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Josh Millard @joshmillard

Having moderated a large online community for about a decade now, I'm finding the collective arguing about CW protocol and kindness vs. freedom interesting and familiar and tiring and valuable all in a mix.

Community self-identification is a weird process, and I think I am mostly glad that mastodon doesn't by its very structure require the answer to be monolithic and universal.

But I will tip my hand a little and say that erring on the side of kindness is pretty much always defensible.

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@joshmillard I do like the founding community for mastodon, I think it reflects well in how people are talking about it here (even with the influx of newcomers!). I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this platform in particular!

Further to which I really love how much was and in its core userbase still is and I believe will be a goofy pile of queer furry antifascist art nerds et al.

I like my mefites and I like interesting community growth and all that but fuckity fuck I'm way more interested in masto being an interesting space for and by folks who aren't literally mainstream everywhere, so fuckin' keep on keeping on y'all, sorry about all the new street traffic. I Hope it sorts out okay.

@joshmillard It's good and important to have brand new spaces that can set guidelines that suit their times.

Mefi is a special place but it didn't have these issues of CW and harassment and federation built-in from the start. Very keen to see how it all shapes up.

@adrianhon Yeah, exactly. Very different processes, playing out on different scales and in this case a deeply accelerated (at least for the moment) pace. I'm keen and hopeful.

.@joshmillard I feel like Mastodon is so very different from Ello and and other recent social networks because the lack of an editorial voice trying to tell me what/who is cool

@joshmillard well said, menger sponge! I knew I could count on mathematical constructs to be kind! <3

@joshmillard @kitredgrave yeah, federation makes this problem actually solvable. If you want cw, go to a cw instance, if you don't want them, don't.

@joshmillard Problem is that due to federation I think it'd be possible to establish a community of trolls who can still be jackasses to everyone else.

@sotonohito Yeah, I think there's gonna be a lot of energy and effort spent on trying to sort out ways to make this stuff actually stick within and between subcommunities. Will be an interesting mess. But it's heartening to see these conversations happening earlier on compared to the older web having to kinda stumble onto them years on when circumstances change.

@joshmillard I agree 100%. CW is a powerful and easy tool, and we should use it. I remember when MeFites wanted something similar on threads with spoilers, and tried ROT13, which was not really convenient, and also kind of annoying to look at. And IIRC, the mods were not fans of it?

@ikea_femme Yeah, I think there are structural aspects on MeFi specifically that make it more complicated -- partly because there was such a long baking-in of community practice and culture there already -- though I suspect at that we'll continue talking about it. But MeFi also has 24/7 top-down moderation, very different scale in how we can soft-manage those issues when they're not automated or sort of abstractedly tool-based.

@ikea_femme That we can, on the site, say "okay there are a handful of people whose paid jobs it is to specifically wrangle the details of these disputes" and that we have a relatively limited number of channels/verbs from which those disputes can arise makes it more possible to deal with the problem in a manual, case-by-case way than e.g. trying to establish a federation-wide culture of practice through collective, essentially leaderless discussion.

@joshmillard Yeah, I wish everywhere could have Mefi-style moderation, but it just doesn't scale.

I hope the federation's loose "If your instance or its users are jerks we'll ignore you" policy is the incentive to create good community modding. But then you got to find communities that are good at server ops, community management, and ethics.

At the very least, I hope they bake crypto into later versions of the protocol.

@joshmillard We put a lot of trust in not just our own instances, but admins of other instances with inter-instance DMs, for one. If every user and instance got a PGP key, and end-to-end encryption was an easy option for communication, that could fix a lot of more obvious abuses/invasions of privacy.

@joshmillard All good points. Kindness, curiously, does not exclude conflict, it merely establishes a framework of respect within which conflict can be productive. IMO.