Report #399 : a user is not stopping to tag

So, WhiteYouth88@gab.com refuses explicitly to stop tagging a user of ours.

If it can be solved by a block we shouldn’t go for an instance silencing. Could we try that first?

First off let me say that because this particularuser backed down shortly after claiming he wouldnt (only tagged me in one or two other messages) I dont mind dropping it. This may have been because a moderator spoke to him, but either way since it didnt continue it appears resolved for now.

With that said it is likely this will be an issue with GAB or other instances again in the future so we should probably discuss our general policy.

At the moment (though everything is always up for debate) our policy for federation is that an instance must be minimally moderated such that users are not allowed to harass our own users (if a user asks to be left alone they are). If we change this policy then we need to do so fairly and pick a new wording, based on that wording we have to reconsider if our silence on spinster and ussr.win still hold true, we need to apply our policies fairly.

With that said lets discuss the policy as it currently stands.

First off lets be clear we dont block the instance for these violations we only silence it. Users can still follow and see responses if they wish, it only prevents unsolicited messages (no one can contact you from the server unless you follow the person first).

I consider this an issue of SPAM more so than anything else. The reason i made this server have a no-ads policy wasnt so much because i dont like commercial activity, its more so that i dont like unsolisited SPAM. That is bulk messages or even targeted messages that are not wanted. Consider the rules in the CAN-SPAM act, which i consider the model for this. It is perfectly legal for someone to send someone a message that is unwanted, but the sender must allow a user to request to be “unsubscribed” at which point the sending server must respect it and no longer continue to send emails. If they fail to do so then the server gets blacklisted and all email from the server is then blocked until the server comes into compliance. There can also be criminal charges. It is no different than the policy we have here, if someone asks not to be sent another message the offending server is required to comply.

In the case of gab since they are int he USA if the incident had continued and a moderator didnt act I would have had our lawyer send a letter citing violation of the can-spam act.

To me as an instance by silencing at the instance level is nothing more than the way id administer an email server. It is a way to responsibly ensure our users dont get unwanted spam.

Secondly to the issue of “why not just have a personal silence/ban” … few points on that. First, as a moderator that isnt an option for me. I need to be able to see a complete incontext conversation when i review an issue. If i have people blocked I will not see, potentially, large parts of a conversation and thus may make faulty decisions based on a lack of information. But the issue is deeper than that and applies to non-moderators too. We usually see ganging up when individuals are blocked from other users on the instance. In this case, for example, the user called in another user to the conversation to get in on tagging me when unwanted. Even if i had blocked the user it wouldnt have ended the conversation as I requested.

Moreover a user has a right to be able to see what is being said about them publicly, something they cant do if they block someone. It should just be on their terms. If you ask someone to untag you and they continue to talk about you without tagging you (a perfectly acceptable thing) the user should have the right to read those posts if they wish so they are aware of what is being said about them.

To me personal blocks server a singular purpose. If you want to prevent a specific individual from seeing your timeline, then you issue a personal ban. Its similar to setting up your account to need to approve followers, just retroactive. It is not a replacement for server-wide lack of moderation and SPAM.

What role if any should community level moderation have wrt a community that is well regarded as attracting bad actors?

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There is a lot of garbage that comes out of GAB, I agree. But I’d be hesitant to make judgments on a community based on how well regarded it is by others, or even the opinions or content of its users. To me the more important factor is not what opinions they hold but rather how they treat people on other servers. Is it generally respectful? When it is not respectful to they at least respect our users “right to disengage” or does that flame the situation and usually elevate it to harassment.

For me the minimal requirement to federate with QOTO is and should remain that the users of the server should respect our users “right to disengage” and if they dont moderators will act. I feel its a pretty minimal requirement and is in line witht he CAN-SPAM act (read my message above).

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I understand what you mean. On the other hand, we also state in our ToS that “nothing will basically be done if the matter can be solved by a personal block”. If that does not apply to mods (which in case of harassment are basically normal users being tagged) we should make it clearer, between ourselves first. And allow some time for the matter to cool off.

I know, you are using the mods action as a proxy for the quality of the instance, which is too low if they fail to do anything. On the other hand, you know I place an high value on not silencing anyone, so I’d even cope with some minor inconvenience for a few hours to keep us well federated.

ATM it’s just a single user though, and gab is a big community, thing is cooling down, I’d say we are ok, wouldn’t you? If something happens later we’ll revisit the matter

EDIT oh, and welcome here @jump_spider!

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Well yes, i suppose we should clarify that point since it seems like a contradiction.

In my view personal blocks do not resolve tag-spamming for the above mentioned reasons. What i meant by that is if someone offends you or hurts your feelings or you dont like them, then you can use a personal block.

I do agree, as i said in my last post, that we can drop this case because as I said it did resolve itself once i reported it. not sure if the mods acted or not but the spam stopped so I’m happy to drop it.

My point is, the issue will come up again, probably with gab, and it is likely to eventually result in a case that doesnt resolve itself as it does here. For that reason I feel we should resolve any contradiction in our ToS and be clear on what our policy will be in handling it.

In this case i see dropping it in line with our federation policy because we also state that we will refederate should a server come in compliance. Since the tag-sam was short lived in this case it appears to have resolved.

More importantly, how do we clarify our wording with personal blocks vs silencing instances, and what exactly do we wish our policy to be in that regard?

I agree concerning blanket judgements based on the mere reputation of an instance. I saw someone toot awhile ago about how they had made an account on Gab to see what it’s really like, and they said it confirmed how awful it is and stated no one really needs to repeat their experiment because it’s a waste of time and emotional labor. The toot hasn’t sat well with me since, because it goes against my own values which include exploration; if I hadn’t seen existing evidence to support the tooter’s claim, my gut would say the tooter profits in some way by convincing others with such a spurious statement.

wrt the ToS of QOTO, I definitely encourage clarification that because moderators have the responsibility of maintaining an absolute minimum of personal blocks to properly investigate reports, and because they are essentially representatives of our community, spamming or targeting them specifically constitutes an attack on the proper functioning of our community and if the moderators of other communities do not consistently respect that, it is fair and reasonable for an instance level silence to be placed.

On a personal note, I suggest consideration that some instances such as spinster.xyz are fundamentally antithetical to respectful interaction with specific demographics, one of which I belong to. Although individual actors within those communities may not propagate the philosophy of the instance, they have still chosen to make such a place a home server.

Thank you for the welcome, @arteteco :smiley:

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spinster.xyz is already silenced we covered why in another post but it basically came down to this: they have a very specific sense of what is right or wrong, i disagree with that moral code but it is not the reason they were silenced. They were silenced because a user clearly harassed me over several days by continually tagging me when asked not to. Originally the server claimed harassment wouldnt be tolerated but ultimately the excuses made as to why a clear case of harassment was not actually harassment was exceedingly weak to the point of absurdity and dishonesty. The only conclusion is that generally they only do not allow harassment against people whom the founder agrees with but is free game against anyone the founder disagrees with.

In practice thats just a lot of verbiage that boils down to one clear fact: they actively harass and do not moderate; anyone who is trans, or a trans ally, as well as people who otherwise challenge their group-held opinions are free game to harass for Spinster.

With that said I agree with all your points except for the fact that some opinions need to be, in nature, anti-ethical. While i do personally find their view of trans people wrong I also feel that there is a way, in theory (though not so much in practice), that they could have held that view yet still been respectful in their engagement with trans people and trans allies. So I usually would rather give a server the benefit of the doubt right up until they cross that line.

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