Stay away from Calckey ( for now )

Here's my firsthand experience of the Fediverse, a network of social media platforms based on a common protocol ( ActivityPub ).

I left Twitter for Mastodon, an open-source, community-moderated social media platform, the most popular in the Fediverse. 

Mastodon is such a wonderful change of pace from Twitter, which has been described as an electrically charged pit of mud. At Twitter, I was trampled underfoot, screaming into the void, surveilled by an army of bots, all asking me personal questions, eager to harvest my data. Sure, I made some friends on Twitter and shared some laughs. Eventually, it become clear that what you saw on Twitter, was what Twitter's Algorithm wanted you to see. Twitter gave you a very skewed, machine-like view of the world, practically designed to control your mind, your voting and spending patterns, and most of what you could think.

Mastodon was like suddenly stepping out of the smog of Musk's high tech metropolis into the fresh air of the countryside. You get to make deeper connections with people, and learn things. There is no Algorithm telling you what to look at next. Mastodon's algorithm is the community. You are in control of the feed. The onus is on you to connect with the right people ( and maybe some bots ) so that your feed becomes your external sense organ, letting you see not just into the news, but into real people's hearts and minds, through their words, images, sounds and emojis. Mastodon is sheer global village utopia.

Sure, there were a few things to get used to. The Mastodon instance was where I hung out with some funny, creative, goofy friends. After a great run, abruptly went dark, taking all user data with it. The owners of tried to bring it back online, but faced opposition from their hosting company, which had reviewed their content and decided that "a site that promoted drugs" was against their policies. The promise of Mastodon is that you can take your followers with you if you choose to migrate from one instance to another. But the plug was pulled so fast, that this promise was rendered moot.

So I found a new home on, a site for anarchists that let me post much bigger posts than most other places. Although I am an Anarchist at heart, people on this instance are younger, or angrier than me, usually both. They goodheartedly tolerate my pleas for a nonviolent revolution, as opposed to the violent "punch nazis", "smash the state" memes that are popular.

Sometimes, at I felt odd among these odd people. I would meditate and write serene haiku about Nature. Then I would see these memes reminding me how unjust the world was, how much the poor were suffering at the hands of the rich, and how the time I had just spent on writing haiku was decadent, self-soothing inaction in the face of my incumbent responsibility to act, violently.

The distributed nature of the Fediverse helped me here. I had accounts on multiple Mastodon instances themed after my gajillion interests. Technology and Art here, Social Justice there, and just plain jokes on another instance.

Around this time, I got the wandering eye and was seduced by Mastodon's younger, hotter sister, Calckey. Calckey is interoperable with Mastodon and has a much slicker User Interface. But the clincher is, Calckey lets you format your posts with MFM ( Misskey Flavored Markup ) and change fonts, sizes, colors, and even create cool animations. An MFM post looks like normal text to Mastodon users, but on Calckey it looks beautiful and impactful. Clearly, Calckey was the future of Mastodon.

I did not hesitate in migrating all my Mastodon accounts, with over 250 contacts that I had befriended, to Calckey. I had fun creating some interesting posts with MFM, and encouraged my Mastodon friends to try Calckey.

Everything was wonderful on, until suddenly there was trouble in paradise. Someone posted a funny meme, a picture of a sign on someone's lawn, with "Libety or Tranny" scrawled on it, in a semi-literate handwriting. This tickled me silly!

I replied: "I don't know what 'Libety' is. Guess I'll just satisfy my sexual curiosities with a 'Tranny'."

Someone replied to me saying, "Reported". I was confused at first, so I replied back saying that I did not understand what anyone could possibly find offensive about a lighthearted response to a lighthearted meme. There was no hatred towards anyone, just a playful suggestion of my sexual openness towards transsexual people.

That was it. Suddenly, my account went weird. I couldn't post to reliably. When I could post, I did not get any reactions or replies from my online friends, which was very unusual. Nobody could hear me. I was suddenly Mr. Cellophane. Persona Non Grata on Calckey. When people tried to follow my account, they got a message saying: "This action is not allowed."

I contacted Kainoa, the creator of Calckey and explained the situation. They said that I had "been reported 5 times for using Transphobic slurs." That just meant that 5 people had reported me for using the word "Tranny".

I was aghast. I tried explaining that I was a bisexual male who was programming computers and having gay sex in 1984, when most of the people online today weren't even born yet. I was wearing makeup and dresses in public, before the Calckey crowd had even heard of the word "drag". I have been on the Internet since 1990, and have seen lots of people self-identify as "passable trannies". So maybe I wasn't hip to the latest slang. Maybe "Tranny" had become a slur, without my realizing it. But to call me "transphobic" was ridiculous.

Kainoa said that after review, my account had been unlocked. But the problems persisted. So I tried to migrate from to ( evil as Halloween ) but the migration failed. My contacts did not migrate over, and now my account was really locked. I contacted Kainoa again, and they said that since I had migrated, my account was now inactive. I tried clarifying the situation, and requesting my account to be unlocked. Repeated efforts to reach Kainoa have been met with silence. So for the past 4 days, I have been disconnected from all my online friends. Effectively, I am being censored. Is it bad code that caused my migration to fail? Is it bad intent that Calckey developers are not taking any responsibility, because maybe I'm inexplicably on someone's bad side?

Welcome to this corner of the Fediverse.
You can move all your followers, in theory.
Your censor is not a black-box Algorithm, but a community of fallible, groupthink-infected people. Beware the tyranny of the majority.
Your new overlord is not some evil corporate Billionaire, but an entirely like-able nonbinary Jewish Gay hacker who is a wise idiot at UC Irvine.

It can't be easy balancing a university course load with work on Calckey, a project that is undeniably cool. Maybe they're not ignoring my repeated requests for help, just busy with more important things.

I loved Calckey so much, I was just getting set up to start making contributions to the project, with code, documentation, and Hindi language translations. However, it seems that my contributions might not be valued by the Calckey community. If in some bizarre world, I got drunk and had an online shouting match with Linus Torvalds, would I never be able to contribute to the Linux or git projects again? I think Linus and Linux are much more mature than Kainoa and Calckey.

So now I'm back on Mastodon, and planning to bring MFM to Mastodon. I'd rather hack Ruby than TypeScript any day.

Just hoping someone will heed this message, so I can get my online community back. Stay away from Calckey. The code and the coders are not mature enough yet.


  1. The citizen censorship has gotten out of control. People getting "triggered" over the lamest things.

  2. In my experience as a 29 year old gay man, the different generations of LGBTQ+ people tend to speak slightly different languages. Most of my friends are around my age, give or take a few years. A lot of my friend circle is LGBTQ+ and/or neurodivergent. However, I've also spoken with, and shagged, my fair share of older gay men, and the language we've used has differed.

    I have to admit, I winced a bit at your joke, and further when you mentioned "openness towards transsexual people", which to you I'd wager sounds perfectly natural and normal, a given even. Don't get me wrong, having read your post I don't think ill of you, nor do I believe you to be a transphobe. However, in the groups of LGBTQ+ people I've been in, these _are_ derogatory and transphobic terms.

    Some people use the word tranny to describe themselves, as a way to try and reclaim the word, but no one I personally know likes the word. In a way it's very similar to faggot and dyke, some try to reclaim it, some are using it personally, or as in-jokes, but openly most people (at least in my generation) view them as degrading and dehumanising slurs.

    The word transsexual is a bit more complicated. It has a history of being an accepted medical term for a medical condition. A lot of people don't view their "transness" as something purely medical though, rather an inherent piece of their identity. I gather this is rather similar to how I don't view my homosexuality as a medical condition to be treated or cured. The term also comes with a bunch of baggage, some less savoury than others, and just doesn't carry the same inclusivity that the term "transgender" does.

    The word "transsexual" puts a heavy focus on the (literal) meaty bits, and reduces an aspect of someone's being into what is, or isn't, in their pants.

    Since these terms are viewed the way they are, when someone uses them the assumption made of said person is either that they're transphobic at worst, or ignorant at best.

    It's widely recognised that our generation has a bit of a problem being terminally online. Most of us have faced online harrassment one way or another, and I'd wager a lot of people that have grown up "on the web" have been called various slurs and heard plenty of people threatening to copulate with one's parents for ages.

    Plenty of us have engaged in discourse around this, tried to explain ourselves, justify our existence to people. There's a lot of people who find joy in just stringing people along, so they'll say something inflammatory and watch us "lose our shit" for their amusement.

    Thus a lot of us are tired of it. We find spaces where we can talk to like-minded people without having to hide our identities or feel uncomfortable. Thus when someone walks into one of these spaces, and says something inflammatory, be that intentionally or otherwise, our knee-jerk response tends to be "block and move on", because engaging in it is rarely worth the time.

    This I believe is what happened to you.

    1. Thank you! Finally someone who will engage in a reasoned discourse, as opposed to giving people the silent treatment while oppressing them.

      Thanks for acknowledging that the current generation has a problem with always being online. People don't see what's in front of them, choosing instead to judge, based on something online.

      This generation is entirely too eager to be triggered and act out their self-righteous anger.

      If only media ( the TV and the Internet ), would shut down! Nothing online. No banks, governments, or stores to sell you their endless inventory of consumerist crap. No money. No credit cards, No online forums to fight on. Work with your own hands. Till the land, work the soil, raise the chickens and milk the cows. Then we'd be closer to something real!

      Don't get me wrong! This is a provocative thought experiment. I am an Internet programmer, and don't actually want an Internet shutdown.

      If "faggot" and "dyke" are offensive words to this generation, no wonder they're often called "snowflakes". They'd be triggered and/or have a meltdown, the very moment someone calls them a name. How on Earth are we going to win a Civil Rights battle, and create a fairer world for all, if y'all hung up on your egos not being offended?

      Take a page from Black culture which has largely destigmatized the N- word. They use it among themselves, and in movies and hip hop music. They've taken the sting out of it. They give their opponents no quarter.
      Call a Black person the N word, and it will often roll off them, like water off a duck's back.

      My generation was proud of owning words like "faggot" and "dyke" and yes, "tranny". Carry on the struggle. Build upon this, rather than regressing back to infantile intolerance.

      The current generation has created its own brand of fascism, of thought policing, to save us all from fascist thought policing. There are some things you can and cannot say. What a pathetic excuse!

      "There will be plenty of "freedom" later. For now, just shut up, toe the party line, and obey our authority."

      This is a far cry from helping marginalized people. Today's thought police makes snap judgements and moves on, convinced that it is "right" and "good" and acting with people's best interest at heart. Frontier justice! No mercy for anyone who thinks or speaks differently, even if they're on "our side".

      Well, fear not! I am not into idle complaining. I have some ideas that I will publish as working code, which should change the very nature of online censorship. No person should be able to censor another person. And, no person should have to listen to anything they don't want to. Both these needs can be reconciled.

      Thanks again, for being thoughtful.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts