Bonum Certa Men Certa

The Promise of Data (and Accounts') Portability in Federated Networks Like Fediverse and Diaspora is Still Unfulfilled

Video download link | md5sum 45f7440fb45003c310202bfbf38004c8 Mastodon False Promises Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Account migration in Mastodon (the foremost Fediverse player) does not work as advertised; this means that users are partly locked in/indebted to a platform and a "vendor", which might stay online for just months or a few years (users don't get to vote on that)

THIS morning we wrote about the shutdown of a large Mastodon instance. The site Tux Machines is among the casualties.

What does this mean? It's important to discuss the ramifications, as at the very least it can serve as a cautionary tale.

"It's important to discuss the ramifications, as at the very least it can serve as a cautionary tale."The video published this morning was recorded several hours before a migration from one instance to another was attempted. So how did the migration go? Well, it may not be entirely complete just yet, but so far it doesn't look good. Then again, my expectations were low to begin with, having explained the false promise of free speech [1, 2] and having experienced similar issues in Diaspora. When it comes to migration of accounts from one instance/pod to another, Mastodon is only a little better than Diaspora (no account migration facility at all). Maybe they should stop advertising that. Don't give people false hopes.

Work in progress is shown in the video above (many open tabs), but it seems like only about 800 connections (out of ~1,300) got migrated and not a single "toot" got migrated. There seems to be no plan to correct this either, based on the official documentation.

Is it reasonable to start again from scratch (zero content) each time an account is migrated? A lot of history gets lost forever.

"This is hardly an accomplishment for a supposedly Free, decentralised, robust network of platforms/deployments."The same thing happened with and one day it'll happen with Twitter as well (people who get their account nuked have already experienced this without prior warning). Maybe that's good reason to wish for the ultimate end of social control media. It was a temporary and mostly failed experiment that harms society. TikTok took this kind of harm to new heights, having become a safe harbour for pedophiles (Gab is a Nazis' harbour) and destroyer of at least one generation.

Stay tuned as a post mortem or conclusion will be posted at a later date, but it certainly looks like Tux Machines lost over 78,000 "toots" posted in the course of 5.5 years.

This is hardly an accomplishment for a supposedly Free, decentralised, robust network of platforms/deployments. Very disappointing.

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