Morning Pages

On Mastodon (again) and some good links.

Morning Pages

Concerning myself this morning with Mastodon, and how it adapts to the influx of people from Twitter.

Mastodon is not Twitter, and the users seem rightly pleased about that. There are no ads, no crazy incompetent billionaire owner, fewer fights and pile-ons etc. That's what makes it better, calmer and more civilised.

But, at its core, moving beyond the structural differences between Mastodon and Twitter, both of these things are collections of people, and the experience is therefore shaped by the users. And so the users of Mastodon are concerned that an exodus of Twitter users is going to have an effect on the culture of Mastodon. This is understandable, even as it provokes comparison with attitudes to immigration in real life.

But the problem of policing the influx is where we risk running aground. Already there is talk of banning certain individuals whose views the community disagrees with. Banning people from servers is very much the USP of Mastodon; these are all micro-communities and their ability to grant access and to police themselves is what makes the Fediverse work so well. But blanket bans, so-called Fedi-wide bans, are a different thing. That is cancellation, a pile-on by another name. And it seems very... Twitter.

The relative calm of Mastodon, the longer character limits, the general vibe of the place, would all seem to lend themselves to deeper, more nuanced discussion. I'm not suggesting that anyone should spend their days debating with Nazis, but Mastodon can be a place where you can talk to people with whom you might broadly agree but with whom you have specific areas of disagreement.

And so I'm worried that labelling people based on one opinion they hold (again, I'm really not talking about Nazis and racists here, fuck those people), and then instituting blanket-bans, not only seems cowardly and illiberal, but it risks the very thing we are most afraid of; turning Mastodon into Twitter.

I joined Mastodon because I thought it could be a less hysterical, less binary place than Twitter. So far it is that. But if we start running scared of that with which we do not agree, if we decide that dissent is somehow offensive and not to be tolerated, then this experiment fails before it has even got started.

Does this make any sense? It's still early here.

Anyway, to the links...

An ancient “engineering miracle” has been discovered in Egypt - The Spaces

100 Rooms and 70 Secret Doors: Washington DC's Quirkiest Secret

Meet the Mama of Dada

Moss Drapes from Trees in Ethereal Photographs of England's Forests by Neil Burnell — Colossal

The Most Lawless County in Texas - D Magazine

Have a good one.