edent 6 days ago

There's a difference between running your own instance for you or your own staff and running one for the public.

I should be able to follow @ClarkKent@mastodon.daily-planet.info - that'll tell me that the account is who it says it is.

But mastodon.daily-planet.info absolutely shouldn't have a public registration.

Running a social network isn't for the faint-hearted. But running a publishing platform should be as simple as running a website.

  • dylan604 6 days ago

    >But running a publishing platform should be as simple as running a website.

    Why is this consider stupidly easy? What kind of website are talking about, because the websites I run and have run in the past are not so simple

    • edent 6 days ago

      I didn't say "stupidly easy". I said "as simple as".

      If you're running a basic WordPress / CMS - then running Mastodon should be as simple as that (i.e. pay someone to host and run).

      If you're running a global website with a load of subdomains, custom features, CDNs, etc - then running Mastodon should be as simple as your existing infrastructure.

      • amyjess 6 days ago

        This is true to an extent, but the problem with Mastodon is that you have to be really careful about who you federate with. Hosting your own Mastodon is like hosting your own email in that unless you set up your anti-spam capabilities perfectly, you will get permanently blackholed by the wider community.

        Except it's not just spam. Most of the wider fediverse will block your instance if you federate with instances that host nazis, child porn, etc. Which means the first thing you need to do when setting up your instance is gather a list of all those types and block them. Sure, you can say you're committed to "free speech" or whatever, but if all the large servers slam the door in your face your users will have nobody to talk to.

        Also, with the way Mastodon works, if your instance federates with another, your instance hosts a cached copy of all of their stuff that appears on your users' timelines. Which means you might run afoul of your host's TOS or even local laws. If you're in Germany and some American nazi's post saying "kill the Jews" gets federated onto your instance, you might be looking at serious legal trouble. Or even if you're not in one of those countries, you might get booted off AWS or Azure for hosting content against their TOS.

        So sure, it's as easy enough as any other webapp to launch into your infra, but maintaining a functioning Mastodon instance that doesn't get blocked by the wider fediverse or brings down the wrath of your hosting company or law enforcement on you is hard.

        • saurik 6 days ago

          I don't understand the "why" behind the second paragraph. (In contrast, you explain the tech more for the third paragraph.) To do a callback to the first paragraph, this is very unlike email: my email server barely has a working spam filter and explicitly will never actively reject email (or just organizes and tags it differently), and yet I am able to send and receive email from large hosts (or at least could until I lost my ancient IP address due to my colo provider moving to a different state, for which I weep; but that is an entirely unrelated issue, afaik ;P), as who else I email is none of their business. What about the tech of Mastadon makes other nodes refuse to "federate with" me if I "federate with" something they don't like?

          • amyjess 6 days ago

            No technical reasons, just the social mores of the wider community.

            Go to any large instance, hit up their about section and look at their list of banned servers: a good chunk of them have ban reasons like "'free speech' server that federates with gab and other nazis", etc.

            • saurik 5 days ago

              Sure, but your comment is the first time I have heard anyone in these discussions describe a transitive ban... how do they even know who else I federate with, and why do they care?

              • rolenthedeep 5 days ago

                Its mostly a culture thing. Mastodon has built a culture of aggressively protecting users because a lot of people are there because they received abuse through other platforms which refused to ban serial abusers.

                Whether that's good or bad is a different discussion, but the fact is that it's resulted in some fairly aggressive federation policies. In general, people on mastodon are pretty okay with this because they value their personal safety and comfort over "free speech" ideals.

                The thinking is that your instance has the right to moderate and federate however you want. Having posts from your server federated into mine is a privilege and totally at my discretion. If your server federates with hate speech servers and you don't intend to change that, I'm going to block you to prevent anything from the hate speech server from reaching mine.

                The overall goal is to protect users first and allow free speech second. Mastodon users want a safe and friendly place to have fun and hang out. It's meant to be a place to escape from free speech hellholes like Twitter.

                So servers defederate quickly and aggressively. Whether or not defederating from your server causes you problems is very strictly a "you" problem. The safety and comfort of users is paramount.

