Realtalk though, every day I log onto twitter and I see people (mostly, people of color) doing important work critiquing whiteness and racism and sexism and transmisogyny and what have you, organizing and making a difference and making a change. Would have taken off on Mastodon? Actual question. ? ?

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Because from alot of what I've seen it's like, we don't do that here. “I don't want to have to see your critiques of my whiteness, tag that shit and keep it hidden.” (Like, not what content warnings are for, folks.) Features are more than just technology. Where are the communities of support, where are the journalists, where are the activists? And you wonder why people leave. And you wonder why people go back.

When there is legislation being passed that is putting me and the people I love at risk, when there are communities in danger that need our help, you can't ask me to keep that stuff under wraps. You can't ask me not to be vocal. Not when that stuff is as core to who I am as a person as any gender or sexual label. Like, so much for inclusion when we can't ever visibly mourn.

Twitter: “Hey followers my friend can't get into the US because of the please send help and best wishes.”
Mastodon: “OMG birdsite getting all wild about politics so glad we don't have that here

Like I know I'm caricaturing here but also fuck that noise. Yall should be getting angry. Yall should be getting upset. Like, I mean, take care of yourselves. But come on.

It has felt like “no politics” (or “keep politics hidden”) has been the cry here since day one, but we've yet to really define what “politics” means. Does being black count as “politics”? What about being trans? If my queer friend down in SF goes to a rally and ends up hurt, is that suddenly “politics”? If I try to change my name, am I being “political”?

The brunt of my question is this: To what extent is (some of) our anti-politics culture standing in the way of people living their lives in a visible, open manner? And I say “people” but obviously not all people are affected by this equally. And: If people can't live their lives in a visible, open manner on Mastodon, is it any wonder they choose a different service where they can?

Like, I understand the wear of being surrounded by this stuff all the time. Believe me, I get it. But sometimes you don't have a choice. Sometimes this stuff is your life whether you like it or not. And I'm not gonna just sit back and watch a bunch of white queers avoid talking about racism because they're afraid of destroying the sanctity of their “safe space”. Like, safe for whom. Really.

This is not saying we shouldn't use content warnings. This is not saying it's okay to dogpile, or call people out unnecessarily, or promote harassment. This isn't saying you shouldn't act judiciously when it comes to posting to public/unlisted/private/whatever. These tools exist for a reason. Use them.

But when shit goes down, show up. What is the point of calling yourself a community otherwise.

@yatchi I'm worried because like. I support content warnings. I support safe spaces. But, like. Come on. We're better than this. We can do better.

(I hope.)

@marrus_sh I just left an IRC channel I have been in for 5+ years because they put up a "no politics" rule, because this kind of mentality is what got us into the current scenario in the first place, and nope

@marrus_sh honestly I haven't seen that here o.o but I have seen that in a lot of communities over the past few years, and a few people have been driven out by the actions of the majority

the norm *everywhere* is WE DON'T WANT POLITICS HERE, and the more we say this, the worse the situation will get. it won't go away on its own.

we need to figure out how to NOT harm ourselves talking about politics though. how do we do that?

@andlabs i think it very much depends on your circles in mastodon as far as how much of the “no politics” stuff you see. It crops up on the public TL every once in a while. And I get the impulse, but like. When I look at virtually every person of color i've ever known, *especially* queer POC, ppl who deal with way worse stuff then me on a daily basis, i can't recall a single one ever saying that sort of thing. and if they can deal, be *on the front lines*, why the hell can't everyone else? IDK

@andlabs and I honestly think it has to do with communities and organization and support. it's easy when you're cut off from that for every political event to feel like, you have to go it alone. but that's not the case. we can hold each other up. we just have to set our sights in the right place, and try.

@marrus_sh then the question is what we can do in the situations we are in :S I don't follow the public timeline, and I'm not in any political epicenter, so apart from voting, which I already do, I know I can only try to spread awareness, which has usually gotten me a "please stop" response, if I don't just go off the deep end into soapboxing instead

@andlabs i mean. i feel this. we can be there for each other, and we can speak out when we see something that's not right. aside from that, idk.

