Woozle Hypertwin
 Durham, NC,  
Image/photo
Fig. 1: screenshot showing a user on shitposter.club (a GNU Social instance) claiming that they are anti-Nazi (much as the instance's banner claims it is a "safe space"), both of which seem very unlikely to me given that they don't even have a Code of Conduct in evidence and the prior administration of TootCat blocked them

[ reposted from G+, with minor adaptations ]

I didn't have permission to comment on the original post, but was able to re-share it. Since G+ will be going away at some point, though, I'm making a practice of fully re-posting anything significant that I post there. So...

Brief re-intro: Hi! I'm Woozle, and I run TootCat (a Mastodon instance with 1300+ users[1]) and HubCat (a Hubzilla instance with 5 users[2]).

I always think it's really funny when I'm active in a community that is pronounced "dead" or "a ghost town". This happened multiple times with both G+ and Mastodon. It's finally soon to become a reality with G+, but Mastodon membership has only been increasing as people grow disgusted with centralized for-profit social networks (mainly Twitter and Facebook).

To confirm what @Dr. Edward Morbius  said -- instance-blocking is indeed a feature, and a very necessary one; some instances are seemingly created largely as a haven for abusive ideologies like Nazism and capitalism (often under the fallacious banner of "free speech"[3]), and they are a reliable source of disinformation and abuse, so we block them when we can identify them[4].

The other blocking features he cites are also correct, as are all the other details he has observed, to the best of my knowledge.

Despite this, +Uche Eke's observation about the apparent inadequacy of moderation features is also correct. While moderation is orders of magnitude better than on the for-profit networks, where all they really care about is quantity, it has been clear to me from the time I joined in May 2017 that more was needed.

(I have detailed ideas on that front; have hobby-horse, will ramble.)

Footnotes
  • ...and growing; it was under 1000 when I took over the joint in January.First list element
  • ...but I only started it up two days ago
  • see "free speech trolling"
  • our current domain-block list is here

Woozle Hypertwin
 Durham, NC,  last edited: Thu, 30 Aug 2018 09:11:02 -0400  
This comes from Wil Wheaton, who recently set up an account on Mastodon and ended up being forced off after only a few days.

There may be good reasons for disliking him -- but there was no process by which to sort out truth from myth, and my impression of him (from things he has written elsewhere long prior to this) is that he was a good fit for our community there.

(For those new to Hubzilla: please note that there is more under the preview image below; click the "expand" link to see it.)

The world is a terrible place right now, and that’s largely because it is what we make it.

Image/photo

As most of you know, I deactivated my Twitter account earlier this month. It had been a long time coming, for a whole host of reasons, but Twitter’s decision to be the only social network tha…

(via this toot, where there is a lot of debate that is kind of a microcosm of the larger shitstorm)

For what it's worth, I don't blame people on Mastodon so much as I blame the lack of structure, lack of good systemic design for containing shitstorms.

Maybe WW is actually a bad actor and I'm just not recognizing it. I'd rather be able to learn the truth than cling to my illusions. But Mastodon doesn't provide the kind of structure necessary to have that kind of debate.

Really, though, I can't think of any social network that does. Some are better than others. Mastodon is not one of the better ones, though it's slightly better than Twitter. Mastodon was mainly a friendly place in the early days because it was small and mainly attractive to disempowered people, whose majority presence created an atmosphere in which meanness and cruelty were handled quickly and appropriately.

The fact that Mastodon was small and unimportant is key to understanding what happened here.

As I've pointed out elsewhere (and thanks to the good Doctor Morbius for excerpting that), when a venue becomes influential, influencers will abuse it, at the cost of compassion and friendliness.

Mastodon was already starting to become more toxic (as numerous friends I made there can testify) before WW showed up. It had gone from a population in the hundred-thousands to something in the millions, and the strains were showing.

Throwing a public figure like Wil Wheaton into the mix is like tossing meat onto a compost pile. It doesn't matter whether it's filet mignon or cheap cat food; it's going to attract creatures you don't want in your yard -- and from here, the toxic behavior I saw came mainly from people opposed to the positive messages that WW has been promoting. (This is probably what happened on to him on Twitter as well.)

In other words: it wasn't because WW is himself malevolent, nor was it because his fans are toxic; it's because he's a powerful person spreading messages that malicious people don't like. They needed to eliminate him as an influence.

There needs to be some way of keeping them out.

Since toxic people were already showing up for the fun, the answer cannot be "don't allow famous people on Mastodon" (much less "Wil Wheaton is the problem"); we need some way to contain toxic behavior.

I have designs for a set of systems to do exactly that. I'll try to post more about this soon, because we're really going to need this for the 2020 elections, and there's a lot of work to be done. (I was hoping to have at least a demonstration system for the 2016 elections... and before...)

Woozle Hypertwin
 Durham, NC,  last edited: Sun, 25 Jun 2017 13:41:44 -0400  
I need to start making a list of all the musicians on Mastodon who post their work online. Here's what I have so far:
Cross-posted here; maybe people will toss me some more links.
Any moosicians in Hubzilla fedspace? (Is anyone even reading this?)

Woozle Hypertwin
 Durham, NC,  
== 1998 ==

Me: Hey everybody, we need to start using the world wide web to interact and organize!

World: <crickets>

== 2005 ==

World: WTF, George W. Bush got re-elected. <discovers blogging>

== ~2007 ==

Your Relatives and Classmates: Ohai, Facebook is cool.

== 2011 ==

Me: Wow, Google+ has potential but it needs a lot of work and Google needs to listen more to its users.

Google+ users: Yep. Some of us are leaving.

Google management: <insert propaganda here>

Google+ users: ...and now more of us are leaving.

Me: Hey everybody, we need to be exploring federated social media! Diaspora, Friendica?

World: <mostly crickets>

== 2017 ==

World: Hey, we need to be exploring federated social media because online harassment Nazis and general idiocy! How about Mastodon?

Me: Cool! But let's also keep looking for (or building) federated full-featured social networks, too, because Mastodon is more like Twitter than FB/G+ and we still need places like that.

World: <shrug>

Me: Oh hey, here's this Hubzilla thing that looks like it's tolerably usable and replicates a lot of the functionality of G+/FB, and I don't mean just the posting streams. It's got all kinds of stuff.

World: <crickets>

Tune in next week for another exciting episode...

(I hope this doesn't come across as bitter or anything; it's just how this process has felt.)