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This wired article ( wired.com/story/join-mastodon- ) about Mastodon is mostly good. It covers the basic features and talks about a shift from Twitter to Mastodon.

It confuses one key issue though, and that’s the “culture” of Mastodon.

What we’re seeing now across the Fediverse are the first adopters. The fringe. The queer. The hackers. The staunch individualists. The communal care takers.

As Mastodon becomes more mainstream, the “culture” will shift.

If you’re here for the culture, be wary... 1/2

Mastodon at it’s heart is a software application wrapped around a federated protocol.

Anyone can use it. Spin up an instance by thenselves or join one they like. It can federate with any other software application using ActivityPub. It is decentralized. HIGHLY resistant to censorship.

And this last part is key.

This platform is IDEAL to users that espouse unpopular viewpoints: fascism, hate, calls for violence, illegal content, etc. 2?/2...

While the culture is of first adopters and is open and affirming right now. Nazi’s and Fascists and $BAD_ACTOR’s will move in once they realize they can’t be censored or kicked off their own instance.

Those who left twitter because Jack didn’t ban folks there are going to be sorely disappointed when they realize that (while folks can be banned from one instance) they can’t be banned from their own instance. 3/2

So why should you stay in Mastodon and the greater Fediverse?

User Control.

*You* control your feed.

Not some Corporation. Not a Computer Algorithm.

You.

So set up who you follow. You’ll see their toots and their boosts in chronological order and nothing else.

Ban/Mute folks and instances you dont want to see. Participate in your instance/community. Let the rest of the Fediverse and Internet be. And exist. End/2

@tinker Is there any benefit to besides following an instance vs signing up for an account on different instances?

@tinker …but their entire instance can be muted or blocked. Exiled.

@kiplet - Yes! And federated with other like minded instances! All running on Mastodon or similar software (eg Pleroma) and using ActivityPub.

So *your* Mastodon community might mute or block their Mastodon community, but they’re still in the Fediverse.

Which is fine.

@tinker I like it. They're free to make their own sub-Confederacy of Gab, and we can mostly not ever be troubled by them.

@kiplet @tinker ...at least as long as non-communicating confederations accept their respective existence.
We didn't have any dedicated attack on any of the instances yet, as far as I know? But that is something that's going to come.
Never mind the special kind of people who have fun invading communities and destroying them. Online gaming is full of those.

Also, as people start to make money as instance admins, there will be turf wars (see conflicts between Minecraft services, not long ago).

@galaxis @kiplet @tinker
@rick_777 I'm worried about the possibility that one day, some trolls would write a DoS script to send trolling messages to their victims, which abuses the protocol to make it appears originated from thousands of instances. Or simpler, just launch a flooding attack.

To what extent the current implementations are able to withstand such attacks? If not, perhaps we should do something early on.

@kiplet
@tinker They will have a hard time getting non-Gab-ers on their Gab instance. On traditional social networks there is little incentive to block them since they usually post controversial stuff, which brings clicks, so ad money. It took A LOT to get Alex Jones banned. AJ will have a hard time getting non-nazis on the nazi part of the fediverse.

@tinker
There is no technical possibility for tolerance through /globalised/ intolerance of intolerance. All culture here is localized. Watching to see if that really sinks in with folks...

@feonixrift @tinker Deeply disagree. There is no realistic possibility for tolerance if we tolerate intolerance.

@whvholst @feonixrift - Reread what Kim said. She said there is no *technical* mechanism to build “tolerance through /globalised/ [technical mechanisms of] intolerance of intolerance.”

Which there isn’t.

Instead, as you said, we have to make decisions, voice opinions, & act, if we are to build tolerance as a culture.

Our point is that Mastodon the software application is not culture. Rather, the communities/ instances, and groups within the Fediverse are culture.

@tinker @feonixrift Oh, apologies. Tolerance is a social problem and therefore cannot be fixed technically anyway. We probably agree.

@tinker

I don't think I completely agree on that. I mean yes, it's harder to kill the fediverse, but moderation is kind of a key thing here.

Sure you can spin up your own single-user instance and spout fascist nonsense, but that'll likely get you banned from federating with much of the fediverse.

Also home-timelines can be used as kind of a haven against this.

Of course mainstream assholes will arrive, but over here communities can do more about it.

@phryk - I think we agree.

My point is that *Mastodon* is not a culture. Your instance/community is.

Fascists, etc, will become part of the Fediverse and use Mastodon. Some instances will block them and defederare. Others will follow and federate.

Mastodon, et. al., is great NOT because of a lack of bad actors, but because of granular user and instance control.

@tinker Well, yes and no – I think there is a larger mastodon culture as consequence of instance interactions.

That global culture will change as new and different people and cultures arrive (as it has before), but it'll still be there and I think it's one of the things making the fediverse a special place.

