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.

@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 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.

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@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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