What heretical software features can you imagine that would never fly at a growth oriented company but could totally work on free open source social media?

For example, algorithmic timelines are one way to deal with information overload. But what if instead your software offered suggestions for people to unfollow (this person posts a lot and you hardly ever interact with them)? Not necessarily a good idea but it's an idea we could implement that would NEVER happen on Twitter, Facebook, etc

@darius In general, algorithms that are targeted to the user's actual need rather than conversions (however defined by the vendor). The commercial version of an algorithm is, almost by definition, "here is the thing that will make us money that we think we can trick you into being interested in."

@akorphan @darius or a way to block all commercial algorithms... That would be awesome...

@akorphan @darius oh and ban material design as it's totally ugly and conformist.

@darius a meter that shows how much energy the user's behavior on the site is using, along with a calculation of the co2 emissions from that energy

@aparrish the thing about this one is it's a really thorny and deep computer engineering and physics problem, so you'd think there would be some nerds excited to dig in!

@darius @aparrish but the sort of nerd who could do it for free is generally also the sort who’s become personally identified with the power and license to run their computer as long and hot as they damned well please

@darius Multiple tiers of following; Tier 1 gets shown in your timeline, and Tier 2 piles up in an overflow timeline you can read when you’ve caught up with Tier 1. That could also work for things like RSS, Reddit and such.

@acb I want to implement this in my fork. I see it as a special category of list (in mastodon) where accounts in that list are not shown in the main timeline, only on the list itself

@darius Remove all images and videos as a default. Or less heretically: not allowing posting of images without captions, not allowing posting of videos without subtitles.

Removing the ability to link elsewhere, or less heretically removing UTM parameters automatically when linking things.

Removing notifications other than specific mentions.

@kawa @darius
why would you want to remove the ability to link elsewhere? that seems like something commercial enterprises *do* want

@lesbianhacker @darius If the social media site doesn't let you sell things, then no, commercial enterprises wouldn't want you to remove links to the thing-to-be-sold, at least that's my thinking.

@darius a timer that kicks you off after an hour or at certain times of the day

@darius i’ve often wished for “how much of your timeline comes from each user, including RTs” so I can consider who’s worth unfollowing.

@darius an instance recommender based on your first month of activity

@darius nlp tools: "you might be about to post a creepy/hateful/gross toot, should we run it by your mom first?"

@darius A "volume knob". It would allow me to limit the number of posts I see from people I like who post a bit too much. Say max N posts per day or something like that.

@KnowPresent @darius yaaaas!! Certain people take over my timelines. I've been unfollowing them or ignoring the whole platform. Ideally quiet people would not get lost in the noise of people who flood, while I can still follow everyone.

But I want control to SEE when people are "squelched" so I can choose to dive into rants / floods. Not an opaque algorithm that is secretly making those decisions for me.

@darius A Tip-Fave button on posts that hooks into your PayPal/bank account and directly gives the poster an amount of your choosing like 25 cents whenever you press it

@darius "Break points": A feature where you get some numerical praise indicator for staying *off* the site for multiple consecutive hours

@darius hilariously, that’s tumblr mid xkit used to offer something like this. Dashboard with stats on who you talk to most and least, presented in a pie chart that you could easily post on tumblr itself.

@darius Oh hey, I very briefly talked about a related thing in ... I think Dreamwidth's very granular comment access levels, Firefox Send-type "you can download this once" maybe, stuff other people have said re: helping the user with self-control and enforcing #a11y standards (and #i18n #l10n for that matter)

Enforcing "you MUST have multi-factor auth on"

Allowing the operator to charge users money for an account/usage

@darius I think this would be an algorithmic timeline where there end-user gets control on who gets to be shown more prominently.

I've noticed here people are complaining about algorithmic timeline on twitter, but then keep self-boosting posts to make them more visible, so I think, both current solutions to the problem are not ideal.

More specifically to mastodon, a fine-grained control over whose boosts get to be more prominent would be an appreciated feature.

@darius There's nothing inerently wrong with algorithmic timelines... as long as we have total control on how it works! For example, we could control to group posts from 1 person who posts a lot. Or just show me the top rated post from that person.

Basically, filters that allow to bring to the front those who post rarely.

