[personal profile] ptf_admin2018-12-18 09:22 am
Entry tags:

[sticky entry] Sticky: Sticky: Comm Status; Index; Getting Involved

This comm is for discussion of post-tumblr fandom and how we can stop being migrants from one web service to the next, losing our work in each iteration. This conversation began on[personal profile] greywash's blog, originally here and in its comments. We've cross-referenced a lot of that by topic into separate posts here in this comm, and a list of those top-level topics are below.

Your mods are currently[personal profile] recently_folded and[personal profile] oulfis; [personal profile] greywash has stepped back from modding but remains involved in an advisory capacity.[personal profile] ptf_admin is just the collective mod account for this comm. If you've been participating in this conversation and have interest in modding or otherwise being involved, leave a comment here (comments on this post are screened) and tell us who you are, what you want to do, what skills you have, and what skills you want to build.

Because DW doesn't have an "ask box" feature, you may also use comments to this post as such for specific questions that don't seem to belong in the discussion threads or where you feel you need to protect your privacy, in order to speak to the mods in general rather than messaging a specific one who may not wade through their overloaded inbox right away. We won't unscreen anything without your permission.

Comm Rules

We are triaging our time writing out a formal code of conduct (volunteer help would be nice! leave us a comment!), so for now: anonymous comments are not permitted and commenter IPs are logged; please create a Dreamwidth account if you would like to participate. You must be 13 years old or older to join DW or participate here; that's not our rule, sorry, it's the law.

This community takes as its starting point that fandom is a space that needs and permits adult content, both textual and visual, and that wherever we go next must have mechanisms in place to create and share that material. However, this comm is not the place for that material itself. For now, at least, we welcome the discussion involvement of younger fans, who have a vested interest in our future, as long as they are willing to conduct themselves appropriately—and since loads of teenagers are more mature than loads of adults, that shouldn't be an intrinsic problem. Bullying and hate speech will not be tolerated.

Some commenters may be in the 13-18 year old range, but everyone here needs to act like an adult. Whatever age you are, keep your posts and your comments PG-13 and your behavior more or less work appropriate (basically, some swearing is probably OK, especially since the original post contains swearing, so it kind of has to be; but beyond that... let's not). Don't hit on or exchange offline contact info with your fellow commenters, and please do not post or link to any material that you would be nervous about showing either your boss or your new girlfriend's conservative grandmother. With heart problems. The rule is: don't be an asshole, and act like a grown-up even if you aren't one.


An index of topic-level posts on this comm (WIP) )


Post edit history )

Fandom gets closer to the metal - issue 8: #documentation

This week: thinking about a post Article 13 world in #documentation and tweaking things over on the wiki.

#documentation and Article 13

A new channel has been created on the distribute_fandom Discord. According to samshinechester, the channel has so far been discussing what Article 13 may mean for fanworks in Europe and whether archiving has a role to play.

It should be noted that Article 13 has not yet been settled in the EU. But it has far reaching consequences for the fandom experiences of many, which wasn't the aim of Article 13 directly, but a potential consequence. It's problematic nature is well described by Wired UK correspondent  Chris Stokel-Walker:

"Almost everyone agrees the rules enshrined by Article 13 risk being applied too broadly. An attempt to prevent illegal copyright infringement on big platforms, put in the hands of bureaucrats and suits that don’t understand the digital world, might become a blunt instrument that could stifle the remix culture of the internet." (My emphasis.)

#documentation discussion has also discussed the tenuous relationship that archivers and creators hold. If you want to join the discussion head on over to the Discord.

Tweaking the Mothership section of the wiki

Wings has spent time this week updating and editing the Mothership page over on the Federated Fandom wiki. You can check out the Mothership page here.

Don't forget...

To check out
[tumblr.com profile] fandom-after  on Tumblr and see what Wings has been posting.

Got something you want mentioned in these updates?

Head to #announcements-roundup channel on the distributed_fandom Discord and post about it before the end of Saturday each week. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue.

Fandom gets closer to the metal - issue 7: Making Hubzilla work for fan artists

This week: Tweaking oulfis.space; blacklists; server upgrades; View Profile bug, and making Hubzilla functional for artists.

Experience Hubzilla

This month, oulfis has continued work on oulfis.space and said:

“I am now willing to say that it is open to all comers, as a for-the-foreseeable-future instance that is a Real Thing!”

