# NO POLITICS.
Almost inevitably, most of the people joining Lemmy instances are former-reddit posters those who consider it a 'reddit clone' as opposed to an independent link aggregator site. This can be seen in the most popular communities (simply recreations of existing reddit subreddits), terminology (people saying 'sublemmies' or 'subs') and most importantly, habits.
What social habits have you seen that are commonplace on reddit but should really be discouraged among users moving to here?
##### What is this post?
A quick and dirty look into Lemmy instances, their size and interactions, and some insights.
* I AM NOT AN EXPERT OR WITNESS: I only started using Lemmy in March 2022. Lemmy was around for around 3 years before that. I am not a developer or instance owner.
* I DID NOT GO AND TALK TO PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THIS STUFF: This is just me exploring for fun and starting a conversation. This is not a proper study. Consider telling any one who links you to this page as if it's an expert historical account that I called them an idiot.
* This is limited by my experience and my searching, it's not comprehensive. If someone made a dark instance, I probably won't find it. If there's some deep lore, I probably don't know it.
Thanks to https://lemmy.fediverse.observer/list for many of these stats.
Now for the casual rambling.
Organic posting started on lemmy.ml from April 2019 so I will consider that the start of Lemmy as a service (my understanding is that lemmy.ml is the oldest non-dev instance)
As of now (May 2022) AFAIK, the Lemmy-based sites with the most **total user comments** are:
- hexbear.net (2.5M)
- lemmy.ml (114K)
- lemmygrad.ml (105K)
- bakchodi.org (42K)
- wolfballs.com (15K)
- szmer.info (15K)
- feddit.de (3K)
- *[dev instances ignored]*
- sopuli.xyz (1504)
- lemmy.eus (1262)
- lemmy.ca (974)
The count of **users active in the last month** is similar:
- hexbear.net (unlisted, [approx. 1.3K in the last 14 days](https://www.hexbear.net/post/195720))
- lemmygrad.ml (508)
- lemmy.ml (474)
- bakchodi.org (286)
- szmer.info (65)
- feddit.it (51)
- sopuli.xyz (31)
- wolfballs.com (29)
- feddit.de (29)
- lemmy.ca (17)
My guess is that the difference at the bottom of the list is due to highly federated instances spreading their user comments over many instances with more activity, and also due to some instances peaking a few months ago and then declining. For those new to user statistics, you'll notice that popularity usually tends to be exponential: more popular things get more popular.
### What was that first one? Hexbear?
Two of the sites listed there, Hexbear (aka. chapo.chat) and Bakchodi, do not federate. They are not part of the Fediverse, but they are using Lemmy. Hexbear is actually running their own *fork* of Lemmy. In that sense it reminds me of Gab, another huge island fork, but only due to size and isolation. While I can't find an admin statement, various Hexbear Gitea issues from 2020 and this comment from December 2021 ["We’re working on bringing Lemmy up to speed with some of the features our “fork” (it’s more of a rewrite) has. When that’s ready we’ll switch to that which will already have federation ready for us."](https://www.hexbear.net/post/163415/comment/2003658) and this from Feb 2022 ["The only issue is that [Hexbear] doesn’t support federation for semi-technical reasons (happy to explain), but that’s going to be fixed (later this year maybe)?"](https://www.hexbear.net/post/174049/comment/2150060) indicate Hexbear is open to the idea but unready ([this 2020 comment](https://www.hexbear.net/post/23488/comment/175031) even states they chose Lemmy precisely because of its federation goal), and Bakchodi appear to have just not set any up (the admin states "Federation is not functional as of now." in a post and nothing more). Contrast both against Gab who cited abuse/security issues and lack of local federation users for their voluntary removal of existing federation.
Another point regarding Hexbear and Bakchodi is that they are continuations of existing popular communities: I believe that Hexbear is a continuation of reddit's banned subreddit /r/ChapoTrapHouse, and Bakchodi is a continuation of the banned /r/chodi (which I believe was banned around the same time as /r/GenZedong's quarantining caused a mass exodus to https://lemmygrad.ml/c/genzedong ). To the best of my knowledge, lemmy.ml, most of lemmygrad, wolfballs and szmer are new original sites rather than an existing active community migrating as a mass.
