I guess the question that occupies my mind a lot these days is:

Can we build a healthy, positive, life-affirming Internet?

I feel like large parts of our Internet infrastructure are toxic to mental health and social freedom and were designed that way on purpose, because the system seeks money, and you get more money by controlling people than by allowing them to flourish and reach their full potential. This has always been capitalism's big problem (and socialism's too).

@natecull The internet isn't inherently good or evil. That's determined by what people do with it. If you want to create an internet that can't be used in bad ways, I don't think that's possible, at least not if you want it to be useful at all.

@mansr

"The internet isn't inherently good or evil. That's determined by what people do with it. "

No, I don't subscribe to that view of technology at all.

The idea that technology is "value-neutral" is itself an idea (and ideas are themselves technologies), and it's an idea that I don't think is value-neutral.

I think every technology has a shape. It imposes that shape on us, making some acts/thoughts easier, and others harder.

Our tools shape us. We should care about what that shape is.

@natecull
The problem is that we may not be taking about the same internet.

Interconnected computers?

Social networks?

Extremely racist right wing YouTube channels?

Google?

Amazon?

Somewhere along the line the capitalist giants took control of the internet and shaped it their way, like zerg colonies filling everything with creep.

The question is, how can we take it back?

@mansr@society.oftrolls.com

@yuki @natecull @mansr the word you are looking for is the Web. The Internet is the hardware itself, the Web is whatever was built on top of it. By technical definition the Internet is a public utility and has no inherent morality, it's physical wires. Web on the other hand is defined by the people operating it.

@yuki @natecull @mansr you take it back by creating new protocols and ideas that work on the foundation that is the Internet, at this very moment you are using a platform that's attempting to supplant Twitter for example, using the ActivityPub protocol operating over HTTP.

Follow

@yuki @natecull @mansr the ActivityPub Federation is of course not immune to corporate takeover, e-mail was the grandfather of this very idea (most people were supposed to run their own mail server), yet was taken over by MS and Google. Convenience trumps all, and Mastodon is using the same tactic corporates do, before they became infinite money machines. Mastodon is wrapping the complex protocol into a convenient package just like Google did with e-mail and its GMail service.

· · Web · 1 · 0 · 1

@yuki @natecull @mansr since Mastodon follows the tail of convenience, it will be way harder to take over; however a different problem is slowly arising, something akin to eternal september of Usenet.

@yuki @natecull @mansr In this case lots of general populace is starting to use Mastodon, which generally is turning more communities into cesspools, yet the same people are also moderators, which is now leading to fracturing of the Federation, where blanked domain blocks are being applied because someone didn't like something someone else said. This is leaving general populace up to the mercy of the moderator, instead of their own will.

@evolbug

The fragmentation of the fediverse is inevitable.

The question is how can we make sure *our* instances are less toxic?

Federating with conditions (code of conduct, number of mods per 1K users, etc) is a good idea, IMO. Creating new levels of privacy (circles vs followers) would be a nice addition, too.

@natecull @mansr@society.oftrolls.com

@yuki

Yes the fragmentation is inevitable, my point is that the fragmentation is happening at a scale where the implications are heavier, as a single moderator can ghost an instance of 10k+ users out of half the federation based on one case they didn't like.

I believe the goalpost must be moved to individual responsibility of filtering, not blanket moderation. Not everyone is a good moderator, not everyone has the time to do it, but everyone can filter their own content.

@natecull
@mansr

@yuki

Reminder that cancel culture exists, giving the same people power over thousands of users is _not_ good practice.

@natecull @mansr

@evolbug
With that I agree. Big instances are ALWAYS a bad idea.

With more instances, the damage moderators can inflict upon communities diminishes.

@natecull @mansr@society.oftrolls.com

@yuki

In general it comes down to the same takeover issue. Google won because at scale they serve most of the users, so they simply stopped federating with the rest of the mail servers, assuming them all to be spam. This is the issue I would like to get rid of, and why I do not believe instance moderators are actually functional at scale.

@natecull @mansr

@yuki

Or at the least, I dont think instance blocking is practical whatsoever

@natecull @mansr

@evolbug
It's practical against rogue instances. Gab and friends are still out there.
@natecull @mansr@society.oftrolls.com

@yuki

since most people are incapable of making their own instance (lack of know-how or resources), large instance growth cannot be prevented. Gab would still not be a problem in a user filtered context, as they can ignore the domain or individual users themselves.

@natecull @mansr

@yuki

gmail took over exactly due to mail being problematic to host for most people

@natecull @mansr

@yuki

(as well as existing attempts at convenience being terrible)

regardless, i plan to test some of my ideas on moderation and federation in practice, in the following years

@natecull @mansr

@evolbug
Yes, it's a problem. IMO defederation is the lesser evil compared to massive harassment.

Perhaps we need another paradigm? Like instances being put on top of servers and not being the servers themselves?

@natecull @mansr@society.oftrolls.com

@evolbug @yuki @natecull Uh, my private mail server has no trouble communicating with Gmail. Criticise Google if you wish, but keep it to things they've actually done.

@mansr

google routinely blocks entire ip ranges and frequently simply ignores mail from personal servers if their automatic algorithm deems the contents out of ordinary. While yes they haven't excluded literally everyone, personal mail working with either google or microsoft's servers is mostly anecdotal. If it works for you, great, you happen to be outside of the mail ip reputation black hole, for now anyway

@yuki @natecull

@mansr

as i said, good for you, but it's anecdotal evidence. if your sender reputation somehow gets ruined, you can throw out your whole domain and ip forever. it's not impossible, this has happened to someone who owned theirs for 10+ years, though i will have to find their blog detailing their issue in the morning

@yuki @natecull

@mansr

on top of the comments on the blog, there's a HN page with hundreds of people complaing on increasingly worse mail delivery news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1

@yuki @natecull

@mansr

as for personal anecdotal experience, at work we were using a 3rd party mail service, with a custom domain, and it managed to be eaten by hotmail/outlook and never delivered, yet gmail received it, so it varies. We ended up requesting a new ip from a different block so we could properly deliver mail

@yuki @natecull

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