Maybe that culture won't be as rosy as now, but I'm pretty sure it'll be better than on predatory social media.

@phryk - I agree with you.

The different cultures will grow and mingle or separate. The Fediverse is built to allow this to happen. And, it’s wonderful!

Folks thinking that opposing cultures won’t take residence in the Fediverse misunderstand the unintended consequences of censorship resistance. But! Because of user/admin controls, that can be handled.

@tinker @phryk

> misunderstand the unintended consequences

I don't think the consequences are as unintended—or as temporary—as you do. Sure, the culture != the technology, but the technology *shapes* the culture.

Boosts vs. quote-tweets, local instances, empowering admins, etc. all help the culture, even if they don't guarantee anything. Plus, the lack of ads removes an incentive to manufacture a toxic culture for "engagement". (I wrote about this at codesections.com/blog/mastodon)

@codesections @phryk - I agree with you. And within the software environment of Twitter, with all of those culture defining technological mechanisms, having Jack ban people is one mitigating mechanism.

Here though, we lack both the ability to ban folks from the entire Fediverse AND the algorithmic feeds, et al.

Which I prefer.

@tinker @phryk That is exactly why we urgently need to think about a federated way of sharing technical details about spam, scam, disrespect and other forms of abuse.

I was thinking about a very simple AP flavor where objects can point to identifiers (users, instances), maybe more complex criteria like tags, regex etc. and provide a very basic evaluation of the type of abuse.

Users, or instances, could subscribe to publishers and apply granular control on top.

@tinker @phryk I did ping @matthew and @Chocobozzz on the matter but I don't think there's been a proper public discussion about this yet. I unfortunately am not technical enough to lead.

Matrix's response is to build a proper reputation system which sounds amazing, but also like a cathedral. I believe we need something simple pretty fast, and AP sounds like the right platform to build it.

@tinker @phryk Also, evaluation of the type of abuse could be a set of free tags (extremism, violence, pornography), some more elaborate tags like illegal in which countries.

Also, users or instance admins subscribing to a feed could apply a filter on these tags, like : "automatically mute any user that was marked in a subscribed abuse feed as posting illegal content in the country the instance is hosted in".

@tinker I do see a problem with "stolen" nicks. There is no centralized account-registry to prevent someone to impersonate someone else.

@tinker @DerBruesseler Yar, it’s like that for every new social service really. I’m gonna wait for Kanye to start famous.social and charge celebs for accounts.

@tinker that’s true, but we have had discussions about that eventuality. Basically, the only recourse will be instances blocking other instances that exhibit bad behavior. I am not sure what we’ll see first: Nazi-haven instances or spammer-haven instances. Both will have to be addressed the same way. Ultimately, the fediverse is going to have to (like it or not) develop a reputation system for instances (which are optional to use) to make moderation tolerable.

@jerry - Agreed. The ease and ability to spin up a Pleroma instance, populate it with bots, seed a couple follow bots on thousands of established ActivityPub instances, and flood the Federated timeline with shit is astounding. Surprised we haven’t seen it at scale yet.

So giving more and granular control mechanisms to users and admins is key.

@jerry @tinker

In terms of condoning, enabling, and promoting alleged human trafficking, slavery, rape, misogyny, and sexual abuse, not to mention unethical activities of other kinds, mastodon.social has already faced this issue of a rogue instance, switter dot at.

The admins have utterly failed in their responsibilities in this regard, & even to acknowledge that there is a problem in federating with switter.

@Gargron @CM_chrismartin @CM_noelle @Yukari @vaporbobble @CM_jusdepatate @cm_kropot

@hhardy01 -

And see, I don’t see switter as a rogue instance. I see it as a place sex workers can congregate. Sell their services to consenting adults. And (more importantly) put out warnings & bulletins on bad actors so they can protect themselves.

Cool thing though. *YOU* can block that entire instance. Why haven’t you?

@jerry @Gargron @CM_chrismartin @CM_noelle @Yukari @vaporbobble@mastodon.social @CM_jusdepatate

@tinker @jerry @Gargron @CM_chrismartin @CM_noelle @Yukari @vaporbobble @CM_jusdepatate

Is your idea of prostitution that it is all independent entrepreneurs happily and safely engaging in legitimate business?

What have you got to say about organized crime, human trafficking, rape, child abuse, opiate abuse and misogyny which allegedly often accompany prostitution even where it is fully legal and regulated? I can't say for sure that this is the case on switter, wouldn't be surprised.

@tinker @jerry @Gargron @CM_chrismartin @CM_noelle @Yukari @vaporbobble @CM_jusdepatate

You asked, "Cool thing though. *YOU* can block that entire instance. Why haven’t you?"

Closing your eyes doesn't make bad things go away, nor does it free you from moral responsibility to speak up about them. You know that, right?

