They are my support
To help me walk,
If I lose one
I make damned sure
To keep the other one.
While slightly imbalanced
I can still walk
With only one crutch.
I'll be back on two
Balancing myself again.
If I drop both,
Insisting I can walk
Alone without them
I hurt myself more
Causing pain, tears.
Tearing up wounds
With each step
Tore down my defense
Through the dark.
Day by day.
With this pain.
Never will I drop all my medicine on the same day, ever again.
I wanted to describe the smell
Of the fallen leaves, rustling
Smelling like only fall leaves do
Different than the decomposed
Still indicative of season change
What words do I use
For these dry heaps
Of fallen leaves
So you can smell them too?
Do they smell the same
In every place where leaves fall
In the fall?
The smell is stronger
When moisture meets each leaf
Something about the surface
Connecting with the air,
Spreading small molecules
Flowing through the air
And finding their way there
To your nostrils
Their final resting place
In the fall, when they calm
You down and tell of the ending season
When I read this question today the first thing, and the truth, that came to my mind was “I don’t”. Then I wondered why? Why don’t I make time to write?
The problem isn’t that I’m not making time to write, the problem is that in not making time to sit and be bored.
Taking the time to do nothing, walk the forest, or sit in silence. I realized, by being asked that question that I don’t need to make time to write, I need to make time to fill my head with the things I want to write. Then the time writing them doesn’t have to be as long.
A silent ride on your commute, no music.
An evening without movies, or games, or books.
I fill up my alone and still time with sounds, or I sleep. I don’t give myself those minutes I need to just put two and two together to want to write something.
When I was younger it was incredibly important to me to write every day on my blog. That was the only way you grew I felt like. On the other hand I had a close friend 10 years ago, who took the time to think and waiting for the puzzle pieces to fall into place before he was ready to write down his posts.
I don’t think this is for everyone. I don’t think it was always for me. I used to write things out as soon as possible, even live blog events. Maybe I did that as a process to be able to move on to the next event, conference, happening to cover. I needed to clear my head.
These days I’m more like my friend, I wait for a lot of puzzle pieces to form in my head before I write them down. This works most of the time, a lot better than trying to write when you just have a tiny kernel, I find waiting for the cup to be full makes it easier and less painful to measure (sorry about the mixed metaphors).
This line is thinking is now more relevant because NaNoWriMo literally just started. Where people are pushing out 50k words in a month. And I wanted to participate, in a way that fits me and where I am now. With this post in mind, I think I’m going to take 60 min every day, while I’m alone and just sit with my thoughts, and see where it brings me.
That said, I also believe that learning new things is an important part of writing. Reading new books, from new cultures. Reading experiences from people who are not like you. Find some piece of history to engorge yourself in.
Never stop learning, and you’ll always have something to write about, just remember to give yourself pause, and make space, rather than just time, to find something to write. Give your head rest, and take a deep breath.
LGBTQIA, or Quiltbag, there’s a B in there which stands for bi(sexual), and even though it’s been there since the first iteration of the acronym I used (HBT), I’ve never felt like I fit in, in LGBT spaces, or pride events.
That said, the first one I went to 10 years ago, HBT Festivalen in Gothenburg, Sweden, there was a panel, or talk about bisexuality being so much more than just liking two genders. And I got it unveiled for me as a spectrum, and how there’s two sides of it, both romantic and sexual which both have a long spanning spectra all on their own.
This has stayed with me through the years, and maybe not really sunk in until just recently. I’ve started to see how it fits into my own life, but also learnt about how a lot of us bi women are afraid of other women because we just don’t know how to deal with each other. This inherent belief that men are easier.
Earlier this summer I met a woman, I dunno if she was lesbian or bisexual but it doesn’t really matter too much. She taught me that I wasn’t alone with this fear, and that a lot of bisexual women simply don’t go after other women because we simply don’t know how, or we’re afraid to for a reason or another.
Being taught this, and her helping me cross that threshold, it has since been easier for me to actually keep trying to reach out to women I like. I still feel like men are “easier” to deal with, but I find myself finally able to dare speak with women and flirt, and take that next step.
Yesterday for Bi Visibility Day, a friend brought me to BiPhoria in Manchester as a way to get to know new people (since I just moved to the UK), and apparently it is something that always comes up “Am I bisexual enough?“, often enough for it to be on their website. BiPhoria also happens to be “the UK’s longest-running social & support organization for bisexual people”.
Am I bisexual enough?
This question that keeps plaguing us, how can I be bisexual when I’m married, when I’ve only dated men, when I don’t really even dare to talk with women?
At the meeting another aspect of it was brought up, and that’s the statistics of it all. There’s likely to be more men who are into women, than women who are into women (who are bi), and that’s why it’s very common that bi women are mainly dating men.
Yes, of course there are lesbian women who also like women, but I think a lot of bi-women may feel like maybe they don’t want to trick a lesbian cis woman. While this could also play both ways, it seems like there’s this belief that women only like other women (while also liking men) to attract men. Which is both a harmful myth, and one that’s probably helped women come out as bi a lot easier, because they’ve had room to play around.
