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    I cannot stand every little thing about this article until it gets to its last few paragraphs around advice for making the Fediverse better, which is actually pretty good.

    The rest equates to “The Fediverse is dead because humans suck.”

    Well no kidding. EVERYTHING involving humans sucks because we have the potential to be terrible, and beautiful, and awesome, and we’re likely to display any or all of those faces at any moment in time.

    With all respect to the author, I don’t even think THEY believe their clickbait byline given the heart and feeling that came off the advice at the end in waves.

    I know attracting eyeballs is hard, but I for one would love to kill the use of “dead” in article titles, uh, DEAD :)

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      I’ve personally seen more people talking about the Fediverse in the last five months than the previous five years. Makes this ring a little hollow.

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        For sure it’s seen explosive growth. That’s just a fact.

        It’s why I find the use of “dead” in articles like this so objectionable.

        If you Google “Java dead” you’ll get scores of articles while millions and millions (not exaggerating) lines of it are squirming around enterprise projects and at least hundreds of thousands of LOC are still being written in it every single day.

        To me, using “dead” in your article title says “I have a strong feeling but I have no actual evidence with which to make my point so I’ll just drop this hot take here and run away” :)

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      I really dislike the content of this article. It must be incredibly hard for mastodon’s creator to have to deal with such a toxic community of people that claim to be non-toxic. Being an open source maintainer implies making choices, and driving the project forward. I really hate the part where they talk about how much money he managed to make out of Mastodon. The software is a great success, it’s open source and decentralized, just be happy about it goddammit!

      I’m glad I closed my Mastodon instance. Anyway, it was quickly put on a banlist and ignored by many instances because I did not want to enforce strong moderation (outside of illegal things of course).

      Too bad I can’t downvote.

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        The title is extremely misleading, so you need to read the whole article to get to the point.

        tldr: The author thinks the term “fediverse” is already too full of baggage (in the wider world) to accurately convey the shape of the actual network we inhabit. They’d like us to socialize our existing norms more broadly, and maybe give up on describing it as a cohesive network, choosing to describe our communities instead.

        All good ideas, totally ruined by the title, which will ensure it’s not widely read by the people they’re trying to reach.

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          The more I read articles like this, the more I miss USENET [1]. You had groups that span wide (like comp.ai) to the very narrow (alt.wesly.crusher.die.die.die). It was federated. There were multiple interfaces for reading it. And most importantly, I don’t recall a single interface not supporting “kill files”. Don’t like seeing someone’s posts? Kill file. Don’t like a particular thread in a group? Kill file. Once in a kill file, you’d never see those posts again. And you weren’t censoring anyone else, just yourself. The only control a site that runs USENET has is what groups it accepts. Everything else was left to the user (and their software) to control what they read.

          I think that’s what the fediverse is missing. Individual kill files. Don’t leave it to the moderators entirely. Maybe they exist? I don’t know, but from what I’m reading, it doesn’t sound like it, and most people expect the operators of such sites to do the censoring of their preferences.

          [1] I know it’s still around. I still read it. But it’s not like it used to be.

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            The sort of person who would write this article about the Fediverse would have had basically the same complaints about USENET, if they had been around to have used it.

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              Interesting! I actually think that USENET managed to avoid a lot of the pitfalls that 21st century federated social media has run into, partly because running a USENET mirror had a much higher barrier of entry than running a single-user or small-community ActivityPub server, especially with something like GoToSocial. That, coupled with the relative dearth of Internet users of any kind, meant that USENET was mostly made up of big institutions of various kinds, at least after the earliest days, that had a real incentive to work out issues. I won’t say it wasn’t full of weird bigotry, but I mean, it was the early Internet, that’s no surprise to anyone. I’ve actually joked in the past that the social climate of many federated social spaces would be improved by the rn “are you sure you want to send” message.

              I think we have a lot to learn from USENET.

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                Did it have a higher barrier? I never had any real difficulty finding UUCP peers, even just for personal use. I dunno, maybe more an artifact of just fewer people caring.

                That said, I think I mostly agree that the ease and proliferation of people trying to both host and federate their own communities is both part of the problem, but also interesting and exciting.

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                  I’d love to hear more about your experiences running a mirror! Do you have a blog post or anything about it?

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                    What I did was far from a full blown mirror – more just I got frustrated when I couldn’t get stuff I wanted on my small town dialup ISP’s very limited feed, so emailed around some admins and basically just said “Hey I’m a student and want access to x.y.z. I have a unix workstation at home and know how to config uucp. Could I get access through you?”

