If Fediverse remains just like Free Software...

THAT may be what dooms it.

I had three huge déjà-vu-vu moments today, reading E. Kissane’s description of the current status of the BlueSky and Mastodon communities, and the relations between them.

If Fediverse remains just like Free Software... /img/mastodon-not-bug-but-feature.jpg

The first was reading this passage (emphasis and numbering mine):

“After the past decade or so on Twitter, “I won’t touch anything Jack Dorsey has touched” is a reasonable reaction. “I will only put my social labor into platforms that can never benefit billionaires” is fair."

“But the missing step, to me, is when people with principled objections to other platforms are (1) unwilling or unable to make the alternatives of their choosing more welcoming to more people. And there are absolutely people trying to do the work, but they’re dependent on the choke-point of what Mastodon-the-company decides is valuable."

The other two moments came with the conclusion:

"(2) If we want more people to enjoy what we believe are the benefits of something like Mastodon, it’s on us to make it delicious and convenient and multi-textured and fun instead of trying to shame people into eating their soysage and unsalted soup."

“I hope all of that is actually possible for Mastodon, because a lot of great people very much want it to become a more welcoming place. But the longer (3) Mastodon stays in Linux-on-the-desktop mode, the more likely those people are to take their energy somewhere where it’s valued."

And you know why I had those déjà-vu moments? Because…

First, because passage (1) gave me a flash of me, writing "[such a behavior] sends the message that other communities, including the one of all human beings, are worthless," that is the sixth of the Seven Things we’re tired of hearing from software hackers).

Second, because passage (2) gave me another flash of me, writing the “A new attitude and covenant are needed” paragraph of A Free Software Manifesto For All Of Us

Finally, the “Mastodon staying in Linux-on-the-desktop mode” thing brought back another article of mine about… “misguided goals for Linux desktops”.

And my point is…

Of course, the point here is not my déjà-vus as such. Or the fact that both Kissane and I wrote similar things, independently from each other. It’s the fact that I wrote the first two pieces are seventeen years old, and the third one MORE THAN TWENTY.

That’s the only issue here. The fact that, if things in the Fediverse of 2023 are as Kissane reports, we have an attitude that in almost forty years just moved up the stack, from printer drivers to social networking protocols. Not good.

More of the same, as invitation to not repeat certain mistakes: