i don't have the words to properly situate this within the current discourse right now but you all should be aware that the fediverse is historically an anti-trans and anti-gay space also


when mastodon first started, activitypub didn't exist yet. the fediverse was a bunch of GNU Social instances communicating over the OStatus protocol. these instances were well-established, and they did not take kindly to the popularity of Mastodon and all the new users taking over their existing, quiet culture

the existing, quiet culture, by the way, was a bunch of channer shit and blatantly anti-gay and anti-trans memes. the instance we saw most often on the federated timeline in those days was shitposter.club, a place which virtually every respectable instance now has blocked. mastodon didn't really *have* blocks back then

we made this space our own through months of work and a fuckton of drama and infighting. but we did a good enough job that when mastodon took off, OUR culture was the one everybody associated it with

bad instances have always existed and every good thing about the fediverse today was hard-fought and hard-won. making it better will mean more work, fighting, and winning

i’m tired of reductive takes like “the fediverse shouldn't be bad; the fediverse should be good” which erase both the history of struggle and the actual tactics used to get us where we are now

the fediverse IS bad; get over it and get to work and maybe we can achieve something cool

addendum to this: the fediverse is living software and the affordances it provides are not static or stable. i AGREE with the take that new communities need space to figure out how to make those affordances work for them, but i think it historically has been EQUALLY important that those communities have an active hand in actually creating and promulgating those affordances. when the fedi started it didn't have post privacy settings, much less CWs. the queer masto community applied pressure and in some cases actively developed these affordances to meet our needs. if we hadn't we would not have been successful here

setl monsterpit, long live glitchsoc, etc etc

@Lady That "existing culture" was from the very same year mastodon.social came online. The famous channer-culture and freezepeach instances came up only months before Mastodon's "Show HN" and the general meme that Mastodon was "Twitter without the Nazis". I don't think it's fair to pin that on GNU Social and the free software movement.

What is fair to pin on the project and the community is that they were unprepared for the influx and steeped in an individualist hacker culture where tolerance of intolerance was not considered a big problem and "just don't read it" was considered a solution. The software had no tools and the community had no roles for creating a safe environment.

Mastodon introduced proper moderation tools to Fedi, driven by the needs of queer denizens, no doubt about it.
This was at the height of the alt-right's first collision with Twitter moderation and later that year Milo/Nero would be permabanned from Twitter.

Robek's article about Fedi 2016 is whimsical, rambly, opinionated, maybe edgy, but accurate in terms of the timeline and the factual events described at "The Second Exodus":


@clacke this is a fair response; it probably wasn’t clear but my intention WASN’T to pin blame for this culture on the GNU Social software or OStatus protocol (which i actually generally respect) but more emphasize the fact that what we (or, some people) consider the “fediverse” today is a completely different set of technologies and instances compared to what it was in those days

i can say, subjectively, that the channer culture was established Enough to take issue with Mastodon and dominant (or talkative) Enough that they were most of what Mastodon seemed to be communicating with, but of course there WERE plenty of other, even older instances out there as well

the reason why i tend to write those very old instances off is because their “individualist hacker culture” mostly did not feel to me like a communal FEDIVERSE culture (but rather a bunch of individualist nodes which happened to talk to each other); this might be unfair but it seemed to me like the channer and later Mastodon instances had a sense of federated community which the predecessors did not (this may or may not be a good thing, depending on your outlook)

@Lady No, that's all fair and I agree with you.

"My" Fediverse community was a few dozen people who had been there mostly since year one, people who to some degree were there for Free Software discourse, who interacted a lot across identi.ca, quitter.se, fragdev, loadaverage and their own small instances.

There were thousands of people who probably didn't follow this circle and maybe didn't venture outside whatever server they happened to be on. The quitter.es crowd come to mind, another Twitter emigration that came and mostly went when a particular celebrity was banned and later reinstated on Twitter.

The two 2016 migrations were more coherent and more persistent and forever changed what Fedi is.

@clacke @Lady this is a great discussion

Can I quote a couple of things from it in "Mastodon: a partial history"?

- Lady's point about the anti-gay and anti-trans memes, and shitposter.club

- Claes' point about the timing of the channer-culture and freezepeach instances, the culture, and the lack of tools and roles?

Here's the current draft, I'm in the midst of reworking the 2016 discussions to have more context on the fediverse.


@jdp23 @Lady Wow, this was a really interesting read. Thank you for doing this.

I'm a white cishet male free software nerd, so a lot of this evolution has been outside my bubble and under my radar and I've only seen the tip of the iceberg. It's good to have an eye-opener.
@jdp23 Anything I write here is CC-by-SA, but for the purpose of this article you have my permission to redistribute my quotes under whatever terms you prefer.

You have my express permission to mention me as a source, refer to my fedi username and link to my posts.

@clacke thanks! and Everything I wite on Nexus of Privacy is CC NC-BY-SA as well (and now that I think of it I'll put that explicitly at the bottom of the post too)

And, glad it was so interesting!

@jdp23 CC-NC-by-SA is incompatible with CC-by-SA (so, "as well" is inaccurate), but as I said you have my permission to use your terms.
@jdp23 @Lady Great! "a Claes unto himself" sounds confusing in running text, probably easier to just call me clacke 😃

> Prodromou is generally credited for coining the term "fediverse,"

We have been discussing this recently and two years ago and I think nobody is saying Prodromou came up with the term, it was definitely the users.

Most likely it was Marjolein Katsma in 2013, she was using the term for months before anyone else did. Before then it was more often then "identiverse", or admins and users of servers other than identi.ca itself were in a group called "feds".

People have said they saw the term already in 2011 but we haven't been able to find records.

@clacke @Lady cool, thanks much -- clacke it is! And good clarification on fediverse, I'll leave it vaguer as to who came up with it.

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📟🐱 GlitchCat

A small, community‐oriented Mastodon‐compatible Fediverse (GlitchSoc) instance managed as a joint venture between the cat and KIBI families.