Re: Bluesky CEO in The Verge on how they are better than what ActivityPub can do

Marcus suggests that:

> In civilised societies there are courts, judges and police to apply civil
> rules and finally settle disputes.

But, not all curation and moderation involve issues which are within the
proper scope of "courts, judges and police." Also, not all curation is
focused on content which is a violation of some behavioral norm or the
subject of a dispute. Some examples follow:

   - Sorting is a form of curation:
      - Posts from people who are particularly important to me (e.g. my
      spouse, friends, family members, etc. ) should be presented at the
      top of my feed to ensure that I see them.
      - Posts which relate to my current passions should be promoted over
      those of a more general or indeterminate subject. (e.g. Posts
that mention
      ActivityPub, Nostr, BlueSky, etc. should sort higher than others. This is
      using filters to promote content, not only to remove it.)
      - I should be able to either promote or demote posts from authors who
      primarily or exclusively publish purely "entertaining" content
such as cat
      pictures, jokes, etc.
      - Replies to my own posts should sort higher than others.
      - I should be able to promote posts from authors who are labeled by
      others who I trust as being highly credible. (I imagine that the
      of "credibility ratings" is something that could become a competitive
      business with many providers.)
      - Authors followed by an unusually large number of those who I follow
      should be promoted.
   - Removing posts from feeds is curation, but not always because of
   "civil rule" or norm violations.
      - Posts that I've already seen should be removed from my unread feed.
      Also, I should be able to switch from a "read" to an "unread" view.
      - I should be able to assign labels to authors that allow me to
      switch between "Posts from friends and family" or "Posts related
to work."
      In general, I should also be able to see feeds that are specific to
      my various labels or combinations of those labels.
      - Removal might be temporary and even responsive to a schedule. For
      instance, I should be able to say: "On weekdays between 9am and 5pm, show
      no family, entertainment, or general news posts." As a result, my feed
      would change at 5pm every day as posts-on-hold were re-inserted into my
   - Modifying the display of posts is another form of curation because it
   changes the visibility of posts and thus the likelihood that they will be
      - I may wish to enable or disable the display of images --
      particularly if I'm using a device, like a phone, on a pay-for-bandwidth
      - Posts that I've seen might display differently than other posts.
      (i.e. "Seen" posts might have, or not have, some distinguishing icon, or
      they might be rendered with a different font or opacity than
unseen posts.)
      - The background color, font-size, etc. of posts might be dependent
      on labels I've assigned to their authors or attributes of their content.
      (i.e. Posts from friends have a blue border and larger font-size, posts
      about ActivityPub have a red border.) Note: I use this quite heavily in
      Gmail to distinguish between types of incoming mail.
      - Threads from family might be automatically expanded, while other
      posts would be collapsed by default until I explicitly expand them.
   - Adding otherwise unseen posts to my feed is a form of curation:
      - I might wish 5% of my feed to be randomly seeded with posts from
      people I don't follow but that are currently "trending" or are posts from
      authors followed by an unusually high portion of those who I
follow, or who
      follow me.
      - I might wish a sample of posts to be inserted in my feed if
      analysis with an LLM (Large Language Model) or TF-IDF ranking system
      identifies content similar to that published by those that I follow.

I could go on... But, the point here is that there are many "curation"
rules that don't require, and shouldn't involve, "courts, judges and

Also, Marcus objects that:

> It is a matter of personal dignity to be not decided upon by a machine.

However, it seems to me that many of the examples of curation that I've
given above could be usefully and properly implemented by machines, yet
they would be expressions of my personal view of what should be in my feed.
It is I who "decides." The machine simply implements my decisions. I
believe that this is a proper use of machines -- as tools which empower me
to do, or to do better, those things that I desire to be done or that I
need to be done.

The key issue isn't whether it is a machine or a person who performs the
curation or moderation, but rather who it is that decides the rules for
what will or will not be seen. Any time that some third-party (i.e. someone
other than an author or reader) imposes their own moral or political views
on what I see, I call that "Censorship" -- not curation or moderation. But,
if I am the one who decides the rules for what I see or don't see, that is
curation or moderation even if I use tools identical to those that might be
used by a censor. It isn't the technology that defines censorship. The
difference between censorship and curation is the identity of the
individual or entity that defines the rules.

We should not assume that the mere use of machines is a source of evil. The
evil, if any, comes from those who control those machines.

bob wyman

On Sun, Apr 30, 2023 at 5:30 AM Marcus Rohrmoser <> wrote:

> On 29 Apr 2023, at 15:29, hellekin wrote:
> > Composable, customizable curation and moderation is algorithmic
> > moderation. I'd rather not leave moderation to a machine.
> Definitively this has to come with appealability and responsibility and
> is beyond machine capability. It is a matter of personal dignity to be
> not decided upon by a machine.
> In civilised societies there are courts, judges and police to apply
> civil rules and finally settle disputes.
> Are we talking about arbitrary rules like you mustn't say Android in the
> Apple App Store or about serious things to protect individuals? The
> latter is be backed by civil law, right?
> /Marcus

Received on Sunday, 30 April 2023 19:22:47 UTC