Océane
@oceane@playground.bonfire.cafe
I’m a sociology graduate, trying to work where I can to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable economy (i.e. towards our natural and social commons, e.g. water, the air, the ground, public transportation, social security, etc.) Autistic, she/her
Océane replied
@oceane
· 5 days ago
So the first thing that I want to make clear is that Mastodon has a history of being inhospitable to marginalized users. This history is born out, as I’ve learned, through the marginalization and eventual shuttering of instances of...
Eventually an entire extension would be ideal, just like I could reply to tasks, I’d like to be able to reply (if the instance policy lets me do it) to instance block announcements, if possible directly, as a mod, from the social extension; I’d like as well to be able to share these instance blocks to different circles by boundary, as usual, and for example to let a large circle of instance roles follow my instance blocks, and a smaller circle of instance roles comment or interact with these instance blocks (otherwise than by clicking on the "block" button).


The main difference would be, I suppose, that these boundaries would be set by a specific role on behalf of the instance and that you wouldn’t manage the permissions user by user, but instance role by instance role, e.g. if you have moderators and new_followers_monitors on instance A and B, then you let all the moderators on instance A follow the instance blocks, but you’re free to assign different permissions to the moderators on instance B.

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So the first thing that I want to make clear is that Mastodon has a history of being inhospitable to marginalized users. This history is born out, as I’ve learned, through the marginalization and eventual shuttering of instances of color, of instances that were dedicated to hosting and supporting sex workers, of harassment of disabled users and so on. So Mastodon– while its federated model was premised on, well, the activity protocol, if I understand the history correctly– it was built in some ways to produce affordances that would avoid the kinds of harassment on Twitter. Things like quote tweet pile ons, things like other kinds of usage of the quote tweet or the comment or the reply feature to do violence. What that hasn’t done is prevented the violence. In fact, it’s given the kinds of bad actors who would do violence an opportunity to say, adjust to the new affordances because it’s not simply identities that are enabled by means of a digital environment, it is oppression that is enabled by means of a digital environment. So the oppression that one experiences on a platform like Mastodon will necessarily be different than the oppression that one experiences on a platform like Twitter, because of the different affordances of the platform.

The Whiteness of Mastodon


I’m recommending to read the entire article of course, but this specific paragraph reminded me of an idea I had, to let instances subscribe to other instances’ block lists… With an option to sort the blocks by category, and to display followers-only comments? @BonfireBuilders #bonfire_feedback

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Océane replied
@oceane
· 6 days ago
When opening the playground I am two clicks away from Social > Posts, which is what I expect to see as I enter the site. I have the feeling Posts should be an important part of the dashboard, distinguishable from other kind of feeds (coming from...
I disagree, Bonfire isn’t just a superpowered microblogging platform, and it would be a big mistake to suggest otherwise to extension developers (who are, first and foremost, Bonfire users).
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I’ve spent a delightful time on honk, until my partner’s come back with the keys I’d forgotten at home, so I could start doing something productive. I’ve also had an excellent time yesterday, teaching an autistic kid about life and earth sciences, and mathematics – while being in the closet –, and then I came back home, feeling sick and unable to connect with my partner, work, or move on.


In both cases, the following have happened:


  1. I’ve been rewarded for what I was doing, respectively by scrolling through interesting contents and by seeing him "get" it and become more confident;
  2. these rewards weren’t related to what my identity as a transgender woman was doing; in the first case, it was mere contents consumption, and in the second case, these rewards were meant for what someone I wasn’t was doing – a man I wasn’t was doing.


If you want to have a glimpse of what gender dysphoria means, although you should know this is about a 5th or a 10th of what I experience, go spend a few weeks using honk.


Social life is made of rewards, and they’re good, actually; what’s truly creepy is selectively rewarding your users for spending their time in front of their screens, and to this regard Bonfire can be perceived as the first truly post-surveillance capitalism social network. (Now looks like a good time to ask you to move the code repositories to SourceHut or git.coop? Pretty please?) Notifying people about them having a new follower as mere notifications, in the same stream, and with the same layout is pretty creepy too; so is showing someone’s number of followers or whether they follow you or not, enabling easy, routine, and innocent checkups. (This raises obvious security concerns on which I’ll try to shed some light later.)


First because someone’s profile comes pretty close of their face, as Goffman defines it. I haven’t read him by myself yet, but this does look like a vulnerable part of their presentation of self, which social media and especially biographies/profile pics are about, because they may be stained by contact with lay and in order for the stain to go, it would require reparation rites. It’s fairly easy to optimize for engagement with such a powerful, angular aspect of online profiles, and honestly I couldn’t see them with honk and if anything they’ve helped to curate interesting followings.


In more mundane terms, because as a user I need to be able to follow and unfollow people liberally, without having them notified, and because after this notification, unfollowing them would expose both of us to have our faces soiled, in a manner that’s arguably a stain in itself. (Please be nice with me, I’m translating “profaner”/“profanation” with Deepl.) Unfollowing a bunch of people was the best thing I’ve made within the constraints provided by honk, because Mastodon has a “family” aspect than Twitter hasn’t, which has led the witches.town users to project their family relationships within and out of the instance, and a few men that seem to be struggling, for various reasons, to project e.g. their family relationships on a French female philosopher and to mansplain her, which has led her to react in a fairly… weird manner, maybe for similar reasons. This user profiles, presentation of self, and following notifications dispositive of power would’ve probably prevented me from doing it.


Following the same rationale, showing followers counts on the users’ profiles, or tying that in any way, such as by using the same layout, to rewards has, among others, the following effects:


  1. forcing a mentality of vanity on your users,
  2. making your users look for influence with minute detail, baiting for influential followers (whatever that means),
  3. making your users chase for clout, which is responsible, by the way, for attention deficit,
  4. reinforcing the whole "presentation of self" dispositive of power, without improving the production or consumption of contents in any way (but rather in a way that degrades both).


