At this point I’m hovering over the delete account button.
FRC could just make a fediverse (i.e. mastodon) instance
find me at @email@example.com
I’m likely going to make a private Mastodon instance for myself. In terms of blocking and moderation, I expect to de-federate with whole other instances at the drop of a hat, and I don’t know how many people are down for that kind of ride.
A bunch of us have made Cohost accounts, but so far everybody seems to just be parking on their names.
i made a co-host account, but got bored pretty immediately.
also have you read their TOS? oof
i don’t know how familiar you are with the space, but a good number of instances use fediblock to distance themselves from other instances who have insufficient moderation. the primary controversy in that space is less about blocking facists & co, and more about making the space welcoming to Black people, because not all racism is overt.
“fediblock” – a collaborative hashtag that is compiled into a list with receipts
“limit” – you only see what you (and your fellow instance) follow on that server;
“suspend” – defederated, can’t interact with or follow server at all)
the instance i’m currently on is super strict, and defederated from at least one primary japanese instance (for good reason) which is why i need two accounts lol.
if you were to host, i’d suggest just mirroring the membership here, since you’ve already done the due diligence of moderating who belongs. it will be a small community, but it won’t be much more than you’re already doing.
for people considering joining, there are scattered guides out there, i’ve found this guide the most useful so far, but there is definitely a learning curve. i think it’s worth it, personally.
for someone looking to start a new instance, here is a blocklist starter kit:
cathode.church (my instance) blocklist
– although it probably mirrors the above, it provides links to rationale for block.
Why is a blocklist necessary? If I were to make my own instance on any federated communications network I would use an allow list. Absolutely every other server would be blocked by default unless I specifically allowed it, and I wouldn’t allow very much at all.
mostly because it was a process that emerged ad hoc, and because the primary developer is a white guy >.> (who has demonstrated a reluctance towards understanding the experience of minoritized people)
there are conversations ongoing about building an allowlist system.
The way I see it, this is how it should work.
Whoever runs this instance governs it, and the accounts on it, however they please.
Any activity within the instance behaves in the manner determined by whatever governance the instance arranges. People who don’t agree with this governance simply don’t make their accounts on this instance.
If individual users who do not run an instance do not agree with the governance, they have four options. Stay and fight to change it. Deal with it. Move to another instance. Run their own instance.
If the instance wants to remain in its own world, they can do that. Just be completely private and members-only. Some may want this.
If someone wants to make private-ish postings that can only be seen by some people, and not others, then that feature can only work with accounts local to the current instance. Private-ish postings can never leave the local instance. http requests to the urls of those postings will be met with 40X unless the person is logged into the instance with an account that has permission to see the post. As soon as a private-ish posting leaves the server to another instance, it is then effectively visible to the world unless the owner of that other instance is incredibly trustworthy or maybe there is some fancy encryption involved. Users of other instances can not follow private postings on other instances unless both instances trust each other so much as to specifically agree to federate those posts. If this option even exists, it should have at least 10 danger warning signs on it.
If the instance allows public postings, which I imagine is what most will want, then any public postings are truly public. They have http(s) addresses. Almost the whole world can see them. There’s no point in trying to hide these posts. If any other instance wants to follow those public postings, they can do so. Blocking them is futile since the information is public. The only reason to block another instance from reading public posts are reasons of technical abuse, like polling the server too often, DOS attack, etc.
Therefore, if anyone on the instance wants to follow the public postings of someone on another instance, they may do so freely. No blocking or allowing necessary. A user has explicitly expressed the desire to follow public posts from another server. Just like following an RSS feed, they may do this without restriction.
Where the allow list comes into play is for replying and DMing.
It’s probably safe for an instance to allow its local users to reply and DM each other freely by default. They’ve all agreed to be there under the same governance structure as like-minded individuals. Of course, the ability to block replies and DMs coming from another member of the same instance is a mandatory feature.
However, for any DM or reply that comes in from another instance, the default is to block absolutely everything. Yeah, they might post that reply to their own instance, but the person they are replying to will never see it. A good example of this is if a celebrity makes a public post on a hot topic. A group of people on a particular instance might have a discussion amongst themselves about the post, but the celebrity will never see this conversation.
This is where the allow list comes into play.
Whoever governs the instance may at their discretion allow replies and DMs from another instance. This would effectively merge the two instances, but the allowing might not be mutual! It might be that one instance is ok receiving replies and dms from the other, but not vice versa. That is a valid configuration. And of course, individual users must be able to choose to block incoming messages and replies from those instances.
Also, even if a server is not on the allow list for the entire instance, an individual user should have the power to explicitly allow incoming replies and messages from a specific user account on a specific instance. This will allow incoming replies and messages that will only ever be seen by the user who has explicitly allowed them, and nobody else on the instance. (Except administrators who can see everything in the whole database).
And that’s the final rub. Building this kind of system with tons of encryption to ensure trust is not very feasible. Everyone has to trust whoever runs their instance with everything, probably even the stuff marked as private. Just like if someone on this forum DMs someone else, I can read that if I really want to. I never have or will, but I really want to make sure everyone is aware of that.
The fact that mastodon does not work even close to the rules I have just described does a lot to explain why I hear of so much drama and bullshit coming from there. As things are now, if I use it, I will use it as syndicate-only. I don’t see myself participating in it when messages can come into my feed from who knows where. If I can someone make or find an instance that operates more closely to the system I have just described, then I may participate.
At least we’re getting front row seats to how dude (presumably) runs all his companies.
You guys SERIOUSLY need to watch the video that Coldguy just posted above.
Seriously. Don’t skip out on it. It’s glorious.
Hank makes an interesting point, that at least for now, Elon doesn’t have to change what is and is not allowed on Twitter for him and his weird fans to be happy, it is enough to simply be the one in charge to let them all claim that speech is now “more free” on Twitter. Whether that remains true or Twitter actually becomes the $8Chan hellscape many understandably fear it will morph into remains to be seen.
There are lots of other issues at play with what has already happened (in only 2 weeks of new ownership!), so this is just addressing the “free speech” and “comedy is legal again” issue.
i mean, some of the stuff you mentioned does exist, or is being discussed, or is incompatible with the way the system works. and whether you choose to join & why isn’t my business. but like… should probably check yourself when this is your mode of commentary there’s something called selection bias.
The fact that mastodon does not work even close to the rules I have just described does a lot to explain why I hear of so much drama and bullshit coming from there.
I guess there is some selection bias, and also confirmation bias. All the stories I’ve heard of Mastodon are on platforms outside of it. The positive stories are probably all on the platform itself.
Really, I’m just very disappointed. I’m such a huge fan of the federated model in principle. I want Mastodon to be good, and wanted to go there for awhile now. It’s just the reality of how it has been configured suggests that, at minimum, creating an instance means signing up for a full time job of fighting spam.
They’re trying to federate like email, open by default, but email is only still viable because behind the scenes there are teams at big tech handling spam blocking and security. Any new platform employing this architecture in 2022 must block all by default.
I don’t always agree with Devin’s projections, but I do think he has good insight from the advertiser/professional influencer side of things on issues like this and appreciated his take.