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              I think that’s what the fediverse is missing. Individual kill files. Don’t leave it to the moderators entirely.

              Pretty much all implementations let you block individual posters, whole domains, or keywords. They’re weaker than strn’s or Gnus’s scorefiles, but about as strong as killfiles in a more basic newsreader. The real problem is that there is no culture of being expected to maintain your killfiles, except for small things where people recognize that they’re quirky or idiosyncratic. In general, people would rather that their administrator take care of it, and, preferably, that the administrator of the originating server take care of it. In some cases, a failure on either of these parts is considered grounds for at least a call-out, and often inter-instance drama.

              Overall, it mostly kind of works out — the Nazis get defederated from by everyone, and the most insufferable radlibs tend to self-defederate from everyone except themselves. But it would honestly work better if everyone had better tools for killfiling and more of a culture of actually using them.

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                I (hi, author here) actually 100% agree with this. There are currently a few features that stand in for kill files, notably muting (which is similar, but less powerful) and blocking (which extends to making other users unable to interact with your content), but they’re very user- and server-centric. (An early draft of this post actually enumerated some of these user-centric controls, but I think it’s slightly off-topic.) Being able to kill posts and threads at a user level would be a real boon.

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                  Any reason we (people who bloop computers) can’t or shouldn’t make Usenet a thing again? Presumably a modern server would need some ability to spot binary encoding to prevent people sharing files.

                  There are two iOS clients right now.

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                    https://www.eternal-september.org/ is a free server (registration required). It works well.

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                      It’s there waiting. Most text groups do not accept binary articles and have max article size caps.

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                    What is up with the constant attacks and basically a character assassination that is happening around Eugen Rochko. How is that acceptable?

                    Why does it need to be mentioned in a very negative way that mastodon.social is financially stable so that they can pay themselves a salary and pay for staff and hosting cost?

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                      All the software out there that wasn’t Mastodon was either alpha quality or developed by the worst guy you know.

                      I’m sure the developer(s) and maintener(s) of PeerTube will appreciate.

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                        This is actually a super fair point, thanks for mentioning it. I haven’t used PeerTube in a while, but it’s pretty good. I’ll amend that line.

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                        Let’s rewind to 2017. I grew up at the tail end of the Jabber era; my happiest memories of computer-aided socialization involve being signed in to Facebook, Google, and two other XMPP providers from one piece of software at the same time, while chatting about Supernatural.

                        So true! I remember installing Pidgin on any computer I could. I’d talk to friends on AIM, Google Talk, and Facebook Messenger at once. It was simple and fast. It even had a good plug-in ecosystem. I recall one that enabled “psychic mode”, which opened a chat window as soon as the person on the other end started typing. I’d send a message quicker than them and freak them out. Now my social life is on a bunch of apps that don’t talk to each other. It certainly isn’t in their interest to.

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                          You know you’re in for a ride when someone starts out with “I miss the culture of Tumblr…” o_O

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                            The culture of tumblr is doing just fine. It’s the one social network I use.

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                              I never had good experiences. I will admit I mostly saw it through a kinda narrow lens of a particular community… so maybe that wasn’t representative, but it didn’t make me want to engage.

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                              The actual quote:

                              I hated Twitter, missed the culture of content warnings and near-normalization of transness and queer culture I’d experienced on Tumblr (snip)

                              Haha we sure can expect some kookie nonsense when someone… liked feeling safe-ish being trans and/or queer in public online.

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                              The vast majority of this article is a left-progressive political rant about seeing content the author finds heretical to her own ideological views on a platform/protocol designed to facilitate federated social media. I think it’s good if left-progressives like the author can utilize widely-used free software programs and protocols to set up their own closed social media communities with their own internal moderation rules, on exactly the same terms as any other group of people with any ideological stance; and otherwise I’m pretty unsympathetic to her complaints about other people being able to say things that she doesn’t like.

                              I actually like the term “Social Archipelago” (the same conceptual metaphor used in this classic Scott Alexander essay). A Fediverse server is inherently the locus of a content moderation regime, because of the way the ActivityPub protocol works, and it would be hard to design a federated social media protocol where this wasn’t the case. This makes each server its own community, and the links between different servers/communities inherently weak and prone to severing, even if they exist. The preferences of the server operator wrt content moderation inherently apply to every user of that server, and there’s no way for an individual user too escape a server whose moderation policy they no longer agree with, without giving up their network identity and finding a new server.