            • mflslsoam 6 days ago

              And the ones that ban Nazis are generally fine with leftists that hate Jews

              Basically if you block both left and right wing hatred and CP you're alone in the Fedi lmao

              The Fedi is like 4chan but worse, and normies think it's going to be better than Twitter even though it's worse in literally every aspect that they're upset about Twitter: petty censorship by server admins, horrible content, and identity verification are all -worse- on federated networks

          • boyter 6 days ago

                What about the tech of Mastadon makes other nodes refuse to "federate with" me if I "federate with" something they don't like?
            Nothing. The blocking situation on the fediverse is arcane at best.
          • gioo 5 days ago

            Imagine allowing everyone to register an account on your email server. Now you have people maybe sending stuff to other email addresses on other email servers that's maybe 'problematic'. In the case of email it's not a big deal, but with the fediverse it's different. Instances usually have at least a set of basic rules (e.g. no to nazism), and will block instances that don't also follow them because they don't want to see swastikas on their home feed.

            In practice this basically means that while the fediverse is decentralized and all that cool stuff, it's made up of two main groups of instances ('free speech' ones and not 'free-speech') that don't wanna have anything to do with each other. Self hosting an instance for yourself without blocking anything may work, but the second you open it to the public, questionable people are gonna join and retweet questionable stuff from other instances. If you don't take action you're gonna get blocked, and if you take action you're gonna have to eventually de-federate with these problematic instances yourself.

            • saurik 5 days ago

              > Imagine allowing everyone to register an account on your email server.

              That is not what we are talking about with this sub-thread; the top-level comment carefully argued that people shouldn't do that at all--that you should only host your own accounts and that it undermines the concept to host random people at your domain (which I agree with 100%)--and the comment I am directly responding to buys into the premise and talks about servers my server federates with, not accounts my server itself hosts.

              > Self hosting an instance for yourself without blocking anything may work...

              Well, does it? The comment I was responding to claims that, if I host my own Mastadon server--which of course isn't going to let randos get accounts... you can't sign up for an @saurik.com email address either (nor should you be able to)--and then have the gall to merely federate with everyone everywhere, I will get blocked by common big servers.

              I don't see why or even how this would be the case, but maybe Mastadon has some weird technical thing allowing this kind of weird transitive block which I don't understand. I am thereby trying to get some kind of explanation for how this works and then why people would go out of their way to do it once they figured out how, as it seems ridiculous to me, and I am using the same analogy used for hosting one's own email server to show why.

              For avoidance of any doubt, the claim I am responding to--the thesis of the "second paragraph" that I say needed to have more explanation--was that "most of the wider fediverse will block your instance if you federate with instances that host nazis, child porn, etc.". Do you, I guess, disagree with this (and thereby agree with me and my complaint/confusion)? Again: this has nothing to do with letting people sign up for accounts on my server.

              • gioo 3 days ago

                I apologize, I tried to answer a broader question and somehow kinda missed the main point.

                If you host your own Mastadon server, you can federate with everyone. Other servers will only block you if you interact with the nazis, child porn, et cetera. If you keep the problematic content read-only then it's gonna be fine. You can hide the list of federated/blocked servers, so no one will know (unless of course, again, you re-tweet, like, or comment something from a specific server).

                There is no weird thing allowing transitive blocks, but mind that there are block lists so if your server is inserted in one you will be blocked by a lot of servers at once.

      • dylan604 6 days ago


        • jermaustin1 6 days ago

          WordPress is as easy as websites get. My 70 year old father runs a handful of them. They are 1 click to install, and have a built in plugin system to add extra features.

          Running WP is easy for the majority of users.

          • TylerE 6 days ago

            Yes. Until gramps forgets to update and he gets owned by scriptkiddies...usually via a hole in one of those plugins.

            • jermaustin1 6 days ago

              He pays $40/mo for all of his sites, and included in that is hourly backups rolling for multiple days, security audits, automatic updates, and the ability to lock down logins to a specific IP.

              In the 8 years of hosting with wordpress, he's been under constant automated attack, and never once has a site been compromised. I doubt that is because he is some super computer genius, and more likely its just that his host has a decent offering.

              But point still stands, if a host allows you to click a button to launch a wordpress site, that is still easy to do.

              • Fuzzwah 6 days ago

                The difference in what people think of as "running a website" is at play in this conversation.

                Administering a website hosted by WordPress.com isn't the same level of difficulty as being an admin of a LAMP based website on bare metal.

                • TylerE 6 days ago

                  Or (from personal experience helping multiple friends) running Wordpress on a commodity cpanel host.

shortformblog 6 days ago

I just don’t get how a newspaper with a freaking comments section doesn’t understand the risk inherent with a social media website. If you break it down, a text-based comments section has many of the risks of a Mastodon server—people can share all manner of things. And worse, it’s actually centralized.

If everyone was as risk-averse as the FT comes off in this article, we would not have any creations of note.

  • gnz11 6 days ago

    They know. Some editor saw the term "Mastadon" (or whatever other keywords) was trending and decided they needed to get some content up. Stuff like this is often content for the sake of content.

  • glass3 6 days ago

    If everyone was as risk-averse, laws would be either much more lenient or the internet would flourish in other countries.

    I don't get why newspapers don't use Mastodon as a standard for their comment sections. Social networks are all about credibility. By moderating their users and requiring a fee, newspapers could become the service for credible accounts and reclaim the social network space from Facebook.

    • shortformblog 6 days ago

      I absolutely agree. I have said that federated social media is a great opportunity to put the genie back in the bottle and localize social media to some degree. The problem is that this is the mindset we’re up against.

      Again, the newspaper assuredly did all the homework around building policies around moderating social media decades ago. They just aren’t putting two and two together.

xrayarx 6 days ago

About running a mastodon instance

Quote: "It is therefore with relief and regret that we announce the shutdown of Alphaville.club, this blog’s completely unofficial home on the Fediverse. Our reasons are listed below in full but, to summarise, Mastodon has proved more hassle than its worth."

  • pmarreck 6 days ago

    I mean, the relative cost really depends on how much you value having one up that you control, I suppose.

    I also think Pleroma or one of its forks (Akkoma, etc.) might be far less hassle to run while still being compatible with the same metaverse protocol, because Elixir (with erlang/OTP underneath) is far more resource-efficient than Ruby is (we're talking orders of magnitude more efficient in both CPU and memory efficiency, although content storage demands would likely remain necessary to keep a lasso on)

    • pja 6 days ago

      Mastodon instances do seem to cache a /lot/ of content from peer servers in the interests of user-perceived latency.

zoobab 6 days ago

About the "Social media bosses face jail under amendment to UK online safety bill" https://archive.is/kJh46

At least with Nostr (compared to Mastodon) this won't be a problem anymore, at least some decent implementation of the declaration of independence of Cyberspace.

  • zoobab 6 days ago


    "the problem is that most major states are pressuring corporations to limit speech."

    • WeylandYutani 6 days ago

      No advertisers do. Look to 4chan for free speech. No company in their right mind wants to have anything to do with it.

      Corporations want family friendly sites with only happy thoughts.

      • Ralfp 6 days ago

        I also want a fun place to procrastinate on but for some reason most vocal „internet free speech advocates” are also the people who insist my feed should be mostly political agitation, aggressive content that targets people or minorities and news to piss me off, otherwise I am one of the „sheeple”.

        • manimino 6 days ago

          That description just sounds like regular news and social media.

          • artificial 6 days ago

            Once something becomes a number it ceases to be a metric? It's all about eyeballs and ads focused around engagement. Reminds me of a clip of dogs aggressively barking at one another behind a fence or glass door.

        • amadeuspagel 6 days ago

          No one cares about your feed. If you don't want "political agitation, aggressive content that targets people or minorities and news to piss me off" on your feed, then don't follow people who post this kind of stuff.

      • HardlyCurious 6 days ago

        This talking point gets repeated a lot, and it is really disingenuous.

        What you are saying has absolutely nothing to do with legitimate medical doctors being deplatformed because they have an off script opinion of how society should respond to covid.

