Regarding Beehaw defederating from lemmy.world and sh.itjust.works, this post goes into detail on the why and the philosophy behind that decision. Additionally, there is an update specific to sh.itjust.works here.

For now, let’s talk about what federation is and what defederation means for members of Beehaw or the above two communities interacting with each other, as well as the broader fediverse.

Federation is not something new on the internet. Most users use federated services every day (for instance, the url used to access instances uses a federated service known as DNS, and email is another system that functions through federation.) Just like those services, you elect to use a service provider that allows you to communicate with the rest of the world. That service provider is your window to work with others.

When you federate, you mutually agree to share your content. This means that posting something to a site can be seen by another and all comments are shared. Even users from other sites can post to your site.

Now when you defederate, this results in content to be no longer shared. It didn’t reverse any previous sharing or posts, it just stops the information from flowing with the selected instance. This only impacts the site’s that are called out.

What this means to you is when a user within one instance (e.g. Beehaw) that’s chosen to defederate with another (e.g. lemmy.world), they can no longer interact with content on another instance, and vice versa. Other instances can still see the content of both servers as though nothing has happened.

  • A user is not limited to how many instances they can join (technically at least - some instance have more stringent requirements for joining than others do)
  • A user can interact with Lemmy content without being a user of any Lemmy instance - e.g. Mastodon (UI for doing so is limited, but it is still possible.)

Considering the above, it is important to understand just how much autonomy we, as users have. For example, as the larger instances are flooded with users and their respective admins and mods try to keep up, many, smaller instances not only thrive, but emerge, regularly (and even single user instances - I have one for just myself!) The act of defederation does not serve to lock individual users out of anything as there are multiple avenues to constantly maintain access to, if you want it, the entirety of the unfiltered fediverse.

On that last point, another consideration at the individual level is - what do you want out of Lemmy? Do you want to find and connect with like-minded people, share information, and connect at a social and community level? Do you want to casually browse content and not really interact with anyone? These questions and the questions that they lead to are critical. There is no direct benefit to being on the biggest instance. In fact, as we all deal with this mass influx, figure out what that means for our own instances and interactions with others, I would argue that a smaller instance is actually much better suited for those who just want to casually browse everything.

Lastly, and tangential, another concern I have seen related to this conversation is people feeling afraid of being locked out of the content and conversation from the “main” communities around big topics starting to form across the Lemmiverse (think memes, gaming, tech, politics, news, etc.) Over time, certain communities will certainly become a default for some people just given the community size (there will always be a biggest or most active - it’s just a numbers game.) This, again though, all comes down to personal preference and what each individual is looking to get from their Lemmy experience. While there may, eventually, be a “main” sub for <topic xyz> (again, by the numbers), there will also always be quite a few other options for targeted discussions on <topic xyz>, within different communities, on different instances, each with their own culture and vibe. This can certainly feel overwhelming and daunting (and at the moment, honestly it is.) Reddit and other non-federated platforms provided the illusion of choice, but this is what actual choice looks and feels like.

[edit: grammar and spelling]

  • Negatively_Positive@kbin.social
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    1 year ago

    There are just so many words to excuse defederation when it just comes down to technical limitation (not all QoL and moderation tools are ready yet) and power users insisting on curating their precious communities.

    Is it really that hard to get that most people are upset because most people just want a high quantity of contents in the most efficient dose possible? This is why Reddit grew to what it is in the first place. Reddit was never really about quality of content. It has always been about user driven contents over curated contents.

    The inconvenience of defederation is exactly the strife with the whole situation. Communities splintering is not exactly something new, it happened many times on reddit before. The problem is that this is a really crappy time for defederation: when people are still new to this platforms, when there are many power users and mods still exploring this platform as alternating option, when a lot of QoL tools have not been deployed for an expected experience, when a lot of communities still have not have its helpful members start their contribution, etc.

    I suppose these kinds of things ought to happen anyways, as people are still figuring things out. But to regard this as anything but a shit show is blind imo.

    • rknuu@beehaw.org
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      1 year ago

      Unfortunately, the inconvenience is something of a catch 22. Do we allow everything through for the sake of convenience? What happens when extreme content that is NSFL gets posted? What happens when illegal content is federated, or hate speech that indicates action will be taken is made? What happens when you observe a pattern of this behavior from a common source? Content must be moderated for things to be “safe” and the rate that unsafe, nonaligned content was coming in wasn’t sustainable.

      Choosing to defederate wasn’t taken lightly and it was done reluctantly. It was discussed for two days after observing systemic effects from those instances and after reaching out to the instance admins for alternatives.

      I see you’re posting not from a beehaw account, which means you likely haven’t seen @Gaywallet@beehaw.org 's post on what it is to be a community and the framework to get there. This posts may help you understand this instances stance on things and what our instances users are hoping for is to build.

      All in all, sorry you’re not happy, but we’re being careful for our community.

      • Negatively_Positive@kbin.social
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        1 year ago

        I do use beehaw and saw those posts. I do not support the overall goal of beehaw, though that is not related to the content of what I posted above. Imo, Beehaw as a curated communities should not try to play both sides and handle the situation poorly - which does confuse the overall communities here. If they choose to go walled garden mode, then they should commit to it.

        Regards your first point, and partly why I do not agree with beehaw overall goal, I do not think all of what you listed (and what I heard a lot from beehaw or similar closed communities) are such a problem as people are making it out to be. Reddit itself is terribly vile as all of the contents you listed there already exist on the platform. The reasons why you do not see those on reddit on daily basis are 2 folds. One, the tools on reddit that filter those contents are rather decent - which is something lemmy does not have, yet. And two, those types of contents do get naturally filtered by the internet communities itself - something that happened on reddit many many times.

        • alyaza [they/she]@beehaw.orgM
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          1 year ago

          I do not support the overall goal of beehaw, though that is not related to the content of what I posted above.

          i mean this respectfully but… why would you use a place you don’t support the overall goal of? from my perspective all of this just seems like a waste of your time, because you could just be putting all the energy you have in this thread behind a community you actually support

          • Negatively_Positive@kbin.social
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            1 year ago

            Because Beehaw is not the entirety of the federation? I am not sure if I follow your question. I am not on Beehaw.

            I support the exploration of federation concept (which at this point, the tool and experience are not yet developed to that point), and support the people and communities going through the transition from reddit to this deferation system (which a very small percentage of people went through to here).

            Beehaw supports neither of these. They backed out, and they want to create curated communities specifically.

            My energy is spend on the many communities I do engage with… on reddit. Those communities have barely any post here because the majority of people do not trust these platforms. It makes sense that I want the federation as a whole (ignoring beehaw) to not sink before the people can move to these spaces.

            • rs5th@lemmy.scottlabs.io
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              1 year ago

              I think the question about “being on Beehaw” is because you’ve been commenting on a post in a Beehaw community.

              • Negatively_Positive@kbin.social
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                1 year ago

                I realize the confusion now. I forgot that from the perspective of people on Beehaw, they would not see me posting from kbin immediately without checking the handle.

                To paraphrase my point: I support the development of lemmy as a federated project, but I do not support the goal of Beehaw (which they do have on the sidebar and I read it more than one). This purely comes from my own experience and preference with curated communities.

                I do not have a problem with Beehaw defederate from others.

                However, I do not see defederate is a solution to the many issues with lemmy as a whole. I disagree with the original post on federation, but I do agree with a lot of their replies about the technical limitation.

                • blindsight@beehaw.org
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                  I still think you’re not getting it. This post is on Beehaw. You’re in a thread on Beehaw talking about the goals of the community here saying that “it isn’t for you.”

                  Fair enough. But then… why are you here? You don’t have a horse in this race. Beehaw defederating with them didn’t affect you at all.

                  Not trying to be a dick, but if you don’t agree with what’s being built here, then shouldn’t you not follow the communities here? Or, at least, not join the discussion with strong opinions against the community’s goals?

                  Maybe it’s stretching a metaphor too hard, but it’s like criticizing your friends’ homes when they invite you in.

                  I, for one, fully support Beehaw’s very simple mandate to “Bee Kind”, and I’m very glad the admins took the steps to protect that mandate from outside parties.

