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i’m sure there’s a person or two in the audience here who will probably know what i’m talking about from the title alone, but this still bears the gravity of enough influence to warrant lots of repetition. so don’t expect this to all be news to you. don’t expect most of it to be news to you. but please, read through till the end.

i might surprise you. first, we’ll have to get some dirt out from under my proverbial fingernails. gargron doesn’t like me much, nowadays. that's fine. i don’t like him much either.

for those of you who don't know me, i would like you to know i attempted throughout the entirety of my relationship with him to remain cordial, respectful, and approachable.

he’s blocked me anyway, for a reason i can only determine to be that i asked him the hard questions, and said a few words that rubbed him the wrong way amidst my best attempts at kindly, carefully sharing what i thought was necessary. but i said this was about queer activism on mastodon, right? what does this have to do with that?

well, i’m queer and i know software, coding and design. i make my best attempt at being an activist, and that has been relevant to all of my interactions with gargron. regardless of the fact that he has blocked me, i feel required to share at least one reference to a post of his. i do not believe this is a malicious attempt at subverting the block because i took the screenshot in question before i was blocked, to post it to myself, privately, out of frustration, in something short, pretty sure it mentioned the character count of masto and that's why i came. heck, it is probably the thing that GOT me blocked.

it’s also one of the main reasons i feel compelled to write this article. here it is below, in all its arrogant glory.
post by Eugen (@Gargron@mastodon.social) "Look y'all here becase I built Mastodon the way I wanted and you happened to like it. If you no longer like it that's your own business, don't give me shit about your failed expectations. There's the door, there's the code, there's the alternatives. The shit I've received today just because I was open to something that a part of the community wanted is completely unacceptable."

you might be connecting the dots, by now, but this post is not something i personally feel like i can agree with, on any level, really. you see, it’s telling me the opposite of my personal experience, as one of the forerunners of the exodus from twitter to mastodon. as i said before the only reason i was here was 500 characters over 140. so why did i stay? why haven’t i left? character count is a relatively minor reason to stay, isn’t it? long and short of it is that i stayed for the activism, the same activism this post seems hell-bent on erasing. i was here before there was an unlisted toggle, after all, and my issue on github probably was a part of why it became a reality.

since i joined mastodon over two years ago, i participated in approximately two years of activism, publically attempting to help sway the man towards changes that would benefit me, and the people around me. i tried to make my time positive, make good things come of me having been there, and, for the most part, i succeeded. the unlisted toggle happened. mutes happened for the most part to my spec, including keyword mutes now!

i am also the sole reason that content warnings were recognized as a possibility by gargron, through my attempts at github issue management. relevant link here. a lovely contributor named blackle coded the first implementation. link here.
someone who wanted to talk up my influence might even go as far to say that my additions were probably the sole reason so many people gave mastodon a shot. content warnings are a Big Deal for many people, including myself, and approximately four or five of my friends from that time period alone. if i was to ask my followers (which i just did, upon this rewrite) there were another 7 separate people who took the time to let me know that, on a non-public post, and are all different people than the ones in question. if it was public, and i asked for a boost, i imagine i would garner many, many More.

one of the biggest difficulties i have in writing this is how to properly convey the extent of activism on mastodon, the amount of people who participated, then and now. for instance, let me share something someone else wrote, on here, for you to read first. this is only one, of many, many people's contributions: link

so many, i cannot give you a solid number, because any number i give would be wrong. even in only the early days, there was bordering on a thousand active users who contributed to the discourse about how to improve and change the social media for the better, or the worse. i was only an intermediary. i was only a voice for those who couldn’t themself, for whatever reason, post a github issue, start a discussion, properly describe what they needed. so yes, i may have been the only reason that content warnings, one of the most society shaping features of the software, came into being.

but i am nothing, nobody special.

i am one of thousands who cared enough to contribute time and effort to how to better the software for all who use it, for free. that’s free labor, free time, free effort, all contributed to a software we created, together. now, if you’re clever, you probably already see where i’m going with this. gargron should be happy, shouldn’t he? all that free labor, all that free work, such an interactive, caring audience.