        It has nothing to do with kicking trump off Twitter.

        What you are saying has nothing to do with any of the 'moderation' that anyone is actually complaining about.

biorach 6 days ago

> Meanwhile, for the benefit of... Morgan Stanley’s Distressed Debt & Special Situations team, here are a few things we learned about why taking responsibility for a social media site is a bad idea...

that made me laugh out loud

7373737373 18 hours ago

I decided to remove a reddit-like forum and twitter-like personal feed from one of my websites, because moderating it quickly became hell on earth.

Every rule (if you already have them) will be broken, and you will soon find yourself surrounded by a shitton of moral and legal dilemmas. Not to mention the insane amount of work and attention that has to be dedicated to it. It's a thankless job that never ends. Also, brace for people who have a different cultural, moral or legal understanding who want to argue against your (imperfect) decisions. It's a lot of responsibility and potential liability.

bryceelder 6 days ago

Hello! Author of the story here. Happy to answer any questions.

Though we all love archive.ph, FT Alphaville isn't behind a paywall. Email registration -- on the far right of the barrier page -- gives unlimited access.

I set up the server during the peak exodus from Twitter. We use Twitter a lot, both to get stories out and to listen to readers, so the risk of it dying was very real. We made the decision to get a minimal-viable-product up asap, to give our Twitter refugee readers somewhere to go.

Urgency to act meant avoiding committees and working the difficult stuff out later. But Twitter survived, 'Don user engagement was meh, and the difficult stuff became not worth it.

The 160gb thing isn't just a Johnny Mnemonic reference. I'm a lazy coder who relies on cludges, so my 'Don deployment was a mess of duplication and surplus. About three weeks after launch the server hit 100% storage and crashed. I had the option of fixing the code or buying more space. Because I'm lazy I took the second option. A week later it hit 100% and crashed again.

Though it was obvious the setup was broken, the long-term strategy of repair always lost out to the short-term fix of buying more space.

We talked about keeping the server going but restricting it to staff only. Ultimately though, it still involved jumping through many hoops to make everything compliant, and while we all like the Fediverse to varying degrees it hasn't yet become essential to our work. We just couldn't justify the time required.

Maybe the FT can be convinced into doing something official eventually. I'm certainly not against it, so long as I'm not involved in the IT or legal side.

  • jph 6 days ago

    Kudos Bryce for writing the story and also for posting here. This is a great story from the trenches.

  • elicksaur 6 days ago

    Email registration is paying with information rather than money.

    • bryceelder 6 days ago

      Use a burner. We neither check nor care.

      • account42 5 days ago

        Then why require email registration at all?

        • bryceelder 5 days ago

          Good question. I can't speak on marketing, strategy etc but from an editorial perspective, an email address is the smallest thing we can ask for to justify keeping the site free.

  • KaiserPro 6 days ago

    whats the difference between mastodon and say the longroom(rip)? From what I remember Long room didn't have any outside moderators (like the comments section does)

    was it the sheer amount of content, or just that it was outside the sphere of support (both legal and technical) to be useful?

    • bryceelder 6 days ago

      The Long Room was difficult for other reasons. Everything there was on FT webspace and was built by FT people, but with strictly limited access, so the compliance folks were comfortable. Moderation was light but within our control. Risks were known, therefore manageable. The eventual decision to kill LR was taken largely in the hope that we could replace it with something better. That's a work in progress.

motohagiography 6 days ago

I could see them looking at HN and thinking, "FT readers are a cut above a bunch of computer repair people. Surely if they can have a civil public discourse, we can."

They really do have some of the ingredients, but they are missing key ones. I'd say the biggest limitation to building a social platform from even as rarefied a captive demographic as their esteemed readership is that when your livelihood is based on relationships and narrative over concrete physical skills, the stakes on being controversial are too high.

If you are a financial advisor and you are controversial in public and lose, among peers whose stock in trade is being aligned to the highest powers available, you lose your credibility and place in your pecking order. Whereas, if someone decides I'm on the wrong side of a narrative, I can still write code, build something, or make it work.

