Things that make me worry about the future of Fedi: the real possibility that someday a major social media platform (I don't mean gab, let's be real, that's not really on the same level as Twitter) could implement AP and federate. They would be far, far too big to block, and it would get you far, far too much blowback from most users to do so.

This is basically why I think people should use small/single user instances.

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Gab is an easy instance to block because let's be real, if you're on fedi, unless you're like an ancap, Nazi, or tankie, you probably don't have a single friend who uses Gab in a serious capacity. Twitter is not an easy sell to block to people who originally *came* from Twitter.

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And if you've ever seen how Twitter users act (I assume most people have)... you know damn well Twitter being blocked is gonna make the world's most horrific discourse. You don't know the meaning of discourse til you've seen Twitter discourse.

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Blocking Gab created *enough* drama, especially from concern trolls, tech bros, and people who have some bizarre nebulous idea that everyone can federate with everyone and be some giant happy family (not gonna happen; cite: literally anyone who gets out at all). That, plus "you're blocking my friends."

Fuck, if Twitter wanted to kill fedi, just implement AP. It would be like throwing a molotov cocktail into the fediverse.

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@CobaltVelvet that's the difference between a house fire and the great chicago fire

@Elizafox idk somehow i think it would just be back to the regular bullshit after barely a few days

people who get upset over instance blocks would get upset, as usual, and get ignored by people who do, as usual

@ckeen As if they don't already got some people in house thinking the exact same stuff.

I agree, maybe it'd be like a bomb, I'd block it immediately

@Elizafox Why would tankies want to interact with Gab? Just to get into fights? Or is Gab not exclusively the domain of white supremacists?

can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@Elizafox i know this line of argumentation comes up often but i don't know that i understand it.

if FB federated, someone using masto could then talk to all their friends on FB without giving FB control of their timeline, without receiving ads, etc., etc. the loss here is FB's, in that users now have an option to effortlessly dodge their surveillance machinery.

i can understand how that event would change the individual calculus around "should i run an instance" and what running an instance entails, but i don't see how it kills fedi.

can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@garbados @Elizafox It's part of a tactic called Embrace, Extend, Extinguish, which was popularized by Microsoft. The goal is to provide a partial feature set and partial compatibility to give the illusion of alternatives, but that they aren't viable or desirable for actual use. Twitter or Facebook would hold all the cards in a situation where they decided to federate because of their user count. They could then dictate culture and function.

can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@MadestMadness @garbados Yeah it's a surprisingly effective tactic

Normies are very susceptible to it, and just about everyone else knows what the fuck is going on and feels powerless to stop it

can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@MadestMadness @garbados idk if you've ever used Active Directory (for the uninitiated, it does single sign-on stuff).

It uses LDAP, an open standard. When encountering it for the first time, you think you could build a compatible one on Linux. But it uses weird extensions that cause interoperability issues, extensions you *need* to actually log into Windows, too.

So if you want to use LDAP to log in with Windows, you're probably going to have to run AD.

can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@MadestMadness @garbados But, you can log in to Linux machines using AD, so you have a compelling reason to continue using it...

can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@MadestMadness @garbados This is exactly how EEE works. It's horrible. It's user-hostile. It works very fucking well.

I used to admin LDAP for a living (god save my soul) and I can tell you that building an AD-compatible server on Linux is like building a bookshelf out of mashed potatoes.

can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@Elizafox @garbados @MadestMadness Or for another example, look at Google Talk or Facebook Messenger.

Look at the benevolent tech companies and their embrace of the XMPP open standard, even to the point of (at least with Google) supporting S2S federati... oh. Now it's called Hangouts, and XMPP is a degraded experience, and S2S definitely does not exist any more. And, most people just used Google when thinking about XMPP, because "eh, they support S2S, and Google won't go down".

can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@Elizafox @MadestMadness @garbados Literally, one of the major corporate social networks could just add a ActivityPub bridge, and two huge things happen:

1. Everyone that cares about interacting with people who are only on Fedi now have no incentive to move to an indie instance
2. That corporate social network can pull a Fedichive and start doing *all* of their data collection that they do within their walled garden, but with the added bonus of contributing something that makes them effectively unblockable. Of course, the Fediverse is leaky as fuck as it is, but still.

It also sets up *exactly* the scenario that's causing Gmail to embrace/extend/extinguish e-mail. Fediverse spam protection is a fucking joke (that is, it's almost nonexistent), and corporate instances will be able to sell the same message Google did re: spam protection. (Large userbase means larger corpus and more accurate spam filtering, basically.) And then, they can start slowly distrusting remote messages, to the point that you have to be on the corporate instance to contact your friends on the corporate instance.