                              Ultimately I agree with the author that “easy to use, resiliant, secure peer to peer social media” is the future we should be aiming for (Urbit or something like it would be a good contender if it didn’t currently still fail the easy-to-use requirement). This implies that something like the ActivityPub ecosystem isn’t a long-term solution for decentralized social media, except in the case where every individual runs their own server as a matter of course and the entire system is based around that assumption.

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                                I’m pretty unsympathetic to her complaints about other people being able to say things that she doesn’t like.

                                I’m not going to argue with you (edit: further, I mean), but I do urge you to re-read the post keeping in mind that I did not actually say that nobody should be able to say things I don’t like; instead, I made clear that my vantage point in the Archipelago is one from which I cannot see people saying certain things, because I don’t want to talk to them in that venue. The post could have been written in its entirety (perhaps less the shoutout to Marcia) from the viewpoint of a Gab user, though I’m sure they’d have different unflattering things to say about Gargron and would replace the section on right-wing extremists with a section on crazy Communists with furry avatars.

                                I won’t pretend to be neutral, but I don’t think I said that the extremists I don’t like shouldn’t be able to use ActivityPub or even any particular implementation.

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                                I’m disappointed, Tindall misses the point: the community is bad, the developers are bad, Gagron is bad, etc, etc. The “fediverse” word itslef is bad, the “ideoform” - jesus christ - is bad. So let’s kill it and replace it with the same thing but under a different name.

                                I wish that instead of venting all of these frustrations into articles pontificating on the badness of things, she would focus on how to make it good, or better. Form those communities, or archipelagos, or write the software that can support them, or contribute to the software that already tries that.

                                Mastodon is not the best that the fediverse - yes, I’m still going to use the term - has to offer. I am building better things, so please, put up or shut up.

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                                  It’s something I think about a lot, and the last ~700 words of the article are dedicated to it. We don’t have to agree about terminology or whether the idea of a unified Fediverse is a good one in order to move forward together - I’d love to hear more about littr, or other projects you’re working on!

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                                    Currently the world of ActivityPub services has indeed an over representation of white male developers. However I am pretty sure that is not their fault. It’s up to everyone else to build the services which serve their communities better than something they could develop.

                                    Your article hints at it, but I feel like it needs pointing out more explicitly. What the fediverse is missing at the moment is the people to build these alternative communities. You mentioned Hachyderm and Merveilles.town, and how Nova and DivineLu built those places. That’s what we need more, and maybe be less vocal against the dudes that made it possible by writing some software in their spare time.

                                    Regarding my own efforts, perhaps they could serve these communities, but I doubt that yet another discussion platform similar to reddit would be the means through which to do that. Even if its statements of intent are matching some of your article’s themes. My opinion is that the generic ActivityPub server, FedBOX, has a better versatility and developers could just build clients on top of that using the same precepts. But that requires ActivityPub clients for it that need to be built and it’s not up to me to create them.

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                                      Currently the world of ActivityPub services has indeed an over representation of white male developers.

                                      I’m actually not sure it does! The reporting sure does, though. I’d venture that most people who know anything about Mastodon probably do know of Gargon (as well they should), but probably do not know about Claire, ykzts, Akihiko Odaki, or other major contributors, not to mention the many and diverse (in location, language, race, gender, and class) contributors who no longer work on the project, like Maloki or some of the folks I linked in the post. Mastodon is an incredibly diverse project, and that’s not even mentioning the several widely-used forks like Glitch and Hometown.

                                      Aside from that, though, I 100% agree with you. More communities run by cool, committed people with support from their communities (co-ops ftw!) are the way forward.

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                                        I was thinking of the whole ecosystem of ActivityPub development, not just Mastodon. :P

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                                  It doesn’t matter that you can’t see them, as a Mastodon user you are sharing a social media platform with them.

                                  That’s like saying that because you use email, and pedophiles use email, you’re sharing a social media platform with them. I feel like there’s a certain age group that grew up with Tumblr and Facebook and Twitter, but not with mailing lists (too young) or Discord (too old) who are tied at least conceptually to the idea that a communications platform is a single flat space where everyone can harass everyone else. That was always a bad idea, and I think it’s great that Fediverse software doesn’t implement it, even if it looks on the surface like it does.