@wilw I’m so sorry. Please find an instance with a better admin. Mastodon is better with you in it.

@fraying @wilw Yes! People have been talking about instances specifically for celebrities and/or brands - maybe that's actually what it takes to make Mastodon work for everybody.

@tsturm @fraying Are celebrities not people too? Are they destined always to be treated differently because of _how others treat them_? That's just wrong, imo. If Mastodon can't work for a person who wants to just be a part of a community, but who happens to be famous, then it doesn't work for anyone.

@suw @fraying I agree, but nothing is ever perfect. Large companies might want to join as a branded accounts - people have already thought loudly about a separate brand instance for these accounts - maybe celebrities from a certain popularity on must be treated like a brand - they have unusual needs for engaging with other users and also blocking/muting/account management.

@tsturm @suw the dude isn’t even that famous. This is a clearcut example of an instance admin who misplaced their spine.

@fraying @tsturm Celebs are the key edge case for social networks that define whether or not the admins have fully thought through their abuse policies: Their asymmetrical networks make them vulnerable to attack, as does their fame. If a network/admins can't deal with that, they have no business running a social network.

@suw Celebrity is SCALE. Wilw's following here is modest, about 4k. On Twitter and FB, celeb accounts have tens to hundreds of millions of followers, even billions. That's mind-warping, literally.

(Three books ever have produced over a billion copies: the Bible, Quran, and Mao''s Little Red Book.)

It's powerful when the information flows /out/. It's /crippling/ when it flows /back/.

And infrastructure & admin also take hits.

They''re human.

But yes, it's different.

@tsturm @fraying

@dredmorbius @tsturm @fraying And if a social network can't cope with that, it won't cope with concerted attacks on minority groups, or propaganda, or any one of a million other things that have made FB and Twitter awful. The world is asymmetrical now, and we don't have the tools that we desperately need to deal with that asymmetry.

@suw @dredmorbius @fraying Federation might help solve some of these problems by allowing networks to be split - it’s a powerful deterrent to keep admins vigilant. This is exactly how Fidonet operated back in the BBS days.

I was a Fidonet echo moderator and I had the power to severe a BBS from the entire network if a single user misbehaved & the admin didn’t intervene. It was a very big stick to swing.

@tsturm @dredmorbius @fraying yeah, or it can allow instances where hate festers. if you admins aren't vigilant or if the bullies don't care, there's no positive impact of federation.

@suw Those canbe isolated.

This is an epidemiology / public heath problem.

Vigelance, monitoring, hygiene, vector control, innoculation, treatment, quarantine & isolation.

Admins and devs are asleep at the wheel.

@tsturm @fraying

@dredmorbius @tsturm @fraying Humans aren't a disease. Seriously, I've been having these conversations for nearly 15 years, Derek for way longer. Humans aren't diseases and communities are complicated, and if the makers of Mastodon don't get that, it's doomed.

@suw Information is a disease.

Or rather, diseases are information flows leading to population-based dysfunctions.

@tsturm @fraying

@dredmorbius Hey doc. Seems like you've got a metaphor that really works for you there. That's cool. It doesn't work for me, tho, and I've kinda gotten swept up in your replies here, so if you wouldn't mind, please leave me off of this chain, okay?

For those interested, the idea's not mine, I just stole it:

> There are really only three characteristics of an epidemic disease – Clustering, Spread, and Transmission.

This appears in disease, violence, propaganda, fads & fashions, innovation, culture.

It's not that information is a disease. It's that infectious, and environmentally-transmitted diseases, are information.


@dredmorbius @tsturm @fraying And yet, you sill have no clue what you're talking about.

@suw Thank you for your deep, considered, insightful, well-supported, and compelling analysis.

@tsturm @fraying

@tsturm @suw @dredmorbius @fraying It's reasonably swinging that stick that the Internet seems to have lost over time. We've gone from abuse@ mailboxes manned by actual people to automated bots and eventually... "this is a cost centre to be eliminated".
Unmoderated space (alt.*) has its place, but so does moderated polite discourse.

