Another Black person played Mastodon "instance roulette" and lost.

We need a Mastodon instance Green Book pronto or this ain't gonna work.

This is starting to feel like the WW2 Dunkirk evacuation where the Black and Indian Commonwealth soldiers were abandoned on the beach...


ยท ยท Tusky ยท 104 ยท 555 ยท 609

Shout-out to Colonel John Ashdown, who was a Captain on that day at Dunkirk. He commanded a regiment of Indian soldiers and mules. He was ordered to abandon the Indians and the mules and save himself.

He refused. He abandoned the mules but marched his Indian soldiers to safetyโ™ฅ๏ธ

Of course they tried to court martial him for refusing the order to discard and abandon the soldiers he was responsible for.๐Ÿคก

It's not OK to flee from the Titanic that is Twitter hitting the Musk Iceberg, and not care if the life boats let Black folk on.

Be like John Ashdown.

And before anyone gets mad about him abandoning the mules in the French countryside...

a) Mules are a highly evolved creatures, and as such are recognized as pacifists by choice. They do not acknowledge the borders and armies and petty squabbles of man, and swear allegiance to no flag. Only to oats and hay!

b) Some lucky French farmers came up on some free mules! Score! Give oats and hay!

@mekkaokereke German Army was extremely dependent on horses and mules throughout the war. A good officer would have killed the mules to make them unavailable to the foe.

@mekkaokereke New users are having trouble navigating the signup process as it is. Now they need to worry about which servers have racist moderators. Itโ€™s really terrible.

@richburroughs @mekkaokereke I wonder if some of the more open-minded Mastodon admins out in the #Fediverse can step up and support #POC by elevating POC volunteers into moderator positions or instance moderation "oversight committees" (if something like that exists)?

@richburroughs @mekkaokereke #hachyderm seems like a good candidate... I believe @nova and team have a really forward-thinking, inclusive set of governance in place.

@potto @richburroughs @mekkaokereke @nova We can see that as white dudes (and therefore always safe) on the inside, but how is anyone to know from the outside? The server rules say "No racism", etc, but is that guaranteed unless (or even if) someone who deals with said bullshit vouches for the people on the inside? WE know Nova's awesome, but...

These aren't questions for white folks to answer, but they do need to be answered. All we can do is our best to be, as he said, "like John Ashdown".

@nabrahams @potto @mekkaokereke @nova I think itโ€™s going to be really rough if the folks running those big servers that are very visible in the signup process arenโ€™t doing the work to fix this.

@nabrahams @potto @mekkaokereke @nova Mekka mentioned needing a Green Book and I think itโ€™s a solid analogy. The problem is, what if someone hasnโ€™t heard the Green Book exists? A lot of folks seem to be confused by even having to pick a server, let alone finding one thatโ€™s not racist.

@richburroughs @potto @mekkaokereke @nova We can do the work, but we can't answer the questions. "Some white folks said it was fine" just isn't valid. We don't get to declare whether we ourselves are safe.

@nafnlaus @richburroughs @nabrahams @potto @nova

Speaking of assumptions: I think you might be assuming that racism requires or implies malintent. It doesn't. If a high percentage of Black women that join a server report experiences like this, then the server is racist.

"Institutional racism, also known asย systemic racism, is a form ofย racismย that is embedded in the laws and regulations of a society or an organization"

@nafnlaus a simple way to look at it: imagine you're regularly discriminated.
You wake up and you see that you got banned from an instance.
You feel that very familiar feeling.
You have been unintentionally discriminated.

Or even shorter: inconsidete behaviour towards marginalised people and minorities is a form of discrimination.

Please try to understand.

@nafnlaus @mekkaokereke @richburroughs @nabrahams @potto @nova While I support your original point that we need to acknowledge the efforts being made to rectify errors in moderation, it is nonetheless the case that such a statement can reflect institutional racism if there is no accompanying statement about how they intend to do better and an open acknowledgment that racism--however unconscious--may have been involved and probably was.

@nafnlaus @richburroughs @nabrahams @potto @nova

A rule such as "Don't talk about your racist experiences without a CW or you will be banned!" can be racist.

