I joined Mastodon during one of the waves of user migrations after Elon Musk took over Twitter, and I have to say, I like it there. By the time I left Twitter, my block list was almost 1,000 strong, and any extended time spent on Twitter would inevitably lead to adding a few more bigots to the list (such a rich, rich diversity of bigotry!). Mastodon is so completely different. There are pros and cons to the way Mastodon community-based moderation works, but it does make for a place I like to spend time in.

So I didn’t really know what to make of Threads when people started talking about it. My first introduction was from the pledges to pre-emptively block Threads as soon as it launched. And I get the criticism. I avoid Facebook because I’m not comfortable with how the platform has impacted society (I do use WhatsApp and Instagram though, so… total hypocrite). “Embrace, extend and extinguish” is a real thing.

But I’m not going to commit to ignoring Threads when it eventually becomes available in Europe. I don’t imagine I’ll open an account there, but I could see myself following some Thread accounts via Mastodon. A big part of why I feel this way is informed by how I see success for Mastodon. Success for Mastodon and the Fediverse doesn’t necessarily mean having the most users. I think it is a lot more about having a spirit of community. If Threads becomes the biggest actor using ActivityPub, I don’t see that taking away the things that make Mastodon a good place to be. Because what makes Mastodon a good place to be is the people who actively choose it as their place to talk online. I don’t think they are going away, no matter how big Threads gets.


2 responses to “Threads”

  1. @tredford01 Thanks for sharing our blog. I think the issue is wheher #threads is capable of sane moderation at scale. Even on Mastodon, servers seem to suffer from moderation problems once they have large communities.The risks of users from Threads dogpiling users on a small Mastodon server for instance, are hard to police. Here these risks are managed as anyone tolerating users behaving like that gets defederated, but with Threads, that means defederating millions of users at once.

    1. I hadn’t thought of that, but now that I do, I suppose that was one of the things that drove me away from Twitter. I think my block list over there was only so large because I’d add people dogpiling users I followed. I don’t know what an answer to this really looks like, and I’m thankful I don’t have to moderate a Mastodon server! Perhaps a form of voluntary cross-server block list of individual abusive users? Is that even technically possible in Mastodon/ActivityPub? How serious does an offence have to be to get on it?

      I often think that, whether we’re talking social media, AI, or ride-sharing apps, the problem isn’t tech, it’s people; the problem is the sociological and philosophical question of speech, community norms, accepting that everyone sees the world in a bit of a different way. I do feel that if any bunch of communities is able to figure out a way for this to work, it is likely to be Mastodon and the Fediverse.