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Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

I'm considering a policy regarding federation with larger instances that might run as follows:

In the spirit of decentralisation, Scholar Social will silence Mastodon instances whose user count is greater than 10,000, unless they have closed registrations

Documentation on what "silencing" means here:

docs.joinmastodon.org/usage/mo

tl;drβ€”you will still be able to follow users on a silenced instance, but they will not appear on the timeline

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Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

Also considering preemptively adding a clause like:

Scholar Social will suspend any instance launched or acquired by Alphabet, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, Apple or Amazon

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Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

K so thanks to the help of others in this thread, I can get the weekly unique logins stats for any Masto instance at least

To be lenient, I'm leaning toward a cap at 5k unique logins in a week

It's an arbitrary number, but I think 5k logins in a week is defensibly "way too big" for a single instance

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Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle

Instead of using a fixed number, is it possible to base it on ratios of all the users on mastodon instances? That way as mastodon grows as a whole, each instance can react accordingly? (so for example: any instance over 15% of the total users will be silenced until they shut reg)

I do like the general idea of silencing overly large instances though, cause I feel like the only people I've met are here or on mastodon.social

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@fluoricburn I kind of like that, and may revise the number upward as time goes on

But then I also kind of like the fixed number because it means that the ratio of people with moderation ability to users never falls below 1:10,000

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle

True. I forget that more instances can be made if (hypothetically) all current instances reach that establish threshold.

Sounds like good policy to me! πŸ‘

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle I think it's tricky because there may be some which have high user counts but fewer active users. art is one example. The admin there was saying only a small % are active. e.g. my scholar acct

That and I worry about whether/how the whole we may make choices which silence people who are brand new & getting the hang of things and thus have joined .social. otoh. I can def see the logic for it & silencing is not blocking.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@platypus I wonder if there's a good way to get active user numbers for an instance ...

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle @platypus Is there anyway of doing this which isn't scraping? Not sure there is, which runs against some instances anti-bot policies, no?

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@WilliamConey @platypus Tbh, I think 10k active users is way too huge for an instance to be effectively moderated anyway, so I'm okay with using total users, even if that's an over-estimate

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle @platypus you can check the activity endpoint eg glitch.social/api/v1/instance/ to get weekly statistics

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bea @platypus Is the "logins" there unique logins, as in "x users logged in" or is it "x logins occurred"?

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle @platypus unique logins in the last week as in x users logged in. statuses is ones posted by local users.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bea Thanks!

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle the issue with he larger, less moderates instances is often one of unwanted replies.

That’s not a problem solved by silencing.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@ajroach42 @bgcarlisle i thought it did? provided that the OP is not following the person making the reply

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bea @ajroach42

> the issue with he larger, less moderates instances is often one of unwanted replies

There's a LOT of issues, and this is meant to provide a disincentive for big instances to keep growing, not solve every problem

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle @ajroach42 oh, yeah i totally get that and agree with you

i just wanted to note that silencing actually does solve that particular problem

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bea @bgcarlisle I did not realize. I thought silencing only applied to public timelines, and not to notifications.

Sorry about that, bowing out now. :-)

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle
How does this end up relating to instances?

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bthall I imagine a similar policy for any node in the Fediverse, although I'm not 100% sure how to tell how many users are on a Pleroma instance :S

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle
I think new folks don't always grasp the federated nature of Masto. I think a policy like this has unintended consequences written all over it. I think a more nuanced test should determine whether sanctions are appropriate. Something like:
10k+ users AND evidence of ineffective moderation;
OR
Owned or operated by a for-profit corporate entity which routinely behaves unethically.
1/2

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle
Effectively means that when a scholar.social admin request moderation from an instance, that instance's mod(s) respond as expected.

Unethical behaviour is in the considered judgement of the scholar.social admin(s).

2/2

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@thelibrarian It is already our policy that evidence of ineffective moderation or even abdication of responsibility to do so is reason for a total instance suspension in itself

This policy is meant to keep instances from getting too big, and to prevent any one instance from having the power over the Fediverse that Gmail has over email, for example

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle @thelibrarian
How many instances meet those criteria (over 10K and still open)? 10K sounds like a lot of people, but it is very small compared to something like Gmail.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle

Thanks!

If yours is a policy that catches on, this makes a lot of sense. I still wonder if the number is too small, but I agree with the intention.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle
I am aware of both of those points. I just think this is trading a small problem for a more significant problem of how new people find a safe & welcoming instance, assuming this policy becomes widely adopted. I see this policy as punishing large instance joiners for the crime of ignorance.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@thelibrarian We already have the problem of people not being able to find a safe and welcoming instance, though, and no way to discourage large instance admins from collecting even more users

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle
So how does this policy help solve the discovery problem?

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@thelibrarian If mastodon dot social and other instances ever care enough to shut down their registrations, it will at least make users think about choosing an instance

It does not, of course, directly solve every problem

But it does (if enough smaller instances adopt it) provide a disincentive for instances to become so big that they are "too big to block"

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle
So you will unsilence large instances if the close registration? If so, by all means experiment. πŸ˜€

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@thelibrarian Yeah, if mastodon dot social closes registrations, they get un-silenced

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle
Maybe, since this is scholar.social, we could collaborate on developing or promoting some new user materials...to help the lovely people who want to join us or our small instance friends? Just an idea, I know there is a lot already out there.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle in thinking about this policy, what is your cutoff for scholar.social? When will you close registrations? Also, will that limit change if you find a growing population of inactive accounts?

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@drb If scholar.social ever got to 10k users, I'd shut down registrations, I think

I might be tempted to do it before then, if the moderation responsibilities started getting too heavy

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle ok. Seems like something based on the moderation workload makes the most sense. I'd imagine the % of inactive accounts could get quite high over time as people move in and out.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle Would users of large, open-enrollment instances still be discoverable via hashtag search?

I periodically search for , hoping to find other Mastodon users with an academic interest in the subject.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@robhughes According to the documentation:

docs.joinmastodon.org/usage/mo

> All of the content is still there, and it can still be found via search ...

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle Cool. Thanks. In that case, I don't have an opinion on the policy either way.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@robhughes @bgcarlisle I'm not sure that instance level silencing, as opposed to individual level silencing, would allow things like hashtags to be discoverable for accounts you don't follow. Definitely worth checking with the Masto literati.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@cheesegrits @robhughes This would not affect searching as per the linked documentation

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@bgcarlisle
I think that registered users, or even active users, is probably less important than posts-per-day.

An instance with 1,000,000 users that gets 100 posts per day is still easy to moderate and doesn't represent a significant decentralization issue.

I would personally prefer to ignore inactive or lurk accounts in that sort of metric.

Fediverse meta; instance policy; actually looking for input 

@jeffalyanak I'm gonna do a bit of poking around and see how much variation there is on the ratio

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Scholar Social

Scholar Social is a microblogging platform for researchers, grad students, librarians, archivists, undergrads, academically inclined high schoolers, educators of all levels, journal editors, research assistants, professors, administratorsβ€”anyone involved in academia who is willing to engage with others respectfully.