@suw What Federation offers, specifically, is compartmentalisation.

Booting wilsw /for specious complaints made against him/ is a pathology, though an understandable response for an admin with few other options.

Better, IMO, would be to reach out to wilw, say, "hey, this is a problem and is overwhelming us right now", and suggest, say, freezing his account for a few days whilst to storm blows over and something else can be sorted. It's likely good for general calm.

@tsturm @fraying


@dredmorbius @suw @tsturm if he’d been doing anything wrong, sure. But he wasn’t.

@fraying Sometimes, if a problem /concerns/ a specific element, even if that element is /at no fault/, you address it first.

This isn't punishment, it's tretment & resolution.

Also; this process happens /all the time/ in tech, addressing scale. But usually with far more caapitalisation. Most instances are one-person shops. A few have a handful of mods.

@suw @tsturm

@fraying @dredmorbius @suw @tsturm False. He (or a follower) was reporting anyone who mentioned his name, not just trolls and harassers. And there were groups of people leaving the instance solely to get away from him. Sometimes a person of notoriety are simply not wanted in a space where part of the user base doesn't want them, despite that person on their best behavior. (How many house parties do you think want a cop to attend?)

@fraying @dredmorbius @suw @tsturm It is not easy to manage a crowd. Part of administration is knowing which users are welcome and which will cause problems, and that requires making judgement calls that will not always please everybody.

Wil is a big boy, and he'll move on to a new instance or a new network. We can get past this, too.

@adriaanp @fraying @dredmorbius @suw @tsturm Arrogant of Wil to come into this instance and try to mold it more to his liking? Yes, it is.

@Down10 @fraying @dredmorbius @suw @tsturm ahh yes, twisting words to fit your narrative. Proofs my point.

@suw The long-term accommodation is probably celeb instances, individual or "hotels", geared up to deal with this, in code, metal, staff, training, and relations with other instances.

But that transition should be far better managed than this has been.

The other attacks you mention -- propaganda & bots, also concern me. This seems a dry run, or wet run, of just that.

@tsturm @fraying

@dredmorbius @tsturm @fraying Again, no. If there aren't the tools to deal with celebs there aren't the tools to deal with any asymmetric attack. It's that simple.

@suw If you think I'm arguing against that point, I'm not.

Though a difference is that celeb attacks have a specific target, easily identified, requiring protection.

Disruption attacks are general. They require identification, usually through cluster- and network-identification tools. Finding the social graph, which may not be directly apparent or manifested as, say, Mastodon follows.

Text & timing analysis often reveal these.

Then there's response & countermeasure.

@tsturm @fraying

@dredmorbius @tsturm @fraying No. Just no. Why should the victim of bullying be told to shush? And Wil's fame is in many ways incidental, because it's very easy to whip up a asymmetrical attack on a non-celeb these days, and that requires the same skills to manage as managing celebs.

@suw @dredmorbius @tsturm @fraying First of all his account is still here, so it doesn't really seem like he was actually banned.

Secondly, you have to consider the possibility that he was the problem. he burned a lot of bridges with the kinds of people that have signed up on mastodon from twitter.

The problem is he blocked, like, tens of thousands of people, many who didn't even interact with him, then advertised the list.

@suw @dredmorbius @tsturm @fraying he says he stopped but he was doing it pretty recently, like 2017 at least.

it's not a question of simply being a "celeb" but essentially directly, personally alienating tens of thousands of people.

@suw @tsturm @fraying I actually think an instance exclusive to high-profile individuals (I dislike the term/concept of “celebrity”) is not a bad idea. In a perfect world everything would work well on a single instance, but it’s not a perfect world, and the nature of Mastodon gives us tools for managing different communities with different needs.

@smakian @tsturm @fraying And what happens when a non-celeb is attacked by the same MO used to attack Wil? Are they then supposed to shift to a celeb instance? It's just nonsense.