Why is that harmful as a myth if it allowed us space to explore ourselves and each other? Well, bi-men have not really gained that opportunity to the same extent, so it’s possibly been a lot harder for them to come out as bisexuals because of it. There’s possibly a lot more stigma around it (still). Is it because you’d be labeled as gay, in a derogatory way, or is it something else?
I don’t think we inherently, as people who are bi, believe that being gay is bad, but it’s still something that’s thrown around in society as a slap across the face for a lot of us, no matter our space in the quiltbag. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a really long way to go when it comes to acceptance of ourselves, each other, and acceptance from others.
As some people much wiser than me have said, we don’t want to be merely tolerated, we want to be accepted and allowed to live, breathe and thrive in this society.
This blog post doesn’t cover nearly everything I wanted to talk about after yesterday’s meeting, and unfortunately my mind is slightly too scattered right now.
That said, please be kind to your fellow friends in the QUILTBAG, we’re all in the same boat, and let’s fight for each other’s right to exist.
The first Activity Pub Conference happened in Prague the 7-8th of September 2019. This is a fairly big deal as Activity Pub is quite a new standard within the federated software space, but also because it’s gotten too big to present all the different software in one slide (as per cwebbers keynote) with 50+ implementations. I attended and spoke at the conference. This post goal was the reflect on how it’s all connected, but ended up mostly discussing some topics which came up, and drew a few lines between topics, but not all.
The Activity Pub Conference
The event had one day of scheduled and pre-planned talks and speakers and a second day of unconference, which was partially or to a large degree about getting groups of people together to have conversations about certain subjects or ideas which came up during the first day. Unconferences have always appealed to me, but this felt like an interesting combination of doing both a normal conference, and an unconference in one, especially since a lot of ideas will come up during people’s talks.
The first day’s talk was a wide range of topics, and I noticed as I was listening to each of them how they all intersected with one another, and that it seems like overall we all want to work towards the same direction.
Below are the talks as summarized on the website, and if you follow this link you can actually watch all the recordings of the talks. After that I’ll start actually talking about the conference and my thoughts about it.
1. “ActivityPub: past, present, future”
Keynote by Christopher Lemmer Webber.
This talk gives an overview of ActivityPub:
How did we get to this point? Where are we now? Where do we need to go? We’ll paint a chart from past to a hopeful future with better privacy, richer interactions, and more security and control for our users.
Other talks on day 1
2. “Advice to new fediverse administrators and developers” by Luc Didry
Hosting an ActivityPub service is not like hosting another service and it’s the same for developing ActivityPub software.
Here is some advice based on Farmasoft’s experience. We host a Mastodon instance and develop two ActivityPub software: PeerTube and Mobilizon – the last one is not yet out.
Errors and Observations.
3. “Is ActivityPub paving the way to web 3.0?” by maloki (me)
A talk about how we’re walking away from Web 2.0, and paving the way to Web 3.0 with ActivityPub development.
We’ll discuss what this could mean for the future of the web. We’ll look at some of the history of the web, and also consider the social implications moving forward.
4. “The Semantic Social Network” by Pukkamustard
ActivityPub uses JSON-LD as sterilization. This means @context field all over the place. But really there is more behind this: ActivityPub speaks Linked Data.
In this talk we would like to show what this means and how this can be used to do cool things. We might even convince you that the Fediverse is a huge distributed graph that could be queried in very interesting ways – that the Fediverse is a Semantic Social Network.
5. “Keeping Unwanted Messages off the Fediverse” by Serge Wroclawski
Spam, scams and harassment pose a threat to all social networks, including the Fediverse. In this talk, we discuss a multilayered approach to mitigating these threats. We explore spam mitigation techniques of the past as well as new techniques such as OcapPub and Postage.
6. “Decentralised Hashtag Search and Subscription in Federated Social Networks” by Schmittlauch
Hashtags have become an important tool for organising topic-related posts in all major social networks, even having managed to spark social movements like #MeToo. In federated social networks, unfortunately so far the view on all posts of a hashtag is fragmented between instances.
For a student research paper I came up with an architecture for search and subscription of hashtag-posts in federated social networks. This additional backend for instances augments the Fediverse with a little bit of P2P technology.
As this architecture is still at a conceptual stage, after presenting my work I’d like to gather ideas and feedback from various Fediverse stakeholders:
What do global hashtags mean for marginalised people and moderation, are they more a took of empowerment or of harassment? How can this concept be represented in the ActivityPub protocol? And what stories do server devs have to tell about common attack scenarios?
7. “OSS Compliance with privacy by default and design” by Cristina DeLisle
Privacy is becoming more and more central in shaping the future of tech and the data protection legislation has contributed significantly to making this happen. Privacy by default and design are core principles that are fundamental to how software should be envisioned. The GDPR that came into the spotlight has a strong case to become a standard even outside European Borders, influencing the way we protect personal data. However its impact might be its implementation is still it its infancy. OSS has found itself facing the situation and one aspect which is particularly interesting on the tech side is how to incorporate the principles of privacy by default and design into the software that we build.
This talk is going to be an overview of how the GDPR has impacted FOSS communities, what do we mean by privacy by default and by design, how could we envision them applied in our OSS. It will bring examples from which we might find something interesting to learn from, regardless if we are looking at them as mistakes, best practices or just ways of doing things.
8. “The case for the unattributed message” by Caleb James DeLisle
Despite it’s significant contribution to internet culture, the archetype of the anonymous image board has been largely ignored by protocol designers. Perhaps the reason for this is because it’s all too easy to conflate unattributed speech with unmoderated speech, which has shown itself ot be a dead end.
But as we’ve seen from Twitter and Facebook, putting a name on everything hasn’t actually worked that well at improving the quality of discourse, but what it does do is put already marginalized people at greater risk.
What I credit as one of the biggest breakthroughs of the fediverse has been the loose federation which allows a person to choose their moderator, completely side stepping the question of undemocratic censorship vs toxic free speech.
Now I want to start a conversation about how we might marry this powerful moderation system to a forum which divorces the expression of thought from all forms of identity.
9. “Federated Blogging with WriteFreely” by Matt Baer
We’re building out one idea of what federated blogging could look like with separate ActivityPub-powerd platforms, WriteFreely and Read.as—one for writing and one for reading.
Beyond the software, we also offer hosting services and helping new instances spring up to make community-building more accessible, and get ActivityPub-powered software into more hands.
In this talk I’ll go over our approach so far and where we’re headed next.
10. “I don’t know what I’m talking about” by Michael Demetrious (qwazix)
A newbie’s introduction to ActivityPub:
I have just started my development journey in ActivityPubLand, and I hope to have a first small application ready before ActivityPubConf.
I was thinking that since I have close to zero experience with ActivityPub development, I could document my first month of experience, describe the onboarding process and point out useful resources and common pitfalls.
In the end I can showcase what I’ve done during this period.
Day 2 – Keynote and Unconference
11. “Architectures of Robust Openness”
Keynote by Mark S. Miller
As social systems grow, we need patterns to allow us to grow social connections while maintaining safety and trust.
Ocaps (object capabilities) fill this void by allowing consensual connections between parties, and even allows participants to intentionally share those connections with others.
But how can we allow for the establishing of new connections without opening us up to runaway abuse?
This talk discusses Horton, a “whodunnit” layer built on top of object capabilities, allowing us to establish connections while preserving accountability and the ability to reason about trust with a reduction of fear.
The unconference part had a few different segments, but all in all we ended up with 4 sessions each (an hour sessions at the time).
The three I attended were “What is Web 3.0 and how do we get there?”, “OcapPub”, “Activity Pub Community Coordination” (This wasn’t the title, but the results). I will try to tie them into the rest of this post, but here are a write up of each talk.
How do we get to Web 3.0, and what is it to us?
For this session we had a small roundtable of various people talking about our own thoughts and concerns about how do we get to this next step of the web. How do we get away from advertisements, sold data etc. ?
There was a conversation about how the state could help out by providing infrastructure (similar to roads), and help people take the first steps onto the web. Which also raised some concerns about what if the government isn’t to be trusted anymore, and everyone is on-boarded to the web through them, then we’re in trouble.
There was a point to be made here though, the government is supposed to be for the people, while private companies are often for profit. Part of the point was to identify that, that there needs to be another option than private companies which want to offer you a “free” service, but instead sell your data, and you possibly not being aware of it.
As per my talk, I elaborated a little bit on the subject, and said that I believe that there are several different parts of the web which will take us into web 3.0 together. It’s all connected (as per this blog posts title), and I will elaborate on some of the connections later in this post. But things I recognized was the semantic web, and blockchain technologies. They are all looking forward wanting to build a better web.
It has also been suggested that we may be on Web 5 or higher already, but are we really, has there been as big of a paradigm shift from Web 2.0 as from Web 1.0 yet?
OcapPub not a new standard, but a different way to work with Activity Pub
OcapPub was a discussion about how we can inject Object Capabilities into Activity Pub (without creating a new standard) and create a possible safer space. We received some commentary regarding stamps, as in making it more difficult for nefarious messages to get traction or get through to the target (adding cost to the transaction of spam or other harmful messages, with the burden on the sender, not receiver). This would create some barriers of entry, but also possibly allow for some types of protection from harassment as well as spam. This clearly connected to Serge’s talk about future harassment and spam mitigation on fedi.
There was some concerns about if OcapPub was supposed to be a replacement for Activity Pub, but no, that’s not the intent, it’s supposed to be an addition to the standard (from my understanding).
