One more post about how things are going inside the Fediverse now that #Project92 has joined the Fediverse.
I have two ideas:
One is that the Fediverse has ALWAYS had to make hard choices about things like this, but we’ve always found a way. We’ll do it again. The sky isn’t going to fall, and there probably won’t be a “Great Schism.” It’s a mess, but we get through it. I think that a small part of the Fediverse will take a preemptive maximalist stance and try to defederate Meta before they even launch, even though we’ll still have 3 months after they launch to find out what their policies are. Even fewer of them will choose “2 degrees of separation,” which means that they will defederate anyone who doesn’t defederate Meta first. I don’t think a well-moderated instance needs to defederate, but I respect those who aren’t convinced and think it’s fine for them to join servers like Chris Trottier’s notmeta.social that are set up for that reason. I hope that not many people do this “two degrees of separation” thing and that some of the people who feel they need to do this, choose to “limit' other such servers instead. (The Fediverse will be fractured much less if they do.)
As I’ve already said, I understand that maximalist choice, but I don’t think it’s a good idea. We have the tools to protect our people, and we are stronger to “Watch like a hawk, with our fingers over the block button.” But some others will disagree. Back when I was helping to lead the movement to #Isolategab (which was not a preemptive strike and was stronger for it) even then there was a small group of sites that took the maximalist position in the opposite direction - and refused to defederate Gab.com because of maximalist free speech views.
My point about this first thought is that the Fediverse as a whole won’t decide on one moderation stance, but I do know one thing: we’ll figure it out and be fine in time, and we’ll also find good ways to include P92 users and move many of them to full Fediverse accounts. It will work out in the end, and we’ll be fine in the long run. We’ve done things like this before.
Two: I do think that some of these changes are part of the Fediverse’s culture, which has changed a lot in the last year.
I see some users like this Fedi Admin, who are angry about what they see as a closed-off response to Meta, describing the state of things from their POV:
"It's not going to be Meta or Project 92 or whatever that kills Fedi. It's the fact that every time someone suggests a way for regular people to use it like they use social networks, the whole network shits the bed and starts screaming about keeping the outsiders out....Bluesky took Mastodon's lunch by not presenting itself as a "overly complex, user-unfriendly network full of hostile people who can cut you off from your friends because the admin of your server thinks the admin of their server thinks they're a poohead, on which the number one topic of discussion is fedi itself." [indieweb.social/@Bloonfac...](https://indieweb.social/@Bloonface@mastodon.social/110604991048562220)
I understand how they feel, but I don’t agree with them when they say things like “the whole network” or “it’s full of hostile people who can cut you off.” It is subset of the Fedi who want a preemptive strike. I think it will end up being a SMALL subset.
From my point of view, the preemptive fediblock contingent is a mix of people from groups that have a long history of online harms against them and their allies, who have a legitimate fear of abuse from Meta policies, and who have a legitimate fear of Meta taking over and ruining the open standards we rely on. There are also some people who came to the Fediverse on purpose to stay as FAR, FAR, FAR away from big business as they could.
I’ve already written about what I think are better ways to deal with these real concerns, so I won’t go over them again here. But I get it and empathize with these users.
My second idea is about Fedi Culture. Or rather “Cultures.” I think we are seeing some of the differences between the “Fediverse OG” culture and the “Fediverse Newbie” culture, which is made up of the much larger group of people who moved in over the last year.
People from the “OG” culture of the early Fediverse came here when things were even more new than they are now. They were looking for safe, independent, ad-free, bigtech-free, corporation-free places. Before Elon took over, the number of people who had signed up had grown to about 4 million. Seme came out of the #indieweb or #small web movements that preceded it.
(I consider myself a member of the Fediverse OG culture btw, joining in about 2018)
Then Elon came along. Then about 6 million new people moved in. All newbies. fediverse.observer/stats
And then another wave of several hundred thousand #RedditMigration users arrived and continue to arrive.
All of these waves are newbies and are of a very different culture.
Roughly speaking: The new culture is folks became convinced that the first waves were onto something. They see the power in open, indie networks, they see that the whole Fediverse thing survived and grew and may be worth a look. And they saw even more clearly with Elon that closed siloes spiral down. They are open to building something new but they aren’t fully converts yet but are testing the waters and see it as better than the Twitter or Reddit hellholes. Whole new developer groups joined in these second waves, finding better places to grow and plug their services into. it includes more technologists and software folks who fought past battles against big tech #EEE efforts and won. The users in this wave of newbies is more open to ideas on how there are opportunities in “adversarial interoperability” to Meta as long as the tools we have to protect our own hold.
Lastly thought: our culture is about to change AGAIN. Once Meta Project 92 launches expect that - even if the entire Fedi blocked them or doesn’t - that within days/months they become the biggest Fediverse ActivtyPub host.
That means the entire Fediverse will get over time a whole newer set of newbies to join the last wave. We are about to get far more female-identifying. Less techie. And younger. This would be a good demographic trend in my book if it occurs. indieweb.social/@tchamber…
And as we have many times before, Fedivese culture will adjust and work it out. And keep our initial waves of people safe. The sky won’t fall.
And many of us will be working to welcome in new blood, and find ways to use it as an opportunity to #EEE Meta.