passes, in order to fill up boredom and feel good about yourself, and in turn can make you worried about whatever others think of you or do against you or what you like

It, thus, seems to me like an inherent issue with public spaces online with no entry screening. It's anarchy. You're basically just given a constant feed of thousands of random people that, by design, you allow into your perception and mind at first sight. There are no physical limits to constrain bad behavior, and there's plenty of social incentives to act harmfully.

A social platform with incentives to be antisocial. Antisocial collectives.

As we make a big deal out of everything in fedi, since we *want* to make it such since we *want* to have people to care about and fill our time with and we *want* to see what people think and have to share... then we're bound to find what we don't like, even to have people trying to exploit it. And all you can do, or can be done to you, is either psychological (like harassing) or filtering-wise (like blocking).

re: LONG re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon Because of all of this, and because we ultimately still want to find new people despite the inherent risks of socializing, I would propose to implement two solutions: a technical one, and a social one. Both complement each other and should be considered equally necessary. These are more mitigations than formally verifiable, universal theorems, but I believe they are feasible today and would make a tangible, positive difference.

TECHNICAL SOLUTION: no more realtime feed eating up whatever it's given. You find people by meeting up somewhere or by word of mouth, as it's always been. If someone tries to take your attention for the first time, you must be able to first review who they are and what you share before allowing them to. In essence, a dynamic whitelist, natural to manage, and which aligns with how people work. And you should be able to dose how often you receive new posts in your timeline and notifications too.

You can opt out and return to full feed anarchy, but it's not for the faint of heart. Here we're not changing the whole architecture (besides implementing capabilities perhaps), just the defaults and UX.

Maybe a way to filter out what you want to see at a given moment would be neat too, but I don't know what could be actually enforceable per content, as CWs, (hash)tags and word filtering have clearly failed so far. It's also worth considering if we should pay so much attention to boosting and follow stats.

SOCIAL SOLUTION: we must create communities bottom-top, by focusing on individuals and not on what they side with. Seeing those we see on fedi as *people*, just like we would when we meet someone face to face. Upholding that we want to be nice to each other and we shouldn't have red lines other than basic respect and care. Acknowledging we are all (very) flawed and we want to be nice but have to learn all the time. Being open to criticism, recognizing when we fail and how to make up for it. Accepting that if things don't work out, we move on. Creating communities where everyone likes everyone as they are. This will in turn make feeds focused on shared joy and diversity, instead of perceived needs and enemies. It also makes it easier to tell friends "hey join me in fedi", since they don't have to find out random people and accept a new culture at first hand.

Hopefully, all of this makes it easier to stop worries and toxicity, and reverts incentives in favor of sharing and caring. In particular, I hope ideological silos lose strength as people have to face more those they would reject for their ethnicity, ideology, etc., and that's it's worth more enjoying things together.

LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon Wow that’s a lot to unpack. Let’s see…

it’s a few large instances that everyone flocks to with many tiny instances dangling from threads.

According to my observations, there are about 271,964 users on the top 3 largest instances. All the other instances add up to 271,437 users. That’s not counting users I can’t discover, of course. About 2.5% of the network are on the 4,374 instances with less than 20 users.

payment is taken care of from those who have disposable income and run by those who have been able to burrow their way into the tech world,

There are two barriers to entry here that need to be solved IMO. The first, worst, is ISP NAT firewalls, which when “accidentally” made sadistically restrictive can bring any ability of you to serve data directly to its knees. The second is SSL certificate authorities and DNS root servers. The Fediverse needs to stop relying on SSL and DNS, which is easy to do in theory, just people have been told it’s unsafe or not human friendly. That’s the easy part. Hard part is we’ve got to organize somehow to hold giant ISPs accountable for secretly crippling their customers.

With no NAT, you don’t have to be a network penetration tester just to run a goddamn server at home, and with no SSL or DNS, you don’t need any more disposable income than the electricity cost, which can be minimal with a low end server. Obviously you need enough disposable income to afford an ISP in the first place, though it’d be neat if we could add LAN discovery to Fediverse servers, so they could operate over adhoc mesh networks.

“defending why you didn’t defederate $BadInstance”

I still say it’s pretty obvious you’re slipping into comical moustache twiddling evil, when you start telling people, “You have to cast out those who you like, if we don’t think they have good behavior, or else you’re next.”

  • Vanilla Mastodon - girly screams
  • Glitch-Soc Mastodon - saw-wave distorted girly screams
  • Pleroma - manly screams
  • Misskey - anime screams
  • insert small fediverse server project here - I swear my solid C core permissive OAuth hating Fediverse server will be working any day now give or take a year!

And why can’t you set image descriptions on the default frontend?

Only because you’re not using my hacked version of Brutaldon that I haven’t shared with anyone because I suck, which has an easily accessible field to set the image description . See?

This is a second twitter - not better than the original, but different.

We need sophisticated tag searches so we can all find stuff that we want to talk about. We need to be able to narrow their scope down to our friends, so we can talk about things with them. We need (7 years later) and finally, a pony.

Perhaps I should follow the examples of some friends I have and just stick to the close friends I have with no social media accounts beyond

Cliquishness is the destroyer of worlds. You have to stick your neck out somewhat. There’s so much suffering that we can end with just a little effort, that closing that door forever seems like the death knell of society to me.

just something wrong about how the fediverse was built

Yes, it was built to support OAuth, instead of demanding that our clients use f-ing public key authentication.

the fediverse is not the beacon of hope many hoped it to be, myself included.

Not yet! But we’re here, and we’re communicating, so let’s use the fediverse to make things better!

re: LONG rant about the fediverse 

@chirrveon If you can consider steam a social network. I have 2 social network profiles one private one public. I never post my face on my public profile and am very careful for it to not be tied back to my irl identity, that's the problem with social media. Back when I was a kid putting in your personal info on the internet was always a bad idea, here's hoping something like hubzilla with multiple profiles becomes a thing.
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