it's Threads+Mastodon

End of year review and State of the Station Addendum to: threads and what is the fedi anyway?

Might we personally, or some of us individually be OK-ish if we can muster the spoons to infinitely play platform and social media musical chairs in the cowardly new world artist threatening monoliths like Mastodon are pummeling us all into by both openly and in the shadows deploying scale weaponisation and commercial co-option. That's not as polemic a statement as some will dismiss when you consider the lack of consideration to proper structure and tools for mitigating network effect damage, thinly veiled centralisation, and a technically woeful platform acting as a flagship to hijack public narrative.

The costs are community, humanity, agency and that is exhausting. It enrages us the collateral community damage that is and will increasingly be done in the name of vapid commercialism FOR OTHERS, which ironically and maybe intentionally puts many of us who need some material support from art via “social” environments at an actual disadvantage or unsafe situations to cut through the noise to be seen or heard and to find and foster interactive human community!

This all stinks powerfully for those that are happier and healthier to be any shred more comfortable and among kindreds than having to be popular performative in a sea of vapid numbers.

This is also scary for those of us that value community where you feel like you can ask for support rather than being demolished by the mechanisms and gauntlets of the power imbalanced and corporate thieving attention economy where you are shamed to even try to plead to the void.

Problems of power imbalance and infinite scale worship, poor decisions and narrative hogging by Mastodon were real long before any closed deals with the Zuck to further sow dissent, chase off, or out resource small and marginal players.

Concern and justified rage about all of this is not anti-scale or Luddite. Again, poor but most populated (via questionable methods) technical stack in the AP federation for many reasons pushing for effectively centralisation has been the problem and we are staring down the barrel of that becoming orders of magnitude worse.

We received deflection about secretive meetings for unilaterally offering the user base of large instances full of users possibly one click duped and funneled into being on something they perhaps did not understand nor care about its placement within a larger sphere.

Instead of that kind of classic scale to sell embracing, what if there had been concerted efforts to actually embrace community and safety by way of developing tiers and network topography that could better offer allowlist/greylist rings of trust, or some shield or mechanism to not price out small players from even tying to participate in a growing federation?

That'd been a whole different kettle of fish compared to exposing concerned communities, advocates, volunteers, artists etc to barrages of “shut up scale at all cost”. When some actors worship numbers it often equates to more subsidising, work and hassle for us plebs. Show us any examples of how crushing indie and marginalised artists is good for indie and marginalised artists and we'll eat our hat and signup for Threads)

Absolute pure minimalism reduction here, remind us who centralisation, co-option or false scale benefits? As an artist on the fedi, if and only if Threads does begin somewhat two-way federation, and if and only if some number of Threads users opt-in to potentially interact with us and if and only if Threads allows your content through for whomever may have opted in to try that, they have already tipped it will be hit by their algorithms and never show up sequentially if at all for Threads mutuals. So you are saying we can go back to participating in overt corporate data and content theft adjacent to all of Facebook's transgressions, possibly never actually reach some unknown segment of Threads users with our work, be shamed for our calls for support AND once again be pummeled by a constant fire hose of brand and “influencer” tat? Thanks Mastodon! Yeah sure it is starting as opt-in for Threads users but where is the organic fedi's opt-in for shielding network effects. Maybe we can have one tiny shred of optimism someone will have the spoons to coordinate that.

December – a 'nicer' RFF pro artist stance that held us up from reviewing the year because of the absolute noise in the feed and concern in the inbox. threads and what is the fedi anyway?

This is all way worse than just “Threads can read your posts anyway if they want to”. You can pick any number of reasons, privacy, human rights violations, propogation of war and ethnic cleansing, cambridge analytics... ... ... Any of which are a deplorable track record as someone you should not even adjacently entrust your art, identity, connections or community to.

But at the absolute core, more than any of the very valid historical transgressions, Mastodon Inc and Threads are really about breaking up, erasing or at least shouting over marginalised, creative and small organic communities by homogenising and normalising: vapid aspirations of clout culture, operating and celebrating content siphoning, harassment and otherism. Whether this happens through arrogance and privilege, a lack of empathy, nescience or willful ignorance, if there is a single spoon in the silver drawer, we resist.

There are so few paths to success for indie and marginalised artists in hyper commercial and surveillance capitalist spaces it is in fact not at all counterintuitive to anyone but corporate apologists to advocate for the betterment of organic networks that HAVE delivered community and support for artists, rather than false economies of scale that make us dance for more hate than crumbs.

There is a limit to how agnostic we can be about platforms and tools for the benefit of artist promotion and survival when history and real-time actions by players embracing power imbalance tip any benefit so heftily toward destruction, theft and erasure. We want more support for artists but vapid numbers and more stresses on us is for the overwhelming majority of independent artists, marginalised artists, volunteer creative communities et al, not actually net helpful. We absolutely can based on precedence judge corporate and commercial players and the proven methodologies smaller players enact to try and bed down with them. Yet all the same, just as we link to wherever artists request support, we absolutely do not judge any artist trying to use any tool they feel is bringing them some value. Our concern is to speak against the potential costs and risks to the bard class as a whole if they have no choice based on the power imbalances at play.

**RFF is not the thing. Yeah it is a thing, but it is also not THE thing. The thing is discovery, community, and artist celebration and the invitation to communicate and support. We have carefully crafted the ethos and process of the project to throw down a gauntlet of how things could be more artist and community driven and focused. That vibe is utterly incompatible with influencer culture and our artist friends potentially gain very little while standing to lose heaps from sloppy co-option.

We all face continued loss, stress and separation through not just platform choices and centralisation but from the interpersonal rifts among those at the top of the bottom of the power scales in the federated ecosystem. Loss of agency, loss of voice, loss of energy and/or time to create, loss of community connections. We care about that!

Our strength is each other. Our power is embracing and lifting up each other. If you are vehemently opposed to those who would minimise or take try that community power away, you are not alone no matter what the shills and talking heads say or do to diminish you as a “noisy minority”. We know how tired we are all but if you keep creating and connecting and being an empathetic and supportive human, then the RFF transmitter will be here boosting that energy. Anyone who wants to crush that kind of community potential for the false dichotomy and baubles of “numbers” may in the nicest possible terms we can muster, do fuck off and we're gonna be noisy about it.