Or having ineffective moderation policies that don't take into account the fact that Black women are so frequently false reported, so that Black women are much more likely to be caught in false positives, can be racist.

Clutching pearls at the definition is unhelpful.

@mekkaokereke @richburroughs @nabrahams @potto @nova Unhelpful is "calling mastodon server admins racist when they were actually trying to protect a black woman against an impersonator."

@nafnlaus there's a russian imperialist who thinks he's anti-war because he wrote a regex that bans people who discuss war on mastodon.ml (making informing people of the atrocities committed by russian terrorists impossible there).
At the same time he uses slurs to address Ukrainians. The guy and his instance can go fuck themselves as far as I'm concerned.
Same idea here.

@nafnlaus if you don't see it, let me help you out. Add word "by" to the end of your quoted text and complete the sentence. "Trying to protect by...". Not a koan, really.

@nafnlaus @richburroughs @nabrahams @potto @nova

I'm writing these replies for others, not necessarily to convince or persuade you.

In my experience, when lots of Black folk report a bad experience, folks tend to split into two camps.

Helpful: That seems bad. How can we make things better?

Unhelpful: But was it racist tho? I mean was it? It was just a series of coincidences! That happen a lot to you folks! Don't accuse me!

@nafnlaus @richburroughs @nabrahams @potto @nova

I'll let you have the last word in this little exchange, and focus on the people actually making the experience better and making sure this happens less frequently.

Bye! ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿฟ

@nafnlaus @potto @nova @nabrahams @richburroughs @mekkaokereke At this stage in mastodons development I think itโ€™s critically important to look at the values that are being institutionalized within each instance. Admins and moderators have to be transparent in their processes and the results of their efforts. Not just as after-action reports, but as a constant proactive review of policies aimed toward improvement.

Like it or not, mastodon is gaining a reputation for a lack of diversity. Are admins and moderators incorporating those increasingly vocal concerns into policy decisions? Be transparent. Even well intentioned policies can undermine inclusion efforts if thereโ€™s no effort to address legitimate concerns about representation. Is there a โ€˜jury of our peersโ€™ amongst the mods? Be thoughtful of how those perceptions impact the most vulnerable among us.

@mekkaokereke @nabrahams @nova @nafnlaus @potto @richburroughs

TLDR; every server I looked at before joining had policy language that *sounds* inclusive and welcoming. Iโ€™m looking for evidence of efforts that make those guidelines a reality. That requires self reflection, acknowledgment of feedback, and transparency of action.

All of this โ˜๏ธ ๐Ÿ’ฏ - a quality-minded moderation team needs to track their decisions with metrics in order to ensure they are constantly improving and in order to detect any negative trends. A truly transparent moderation team ought to put those metrics out in the open.
@nafnlaus @nova @nabrahams @richburroughs @mekkaokereke

Mastodon in theory is agnostic of diversity. If you mean servers that run #Mastodon, even that is a little difficult to understand if not fraught, as there is a risk of generalisation based on perhaps sampling a limited number of instances. TBC, Mastodon itself is a software that runs on #Fediverse, and uses the #ActivityPub protocol. There are numerous websites on the #Fediverse that do not run on #Masrodon. Do you mean a specific instance?

Besides, in theory, diversity should not be an issue with #Fediverse, as anyone with a basic knowledge of networking and given an access to a server should be able to set up an instance.

Letโ€™s set that aside and focus on the more important point you raised that of values and processes. In the true sense of the term, in a federated setup, these are best left to the individual instance admins. Convening a jury has the risk of driving the network in the direction of an unintended centralised network.

There are already worrisome signs of intolerance and arrogance stands of some server admins and tech bros who are keen to solve what are best addressed by a more holistic approach towards freedom of expression and so-called offensive speech with the weapon of digital cancellation. Technology alone cannot fix these more complex issues of human and societal interactions, but that lesson is already lost to a number of the members of elites.

@mekkaokereke @nafnlaus @richburroughs @nabrahams @potto @nova You left off my favorite accusation these days: "You're being racist by thinking that white people are racist!"

@nabrahams @richburroughs @mekkaokereke @nova I understand your point, but I'll counter with: what if John Ashdown second-guessed the situation and decided not to act, thinking, "Who am I to decide what safety looks like?"

