ANNOUNCEMENT: defederating effective immediately from lemmy.world and sh.itjust.works

hey folks, we'll be quick and to the point with this one:

we have made the decision to defederate from lemmy.world and sh.itjust.works. we recognize this is hugely inconvenient for a wide variety of reasons, but we think this is a decision we need to take immediately. the remainder of the post details our thoughts and decision-making on why this is necessary.

we have been concerned with how sustainable the explosion of new users on Lemmy is--particularly with federation in mind--basically since it began. i have already related how difficult dealing with the explosion has been just constrained to this instance for us four Admins, and increasingly we're being confronted with external vectors we have to deal with that have further stressed our capabilities (elaborated on below).

an unfortunate reality we've also found is we just don't have the tools or the time here to parse out all the good from all the bad. all we have is a nuke and some pretty rudimentary mod powers that don't scale well. we have a list of improvements we'd like to see both on the moderation side of Lemmy and federation if at all possible--but we're unanimous in the belief that we can't wait on what we want to be developed here. separately, we want to do this now, while the band-aid can be ripped off with substantially less pain.

aside from/complementary to what's mentioned above, our reason for defederating, by and large, boils down to:

  • these two instances' open registration policy, which is extremely problematic for us given how federation works and how trivial it makes trolling, harassment, and other undesirable behavior;
  • the disproportionate number of moderator actions we take against users of these two instances, and the general amount of time we have to dedicate to bad actors on those two instances;
  • our need to preserve not only a moderated community but a vibe and general feeling this is actually a safe space for our users to participate in;
  • and the reality that fulfilling our ethos is simply not possible when we not only have to account for our own users but have to account for literally tens of thousands of new, completely unvetted users, some of whom explicitly see spaces like this as desirable to troll and disrupt and others of whom simply don't care about what our instance stands for

as Gaywallet puts it, in our discussion of whether to do this:

There's a lot of soft moderating that happens, where people step in to diffuse tense situations. But it's not just that, there's a vibe that comes along with it. Most people need a lot of trust and support to open up, and it's really hard to trust and support who's around you when there are bad actors. People shut themselves off in various ways when there's more hostility around them. They'll even shut themselves off when there's fake nice behavior around. There's a lot of nuance in modding a community like this and it's not just where we take moderator actions- sometimes people need to step in to diffuse, to negotiate, to help people grow. This only works when everyone is on the same page about our ethos and right now we can't even assess that for people who aren't from our instance, so we're walking a tightrope by trying to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. That isn't sustainable forever and especially not in the face of massive growth on such a short timeframe.

Explicitly safe spaces in real life typically aren't open to having strangers walk in off the street, even if they have a bouncer to throw problematic people out. A single negative interaction might require a lot of energy to undo.

and, to reiterate: we understand that a lot of people legitimately and fairly use these instances, and this is going to be painful while it's in effect. but we hope you can understand why we're doing this. our words, when we talk about building something better here, are not idle platitudes, and we are not out to build a space that grows at any cost. we want a better space, and we think this is necessary to do that right now. if you disagree we understand that, but we hope you can if nothing else come away with the understanding it was an informed decision.

this is also not a permanent judgement (or a moral one on the part of either community's owner, i should add--we just have differing interests here and that's fine). in the future as tools develop, cultures settle, attitudes and interest change, and the wave of newcomers settles down, we'll reassess whether we feel capable of refederating with these communities.

thanks for using our site folks.

Sparkko ,

As a temporary solution de-federation is a fine idea. Permanently, I fear you guys may be shooting yourself in the foot. I joined a few days ago after seeing you were federated with most of the larger instances, and you had a decent number of communities similar to subreddits. Again, I understand how you can see this as necessary to maintain a safe space, but it will most definitely be the death of Beehaw in the long run. I'll probably swap to another instance for now.

mizmoose ,

Thank you.

I know what it's like to try to build up something good only to have trolls try to take it over. It's nice to think that kindness and guidance can make everything shiny and happy, but the reality is that sometimes you just have to shut the door to bad actors and lock it behind them.

Some people have a need to try to ruin things for others. There's no reason to give them a platform. Actions have consequences.

GuyDudeman ,
@GuyDudeman@beehaw.org avatar

Yeah, I'm perfectly fine with this decision. And if I want to see content from and interact on those instances, I can (and have already) create accounts on those instances. No harm no foul.

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