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You can block nasty people on Mastodon at a personal level, by clicking the "..." below their post or on their profile and selecting "Block". You can also block their entire server by selecting "Block domain".

However, personal blocks will not stop them from communicating with other people on your server.

Your server's admin can create server level blocks, which are much more powerful than personal blocks. Server level blocks completely prevent the blocked person communicating with anyone on your server.

If you see someone being a bully or doing other anti-social and nasty stuff, the best option might be to report them to your server's admin, by clicking "Report..." instead of "Block...". Reports can also be optionally forwarded anonymously to the nasty person's home server, where the admin can delete the nasty account if needed.

Server-level blocks can be made even more effective if your admin activates "Authorized fetch" (also known as "Secure mode"). Ask them about it.

For Mastodon server admins, a bit more about the "authorized fetch" feature.

It makes it more difficult for blocked accounts to interact with public posts on your server. It's not fool-proof as public posts can always be scraped by outsiders, but it makes life harder for trolls etc so it might be a good idea to switch it on.

It isn't controlled from the graphical interface, it can only be activated by editing a file on the server manually. There are technical details here:

docs.joinmastodon.org/admin/co

If you're on a managed hosting service, don't worry about the technical details. You can ask the service itself to make the necessary changes.

As it says in the documentation, "authorized fetch" isn't on by default. According to the developers this is due to the additional resources it consumes and the possibility of breaking compatibility with instances running older software.

It's up to the admin of each instance to decide what the best balance is.

@feditips this sounds good, what happens if the bully is running their own server? Would every fediverse instance have to block them? Genuinely interested as this sounds like a strategy that speaks to the of how the fediverse is constructed.

@flexsite that is in fact the case

even worse, if X and Y federate and only Y federates with Z, there are many situations where someone on Z can still see posts from X on Y and interact with them (possibly without the X user's knowledge)

which leads to a lot of drama about who blocks whom

which is why we have the #fediblock hashtag, and why that hashtag often has reasons like "federates with gleasonator and kiwifarms", etc.

@feditips

@flexsite

Each server decides for itself who to block.

At the extreme end, if a person or server is extremely nasty it may end up blocked by many or most other servers.

This happened with a neo-nazi server a few years ago, it was so notorious that loads of servers blocked it. So many blocked it that the server eventually left the Fediverse.

@feditips understood, what I'm trying to understand is per your example, how would you stop that server being recreated with a new name etc and spreading the poison all over again?

@flexsite

You can't, but then they would have to start from zero followers if they had a totally new server.

And as soon as the cat is out of the bag, the blocks would appear even sooner.

@flexsite @feditips
Yea basically all follows and other federated objects are tied to a URL

So you can't just rename your instances domain.
All posts and accounts, favs and follows have to be left behind

Best you can do is copy the posts over, but they prlly wouldn't federate, and if they did, they would appear like newly created duplicates, and servers would, because no one is following the new domain, be very confused as to why they're getting spammed with posts from new accounts no one is following (maybe even reject the posts as irrelevant)

Accounts can't be moved with the Move feature, because the abandoned server would have to announce the move
And noone cares what it announces

So you're starting anew from zero.

@feditips @flexsite

Can server owners trade lists of known offenders? Like spam-reports or the kill-lists in Usenet days. Especially for the micro-nodes, it could be tedious for a new operator if they all start with a blank slate.

@teledyn @flexsite

The nearest equivalent is probably the FediBlock hashtag, people use it to report instances doing bad stuff.

Be careful though, some of the offenders try to deliberately misuse the tag to "poison the well". It's best to check that the person using the tag is someone you trust.

@feditips Akkoma has this option too, but it is able to be enabled in the admin-fe's activitypub settings. :)

@feditips
If you block them for yourself, why would you care if other people decide to not block them. To me, personal level blocks are the way to go. If you don't want to see what someone posts, you shouldn't have to, but at the same time, it really shouldn't be any of your business if someone else wants to view said posts.

@jlcrawf

"why would you care if other people decide to not block them."

...because bullies aren't welcome here, or at least not on any server I would join.

It's everyone's business if someone is doing something nasty or hateful.

@feditips
It seems to me that the people telling other people who they can and can't listen to are the ones being the bullies.

@jlcrawf

There are thousands of servers on the Fediverse, if you don't like the rules on one of them join a different server or start your own.

That's the way the Fedi works, each server decides for itself what is acceptable, and people can move to the server that suits them.

You're free to do what you want, but so are other people. I only join servers that block bullies, but you don't have to.

@feditips
I am on a server with rules that I like.
1. Don't post anything illegal.
2. Don't harass others.

Simple, easy to enforce. The have also set it so that there is no server tab so that you only see posts from people that you follow. That way it is very easy to self moderate.
If I wanted server admins to tell me what I can and can't see or say, I would join twitter.

@feditips Please notice that activating secure mode, you also block other #fediverse software from interacting. Obviously, each server can decide what to do, but please, don't advice people to do it without telling them the consecuences.

@administrator

Yes, I did mention this in the follow-up post at the time:

mstdn.social/@feditips/1088222

It's up to each admin to decide which is the least worst option for their server.

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