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  • Doug Belshaw 7:57 am on September 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Mastodon, ,   


    I deleted my account on the Mastodon instance social.coop yesterday. I still don’t fully understand what went down, but here’s some details from my perspective that I can point to in case people ask.

    Social.coop is/was an experiment in democratic, co-operative social networking that I joined in May 2017. I paid $3/month as a member and return got to participate not only in the social network but help make decisions in their Loomio group.

    It was great until recently. As with all groups that don’t have strong leadership, there was a lot of discussion and debate about what seemed like fairly minor things. One critical failure was the time it took to get a code of conduct in place and a policy about when social.coop would block other instances.

    There must have been some back story that I’m not aware of, but on Wednesday 29th August I ‘tooted’ that I’d weigh in on Loomio when people stopped arguing. In retrospect, should have posted that directly on Loomio rather than Mastodon. I also posted a few points that I thought were salient, including that I felt that the term ‘nazi’ was a form of shorthand and not specific enough for a policy.

    That wasn’t a helpful thing have said and I have apologised for my ignorance.

    On Thursday 30th some other Mastodon instances cited my toot as policy of social.coop and, without an explanation (other than “just no”) silenced/blocked the entire social.coop instance.

    I was willing to stick around and ride things out as there’s always bumps in the road with democratic experiments. However, people on social.coop started leaving, including key members who provide hosting for the instance. It was clear things weren’t going anywhere.

    So, I decided to delete my social.coop account. It’s a real shame, and I’m very sorry that I inadvertently upset people and caused so much drama. Suffice to say I’ve learned a lot from the experience.

    • Simon Grant 8:45 am on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, it has been quite a learning experience, hasn’t it! For everyone who was part of that learning experience, I’d like to see if we can do some peer group learning, as I sense that we can learn a lot more through discussion than we can by ourselves alone.

    • Greg McVerry 12:11 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I have come to believe that a decentralized approach to the web is better than a federated one. I quit scholar.social because I was a “cross-poster” and they force anyone publishing from their own domain to be “unlisted.” My application to social.coop was never approved.

      Instead be your own fed.

      A good ole blog roll that we share among friends and a chat group is all I need.

      • Doug Belshaw 3:16 pm on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Greg. The problem with the ‘everyone has their own server’ model is that we’ve already tried that, and it failed. We’re now at a place where capitalist social media has made things so ways to use that we can’t provide an alternative that is difficult to set up.

    • Matt Noyes 6:43 pm on September 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      You left too soon. Keep an eye out for work being done in various areas to regenerate the co-op and consider re-engaging if the balance tilts toward hope.

      • Doug Belshaw 8:05 pm on September 10, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Matt. I miss that timeline and wish social.coop every success. Sadly, no one did anything but DM support. It wasn’t enough.

    • jwmh 8:25 am on September 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      ask for a facilitator & trainer in nonviolent operating principles w 25+ years of experience (not me! but a teacher in the SF bay area whom i deeply respect & appreciate)

    • mike hales 9:00 am on September 11, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Greg – Until it’s a package, like any other app, there’s no way folks like me will host a server. I’ve not seen a command line for 25 years, or ever booted Terminal on my Macs, and have no desire to. My (not very well informed) hopes are with fully P2P Holochain, and open apps architecture, or maybe some Scuttlebuttish protocol (maybe even a wireless web?). But that’s some way up the pipeline (?) as an alternative to the everyday internet and platformed apps. Thank goodness for non-capitalist platforms like Loomio. Agnostic platforms like WordPress. Hosting coops. Etc. We’ll get by?

      Best wishes Doug. Hopefully we each get better at spotting our own ignorance before it pitches us into what turn out to be war zones A long haul though?

  • Doug Belshaw 7:27 pm on June 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Mastodon, theme,   

    Halcyon makes Mastodon look and feel like Twitter 

    For the last seven weeks or so, I’ve been off Twitter and instead been using Mastodon, an open source, decentralised social network. One of the great things about this is that, like the Linux laptop I’m typing this on, it can be configured to my heart’s content.

    While there’s a ‘default’ way that Mastodon looks (which depends on which instance you’ve signed up to), you can a plethora of apps and web views to customise your experience. In this way, it’s like Twitter was in the early days. The difference being there’s no company in the middle looking for an IPO and therefore shutting down ‘competition’.

    I’m signed up to social.coop, an instance of Mastodon for those interesting in co-operatives, and which practices what it preaches; members pay to co-own the instance and have voting rights. You can find me at social.coop/@dajbelshaw. Here’s what it looks like for me normally:

    Default social.coop layout

    Today I discovered Halcyon, which allows you to login with your federated Mastodon credentials. You’re then presented with an interface that closely resembles Twitter’s web interface:


    This is familiar, but I’m in two minds whether it’s a ‘good thing’ or not. On the one hand, it’s great to have things that are easy to use and don’t have a steep learning curve. On the other, it’s so close to Twitter that it might be difficult for people to understand the difference. They might just write off Mastodon as a Twitter clone where less of the their network are. That would be as shame.

  • Doug Belshaw 1:12 pm on May 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , IFTTT, Mastodon   

    HOWTO: Send 'boosted' toots from Mastodon to Pinboard 

    IFTTT recipes

    One of the wonderful things about the web is being able to automate certain actions. Something I find particularly useful with Twitter is being able to use IFTTT to automatically send anything I favourite that contains a link to my Pinboard bookmarks.

    I’m experimenting with Mastodon this month, and so wanted something similar. I think I’ve found an imperfect, but usable, solution. The equivalent of ‘retweeting’ in Mastodon is ‘boosting’. When you boost something, this shows up on your timeline for other people to see — that’s the whole point of it.

    As each user profile in Mastodon has its own Atom feed (like RSS) then you can use this to automatically run your Mastodon updates through IFTTT, and pull out any boosted toots. You can search for a particular string. In this case it’s ‘shared a status’. I’ve put together a three-step process on how to do this below.

    A) Find your Atom feed

    The location of the feed you require is in the format: instance/users/username.atom. That means mine is https://mastodon.cloud/users/dajbelshaw.atom.

    B) Create an IFTTT applet

    A straightforward process, if you follow these steps:

    1. Go to IFTTT, click on your username and in the drop-down select New Applet
    2. Click on this in the sentence that pops up (‘if this then that’)
    3. Search for RSS and select that option
    4. Select New feed item matches
    5. In the ‘Keyword or simple phrase (required)’ box enter shared a status and then in the ‘Feed URL (required)’ enter your Atom feed from Step A.
    6. Press Create trigger
    7. Click on that in the sentence that pops up (‘if this then that’)
    8. Search for Pinboard and select that option
    9. Select Add a public bookmark (if that’s what you want to do – your choice!)
    10. Leave the ‘URL (required)’ box alone, add/remove any tags you want in the ‘Tags’ box, and then delete everything in the ‘Description’ box and click ‘Add ingredient’. Select EntryContent and then press the Create action button.

    C) Check it’s working

    Go to Mastodon and boost someone’s toot, preferably containing a link. If you wait a while (these things are never instantaneous) you should see in your Pinboard bookmarks the details of the toot you just boosted!

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