Some people claim that instance-blocking weakens the fediverse, and undermines the point of federation.

This is the opposite of the truth.

The point of federation is that it limits the accumulation of power: no single instance can control fedi, because users can always switch instances without leaving fedi.

This is why fedi and fascism are fundamentally opposed -- and why the ability to block fascist/abusive instances is the very heart of federation's power to serve its users.


@woozle You can not change opinions with blocking... opinions only change if they are debated and people are exposed to differences.

Blocklists creates silos which divides the fediverse into different camps. Silos creates fundamentalism.

If you are told the same untruth multiple times, you will eventually believe that it has some truth to it. Unless the untruthfulness is exposed.

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@shellkr @woozle

> opinions only change if they are debated and people are exposed to differences

debate doesn't change opinions, emotional conditioning changes opinions, champ.

You cannot tolerate the intolerant. Hate speech and fear mongering are abusing democratic discourse ajd must be excluded from it.

Well I am assuming here, that instances are blocked for these kinds of reasons. If that's wrong, I am sorry.

@Mopsi @woozle Do you have any real world research? Anyone can make a philosophical argument on anything.

People can change and do change all the time. It is not about sanctioning their views.. but correcting them. So it is not about tolerance.

Racism is a response of being afraid. Being scared of the unfamiliar. About belonging. Blocking will only make their resolve stronger.

So I would say.. blocklists is to take the ignorant route. Burying the head in the sand.

Blocking hate speech is not the fight for winning those on the other side back. It is the fight against losing more people to them.

I do not have research unfortunately, but an example. The german extreme right party AfD was rising and rising through the refugee crisis because they kept inciting fear of strangers in the population. Inviting them into talk shows only made things worse, because it provided them with the means to reach even more people. 1/x

@shellkr @woozle
Recently their popularity has been declining. And it is largely due to the fact that nobody cares about refugees anymore. Nobody is talking about the AfD's topics anymore.

@shellkr @woozle
I agree that people who are afraid cannot be won back by punishing them for their fear. But easing their fear is extremely hard. And more importantly, not everybody inciting fear does that purely because they are afraid themselves. If you look at the politicians in the AfD, they are clearly using fear for their personal gain.

@shellkr @woozle
A major politician in the AfD is a homosexual woman who lives in a relationship with another woman with children. This woman is fighting to limit the rights of homosexuals, because it's what here clientele likes. No amount of rational argument will convince her out of her positions, because she knows fully what she is doing.

@Mopsi @woozle The reason the AfD support is declining is because there is less refugees. So they are not really blocked...

And yes, some are more difficult but no one is impossible. Some needs years and years before they turn. Some may have psychological damage that need treatment e.t.c..

@shellkr Changing opinions isn't the point, at all.

There are some people you just can't reach. Freeze peachers and Trump followers are two examples that come to mind.

@woozle Yes, fundamentalist and fact-avoiders are difficult... but not impossible. Many dropout cultists are proof of that. Also.. the scale are never black and white.. it is more a gray one.

@shellkr Point being, some people don't want to deal with truth-deniers, much less evangelists for anti-truth, or see such nonsense popping up in their timeline or community spaces -- but "free speech" instances tend to consider such speech acceptable as long as it is "civil".

@woozle If you are not following anyone with such views.. it is very unlikely you will see anything like that in your feed. You have also ability to individually block someone.

Also.. if you are on the internet you will have to be prepared to be emotional. You will meet people who you do not agree with. You will be much better off learning how to handle it...

@shellkr I've heard these arguments before, and they're... circular and empty.

I personally have no objection to dealing with counterfactualists and other forms of subtle uncivility. I often find it energizing.

However, as the owner of an instance that has been specifically created as a safe space, I am aware that many of my users are not prepared to deal with these things, and they don't wish to engage with those folks but nonetheless may find themselves caught up in the backwash from those discussions (from others who are willing to engage) -- and I firmly believe that they deserve to be able to interact freely within a social media space without having to deal with content they may find triggering. To insist that they "love it or leave it" would be, in effect, silencing them.

This is where much "free speech" advocacy reveals its hypocrisy: allowing loud dominating voices to speak without restraint inevitably silences others -- but free speech advocates never seem to care about that, somehow.