that’s all a man could wish for, in this sort of field, in creating tech for others, on patreon, as a job. because he is, you know, making money doing this. quite a lot, actually, not that it’s my business. here, see for yourself what his patreon is earning.
right now as i write this it’s well over three thousand dollars a month. and you see, that’s my problem with him. with the narrative he has attempted, as of recently, to create, for his project. his job. his work.

that it’s all his.

now let’s go back to that post of his. so if you’ve read the whole thing the first time around you’ll notice he mentions being open to something ‘the community wanted’ and calls it ‘unacceptable’ that he has recieved negative responses. there are a few logical flaws, in this post, and we’ll get to them in order. firstly, we are not here because of how he built mastodon.

post by Eugen (@Gargron@mastodon.social) "Look y'all here becase I built Mastodon the way I wanted and you happened to like it. If you no longer like it that's your own business, don't give me shit about your failed expectations. There's the door, there's the code, there's the alternatives. The shit I've received today just because I was open to something that a part of the community wanted is completely unacceptable."


i hope that much is clear, by now. i made the post that sparked the biggest feature you can shake a fist at in mastodon. i’m here because it got implemented. i’m here because people LISTENED. because activism WORKED. because we, as a community, could, for a time, make important, powerful changes to the software, through community favor, through community activism for change. but all that is past tense, now.

you see, things changed. the codebase grew. more exoduses from twitter happened, in swaths, droves, huge waves of people, and with that, came a change in voice of this ‘community’ he describes. and this is where the third fallacy comes in, from that post. we’ll get back to the second in a moment.

remember, the title notes QUEER activism. because way back, at the beginning of mastodon’s rise to what it is now, queer activists, be they just a stranger with a keyboard, new to the social media site, weighing in on a topic on the public timeline, or me, someone actively attempting to be the middle between the most vocal voices, and tangible, meaningful change through gargron’s code, and github focused writing and activity, people were queer. they were marginalized, to some extent. people who weren’t comfortable with the status quo, so we changed it.

we begged, and screamed, and kicked at the ground until there was enough dust in the air for gargron to cough and wheeze and change things, and in the end, those changes were enough for things to change for the better. things changed, because more and more people comfortable with the status quo followed. we queer activists rapidly became the subset that originally came, the marginalized. the minority.

we no longer had such a strong voice. our proverbial feet got smaller, the dust we kicked up much less powerful. and to some extent, gargron knows this. he has to. he pointed it out, in his post, actually, i’m sure someone is thinking, and maybe even posting, before they finish reading. it was a part of the community that wanted the topic that sparked that post, which was trending hashtags.

many of you were here for this. the actual feature in question doesn’t matter, it’s the facts behind this feature that show what matter here, the fallacy he refuses to acknowledge that is so rooted in his method that he will not change. the minority weren’t loud enough, you see, until we knew about it. and the fact of the matter is that we didn’t know about it until too late.

let me dial it back, we need to explain some more first. mastodon.social is the largest instance on the fediverse, or at least, for a time, it was. i don’t think it’s outmatched, or will be any time soon. because it’s the instance gargron hosts, the one his code gets on fastest, and the one that many many of the people i mention inhabited, before there even was any other instances. mastodon.social got the trending hashtag code before many of these activists i mention, like myself, knew it was a plausibility. so what this issue is, at its core, is a lack of transparency, a lack of public speaking, and a lack of awareness of what is actually going on, behind the scenes.

you see, it’s just too big to keep track of it all, anymore. the github for mastodon has over 800 issues on it, nearly 900, and that’s only what’s still open. so many issues have come and gone that it is nearly triple the number of currently open issues. not to mention, github isnt exactly user friendly as a reader, as an activist wishing to enact change, wanting to contribute. you practically have to be a coder to know what half of it means. so now let’s try to loop it all back together.

gargron made a change, people didn’t know about it until it was already live on the server, and a big fuss happened. the proverbial dust was big enough to make him notice us, the people who supposedly came to his software because of how he made itand our outcry of frustration, of being ignored, of the very real threat of abuse of that feature, was insulted. let’s look at that picture again.

