Freedombone Blog / The Quest for Better Defaults

Recently I was reading an article on Gemini, Containment, Social Media, and the Dangers of Imitation. In it the author describes the seven deadly sins of social networks, which are as follows:

They argue that systems like Mastodon have tried to imitate Twitter too closely, which can result in similar levels of antisocial behavior. I think I agree that if Mastodon had implemented follower approvals by default, with a meaningful review process for new followers (eg. you can take a look at their public timeline and see if they're posting garbage, or threatening other users), then the panic over Gab wouldn't have happened and they would have been more easily contained.

I had been contemplating changing the defaults in Epicyon previously, but based on this I now think it's worth it in order to try to encourage better fediverse interactions guided by a principle of mutual consent. So now follower approval is the default and also only people that you're following can send you direct messages. As usual, if you're not happy about that then you can change the settings by editing your profile.

The article also criticizes the federated and local timelines of large instances. It was an initial design decision, even before code had been written, not to include a federated timeline within Epicyon. There might be a case to be made in favor of the local timeline on small instances, but the federated timeline of most instances to me seems genuinely useless and to be just a flood of nonsense.

In terms of RSS feeds, Epicyon only has that for the Blog feature. Search engines, or anyone else, can at most only obtain a limited preview of your public timeline - not the entire history. Having a limited preview allows other people to make follow request decisions, without that turning into yet another data giveaway for companies like Google.