This wired article ( ) 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


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 @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 I'd argue that you're both right -- user/admin controls are critical, but it's the culture of using them that makes this a relatively safe(r) (and frequently, far more interesting) space to be in.

Part of that is
"Masto culture", but like any culture, it can migrate, transform, etc. mimetically. Both/and, more or less.

In contrast: implementing features top-down, that only change when there's the social media equivalent of a work stoppage threat, or acting on that threat

@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 and charge celebs for accounts.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Infosec Exchange

A Mastodon instance for info/cyber security-minded people.