Opinions are what we have when we're not actually doing the thing we have the opinion about, so it's my indulgence to be provocative about how well the world is being run - because I'm not the one doing it. All the world is indeed a stage, and getting all the best lines is almost fair compensation for having to put up with its managers. The issue of our time is that the people running the world think people like me have a bit too much freedom to mock their degenerate incompetence, and they think controlling public forums is going to be easier than doing a more credible job.

There is an iron law about the trade off between autonomy and power, where power is to act through others, and autonomy is to act without others. Quality discourse (social media content), and news stories, require some kind of friction or conflict to make them interesting and compelling. This disqualifies powerful people from participating as themselves because the risk of alienating the people through whom they act is too high. (Musk is the exception that makes the rule.)

The "social" in social media means that it's for kids and plebes like us who can afford to have drunk pictures of themselves on the internet because we aren't engaged in the all-against-all political power struggle that defines elite competition - the world most FT/Economist readers inhabit. My opinions have nothing to do with my ability to fix computers, where for the typical FT reader, their opinions signal their alignment, status, and reputation. They can't risk their reputations on making the kind of piquant online comment that makes this all so good.

I'm glad they learned you can't just "start your own" social media platform, but that wasn't the real obstacle for them. It's that, they'll never (shit)post like common people.

JPLeRouzic 6 days ago

> "After just a month our barely visible Fediverse presence was taking up 160 gigabytes"

  • smcl 6 days ago

    The "160 gigabytes" text was linked to the Johnny Mnemonic wikipedia page, so it it possible they're just exaggerating and meant "it was growing at a rate we didn't expect or couldn't really sustain"?

    This got me wondering, I created a Mastodon user @ defcon.social and my first couple of posts were images, just to test things out and get started with my chosen client - Ivory by Tapbots (the creators of Tweetdeck, RIP) after tptacek spoke glowingly of it here. Then I realised that by posting those I'm basically taking up space on a community service without paying for it, and I wasn't sure exactly what the etiquette was. On a commercial, monetised service like Twitter it's different as there are advertisers (or at least there were...) but afaik "defcon.social" is just a non-profit and I'd really like not to be a big cost sink.

    Also I wondered if there's any overhead involved in following users across many different instances - if my @defcon.social user follows a bunch of users on various other instances does that place additional burden on their mastodon instance or just on my local client?

    Might be time for me to read the defcon.social fine print and T&Cs (I only glanced over it) or even about Mastodon/ActivityPub generally...

    • KaiserPro 6 days ago

      I have my own instance, and it eats disk space, in a fun and sometimes difficult to recover way.

      It caches all media that you view, and I assume it might prefetch stuff to. It has a tool that prunes out old cached images and such. However that script isn't setup to run automatically (or if it is, its far too loosey-goosey)

      However the biggest killer is that it doesn't clear cached user page header images. Here is the output of my cache. Headers are not cleaned, and need to be deleted manually.

        Attachments: 1.43 GB (8.19 MB local)
        Custom emoji: 61.9 MB (0 Bytes local)
        Preview cards: 344 MB
        Avatars: 3.01 GB (71.7 KB local)
        Headers: 6.69 GB (172 KB local)
        Backups: 0 Bytes
        Imports: 0 Bytes
        Settings: 36.2 KB
    • jabroni_salad 6 days ago

      I mainly use twitter to keep tabs on some artists and none of them want to move. Reading this, maybe it is for the best. My follows would create a lot of overhead for wherever it is I park my account compared to someone who just participates in text.

    • UncleEntity 6 days ago

      From what I can gather every follower gets an individual copy of every post sent to their server who either deduplicates it and stores it in their database or just stores the message per subscriber.

      So if 10,000 people on server A subscribe to someone on server B then server B will send 10,000 duplicate messages to server A.

      I hope I’m wrong but that’s what I’ve heard.

      • dpkirchner 6 days ago

        Reminds me of:

        > This program posts news to thousands of machines throughout the entire civilized world. You message will cost the net hundreds if not thousands of dollars to send everywhere. Please be sure you know what you are doing.

