New Twitter vs. new Mastodon.

I got New Twitter today.

It looks like this:

New Twitter

Previously, Mastodon introduced their single-column layout… in June. Single Column Mastodon looks like this:

Single Column Mastodon

Both sites here, by the way, are already scaled up to 120% on my screen, otherwise they would just be a single column on a large dark surface. They would look a bit desolate.

Anyhow, I rocked Single Column Mastodon for maybe 2 days, then went back to Power User Mastodon (with many columns); even for Twitter, I used Tweetdeck when I could, and Power User Mastodon is pretty much federated Tweetdeck without the nazis (sorrynotsorry).

Also meanwhile, Mastodon faces one of its biggest challenge since inception: how to deal with nazis. This is a challenge that Twitter failed (has been failing at), and of course the Fediverse, being the fediverse, has had a wide range of answers to it so far. The Verge writes about this, and you can see the discussion popping up every once in a while on Mastodon. Legally Gab is free to use the Mastodon source of course, but instance admins are also free to not federate to/with anything related to Gab. So are app developers, but there’s an interesting twist here: once you downloaded an app, you can rate it. If you happen to be a nazi, and the app happens to refuse to enable your using Gab, you can give a one star rating. If enough nazis do this (and there are a lot of them and they are active and opinionated/entitled), the app dev’s income (and enthusiasm) can be hurt. And apart from reporting individual negative reviews, there’s not much a dev can do. So even if you only disabled Gab in your app because enabling hate speech would risk your app store position (and besides it being the right thing to do), the very company imposing this burden on you can not really ease your resulting pain.

I also kind of understand the folks who think this kind of censorship, even if against nazis, hurts the open source / open culture society, because principles. I have a feeling that being a bit more opinionated will be a thing this subculture will have to get used to. (And this time it’s not about Emacs vs. Vim.)

What I’m saying is:

  1. There’s no ultimate solution to the nazi problem. Twitter certainly isn’t one, and the Fediverse is also fragmented in the question, I guess.
  2. It’s not only a Fediverse problem, it’s a problem of all the for-profit companies that are connected to the Fediverse (e.g. are running an app store). As much as fediverse actors, they need to find a better solution on their side.
  3. The censorship discussion has to play out. I think having more formulated opinions and acting on them might be a way forward here, but paradoxically this is not at all a well formulated opinion and I’m not a developer so I certainly won’t act on any of them, and it’s late and I’m tired. So there, I’m not being too useful here, but I promise I’ll think this through better.

But then again hey, look, New Twitter looks like Single Column Mastodon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *