The way I see it, harassment is a systemic and pervasive issue.
Anything built to address to harassment must be equally systemic and pervasive.
We are building a decentralized network on an open software model. To effectively address harassment, we need a solution that will decentralize the specialized knowledge and procedures necessary to mitigate harm as well as bring expert eyes onto the problem if it persists. As such, I propose we work to identify effective community response patterns both to improve the quality of our tools and to improve the level of preparedness of administrative and moderative users. These patterns can work as design documentation and feature rational as well as administrative and moderative response building blocks. If designed in this way, when a feature is implemented it will not only have a default behavior but also a default supportive strategy.
This project should be easy to fork so that communities can tailor it to suit their instance’s priorities. It should be dogfooded alongside beta releases and it should be treated in all other ways as a core (if API isolated) feature of Mastodon.
An imperfect analogy: We provide the ability for people to use mastodon with any interface they’d like, but we include one by default. This suite of advice would work much the same. I think we need to start viewing the intersection of the social and the technological sphere not only in the scope of the project but as core to it. The way people interface with the servers and each other as nodes should be as important to us as the way the clients and servers do.
We should build strong defaults and effectively distributed processes. These processes should be verified with probing tests. These processes should be open to critique and criticism in a collaborative environment. These processes should have regular success and failure analysis.
In short, my proposal is we treat moderation and administration procedures as code, give them the same status as a core module and integrate their feedback into our core design processes moving forward.