So if you’d like to try it out, you’re welcome to. You can even migrate existing channels:

“People can EVEN migrate their existing channels from fandom.stopthatimp.net to oulfis.space if they want to!!

“After registering an account at oulfis.space, when it prompts you to make a channel, look for the fine print at the very bottom and it says "import an existing channel" -- this is how!

“It moves all of your connections, and you can choose to also mirror your last month of posts.”

If you’re interested in checking this instance out, please keep in mind that it will not be so quickly updated with technological improvements. There is also the chance, according to oulfis, that he’ll “make it pink and adorable”.

To see the development plans for oulfis.space check out the oulfis.space Trello board.

NSFW/blacklist add-on for Hubzilla

demitas had a poke around the NSFW/blacklist add-on for Hubzilla. Now if you, “put one of the blacklisted words JUST in the title, and it's not in the body, it will still hide the body.” To see more about this issue head on over to fanzilla.

Making Hubzilla work for artists

impertinence and daphneblithe report that they have been trying to solve some things that artists will need to be happy in Hubzilla. Things like share tracking, and accrued metrics – such as calculating likes across multiple shares – neither of these things are built in to Hubzilla, so creative thinking has been required.

According to daphneblithe, a plan has been hatched and is proposed here.

The metrics are meant to show engagement rather than being meaningless, as daphneblithe said:

“We will track likes and shares. And we are doing accrued metrics.

“We realized adding view is meaningless since bots and crawlers and the like skew it anyway, and plus it just adds the hit-to-kudos ao3 anguish. Whereas likes and shares show human engagement. So have opted for those.”

fandom.stopthatimp.net server

impertinence has been working on a few things including upgrading the fandom.stopthatimp.net server so that it can accommodate more users.

(Editor note: Being able to accommodate user numbers is perhaps one of the biggest challenges across all of the distributed fandom spaces and platforms that are being looked at.)

Impertinence also managed to update 'porple' to include a base theme and a dark theme.

View Profile

demitas, taking a break from a few other issues, has fixed an issue involving “View Profile” on Hubzilla that was not doing what users needed.

“I fixed the issue where the "View Profile" option in conversations takes you to the user's channel and added a link to the role help page in the channel privacy settings page,” demitas explained.

Don't forget...

To check out 

[tumblr.com profile] fandom-after on Tumblr and see what Wings has been posting.


Got something you want mentioned in these updates?

Head to #announcements-roundup channel on the distributed_fandom Discord and post about it before the end of Saturday each week. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue.

Life in the post-tumblr world

The dust is settling. Work goes on in the federated/Hubzilla realm, although many of us are still waiting to hear about that becoming feasible for the less-technically-inclined. Discussions continue on the legal front, exploring what can be done with how much risk, but I haven't seen a public-release document on that yet. And fans have pretty much settled in wherever the diaspora took them: DW, Pillowfort, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Mastodon, Discord, and the many smaller and new sites that have been listed here in an earlier post. And of course, plenty of fans are still right there on tumblr.

A lot of fan activity, at least in some corners, consists of archiving old content in a new place. I see comments in a variety of places thinking about what tumblr did for communication style and feed contents, picking out the horrible and best-left-behind from the oh, hey, that was actually entertaining, speculating on how to regain some of the better bits of the tumblr experience.

And in the spirit of that last paragraph, over on Pillowfort heyheypaula has put together a survey for an academic examination of "Tumblr, Social Media, and Archives" and is asking for input from those who did and didn't leave tumblr. That survey link above is a direct one, for those who don't have access to the main post on Pillowfort and who might still want to participate. The OP doesn't state where they hope to publish this, but I've commented over there to request that information and that they share the results of their research with the community.

ETA: corrected misattribution of survey

Fandom gets closer to the metal - issue 6: "IT FEDERATES!"

This week: Less tech savvy user takes on Hubzilla setup; autopinning; theme fun; privacy groups, and Hubzilla guide!

(Crumbs, it's been a busy week at distributed_fandom HQ!)

Fan v Hubzilla

oulfis did battle this week in getting a Hubzilla (Fanzilla) instance up and running. You can read oulfis's liveblogging experience of it here, which includes lots of helpful insights into what does and doesn't work. As oulfis explained on the distributed_fandom Discord:

"I have created a hubzilla instance at http://oulfis.space/ !! IT FEDERATES!

