:drake_dislike: building services (as opposed to communities)

:drake_like: building services (HVAC, lighting, power, plumbing)

@aurynn what's the alternative? Building P2P software (a la Scuttlebutt) that is self-hosted and completely community moderated?

@mattcen Mastodon is fine for building communities, but creating an instance requires that you know what you're creating

@aurynn which is it say "a community, which requires nurturing, separate from the technical side of things?"

@aurynn that it what (I think) you'd be creating by hosting a Mastodon instance. Or are you thinking of something more specific?

(Sorry, I'm interested in this thought process you're exploring, but I'm not sure if I'm asking the most useful questions or on the same page)

@mattcen Setting up a Scuttlebutt instance or a Mastodon instance or whatever isn't creating a community, that's right, yes.

Creating a community is an intentional act.

@aurynn right, thanks for clarifying; that makes sense.

I struggle to see though, why intentionally creating a community (or more specifically, providing somewhere for the community to live/meet) isn't *also* providing a service.

I agree that communities need to be very intentional. I've seen too many communities (especially local non-monogamy and sex-positive communities) fail because the creators misunderstood the impact of their creations and the requirements to support them.

@mattcen It's not a service, though, it's a service-to-the-community. Those are different things, and need to be thought of as different intents.

Making a service assumes neutrality.

@mattcen @aurynn Why does a service assume (perhaps, require) neutrality? For example, educational services or services for eliminating food scarcity. These, I would argue, have a perspective and intended outcomes. These are certainly services-to-the-community, but they also represent services/platforms that are focused on a scope that is directly stated. Technology is not benign. We are choosing particular pedagogies or political stances by choosing particular tools.

@bhwilkoff @mattcen I agree, all technology is biased. There is no neutrality in technology.

Would I provide food safety to people who have directly threatened to harm me? Or people like me? If I do so, I’m providing a neutral service - anyone can eat. But doing so also reinforces a status quo, that people like me are allowed to be threatened and harmed by others. It’s not a neutral act.

@aurynn @mattcen Absolutely! There are no neutral services; community keeps a service alive. Folks used to talk about the network effect as the most powerful aspect of a “service.” And yet, the service ceases to be useful if the community is lost, despite large network. I abandoned the Birdsite after 6K followers and 15 years. Service still exists, but the community does not. Let’s create communities that share values upon services that do not actively work against us.

@bhwilkoff @mattcen And that's what I'm getting at here and thinking about here, that the default act of "creating a service" is, inherently, non-neutral, and creates an implicit "community", if you can call it that, that promotes the status quo.

Because it doesn't take a position, it can't protect any community that might form, only watch passively as that community dies from other, tolerated abuse.

@aurynn @mattcen With this in mind, how would you recommend creating communities that best avoid the trap of “default services”? Are there ways to do this that allow for stating (both at the origination point and throughout the entire time that the community is being built) the goals of the community and the shortcomings/biases of the service that the community is being built upon?

@bhwilkoff @mattcen I think that this can be done, yes.

How would I avoid it? I mean, one of my positions is that you pick your bias or it's picked for you. If you assume that there is no neutrality, and that you *have* to take a position, you can think about what you make within that mindset

@aurynn thanks for making the distinction between "service" and "service-to-the-community". I'm not 100% clear where/what that distinction *is* yet, but understanding that it exists is helpful to see where you're coming from.

@mattcen "service-to-the-community" makes a choice, picks a community to service.

"service" doesn't.

That's the distinction.

@aurynn services need to be a layer underneath communities, not try to be both at once.

@betsybookworm Services can't protect communities, and as a result will always damage and destroy communities of marginalised people

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Cloud Island

A paid, early access, strongly moderated Mastodon instance hosted entirely in Aotearoa New Zealand.