    • ResidualBit@beehaw.org
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      Totally fair point, but I also think you are highlighting something really important - Lemmy is absolutely not ready to “replace” reddit, from a pure scale and number of users perspective…not even close. This is not at all an admonishment or knock on anyone working their butts off (as devs, as instance owners, as admins, as mods - almost all as volunteers!), just a statement of fact. I will admit, as a user of that platform for ~15 years, at some point, I kind of stopped paying attention to just how many people were there. This technology community within Beehaw, for example, is currently ~20k strong and there are a few other communities across the lemmiverse of similar size - in contrast /r/technology has, after an exodus, ~14 million subscribers and is not even considered among the most popular subreddits. So yes, it may feel like a shit show, and honestly, I won’t say it isn’t, but that’s how new, emergent technology usually goes, generally, and we (collective we, not just beehaw, all of us looking for our new home) should be mindful of that, which I know is easier said than done.

    • beefcat@kbin.social
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      1 year ago

      When you make a community whose key promise is providing a safe space for marginalized groups, is it not your duty to actually make good on that promise?

      To Beehaw, following through on that is more important than growing as fast as possible. People who want growth at all costs shouldn’t use Beehaw.

      • Negatively_Positive@kbin.social
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        1 year ago

        I don’t disagree with that, because Beehaw is made before the reddit thing happened.

        What should have happened is that they made an announcement and a clear goal to either remain closed community, or a time of when they rejoin. Originally, they did say they might rejoin when more mod tools are available, which I can respect. The technical limitation is understandable. The whole argument sprung by communities over defederation is not. From my perspective, it is just a veiled way to excuse trying to build a curated community.

        Beehaw was made with the goal of being a curated community originally. So just say it like it is. The whole veiled discussion and excuses made by the loose definition of defederation is stupid and just cause even more drama from involved sites.

    • Kichae@kbin.social
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      1 year ago

      This also just is the time defederation happens most. When populations grow faster than people can manage.

      Taking on the responsibility of hosting a community website means doing what you think is best for they community. For a place with clear rules and established norms, that means upholding those rules. And if you can’t uphold them against the sheer number of people flooding in, then it means reducing the number of people.

      No one website is responsible to the network. This is not a power trip. Though this is about people protecting their “precious communities”, as you so judgementally put it. Because they set up their site to create a coherent community.

      If you way to be a part of it, you can apply to join. If you don’t, then you’re not entitled to interact with them.

      • Negatively_Positive@kbin.social
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        1 year ago

        I do not disagree that defederation will happen. In fact no one actually even know how federation would look like here at all. It’s all experimental at this point.

        In fact, Kbin did defederated from the network once. Unlike beehaw, it was a lot shorter, the purpose was clear and handled quickly, without so much drama. What I am saying is that the situation is handled like crap. All these talks and it just reminds me of the same old reddit mods power struggle than what people are trying to paint federation as.

        I do intend to interact with communities that I do want to interact with - just as how I did it on reddit before - once actual community members can move over from reddit without being tangled in this faction wars. You cannot just ignore that a lot of people def do not want to leave reddit to lemmy due to these drama.

        This seems like a snipe at me for no reason. I have no interested in “interacting” with the big boys here while they are doing their own things and I do not have the interest nor expertise to fix their issues. My time and interest would better be spend on hobbyist communities that I do like to interact with as I do previously on reddit.

        • DiachronicShear@kbin.social
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          1 year ago

          Beehaw’s defederation purpose is very clear, and they didn’t start the drama. The mods of Beehaw started it as a safe space for minorities and marginalized communities, which is why you have to apply for an account there in the first place. The rapid expansion of the Fediverse led to their server being flooded with comments from other lemmy instances that the mods were trying to avoid by the creation of beehaw in the first place, so they chose to defederate. Seems pretty clear-cut to me.

          Edit( The drama started when everyone else started flipping out, thinking they were owed participation in a community they weren’t a part of. You are owed nothing)

          If you don’t like it, that’s fine. They didn’t do it for you. They did it for them and for their users. If you don’t like it, you can create an account on an instance they still federate with.

          • alyaza [they/she]@beehaw.orgM
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            1 year ago

            Beehaw’s defederation purpose is very clear, and they didn’t start the drama. The mods of Beehaw started it as a safe space for minorities and marginalized communities, which is why you have to apply for an account there in the first place.

            also just to hop in here and underscore a really important point: THE DRAMA IS LITERALLY ALL USERS BEING WEIRD ABOUT THIS. NOBODY ON THE ADMIN SIDE CARES. WE ARE LITERALLY COORDINATING WITH THE PEOPLE WE DEFEDERATED WITH (and a bunch of other folks) TO MAKE THE PLATFORM BETTER SO WE DON’T EVEN HAVE TO DO THIS. THERE IS NO ENMITY BETWEEN US AT ALL. this is so fucking weird to watch play out, because it’s all people getting mad on behalf of their instances when everybody behind the scenes is chill and understands!

            • Hazelnoot [she/her]@beehaw.org
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              1 year ago

              it’s all people getting mad on behalf of their instances when everybody behind the scenes is chill and understands!

              I think that’s becoming A Thing ™️ on the fediverse recently. I’ve seen this exact scenario play out on the microblogging side more than once.

          • Negatively_Positive@kbin.social
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            1 year ago

            Well what you said is what I did. I never support the goal of beehaw to make a curated communities in the first place because I do not think such idea is healthy (nor it represent much for things outside of USA imo), but it really does not effect me in any way.

            What I strongly disagree with is the idea of defederation is a “normal” thing to do: it’s only make sense specifically because they want to make a curated communities, and nothing else. People who paint it otherwise are making excuse from my point of view (which is the point of my original post). And the strife I have with them is the whole drama they essentially caused.

            • shakesbeare@beehaw.org
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              1 year ago

              But this doesn’t make any sense at all. Defederation is like… the main power afforded to us by creating a federated system. It’s practically the only way instances can actually make themselves unique because it’s the only power they have compared to their Reddit counterparts.

              Defederation can’t possibly “not be normal” because otherwise the system of instances and joining your favorite one becomes a complete illusion.

              Like imagine this. The Reddit admins set site wide rules and the Reddit moderators set rules for their subreddits. Each user must follow the site and sub rules or have their content removed or account suspended, in the case of a site rule violation. Now, the fediverse is different than that. People posting in a community in lemmy.world are only responsible for the rules of that community and for that instance. But their content also affects other instances who might have stricter rules.

              And what are the admins to do about that? The one issue which faces federated sites that doesn’t affect Reddit and it just so happens to be solved by the single moderation tool which the fediverse gets which Reddit doesn’t.

        • wet_lettuce@beehaw.org
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          1 year ago

          The only drama I’ve seen on it is a few idealists on other instances complaining about it and these posts.

          I actually like beehaw more as an instance because of what they’ve done.

          Nilay Patel had a great article when Elon bought Twitter. One of the key take aways I tend to agree with is:“The essential truth of every social network is that the product is content moderation, and everyone hates the people who decide how content moderation works.”

          I love being part of a community and being able to discuss and debate. But ultimately I want to do it in a place where I don’t feel creeped out, skeevy, or where I am getting harassed or threatened.

          I value the moderation. I value the curation. I want the mods to defederate if they see an influx of trolls, shit posts, or sketchy content from a particular instance.

          And you know what, I’ll be annoyed when they block something or someone I don’t think they should have.

          The reality is: the fediverse is designed for this sort of thing. Theyve been very transparent and they will re federate when the tooling is better. I have no reason to doubt that.

          I see this as growing pains and nothing more.

    • Rakn@discuss.tchncs.de
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      1 year ago

      This comment captures it in my opinion. I feel like the entire post here is trying to sell something that most folks don’t really care about, failing to see why people are upset about it (rightfully so or not). A lot of theory that fails short in practice.

      I understand why the admins did it. It’s relatable. But it should equally easily be understandable why some users don’t like it. “It’s a federation, visit a community with 5 members instead of 20k” isn’t the most helpful advice.

      • lemillionsocks@beehaw.org
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        1 year ago

        I mean the community with 5 members probably isnt going to be defederated from anyone anytime soon and can still access both sides of the defederation

    • Flax@feddit.uk
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      6 months ago

      I’ll admit it. I came here as a reddit replacement, as I cannot stand their official app.

  • weyland-yutani@kbin.social
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    1 year ago

    Beehaw admins really seem like a bunch of cocky and snoby people. First the requirements for registration - need to write a short essay why you are worthy of joining the sacred community. Now this, leaving fediverse which looks like trying to separate from cousins living outside of their town. Just defederate and vanish in obsolescence of interwebs.

    • rknuu@beehaw.org
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      1 year ago
      1. The account registration process exists to weed out bots. We’re not the only ones to implement this kind of sign up. An essay really isn’t required, unless you misunderstood the purpose of the sign up.
      2. We haven’t left the fediverse, posts and comments to and from beehaw still flow to the vast majority of instances, and we do wish to rejoin these two specific instances at a later date once we have the right processes and tools to work though the problems we encountered.
      3. If the admins were cocky or snobby, they would have defederated without any form of announcement or transparency on what was being done and why.
      • DaughterOfMars@beehaw.org
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        1 year ago

        Can we please get rid of these people who insist on remaining uninformed and then going out and spreading their ignorance by attacking others? It’s contrary to the vision of this instance to allow them to continue this behavior.

        • rknuu@beehaw.org
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          This is where the fediverse is both powerful and a bit of a challenge to moderate. The best way to deal with these things is to be vigilant in sharing information that supports the contrary; since there’s no real way to filter out bad information unilaterally (and even if so, I’d find that to be a dangerous precedence as who constitutes “good” and “bad” across the federated instances).

          While the post was quite toxic towards the admins, the opinion of the user was done in what I see as exasperation at the situation without necessarily understanding the logic of these choices made for the beehaw instance as a whole; so there’s an opportunity to redirect them to a different path or understanding. I’m aware that there are likely several others who share this opinion and may learn from this (just taking a moment to review some of the kbin.socal and lemmy.world threads on this subject shows this as a common concern). Moderation and intervention is more about systemic patterns of an individual’s behavior that clashes with a community’s ethos. Following the ethos of our admins, we take a measured response based on history and engagement.

          As for now, things appear to have resolved through disengagement, so mission accomplished: we got the information out there and addressed their concern (and possibly inform other lurkers and the various instances that federate with us on this point).

          • Gaywallet (they/it)@beehaw.org
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            1 year ago

            As an fyi, feel free to remove redundant comment threads - if twenty people come in and just post “defederation bad”, after a certain point you can clean it up as noise.

        • Numuruzero@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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          I disagree; while this is a critical juncture, experimentation is absolutely necessary. Whether a push to expand the user base/migrate from failing centralized services succeeds or fails, this is where lines get drawn and precedent gets set. An instance must be free to defederate from another instance, just as a user must be free to leave and pick up an account on another instance, should they disagree with the decision.

    • artillect@kbin.social
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      You don’t have to write a short essay, I didn’t write much more than “I heard about you on reddit and I wanna check it out” and I got accepted

      • the_itsb (she/her)@beehaw.org
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        That was my answer for why I wanted to join, too! And I answered the “what will you contribute?” one pretty simply too, with the same things I try to bring to any conversation: my knowledge and empathy wherever they can be helpful.

        I took the questions as the same kind of very basic filtering that my husband does for his tractor enthusiast Facebook group; he’s not looking for essays, he just wants to know people will actually read (and follow!) the rules and not be jerks.

        • StringTheory@beehaw.org
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          1 year ago

          You are posting in Beehaw right now.

          You are creating and debating in Beehaw at this very moment.

          Lemm.ee (your home instance) is federated with Beehaw. You can do everything on Beehaw that a member can. This is how the Fediverse works. No need to wait for acceptance, no need to cry. Welcome to Beehaw, Lugado! <throws lei around your neck, hands you a beer>

        • rknuu@beehaw.org
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          There was an unfortunate email glitch where if your username was already present in the instance, it would silently deny your application, and the beehaw admins would be none the wiser. See https://beehaw.org/post/562922

          Additionally, there has been some issues with the beehaw’s email provider that has recently been fixed and the backlog has started to decrease. See https://beehaw.org/post/604680

    • Retronautickz@beehaw.org
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      Funny the thing about the whole short essay thing, because I basically only wrote “I wanna try Lemmy and I want an active instance where I can be active in”

      Beehaw didn’t left the fediverse, it defederated from two Lemmy instances over the more than 20000 that exist in all the fediverse. The number of instances that Beehaw defederates from (which, of course, is bigger than two, as there are intances that are globally defederated) is tiny in comparison with the size of the whole ActibityPub -based fediverse.