@tinker @jerry @Gargron @CM_chrismartin @CM_noelle @Yukari @vaporbobble @CM_jusdepatate

Just to be very clear, I'm not advocating that sex work should be illegal. My position is protecting safety of workers and others and harm reduction.

@hhardy01 @tinker @Gargron @CM_chrismartin @CM_noelle @Yukari @vaporbobble@mastodon.social @CM_jusdepatate swifter.at is an odd case. I’ve observed many people here rallying around that community after the FOSTA law went into effect and they were kicked off of the mainstream social platforms.

@jerry @tinker @Gargron @CM_chrismartin @CM_noelle @Yukari @vaporbobble @CM_jusdepatate

How does switter vet their accounts and account holders to insure safety and public health?

How does swittter exclude and prevent the site from being used for human trafficking, child rape, forced prostitution and opiate abuse, slavery etc?

If switter does anything to protect the sex workers and exclude people from being marketed there under terms of coercion and abuse please inform me about it.

@hhardy01

As our conversation has diverted from the original topic, I’m removing some of the participants.

These are all great questions. I’d recommend reaching out to the folks at assemblyfour.com/ who maintain switter.

A lot of your questions are answered in their faq. You might also look through their rules and code of conduct: assemblyfour.com/switter/rules

@jerry @Gargron

@tinker @jerry @Gargron

Do you realize you just removed all of the mastodon.social admins from the thread except one? Is that your intent?

@hhardy01 @jerry @Gargron - No, it wasn’t. I kept my own admin here, as well as Gargron. Should probably remove Gargron as well as I’m sure he gets spammed too much! :P

You’re welcome to include anyone back in and point them to my toot.

@tinker @jerry @Gargron

"And this last part is key.

This platform is IDEAL to users that espouse unpopular viewpoints: fascism, hate, calls for violence, illegal content, etc. "

@tinker @jerry @Gargron

The original post in two parts was about how "This platform is IDEAL to users that espouse unpopular viewpoints: fascism, hate, calls for violence, illegal content, etc."

That is the context in which I responded and I added all the mastodon dot social admins because they have legal and moral responsibility for the instance I am on and what instances are federated is their decision and their moral responsibility.

@hhardy01 @jerry @Gargron - Mastodon.social is a huge generalized instance. Legalities are different globally (sex work is legal in Austrailia where switter is hosted) and moralities are all over the place. Good luck trying to get such a large instance to bend to your very specific will.

I can’t speak for your instance or admins.

I can ask you... again... if you don’t want to see switter.at in your feed, why haven’t *YOU* banned their instance?

@tinker @hhardy01 @Gargron I’ve been around for a long time and watched and participated in many, many political, economic, and religious debates. I’ve never once seen two people with fundamentally different views walk away in agreement as a result of such a discussion.

@jerry @tinker @Gargron

I have. Many times. Having opposing views does not preclude reaching agreement on a common course of action. "Politics is the art of compromise."

@jerry @hhardy01 - Agreed. But we can come to a resolution where we understand each others position and agree to disagree.

I think that’s where we’re at with me and HHardy.

Anyhow :)

@tinker @jerry @Gargron

You asked, "I can ask you... again... if you don’t want to see switter.at in your feed, why haven’t *YOU* banned their instance?"

I haven't said I have or have not blocked switter or specific switter posters. You trying to make an invalid form of argument, specifically, namely, "tu quoque."

I answered your question already:

"Closing your eyes doesn't make bad things go away, nor does it free you from moral responsibility to speak up about them. You know that, right?"

@hhardy01 - You did! I missed it, I apologize.

So if I understand you correctly, you’re trying to change “bad things” not by blocking them in your own feed, but by blocking them in your instance’s feed.

Correct?

@hhardy01 - Then I’m lost.

What specifically do you disagree with concerning my original post and what point are you trying to make?

@tinker

I'm agreeing, not disagreeing; and giving an example of what you said about the platform and unpopular viewpoints. Specifically how questionable that can be in practice in the federated model.

Moderation decisions are often problematic. Such as banning 70 year old fascist ideology and support but not Trump and Trumpism, for instance.

That doesn't necessarily mean those decisions are wrong. I'd just like to see some acknowledgement of moral and ethical responsibility for the effects.

@tinker

Self-correction: "banning 70 year old fascist ideology " should read 80 or 90 year old.

@hhardy01 - Shit. We are at the latter end of the 2010’s aren’t we?

@tinker

Yeah... how did that happen?

And why are technologies and social structures for common people essentially stuck in 1950's mode?

America is in reruns.

youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=X

@hhardy01 - Because that was the last time we studied and published overarching tomes of social philosophy. Now everything is blogged (microblogged) and shared to our echo chambers or lost in the greater noise.

@tinker
Yeah, but I've joined an instance that will block said instances

Also pawoo, which is GD giant, but whatever

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