Suggestion - Extending "Advertising" non allowance policy to encompass Political propaganda posts

I would like to propose that we could possibly consider some language revisions in our Terms of Service.

Specifically, I have seen a growing trend of accounts that :

  • are created primarily as support for State propaganda accounts in the fediverse.
  • whose posts are very limited and sometimes consist simply of Boosting one of these accounts elsewhere (official government accounts sometimes).
  • sometimes the Boosting account goes on to posting a non-sensical public post with a Thumbs Up emoji.

Participation of those users is very limited and there’s no interaction with other Qoto users.

On the opposite end of the political spectrum, I have also noted some recent posts by an account that:

  • simply posts an image, without a comment or any words at all.
  • these images consistenly are identifiable as right wing memes or messages.
  • and they are posted in quick fire at times.
  • this account has NO interaction with other instance users, and I can’t see their relation to the Qoto stated STEM theme at all.

Considering the approaching USA federal election this November, I think this could possibly expand - we becoming a channel for this Propaganda that is blocked and ignored by most instances who de-federate the instances typically hosting this type of account and action.

In both cases - I would move that we start considering Propaganda and actions as described above as similar to the non-acceptable “Advertising” already clearly listed as grounds for exclusion from Qoto’s Mastodon instance.

Re-hashing and editing the current wording if this idea is supported would be part of implementing it.

Brought forward as a proposal for discussion, as both of those groups are adding posts that don’t jive in my opinion with Qoto’s stated focus and mission.

Setup a page after people clicked the “signup” button like this :

Asking people : what is STEM?

Leave some options, let them pick the correct answer.

The ones can pick the correct answer allowed joining.


There is a Feature in Mastodon that we see in some instances - a little “Tell Us why you think you belong in our instance, please.”

…Followed by a text input window were people can explain how they align with a certain instance’s focus or lean (political, artistic, etc.).

An example of one using that - and I did apply and fill in that box - is, which is a Left aligned instance that refuses anyone with opposing views (perfectly fine, imo).
Screen shot below of their Signup page at

@Freemo – I think it’s time we consider enabling this here at Qoto. (with the Wording revised to be aligned with Qoto’s theme, etc.)

I would tend to agree that any account setup with the sole purpose of advertising a specific candidate, and otherwise has little or no interaction witht he community and no posts of any other kind would and should fall under the category of advertising.

In fact I have in the past issued suspensions for exactly this. while not very common there have been several accounts setup at various times which either explicitly or implicitly was setup to support a politicial organization and they received a quick suspension from me.

First off let me just clarify one point. I wouldnt call this a “propaganda” account, I would call this a “political advertising” account. The two phrases mean different things relevant here. Propaganda is the act of selling an agenda while explicitly using lies, truth and facts do not factor in. Therefore an account setup to promote a politicial candidate, if done so using only points of fact, would not be propaganda, but it would still be political advertising. Seems what we are discussing here is, in fact, political advertising, whereas propaganda would be a different discussion entirely.

With that said we have to keep in mind that with political advertising, as with our rules with advertising in general, the key difference would be the overall content of the user. If a user is posting exclusively or near exclusively in every post to support a specific political figure, and that user has little or no interaction with the community through comments on posts, then it is a clear case for advertising. But just as we allow STEM users to occasionally share a product they are selling, as long as it is occasional and not the focus of the account it is generally ok. The same should apply to political advertising. People are welcome to promote any candidate they wish from time to time, so long as it is not the sole purpose of their account and so long as they are interactive witht he community in general.

So in principle I do agree with where your headed, but in practice we also must keep in mind users will often be left wing or right wing and some very adamant about this topic. During election season this will become important to them and we will likely see a lot of posts in that regard. We have to be careful in seperating accounts which are solely dedicated to that purpose and individuals who are otherwise a valid contributor to the community but just happen to be passionate about politics given the timing.

I think this is not a good idea.

Different to define which answer is better for joining, which is not.

If want to filter bots for posting ads, captcha is quite enough, add captcha first.


The problem of ad bots is done, next.

I used the “Propaganda” word specifically – while there could be campaign accounts set up, clearly supporting a specific candidate (see the, for example), I would like to catch accounts that are politically aligned, non-interactive with local membership, using the instance as a megaphone.

Or to reac people they don’t reach, as their bases in and affiliates are already widely Blocked in the Fediverse.

A specific account I am thinking of, for example has made a number of posts here at Qoto which are :

  • no words at all.
  • one image, uncontroversially partisan, in this case Right wing.
  • no interactions with other local people, replies or comments.
  • with a Followers list that points to those less reputable parts of fediverse.

Why are they here ? Actual post screenshot.


This thread has a much wider focus, see OP and title. Thank you.

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Are you suggesting the bernie2020 account, if it were to have existed on QOTO, would be acceptable?

