Main Character of the Day on Mastodon

Posted by Matt Birchler
β€” 2 min read

You know how you can become the "main character of Twitter" for a day? Yeah, that same thing happens on Mastodon as well. Yesterday the Raspberry Pie account earned that distinction with a sequence of events summarized here.

Basically, there was a movement on Mastodon to boot Raspberry Pi out of the fediverse (and therefore off Mastodon) for posting about a new hire some people didn't like (he was a surveillance officer previously) and when people replied saying they didn't like this, the Pi account replied with such "escalations" as:

  • "bye"
  • "bye bye now"
  • Saying someone was "unable to read more than a few words in the headline"
  • Calling the criticisms of their new hire "childish"
  • Blocking someone

There's a few more in in the link above, but I'm really not toning it down, this is the stuff that caused the outrage.

Now, I'm not here to say these are the finest moments in corporate social media, but this seems like a massive overreaction to me:

Due to the very different power dynamics of the Fediverse, it took less than two hours from the initial post and initial harmful replies before the official Raspberry Pi instance started being defederated, noted via the #fediblock hashtag. This public hashtag is a way for administrators to co-ordinate with each other in an attempt to reduce harm to their users, and hitting #fediblock is a strong indicator that an instance is being cut off from the the Fediverse until they improve their moderation abilities.

I've talked about this a good deal with some people on Mastodon itself, and some of them seem to think this is totally reasonable cause for getting the boot. Personally, I see this as a cringy day for Raspberry Pi, but the calls to defederate them over this I think are absurd and makes the whole of Mastodon look very thin-skinned. Just don't follow them if you don't like these posts, it's not like there's an algorithm that's going to push them in front of you.

I think defederation is a good tool to have for situations where communities are pretty extreme. Hell,, which I use, already blocks a large number of servers (list at the bottom of this page) for hate speech and harassment. I just think that this call to defederate Raspberry Pi for some cringy posts has the same energy I get from a stupid Twitter pile on.