Tue 13 Feb 2024 5:44PM

The Bluesky Bridge

SW Sam Whited Public Seen by 244

Hi all,

As you may be aware a new bridge with the bluesky network is being deployed that allows two-way federation.

I have temporarily taken the liberty of limiting the bridge pending community discussion. This is not my decision to make, and I recognize that, but I thought it was broadly the same as federating with Threads and, though I strongly disagree with the decision not to suspend Threads, the community chose to Limit it so I took the same action here so that follows from the bridge would at least need to be approved first.

The gist of the matter is that this is different from most bridges in that it doesn't just allow you to read the posts of eg. Twitter users, but more like Threads it allows you full two-way communication with them. It also allows Jack Dorsey to vacuum up all of your public posts and sell them for sentiment analysis or train AIs on them or whatever. If someone from Bluesky follows you, your (opt-in on the mastodon side) full text search preferences are no longer respected. Also, the author has a terms of service that he claims you are accepting by using the bridge (this is almost certainly not legal in any jurisdiction, but I'm not a lawyer), etc.

The author of the bridge has written a blog post [1] where he gives the game away somewhat: "If bridges were opt-in, and I could only follow 4% of people on other networks, they would be drastically less useful." in other words, he doesn't care about your consent.

I strongly think we should fully suspend this bridge, but also acknowledge that it's exactly the same as Threads and this community didn't want to suspend there, so I'd like to follow up and ask separately for us to discuss what to do with this bridge. I'll follow up with a full proposal and vote later on depending on the results of this discussion. Thanks.

If you'd like to block it yourself for your own personal account you can block the domains

You can also add #nobridge to your profile and the author says they're respecting that as an opt-out flag (but suspending both domains above is probably the better option).

[1]: https://snarfed.org/2024-01-21_moderate-people-not-code


Sieva Tue 13 Feb 2024 5:58PM

I believe that we should be able to interact with people who choose to use BlueSky or Threads, and I'm for limiting.

I understand that some of us don't want that, and that's fair; you have to have an option to block the domains. I hope this is enough to keep your data “private” from them.

But by pursuing privacy for yourself, you shouldn't limit options for the rest of us.


Sky Leite Tue 13 Feb 2024 8:04PM

@Sieva I feel like the thought process in this comment makes sense, but also that it's somewhat backwards. I want people who want to communicate with BlueSky and Threads to do so, but the burden shouldn't be on me to explicitly opt myself out of that.

"You can just block the domains" requires me, personally, to keep track of all the corporate domains and bridges I don't want to interact with, which is an impossible task. The same doesn't go for the people who want to interact with them though, because the thought process isn't "I want to interact with every single domain in existance", it's "I specifically want to communicate with my friends in X corporate domain", and opting into that is already part of one's thought process.


Henry (cryptix) Tue 13 Feb 2024 9:20PM

@Sky Leite thanks for putting this into such nice words. Me not having English as a first language struggled.

Re the “impossible task”: EU GDPR also favors opt-in over -out for exactly this reason.


Konrad Lawson Tue 13 Feb 2024 6:38PM

I am also in favor of allowing interaction with Bluesky and Threads. Much of my academic network already jumped from twitter to mastodon and then Bluesky. I’m happier here in the fediverse but respect the many colleagues who really don’t like it. I want to reach and read more people, not fewer.


Jonobie Ford Tue 13 Feb 2024 6:39PM

I really appreciate you taking the action you did -- immediately limiting and then discussing here seems absolutely like the right initial step.

I'm also for limiting at the server level.


Scott Jenson Tue 13 Feb 2024 6:51PM

I too and am in favor of interacting with BlueSky. I strongly disagree with the mischaracterization of snarfed.org. I know Ryan, he's a full-on open source, federated person, very active in the indieweb space. He's a great guy and maligning his character is not a good look for our community. You can disagree with him of course, but to imply he's "giving the game away" with that quote is not only misunderstanding the quote (which is about the definition of federation) but to imply they are disreputable. We are better than this. I'm NOT saying you have to agree! I'm just saying let's disagree with a bit more humanity.


Sam Whited Tue 13 Feb 2024 8:12PM

@Scott Jenson with respect, I disagree. He absolutely admits that consent isn't worth his time and that his product being successful is more important. Being an open source dev is great, much better than if he were building this for Google or somewhere, but it doesn't mean his motivations or desires are good and the blog post is really despicable in my opinion. I'm sure he's a nice guy whom it would be fun to hang out with, and maybe he's done a ton of other great software that helps people, but that doesn't make this at best a thoughtless and arrogant exercise of power and at worst a blatant violation of peoples rights.


Scott Jenson Tue 13 Feb 2024 8:41PM

@Sam Whited As I said before, my focus here is how we as a community should ethically communicate. You are making an unethical argument by manufacturing quotes he never said ( "That isn't worth my time") Even your description of his blog as "really despicable" add nothing to the real issue. Your invective is palpable here. Let's keep our pitchforks in the shed, shall we? Where are we Twitter?


Sam Whited Tue 13 Feb 2024 8:53PM

@Scott Jenson I did not manufacture a quote or imply that that was a quote, but I do believe it's a fair and accurate reading of the post I linked. He violated all of our consent and has made it clear that he doesn't care or think it's a problem.

I'll refrain from commenting further in this manner and apologize if my language comes off as strong. I am not disparaging him to his face, name calling, or any of the other behavior that as a mod we try to avoid, but I do believe what he said in the blog post is absolutely not okay. Re-reading I think my statements still pass the three gates we often use for moderation purposes, but am open to being corrected if not.


Sam Whited Tue 13 Feb 2024 10:01PM

TBF, I do owe him at least a partial apology. Every comment I'd read from him indicated that he wasn't taking peoples concerns seriously, but he does appear to be exploring other options as of a post he put out today. If he's decided to actively engage and find another way I think that's pretty great and I'm glad he's come around: https://snarfed.org/2024-02-13_52223

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