There’s been a lot of good discussion over on social.coop Loomio and elsewhere about what to do about the impending Facebook/Meta entrance into the Fediverse, and whether to sign the Anti-Meta Fedi Pact.

I voted undecided because even though I would personally block whatever Meta instance comes online, I wasn’t sure if pre-emptively defederating from this instance would amputate other social.coop members networks.

Not everyone knows about Mastodon, or has a technical background to understand why federation and decentralized social media is a good idea. So allowing communication could help spread that understanding.

But I see other people’s arguments that Meta would likely pursue an embrace and extend strategy, and in the process they would undermine the vibrant decentralization that currently exists in the fediverse. Just the sheer size and number of employees combined with the “move fast and break things” ethos would all but guarantee that this would not end well.

Anyway, Mastodon users can block individual accounts and instances, and they can report individual accounts to get them blocked instance wide. But there doesn’t appear to be a way to report an instance to have that reviewed by moderators?

I wondered if it might be useful for moderators to see aggregate information about what instance domains are being blocked. Ideally this would be presented in the admin interface, but for people with access here’s an SQL query to see the top domains people are blocking on a Mastodon instance:

SELECT 
  domain, 
  COUNT(*) AS total
FROM account_domain_blocks
GROUP BY domain
ORDER BY total DESC

Similarly here’s a query to see what domains are being blocked the most when users block a particular account:

SELECT 
  accounts.username, 
  accounts.domain, COUNT(*) AS total
FROM
  blocks,
  accounts
WHERE blocks.target_account_id = accounts.id
GROUP BY
  accounts.username, 
  accounts.domain
ORDER BY total DESC

Eyeballing the results it’s not entirely clear that they would be useful to social.coop moderators.

Ideally people could explicitly report an instance, and the report would show up with others in the existing Mastodon admin interface, rather than trying to infer them after the fact using blocks as a proxy.

It might also be nice for users to be able to vote on whether to block an instance? But perhaps this would be a more useful thing to have over in Bonfire since it is designed to be extended in various ways?

Another angle on this that @lrhodes brought up is that given the nature of how the ActivityPub protocol works, simply federating with a huge Facebook/Meta instance (or instances) could possibly incur significant resources. I haven’t seem much more discussion about that, but it would be interesting to read about…