Armin Ronacher Avatar

Armin Ronacher

Armin Ronacher lucumr.pocoo.org

Scaling Mastodon is impossible

Let’s see if this ages well, but I do agree that Armin shares some good points. Scale comes with mainstream, and mainstream Mastodon isn’t quite possible if we can’t all agree (and we can’t). This is probably Mastodon’s most obvious achilles heel — agreement in a decentralized, federated, you can “do what you want” world.

…before we even hit the issue of the technology, we hit the issue of there being absolutely no agreement of what the thing should look like or what the issue actually is and that’s I think much more interesting.

Some people claim the solution to the technical scalability issue is huge instances, some other people have the belief that the actual intended design and solution were micro-instances of in extreme cases a user each.

Then there’s moderation, which if you’ve ever run any community forums, Slacks, etc you’ll know that you’re going to have to moderate and deal with people problems.

On the topic of moderation the very same issue is even more absurd. Some instances want uncontrolled free speech where some instances effectively are pure shit-posting instances which are completely de-federated from the most of the fediverse as a result. Other instances really like to control their content, where some popular ones such as fosstodon ban all languages than English as a result to allow moderation. There also is no real agreement on if larger or smaller instance are going to make the problem of moderation better or worse.

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