Mastodon is worse than X

May 2, 2024

Based on a response I wrote to the following HN article: I'm closing up shop on my Mastodon for the foreseeable future

Mastodon is the mirror-verse version of Twitter/X but a lot more cocentrated.
I've tried spending time on Mastodon but unless if you subscribe to certain political/ideological values then you wont find much to hang around for. This is an assumption but if you collated the average profile it would likely be a far-left user who talks about highly politicised topics. There is nothing wrong with this, free speech is a human right.

On the flip side I find the discourse on X a lot more varied. There are definitely big problems with the types of conversations that happen on X but I have to go out of my way to find them. On Mastodon it's not that hard, mainly down to it being a smaller pool of content.

Oddly, I feel safer expressing my opinions on X than I do on Mastodon, and I think it comes down to the fact that Mastodon is flawed in its concept of federation.

They paint a pretty utopian picture of decentralised communities but there really isn't much difference between them. They are mainly part of the same political zeitgeist and if you don't toe the line you get banned. Some will say this is the removal of far-right hate speech and in some cases it is. But in others you are helpless to the whims of a power hungry administrator. Not much you can do about that.

Once you're banned that's it, you've lost your profile, sure you can recreate elsewhere but have to start from scratch. For the problems alternatives have like Nostr at least they are truly censorship resistant.

If Mastodon adopted the ability for users profiles to decentralised and stored across multiple instances then that would create a much stronger ability to be censorship resistant.

Instances could still choose to share ban lists but would not take the fundamental building block of users away, their profiles.