Most instances are connected into the Fediverse. Hexbear and Bakchodi appears to be the only active non-trivial instances that don't federate.
Due to the political environment of the internet today and the content currently on Lemmy, I personally think it makes sense to classify the current federation networks of Lemmy instances into four loose groups:
- socialist 'left': Primarily value socialism and/or anarchism, and related topics. Generally explicit about their instance's political alignment. The largest group. Examples are lemmy.ml, lemmygrad.ml, midwest.social, and would include hexbear.net if it were connected.
- liberalist 'right': Primarily value freedom of speech and other liberty. While none yet are e~~xplicitly politically-biased through administration~~[[correction]](https://lemmy.ml/post/287918/comment/193438), they do overwhelmingly have users with views typical of the American 'right-wing' as an inevitable result of where they are promoted, the ideas only they tolerate and the existing posts. Examples are wolfballs.com and exploding-heads.com.
- general open: Overall mainstream OR diverse political views, will generally tolerate political instances on both sides of the above divide. Often national instances or 'general-purpose'. mander.xyz is an overt example, gtio.io is also an example. lotide.fbxl.net would be an example, but it's a lotide instance rather than Lemmy.
- anti-intolerant: Primarily value friendliness and inclusivity, and so will readily block instances that tolerate intolerance, such as those in the liberalist 'right' category and potentially those further in the socialist 'left' category. An example might be sopuli.xyz.
These are all politically determined, as unlike Mastodon and Pleroma there don't tend to be any instances based around controversial single topics or around graphic content that causes instances to defederate. I thought there were more instances that blocked both sides of the 'left'/'right' divide, but they don't seem to exist yet (which is a good sign) beyond lemmy.rollenspiel.monster. It is also worth mentioning that lemmy.ml has blocked some instances due to abuse rather than any cultural disagreement.
The first two of the four categories are by far the most popular, even if not the most numerous in instances, probably due to them picking up users being kicked out of reddit and reddit alternatives as they block more and more political subreddits or become unsavory. The earlier kicking of many 'harassment' subreddits from reddit around 2015 lead to many 'right-wing' users to populate Voat and then later bannings lead to communities.win becoming popular, which I believe explains why Lemmy doesn't yet have a strong influx of users who align politically with those banned subreddits and more-so with recently-banned communist subreddits (the core developers' political views and lemmy.ml's reputation may have impacted people moving to instances named after Lemmy or considering hosting new instances, but I suspect it wouldn't affect people who were invited to a place called Wolfballs).
Interestingly, there is already a mirror instance that reposts from reddit: goldandblack.us.to
[fediverse.observer](https://lemmy.fediverse.observer/stats) has some stats. Ignoring the huge outliers in the middle, there has been a jump in growth in the past two months which I would mostly attribute to the influx to [lemmygrad.ml wow look at that second graph](https://lemmy.fediverse.observer/lemmygrad.ml) and the launch of unfederated-but-included bakchodi. Apart from that, there has been a remarkably consistent growth in all the active instances. That's a good sign that this group of communities could last a while.
##### Some concluding thoughts, with regards to reddit
As someone who hasn't really used reddit in many years, I like to promote the view of us being independent, growing our own culture, our own norms and not merely aiming to mirror the same shallow emptiness. The bottom line is, we grow a lot when reddit shuts a place down, and as you can see in some of those stats, growth creates more potential for growth. I think it's important to think about what habits we see now both here and there that we want to encourage, and which habits we don't. Think about what should each community tolerate and reject and enforce (and make no mistake, that answer differs depending on purpose and audience!) and how do we redirect people in the wrong places or teach those who are mistaken? (protip: typing these things out each time is very dumb! That's why we invented FAQ pages!) What struggles did Mastodon face as they started to grow more and more?
Parts of reddit and similar groups will continue to arrive. Look at [this list of communities that used to be allowed](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversial_Reddit_communities): it started off with the very blatant controversies like sexualizing minors, moved on to open blatant racism-focused places that conducted raids, and now they're at banning subreddits about a US (former) president and pro-China memes. Now that Lemmy has established itself as the home of some of the most recently banned communities, I personally think it's only a matter of time before reddit pops off a few more communities as they face pressure from media flak, investors or other major influences, and we should prepare for how to handle this: make potentially targeted communities aware that we exist before an incident, and make sure communities have a clear set of rules and guidelines written for the people that come in expecting this to be reddit again. I think this is an opportunity to fix the things we don't want repeated.
Of course given that this is posted to lemmy.ml, I'm expecting a bias towards FOSS/etc. projects like Mycroft AI or towards DIY projects over Amazon and Google microphones and insecure IoT junk, but still list those other ideas regardless as the idea itself can be useful or even replicated with other tools.
DIY and technical projects like self-hosted tools and scripts are more than welcome!
I know this topic is in a myriad of clickbait articles but I would like a different perspective on it. And remember: don't act surprised when the haxxors own your lightbulbs!
Related question: ["Can the Fediverse fall to ruling class / corporate control?"](https://lemmy.ml/post/245772)
For those who don't know about EEE, I highly recommend reading at least [the Wikipedia article](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extinguish), which includes many examples of Microsoft intentionally trying to do it to open standards like CSS and Java.
As an open standard with [relatively few developers](https://lemmy.ml/post/245772/comment/169002), most part-time/casual, spread over many applications, ActivityPub seems like an inevitable target once as it continues to grow.
Take a hypothetical example where Elon Musk owning Twitter continues to cause a sustained rush to Mastodon, causing one of Google/Microsoft/Facebook/Twitter to use their large amount of organized resources to clone Mastodon's software, rebrand it, fix the most popular issues in the to-do list, make the server more efficient to host, allow bridging to Twitter (if it's Twitter making it), host it on their fast infrastructure, hire professional moderators and add many of the denied feature requests for making it more Twitter-like. With those companies' capital and established tech teams, most or all of those can be done rapidly.
So, I predict if they did, many users and even some hosts would be encouraged to use this extended 'better' software or it may even be advertised and popularized as the simplest, easiest and fastest option, centralizing the bulk of ActivityPub users. They can then use this dominant position to extend ActivityPub in various ways, making various competitors incompatible and increasingly unable to federate. Extend beyond Fediverse competitors' reach, and extinguish them by excluding them from a gradually closing garden filled with activity and popular content producers. Sure, it won't affect the more passionate 'early adopters' here as much who are more than merely annoyed by centralized services, but it's an issue that could potentially prevent these alternatives from gaining a popular audience among the more mainstream crowd who would enjoy the benefits provided it didn't require much sacrifice.
An interesting (even if not truly qualifying) example is Gab, a Mastodon fork aimed at an alt-right audience.
I recall on Fediverse stats sites, there were a few tiny pods of Gab instances and a small but real network of federating Pleroma and Mastodon instances.
I found a comment made over a year ago saying *"Gab ripped their federation code a while ago. Also, when they were federating, they never cared much about properly federating. They used federation as an argument to switching platforms but they didn't care about it."* and some users on a Pleroma instance that formerly federated with Gab was mocking them as recent as one hour ago as *"quit[ting] the fedi because they were getting made fun of [by actual free speech platform users]"*. Gab seemingly embraced the concept, unintentionally, of Embrace and Extend and then privatizing, although with (I assert) no intent nor capacity to extinguish. But what if they did have that intent, either financially or politically? What if they were a *purely* profit-driven project that saw the Fedis as a threat?
##### How can these projects counter EEE?
I don't think outpacing is a feasible approach, due to constraints that these non-profit, anti-exploitative projects are bound by.
*note: This does work both ways, to a degree, in that for-profit projects will need to have annoying things like ads or dodgy manipulative practices to survive unless they want to run at a significant loss, as an investment. I'm not sure how much most people care about those normalized annoyances, so I don't think that should be relied on. FOSS projects aren't well-known for being successful in the mainstream through their purity and ideals.*
Boycotting and ostracization (like, to generalize, Mastodon with Gab, then Gab with Pleroma) might be effective so long as they don't gain an independent dominance through bringing more external users and continuing to dilute the values of the Fediverse. But if their new platform becomes more productive and fun then the Fediverse, then the Fediverse will remain only a niche.