        From the rn usenet client, back in the day.

      • maegul 6 days ago

        Oh my! I’d heard ActivityPub was chatty but haven’t looked into the details. This, if true, sounds … not good.

        Anyone with expertise here who can speak to the scaling of ActivityPub?

        • mariusor 6 days ago

          The size of an ActivityPub payload overhead is minimal.

          On each individual server they are ideally saved based on their unique identifier (which are RFC3987 IRIs) and I doubt that there is any software that will do it individually for each inbox instead of storing one copy to which each inbox links to.

          To minimize even this, each server can store just the IRI(which is mandated to be de-referenceable) and load the payload when prompted by UI. I doubt that anyone does this also.

          • maegul 6 days ago

            Yes that makes sense! Thanks!

      • stnmtn 6 days ago

        Why are tech people so behind mastodon? If this is true this sounds incredibly worrying to scale; to the point where mastodon is limiting it's own growth potential

        • dylan604 6 days ago

          If. Did you research if this was true before posting a knee jerk reaction to something that might not be true? If not, you are no better than the person that posted the misleading comment.

        • smcl 6 days ago

          Remember there's a fair bit of speculation here, I just thoughtlessly blasted my question here without researching (not sure where to start, tbh) and UncleEntity didn't seem too sure about the duplicated/redundant requests. It's entirely possible that Mastodon doesn't have this problem

  • jherskovic 6 days ago

    Federated content is copied to every instance, so yes, follow a few people and you can see your instance's disk usage explode. I run an instance for some friends.

    The usage can be contained with a few cron jobs to purge old cached content aggressively. Running

    `tootctl statuses remove && tootctl media remove` once a week is enough to make it sane in my case.

    • jherskovic 6 days ago

      To add to this, you can also set it up so entire federated servers are followed, and it may be that way by default. So follow ONE person on mastodon.social, and suddenly your toy instance is trying to copy a significant chunk of the Fediverse to its hard drive in real time.

      • asmor 6 days ago

        That's done via relay servers, you can't just firehose an entire server without its cooperation.

        • jherskovic 6 days ago

          You're correct. I forgot about that. I did try relaying for a while, that's what made the usage REALLY explode.

  • ceejayoz 6 days ago

    That's $3/month on S3.

    My personal instance has been up two months with 12 GB space used, but only 88 MB of that is my stuff; the rest is just the cache of others' posts. That can be fairly aggressively cleared out, and I think Mastodon lets you configure an automatic purging of this data.

    • smcl 6 days ago

      I was very tempted to create and operate an instance for me and my friends, since Digital Ocean have a nice pre-built image that's ready to go, but it never left the "that would be fun, I should read into that" phase. I hope you don't mind but I'm about to fire off a bunch of questions - if you're too busy to answer or just don't feel like answering, I won't feel offended :) How are you finding it, is it just yourself or do you have a few more users? Do you have to deal with abuse/spam much? Also what kind of hardware do you have it on - is it pretty memory/cpu hungry ever or is it quite well-behaved?

      • ceejayoz 6 days ago

        Mine's on masto.host, so it's managed; costs me a few bucks a month and I'm happy with it. It's just for me, so all my follows are federated; as such, spam/abuse has been non-existent.

        • smcl 6 days ago

          Ah I hadn't heard of masto.host, ok that's another thing to look into. Thanks!

      • yabones 6 days ago

        2 cores and 4 GB memory is more than adequate for a <10 users. My instance runs on an old Celeron NUC sitting on the shelf above the litter box and connects to the internet through a cloudflare tunnel. Works great, and is basically free to run.

        • smcl 6 days ago

          Ah funny, I didn't think to look if there was tunneling that let me serve local stuff publicly (I have a NUC tucked away somewhere in my flat, I had it serving some stuff thru SSH tunneling to a Digital Ocean droplet until I realised "why am I not just running this on my droplet?")

      • r_h_s 6 days ago

        I do this, with the digital ocean image. It’s been pretty low overhead so far, I wind up paying like $15 a month at most including storage (not hooking up email saves a lot).