We also discussed the issues with the Shared Inbox, which I currently do not fully grasp. But rather we’ll be looking towards Multi-Inbox (MultiBox?) which will help create layers of what kind of content you choose to receive. Look at it as advanced filters, both on a personal level and a server level.
Organizing the Activity Pub Community, and preparing for a FOSDEM devroom
This session had quite a few things on it, one was “we need a shared space to coordinate”, do we want a devroom at FOSDEM, and there’s an opening to apply for grants via an organisation.
Mainly we decided that we want to apply for a devroom at FOSDEM, and we checked in with who’d be interesting in attending and helping out. Work is in progress for this. Call for Papers will be published soon.
We also decided to revive socialhub.activitypub.rocks for communication between different folx within the fediverse and their different projects.
It’s all connected
What became very clear to me, as I sat there listening the first day, was that all of these talks are connected, even if some may seem less connected than the rest. The image I drew was to help me confirm to myself that indeed it’s all connected. And I realized that it very much resembles the logo for the Fediverse (as per the header/feature image of this post).
Since the image is not a perfect representation, I want to try to put into words and explain to you some of these connections, and maybe inspire some hope that we are indeed looking to drive development in the same direction, even though we may talk past each other at times. We want a lot of the same things for the future of the web, the Fediverse, and development of ActivityPub, but we may have slightly different ways of getting there. It may even be tempting to disregard other’s paths towards a new web because of the way they are doing it is so vastly different from your own path, but the way I see it we can still learn a lot from each other.
ActivityPub as the foundation
I attempted to indicate the strength of the connections by the lines between them, some are single straight lines, some are dotted and some are double lines. As you can see the first keynote by cwebber (1) more or less connected to everything else. Mainly I’d argue that this is because their talk was about what led us here and what’s on the horizon for ActivityPub (you can watch it in full here, unfortunately there was some audio issues with this one). It would make sense if the rest of the talks at a conference about ActivityPub would connect to that in some way.
Webber’s talk and Mark S. Miller’s talk strongly connect, so does Serge Wroclawski’s. I know that some of the reasons for this is quite personal, and Webber even asked Miller to sign a printed copy of his own dissertation in front of everyone. That said, these personal connections will also drive development, because when we connect, we want to work together and forge ahead together.
These three talks were mainly connected by the fact that Serge showed how we can utilize the idea of Robust Openness which Miller spoke about, and all the while doing it on top of ActivityPub as Webber spoke of. There’s a synergy here, which will allow us to create robuster, more open, and safer and more personalized experiences on the federated web of ActivityPub implementations. They also were showing us a possible way to move forward by providing a clear suggestion on how it can be used. At some point (during the unconference I believe) someone asked “Would anyone be interested in using OcapPub”, and thanks to these three talks I saw that it can be used for my own project (Florence) in order to provide some of the things especially when it comes to anti-harassment features and filtering that we’ve been looking to implement. At the same time, someone said “do we really know enough yet to say yes, we’re interested”? Which is a valid question.
For further reading: The conversation about OCAP with ActivityPub has been ongoing for quite a while, and I think that kaninii’s introduction “What is OCAP and why should I care?” to it is quite useful to read when put into this other context.
The Known Universe
While there are over 50 implementations of Activity Pub, we’re definitely not aware of all of them, and Webber’s even stopped adding any to the slide, so it’s just “over 50 implementations” on there now. As this was a rather small conference we did not have even close to 50 represented, but we had a few different ones attending, and some giving talks. In the Fediverse we already have equivalents of YouTube (PeerTube), Twitter (Mastodon/pleroma), Facebook (Hubzilla/Diaspora), SoundCloud (FunkWhale), Instagram (Pixelfed), Medium (WriteFreely/Plume) to mention a few.
Some of the talks were about what people are already doing within this space, for example Federated Blogging with WriteFreely, the Advice for new fediverse administrators, and “I don’t know what I’m talking about—The newbie guide to ActivityPub“.
WriteFreely / Write.as
I think WriteFreely is one of the exceptions in a lot of the ActivityPub software I’ve seen, and that because it’s already been around for so long, without the ActivityPub implementation, so them joining us in the fediverse was definitely a bit more of a unique story. It wasn’t built to federate in the beginning, but Matt Baer (founder of Write.as) eventually realized what an interesting aspect that would be to his software. They provide both hosted ways of using, and allowing others to host it on their own as it’s also open source. It was interesting to see the route they took to eventually join the the community.
WriteFreely’s thoughts about adding links from other blogs as comments reminded me of the old blog-o-sphere which there’s been a few different ones through the years and times, I partook in a Swedish and political one. There’s this importance on the web to feel connected with other people I think, when we provide our thoughts and posts, and put ourselves out there. I think WriteFreely among with other blogging tools coming with ActivityPub integration will be an important part of allowing people to do this again.
At the same time, write.as provides a great example of alternative funding of a AP project. Who best to host their own software than the developers? This way you can direct contact with the customers, and can fix bugs and stuff for people who are paying you for hosting etc. This can be a very beneficial relationship to have, and also help pay for development, even when it’s open source.
