People saying "Mastodon needs to include more marginalized people" to me just betrays a total lack of effort to even learn about who is working on the project. They assume if they say it's all cishet white men that they'll be right and saying to include marginalized voices is a generally agreeable thing to say to collect social capital and establish yourself as good when actually you're just being a jerk to unpaid trans women
I'm uncomfortable with hub-runners deciding which other instances they do and do not federate with. People can certainly run filtering services, but they should be independent of instances/hubs, not tied to them.
For similar reasons, I don't think hubs/instances should be thought of as communities with individual cultures, because you then turn the hub-runner into the de facto community leader.
Running a SMTP/NNTP/OSocial server shouldn't make you a doyenne. People get high off of that power.
So the question: how to make hubs that are/have
* non-exploitative of users
* non-authoritarian (wrt censorship)
* graceful failover
* graceful obsolescence
* potentially anonymous
* potentially transient
I think in the absence of these considerations, mastodon networks will, as others like @bcrypt have pointed out, tend to consolidate around a few large instances that will have too much trust & reliability burden placed on them.
This is @deoxxa's overview of the various components of OStatus: https://www.fknsrs.biz/blog/don-statusnet-node-part-one-read-protocols.html
It's worth reading. IMO the component to think about is PubSubHubbub. Specifically, the hubs, which serve as notification intermediaries between publishers and subscribers.
1. Hubs do NOT need to be Twitter-like user homes.
2. Hubs are very capable of tracking user behavior, even if notifications are encrypted.
3. Hubs need to be reliable.
TheShadowBrokers to Trump:
"You not being in office three months and already you looking like the MIIC’s bitch with John McCain and Chuck Schumer double dutch ruddering each other in the corner over dead corpses.
- Don’t care if you swapped wives with Mr Putin, double down on it, “Putin is not just my firend he is my BFF”.
"Therefore Russia and Putin are being best allies until the common enemies are defeated and America is great again."
Alex Payne, (engineer who helped scale Twitter), way back in 2010: "Decentralization isn’t just a better architecture, it’s an architecture that resists censorship and the corrupting influences of capital and marketing.
"At the very least, decentralization would make tweeting as fundamental and irrevocable a part of the Internet as email. Now that would be a triumph of humanity."
The Shadow Brokers - don't read if you hold clearance
Looking through the code and, in particular, at the targets I am surprised that there appears to be nothing for either VMS or NSK (Tandem) both of which used to run the vast majority of telcos in the 90s.
I assume the targets, being mainly "non-aligned countries" (to use an old name), might have used cheaper technology but I am pretty confident some of those (e.g. Taiwan) would have used the "Western standard tech".
It's still sort of crazy to me that these obvious flaws in blockchains' core principles and governing entities exist, but smart people keep investing in them anyway. I guess they truly lack any sort of faith in regular governments. There's a need for "digital government journalists", who are neither embedded in old-world politics (like EFF & others) nor untrustworthy orgs who are biased by positions they hold with cryptocurrencies (like Coindesk, or other "bitcoin news").
INTRO TO FEDERATION:
1. "mastodon" is a piece of software that runs on a server. It's made of "code", or little spaghetti-like strings of information
2. An "instance dominatrix" can chew and swallow these code strands to create an "instance". Every stomach contains at least one server
3. Our gut bacteria populates the server, and can talk to, or battle, gut bacteria from other stomachs
4. The game of "mastodon" ends when your gut bacteria populates the entire universe. Go forth and conquer!
I guess closing mastodon.social registrations has made this problem a lot more urgent, for better or for worse.
Maybe round-robining signups among a handful of large servers (by cycling registration closures) is a short-term kludge until the ecosystem settles down a bit more.
The blithe "Pick a server that you trust" on the mastodon sign-up page sums it up. I'd feel foolish saying that I trust any server right now, and I don't even know what criteria to assess servers by.
The most obvious criterion is number of users, which will dissuade federation, as @bcrypt points out.
The second most obvious criterion is, I guess, "Run by some big/huge entity likely to stick around for a while," which has its own problems too.
I worked on instant messaging federation for a time back in the day. Check out the history of xmpp (and Google/Pidgin) if you want to see things NOT working out for attempted federation.
Unfortunately, all the easy solutions I can think of begin, "Assuming the triumph of global anarcho-syndicalism..."
I bet someone has already proposed using blockchain to enforce global username uniqueness, so that accountnames aren't tied to an instance. Am I right?
The federation/migration problem in mastodon seems very important. My broader thought: SMTP/NNTP/etc. thrived because of a set of trusted entities (govt/uni) that could reliably run federated servers. My choice of server is going to be based on which one is most likely to be up and running years in the future.
Who should those entities be today?
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!