As Mastodon is growing, it becomes clear that many of the problems that we face in social media aren't solved by simply replacing monolithic corporate-owned infrastructure with a decentralized one. That - it seems - was the easy part. The hard problems appear to be sociological. How do you protect an individual from an angry mob? How do you find out if the mob's anger is justified or not? We can't hope to answer these questions with technology.

What's scary to me about this is, that I'm ill equipped to solve this problem. Writing software is about the one thing that I'm really good at. Dealing with people-problems? Not so much. 😨

@tauli I believe in the community to find a solution. But it will probably take a long time. Still, each community / instance being able to make their own rules and enforce them on their own instance is an advantage imho. It is almost impossible to make global rules that perfectly fit the type of discourse of any community.

@dadada @tauli

How about:

> Dear everybody: never let yourself become part of an angry mob. When one seems to form, take your friends by the hand and back away together.

That was far less cutting-edge, evidence-based, sociology-studied, pro-tip lifehack than I had hoped for ;-)

@tauli feel you. But actually, software/code can help here. Devs can give moderators tools to identify problems/conflicts in a community (alerts for high no of blocks, alerts for big amount of hate speech just as two examples). Although decision making and conflict resolution needs human intervention at last, you can help to make the decision more structured, informed and transparent.

@tauli I’m not so sure about that. Technology helps people to react fast. Sometimes faster than they think. Right now I’m thinking about an “artificial break”. Mirroring ones post. Kind of: “there are 1000 people answering right now. Do you think, you post is helpful?” or “We detected some words, often used with hate speech. Do you really want to send this?”. But I think after some time people will klick yes without thinking, as fast as in MS-windows-error-messages.

@Adrian Technology can be a powerful tool. What effects it has depends mostly on those who have access to it. Social media gave a voice on the internet to many people who previously where incapable or unwilling to build their own websites. This is largely a good thing. But unsurprisingly it also comes with it's own share of problems. We can build new tools to enable admins/users to deal with these problems more effectively. But we need people to actually use those tools in good faith.

@tauli It's true, but if a mob comes to attack someone or an instance, there is some technic can be used to reduce the problem.

With the account reported, the moderators of the instance can remove and block the attack.
If the instance didn't take any measure to lock, there is always the possibility to block the instance.

Recently on some instances, members of a junk French forum think Mastodon is more free speech than Twitter, it takes less than 24h for them to realize the fediverse can react.

@C_Chell as i said in technology is just a tool. We need good tools, but we also need people who properly use them. Many tech-savvy people i met over the last couple of years routinely forget that fact or at least underestimate it's importance.

@tauli by reflecting our own actions and people nicely pointing out where we might have fucked up in the past. There were flamewars as long as there was social interaction on the net but if you agree as a community on code of conduct that gets enforced by its members you can have a really decent space.

@tauli As far as moderation is concerned, this has been done before: The members of the group agree to a clear code of conduct and the moderators are responsible to enforce it.

The main problem with Mastodon is that the code of conduct is not very clear.

@tsturm @tauli it is not clear on all instances but there are exceptions. I think it is the job of every instance to have a "how we would like to interact with each other" That does not save you from every troll or asshat. Not only moderators need to enforce "rules" but the people living in the community need to remind people that this is a special place with new forms of interacting and if you do not agree on a few principles might find another instance.

@tauli sociological and organizational. Group/community-based decision making. Maybe randomly selected from the respective instance with every participant obliged to "serve" at some point. Democracy baked into the ntework. Neutral mediators (neutral as in: follows none of the parties involved). That's what comes to my mind at least...

It didn't became clear; just more visible
and tech-culture tends to ignore (or "forget") that other humans have already found answers.

There is an eff-ing lot of science about conflicts between humans and in communities, but "I create things from nothing" and "social science isn't real science" are strong in the cis-, white-, male- dominated tech-culture.
Both of the stated questions are easily answered with "by the eff-ing judiciary!" and we chose not to have courts over dictatorship-per-instance.

Entschludige bitte, dass ich wütender war als ich hätte sein sollen.
Konkrete Features aus der realen Welt wäre etwas wie Schutzhaft: Admins greifen in die Benachrichtigungen (die der in Schutzhaft zu nehmende Account sieht) ein und "entfernen" gleichzeitig den Account so weit wie möglich aus dem Fediverse (ob 404 oder anderes kann ich nicht sagen) bis die Situation geklärt ist, weil Accounts sich ja nicht aus dem Internet zurückziehen können wie es Menschen in der Realität können.

@tauli yes quite, very, indeed; monolithic structures are actually far easier to enforce norms on - Corp owner willing - than federated ones. I hold little hope this platform will be any better once the ugly masses get here. I’m only here to try and keep in touch with a few folk and hold no great hope other than some instances may be really good, but will then lose connection to folk at others...

@tauli I've been thinking lately about whether it's mathematically possible to "prove" that the "Agora" model of discourse popularised by Twitter and the #Fediverse actually directly leads to mob storms. Like, if you imagine the graph of people and their possible interactions, the number of possible interactions grows wildly faster than the number of people. Each new person is a constellation of potential abuses. Maybe balkanisation (happening naturally!) is actually the right path forward?

@tauli I agree completely. the kind of tools and methods of interaction we develop shape the things we say. the solution surely isnt technical in nature, but fostering addictive behavior is not helping either

@tauli The point of having a decentralized social network is so people with common opinions can communicate with each other and decide on the rules of their network themselves. I believe that solves the "angry mob" problem. Just wait till the network saturates. It will be like forums, but better because all the instances will be connected to each other(conditionally ofcourse).

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