Joining the fediverse and learning all about it
The talk about advice for new fediverse admins, as well as the newbie guide to ActivityPub talks helped provide us with additional legs to stand on when getting acquainted with the Fediverse, and ActivityPub as a standard, but also a bit of support for new people coming in and offering it as a gateway.
I feel like these conversations are incredibly important, because we should always strive, to some extent to be newbie friendly, or to have newbie friendly spaces. “We were all noobs once“. An example, not actually represented at the conference, but a very comprehensive, not so short, Mastodon Guide written by Noelle volunteering her time to help people understand this wide-spread software just a little bit better.
GDPR and compliance for OSS
This talk isn’t actually visible in my little drawing, because it’s outside the main graph and just circling everything else, as it is all-encompassing. This take helped me understand the scope of GDPR, and how much there is to understand about what role a server may play in that landscape, and as a result from what what responsibilities we may have.
I think this talk, while I can’t explain the details of why it connects with everything should be viewed by everyone, and you can watch it here.
The Future—Moving forward with new possibilities
To loop back to Webber’s talk, they also covered some possible futures for how to improve both ActivityPub as it is (OcapPub as an example, which I elaborated on further up), but also from a software perspective. Each implementation can work to be better with their UI, an example would be to make sure that the UI is easily understood by the layfolx who are maybe not on as much a technical side as some of us are, and if that fails, try to make sure it fails safely. As in lowering the risk of people outing themselves or hurting themselves because they thought the features worked a certain way and it turns out it did not at all (there’s some historical examples of this with Direct Messages on Mastodon, among other things).
While the last keynote (11) does not seem to be as strongly connected because when I drew the graph we hadn’t listened to Mark Miller’s keynote yet, so it was not added immediately. And I did not get as much clear data immediately after his talk, as compared to Webber’s which then was followed by all other talks that day.
That said, Miller speaking about Object Capabilities, as part of a more robust way of allowing an open network (as per the fediverse), helped me grasp and comprehend some of the concerns we’ve been having for a long while. Some of you may, similarly to myself, have heard Ocaps be thrown around and how it’s going to fix every issue we currently have on fedi, but feel a bit overwhelmed by the technicalities of it all.
Closing remarks and reflections
I think it was quite a relief for myself, who also spoke at this event, that I felt connected with everyone else, and felt that my talk was still part of this community in some way, and that I’m not alone in some of these ideas.
Something that came up during this conference was the following “revolutions are run by the people who show up”, and this actually worries me. Not because of the people who attended, but rather who would not be able to attend. We need to make sure that we have advocates in attendance who can help represent marginalized groups. Be it BIPOC, disabled, quiltbag or others. This will mean that we should invite, and provide both travel and accommodations for a few positions of people who would be able to do that. There’s different ways of doing stuff like this, but I feel like it’s something we need to think about and consider early on and that’s why I’m bringing it up now.
That said, I’m aware that the next event will not be organized by the same people, but rather we will probably have different teams of people inviting to different ActivityPub Conferences over the coming years, I still think it’s incredibly valuable for us to keep in mind the lessons learned from previous ones, and asking each other for help to improve over time. I know there’s a Fediverse conference in the making for 2020, which I hope to attend, and I’ll make sure you hear about as soon as it’s been officially announced.
Further, I think there’s room for improvement on the ActivityPub standard, and how we use it. This is an ongoing conversation, that will definitely not only be covered during a conference, but all the time. I think we all should consider joining that conversation, and I think these two blogposts about securing ActivityPub and “What would ActivityPub look like with capability based security anyway?” are a good start to keep that conversation going. I know we’ll be talking about it with the team on Florence.
Thank you for reading through this beast of a post, and I hope it gave you some light for where we’re currently going when it comes to possibilities for better filtering and anti-harassment tools on the Fediverse still using ActivityPub.
If you enjoyed this blog post it’s part of my effort to relaunch my Patreon with new types of content and goals, if you want to support this and see me go to more conferences and do write-ups feel free to head over my patreon and pledge your support!
Alternatively, check out my support page for more info.
Featured image can be found here.
It has been a recurring theme lately, that every time someone decides to block an instance that’s harbouring racists, Nazis, far-right (whichever title you prefer), where “freeze peaches” come to their defense. These are people who put Free Speech of SOME people higher than anything else, instead of viewing it from the holistic perspective of who does this “free speech” oppresses or kills by extension? Note that their first thought is to defend Nazis, not to defend the people under attack by Nazis.
“They want me dead. I can’t speak at all if I’m dead. So they’re not REALLY in favor of free speech, they just don’t want to have to acknowledge that other people’s views are valid.”
The argument eventually comes down to “But they have to keep interacting with you, even if they want to kill you, so that YOU can work to de-radicalize them”…
Just let these words sit in your mouth for a bit.
