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 stoners.social was where I hung out with some funny, creative, goofy friends. After a great run, stoners.social abruptly went dark, taking all user data with it. The owners of stoners.social 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 kolektiva.social, 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 kolektiva.social 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 calckey.social, 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 calckey.social account went weird. I couldn't post to calckey.social 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 calckey.social to evil.social ( 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.