I dread the day that silicon valley 'discovers' the fediverse and it starts getting popular in a Big way.

the day that happens is the day that VC money starts pouring into startups that will try to 'develop' (ie systematically colonize, commercialize, and exploit) the fediverse, which is, as of today, one of the few non-capitalist (as in non-commercialized) spaces left on the internet.

how do we prevent this from happening? how do we make it impossible for this to happen in the first place?

@gc If this happens I think they will try to buy the biggest instances, pour money and developers into making the user experience - particularly on mobile - as slick as possible and then add ActivityPub extensions which make it incompatible with other instances. After enough time had passed they would then drop support for ActivityPub and OStatus.

That's pretty much how web 2.0 pushed out the earlier federated groupware systems.

Ways to work against this are:
* Make it easy to block bad instances
* Discourage very large instances with thousands of users, which will be the most attractive for colonization.
* Promote general awareness of the kinds of tactics which have been used in the past against federated systems
* Encourage users to value community above convenience. Colonizers will try to dazzle users with convenience and shiny/trendy features.
* Create a lot of noise if there is any company trying to subvert open protocols with their own extensions.
* Make it easy for users to switch instances, aka "nomadic identity" so that they can "vote with their feet" if an instance starts adopting bad policies. The difficulty of moving from one instance to another is definitely something which colonizers will try to exploit.

@bob @gc Worth noting that there is already a major corporate instance - Pawoo. The trick is that it's exclusively Japanese, so most people don't pay attention to it in the English-speaking Fediverse (other than to block its media, due to certain content posted there that's considered OK in Japan, and taboo at best, illegal at worst in the west).

They've done some pretty extensive modifications to the front end, AFAIK, too.

@bob @gc Another thing that's just *started* to become a problem is spam on the Fediverse.

E-mail as a federated protocol is under massive attack under the guise of anti-spam measures, after all, and I don't see anything inherent to ActivityPub or to Mastodon or Pleroma that improves the anti-spam situation relative to e-mail.

@bhtooefr @gc I havn't seen any spam here so far, but there was talk of closing spam accounts recently, so the spammers must be trying.

Unlike email the fediverse is authenticated and that will make life a lot harder for spammers.

@bob @bhtooefr @gc wait, what, you need to authenticate with your email provider in the same way you authenticate with your instance?

@charlag @bob @gc E-mail is... complicated.

So, you have a legacy of open SMTP relays - send whatever you want, claiming to be from wherever, and it'll transmit the message. SPF is designed to fight this, by only allowing certain servers to originate SMTP mail for a domain (if the domain's SPF record doesn't match, then something illegitimate is going on, and the message should be blocked).

@charlag @bob @gc You also have some SMTP servers without authentication - if you send a message claiming to be from the domain that the SMTP server handles, they'll accept it and send it out without authentication.

These bad practices are ending, at least - servers that do these things tend to be put on blocklists, and then nobody gets any of their e-mail - but then once you get on a blocklist, it's almost impossible to get off.

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