@suw @tsturm @fraying but it DOES work. Don't like your instance on mastodon? Move on to a (cozy, smaller, more personal) instance or set up an instance yourself. At least thats the idea. An interconnected network of social networks with different policies and sentiments. I'm not really sure if this will work in the long run, but - except from Wil's understandable frustration - today there is nothing that actually keeps him from moving to a party in the fediverse where he's welcome.

@itmerc @suw @tsturm Except for the mob that'll just move to harass the next admin, sure.

@fraying @suw @tsturm there’s no way to keep the mob from harassing, so this is a question of resources - a smaller (or self hosted) instance and an admin who is more invested into curating her instance seems to be a better place to be at.
Similar to a huge club where the bouncers just kick out the ass even of the guy who did not start the fight vs. a smaller venue where the patron knows your name and face.

@itmerc @fraying @tsturm You're confusing "nothing can be done" with "nothing is being done".

@itmerc @suw @tsturm Yes, there is a way, it's called community management. That's literally what it's for.

@fraying @suw @tsturm I think we completely agree: If mastodon succeeds the mob will be moved to and over the borders of the fediverse, either within their instances or with their instances by the people managing the instances.
I’m /really/ curious.

@fraying @suw @tsturm so the solution is not only to operate mailservers and mebservers for our friends but even mastodon-instances. And that really reminds me of the times when I had my Fido-point in 2:245/.... :)

@itmerc @tsturm @fraying No, nothing to stop WilW moving to another instance... except the pain and hurt he's already experienced which has put him off being involved in Mastodon at all. The horse had bolted once the harassment started. You can't just ask people to keep moving on from instance to instance because you can't deal with bullies.

@suw @tsturm @fraying I don’t expect Wil to come back to the fediverse, he has been burned on more than one platform. That’s sad. Yet I think that the fediverse is a technical habitat with potential for a better culture to grow. Because of compartmentalization / isolation of the sewers and federation to have a diverse set of instances catering to people who want to stick together.
It really reminds me of BBS networks, even because you need technical expertise to operate one.

@itmerc @suw @tsturm Yes, we understand how federation works. Usenet was also decentralized and unmoderated. And that worked out GREAT.

@fraying @suw @tsturm I have very fond memories of discussions in gblf-groups on usenet news, on FidoNet and Zerberus. The latter two were moderated, obviously. I remember flame wars, but I don’t remember that level of vitriol and aggression that can be seen on the birdsite or Facebook.

@itmerc @fraying @suw As I mentioned before, the FidoNet moderation system was draconian, but it worked.

And Mastodon is actually a very close modern version of the way Fidonet was organized.

All it takes is to have a majority of instance owners to agree to cut out instances that can't keep their users to stick to some simple community rules and it is exactly like Fidonet. Which - from my experience with Fido - would not be a bad outcome for Mastodon.

@tsturm @fraying @suw OTOH those were different times and FidoNet was - in my memories - mostly about communication, not about celebrities, propaganda or financial gain. In Germany it was badly wounded by a schisma after a secret reorg.
, because power over the node list was in very few hands.
This is not possible in the fediverse, yet, but.

@itmerc @fraying @tsturm I've had this conversation so many times over the years, and it's really gotten boring. We need neither nostalgia for olden times nor technical expertise, but actual community management experts. I haven't seen any evidence mastodon has those, or cares about getting any. And because of that, it will ultimately go the same way as all other social networks.

@suw @fraying @tsturm I have heared people calling experience „nostalgia“ and rational analysis of technical feasibility „peculiarities“ so many times yet I have never seen them succeeding. I was guest in very well moderated places of passionate discourse but I have yet to see a ‚xyz management expert‘ to do anything of value.

@itmerc @suw @tsturm I would like to be left off this thread now, thanks.

@suw I've been idly wondering whether one could start an instance with actual professional moderators, paid for their work, and to ask people who join that instance to chip in a regular subscription to pay their salaries

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