@richburroughs @mekkaokereke I think this is an overreaction. All errors have been rectified and apologized for. They are trying to do better. Yes, there does seem to be some racial bias in moderation, but they really are doing what they can to make the mods aware of this so it doesn't continue to happen.

@mekkaokereke i would love to know what i can do to help, as an Indigenous person, I don't understand 100% of the nuance, but I suspect that the 60-70% I do understand is probably better than the 0% most of the admins here have

@mekkaokereke When I showed up here, one of my first thoughts was "the instances concept seems like the perfect way to make a literal #blacktwitter on mastodon or on any of the other flavors in the fediverse while still being able to interact with the rest of the fediverse"

Of course it wouldn't fix racist users & admins elsewhere, but twitter (and other platforms) are pretty miserable about that as well.

Lo & behold...

@artburn @mekkaokereke Thanks for that one - there's a half-dozen follows for me to add, for starters.

@mekkaokereke @artburn Man it's crazy that we'd revert to a prison yard in the digital world, where races can only feel safe isolated with their own. Sad but potentially accurate state of affairs. ๐Ÿ˜”

@vegangster @mekkaokereke
That's one way to look at it. But with how instances/ActivityPub work, grouping together is rather inherent & necessary.
Essentially, Mastodon's like a city & instances are neighborhoods.
We already did this w/ corners like "BlackTwitter" or "ScreenwritingTwitter".
Here we just do the same & it keeps Mastodon rolling.
z.B., 0sint.social is great for connecting me to others in that "neighborhood", but I can still hang with peeps like you

@mekkaokereke Mine is Yankee blue, baby. Come on down. Exactly why I started this instance. Compulsively Inclusive.

@mekkaokereke Comparing a social media account to life and death warfare really shows that you have never faced an ounce of hardship in your life.
@MiketheLeaf @mekkaokereke was probably adopted and raised by white people straight out of africa

most likely why he can build a sentence

@mekkaokereke This article has more details on Ashdown, as well as framing Dunkirk within a wider discussion of Empireballs, as I like to call it.

@mekkaokereke this sucks.

Do you think maybe we can/should stand up a matching thread for folks willing and able to join moderation teams (either as an active mod or respected advisory if not enough bandwidth to fully mod) to focus on prioritizing inclusion and equity for Black and Indigenous folks, to pre-existing instances with partially complete management/mod teams that have room to grow there and are willing and committed to take this very seriously?

@mekkaokereke All of these stories really show me how lucky I was with my random selection.

@uchennangwe @mekkaokereke I also feel lucky with selection via an invite by a Prof at Concordia.
I just followed you to add music & UK history to my time spent here. And, I followed a person you boosted to add literature & gardening to my feed. I noticed that sheโ€™s on @blacktwitter.io
I see mastodon as islands that we can ferry to & from to connect with each other. Perhaps the banned person can try a different island to dock & launch from & we can all let the bigoted islandโ€™s ports sit empty.

@mekkaokereke Seriously. If they don't have roughly 1 moderator for every 1k persons, they aren't going to be good places for anyone other than straight white men. Why mastodon.social is just gab lite now.

@mekkaokereke feels like a lot of the more popular servers need to pick moderators a lot more carefully than they currently do... maybe even pay to hire moderators with the right life experience.

@skimlines @mekkaokereke
I think that these are the paid moderators, but they've had to hire a bunch of new ones with all the influx of users, and they're making mistakes. I am guessing, but I wonder if someone was offended by her posts and got a bunch of their buddies to report her for something. A post on mastodon.social was mistakenly removed yesterday for antisemitism, because the post mentioned "rich white guys that have power over us." The post has been reinstated and moderator educated.

The big instances can't cope with the moderation. Better to pick a smaller one where you have a better moderator/profile ratio. For selection, look at their blocklist as well as their instance rules, and check out the admin's profile to see their posting style t get a feeling whether it fits.

Sorry I can't be more specific with an instance list.

@thekat03 @skimlines @mekkaokereke

@gunchleoc @skimlines @mekkaokereke

I have had friends suggest this list of small instances as potential options for newcomers to mastodon:

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