But this obviously raises the concern that minorities of power need to keep a track of who’s following them and to block either submarines, fascists, and/or bots. I’m suggesting two ways to manage this:


  1. an opt-in way to let instance members with this specific role to inspect the instance members’ new followers, instead of leaving the reporting burden on the instance users, and
  2. a dedicated "security" tab, maybe next to the "notifications" one, maybe with a shield icon and a different color scheme (why not green), letting them inspect who’s followed them, or who’s sent them a follow request, all at once, without necessarily showing how many new follower there are. They could either opt-in for each follower or let everyone follow them, but either block, soft block, or assign them to boundaries by using shortcuts (they could default to "people I ghosted"),
  3. this isn’t specific to the current issue, but I could think about a fine-grained white list/black list system depending on the instance and maybe other filters like who’s following them or who they’re following (although this data could be unavailable and it would be resource intensive, if not illegal, to build a social graph for each).


To conclude, Bonfire is the first social media where I regret not putting my initial in uppercase, while having done so with honk feels senseless, or even degrading my own identity.


If anything, this message shows that the Bonfire development is heading full steam ahead in the right direction. Thanks for everything! And especially for taking care of vulnerable Fediverse members. I’ve never seen such a level of care online, and pretty rarely offline.


@BonfireBuilders #bonfire_feedback

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I’ve spent a delightful time on honk, until my partner’s come back with the keys I’d forgotten at home, so I could start doing something productive. I’ve also had an excellent time yesterday, teaching an autistic kid about life and earth sciences, and mathematics – while being in the closet –, and then I came back home, feeling sick and unable to connect with my partner, work, or move on.


In both cases, the following have happened:


  1. I’ve been rewarded for what I was doing, respectively by scrolling through interesting contents and by seeing him "get" it and become more confident;
  2. these rewards weren’t related to what my identity as a transgender woman was doing; in the first case, it was mere contents consumption, and in the second case, these rewards were meant for what someone I wasn’t was doing – a man I wasn’t was doing.


If you want to have a glimpse of what gender dysphoria means, although you should know this is about a 5th or a 10th of what I experience, go spend a few weeks using honk.


Social life is made of rewards, and they’re good, actually; what’s truly creepy is selectively rewarding your users for spending their time in front of their screens, and to this regard Bonfire can be perceived as the first truly post-surveillance capitalism social network. (Now looks like a good time to ask you to move the code repositories to SourceHut or git.coop? Pretty please?) Notifying people about them having a new follower as mere notifications, in the same stream, and with the same layout is pretty creepy too; so is showing someone’s number of followers or whether they follow you or not, enabling easy, routine, and innocent checkups. (This raises obvious security concerns on which I’ll try to shed some light later.)


First because someone’s profile comes pretty close of their face, as Goffman defines it. I haven’t read him by myself yet, but this does look like a vulnerable part of their presentation of self, which social media and especially biographies/profile pics are about, because they may be stained by contact with lay and in order for the stain to go, it would require reparation rites. It’s fairly easy to optimize for engagement with such a powerful, angular aspect of online profiles, and honestly I couldn’t see them with honk and if anything they’ve helped to curate interesting followings.


In more mundane terms, because as a user I need to be able to follow and unfollow people liberally, without having them notified, and because after this notification, unfollowing them would expose both of us to have our faces soiled, in a manner that’s arguably a stain in itself. (Please be nice with me, I’m translating “profaner”/“profanation” with Deepl.) Unfollowing a bunch of people was the best thing I’ve made within the constraints provided by honk, because Mastodon has a “family” aspect than Twitter hasn’t, which has led the witches.town users to project their family relationships within and out of the instance, and a few men that seem to be struggling, for various reasons, to project e.g. their family relationships on a French female philosopher and to mansplain her, which has led her to react in a fairly… weird manner, maybe for similar reasons. This user profiles, presentation of self, and following notifications dispositive of power would’ve probably prevented me from doing it.


Following the same rationale, showing followers counts on the users’ profiles, or tying that in any way, such as by using the same layout, to rewards has, among others, the following effects:


  1. forcing a mentality of vanity on your users,
  2. making your users look for influence with minute detail, baiting for influential followers (whatever that means),
  3. making your users chase for clout, which is responsible, by the way, for attention deficit,
  4. reinforcing the whole "presentation of self" dispositive of power, without improving the production or consumption of contents in any way (but rather in a way that degrades both).


But this obviously raises the concern that minorities of power need to keep a track of who’s following them and to block either submarines, fascists, and/or bots. I’m suggesting two ways to manage this:


  1. an opt-in way to let instance members with this specific role to inspect the instance members’ new followers, instead of leaving the reporting burden on the instance users, and
  2. a dedicated "security" tab, maybe next to the "notifications" one, maybe with a shield icon and a different color scheme (why not green), letting them inspect who’s followed them, or who’s sent them a follow request, all at once, without necessarily showing how many new follower there are. They could either opt-in for each follower or let everyone follow them, but either block, soft block, or assign them to boundaries by using shortcuts (they could default to "people I ghosted"),
  3. this isn’t specific to the current issue, but I could think about a fine-grained white list/black list system depending on the instance and maybe other filters like who’s following them or who they’re following (although this data could be unavailable and it would be resource intensive, if not illegal, to build a social graph for each).


To conclude, Bonfire is the first social media where I regret not putting my initial in uppercase, while having done so with honk feels senseless, or even degrading my own identity.


If anything, this message shows that the Bonfire development is going all steam in the right direction. Thanks for everything! And especially for taking care of vulnerable Fediverse members. I’ve never seen such a level of care online, and pretty rarely offline.

Read discussion