Waking up from a bad dream earlier today, it occurred to me that we think it's good practice to have firewalls that restrict communications between computers, but at the same time we still think it's an excellent idea to promote and facilitate unrestricted communication between humans - regardless of their respective intents and interests.

· SubwayTooter · 4 · 2 · 4

(In the dream, a group of people thought it would be a great idea to give an alien write access to human minds, since they couldn't find a different way to communicate with them. Things went ugly from there.)

@galaxis We do restrict communication between humans in the real world all the time. We avoid people who annoy us and have malicious intent all the time.

@trash Individually, yes. When designing communication systems for the online world, it's too often an afterthought.

@galaxis Can you give an example? I can unfollow, defederate with and generally ignore anyone I want. The hardest people to avoid are ad companies, but I use browser plugins for that.

Also, I can't seem to avoid Mark Zuckerberg for some reason.

@trash @galaxis My initial thought: all of these actions are explicitly opting out, rather than opting in. And then you're in an arms race of circumvention.

@squaregoldfish @galaxis Good point. I guess that's true so long as I don't host my own instance.

@trash Oh, Mastodon is a good example, because a lot of these functions did not exist in the beginning, and there were long fights over some of them. Something simple like local-only posts still only exist in forks (like glitch), since Gargron actively opposes the idea. He wanted to create an interconnected system that produces an endless torrent of new posts for everyone to see, not one that is able to restrict distribution.

@galaxis Wow, I had no idea. That definitely would have been a bad idea. I'm glad Mastodon went in a better direction.

@trash Well, restricting distribution is still very hard, even though there's been some work on that in recent releases. I'm not exactly sure about the current situation, but for a long time, about all an instance block would do was unsubscribe everyone from the remote instance and block incoming messages. It wouldn't prevent the blocked instance from fetching public posts ("after all they're on the public web view anyway"), and there's been numerous holes in the blocking logic over the time.

@galaxis I think that might be too much isolation though. There is a setting to keep all your toots exclusive to your followers and to require follow requests. Isn't that good enough or am I wrong about these features?

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