When you discover your Instance is blocked.


And today we start the day with a To Do clean-up; pending things that need action. Including a recent discovery I made, surprising to me, that my home and primary instance in the Mastodon network was not visible, searchable and in fact, fully Blocked at another place.

Being active and curious, I do have accounts in maybe 10 instances or so, used in varying degrees, some frequently visited, others less so.

Very recently I made a blog post with discussions on why choosing an instance is important, what factors to consider when doing so, and a partial list with descriptions and details of some of the ones I enjoy.

That post is located here.

After creating a new blog post, I prepare a release text for announcing it in the Fediverse. About 500 characters, it also includes a good image and is posted at Qoto.org, my primary account (and the one which signs off all posts here).

Once this is ready, the text and image are posted at Qoto, and I do visit some of my other accounts, search for that Status URL, and proceed to Boost it for reaching more people if possible.

While doing this, I visited one, Mastodon.Technology, where I could not find the status on that normal search. Odd. What is going on?

A search for my user profile at Qoto did not bring ANY results either. It dawned on me that something was amiss...


WTF ? Blocked possibly ?

Yes, that was the first thing that crossed my mind. M.T has some clear rules at their front door, the famous About-More pages. I looked there, and found a link to a Git instance, with a list.

And. We are on it. Last on the list, suggesting possibly a recent addition to his Disgraceful People List. (some are ghastly places, I would agree)


Why ?

Good question. I couldn't see why. Ash has provided some info :

Blocked Instances :

“Here are the instances that m.t has blocked. This list is not meant to be authoritative for other administrators. We reserve the right to silence or suspend any instance for any reason. If you are an administrator of an instance on this list, feel that you shouldn't be blocked, and have checked our Code of Conduct, you can contact Ash Furrow through email to discuss getting unblocked.”

Aha.

This happened a few days ago. What then?


How to Proceed :

Since it was now clear that an Instance Ban was in place, the next step was communicating with our Admin. We discussed it, and I offered to try and deal with Mr. Furrow and request a review of their decision. Dr. Freeman, our admin and domain owner, agreed, and I went about preparing a case.

And it seems it's the final paragraphs, shown in this snapshot.

So, Guilty by Association, I gather? Ah, yes, to protect the Free Speech of some users, I see.

Had this in my notes and on a admin Forum thread, and now took time and wrote a full, formal letter to Mr. Furrow.

Which, being a writer and a budding citizen journalist, I chose to publish here, in full as well. Text of letter follows, it is only being altered here for formatting enhancements that MarkDown and Write Freely provide.


Full Letter Text :

January 6, 2020.

To : Ash Furrow, administrator, Mastodon.Technology via email – ash@ashfurrow.com

From : RG, staff member, Moderator at Qoto.org domain

CC : @freemo@qoto.org, Admin, Qoto.org

Re : Blocked status of Qoto.org on your instance, Mastodon.technology.

Dear Mr. Furrow,

I am a member of Qoto.org, where I am part of the domain Staff, and moderator at both the Mastodon instance and our Discourse Forums. Being an active user and a curious human being, I do have accounts in various other instances, including yours, where my handle is @rgx.

Thank you for hosting that service, it seems a nice and active community, and themed on Technology which is one of my personal interests. Being so busy with my Qoto participation, user support, starting to write my own personal Blog, I haven't had the opportunity of participating as much at M.T.

Was however surprised to discover I could not find one of my own Blog announcement posts, from the search function at M.T, where I intended to Boost it for wider audience viewing possibilities.

The Search turned out Blank, no results. A search for my own account at Qoto, @design_RG@qoto.org, also turned out blank.

My hunch that this was possibly due to an Instance Block was confirmed by viewing your Blocked instances list .

Honestly, I was appalled. I feel that we are doing a good job and providing valuable services, an active community and an instance theme that is unique, as far as I know.

As mentioned in the page above :

“If you are an administrator of an instance on this list, feel that you shouldn't be blocked, and have checked our Code of Conduct, you can contact Ash Furrow through email to discuss getting unblocked.”

I did read the referenced page for CofC, and discussed my findings in our Admin forum at Qoto with Dr. Jeff Freeman, our domain owner and Admin. Mr. Freeman agreed to my proposal of contacting you via email to discuss this, and any remediation possibilities.

From reading your CofC, and considering that we are an instance and community in good standing, preeminently listed at the head of Suggested Instances at JoinMastodon.org , I am contacting you to request your consideration of a lift on this instance ban.

I imagine your reason for such is :

“To protect the free speech of users belonging to marginalized groups, mastodon.technology does not federate with overtly fascist instances. Additionally, we will refuse to federate with instances that themselves choose to federate with fascist instances.”

Is that correct? I can't think of any other possible reason.

I would like to add that I personally dislike some of the communities which are part of the Fediverse; and exercise my user rights on blocking Gab and their peripheral instances in my own personal account. I also intend on writing, shortly, a new blog post documenting all kinds of Filtering and Content blocking that users can utilize to their own satisfaction and better enjoyment of their Fedi accounts.

But as an active user and content provider at Qoto, which is also the channel for my personal blog writing announcements, I am dismayed by our instance being blocked by M.T., specially considering it's a large community and themed in Tech, one of my main personal interests.

On behalf of myself and many other Qoto users, who daily provide good content and valuable interactions with many other instances, I am hereby, with authorization from Dr. Freeman, requesting that you please consider lifting your instance blocking of Qoto.org.

I am also happy to discuss this matter and accept any comments and suggestions on this matter, on behalf of Qoto administration staff and our user community.

I can be reached via this email, which is my Fedi accounts mainline, or via DM to my @design_RG@qoto.org account. In your own instance, my account is @rgx@mastodon.technology .

Thank you for your time, attention and considering this request.

Sincerely,

RG, for the Qoto.org administration team.

cc: QOTO@syncleus.com


Final Thoughts :

I have sent this letter, the Image at the head of today's blog is a snapshot of my email client just after sending it. Will be waiting for a response, which I hope Mr. Furrow will provide to a courteous and carefully written inquiry.

Thank you, Mr Furrow. I will update this with any news as it develops.


Follow Blog via your Fediverse/Mastodon account :

@rgx@write.tedomum.net

This page created entirely in MarkDown language. Thank you for reading, feel free to comment about this post – reach me at my Writer's Lounge.

R.G. @rgx@muensterland.social