Bloonface
Bloonface avatar

Bloonface

@Bloonface@kbin.social

Filth wizard and Internet bellend.

Main account on Fine City Social (Calckey) - Home page

Other Fedi things:
Swear Clock - Joobly Crooblins - Shartmaildottxt

Bloonface,
Bloonface avatar

The thing is, you're doing the exact thing that the article mentions about forgiving defects in a product - and not interrogating whether there are any changes needed or things that it could do better - because you are close to it and invested in it.

It's not the job of some random user who wants to shitpost on $amicrobloggingapp to put in work to nurture an alternative that doesn't properly meet their needs. Most will accept that a growing platform will be quieter than the one they're leaving; they will not accept quiet and, from their point of view, broken as a platform.

And frankly, a lot of people did put in that work too, and got treated with suspicion and hostility. New users can't seem to ever win; they try to stick around and shape $whateveritis to meet their needs, they get accused of trying to take over and change the direction of someone else's home. They leave, they weren't committed enough to the vision, or in your words patient enough to make it work.

Bloonface,
Bloonface avatar

Because all of the users they like and want to talk to stayed there too.

Network effects are a powerful driver. They can be overcome, but not easily.

Bloonface,
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I don't think Mastodon is as resistant to enshittification as everyone seems to think. Or rather, I think the drivers towards enshittification still exist - primarily, economic pressures relating to operational costs, and the human cost of managing communities - but because there is no actual revenue stream that can even potentially be gained from enshittification and the users won't tolerate anything that might amount to it, what winds up instead happening is that instances just close when their admins either run out of money or burn out. The service on instance X doesn't get "enshittified", it just ends.

Bloonface,
Bloonface avatar

Not the person you're replying to, but if I want to use a Twitter-alike, I want to use a UI geared towards that. If I want to use a Reddit-alike, I want to use a UI geared towards that.

The idea of using Twitter to interact with a Reddit post sounds horrible, or Twitter to interact with YouTube (or YouTube to interact with Twitter!)

Bloonface,
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The problem here is what the article says - Mastodon isn't competing against the primitive Twitter of 2008, it's competing against the much more mature and generally huge Twitter of 2023.

I think comparing follower numbers is a bad metric - it's very easy to be a big fish in a small pond, and Mastodon's pond is very small indeed, and has shrunk dramatically in terms of active users since December.

Bloonface,
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To an extent, influencers wouldn't get on with Mastodon anyway.

Looking at it charitably from their point of view, the discovery is so poor that actually building a following there is a huge amount of work they probably won't see a return on. It's a much smaller audience that in no small part resents even the idea of an "influencer" - someone who has that as their line of work is going to struggle and consider it not worth their time.

Looking at it less charitably, Mastodon does not reward activity on its own but instead things only get attention if they're actually worth attention, so carpet-bombing fedi with posts most people don't actually value is a waste of their time, and it's a lot more effort than such people would typically be willing to expend.

Bloonface,
Bloonface avatar

The thing that's interesting to me is this:

That said, what I do think helps here is that Kbin has a much lower barrier to entry. I find it much easier to sign up on here than trying to determine which Mastodon instance to use and I think that helps tremendously.

Kbin is technically federated and Kbin.social is technically just an instance on a federated network, the federation is just broken right now. But the simple fact of that not being a consideration, and everyone signing up on Kbin.social, has led to comments like this where "it's so much easier".

It rather proves my point; putting decentralised whatever front and centre makes things pointlessly complex and offputting to end users. They don't want to think about this shit, they just want to read stuff and post. The less they have to think about this shit, and/or the less this shit has an impact on their experience, the better for them.

Bloonface,
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To be fair, Reddit's codebase is so shitty I can fully imagine that it could go down from people not using their website.

Bloonface,
Bloonface avatar

Like, ultimately, I have no philosophical objection to Reddit charging for API access. I have an objection to Reddit a) charging ludicrous, unreasonable amounts with the very obvious intention of killing off third party apps and tools and b) repeatedly giving a middle finger to its own userbase, and particularly those who put in unpaid labour to keep the site ticking over.

