Some doubts about mastodon as social media

Hi, im new at mastodon, i have some opinions and doubts that i would like to share.

First, the ability to block and mute users is unhealthy for the platform, i know there are scammers and spammers, but this is the start to the path of creating echo-chambers, which makes this service not different from twitter, facebook, etc… basically all modern social media. I dont know the solution, but i believe its worth trying to find a better method.

Second, the site is mainly populated by North American users, which forces a predominant culture to manage the bias of the site, thats not healthy for diverse conversation, it only turns in another circlejerk with support to the predominant side. I know the solution is convincing more users around the world to adopt mastodon, but right now, at least in some subsites, the narrative is pro-one side.

I dont know, the principles of this platform seems good, but there is a ugly side that most people dont want to see or just ignore it.

I believe this service can be great, but right now it seems like one side subreddits… I came here looking for something better than current social media, all i found was another echo-chamber site not that different from twitter or facebook.

It’s quite disappointing.

Blocking users is my favorite feature of other SM platforms. Without Block and Mute, it would be chaos.

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After learning more, i have seen that some servers have moderation and rules, in theory thats the “simple” way to keep things in order, but i think it can be misused like in reddit with subreddits.

After doing more research i have seen that mastodon is open source with servers managed by the users.

The community knows what is best.

I dont know if i should close this thread or leave it open in case someone wants to share their point of view.

Thanks for taking time to answer @Nate , have a nice day.

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I agree that echo chambers are unhealthy. However, the serious problem with Twitter and Facebook is that a small handful of young billionaires in Silicon Valley are able to block and mute users, for everyone at the same time.

As we’ve seen in the last week, even a democratically elected president can, and will, be blocked if Zuckerberg and Dorsey deem it “necessary”.

However we feel about the president in question, I hope everyone’s thinking long and hard about the power we vest in the hands of Big Tech

Same could be said for the early Facebook (American universities only) and the early Twitter.

I suspect there’s a lot of American interest in Mastodon at the moment due to the purges being carried out by Big Tech. But similar purges are happening everywhere, and provided Mastodon offers a better, freer alternative, its popularity will spread quickly throughout the world.

IMO the developers need to be vocal and affirmative about the value in platforms that allow the whole spectrum of opinions to be displayed.

If, on the other hand, the Mastodon developers were to take a political stance against conservatives, then they will massively undermine their own platforms and will lead society to create a new federated social network that is seen as free and unbiased.

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The ability to block users is important because it gives users the ability to self moderate. The only other alternative would require banning users from the site over disputes and that is more likely to create circlejerks. @Nate

It might be wise for moderators to implement a convention where users are not allowed to share block lists as they can be easily abused to prevent people from hearing dissenting opinions.

The biggest thing that Mastodon needs is groups. Hashtags can provide similar functionality, but it’s not obvious and there’s no access control. Users can block each other but that’s it.

I think there’s an obsession on the fediverse that if a feature can’t be federated it shouldn’t exist and private groups are probably the biggest casualty. Definitely a problem worth further study!

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I can personally understand this obsession - we are in here to experiment with a federated network (especially moderation as @r3df0x reminds us). So that’s the focus of this experiment.

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I think that’s the problem. People tend to get high horsed about stuff like this. We should avoid features like allowing users to post only to the local timeline but at the same time we should give admins the option to have their site be local only. It’s not the intent but if it’s not hard to implement it’s something that would only improve popularity and some people might have a use case for it.

I understand the need to avoid feature creep in projects but some people get way too closed minded and it only hurts the potential use.

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Just saw this thread and want to add my personal experience. I’ve been on message boards since the mid 1990s. I don’t attack other users or use ad hominem, and I always obey the rules. Recently here on a Mastodon site I have been banned, twice (2 different email addresses), with no possible recourse. I was banned both times by the owner due to expressing a view contrary to the owner’s beliefs. Both times I received an email saying I was suspended for “spam”, with no recourse available. There was no spam.

I understand that the owner of a message board needs control over unruly members, but in this case the owner removes anyone who has a contrary opinion.

Honestly that’s going to happen as this is decentralized that’s the bad thing about it owners can be power hungry and ban anyone they want that opposes them

Which site was this? You don’t need to be specific but was this a heavily populated site or was it small? What did you say that led to being banned?

The unfortunate reality is that there are a lot of people who have a very low tolerance for personal differences and they think everything they disagree with is “promoting violence.”

The best thing to do in these situations is to move on and find a different instance. Admins like that will create echo chambers filled with the same miserable people who do nothing but agree with each other. The more they act like that then the less their site will grow.

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It was a fairly good sized site, with lots of refugees from Twitter, other social media, with a majority probably conservative. Most of the members were willing to hear differing opinions. However, if anyone expressed doubts about the current push for universal Covid vaccines, they “disappeared”.
I’m open to information, especially if based upon scientific studies, so I posted a link to a video of scientists discussing pros and cons of Covid vaccines, including the physician who invented the mRNA vaccine technology. I figured it was scientific enough. Nope. I got a message that I was banned for spam, with an addendum of “your anti-vax b*** s***”.
Too bad, there were some nice people there.

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