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.


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...)