        I don’t allow people who I don’t know to make accounts so I haven’t had any spam or abuse trouble.

        I haven’t had to deal with any downtime or technical issues since I got it running, which is a bit of a disappointment tbh

      • asmor 6 days ago

        Akkoma is a very good option if you're concerned about resource usage. I proxy media from other servers and then let it hit a managed CDN (bunny.net in this case). My CDN bill is less than 10 cents per month.

bronikowski 6 days ago

I run my one-person instance with gotosocial. Yeah, the attachments are a bit PITA. I'm federating with 167 other instances, I follow sub-100 people.

    gotosocial: du -h | tail -1
    3.8G    .
andai 6 days ago

> For obvious reasons, we can’t use big-tech’s trick of concentrating lobbying efforts by putting all our servers in Luxembourg or Ireland.

Bullshit! I could do that, and I'm broke!

imajoredinecon 6 days ago

The tl;dr is “our lawyers and CEO hated it,” which is sad for the author who was just trying to have some harmless fun, but is not surprising.

  • yborg 6 days ago

    Alternative title: "We casually decided to run a social media site for a starched-collar pillar of the financial reporting community, and all we got out of it was some clever snark."

    • KaiserPro 6 days ago

      > clever snark

      Thats the entire point of ftalphaville. Its a great read, and free, barring email signup

  • guerrilla 6 days ago

    I think they also learned more about how toxic their active userbase actually is (I don't mean the general readership but people who comment.) You ever read the comments there? It's 100% trash.

    • Rastonbury 6 days ago

      The comments went to trash ever since they sold subscriptions to universities, I am still upset about this. But yes they are not worth a peek these days

millzlane 6 days ago

Is it true that admins have access to DM's?

  • est31 6 days ago

    There seems to be no UI for it in the official mastodon code, but yes it's just one database lookup away (or a list of database lookups).

    I mean it's a common thing to not have end-to-end encryption. Gmail, Instagram, Discord, all can read DMs of logged in users.

    Something being open source doesn't mean it's end to end encrypted.

    Only some messengers have end to end encryption, like WhatsApp, Threema, Signal, etc. There are plans for mastodon to get E2EE as well, there is some backend work done but it seems to not be used in the mobile apps yet.

  • Hamuko 6 days ago

    Your content is in the admin's database. You basically just have to trust that the admin has no reason and incentive to read your DMs, edit your toots and so on.

istillwritecode 6 days ago

ft.com epitomizes what is wrong with web, with a big ass modal about cookies that only goes away if you accept their cookies. I would be happy to see such sites go bankrupt because they piss of so many potential readers who won't see their ads.

incomingpain 6 days ago


  • croes 6 days ago

    Freedom of speech itself can be used to hinder others freedom of speech.

    • incomingpain 6 days ago

      >Freedom of speech itself can be used to hinder others freedom of speech.

      I've never seen anyone say this before. Could you elaborate how? Like speaking over someone so they may not speak?

      • pjc50 6 days ago

        Harrasment, doxing, threats, intimidation; there's all sorts of perfectly legal ways (or illegal-but-never-prosecuted ways, which count as "legal") to make people decide it's simply not worth saying certain things.

      • mftrhu 6 days ago

        Intimidation is the act of using threats - direct and indirect - humiliation, embarrassment & co. to make other people too fearful to perform actions which they would otherwise be free to engage in.

        For that, speech is usually more than enough, especially if performed by a large ingroup against a small outgroup.

      • croes 6 days ago

        That's how non physical bullying and cyberbullying works.

        That's one of the reasons the whole hate speech topic became an issue.

        • otuva 6 days ago

          I can't seem to make the connection here.

          If everyone is free to speak their minds, how can it be used to silence others?

          Even more improbable in the context of cyberbullying. Tyler the Creator's cyberbullying tweet appears to be more relevant than this take.

          • jakelazaroff 6 days ago

            Obvious example: “I’ll kill you if you don’t shut up.”

