Diaspora: A Digital Ghetto

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 I retract my recommendation to join Diaspora or any of those “decentralized, free-and-open-source, federated” platforms. There are probably a dozen of them now, all competing and arguing over which protocol to use, what features are important and which aren’t, whether or not to block other instances or “pods,” the definition of free speech, and all the rest of it. The result is a hodgepodge of completely different 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: Diaspora.

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 tags you like only shows a half-dozen other users, maybe, most of which have given up and left.

Me too. I can’t recommend any of those platforms in “the Federation,” and I have tried several.

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, presumably a Twitter alternative, has 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.

Pluspora, a Diaspora pod that was created for users of the now-defunct Google Plus platform, is perhaps the only exception to 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, porn, and people showing off their pictures of sunsets, flowers, landscapes, etc.  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 has it’s share of political extremists now as well.

My experienced advice to anyone looking at alternatives to Facebook and Twitter:  Don’t bother with these “Federated” platforms like Diaspora, Friendica, Hubzilla, Pleuroma, RedMatrix, or Mastodon.  Maybe someday they will be worth revisiting, but for now, with rare exception, these “social networks” are a gathering spot for people who have been justifiably expelled from other platforms.  Don’t bother.