      Make sure you understand how the fediverse work before resorting to lying.

    • Numuruzero@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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      1 year ago

      I think with the registration questions they’re just trying to solve two things: preventing bots from signing up, and preventing trolls. It doesn’t seem so bad, really.

  • PrinceHabib72@vlemmy.net
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    There is actually an advantage to being part of a larger instance if you want to browse everything, actually. An instance is federated with another when a user from Instance A subscribes to a community from Instance B. The more users in an instance, the more people to subscribe to other instances, federating that instance with more instances for all users.

    • bdonvr@thelemmy.club
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      1 year ago

      I’ve been thinking of making a bot to do this for my instance, subbing a dummy user to everything-ish.

      • pitninja@lemmy.pit.ninja
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        Unless you have a pretty beefy server, you really do not want to try to process and store all the federation events and data from everything on all the big instances. I would recommend just using one of the Lemmy community indexing tools to search and discover communities across instances and only join ones you and your users are interested in.

  • derived_allegory@beehaw.org
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    As much as I understand beehaw admin has every right to defedorate with any instance, and I respect and appreciate beehaw admins looking after the community.

    However, it seems this instance is no longer for me. I want to see more content by more people. There needs to be a balance of content quantity vs content quality. I personally think that beehaw is leaning too much towards quality for my personal liking.

    • takeda@beehaw.org
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      I think BeeHaw when trying to be a welcoming community and disabling down votes is shutting itself in the foot (e.g. the large numbers of users joined those instances of lemmy, but BeeHaw users could do nothing when they started attacking them.

      The upvote only works well when the community is small or when you want to tune the network into increasing engagement (see Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, they know that users not being able to downvote will cause controversial topics go up, and those cause higher engagement).

      I am divided, because I also feel like you that maybe this is too much and feels like I’m now needing another account to be able use other communities, but I also do appreciate the effort to trying to have a friendly community. I do think long term this will be harder and harder to manage though…

  • femboy_link.mp4@beehaw.org
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    1 year ago

    ITT: People not understanding that if they don’t like the rules on one instance, they can use literally any other instance and that problem will evaporate.

  • Ganbat@lemmynsfw.com
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    1 year ago

    I understand your why, but in the end, I think defederation is probably going to do more harm than good. Lemmy.world and beehaw are both large instances, and for a whole group on one, a non-negligible amount of content just disappeared. Sure, they could just make new accounts somewhere else, but there’s no way all of them will. For those that won’t, the whole of Lemmy just got a lot less valuable.

    I think that ultimately, large amounts of defederation, or just large instances defederation each other, is going to harm Lemmy and the fediverse as a whole. More people might migrate to smaller instances. Some will collapse under the strain, some might become big, follow the cycle and sew more division within the fediverse. A lot of people will get tired of juggling accounts and return to more toxic, but easier, centralized alternatives.

    Of course, just not defederating anything isn’t a solution either. Well, I mean, it is in a technical sense, but it doesn’t get to the root of the issue. My best idea would be some solution that allows users of certain instances to still see content and subscribe to communities, but limit their ability to interact. Think something like sliding defederation. Admins would be able to set what users of specific instances can and can’t do, from voting, commenting, submitting down to total defederation for the most extreme cases.

    Of course, the best code I’ve managed myself is a semi-functional python module, so…

    • ResidualBit@beehaw.orgOP
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      1 year ago

      The sliding scale is a really interesting idea that would strike a nice balance. Even something as simple (conceptually, probably quite the opposite infra and code wise) would be allowing an opt-in at the user level to see “unfiltered, unmoderated content from defederated instances”, similar to opting into nsfw content.

  • MrAegis@lemmy.ml
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    1 year ago

    Now when you defederate, this results in content to be no longer shared. It didn’t reverse any previous sharing or posts, it just stops the information from flowing with the selected instance. This only impacts the site’s that are called out.

    I thought I’d heard that