The story of Wil Wheaton being pressured off Mastodon (regardless of what you think of him; I don't think he's perfect and that's not the point) shows that there is no platform-wide defense to harassment and online mobs and showcases a way that the instance structure may be even more vulnerable to pressure. This article seems like a good discussion of some of the ways to solve that for admins.

@lj_writes I suspect in future celebrities and high-profile figures will host their own instances, or contribute financially towards those they join, to offset the extra work their presence creates.

I agree with the notion that users need to be educated better about how instances are run, how much they cost and who's moderating them.

@bobstechsite That was something I thought of, too, that theoretically WW could run his own instance. If social media really is to be decentralized that's something people will have to be educated about, the costs--bandwidth, financial, time, effort--of running an instance and how to moderate or share those costs. If power is going to devolve to "the people" then they're going to have to be acquainted with the responsibilities, too.

@lj_writes failing that, shared hosting services like can fill the gap. That worked particularly well with Wordpress

Mastodon didn't have enough moderation tools when that happened. In fact, I'd say the Wil Wheaton incident was exactly what we needed to realize that Mastodon was not ready for the world yet.

Since then, Eugen has been working to revamp the moderation tools, and other fediverse authors like @dansup have been delaying federation on their platforms until they have their own mod tools ready.


Also, thanks for the software suggestions, they're quite interesting and not bad at all.

cc @gargron

@rick_777 @lj_writes @gargron Poor Eugen. This is like entire meeting rooms full of people's jobs just for community management and he's planning these features while being dev too.

@rick_777 @lj_writes @gargron Also this second proposal has no actual recourse for how celebrity works — only for pre-existing celebrities coming to the fediverse. Like, what if someone becomes a celebrity by using the platform? They have to go? If celebrities can't just join any node in the fediverse then the central model doesn't work — it favours centralising for those with any clout, which means followers will go where they go, too.

@rick_777 @lj_writes @gargron No, the solution has to strengthen bulk moderation tools per node in the fediverse.

@rick_777 @lj_writes @dansup That's a really good post, not about that specific incident, but just about moderation in general. Good to know Mastodon has added more tools, although I don't run a public instance so I've never had to do a lot of moderation.This kinda makes me want to never run a public instance either.

I think with Pixelfed, it will be different in the same way Instagram is. It's little text vs pictures; which might lead to slightly easier moderation?

Hi @lj_writes
I'd like to point out a majour flaw in your article.
(I'm an instance admin of a tabletop focused community)

Wilw was kicked out for being a transphobic piece of garbage.
His action harmed real people, people that lost their mean of subsistance because of him.

This network, the fediverse, is welcoming to LGBT+ people, that means safeguarding it from nazi, alt-right, and transphobic trash.

Please stop trying to rewrite history

@host 1) it isn't my article, 2) I specifically said this wasn't about defending Wheaton or indeed about him at all, and 3) as far as I can tell, he was not in fact kicked out for transphobia. This wasn't a case of an admin exercising their judgment of who they want on their instance, which I have 0 problem with. Rather this case shows a group of people can keep *anyone* from joining *any* instance simply by flooding and exhausting the admin. That's the problem I was talking about.


In the shitstorm that is the birdsite, it is hard for anyone to be their best.

When people listen to others, they grow and change.

The environment on Mastodon is so different than the birdsite, I believe it has real potential to change folks for the better. Maybe this is less true when you bring your own followers with you, but the one constant in the world is change.

When we focus on a person's past wrongs, we don't give them the space to become a better person.


I'm not even talking about forgiveness. I'm talking about the space to prove that they have changed. A former bigot is always better than a current bigot. A former TERF is better than a current TERF.

Forgiveness can be on the menu after they've proven that they've changed. If we don't give people the opportunity to witness their change, then we won't see it if/when it does happen.

@yam655 I agree Mastodon has, for me at least, been more conducive to conversation and listening than Twitter. I'm still unsure whether it's due to the userbase being so much smaller or if it's due to design choices working as intended. I am always braced for the other shoe to drop, and the fact that people can strongarm a mod into kicking someone out shows that there may be room for improvement.


I'm glad people are thinking and talking about the matter.

Mastodon is already designed around the idea that not all users will be good actors. We're just finding edge-cases where normally good actors can engage in mob behavior and become bad actors. I'm hopeful that Mastodon can adjust for this sort of thing.

If it can't, it'll be knowledge that future systems can use to become better. I see Usenet as a precursor to social networking, and that couldn't handle bad actors at all.

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Generalistic and moderated instance.