@marrus_sh @andlabs
The questions you two discuss are exactly in the first place. I came here intending to carve out a cyberspace where the activists I follow on Twitter/IRL could find & culture a radical community- focused on holding each other up & on compassion for each other, but while still demanding change in each other and the external world at large.

Engineering the platform tech to support that community was originally my goal here-but I grew complacent.


@twryst @marrus_sh and I have a feeling this is why a lot of the other early people that joined around the time I first joined did too

@marrus_sh @andlabs
There are several things I think the platform NEEDS before I'd deem it well suited for radical organizing.

-a method for addressing microaggressions by substantively hearing, validating, & reacting to target concerns while also guiding in-good-faith-but-problematic aggressors in unlearning that toxicity. Cannot require any emotional labor from target. Running aggressor off site with no chance to change discards potential allies, given work. (Obvs fuck concerntrolls/sealions)

@andlabs sorry for replying w links, but they say it better than I do and in less words than I'd use:
Concern trolling:


Both are common tactics for derailing SJ conversation spaces without getting banned.

@twryst okay after reading these I'm not sure if I have fallen or might fall into these traps, especially since the latter doesn't really explain how sealioning is different from just asking for evidence (but then again, that isn't the point of the article's website) — but I guess we'll see in the future? :S

@marrus_sh @andlabs
- better user-level control of not only what you're exposed to but also *over who can see your toots*, to facilitate nonpublic communication instead of the "toots can reach blocked instances but can't come from them to us" unidirectional blocking behavior. Need ppl to be able to filter out shitposting|bots|entire domains purely from descriptions before ever even being forced to see their content.

(I want to read your recently posted articles before continuing this list)

@twryst @marrus_sh and now I'm thinking about how to accomplish this and the judicial implications of different ideas; I want to say we should never judge someone who unintentionally microaggressed or use language to make them feel like a criminal but

(maybe I am confusing micro*aggression* with micro*trigger*?)

and also what kind of system could work with the technology that already is there; *how* does the current system need changing? you already described that for the second bullet point

@andlabs @marrus_sh
I do believe these can be accomplished by a mixture of architecting the platform accordingly and intentional moderation practices. Currently I'm envisioning the digital equivalent of immediately pulling the aggressor aside and patiently yet unflinchingly helping them recontextualize their statements in light of the perspectives of others.
We benefit here from good-faith actors; if not, give em the boot.
This idea is half-baked; will likely change due to readings from earlier

Community Politics 

@twryst @andlabs @marrus_sh

Re: all of this, let's just say I have some experience in dealing with communities and moderation. I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. But what I know for a fact is most people who run communities don't really change what they do in response to feedback, and as such, don't give feedback myself anymore. Your passion about the issues is inspiring, but in my lifetime, pretty much nobody who runs any platform seems to ever listen. (1 / 2)

More Community Politics 

@twryst @andlabs @marrus_sh

(Cont) People who run things have their idea about what it is going to be, and generally don't seem to have any room left for what other people think. Not to despair but it seems the to-go rule is to have to create new things if something somebody else made doesn't do what you need anymore. I mean, I wish people would listen, but in my experience, they don't. It's an unfortunate part of reality.

@marrus_sh My counter would be that I post on twitter more than here, and lately it's been mostly sad angry politics that sometimes makes me feel physically sick with worry and stress.

Coming here is like a breath of fresh air and I'm not the only one who feels that way. I know some people use this place exclusively because they never want to see politics, and yeah, that sucks.

But I think most of us are engaged elsewhere and use this place to relax and destress for five minutes.

@Noelle808 there's a sharp distinction in my mind between meaningful political action and general bitterness and i'm absolutely with you in terms of reducing the latter. and i also think there's a bit of a divide between users who use twitter and mastodon simultaneously, and those who exclusively use mastodon. because if you're on twitter and getting that already, then yeah.

but i mean i think expecting people to keep their politics to birdsite is a bit of a tall order too, yknow.

@marrus_sh Yeah, I guess the real thing is: What do we want Mastodon to be?

It's a tough question, because it can never be all things to all people. Is masto just a platform? Or a community with more structured mores?

I'm willing to stick up preeetty hard for the people who feel like they can be unguarded here in a way they're afraid to be on other platforms. Will that even be possible if this place grows to the point where meaningful political organization is possible? I don't really know.

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