Remember the outcry for Microsoft buying GitHub and developers (allegedly) leaving en masse? It didn't happen and GitHub is as a monopoly today as it was back then. Musk/Twitter is analogous. We need to make federated alternatives better than centralized ones. Outcry won't do it.

@zacchiro What would make the federated versions better than the centralised? In my opinion they are better already, because they share values I defend. Do we need better products or do we need to promote these values? (Both of course but where should the focus be?)

@zacchiro (first of all, I would like to apologise for essentially hijacking your post. I started writing a pretty short comment, which expanded into a post of its own. I'll keep it as a comment to you as context, but please be aware that it's not all a commentary on your position)

But the definition of "better" depends on the individual. I personally consider the fediverse to be infinitely better than Twitter or Facebook.

Your statement could be seen as an argument to make something better than Twitter for all current users of Twitter. I don't think that's possible, and even if it was, the result wouldn't be anything that the users of the fediverse would in any way shape or form enjoy.

Now, it may be that your argument is that the fediverse in its current incarnation shares the same problems as twitter.

If so, I might actually agree with you. It could be argued that the implementation of the fediverse where are are communicating right now (Mastodon, Pleroma, etc) has the same underlying flaw as Twitter: that someone who wishes to discuss retorcomputers ends up doing that on the same forum as someone who is spewing fascist BS. This works today because there is a certain unifying trait among the fediverse community (we tend to all hate fascist BS). However, if it grows too big, that may no longer be the case.

Discourse on the internet before the arrival of the large platforms that ends up being used by default by a large proportion of users was arguably a lot better. There was no overlap (or at least very little) between the people with different interests, and as such even if a discussion spiralled out of control it never got "viral" to involve people outside the community where the argument started.

Which brings us to possible solutions. It's easy for me to point out problems, mix that together with a bit of "it better better in the olden days" and call it a day. However, I really don't have a solution that I believe would fix this once and for all.

But, I enjoy being on the fediverse. I absolutely abhor being on twitter and FB. Thus, there is clearly something that this place does that the others do not. If anything, I'd like to see it being easier to create small communities. The local timeline is one such thing, but there should be more support for that. Unfortunately, the official Mastodon client doesn't even show the local timeline as far as I have been told.

@loke I agree that "a better social network" probably means different things to different people. I think that's actually an opportunity to have different systems and different communities that can interact via ActivityPub but don't have to.

The challenge, I guess, is to figure out effective ways (ie. that work for small communities / instances) to support or enforce (within their boundaries) their idea of how interactions should happen (moderation, blocking, but also highlighting etc.) @zacchiro

@schaueho @loke @zacchiro

In terms of #Fediverse "social network" has a different meaning. It's the network we weave together with many different apps and social relationships.


Re:Github. Good example of "better social network" are the various federation projects that'll liberate code forges such as @forgefriends, #ForgeFlux and #Gitea adding federation support.

Co-shared community is at

We'll create network effects across our universe 😃

The lack of a local feed is one thing that is breaking traditional fedi conventions, but there is also this.

< *off to tag you all in a post highlighting new darkPatterns adopted by the official Mastodon app that will produce groupThink and heard mentality*

@schaueho @loke @zacchiro


One of the selling point for me when i started with fediverse was self moderation. Once you find an instance that doesn't federate with nazis, you just have to mute or block or report the pedos, and thats mostly fine. In addition, you can also block languages that you're not willing to study, and that does it for me.


@zacchiro Yes, and... it seems to me that it's much more common for software projects to not use GitHub than before that outcry. So I wouldn't say it didn't happen at all.

@be @zacchiro @gitea are working on federation I believe, it would be so awesome!

@zacchiro You can say that the majority of developers didn’t leave, but I see most Free Software I care about on free platforms now — selfhosted gitlab,, … — and the only reason Freenet didn’t migrate away yet is that we currently don’t have enough people who could replace the github actions.

An exodus from a platform with lots of dev tooling takes time.

@ArneBab @zacchiro yeah, the thing with these migrations is, that it's very good for us that are here on fedi, we enjoy it here, and the less we think of what's happening on the other side, the more we enjoy.

it's the people that don't jump to this side that are losing this game. and usually all it takes to like it here is to start liking it here — really to start interacting with people.

The annoying thing about your example: Git is *already* decentralised.

@zacchiro federation needs to become more reliable, some people I followed a year ago are still tooting but their new toots from their servers are not making it to my timeline...

Also: centralised *discovery* is damn useful. It's everything else that is basically a land grab.

@zacchiro I think there is a number of arguments that these cases are pretty much different.
- Microsoft is a public company with at least some amount systematic of transparency and control mechanisms, whereas Musk wants to turn Twitter intoa fully private company w/o reporting obligations
- Microsoft itself is very engaged in open source and has therefore an interest in not shying developers away, whereas Misk has apparently a 'mission' with Twitter wrt its content

- Microsoft has, as far as I can see, a business case with github as being an integral part of its efforts in sw development tools and offering paid development platform services in a freemium model. Whereas Musk's true intentions are, say, somewhat opaque.