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@bhtooefr @MadestMadness @Elizafox this is a valid threat model but also that we're assuming basically nothing happens to the fediverse, its tech, or its community between now and then. fedi is still in implementation hell, with multiple implementations still adding features and discovering what features people want. in its current state, a zaibatsu has no reason to federate. the fediverse is neither a threat nor an opportunity.

but if we get admin guilds who can train up new admins with battle-tested norms and practices, then it becomes harder for a zaibatsu not to "leak" users to a less-surveilled interface.

if we get better privacy tech, such as "neighborhoods" and associated privacy controls, it'll be harder to deploy hostile surveillance against fedi.

of course this rebuttal relies on things that don't exist yet, and because we live in hell we may never get those things because everyone is too busy with other things, like surviving hell.

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@garbados @Elizafox @MadestMadness @bhtooefr Here's the thing, though: it's not going to be the top player who does it, because they have no incentive to do so, at least until the Fediverse becomes a serious threat to their dominance, at which point we can just tell them to fuck off. It'll be a runner-up who does it. And since it'll be a runner up, we will in fact be able to tell them to fuck off.


re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@bhtooefr @MadestMadness @Elizafox @garbados We should really focus on keeping our own house in order for now, though. In particular, aside from the instances that allow hate speech, we need to be putting pressure on open reg instances to stop subjecting us all to spam and reply guys.

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@TheGibson @freakazoid @Elizafox @MadestMadness @bhtooefr why would you block all zaibatsu-based instances

maybe that's something else about the conversation i don't understand

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@TheGibson @freakazoid @Elizafox @MadestMadness @bhtooefr zaibatsu just meaning "very large corporation" ex: facebook, google, etc. derived from the japanese term "zaibatsu" which refers to a specific cadre of very large corporations.

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@TheGibson @freakazoid @Elizafox @MadestMadness @bhtooefr i can understand that. two things:

- blocking all zaibatsu instances requires tooling that doesn't exist, but there's no reason it can't exist. they probably give themselves away with headers, or with the particulars of an endpoint's responses; an instance could catch these details and act on them.
- improved privacy features / tooling would help keep your non-public content under tighter wraps, even shifting norms away from the present default of public posting.

fighting back will take hard work but i just don't think that hard work is beyond us.

or maybe it is! haha 🙃

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@TheGibson @freakazoid @Elizafox @MadestMadness @bhtooefr agree 100%

i wish i could hack on AP tooling full time. then again i wish i could herd goats full time 🤷‍♀️

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@garbados @MadestMadness @Elizafox @freakazoid @thegibson I'm still of the general stance that federation should generally be much more restricted than it is, and that was even without this being a concern.

(Spam instances and harassing instances were the threat model that made me think the correct model was default-silence (in the Mastodon sense of the word) federation with a bit more permeability than in Mastodon, as well as some degree of default-deny-fetch. But corporate social media instances are another threat model that that would be partially effective against, at least to an extent.)

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@freakazoid @bhtooefr @MadestMadness @Elizafox @garbados
A small runner-up centralized social network can still be a lot larger than any single node ought to be, & in the past we've gotten lucky because they've all been internally ideologically consistent enough that for any given node, the decision to instance block is relatively easy. What if instead of Gab, Ello tried to federate?

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@Elizafox @garbados @MadestMadness and if you’re ever in danger of the open source project reaching cross compatibility, throw more engineers at it, i’m sure they’ll come up with some compression scheme or something

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@Elizafox @MadestMadness @garbados mandatory client-side caching

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@Elizafox @MadestMadness counterpoint: EEE is a specific strategy that doesn't always pay off.

FB dropped XMPP support for messenger because it hampered their ability to monetize data. Twitter has crushed 3rd party interfaces for the same reason -- it's no coincidence that they bought tweetdeck at the same time they locked down their API.

fedi is vulnerable to EEE like pretty much anything tech but it would take a significant investment at a significant loss. to see a zaibatsu turn its gaze toward fedi would represent a profound recognition of its power.

re: can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@garbados @Elizafox @MadestMadness
EEE ends up doing damage even if it doesn't end up making profit. Best case scenario here seems to be that federation & eventual defederation doesn't actually affect big or small nodes directly because communication between them is rare (like with gab or j3st3r's thing) & the whole thing blows over before protocol is affected.

can zaibatsu kill fedi 

@MadestMadness @garbados @Elizafox This is also how Google effectively killed XMPP


Here in South Africa there are a lot of really great groups doing good work in areas I care about.
However, just about every last one of those people is not "savvy" enough regarding how the internet *actually* works to grasp the value and meaning behind obscure terms (obscure to them at least) like: "decentralised" or "federated". They're all in farcebook, or twatter or that other video site (the one that isn't peertube).

So the problem is I want to engage with these folks, start conversations with them, maybe even collaborate on projects. However, my only option right now would be to go and actively use some part of the YouTwitFace 'verse, and I've said to myself that the goals we aim to achieve are bigger than my biases against these platforms, I really shouldn't censor or restrict myself by avoiding them. And yet I find myself simply unable to participate in those places. They are just .... terrible and toxic and (you know).

But if I could stay in my own #Friendica instance and send/receive messages to them without ever leaving here, well, that would just change everything for me.

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