Fediverse Rant 

For some time, now, I've seen various people vent their frustrations over the state of the fediverse, what it is, and where development is going.

Some of the arguments are pretty compelling: the lack of a central working group for the standard doesn't exactly bode well for subsequent iterations of the spec. The biggest player in the space kind of has a stranglehold on certain usage conventions. Most implementations don't offer great privacy considerations, and aren't exactly designed with at-risk users in mind.

These are good things to think about, in regards to what the fediverse ought to become. There's a lot of incredible work going on under the surface, and I'm always impressed to see what these different projects are capable of doing.

But, there's a lot of toxic shit, too. Normally, I just hold my tongue because I'm used to the endless cycles of complaining and infighting and finger-pointing that makes up the worst parts of the space. You can't just take the good without the bad - this project is the byproduct of humans all building towards one common thing with different ideas about how to do it, in what way, and for what purposes.

I'm growing very tired of it, though. I'm exhausted by the endless ideology, the pseudomarxist dialectic that casts everybody working on this thing as a white fash-adjacent cis male developer living in a vacuum while jerking off to hentai and reading Mein Kampf. I'm tired of the hand-waving that this system is bad because it's meritocratic - I'm sorry, it takes technical knowledge to learn how to build things, and people aren't going to build things 100% to your specifications for you for free, no questions asked. I'm tired of seeing people whine and complain about how bad things are, how bad people are, and either sit and do nothing or crawl back to Twitter because the toxic environment there ended up being more conducive to their brand of alienation.

The people who have been trying to do the most with moving stuff forward have often had the least help in doing so, and often have to dig through endless criticism by people who prefer to sit on the sidelines and act like they're fucking fascists for not bowing down to their demands. It's happened with too many projects to count, where someone gets a horrible rap for not prioritizing some specific feature because they themselves don't even know how to start working on it in a given phase of development. Entire reputations get smeared - and yes, sometimes it's the byproduct of pursuing a bad idea because it seemed right at the time. People are allowed to make mistakes.

If there's anything I truly hate here, it's this never-ending toxic cycle of in-group out-group relations, where the finger gets pointed and everybody starts up all over again. It isn't that we can't fix what's broken or work together to make it better...we just get stuck on bullshit tribalism and flock to mass cultural hallucinations to explain things away, because that's more comfortable than actually doing the work.

Yeah, we're building a space that anyone can take part in, regardless of what they have to say is good or bad. That's freedom - boundless in its potential and unrestrained in its expression. Liberty brings in every possible belief system, every identity, and every label, regardless of whether they are good or bad relative to an individual. You can't control who gets to use it, or what people get to say, or who voluntarily associates with who. Instead, ideally, you get to decide who can see you, what they can do, and whether they should be able to interact with you. Your experience of the network ought to be something that you curate and control, in regards of what you can see. Your view of the network stops at the things you don't want to see, and the things other people don't want you to see.

You get to filter out the crap and interact with whoever you like. Personally, I'm all for the idea of greylisting and whitelisting instances as communities start and gradually branch out...we might have a bunch of fiefdoms for a while, but if that's what needs to happen to cut down on instance drama, to reinforce enclaves prior to opening the floodgates again, spaces ought to be free to do so.

We're at the point where we have a network with almost four million people on it. Some days, it may look like we're all just bullshitting around, but we have the potential to kill Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat, Soundcloud, DeviantArt, Tiktok and more. We could lay waste to the entire old guard of Silicon Valley, if we wanted to, and redefine a lot of what the web currently is. We could knock down a lot of walled gardens and kill a lot of financial incentives to put eyeballs on pages full of trackers.

re: Fediverse Rant 

@sean

>You get to filter out the crap and interact with whoever you like.

The only thing I wanted to complain about is this point. If there is no "group" function as Facebook, how can I find people to share common interests?

re: Fediverse Rant 

@snow yeah, I agree, it's something that is hugely needed. The "group communication relay" approach would be a game changer.

re: Fediverse Rant 

@sean

Do you want to code it?

Are one want to code it?

re: Fediverse Rant 

@snow maybe. I'm not a very good coder, to be honest, but I've actually wanted to work on Pleroma for some time.

I'm currently trying to figure out how to get my laptop shipped to me so that I can code at tech school.

re: Fediverse Rant 

@sean

Hell, I can't code, and seems no one wants to code that.

re: Fediverse Rant 

@snow conceptually, it's a pretty simple idea. I think it's just something that's historically "hard to do"?

The idea has been discussed to death, but effectively an actor representing a group "Announces" a status to the members of that group, bouncing statuses from sender to recipient.

Where I imagine it probably gets complicated has something to do with permissions, delegating moderator powers, building threads, and propagating deletes.
Follow

re: Fediverse Rant 

@sean @snow the mechanics of handling forums/groups/discussion rooms is not hard and is directly addressed in AP standards (as you say, groups are actors with inboxes, participants send DMs to post to them and group members are basically followers, etc).

Permissions, moderation, threads and such could be modelled after Citadel and FidoNet BBSes. There was certainly drama in those platforms but it seemed these BBSes were far better at managing drama than the Twitter model...

re: Fediverse Rant 

@sean @snow

...also I think having forums/groups/rooms to join are much better at community building than trying to find individuals to follow. Mastodon is very sub optimal that way. Sometimes I think people block or silence me because they don't want any of my tech or politics (even behind CWs), or they want that but not my smartass shitposts. People resort to alt accounts for different aspects of themselves. That is imposing too much social labour on people IMO...

re: Fediverse Rant 

@sean @snow

...we should be able to be "whole people" with our online identities, and I think that requires a diversity of fediverse apps...most importantly ones that take a "group centric" approach. Mastodon is fine and all but it's a damn shame it became the "IBM PC standard" of the fedi. Eugen's heavy focus on emulating Twitter functionality exacerbates the drama and limits the potential of federation...

re: Fediverse Rant 

@sean @snow

... I think at this point other projects have to stop slavishly adopting Masto conventions and take a "graceful degradation" approach. Stop caring if the posts look pretty in Mastodon or even if all the content shows up...even if it is just federation a title and a link maybe that is enough. Conformity to Gargon's Vision severely limits fediverse potential.

[EOF]

re: Fediverse Rant 

@msh @sean @snow I only want to comment about one thing. Twitter can regulate the drama, but it doesn't want to. Drama keeps people roped in and on platform and whipped up into such a frenzy they cannot seem to function without it. It's great for twitter's business, and for destroying people's lives. It's even worse on discord.

It's no picnic being a defendant in the court of public opinion.

re: Fediverse Rant 

@Citizenzibb

I think...the most annoying thing is...human beings.

@msh @sean

re: Fediverse Rant 

@msh @sean @snow Yeah, this is pretty fair. It's hard to say what the best approach is from my perspective. Maybe the fedi needs an experimental phase.

@msh @sean @snow The good part about this though is that it is one very successful fedi platform. It may have its cracks, but I love the way I use it. We can use it as a reference point. Maybe we can apply certain lessons learned from Mastodon and apply them to the other platforms, making the fedi stronger.

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