Unfortunately a) goes against Reddit's express self-interest, and with regards to b) some people are stupid enough or salty enough about having their shitposts removed from places they shouldn't be to actually be on Reddit's side and going "yeah, down with mods!", neglecting to note that the mods are pretty much all that stands between Reddit and a horde of spambots, porn accounts, children, trolls and racists making the site downright unusable.

Bloonface,
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I think that's a little unfair, speaking as a fedi admin.

There are certainly instances that like to block any instance that doesn't match its admins' precise ideological priors (i.e. "X on Y server of 10,000 people is a 'cop' through some loose definition... COP!!!! BAN!!! BAN THE WHOLE THING!!!!" - has literally happened). I don't agree with them or their methods.

But honestly they're relatively small and few, and safely ignorable by the people on the big instances, who by and large will only block places that simply won't moderate away their users' hate speech or harassment.

Same way how on Reddit you can easily go a million years without having to interact with the weird uber-tankies or the racists, you can quite easily join Mastodon.social or any other reasonably well-moderated instance and let the whole fediblock discourse just pass you by.

Bloonface,
Bloonface avatar

In general I think decentralisation is significantly oversold as a panacea, and conversely its advocates deliberately ignore that there are pretty concrete advantages to centralisation.

Worse, the advantages to centralisation are almost entirely on the end user experience side - "you can talk to anyone on the service no matter who!", "you only need to register one account!" - while the advantages of decentralisation are all remote and philosophical - "nobody can take it over!", "you can run your own service!". So centralised services will keep winning because they have the best pitch - or, at the very least, servers on decentralised services that become so big and have so many users that they are effectively centralised services all on their own (e.g. Mastodon.social, Kbin).

Most people don't care about philosophical stuff but they do care about having a usable service. It reminds me a bit of Linux advocates who preach the gospel about open source and how bad Microsoft is and how DRM will eat their nans or whatever, but fail to see the glaring issue that for 99% of users Windows works just fine and they don't actually care about anything philosophical, because they see their computer as a tool that plays a minor part in their life, rather than a means of self-actualisation.

That said, I think the best way to explain fediverse is to not. You don't need to tell people all the technical details, you just need to sell them on what they care about. Leading with decentralisation as your USP is a hiding to nothing because most people don't care - "it's a chill place here and you can do XYZ" will work far better. Anyone who cares will find out.

Bloonface,
Bloonface avatar

The absolute best way to explain the fediverse is to not.

When I wrote a short guide to getting started on Mastodon I made deliberate efforts to completely ignore the technical side. The instance stuff does not need explaining. Nobody cares about that. They want to know how to find people to talk to on this Mastodon thing they heard about.

Nobody will tell you to try some chocolate by explaining the entire supply chain for all the ingredients that went into it. They say "try this delicious chocolate bar!" or words to that effect.

If you can't think of a USP for fedi that doesn't revolve around obscure technical details that most people do not and will never give a shit about, and that honestlly are kind of awkward to explain and sometimes even defend, well... I'd suggest going away and trying again.

Bloonface,
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Only in the sense that if someone can register bloonface [a] gmail.com and bloonface [a] outlook.com, it thus in theory "opens a possibility to misbehave".

The idea of a person having a single username that is unique across the entire Internet isn't one that really exists, if it ever did in the first place.

Contrary to some of the discourse on rexxit, I don't think the goal should be a "reddit killer" - just to breath life into this corner of the fediverse

This is just sort of a stream of thought from somebody who has been glued to my screen tracking the drama from the past week or so., and also watched the digg exodus happen (although I never used digg, just watched it from reddit's perspective)...

Bloonface,
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I mean, it's a nice idea, but I don't think anyone really owes anything to Kbin or the fediverse more generally.

It looks like Kbin may be close to reaching the critical mass where it has enough of a network effect that it functions as a centralised server, which can attract more people. But I would be exceptionally loathe to suggest that this would be some sort of renaissance for the fediverse - most people don't care about federation, decentralisation or any of that shit, they just want somewhere to read stuff and post.

Bloonface,
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I think at the same time, having probably the least desirable part of the existing userbase also dominating the network is going to make sure that Kbin stays small too.

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