post by Eugen (@Gargron@mastodon.social) "Look y'all here becase I built Mastodon the way I wanted and you happened to like it. If you no longer like it that's your own business, don't give me shit about your failed expectations. There's the door, there's the code, there's the alternatives. The shit I've received today just because I was open to something that a part of the community wanted is completely unacceptable."


i really am harping on him over one single post, aren’t i? you might be saying. but that doesn’t really matter. this is one post, yes. but it’s one post that shows the entire problem, so well that it needs to be used as a focus, or i’d be kneecapping myself trying to explain all this. “don’t give me shit”, which quite literally means he doesn’t care that he isn’t communicating well with us. kinda worrying, but let’s get back to the meat of it. “your failed expectations”, so, he quite literally places the blame, the failure, on us. “there’s the door” I think you probably get it by now.


I probably don’t need to reiterate, but here we are, at the second fallacy. this was never our fault. we tried, so hard, so loudly that he still must acknowledge us, despite thousands of dollars into his pocket making him richer than our marginalized, minority voices are. he gets all the benefits, for our work, and places the blame on us. so he acknowledges that there is a community in question, knows he is failing us, and doesn’t care, because it’s our fault for not trying hard enough. that’s a grim look at it, but it’s the facts of how he has chosen to respond to criticism.

now where do i get off telling you all about how he’s wrong? what if i hadn’t tried hard enough? what if he’s right? you might be asking, because you’re the devil’s advocate here, proverbial reader. well, i did try to help him.
i offered to do this intermediary work, this job i knew i would hate, because interacting with him is tiresome and difficult for me. i chatted with him and maloki, a public figure who worked with him to try to smooth over his rampant, unceasing issues with transparency on what is being done to the code, about working for him. doing my work on github full time.

i posed to him a solution to the issues with his workflow, how to use github to be more transparent, publically accessible, and more actionable for the activist community i knew to be the heart of mastodon. when i could no longer contribute do to how difficult it was, i gave him the option to pay me for my work. and he deemed it unecessary. in his own words, i find this ‘inacceptable’.

i stopped contributing, because it wasn’t worth fighting with someone who deems me disposable, unnecessary, and to be at fault. but i’m not at fault. he is.

post by Eugen (@Gargron@mastodon.social) "Look y'all here becase I built Mastodon the way I wanted and you happened to like it. If you no longer like it that's your own business, don't give me shit about your failed expectations. There's the door, there's the code, there's the alternatives. The shit I've received today just because I was open to something that a part of the community wanted is completely unacceptable."


here’s the post again. read it thoroughly, and ask yourself if you want to support him. yes, this is a call to action. it’s a relatively simple one, too. stop paying him for being an entitled manchild, too petty and dismissive of the very people who made him what he is now to acknowledge them as an influence on his project, your hard earned money. pay somebody else. preferably, pay the people who set up the fork maloki has been working on. check out #forkofftogether or even just #forkoff on mastodon and you’ll find the right people. participate in some activism yourself.

share this. get someone else to read about it.

ask around about the early days of mastodon. 2 years ago, i helped make mastodon what i wanted. gargron seems to have forgotten. here’s another excellent read by cassolotl and here’s a discord link, and a wiki link on maloki's fork.


and if you want a TLDR, here goes. queer activism has been the catalyst of change for mastodon from the beginning, and many of it’s most defining features would never have come into existence without it. but gargron refuses to acknowledge that, or change for transparency to allow for this to be a stronger influence, to allow for positive change. instead he whines about it publically, pettily, and places the blame on the people who made mastodon what it is now.

stop supporting him.

- hoodie aida kitten.

here are some links to support me if you wanna send me a few bucks or support my work.

become a patron on patreon.

Donate using Liberapay
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
send me some money on paypal.me

Excellent post!

Date: 2018-07-25 06:06 am (UTC)
jdp23: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jdp23
It's very true that queer activism has been the catalyst of change for Mastodon ... and it's also very true that queer and trans people have been consistently marginalized. I updated the notes to my TRANSform Tech 2017 talk (which had a section on trans and queer influences on Mastodon) and Lessons from Mastodon for independent social networks to include links to this post.
Edited Date: 2018-07-25 06:16 am (UTC)

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