Furthermore, by allowing counterfactual speech to propagate into my spaces, I am enlarging its platform -- and I cannot imagine why I'd want to do that.

Note that this does not apply to mere "controversial opinions": there is a difference between {suggesting that a conventional view is in some way wrong} and {acting as if it is obviously wrong and anyone who believes it is part of the conspiracy} (often accompanied by abuse of various degrees of subtlety). The former is welcome. The latter is not, and spaces which support folks who do it will be blocked.

@woozle @shellkr People are really only ever arguing with themselves, and looking for information.
@woozle @shellkr
> allowing loud dominating voices to speak without restraint inevitably silences others -- but free speech advocates never seem to care about that, somehow.

I am curious, how do the loud dominating voices silence the other voices? Is it because the volume of their postings dwarfs that of the others’ postings? Do the others go silent because they’re intimidated and possibly triggered by the dominating ones? Is the inevitability the fault of the dominating ones or the silenced ones?

I encounter this all the time irlβ€”I was born lippy and opinionated. Almost all women, and a surprising # of men, are intimidated and feel their ability to speak up is diminished by my extreme ease in speaking up. Sort of like there’s a finite amount of expression, and I’ve bogarted more than I was entitled to. I know this because they have told me. But I’ve never understood the precise mechanism whereby me lipping off prevents others from lipping off.

Funnily enough, I never do this onlineβ€”I hate the automatic, reflexive hostility one encounters when conversing with strangers. I save my assholery for in-person events. I should totally reverse that probably.
@HonkifyYourself @woozle @shellkr I think it's a noble thing to want to protect the weak from those who would abuse them. Protectors often become abusers though, because those who need protectors also draw abuse to them.
It's a weird dynamic, and one shouldn't be a protector without also knowing people have to grow their own strength, and that can't be done without adversity.
Protectors often become abusers themselves, because abuse victims somehow desire abuse, because they need strength, and protectors constantly need to become stronger, and expect something in return.
I only offer it occasionally, and go my own way afterwards. People have to learn to protect themselves.
@HonkifyYourself @woozle @shellkr Have you ever had a conversation with your mother and she won't let you have a say and keeps cutting you off to the point you just give up speaking. It's like that.
In public spaces there is only two mediums that messages can propagate and only one that can be transferred by all in a 360 degree space. Light and sound. In the medium of the internet you tend to be confined to individual mediums, for example this fediverse instance has one medium that is your followers timeline, the other medium that is the instance timeline and another that is tag timeline and finally the whole network. It gets progressively drowned out by other voices, only this time unlike in real life you can get a say in and no one can cut you off. It's limited to human time attention span so only the most autistic are the ones listening to most of the things one may say, or those inclined to follow you.
There's a problem in that there isn't a good enough sorting algorithm to sort out all the noise. But that has the benefit of picking up a couple of posts that any algorithm could miss, which is why I'm speaking to you right now.
My own personal mother was the first such intimidated woman in my life, and she always resented me for being able to speak my mind. My parents beat me like a rented mule for my outspokenness. I should have learned from this, but I didn’t. Instead my resolve hardened.

But I have had conversations with such dominating persons, and there are certainly plenty of them on the internet. I just get bored and go away, though, I don’t try to get them punished, silenced, and cancelled.
@HonkifyYourself Another example of explaining this conundrum. If one wants to speak to a audience at a conference, a rally, etc. and wish to get a message or statement across but a third party barges in with megaphones and start spouting their own message preventing you from completing your speech. it's preventing a message from reaching its intended designation by flooding it with messages that are contrary or irrelevant.
Search engine algorithms that intentionally put some links to the bottom of a quarry or somewhere where it takes forever to find is another example.
I certainly understand why someone would want to hang out in an instance where you wouldn’t encounter a bunch of stuff you don’t want to hear. Even if it means wholesale blocking of freeze peach. Perhaps the problem is caused by a feeling one is entitled to be heard, and that one’s own opinions are very important. In that case, anything that prevents or overrides the dissemination of one’s views is an affront. The solution to this hypothetical problem would be to not take oneself seriously. To maybe even have some humility about the value and originality of one’s thoughts. I dunno. Bc of my obnoxious personality I’ve had to take a lot of (figurative) punches to the face, suck it up, and move on. PLENTY of social exclusion too. I’m not committed to freeze peach as an abstract principle bc it’s not grounded in any kind of traditional virtue. I definitely don’t conflate my opinion with eternal truth.
@INSTALLGENTOO @HonkifyYourself @Orakel She can't hear y'all. It seems that blocks . I suggest making new accounts on a different server to make your voice heard (so long as y'all aren't saying anything she won't like, like racism or sexism).
@Hyolobrika @INSTALLGENTOO @HonkifyYourself I'm mostly talking to myself anyways. I'm not interested in conversing with people who police other people's speech.
I graduated from school. Words can't hurt me.

