Living Out Loud

Will It Still Be Social?


I've evidently been living under a rock as a budding controversy has been brewing in the Fediverse. There is a two-year old proposal known as FEP-5624: Per-object reply control policies:

Sometimes, users may want to share an information or a story without inviting replies from outside their circles or from anyone at all. In particular, individuals may want to restrict who can reply to them in order to avoid “reply guys” or limit outright harassment, while institutions may want to disable replies on their posts to provide information without having to deal with a moderation burden.

This FEP intends to provide a mechanism to address that, by advertising a reply policy and providing means to check whether an actor has approved a reply.

I would like to live in a world where I do my part to help protect people from harassment, whether it's women, LGBT folks, racial minorities or any other oppressed groups. I need some help understanding a few things.

When there are alternative social networks where this protection exists (BlueSky), why choose to participate where there is a different standard? I had an abusive job for eight years as a prison guard where I was cursed at, assaulted and worked in a tense and potentially violent atmosphere for 40 hours a week - voluntarily of course. When I couldn't stand it any more. I quit and moved on to a career I actually enjoyed.

Isn't there a danger of developing a performative elite class in the Fediverse where the well known and popular accounts gather and talk to each other in front of the plebes with no one to hold them accountable? I know I don't want people like a certain well-known blogger on the same social network as I'm on making the  anti-Palestinian comments he's made in the past without anyone but his apolitical peers to call him on it.

Isn't the Fediverse different than Twitter in that no one has to rely on Elon Musk to protect them? There are a variety of servers available. The one I'm on has robust people principals and moderation standards. People don't get to harass other members and women, POC, LGBT and neurodiverse folks are explicitly supported.

There are avenues for anyone to deliver their message to the world in readily accessible blogs and web services. If anyone wants to get a message out, they can do it on, Pika, Bear, or BearBlog. Why insist on turning a two way public street into a personal pulpit?

I understand harassment on a first person basis. As an antiwar activist in the company town outside of Ft.Bragg  during the height of the US efforts in Iraq I dealt with having my car window shot out in my driveway, death threats and vandalism, plus an IDGAF attitude from the cops.  I get it, there are some mean ass people in the world. 

Hopefully there can be a solution where some kind of compromise can be reached, where people can be protected without there being a two-tiered system of the cool kids and the rest of us, where every person is accountable for what they say and where the sucky people can be dealt with.