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The Culture of the Fediverse

2020-03-30

There is a classic post structure emerging online:

IF YOU THINK OR ARE ADJACENT TO X YOU ARE AN ARSEHOLE

There’s a saying I learned about recently, from the dawn of email: never put anything in an email you wouldn’t put on a postcard.

I think the same goes for massively public online spaces like the fediverse. Airing your grievances online in a way for everyone to see is the same as gossiping in high school.

What kind of culture do we want here on the fedi? I want one of mutual support and friendly self reflection. For the most part the fediverse is the best place on the internet - we’re actually far more open to learning and growing than the next massive online platform.

But we do have some weird negative cultural aspects to our online behaviour. Like really vague, yet emotionally charged tirades about people having bad politics. I am still completely unclear about so much drama because it is all centred around cliques and in-crowds.

Generally speaking, I deal with grievances I have with people’s racism or homophobia or bad politics in a formal and structured way. Remember the famous anarchist article ‘the tyranny of structurelessness’? That lesson is worth revisiting time and time again: gossip and informal communication and decision-making is able to be manipulated by people seeking to enforce illegitimate authority.

Where am I going with this? I dunno. Oh yeah: if you think you need to go on massive rants, have a think about your language. You might be completely justified about your need to communicate an issue! But think: do I need to do this publicly??

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