@woozle Just because you have heard them before doesn't make them any less true.

Learning how to deal with this is to block an individual when necessary or lock your own account. An instance block takes that away and is both a blunt tool and a collective punishment.

Also... you sit in front of a computer. It is a safe place. The best strategy is to learn how to handle your triggers. Everyone can do this. Doing so will also improve your IRL.

(I work professionally in psychological care.)


I'm afraid I have to say there seems to be a lot you don't understand about trauma and psychological safety. Have you done much research on these topics?

Just to reiterate a point which may have gotten lost in the threadtangle: this isn't about me. I enjoy a certain amount of sparring with right-wing jerks. I can deal with personal attacks. I had 30k+ followers on G+, when it went down, and dealt with RWAs routinely there. The safe space is for my users -- the guests in my living room -- not for myself.

@woozle I do.. I work with schizophrenia, autism, asperger e.t.c.. every day.

You are right.. some are not ready but they should not be on the internet at all. A common problem is people (usually mothers) who want to help actually make habilitation harder as they take away functions that need to be trained.

I know you want to help.. I do too and often fall into that "trap". But blocking instances that do not block instances is not the right way.

@shellkr You didn't answer my question. Have you done much research into these areas (trauma and safety)? What have you read about them? What sources?

My experience directly contradicts your conclusions. You can't heal a trauma by repeated exposure, for one thing.

The fact that you don't seem to be listening to my arguments and experience makes me wonder if you apply that same methodology to your practice.

@woozle Of course I have. You have to evaluate everything individually and as I said.. some shouldn't even be on the Internet and absolutely not on Mastodon.

What is your experience? Have worked with this professionally? Have you habilitated anyone? What is your real world experience?

I am lazy and there are much sources on this.. here is one..


You wouldn't want to engage in such exposure without the individual in question being under the care of a therapist, though, would you? It's not just "make them face their fears continuously and without support"; it's a process.

I haven't worked in therapy professionally, but I've got a lot of personal experience dealing with traumatized individuals (some in therapy, some not; I always recommend therapy, but a lot of people don't have that option) -- and I do know that throwing people in the deep end of the pool rarely works well.

The fact that I'm not a therapist is exactly why I'm not qualified to subject my users to exposure therapy -- especially without their consent.

Also, regarding "some are not ready but they should not be on the internet at all." -- the internet is not a monoculture, and has not been for decades. There is plenty of room for spaces with varying levels of supportiveness.

TC is a supportive safe space. That involves keeping out those who cannot behave supportively or at least neutrally.

@woozle Yes, having a therapist is preferable but it also depends. Most of the work they have to do themselves and by their own and then talk about it with a therapist if they need.

My experience is that we tend to be too overprotective. I have also seen this done by personnel which is dangerous and removes functionality. Like putting an elderly, who can walk, in a wheelchair because it is easy. They will never get off that. Similarly when you let a depressed isolate themselves.


@woozle The road way back is testing and hard but pays of in the end. Also.. Mastodon let you do this on an individual basis. Which is much better and on a more granular level.

We may have to agree to disagree. My view is that it is dangerous to block on an instance level as it creates silos. It will also not protect as some will fall between the cracks. It is too blunt.


@woozle Also.. thank you for your voluntary work! We live in a world that is cruel and hard. People need help. Someone to talk to. And you being there is very valuable. Thank you!

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