You’re asking people who are hounded, assaulted, killed, to do the work to de-radicalize the people who want to kill them. You’re not asking yourself “what can I do to help de-radicalize them, while this vulnerable group of people protects itself?” This is always where we end up, you tell the most vulnerable: Why don’t you just de-radicalize them. Why don’t you, who are fearing for your life just debate your existence and right to exist to these people? Why don’t you?
And yeah, that’s the question isn’t it? Why don’t you, if you’re a man, probably cisgender, most definitely white (or feel like you’re at least not not-white), and heterosexual, why don’t you put in the labour to de-radicalize these people who are constantly attacking the people who are everything that you are not? Why don’t you take the time to sit down and talk with them and untag us from that conversation? Who don’t you protect us?
You are the only person for whom it’s safe to have this conversation, for whom it’s safe to actively work towards helping us. And it doesn’t have to be helping everyone, it can just be one person at the time. Or simply decide that every time you see someone in your group of peers being attacked by these people you donate $1 to Life after Hate to help them do the work they are doing to de-radicalize people.
You don’t really want to de-radicalize them though, do you? All this jabbering about “JUST DE-RADICALIZE THEM” and it doesn’t seem like you’ve even put 5minutes thought into what that means. Rather you’re just using that as an excuse to attack us further, attack us for reaching for self-defense instead of debating our existence… over and over again.
So here we are: Next time you’re tempted to argue de-radicalization, ask yourself, why ain’t I?
For the past 2 years Mastodon has been promoted as a place without Nazis. Anyone familiar with social media technology knows that it’s not necessarily possible to entirely make such a promise, especially with a network which allows users to set up their own village to invite their friends.
The Fediverse is the interconnected villages of decentralized alternatives of popular social networks such as YouTube (PeerTube), Twitter (Mastodon), Facebook (Hubzilla), SoundCloud (FunkWhale), Instagram (Pixelfed), to mention a few.
It isn’t immune to Nazis, but offers the tools to everyday users, and local leaders (administrators and moderators) to protect their village from them. On Twitter you can report, and block, but then you have to sit around and wait for that content to maybe get removed or maybe not. On Mastodon you get the chance to join a village, where you know that the admin has made a promise to you that Nazis, racist, or homophobes etc. aren’t welcome there. If your admin doesn’t fulfill this promise you have the power to move to a different village. With Twitter you simply can’t do that.
Nazis on the Fediverse: Gab
On the 4th of July, a big group of Nazi’s migrated into their own little village: Gab.com. They used Mastodon’s software to run the village. Gab has been a home to Nazis for a very long time, and anyone who’s been keeping an eye on social networks that keep popping up knew that their policies would welcome a lot of dangerous people. Gab the Social Network actively encourages people to harm other people, and let people run loose with harassment, all in the name of Free Speech. They have also been directly linked to a mass shooting. Yes, we could argue that mass shooters have been on Twitter and Facebook too, because duh it’s social networks. The major difference is, this place has become a breeding ground for these kind of ideas, and they are actively encouraged.
The Vice Article
This migration into the Fediverse by these racists and Nazis caught the interest of VICE, who wrote an article now proclaiming that Mastodon “the nazi-free alternative to Twitter, is now home to the biggest far right social network”.
This is incorrect. While Gab has made their home in the Fediverse, they are not the biggest instance. The Vice article utilized numbers from fediverse.network displaying user count to decide that gab was the largest instance on the fediverse.
The marked instance in 3rd place, is the Mastodon Flagship instance. The instance in 2nd place is pawoo.net which is a Japanese equivalent to DeviantArt.
How can an instance so new have so many users?
995391 users. Here’s the tricky part, they don’t. Not really. Basically what they did was migrate all the existing accounts from Gab. Simply just importing all existing accounts, including suspended and inactive ones, all old beta accounts from 2016 (because as far as I know they have not actually cleared any of those old accounts). So this number, while it sounds incredibly big doesn’t translate to much in activity:
Comparatively they are not nearly as high up, but still fairly big. There are a few ways to spoof and fake numbers that show up for these stats. The below screenshot was taken just a few moments ago (and less than an hour after the above ones), here banana.dog is on the top of this list:
Eugen (creator of Mastodon) points out himself that:
“Gab already removed the Monthly Active User counter from their frontpage (a default Mastodon feature). That’s easier than faking active user numbers I suppose” — Eugen
Their public timeline is also filled with spam posts, for accounts which haven’t been suspended, and even if those accounts were suspended they would still count as a body for the user count.
Is the Fediverse riddled with Nazis now?
No it’s not, unless you join a village which actively wants to communicate with them. First, let me cover how Gab migrated to the fediverse, and what that means for communication. Simply put, Gab installed a radio station (Activity Pub), by making a copy of the Mastodon software, and making it their own. This means that they can now call all the other villages if they so please. Or at least attempt to call the other villages. A major part of the Fediverse and Mastodon servers prepared by preemptively blocking gab.com, before they officially joined on the 4th of July. By blocking them, we’re effectively not listening to their radio station.
