“Not all platform governance is alike. Though corporate platforms emulate traditional media
structures by centralizing power (Napoli & Caplan, 2017), the fediverse has a more distributed
governance structure. This decentralization is not just an aspect of the underlying software but also a core tenet of the governance philosophy of the fediverse itself.”
This is a subject I talk about a lot and have been working on for the last few years with the ogb as a “native” approache. In general, these “native” approaches are still being #blocked by #mainstreaming “common sense” approaches. This needs to change if the openweb reboot is not to wither and die.
“Benjamin Mako Hill (2018) describes this corporate capture of OSS projects as “strategic closedness.””
This is in easy view with a lot of our tech and fashionable crew pushing #closedweb ideas as “common sense” verse “native” openweb approaches. This is a problem with no obverse solutions, the #4opens project is one way to mediate this insolvable/unspoken issue that is everywhere in our dev crew.
"2. Commercial capture
Another challenge that has undermined the health and strength of previous decentralized or
open platforms is commercial capture. Proprietary, value-added features that enhance the user
experience are used to bring more users onto the platform, "
We currently have few tools to push this back, our strongest tool is likely our “culture” but this itself is fractured, full of infighting and unspoken. Speaking this out load while creating tension is likely nessersery for any good outcome. Hiding from this is #fail
“This means that only a continuing commitment to interoperability by developers, and not merely the existence of an open technological standard, can ensure an open ecosystem within the fediverse.”
It’s social/political NOT a technical problem, so our current fixation on ONLY tech and avoidance of the social/political is a easy to see and act on #fail
“Eternal September is not that new users simply need to be taught the social norms of the space they are joining, but that norms policing is a form of gatekeeping that can exclude new and more diverse users from joining.”
This is both true and a #fashernista problem, we need a better path, this should be easy, it’s not.
“it is important to critique calls for technological approaches to user-friendliness, which are often couched in rhetoric of democratization of technology, while simultaneously undermining decentralized
power relations… making the platform easier to join and use,
while also limiting users’ agency to make choices about the underlying infrastructure that will
best foster their communities”
We are going to see this from every side for and agenst, we need a balances’ path through this mess, we are not currently talking about this path, we need to.
“the fediverse currently relies on the goodwill of countless volunteer moderators and self-funded instances, this goodwill can’t last indefinitely, and a workable approach to funding and compensation has yet to emerge.”
This one is a can of worms, the current “best” solution is to keep instances small and voluntary run, our ongoing disagreements on this path is likely to continue to do damage… one path out of this is legitimate “governance”.
“The reputational anti-halo is already cropping up in discourse about the fediverse and Mastodon, which have been tainted by their uses among the “alt-right” (Makuch, 2019) and for child abuse (Thiel & DiResta, 2023).”
This comes down to voice and power, as “libertarian cats” we have little of either… it’s a bad path to stay on, what path would be better and more “native” is a good question to talk about.
“techno-Romanticism works to obscure the labor, networks, and institutions that are key to supporting technological development while elevating the simplistic view of the great men of history… the fediverse is particularly vulnerable to techno-Romanticism”
This is an endemic issue, and most people are chasing the tech equivalent of the American dream that they will become the top dev… this is not a native approach to the openweb, but it’s currently a dominating view. This is mess making.
"Technical language and the assumption of baseline technical expertise may also present unintended obstacles to adoption. Conversely, the fediverse also faces the threat that the rhetoric of “user friendliness” will justify the curtailing of user agency, or re-centralization of the network… messy, and continuous practice of maintaining a healthy and inclusive space for civic discourse…
Techno-Romantism’s utopian discourse poses a threat to the fediverse because it distracts from the importance of social action in the development of technology… discussion about how to
identify them and limit their impact, is a critical step toward reaching those civic and
technosocial goals together."
In conclusion, the roadmap for the fediverse’s future must transcend the confines of technicality and delve deep into the socio-political fabric. Holding the fluffy-spiky debate firm, nurturing ‘native’ approaches, mitigating commercial capture, addressing governance challenges, and fostering a culture of inclusivity and sustainability—these constitute the keystones for nurturing the true potential of the fediverse.