What happens once I have more followers than Lance Ulanoff has on Twitter?

Okay, I am getting questions about who Lance Ulanoff is. Time for some Mastodon history.

Exactly a year ago today, Lance Ulanoff opened his article about Mastodon with this phrase:

"William Shatner couldn't find me on Mastodon.

This was a problem."

That was the day Mastodon became a shatner-proof network.

Follow

He concluced his article (titled "Mastodon will never be the next Twitter") with this:

"I suspect thousands of other Tooters (blech!) will soon do the same and Mastodon will lay down beside all other other fossilized social media platforms and fade from existence."

Since then, Mastodon grew to 1,300,000 users and 2,000 servers. This is why people bring him up today.

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@Gargron Mastodon doesn't have to be the next Twitter, it has to avoid becoming like Twitter. That will be it main attraction.

@Gargron
Well, if lack of population doesn't kill it, bad administrative ethics might at least corrupt and fracture the federation at some point.

yiff.rocks/media/GK1Uf-4cAVSIZ

@Gargron
Between inaccessibility due to hardware requirements, and technical knowledge. It leads to the concern of more sheep (users) being led by fewer wolves (mods, admins, owners, mass instance hosting)

@fexel @gargron
that's entirely irrelevant considering anyone with "good" administrative ethics can decide to make a new instance. It doesn't exist in a vacuum

@mirzaba

@Gargron
... brazenly said the sheep under the domain of the wolf of the west, to the wolf of the east (er. Dragon? *Shrug*).

@mirzaba

@Gargron

I don't see you running an instance, why don't you run one then?

@fexel @gargron
The point is not that every single person needs to make an instance. As it stands, anyone who wants to has the capability. You could be obtuse or you could learn about the functionality of mastodon. Or I guess you could just go back to birdsite since you seem to have such a problem with Mastodon.

@mirzaba

@Gargron
Not a problem with GNUSocial (it's all the same shit) just a problem with badmins who think it in the interest those who are directly affected by their choices to callously use things like full domain suspension at the first sign of a percieved bad interaction.

What you think GNUSocial should be and what I believe It should be are two VASTLY different things it seems.

@mirzaba @Gargron
You know, instead of letting their sheep have some level of agency in their experience with the federation.

@fexel @gargron
look up in the skies sheeple, mastodon users are too dumb to just make their own instance and lack agency in their choices.

@mirzaba @Gargron
You don't teach a child to use a loaded handgun by having them point it at their little skull do you? No. You teach them how to properly and safely handle a firearm. You teach them to never point it at something they don't intend to destroy or kill. You teach them how to use it, but instill that such a tool is a last resort if all else fails.

@mirzaba @Gargron
Or when it's actually appropriate to operate it.

@mirzaba @Gargron @fexel

I'm going to say as clearly as I can; on this topic, I do think Fexel has a valid point.

The admins are not entirely decentralised the way the instances are. If a popularity contest begins, cabals effectively become a gatekeeper.

Admins of different instances acting as an in-group & either valuing the cohesion of the admin in-group/fearing banishment because of pressure from those outside of their instance does stand a real chance of fracturing the federation.

@Barcode @fexel @gargron
I think that's giving him too much credit, but that is a valid problem that doesn't have to be damning.

@mirzaba @Gargron @fexel

I will point out, I never commented on a likely outcome, or even the odds of this happening.

Simply that the decentralised structure of the hardware and software doesn't affect the interpersonal relationships and group dynamics of the instances.

Also, Fexel, for what it's worth, I think the wolf/sheep metaphor is too easily interpreted as either value judgement on roles or an interpretation of an Aesop's Fable I don't grasp. I don't think it helps explain your view.

@mirzaba

@Gargron @Barcode
Damning or not, it's the theroy I hold at this time, given an incident on here, and past incidents involving mass blocklisting on other platforms.

It's that very type of behavior that's caused people with agency to look towards alternative media sources instead of big name MSM companies. These people look for honesty and truth, not agendas to keep people in the dark.

@mirzaba @Gargron @Barcode
Infowars comes to mind as one such alternative source. That being they've always made people aware of mistakes in articles they've published. And will touch on incidents that MSM won't due to a conflict to their objectives.

@mirzaba @Gargron @Barcode
( Not much of a fan of Infowars, just stating facts)

@fexel Actually, it’s about ethics in instance administration πŸ€”

@Gargron I have an idea for mastodon, as you can dm me since i well tell you in there.

@Gargron I laughed hard at the "Unless someone buys the code off Rochko today..." part. Mastodon is licensed under AGPL. Clearly the article was "well reserched".

@Gargron These same people say cryptocurrency is dead. The joke is on them.

@Shamar @Gargron You're confusing the database (blockchain) that stores coins with proof-of-work algorithm that secures the network the coins traverse at transaction time.

Blockchains are a linked list containing the hash of the current block's data and the hash of the previous block's data forming a cryptographic chain; it uses storage not (much) energy.

Proof-of-Work is a protocol feature (which uses a lot of energy) for which there are alternatives: quora.com/What-are-the-alterna

@Gargron
>1,300,000 users

accounts
aren't all
chronic
users

@Gargron but is any single instance ready for Twitter scale? i doubt both that mastodon code is as scalable as of yet, and that mastodon admins can afford to pay for the resources to match traffic

@mcandre @Gargron No one instance could match Twitter's scale (without actual revenue, that is), but that's why we have thousands of instances!

@Gargron Do you know how many servers and users there were when he wrote the article? Just curious

@Gargron Is the number "1,300,000 users" means *registered* users? I remember from your Medium post that "Over 130,000 people were active on Mastodon last week," which I interpreted as 130,000 *active* users.
Just confused because two numbers looked similar (but, of course, vastly different in magnitude.)

@Gargron Hmm I think mastodon has a lot more long lasting power with instances but it will die someday everything does

@Faveing It's better not to think about the heat death of the universe :(

@Gargron True better enjoy it while it lasts πŸ˜ƒ

@Faveing
True. The main difference between Mastodon and other decentrlized aocial networks is that Mastodon is actually picking up stream. Most of the others fizzled out with a small number of users.

Personally, I think the prior ones arrived at a bad time. When #Diaspora was at its most popular, Facebook was a media darling and information about PRISM had yet to reach the public. It faded because there was no "push" away from corporate-controlled social media.

@Faveing
Mastodon is maturing in an environment in which everyone is aware of government spying, Russian election meddling, and scandals involving the abuse of social media account holders' personal information. In that environment, people seek something new and different.

Before the Russia/Cambridge Analytica scandals, it would have been easy to see Mastodon going the way of Diaspora. Those events changed the game. Hopefully, more people will see the benefits of decentralization.

@Gargron just curious where you get the user number of 1.3M from. I used to follow @mastodonusercount for how many people were on here but that hasn’t been updated in months.

@Gargron Out of curiosity: What will happen when spammers invade mastodon?

(thinking about people/bots who could make @-mentions and #-hashtags useless)

@deeds We have mods. Each server has independent mods. Report spammers if you see them and we'll take care of them

@Gargron meanwhile you could say twitter is... Going the way of the Dodo

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