I don't have faith in a legal solution, but that is my naïve view, I don't know enough about anti-competitive laws, especially internationally.
I'm interested to hear what approaches there might be to what I see as a potential and increasingly imminent threat. Links to existing conversations are welcome too: no need to invent the wheel for me ;)
What are some examples of grouping in the Fediverse? This question is in response to a post asking about how to stop corporate dominance in the Fediverse, but unrelated examples are more than welcome.
One example is a (defunct?) alliance between 3 national Peertube instances where they agreed to backup each others databases and have similar moderation rules.
It would be interesting to see if there's any agreements between instances to block certain instances, like corporate-run (pawoo) or alt-tech (gab) beyond merely using a shared blocklist.
Note: in hindsight, half of this post is answering my own questions as I explore this rarer side of federation, but there are still some remaining questions which I have highlighted.
This post is created on lemmy.ml. The benefits of federating this post to other Lemmy instances is immediately obvious, since they can use most or all of the site features to read it as intended and interact (voting, replying, reporting, saving, cross-posting or browsing and subscribing to firstname.lastname@example.org).
There is also intuitive benefit in being able to federate with other link aggregators such as lotide and Prismo instances. All these sites have the same basic interface of link-posting, text-posting, voting, commenting and voting on comments. The base format is very compatible, even if extra features are not. I wouldn't be surprised if Lemmy and lotide form a dynamic similar to Mastodon and Pleroma, two microblogging services which again have an intuitive base compatibility.
##### But what about different types?
What are the benefits of, for example, making Lemmy federate with Mastodon, Friendica or PeerTube?
One approach to answering that is asking what cross-interaction is already possible, like some posts in [!feditolemmy](https://lemmy.ml/c/feditolemmy) which were posted from Friendica. This [nerdica.net post](https://nerdica.net/display/a85d7459-9262-6029-68aa-550236192028) which is [also replicated on !fediverse](https://lemmy.ml/post/238040) shows a conversation in replies between a few Lemmy instances and a Friendica account, and demonstrates the clear analogue of our communities and their forums, and of our votes and their likes (it's just a test ;) )
So Friendica posts federating to Lemmy makes reasonable sense. I'm not sure about the opposite. I guess their posts are analogous to our text posts or text & link posts, so it might be possible to render their forums as browsable communities here.
**Question 1: Does my Lemmy account browsing and making new posts on Friendica forums make sense?** Or will the federation only make sense for enabling Lemmy to aggregate Friendica posts and allowing cross-rating and cross-commenting?
Note: I found [this Friendica forum on Lemmy](https://email@example.com), which was properly interpreted as a community instead of a user by Lemmy, but posts aren't replicating yet. I'm guessing it's a base for future completion to allow further cross-integration. Friendica does not appear to be able to browse Lemmy users or communities yet.
I also assume microblogging sites like Mastodon and Pleroma, along with the Prismo link aggregator, can use hashtags as an analogy for communities. While a post on those sites can belong to multiple tags, Lemmy can imitate this with crossposting in multiple communities. Is this reasonable?
PeerTube is where I get more confused, and [I'm not alone](https://lemmy.ml/post/154977/). As a reply there mentioned, we can view a PeerTube user account, such as https://firstname.lastname@example.org and https://email@example.com , although it doesn't seem to work for framatube.org.
However the interfaces of Lemmy and PeerTube are radically different, as PeerTube is foremost a video hosting site and Lemmy is a link aggregator. I think it's fair to assert that a Lemmy post cannot be displayed on a PeerTube instance without hacks no-one wants, which leaves PeerTube->Lemmy posting, and mutual liking/commenting/reporting/etc.. A PeerTube video can be adapted as a link post in Lemmy. I'm not certain how a PeerTube upload would signal which communities it should be posted to in Lemmy, but there are reasonable options like an extra field in the upload settings, or a link in the description.
**Question 2: Is there a plan to have anything more than PeerTube creating link posts in Lemmy communities with federation between comment sections?**
Trying to learn the current situation in order to ask good questions has taught me a lot, I was in a mindset that we had to be able to make posts on other sites in order to usefully federate, when that isn't really our role as a link aggregator site. Media sites can usefully post to here with federated voting and comment sections.