2019-04-06 Social Lasagne

Christoph Buggedei is doing a new thing called Darcy. I think the plan is to make money eventually by offering users and admins to outsource their moderation. I like the idea but I don’t know how easy that will be. Paolo Greco appears to be involved and launched a site (with a prototype? a playground?) called lasagna.social. In one thread I left some feature suggestions:

A way to export it all, possibly simly RSS but somehow with my comments on other people’s posts, so maybe just a single feed? Note feed pagination.

A stable API with documentation so people can write clients for it, for example a Bitlbee plugin for IRC clients. Alternatively, figure out a way to implement the Mastodon client API so existing clients can be used (this is independent of whether the site is federated using ActivityPub or ActivityStreams).

If you implement blocking and all that, here is something I learned from discussions on Mastodon: don’t just allow me to block a user or mute a post, let me also block all the users the liked a post in order to make blocking easier.

Allow temporary muting and blocking.

Allow keyword filtering, e.g. all mentions of Twitter, or of Christchurch, or Brexit, or AfD, etc.

Allow temporary keyword filters, e.g. Eurovision Song Contest.

Allow temporary blocking. Sometimes I’m angry but I know that in a week or two I’ll be able to face these people again, but if there are hundreds of people in my blocklist, I won’t know why I blocked them.

Let the blocklist show why I blocked somebody. Have a link to the post where I clicked the block link. Have a timestamp.

Automatic expiry of contents and posts. I keep saying that nobody wants to read my posts that a older than a few months. These will only ever benefit my enemies who would use them against me, never my friends. This is the first tool I wrote for Mastodon: locally archive my posts and delete the old ones online.

Some empty space between possts and between comments or some other minimal CSS fudging so that it doesn’t feel like tiles jammed together.

Every post has a shaded area at the top and at the bottom that can be clicked. Fix the CSS so that the pointer and the shading gives me an indication that the entire area can be clicked.



Thanks for mentioning Darcy Alex. Just a few clarifications. Yes, Darcy wants to earn money, and if it eventually turns a profit, I won’t mind that.

But the money is more a means to an end: I think that if any social media platform grows beyond a certain size, it is absolutely vital to have a trained and supported content policy (read: moderation) staff tending it. And that means that while volunteers are awesome and vital in most communities, they cannot do it alone. This is work, potentially traumatizing and for sure draining.

So these people need at the very least a support system. This means good technological infrastructure (tools that don’t suck and make their life easier), but also the psychological support, a decent wage if they do it full-time, empowerment and so on. And all of that costs money.

Having seen what ad-driven VC-backed business models do to best intentions, I want to change this: If moderation is the thing that costs money, we need to realize this and ask for exactly that money. I crunched the numbers, it should be possible to sustain this, even if only a (healthy) fraction of the users pitch in. But yes, it’s the hardest work. 🙂

Paolo is our main (and basically only) backend-developer so far, and he does this in his free time (since Darcy has next to no income or funding so far. Our awesome Patreon patrons pitch in about 200 US$ per month, and that is great so we don’t have to worry about hosting bills and petty expenses. But it doesn’t pay anyone’s rent.) That said: Lasagna.social is more of a playground prototype than anything. Not everything that we want for Darcy will be in there, nor will we promise that everything that Paolo wants for his personal space make it into Darcy. The feature-overlap is pretty healthy though. 🙂

Christian Buggedei 2019-04-07 08:08 UTC

Caring and helping moderators is definitely something we need to do better. It’s draining in the Fediverse (Mastodon and friends) and it’s terrible in the Adverse (Facebook and friends).

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-07 08:30 UTC

I posted an interesting comment (in my humble opinion) to Mastodon, Pluspora, and Lasagna. Result:

  1. Mastodon: seven likes, four reshare, four comments
  2. Pluspora: nothing
  3. Lasagna: six interesting comments

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-08 13:42 UTC

Feature requests for Lasagna. Gotta collect them somewhere. I posted them to Lasagne and I’m keeping a copy here for myself to come back to one day, perhaps.

Anyway, here goes:

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-14 08:17 UTC

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