This might be important for other Mastodon admins so I think at least a summary is necessary.
Yesterday my 🐦 account for Mastodon was dragged into a discussion about counter.social. That is a Mastodon instance/fork that claims to be "hardened" against "hostile nations".
What this means in practice is that some branding was slapped on the frontpage, profiles were broken to be unviewable while logged out, federation with other Mastodon nodes was broken or disabled, and IP addresses of countries like Russia, Iran and China were added to their Cloudflare block settings.
In the discussion on 🐦, I have asserted that blocking foreign agitprop based on IP address is ineffective and unethical. A dedicated actor can operate out of a different country or use a proxy, while folks who didn't do anything get blanket-banned only because they were born in the wrong country.
It is difficult to describe exactly where the discussion went after that because the admin has a lot of followers who enjoy to chime in, but to summarize, the admin and his fans did not like the idea of being called out like that.
More importantly, it is during this exchange that it came to light that counter.social's federation is broken and that they don't actually care if it is. I may call out a stupid idea but they have a right to IP block. But that, is a violation of our core ideals & AGPL
If you want to go deeper, look into my replies on the MastodonProject account on 🐦. There is no single easily-viewable thread on that goddamn website so that's the only way.
So who do you call when the AGPL is violated? Do they get a chance to fix it before getting sued off the internet?
@lyrenhex @marsxyz @Mainebot It's a mess. At some point the source was released after we pointed out the license violation. However funnily enough that source dump does not contain any revision history and as such no author attributions. It was also last updated 23 days ago: https://github.com/th3j35t3r/CounterSocial
@Gargron @marsxyz @Mainebot ah. Doesn't help that they don't link the source from the homepage from what I can tell (don't the FSF stipulate that users must be able to see the source easily? Unless they added a link within the dashboard of the instance, but I'm not inclined to make an account there to find out...)
@Gargron Is this project some kind of troll? The idea of blocking countries based on someone's opinion sounds kind of strange to me ..
@Gargron The Jester crew are not people to be reasoned with, they aren't acting on earnest, the whole point of their existence is to cause trouble and don't deserve to be treated seriously. Waste of time and energies.
The next time some of the 4chan / anon gangs come to cause problems you'll be better prepared.
this is not one of the better articles, some points might be false.
...but the basic message is that he's in collaboration with the us military.
@aeonofdiscord @h @Gargron
He's a hyper-patriotic vigilante & the kind of person who annoys the whole infosec sector by accusing them of treason for doing their job. I haven't seen any evidence that he's anything but a skiddie, aside from his big mouth.
He got some press for shitting on Snowden/Manning/etc. a few years ago.
@clacke @enkiv2 @h Linked elsewhere in this thread: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jester_(hacktivist)
@Gargron In the meantime, reporting all of them for illegal content (violation of the AGPL) is only fitting.
@Gargron They really don't seem to understand the concept of a simple proxy XD
In any case, thanks very much for joining in yesterday.
@Gargron While I side-eye the fuck out of that particular instance, how do they violate the AGPL?
AFAIK, AGPL just means that they have to provide the source code that they're running to their users, and they claim to do so (they link to their Github on their about/more page) - IP blocking means you can't use it, and therefore aren't entitled to the source, AFAIK?
[The license] requires the operator of a network server to provide the source code of the modified version running there to the users of that server. Therefore, public use of a modified version, on a publicly accessible server, gives the public access to the source code of the modified version.
Does an IP block even slow down haxor trollz?
I see you already answered my question.
@Gargron no country is a wrong country. I'd just say a 'certain country instead'.
Server run by the main developers of the project It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!