So, I wrote a large-ish blog piece on yesterday:
I think some here might enjoy it.

But this morning I added: “This piece is mostly positive on Mastodon. But in view of this twitter thread from Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, I’m very uneasy about recommending for mainstream use until such point as the community figures out how to prevent this kind of dumb shit.”

The thread:

@timbray Yikes. That Twitter thread is sobering, to say the least. Thanks for calling attention to it.

@timbray Yeah, her thread is why I feel like this will not last. Without good moderation, this platform will suffer and much of the strides we've made in infosec in trying to purge this behavior are going to regress.

Twitter may likely die, but I don't know if there is a good replacement for it yet.

@timbray As popularity raises, it will be increasingly harder to enforce their original culture rules. And being Mastodon an open source project, it's doomed to forks that fit everyone else's needs as unfair as that may be for the original developers.

@rvr @timbray I read somewhere that a lot of 🐘 culture and design decisions were informed by queer and other marginalised groups and that the fight against trolls has a long history here. I'm a bit puzzled why the same systems that were intended to produce a better culture than 🐦 are now supposed to produce a MORE toxic environment. Is centralised content monitoring by a company really the only hope for queer/black/trans/etc people on social media?

@timbray I read the thread as well, and perhaps the biggest indictment of how negative an experience she had on Mastodon is that she felt more comfortable posting the criticism *on Twitter* than she did on Mastodon itself.

@timbray Is there a concept approving new Mastodon servers before allowing them to "go live"? I don't know what to say in response to CPW's complaints about mansplaining and white-splaining (is that a word?), but the idea where "Nazis" can just create new Mastodon instances to harass from, how could that be prevented?

@bgeerdes @timbray There is no central authority that can "approve" servers. Although Mastodon gGmbH operates and has control of which servers are allowed to show up there, and requires servers listed there to abide by the Mastodon Server Covenant.

@timbray Interesting thread. There is a "chain block" feature request on Masto's github, with discussion. Also interesting.

@tarheel @timbray yeah doesn’t seem like a terminal issue so much as an area that needs to evolve. Here it’s easier to imagine some kind of herd immune system idea developing

@timbray nice piece you've written there and the thread is certainly more than a little sobering.

it really seems like we should be rolling our sleeves up to come up with better tools at large here. have we been punting this to corporations too long?

Comment permissions are a solved problem in the fediverse. Sadly not yet for the most well-known fediverse implementation.

@timbray As an aside, here's an interesting relation of Mastodon social history (with a zest of cultural friction) about 2017 events... written by @mattskala

@timbray Thanks for writing this up, it sums up my own thoughts very well. I'm particularly interested in the potential for new and innovative business models within the fediverse. It's impossible to make everyone happy all the time, but it's certainly possible to create a respectful, kind, and scalable social network while creating jobs and being a good corporate citizen.

@timbray Rather than aiming for arbitrary federation of instances, perhaps there should be a standard code of conduct (CoC), like we have in OSS, which a subset of the fediverse agrees to abide by. is a start. Then instances could choose to block all instances which do not abide by the standard CoC. There would need to be some software support for this of course...

@timbray Probably the end result is a bunch of invite-only servers that federate between themselves. And a bunch of disconnected fediverses (islands) in the overall multi-fediverse. These disconnected (via formal federation) fediverses will still be loosely connected by people using multiple user accounts to be present in the conversations happening in "multiple islands". Information and ideas can still flow without formal federation.

@timbray Either that, or we end up in the same situation with a single big centralized and moderated server.

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