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"The Federation Fallacy"


This is an interesting article with some salient points. However, I think that the conclusion drawn isn't quite right. Comparing WIkipedia to social networks misses the boat a bit, and I'm not sure that the democratization around WIkipedia works well all of the time (ie: is the user-generated content good just because it wasn't voted out?).

I feel a bit the same way about the social networks end of thing - I don't know that a popularity contest is necessary for a successful social network. Perhaps some funding and a bit of structure could help with growth and management, but I don't think things have to be centralized to be successful or appropriate for the masses.

I think this article is naive about applying democracy to Internet. Democracy was enabled to give people the illusion that they are participating in the political life of their region/country. I left out city because a moderate political involvement is more likely to yield any change than at the other levels. Plus, it’s easier to change city than region/country, so giving the democratic illusion is only useful at large scales that people can’t easily escape.

But on the Internet, even large scale websites can be ruled with an ion fist without triggering large scale unrest, and similarly smaller scale websites don’t need multiple user committees for them to run smoothly.

In the end, even a Mastodon instance is unilaterally closed by its admins, I imagine its users will stay in the Fediverse, I have a hard time believing they would suddenly go back to Facebook if they were coming from it.

I have the feeling that the author got really caught up upon learning that Mastodon had 50% of it's users across 3 instances and wrote an article around it. I see a pretty big contradiction when she states "...something promising true digital freedom for everyone." just prior to suggesting that freedom comes from centralization and people voting on the rules.

I don't know that I would agree that method has more freedom than anyone being able to run their own instance, or moving an account to a more specialized instance, or to an instance with a different set of rules, etc.

I think the good points come from suggesting that a portion of the Fediverse could stand to have some helpful funding and possible direction from a centralized organization - in that I'm sure at some point in the future some nodes/instances/pods may well need legal assistance or things like that.