The fediverse, harassment, and moderation

CW: harassment

An anonymous (and often really rather funny) Mastodon instance admin posted, privately, an interesting short thread on moderation tools.

With their kind permission, I republish it here, in case it is of broader interest:

Meta, suspensions, how federation works, abuse

I really wish people could understand that just because your server suspends harassment instances, it doesn’t mean the harassment isn’t occurring. It means that if it is you can’t see it.

Last night I was looking through the “other” fedi and came across 3 instances of horrendous abuse, images, and even doxxing etc going on in people’s replies that they had no idea was occurring because of server suspensions.

Edit: there are few ways to stop it

Just because your server blocks someone it doesn’t mean others do, so when your content is boosted to their timeline, that means people on those suspended servers, or just suspended individuals, may see and interact with it if they’re following them.

There are also instances with a history of editing their platform to not just ignore, but specifically log blocks so they can abuse completely unseen by the person or people that applied it.

You have a lot of tools to filter content from your timeline, but also to keep you safe. If you are saying things you’re not comfortable with that side of the fedi seeing, you should ensure you require follow requests and utilise followers only where needed.

Instance admins can enable authorised fetch which will absolutely reduce the risk of this, though it’s worth keeping in mind this is disabled by default on masto and definitely not a magic bullet (as I’ve been reminded myself in recent weeks).

I guess what I’m saying is just be mindful of the tools you have at your disposal. Finding out this is happening can really devastate people.


Thanks to nemo_bis (who is not the author of the thread above):

Documentation for the mentioned AuthorizedFetch setting