Unfortunately because the radio waves are publicly available, they are still able to listen into us, and “interact” with our radio shows (Public Posts), on their side of the fediverse, even if we refuse to listen to them (by blocking them). This is a flaw in the current design in the Mastodon software, and to some degree the Activity Pub (the radio waves). There is a lot of people on here who are working on the software, or are at least interested in it are working on different ways to deal with this issue, and hopefully we’ll be coming up with even more creative solutions in the future.
To use Eugen’s own words. Mastodon has still hard-lined against Nazis, and their fairly new covenant, enforces that by deciding which servers JoinMastodon.org will advertise for. If you don’t follow the covenant you wont be featured, if you’re a racist / Nazi instance you wont be featured.
On top of that there has been massive efforts between instance (village) admins to organize against this influx of racist and Nazi users. There are even apps developers have decided to block gab.com users from connecting through the app (eg. Tusky and Sengi — full disclosure, I merged the feature to block gab via Tusky as I work for that app). And users are actively sharing lists of Fascist-harbouring instances that they have blocked.
We are still here, and we’re still fighting Nazis and by no means welcoming them into our midst.
Being sick and energetic.
It's such a weird combination.
I'm not the same sick now
as I was then,
but rather I'm a normal kind of sick
instead of abnormal.
You know, then I was undiagnosed,
and sick for years
--just imagining things--
now I'm here and queer, wait that's not right.
Well it's exactly right but not for this conversation.
My throat needs clearing
my lungs help out,
one cough after another,
an itch impossible to scratch
deep down my throat.
It's like the words are just stuck down there,
unable to move, clawing at my throat
from the inside. Screaming LET US OUT!
What is so strange about this kind of sick
is that it's supposed to be normal
but it doesn't feel normal
because I already have plans to do other things,
what do you mean I have to cancel my plans
and take it easy?
I spent 8hrs doing nothing yesterday, isn't that rest?
And here I am. Better than ever but also sick
Being sick and energetic.
It's such a weird combination.
Sick in a way I have not been in a long time,
after cutting ties with the outside world.
after not being able to go out there and enjoy it,
I am now right here today going stir--not crazy
--I'm restless, but I need to rest,
because I've got a cold,
or tonsillitis, who knows.
But the cold isn't getting better
and I'm bored of resting.
Please LET ME OUT.
How can you be sick when you're this energetic.
It was just a small cough--What do you mean I lost my voice. Oh..
Being sick and energetic.
It's such a weird combination.
Is that why they are trapped there,
the words I want to share.
Clawing at the inside of my throat, screaming, and crying.
Please please, dear Madame let me out?
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What’s been on my mind lately is how much my sense of time has changed recently. By the mere fact that I’ve gone from doing maybe 1 social thing in a week, to doing between 2-3 in a day. Which makes one week feel like several weeks, because my mind has not adapted to this new sense of time yet, this new development, how much I actually do in which span of time. And the stupid thing is, and I call it stupid because it is frustrating and just like even though I’ve had this change which should be for the better, it’s not really, it feels like it’s causing a lot of problems, while it’s the opposite of the problem I previously had, now the problem is the other way than it previously was.
Let me just explain what the old problem was. While I’ve been sick for the past few years, I had a really bad sense of time, for a few reasons. One of the reasons was that I would dissociate for hours, not whole days, but whole chunks in a day, several days in a row, where I just kinda disappear. I’ve referred to this in the past as losing time, and I’ve been asked if I have DID, which I’ve explored, but it doesn’t seem like that’s the fit. But I’ve also explored other things, there’s this possibility that I’m on the spectrum. And what’s really spoken to me recently is ADHD, because it presents differently in women than in men, and this is why I can never stick to one story in one straight line, my mind kind of gets distracted and I end up somewhere else. That actually makes writing really hard sometimes, because I can’t focus in just one place, I have to keep going off track. [This whole post was recorded first, then edited into a functional text with some distractions removed, and some kept but crossed out].
(So sense of time, let’s go back, anchor. *sigh*) While I was sick, for the past 3 years, because before that I was going to school several times a week, and I would, I kind of knew how time was passing, with the help of going to school. Some of these incidents have been before I started studying, mostly because I was sick then too, but when I was studying it gave me a pretty clear structure, every year, or every term you’d have a new schedule which would help me be aware of where I was, and where things was in that time-frame. In the past three years, while I’ve been recovering from extreme fatigue, I have felt like something that happened a half a year ago, like 8 months, or further away, still felt like just a few weeks. So I could come back to someone to talk about that, like it was yesterday, like it was last week. For me I had finally gotten to a point where my mind had successfully processed this information, to be able to have the followup conversation. Like say, when something bad happens between two people, right, you want to come back and apologize for what you’ve done, or figure out if there’s something you can do to discuss it, etc., but when you do this after 6 months, when you both are supposed to have moved on, because it was supposedly fine, you end up kind of dragging up old things which would’ve been better left alone. Which is a problem.
This didn’t happen very often, but it happened a few times and caught my attention. However, because I was very low energy, it was kind of hard to talk about and it didn’t happen very often, because I wouldn’t actually have a lot of interactions with a lot of people. In the meantime I did realize that it was happening, and I made a mental note of it, and try to gauge it a bit differently.
Fastforward to May of 2019, previous month, because we’re now in June. I went from being able to do 1 thing a week, like I said earlier, to be able to do several things in one day without a problem.
Thanks to the medicine, Levothyroxine, Levaxin (svenska), which helped deal with my hypothyroidism, which actually gave me physical energy for my body (my muscles). And apparently, I have for the past 3 years, done such a good recovery for my mental health that as soon as this medicine kicked in, I was ready to roll out. Just get out there and live life, and do things and get things done, and yeah… I .. Here we are. So I did, and with that in the past, these events, even if I knew it’d only been one night, even if I knew I’d only slept for one night. I’d done 3-5 things, which should indicate that it’s already been weeks, right?
Do you understand what I’m saying here? Suddenly my brain, which I know there’s a lot of plasticity in the mind, which is like the most fascinating thing on this earth to me. (
This and deep sea, ocean, I… Are seas and ocean the same thing? Deep sea cretures… Anyways. Minds. The focus.) The time. The experience of time has dilated, I’m experiencing time time a lot faster, right now, than everyone else, because I am used to one week being a certain span in activity but one week for someone else would in the past have been a year for me. That’s how the difference feels.
And it’s really hard to like, I know I’m not the only person in the world who’s experience time differently. I think we have a lot of misconceptions about how time is, it’s always going to be subjective. And when your brain is constantly doing something, or constantly unable to do something, you’ll experience, feel and notice and think about that time so much differently than someone else.
I wanna connect this, with something I’ve been calling me being Hyper social. Which is where I’ll go out and meet someone, It’s fine, I’ll go home I’m a bit tired, and within a few hours I’ll be ready to go out again. I have always viewed myself as an introvert, so I’m so fucking confused right now, I know I still need to recharge alone. Get things down on paper is something I’m trying to use as a process right now. (
Anyways I dunno, back to time, fuck if I know.)
Anyways, My sense of time is so screwed. I want to write something beautiful about it, maybe a poem, to get the nuances of what’s going on, and I want to write a poem about it. And how everything is just different, and how it’s impossible to show someone how it feels and explain, and like “hi friend, I’m sorry I’m spamming you”. I’ve ended up in a position where I’m spamming my friends almost 24/7 because it feels like it’s been a week, two weeks, 3 weeks, I’m talking with them again and again. I’m not asking “what did you do today” 50 times, but I keep having a normal conversation, like I would with my close friends, just send a message. “What are you up to? I’m doing x y z, bla bla bla, do you wanna do something?” but then when you’ve asked someone if they wanna do something, like 3 times within 5 days. And then you realize two days later, that it hadn’t even been a week. And this person had given you the clearest indication that they are not a very social person. They did not want to be very social, you could keep talking and maybe see each other once in a while, maybe once every two weeks, but that was it. And here you are having asked them if they wanted to do something, 3 times, within just a few days and talking a lot and just being like suggesting different things and like “but why is this person like withdrawing from me, I don’t understand, do you think I’m trying to be friends with you?” YES, because you asked 3 times in 5 days if they wanted to do something, when for you it felt like weeks had passed, and it had only not even been a week. When that Friday rolled around and I was like when I realized that it’d been so fucking long, I don’t fucking know.
Can I summarize this? Well, it’s a bit wibbly wobbly timey wimey right now. And I hope you can appreciate that. I still want to make a poem for it, but we’ll figure that stuff out later.
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Vi ska inte behöva diagnosera oss själva och peka med hela handen på alla symptom innan läkare tar oss på allvar.
Vi ska inte behöva gå till privatsjukvård för att få hypotyreos diagnoserat och behandlat.
Vi ska inte behöva gå till privatsjukvård för operation och hantering av lipödem.
Vi ska inte behöva vara friska för att klara av pappersarbetet som måste hanteras för att kunna vara sjuk.
Vi ska inte behöva bli bestraffade för att vi är sjuka.
Vi ska inte behöva känna oss som en belastning för samhället, när det är de stora skattesmitarna som är det riktiga problemet.
Vi ska inte behöva tigga till oss LSS-stöd.
Vi ska inte behöva köpa “knark” olagligt för att behandla vår smärta.
Vi ska inte behöva dö innan någon tar våra problem på allvar.
Vi ska inte behöva hamna på nyheterna för att få våra fall behandlade korrekt av Försäkringskassan.
Vi ska inte behöva bollas fram och tillbaka mellan Soc, Försäkringskassan och Arbetsförmedlingen för att ingen bär ansvaret för oss (i flesta av dessa fall är det Försäkringskassan som gör fel, det vet vi redan).