@SFWeisgerber @zacchiro Microsoft also has a history of anti-competitive behavior attacking startups to get their IP. Buying Github gave them access to every _private_ repo on the site! 🤦

@zacchiro well, GitLab did not make itself a but more attractive to open source developers. Instead they increased prices by four times and made themselves more attractive to big corporations and their DevOps / Monitoring needs. Having a nice release process for an open source library and a performant platform and nice automations around it? Then GL is not for you. Sure you can make it work (some of it), but is it worth it?

@boredland that is an interesting point. In the case of current discussions, the question could arise, if Mastodon would choose the same path. Anyway, I would be more interested if your comment applies to selfhosted gitlab ce as well? Do you know about any analysis of that verdict? @zacchiro

@nilsreichert @zacchiro the self hosted one is a lot more stable and pages load a lot quicker. But you always loose the best thing about GitHub: a community, cross-references, one click to fork, one account to log in and collaborate.

@zacchiro Presumably the developers were too distracted by all they astonishing content on the federated Instagram replacements that everyone flocked to en masse after the Facebook buy-out.

@zacchiro mastodon is already better, like, no ads, The Stars, The True Trigger Warning, The Edit Button and, like, animated blobcats..?! To switch social media people should ideally migrate with their friends and it's almost impossible for some. I haven't any friends on Twitter besides those I know irl anyway, so it was easier for me. I think Github doesn't rely so on human networks, but on recognition(sometimes you could see it in job requirements) and habits. Changing habits and not following expectations of the society requires much mental strength and free time. I guess changing corporate standarts is even more difficult...

@zacchiro When Facebook bought Whatsapp the press also cleimed peple were leaving Whatsapp, some went to Signal, Threema, telegram, but that was it.

There will be a need of commercial offers out of the Fediverse. Call me wrong, but the interaction of consumers is less restricted, than from governments and brings the outcome of stable instances, moderators paid and a wished interaction of product owners as well. Please do not be shocked when this starts. Everyone can still stay in his, not commercial, instance. This choice is the benefit from the Fediverse.

@zacchiro I would argue the fediverse works because the alternative are getting worse, not becaude the fediverse us getting better.


I think if almost everything is public and everyone can copy that content it's not a big deal that data is stored central like on Twitter.
Especially if the content is free (as in free licensed) like on GitHub. Git itself is decentral, people do copy/clone stuff from servers and keep that copy and they can easyly switch to another instance/service just by changing the remote repo. Easy as fuck.
Even if Microsoft goes rogue one day there will be legal copies of most of the files.

@zacchiro One key difference - MS didn't f**k with the GitHub user base, but birdsite's doing it day in, day out.

Totally agree with "being better" - Birdsite set the bar quite low already.

@zacchiro @codingquark May I take this chance to promote Toot! — it’s an absolutely gorgeous Mastodon app for iOS. The Twitter app pales in comparison.

In what area does github have a monopoly?
There is other places that offer git hosting, and I still claim that the network effect of git hosting is small.

@zacchiro how do you imagine how a decentralised, federated Git repo hosting works? Isn't Git kind of federated already? At least there are projects that are in different places and synced between them.

@zacchiro Maybe you don't really mean "better", but "more attractive", "as attractive as" or even "easier to use"? having a "better" UX/UI design supporting an ethic & decentralized service, will not always meet the main needs one seek to fulfill through social ntwrks : being aware of what's happening/getting distracted easily/meeting plenty of friends...

I think a decentralized entity would need a rather agressive/costly communication strategy to make people come and make it happen??

@zacchiro I don't know that Mastodon necessarily needs to compete for users, and I'm not sure better will necessarily beat familiar anyway, but I think culture is more likely to do Twitter in.

The site's big draw is that news tends to break and circulate there first, in part because so many journalists use it. But if Musk follows through on his vision, right wing abuse may start to drive reputable journalism off of the site, driving off first much of its audience, then the orgs and reporters.

@zacchiro one of the most important group activities for twitter users is digesting information collectively. Mastodon has a lot more "say what you want" than "work together to find an answer".

In that way mastodon fails in the same way twitter does. The free form rules make collaboration exhausting if not impossible. It should be possible to cooperate more, but we're just kinda pushing the individuals button over and over again.

@zacchiro interesting thread, and I agree that this increase is transitorial (it is gradually fading down). But "better" is not enough, you can't beat the Network Effect of centralized social platforms with better sw, like betamax was way better than vhs, but never had a chance.

@rresoli I believe the importance of network effects in social networks is highly overrated

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