For over three years I have encouraged people to dump Facebook and move to Diaspora. I still say dump Facebook, along with Google, because they’re just evil, and their users become the commodity they sell.
But on the subject of Diaspora or any of those half-dozen or more “decentralized, free-and-open-source, federated” platforms, it looks like politics and “political correctness has infected them as well. There are instances that block other instances (or “pods” on Diaspora), change the definition of free speech, etc. The result is a hodgepodge of completely different federated (not centralized) platforms, some of which communicate with others and some of which can’t. Different interfaces, features, protocols, user bases, filters or the lack of any. I chose to stick with one, the oldest, best known, and most used as a Facebook replacement: Diaspora (Mastodon for Twitter).
But it’s still a digital ghetto, still full of fragmentation and the same arguments. And users who come from the Big Platforms join only to find the squabbling and juvenile conduct offensive at worst and a waste of their time at best. Following hashtags you like only shows a half-dozen other users, maybe, most of which have given up and left.
I think I can do better just posting to forums that are dedicated to the stuff that interests me. I think Forums could replace social networks altogether and the world would be a better place.
Mastodon, the Fediverse’s most used platform, is a Twitter alternative, but last time I was on it, offered no settings or ability for a user to delete his or her account! You would think that kinda matters, huh? The best you can do is abandon a Mastodon account. That’s just stupid design. It may have been fixed later, especially since Gab (using modified Mastodon software) has made a big splash.
Pluspora, a Diaspora pod that was created for users of the now-defunct Google Plus platform, is perhaps the best proof of the general rule that while Diaspora is a great idea, the users generally SUCK. If it’s not cat pictures and political memes, it’s political shills from the Left attacking everything to the right of Karl Marx. Many Diaspora users left or were kicked off other platforms for antisemitic rants, hate speech, advancing stupid extreme conspiracy theories and fringe cult stuff. But Pluspora simply removes users the administrators disagree with. Another popular pod, Diasp.org, appears to be implementing a similar policy, albeit not as openly. And, it’s no longer free to use. Financial support is mandatory now, according to it’s most recent Terms of Service page. Diasp.org is now a paid service. That’s okay with me, since it takes a lot of money to buy and maintain such a popular instance. But the censorship I just can’t abide.
Hubzilla turned out to be a complete and utter non-functioning waste of time for me, with a confusing interface with lots of stuff to click on that led nowhere and did nothing. After weeks of effort at it, I gave up on that platform altogether.
Friendica seemed pretty good, but not as intuitive as Diaspora by a long shot.
UPDATE: The centralized “alternatives” suck too. I stand by my suggestion that forums should replace so-called “social media.” But a DE-CENTRALIZED or PEER-TO-PEER network of independent servers is far preferable to any centralized platform. So, after MeWe proved to be a huge disappointment for me, I revisited Diaspora and learned quite a bit more. I’ll post a big ol’ honking update on what I have learned later.