is not a safespace

Published 2023-07-05 | Written by koyu is not a safespace

This blog post is a direct answer to disprove to’s statement about it being a safespace which you can read here: I will quote some passages and giving an answer from the standpoint of an instance admin that has lost the battle against a big instance spreading lies and misinformation about federation and the fediverse community. This reply is written to Welsh Pixie who probably wrote the post and is in charge of

dotART may be an art instance, but our full and primary purpose is to provide a safe space for marginalised folk who also happen to do creative work. To this end, we have strong policies that shape the vibe of our community and allow our community to thrive in a harassment-free environment.

This is fully understandable, my instance also had those policies in place. I am sure, that this is what most of the fediverse is doing.

We have harsh defederation policies where we will defederate from any instance that we (the .art mod team) feel is a threat to the safety of our community; this can be for a variety of reasons, including being a far-right/conspiracy theory/‘free speech’ instance, not taking a hard stance against hate speech, poor moderation that enables trolling, etc.

Okay, this is quite ironic, because my instance was blocked for apparently poor moderation. Me and my team made sure the moderation policies were enforced and we made sure that we defederated from instances that would actively harm our community. Is far-right just because that instance doesn’t run Mastodon? Is too ”free speech” despite actively moderating against hateful content? I am not sure what this should be a reference to, but I am quite certain that there is still a lot of instances that should be re-reviewed with an objective standpoint.

We adopt a proactive style to moderation and defederation that, wherever possible, allows us to prevent harassment rather than to deal with it after it has already taken place. We don’t demand other instances do things our way – one of the great things about the fediverse is that anyone can run their instance any way they like, and people can join instances with moderation styles that best fit the experience they want from their social media.

You tend to overblock, you don’t defederate with bad instances. This is different and you won’t even admit it. Sure you don’t demand other instances to do moderation ”your way”, but you don’t want to admit, that has grown so big that other instances have to follow suit or they will get blocked as well and lose a ton of good content on their instance. Being unable to follow Daniela Schreiter (she’s doing amazing content about autism and I even have a few of her books) or the Krita project is not only inconvenient, but also heartbreaking to see, because those people indirectly support someone that is so overprotective, that you can’t interact with the wider fediverse anymore. Defederation should be the last option if you consider someone not aligning with your own moderation policies. Please first try to establish a dialog between you and the admins before considering a defederation AND ask your own community what they would think about it before they can’t access their content the next day.

For example, we have some of the journalist instances limited because the people in our community are the people who are often treated incredibly poorly in journalism, and it should be their call whether or not they want to ineract with journalists. This is very specific to the vibe of our instance, but doesn’t apply universally to all instances.

You are probably talking about I don’t know what led to this decision, but never harassed anyone to this day. This is again your own decision to block this instance, driven by your own beliefs and not what your community asked you to do. An instance with that size shouldn’t pressure their own beliefs onto someone which doesn’t mean that I am endorsing allowing hateful content at a given instance size. I know that fake journalism like BILD (a very famous and awful newspaper in Germany) is harmful to people, because they often put things out of context and discredit people by doing that, but from my understanding, explicitly states that such content is not allowed in their platform. Also see your own instance as a news site, because I have often seen you and your users discredit anyone that is just a little bit different than by using the instance’s reach to their advantage. This shouldn’t be an issue, but you make it one and you have never fixed it.

dotART has a reputation for ‘blocking everybody’, but the fediverse is huge. There are over 23,000 instances ( The biggest one,, who we don’t block, has over 1.3 million total users. Our block list has 1024 instances on it (not all of them are blocks, either – some of them are just limits, and a big chunk of them are instances full of Twitter mirrors), and a huge number of them are tiny single-user or ‘one person and a few of their friends’ instances. The majority of our blocks are also instances who are well known for actively harassing people on instances that don’t block them. There are also many, many instances that block much heavier than we do – but because we’re big, we get noticed when we take moderation actions.

Okay, here is a lot to unpack. That list doesn’t respect the active servers count, meaning most of these 23k servers sure still run, but they are basically a ghost town, set up once and forgotten. By the end of we federated with around 10k active instances, your instance was responsible for about less than the half of the public content. This means once you blocked us a huge fraction of publicly accessible content was gone from our instance. Your instance also doesn’t ”block everybody”, I agree here, but you block a huge fraction of the active fediverse. Putting your own decisions over your own users is not what the fediverse is about, this is why user-level moderation tools exist as well, but your job as an admin should make the process for your users easier. Next time if you consider overblocking just put your instance in allow list mode. Apparently now you understand that your instance is big, but I don’t think you still know what the exact consequences to these actions are. I think you should realize that the consequences are that you put your instance at risk breaking apart the more you try to defederate, especially when the block was unjustified. We couldn’t get in touch with you since you never replied, so we don’t even know what you actually blocked for as ”channery” (whatever that is) and ”anti-moderation” are made up reasons.

Most of the people in our community join our instance specifically because of the way we run it. They join via word of mouth from people telling their friends that this is a safe space. People who face unjust discrimination and who are ostracised by society can exist on our instance with thousands of other people who are both like them and also wonderfully different.

No, they don’t, it’s the second part. People join, because is big and everyone else tells them to join that instance. It’s not, because it’s a safe space, it’s rather, because your instance is big and no one cares about the details. Your users actively harassed me and my team members on for reasons you don’t even want to explain to us.

We get messages every day from our dotART-ists telling us they appreciate how we run the community, and we get overwhelming support from our community for the moderation decisions we make. We also don’t hold a grudge over people who might want to leave our instance because it’s too restrictive (and, in fact, encourage people to seek out a community that best fits them!) – again, the great thing about the fediverse is it allows for a multitude of communities that are managed in different styles and that suit a variety of needs.

This is nice and I think this is also why running a fediverse server is worth it. You can surround yourself with a bunch of nice people. The problem is you actually hold a grudge over people who want to leave your friend’s instances. So people who don’t think you should be in charge of running are getting harassed and blocked without further explanation, because for whatever reason you can’t take valid criticism.

So, if you’re on, that’s the kind of experience you will get. We appreciate it’s not for everybody, but it’s not meant to be for everybody. It’s meant to be for the people who most need this kind of safety from social media.

Your instance is not a safe space and you have proven it multiple times outside of your own instance, so I don’t think you can make sure the experience is better inside. My experience with was that once we slightly criticize you and your behavior we would instantly receive the ban hammer without explanation, getting harassed by you and your own users and lose thousands of people posting great content.

I don’t think you should run a Mastodon instance at all and stay where you originally came from, Twitter is your home and Mastodon was better without your instance. You pose a threat to the fediverse as you are not familiar with fediverse culture in general. We people have a history on here and we don’t need another person that tells anyone what software to use, what language to speak or what operating system to run. We are all adults and we care about each other and you are clearly not caring about the people of this network if you are trying to EEE (embrace, extend, extinguish) your way through it and force your policies onto every server owner.