            • otuva 6 days ago

              Oh, ok. But, I thought they were referring to the term freedom of speech as in the first amendment (not includes obscenity, child pornography, fighting words, and the advocacy of imminent lawless action) because they've given an example of cyberbullying

              • jakelazaroff 6 days ago

                "I'll doxx you if you don't shut up"? Or, more generally, a constant barrage of things like "kill yourself" or "you're a [insert slur here]", which doesn't rise to a First Amendment violation but definitely has the effect of silencing people?

              • croes 6 days ago

                Imagine dozens of people calling every comment you make wrong, unprofessional or dumb.

                There aren't many people for whom this would have no effect on the nature and quantity of their comments.

        • pessimizer 6 days ago

          > That's how non physical bullying and cyberbullying works.


          edit: you've just picked another (tautological) form of speech for which you're not explaining how it suppresses the freedom of others to speak. The question-begging word "bullying" here is the hint. The "bully" would refer to it as commentary, not bullying.

          Can Donald Trump be bullied? Can a racist mass shooter? "Bullying" is a value judgement.

  • Simplicitas 6 days ago

    Definitely a prisoner's dilemma .. an applicable take on where all this is going is Popper's Paradox Of Tolerance (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance). Not sure that Elon and many other seemingly well-intended social media free-speech advocates fully grasp the implications of this.

    • pessimizer 6 days ago

      We simply cannot tolerate those who think that the government should have a hand in suppressing political speech.

    • incomingpain 6 days ago

      >Definitely a prisoner's dilemma .. an applicable take on where all this is going is Popper's Paradox Of Tolerance (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_tolerance). Not sure that Elon and many other seemingly well-intended social media free-speech advocates fully grasp the implications of this.

      In terms of paradox of tolerance. Even in the USA, there are limits on free speech.


      You cant advocate for violence in the USA. Not only is this not protected by free speech, it's a crime.

      The assertion of "tolerance without limit" doesnt apply. There's your limits right there.

      Elon's twitter never changed this rule. You may not advocate for violence on twitter. This is not in contradiction with Elon's free speech absolutism.

      What's important to understand is say Reddit who has eliminated free speech. What do you earn? You earn echo chambers, you divide your populous. You never solve your problems. Each side sees only the worst of the other side. Nobody talks to each other again. Political polarization is 100% because of no free speech on social media.

      >You're posting too fast. Please slow down. Thanks.

      I'm shadow banned and flagged on HN so I can't respond to you until it's lifted. Guess it was more than a 1 hour ban. Imagine attempting to have a conversation on HN and not being able to reply

      Good ole -10, goto jail for me. Thanks prisoners dilemma.

      How ironic, but not surprising. What a waste of time. So long and thanks for all the fish.

      • Vecr 5 days ago

        You can actually advocate violence legally in the US, just not as directly as you might want to. Talk to a lawyer first. Some of the key things to remember are that you don't mention a time or place of what you want to happen, and leave the details of exactly who's going to do it and what the specific action is a bit fuzzy.

  • LBJsPNS 6 days ago


    • Simplicitas 6 days ago

      I once shot a duck in my pajamas .. what it was doing there, I have no idea!

      Wait! It was an elephant.

    • incomingpain 6 days ago

      >Quack quack quack quack quack.

      You identify as a duck?

      The stated goal of HN is to enable conversations and prevent becoming an echo chamber. guess they failed.

      • axus 6 days ago

        Winston turned a little sideways in his chair to drink his mug of coffee. At the table on his left the man with the strident voice was still talking remorselessly away....He held some important post in the FICTION DEPARTMENT....It was just a noise, a quack-quack-quacking....Every word of it was pure orthodoxy, pure Ingsoc....Winston had a curious feeling that this was not a real human being but some kind of dummy. It was not the man's brain that was speaking, it was his larynx. The stuff that was coming out of him consisted of words, but it was not speech in the true sense: it was noise uttered in unconsciousness, like the quacking of a duck.

      • LBJsPNS 6 days ago

        Absurd premises receive absurd responses.

        • pessimizer 6 days ago

          It's absurd that the FBI meets with social media regularly to discuss which accounts or ideas to minimize, prioritize, ban, or make immune from ban? Or is it absurd to think that people should hear from their political opponents?