"I am basically going through this process and trying to get the space working because I am MUCH less tech savvy than demitas and [impertinence], so if I can implement my own copy of what they're doing, I can test its replicability among the 'unskilled but earnest' demographic."

oulfis said people are welcome to come and try out the instance, but warns that it's an experiment and likely to be deleted or accidentally borked. Still... it federates!

Autopinning, themes

I mentioned this pack in issue 1, but impertinence has made some serious progress on autoinning since then. There's now a fully functioning Hubzilla autopin app available via GitHub, thanks to impertinence's efforts. impertinence explained that:

"Any admin who installs this will be able to set a certain number of apps to auto-install and pin to the navbar when new users register."

Outside of this app solving, impertinence has also added an in-progress theme on Git, which you can find here (lots of orange and purple).

Privacy groups

demitas completed work on a task to update privacy groups in Hubzilla. What does this mean? demitas pointed out that:

"It's an update to the privacy groups Hubzilla functionality to make it more obvious a) that it exists and b) how to use it, instead of it being hidden behind the lock icon."

You can check out the issue around privacy groups here on Fanzilla.

Hubzilla guide

daphneblithe has been working on a Hubzilla guide for non-tech savvy users, and is looking for contributions. daphneblithe explained the guide as:

"It's all super basic stuff and assumes zero coding knowledge and a tenuous grasp of tech generally."

If you would like to get involved in helping to write this guide, have a chat with daphneblithe over on the distributed_fandom Discord, or over on Hubzilla. The aim is to turn the guide into a "Hubzilla-adjacent wiki".

Don't forget...
To check out [tumblr.com profile] fandom-after  on Tumblr and see what Wings has been posting.

Got something you want mentioned in these updates?
Head to #announcements-roundup channel on the distributed_fandom Discord and post about it before the end of Saturday each week. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue.

Fandom gets closer to the metal - issue 5: Pesky Plume and milestones

This week: Getting a handle on Plume and milestones...

What's Plume? Plume is a decentralized blogging platform. This week impertinence has been having a big go at getting an instance of Plume set up. It hasn't gone smoothly, but like with a lot of things that the volunteers involved with this endeavor know: it's all a learning experience. impertinence isn't giving up (side eye may have been thrown at rust). If you have any experience with Plume and want to chat about it, head to the distributed_fandom Discord and the #Plume and #coding-salt channels.

demitas has reorganized the Milestones section on Fanzilla. This shows the baseline for what needs to be completed before we can start spreading the word about moving your fandom experience to Hubzilla. We're talking Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Currently listed are 14 issues that need to be worked on, 13 ar unstarted or unassigned.

Bonus: Getting the look

There's still an ongoing discussion happening about what the branding/logo for all of this could be. Head to the #ui-art channel on the Discord to see designs and add your thoughts.

Don't forget...
To check out [tumblr.com profile] fandom-after on Tumblr and see what Wings has been posting.

Got something you want mentioned in these updates?
Head to #announcements-roundup channel on the distributed_fandom Discord and post about it before the end of Saturday each week. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue.

Fandom gets closer to the metal - issue 4: Theeeeeeeeeeemes and Hubzilla

This week: Themes and Hubzilla.

Themes on Hubzilla

demitas created a Hubzilla theme starter kit that has some of the files "stubbed in". If you're already playing about with Hubzilla and want to spruce things up a bit, you can check out the starter kit here.

There's still plenty to do with the kit and demitas hopes to expand on it after becoming more confident with themes on Hubzilla.

Some housekeeping
Speaking of that starter kit, the starter kit lives over on framagit.org/fanzilla... but demitas admits that there's still a whole load of stuff on a personal page, which they're planning to move to the main fanzilla page on framagit.org ("like we're a real project or something"), but only when time allows.

Don't forget...
To check out [tumblr.com profile] fandom-after on Tumblr and see what Wings has been posting.

Got something you want mentioned in these updates?
Head to #announcements-roundup channel on the distributed_fandom Discord and post about it before the end of Saturday each week. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue.

Fandom gets closer to the metal - issue 3: Logos, legal, themes and more

Happy New Year!

This week: members of the distributed_fandom Discord have been busy with logo designs; examining the legal angles of this form of fandom; figuring out theme creation and more...


verity talked to someone at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law. The aim was to find out about where federated fandom activities stand from a legal footing, with an emphasis on US law. verity is working on documentation that will be able to help those interested in getting more involved.


BeautifulLights has been working on sketches for logos/branding. At the moment, general consensus seems to be leaning towards a purple rocketship-esque design, but BeautifulLights would love to hear any other ideas people have. To check out the current designs and say something, head to the #ui-art channel on the distributed_fandom Discord .


demitas has had a play with the registration process on Hubzilla, fixing the flow so that users are prompted to create a name/nickname when they register. It's also been tweaked so that Hubzilla would then auto-create the first channel for the user.

Nested comments
impertinence has also been working on nested comments for hubzilla, which is a common feature for a lot of sites.

demitas has had a dive into theme creation on Hubzilla again, documenting the process. Want to know more about extending a theme? Head here to the Fandom Federation wiki.

impertinence has managed to wrangle together a working instance of Peertube, which you may check out here http://fanvid.stopthatimp.net/.

Don't forget...
To check out [tumblr.com profile] fandom-after  on Tumblr and see what Wings has been posting.

Got something you want mentioned in these updates?
Head to #announcements-roundup channel on the distributed_fandom Discord and post about it before the end of Saturday each week. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue.

Fandom gets closer to the metal - issue 2: Wiki, bugs and a Trello board!

This week: the more technically minded members of the distributed_fandom Discord have , and more.

Hubzilla update
(Check issue one if you'd like to know more about Hubzilla basics...)

pearwaldorf has been triaging Hubzilla bugs/tasks from the distributed_fandom Discord into our issue tracker.

On the Discord, there is generally a lot of excitement around what Hubzilla can do for fandom. There's still a lot of bugs and kinks to iron out, and just making the whole user experience smooth enough that the least technical of fans can participate in this new vision for fandom.

A wiki for Federated Fandom
demitas and pearwaldorf have been pulling together a new wiki on Federated Fandom. It's small right now, but it'll grow as more documentation is created and more authors add pages to it.

You can check it out right now at the Federated Fandom Wiki. It has sections so far explaining:
  • what federation is
  • what federated platforms are and how they differ
  • how to contribute to the federated fandom movement
Keeping track with Trello
pearwaldorf has created a Trello board to keep track of the elements we've got kicking about at the moment... because there are a lot. Like... It's a testament to how busy the Discord has been and how quickly supporters have been taking action.

You can check out the board here.

Don't forget...
To check out [tumblr.com profile] fandom-after on Tumblr and see what Wings has been posting.

Got something you want mentioned in these updates?
Head to #announcements-roundup channel on the distributed_fandom Discord and post about it before the end of Saturday each week. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue.

Happy Holidays!

A quick and general update before we adjourn for the holidays

Everyone here is crazy busy right now, but work moves forward on addressing some of the questions and solutions posed here in the comm.

[personal profile] oulfis reports that the distributed_fandom Discord has 109 people now, a lot of energy, and although folks ARE talking about what will need centralized hubs, etc., it's not 100% distributed all the time.

[personal profile] pearwaldorf, who last reported on progress here, says that there's lots and lots of stuff happening re: Hubzilla on the Discord server, but it's more likely, at this point, to interest only those who want to get involved in development or project management. There's not been a public test server announcement yet. But they have been in touch with everyone who has volunteered to help or who want to be getting project updates (basically, Discord).

As noted in [personal profile] pearwaldorf's last post, if you're interested in following those discussions, you can message [tumblr.com profile] fandom-after for the link.

Fandom gets closer to the metal - issue 1: Hubzilla and pixelfed

This week: the more technically minded members of the distributed_fandom Discord have been working on ways to bring multimedia functionality to Hubzilla, plus several other functions. pixelfed is about to get a lot more interesting, and more.

Hubzilla update
Seeing as how this our first issue and some of you may not know this, here’s a short explainer…

What is Hubzilla? Hubzilla has a very detailed description available on its About. Essentially:

“Hubzilla is a free and open source set of web applications and services running on a special kind of web server, called a 'hub', that can connect to other hubs in a decentralised network we like to call ‘the grid’, providing sophisticated communications, identity, and access control services which work together seamlessly across domains and independent websites.”

The applications that can be run through these hubs include:
  • social networking discussion threads
  • cloud file storage
  • calendar and contacts (with CalDAV and CardDAV support)
  • webpage hosting with a content management system
  • wiki
Demitas has been working on various aspects of getting Hubzilla to work in a fandom friendly way, via fanzilla, a fandom friendly fork of Hubzilla. This week’s tasks have included:
  • Wrestling with a web torrent player addon and enabling it to work with more magnet links.
  • Updating the NSFW addon so that its settings are easier to find.
  • Plus working on documentation for fanzilla addons.
Meanwhile, impertinence has been trying to make Hubzilla a tad more user friendly, by bringing together an addon that auto-pins apps to the navigation bar. Plus installing PeerTube and Nextcloud to have a public demo available soon.

While not a full member of the Fediverse (though on the way to being so), Alyndra has spotted that pixelfed will soon have the ability to import Tumblr blogs. Not in the time for the Tumblr purge deadline (which is less than 24 hours away at time of writing), if your Tumblr isn’t affected by Tumblr’s nonsense and you want out after Monday, you’ve got more and more options being made available.

Speaking of Tumblr…
If you’d like to keep up-to-date with some of the biting commentary on that mess, do check out fandom-after.tumblr.com, run by Sareniel.

Got something you want mentioned in these updates?

Head to announcements-roundup in channel on the distributed_fandom Discord and post about it before the end of Saturday each week. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this issue.

pearwaldorf: (misc - get excited)

State of the FPOTF/NOOO (xpost from fpotf)

(Hi! A community exists specifically for the Fandom Platform of the Future/Network of Our Own/whatever we're going to call it now: [community profile] fpotf . It's broadcast-only at this point but anybody can subscribe for updates.)

This is an attempt to identify and centralize sources of information/places of discussion related to the Fandom Platform of the Future/Network of Our Own. Stuff is Happening, and in a ton of different places. 

[edit:] Added a couple links and the Trello.

Discussion spaces
distributed_fandom Discord (federated social network discussion, tech and policy stuff thereof) (private-ish, lurkers welcome; message [tumblr.com profile] fandom-after  for link)
[community profile] post_tumblr_fandom (broad-based discussion about all this shizz)
[tumblr.com profile] fandom-after Compilation of Tumblr commentary about The Impending Purge

Keeping track
I have created a Trello board to give a high-level overview of things I am aware of. Let me know if you think I'm missing anything.

Static but useful info
Features list by software (read-only)
Policy/TOS considerations (comments on)
The Doc (read-only)

Next Steps
PD (aka FFA NO3 anon) is compiling a list of questions for an Actual Lawyer (comments welcome) to look at. Contents include:
  • liability re: image hosting
  • compliance with laws in countries where visual depictions of sexualized minors are illegal
  • service provider liability re: 2257 laws, possible interactions with GDPR
  • FOSTA/SESTA liability re: hosting sexually explicit images
  • interaction between DMCA safe harbor provisions and tip jars/paid commissions (based upon presumption of fanworks being not-for-profit)
  • organizational structure stuff and how it interacts with liability
They have not put out any sort of funding mechanism for the consulting fee but if/when they do I will link it here.

People on the Discord have been writing code for Hubzilla and putting together public demos of some of the federated social media software available. Nothing to look at yet, but soon!
acatmeow19: (Default)
[personal profile] acatmeow192018-12-12 07:25 pm
mecurtin: Doctor Science (Default)
[personal profile] mecurtin2018-12-12 08:08 pm
Entry tags:

A Network of Our Own

I've made a post at my place about what it would take to have a Network of Our Own.

TLDR: I think it could be done, but it would involve:
  • setting up a new non-profit organization
  • running a Kickstarter
  • full-time staff as well as volunteers
  • around $5M/year.

I encourage you to go over there to read the details, but have the discussion *here*, to be more public and accessible.
mecurtin: Doctor Science (Default)
[personal profile] mecurtin2018-12-12 07:22 pm

Attention open-source coders: funding opportunity!

The Recurse Center is offering 145 $10,000 fellowships for non-cis-men working on open-source projects this winter. Half the funding is reserved for PoC. If you've got an idea for creating or improving one of our fannish networks but haven't been able to afford to work on it, apply now!
greywash: A lounging pinup girl, holding a cocktail. (Default)
[personal profile] greywash2018-12-06 08:22 am

Partnering with Academia

I'm making this as a sort of a placeholder post because an issue that keeps coming up—both in things I want to say (in comments to [profile] recentlyfolded's mod posts from yesterday) and in private discussions with other fans—is that what we're discussing is on the bleeding cutting edge of both technical and technology-and-society research. The thing I want doesn't exist; it might port from some technologies that do exist, but it's not a social network, it's not an archive, it's not a data center—it's some weird chimerical beast that draws from all of those things, and also is going to require input from experts on lots and lots of things that I, at least, am not an expert on.

I would very much love to crowd-source some research in, and also ideally get in touch with some fan-friendly academics doing research in, the following areas (WIP):

  • Computer science:
    • Machine learning: supervised learning for (e.g.) abuse detection in both text and images; community-owned machine learning data sets; machine learning that is transparent and responsive to community stakeholders.
    • Distributed systems: distributed networks/"the swarm", archival concerns and persistence of data in swarm computing, legal concerns and privacy in swarm computing.
  • Technology and society (I feel like this department goes under many names, so—): the internet and the historical record, machine learning that is transparent and responsive to community stakeholders.
  • Library science (I think?): archival concerns and persistence of data in swarm computing, balancing archival concerns (citations/a persistent record) with privacy concerns (the right to be forgotten), legal concerns for material stored in libraries that are accessible world-wide (when the material may be illegal in some countries).
  • Law: legal concerns in swarm computing, privacy in swarm computing, legal concerns for material stored in libraries that are accessible world-wide (when the material may be illegal in some countries).

Please leave a comment here (comments are screened) if you are or know of an academic or academics doing research in these or other relevant areas I haven't thought of. If you are okay with me unscreening your comment, please actively say so in the comment itself; otherwise, your comment will remain screened and be viewable only to me and the other mods. However, if the information you reference is publicly available, I will link it in the directory (below) without referring back to you.

For example, if you say, "Dr. Jane Foster wrote this great paper on swarm computing, http://arxiv.org/pdf/whatever and has also written about the fannish internet here, http://arxiv.org/pdf/whatever , her contact info is available on the Unseen University website here: http://whatever - please don't unscreen my comment" — I would post this as "Dr. Jane Foster: "Title of swarm paper" - URL, "Title of fan paper" - URL," with no reference to your username; and I would contact Dr. Foster privately to explain what we're working on and ask her if it was OK to link her contact info before I did so (if I did so). You do not need to tell me whether or not you are, yourself, Dr. Foster; I will assume that you are not her, but you want to remain anonymous, and I will not mention you when I contact her. Research Directory )

gclane: 19th century woman, looking stern (Default)
[personal profile] gclane2018-12-06 09:37 am

Thinking like librarians

Hello. I'd like to float some ideas and see what people think. 

I've read all of the posts, particularly recentlyfolded's issue-by-issue breakdown (so good!), but I haven't branched out into the various links that have been shared. Apologies if I repeat what's already been discussed/decided on elsewhere.

What we have here is an information problem. And, when you have an information problem, the current state of things invites you to think about it like a developer. Our aspirational models are large ICT (information communication technology) companies. Which, I mean, of course - developers know how to solve information problems in a way that's satisfying to their employers and often satisfying to the general public. Their employers make money, money drives attention, so we're all very attached to their version of solutions to problems of information. We're too attached, though - we've really begun to think that these large companies have the best/only solutions to information problems. At least until one of their solutions jumps up and bites us, as it has with Tumblr. (ETA - I've gone back and read my own words and I'd like to make it terribly clear that I have big respect for developers and the many things they are capable of. I think, to put a fine point on it, I have less respect for their employers and people with an excess of decision making power in the places where developers often work.)

I'm a librarian at a very large institution with a lot of money (relatively speaking). My chosen career and where I work means I get to spend a lot of time in rooms with brilliant people who think about information problems in ways that entities like Google and Facebook and Tumblr wouldn't recognize. And, in the past couple of years, a recurring theme of these conversations in these rooms has been bemused despair at everyone else's total shock that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are politically compromised, bigoted, nightmare pits. Because of course they are! Mark Zuckerberg didn't have a single thought in his head beyond all the money he could make when he started expanding Facebook. Google's mission statement and assertion that they aren't evil are laughable. These entities exist to turn a profit, which is just fine - capitalism, right? - but it is their central motive. It is what they wanted to do when they sat down and decided to put on a show. And, as many people have identified, that's what's happening with Tumblr right now. Their porn problem got them kicked off the App Store. They want to be on the App Store because that's where the money is. Ergo, in their heads, the porn must go! But they've never given a thought to what porn means. Or who might be implicated in their choices. Or how their choices might land differently on different communities. Or what a real technological solution to their information problem might look like.

They do not want what we want and have not thought about it in the ways that we've thought about it. Because, really, based on what I've seen here and the critiques I've read on Tumblr, we want to think about it like librarians. We're not foregrounding profit or uncomplicated solutions to difficult questions. We're doing the actual work of solving an information problem. 

All of this is to say that I think we'll be most successful if we focus on what we want, rather than what the solutions look like. When librarians solve information problems, good librarians anyway, we tend to foreground the following - 

  • Access - big, complex, lovely access; not "eh, it's in there somewhere, let's pretend our shit tagging system and mysterious algorithm constitute access"
  • Privacy - How does a user put information in? How does a user take that information back out? How much distance can a user put between themselves and their identity? What if someone uses that distance to do harm? How easy is it to connect someone to their use of an information system? How often is the record of use destroyed? 
  • Marginalized Users - How will any decision made fall on the most vulnerable user of this information system? What will we do when one of those vulnerable users tells us we made a mistake and have harmed them? 
  • Education - How do we bring new people into this information system? How do we teach community norms? How do we teach people how to use the solution we've devised to our information problem? 

Notice the lack of reference to profit, shininess, or scale. I think this is why AO3 keeps coming up in these conversations. They've done this work for the particular problem they wanted to solve. They don't want to do the work of a social network, which I completely respect, but their solutions are very... librarian-ish. And I really appreciate that. 

That's what I've got. I hope it helps. 

Issues: Adult content, porn, and related legal issues

And here is the elephant in the room. We get some starting thoughts in [personal profile] greywash's master thread and its comments, but there's a lot of thought that this will require because this is the one that can bite us all in the ass no matter how well or creatively any site is designed.

Many of us are leaving tumblr because we just don't see the world in binary sanitized terms with sexuality and sexual conduct the evil mirror presence to be kept locked in the closet. Adult content is fundamental to shipping, which is a huge component of fandom across a variety of media. Right now, that content is being pushed away in different directions, and with it, fracturing fandom. If we're going to have a common fandom home and protect our fandom legacy in all media, we've got to bring it right back to the table.

Nonetheless, child porn exists and porn purveyors will invade every toehole they can find in search of profit. I think we laughed, those of us who saw PornHub's tweeted invitation to tumblr refuges, but that's kind of the side our allies may turn out to be on in this. So drawing difficult lines between adult content and exploitative porn are going to have to be part of our planning.

Dreamwidth has a policy; Pillowfort has a policy (although the issue of their domain not permitting "porn" bit them despite their good intentions). AO3 has a strong presence in this game, and it's also been a controversial one that has been used as an attack vector.

What are we going to do about this?

Note to other mods: do we need to raise the age restriction on this thread? Please edit in and fix if indicated.

Entry tags:

Issues: Abuse and harrassment

As discussed in [personal profile] greywash's master thread and its comments, this is a major concern for fans.

Tumblr, while convenient in many ways, kind of died on this hill for many fans. It's certainly been a major issue in the devaluing of predominantly-female fandoms in the eyes of outsiders, and it's gutted more than one fandom (Sherlock BBC, I'm looking at you). How many of us have burned old fandom identities behind us to shake toxic attention or orphaned works on AO3 to avoid old associations?

In existing sites, Pillowfort is trying to take a strong stand against this and has some interesting—if confusing to new users coming from tumblr—measures in place to try to combat it. As do Dreamwidth and AO3 and perhaps others I'm not sure about.

What do we need to keep fans safe from abuse? What kind of measures do we expect from a site that wants fans?

Issues: Mobile access

There was some mention of this in [personal profile] greywash's master thread and its comments.

A lot of the concern has to do with the fact that for a mobile ap to be listed in the two major ap repositories, it has to be squeaky clean and have nothing to do with what the repositories view as porn—which is basically all that fandom considers adult content, marginalized communities, gay content, etc. There are ways around this, but they tend to be obscure for many users.

Is this a make/break issue for a new fandom home? Is a mobile-optimized site meant to be used in a device's existing browser ap adequate given the adult content issue? Is creating a mobile ap best left to someone outside the new fandom home?