I’d argue the Bernie2020 account on QOTO would get suspended, and I’d argue it should be suspended for the same reason that the account you are pointing out should be suspended… that is, its purpose is to promote (advertise) something, namely bernie. It is not an individual simply voicing its opinions but otherwise has a greater purpose and posts on varies topics.

My issue with the account you listed isnt so much the lack of words (if someone wants to post mostly memes i really dont care), or that they are clearly partisan and their posts reflect their partisanship. for me the issue with the account is the lack of interaction with local people, lack of replies, and lack of comments. The partisanship may also be an issue if it is 100% of the purpose of the accounts posts as well, but simply having partisanship, even if reflected often, not so much for me.

I also have no issue with someone moving to QOTO to avoid the blocks on GAB, per se, presuming they are active at QOTO and it isnt the sole purpose of the account.

In short it boils down to, for me, that we want real people, people who interact, and people whose agenda is not single-minded in its posting on a non-STEM topic.

No, I just mentioned that as a real account, already in existance, which I agree with you wouldn’t jive with local policies.

A Trump one would be even worse, as I would move to a different instance rather than see those posts. :slight_smile:

The imagery in that account has a clear ideological motivation – it goes beyond politics. I am quite annoyed at seeing that and coming from someone exploiting this instance as a megaphone for their “content” which much of the Fediverse already has Blocked, as a matter of fact.

The user I refer to (and it’s not the author of those lines above, as this person has not posted a single word that I have seen at all), that user I am referring to is here just to circumvent Gab’s shitty perceived status in the wider fedi network.

And we end up getting tarred and feathered, and probably more if providing this by-pass channel to them.

I think adding the question page of “what is STEM?” should filter some…

It’s easy to check the answer on internet, if they even don’t want to check , they should go away.

I think all this boils down to one simple question “Are you even here for STEM?”… in the examples you gave the pattern of action suggests STEM has little to nothing to do with why they are here. That, combined with the fact that they are generally unresponsive to discussions with the community, means they arent a for for our community. The other points make it worse, admittedly but in isolation may not be worthy of a ban on their own, as is usually the case that would depend on the nuance.

I think we have to expect a clear paragraph or two (what specifically is required being explained in that signup screen, clearly – as the Todon example does, for their own purposes).

Asking “define an acronym” can easily lead to search engine look up and copy-paste.

I want a Human answer, that makes grammatical sense. If the English used in the application is unreadable, it’s unacceptable, and we move on. Next applicant.

BTW – on a somewhat related note, a number of Chinese users in the fedi have been starring and boosting my post from earlier in the instance, about our moving to a restriction of foreign language posts. Kind of surprising, and in a good way.

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All of political party toots…?

Adding this to the instance introduce:

This instance is not for political struggle.

With bigger text size.

On the flip side, while i do agree with moderating ont eh grounds we already discussed I also want to point out I’d be resistant to moderating based on purely ideological grounds (short of ideologies that are clear violent or hateful)

For example all of the following ideologies should be acceptable despite being radical and many of which i find irresponsible to hold, but I would respect the right of the user to hold them all the same

  • Being communist
  • Being capitalist
  • Being pro-gun
  • Being anti-gun
  • Being pro revolution
  • Being antirevolution
  • Being pro-trump or pro GOP
  • Being anti-trump or pro biden or pro DNC
  • Supporting GAB
  • opposing GAB

etc… while we do want to ensure the above list is not the sole purpose of an account, and that an account has an underlying STEM interest. Anyone supporting any of the above ideologies should not be persecuted for their ideology itself

Its a balance and its important that whatever rules we wish to add to our TOS does not target specific opinions or ideologies but does make it clear that we want people who are interactive, STEM oriented, and not here to single mindedly promote a specific product, service, or entity.

by the way those same users who starred and boosted yoru posts also appeared to jump ship. Fishtail for example has already opened a new account on M.S which i suspect is a direct result of those posts. So they are likely boosting the posts to let their fellow chinese speakers know so they can move instances.

Not saying this is a bad thing, if we are going to english-only then it does make sense they would leave. But just saying im not sure it means they are happy with it either.

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Ha! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Freemo is American as apple pie, and the Free Speech wording in our terms of service has been discussed internally in great depth. We even convinced him to remove it. But go, take a look?

Americans would cry 1st Amendment immediately with that language.

We should also make it clear this is not American territory, and the server is located in Europe, thanks God and Freemo, under much better laws and regulations.

This is something we don’t have mentioned in About page, but worth discussing and considering (a separate thread, keep focused here).

Then those even don’t want to copy-paste will be gone, do it first.

And those one can read the purpose of this instance, but they think are not for STEM will be gone too.

We can’t filter 100% of them, but we can do few works to filter many.

Freemo is American as apple pie

LOL not sure how to feel about that. but when it comes to notions of free speech or even guns I’d say it is fitting. Beyond that, eh maybe not. I did move to the Netherlands afterall.