@darius Or even better:

"We notice a lot of people you're friends with have suddenly unfriended <X>. They're probably a jerk. You should unfriend them!"

@mdm @darius I'll one-up you: "you are probably the jerk, you have one week to shape up".

@mdm @darius
RetroShare has a chat room feature where if a certain (custom) ratio of people block a user then they get booted, which is an interesting feature

@darius This might be too invasive but I’d love to be able to turn on a column of JUST “people you follow fav’d these posts” from time to time, because I’m still having a hard time finding new follows on here.

@darius maybe this is too boring and not heretical enough. But 🤷‍♂️ the “your friend likes X” feature got a ton of hate when it showed up, and I found it really useful. Not for engaging in the thread they liked but for finding new people who posted good content, but were too many degrees of separation away for me to find naturally,

@ja2ke @darius Some of the problems with it in algorithmic social media was that it was also a way to "whitewash" ads/brands and blurred the lines between normal timeline activity and sponsored activity.

I could see if it was a dedicated activity (own timeline) it would have fewer such concerns.

Though it adds more questions to what the meaning of fave is versus boost. I see fave much more a signal to the toot writer than the community, personally.

@ja2ke @darius it was bad because it just dumped the posts in your timeline and if someone wanted the post in the timeline they would've retweeted it, likes are more of an acknowledgement between you and the poster than something to share. That said, a separate list of what the people you follow have liked sounds like a neat idea, as long as people can choose to make their likes available in this way

@darius you had me at "heretical"!

Invite non-profits, progressive orgs to display contextual ads on your site for free. The admins select the non-profits, do not pretend to be neutral nor balanced.

@darius and all kinds of porn of course. let's not forget that's what the original internet is for.

@darius I'd like the ability to opt out of ALL metrics-related information. No boost or like numbers show up (on any client,) the number of posts and followers I have are hidden to everyone including me, I'm not notified when people like or boost my posts, I can't see how many posts or followers anyone else has, etc

A patchwork of features across a few clients does some of this but it's not comprehensive enough

@darius (a few mastodon clients, I mean. As long as I'm dreaming, I'd like a social network where no popularity metrics are tracked at all)

@darius Oh, no. That's not a good idea. It's a GREAT idea.

I've long maintained that good social media practice involves period revision of one's semantic relations to others. Suggestions for unfollowing would fall squarely in line with that. And commercial social media would NEVER deploy that.

@darius anything that gently (ie carefully avoid the nagging patterns of commercial software) helps people take breaks and more generally evaluate whether the software fits into the user's life in a way that's desired rather than engineered by a company.

@darius one thing @deathmtn and i were discussing was a service with a posting cadence (e.g. posts only go out once a week at a set time)

@darius i could also imagine sites that were only active during certain windows of time (either certain days or certain times of the day) to try to guide folks away from always being online.

@darius full color palette user customization. good for people theming things to their liking and comfort, bad for brand identity (i. e. facebook blue).

@juliebean Yes! Pleroma has a really great version of this

@darius @trwnh Slack has a feature that will suggest unfollowing channels you don’t interact with on a regular basis. It’s really nice.

@darius the federated allow / disallow list.

So I can both subscribe to instance I feel close to and publish my own findings on instance I wish to flag to my network.

@darius a star/like feature, but it is a 'I hear you'.
There is no count, there is no visibility on it from the outside, only I can see who 'heard me'.

Typically, it is half there with the addition of bookmarks in glitch-soc (because it displace staring to bookmark).

@aparrish @kyzh there is an ActivityPub event for a "read receipt", I feel like this could be a kind of manually indicated read receipt

@darius @aparrish sometime I see real heartbreaking stuff, but I dont know what to say.
A way to say I read it would mean a lot.

I'm not sure how a designer could come with a way to expose that. It seems quite close to being there from what you say.

@kyzh @darius I think I personally use "favorite" on mastodon as sort of a manual read receipt, just to broadcast presence. having the ability to do this without it being quantified/archived would be nice

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Friend Camp

The decentralized web is about trust. You should only join Friend Camp if you personally trust Darius Kazemi with your social media data. You probably only have that level of trust if we are IRL friends or have been internet friends for a long time. Generally speaking this is a small, closed community. In the end, Darius is the arbiter of what is allowed here. If you don't have a good idea of the kind of behavior that flies with Darius, again, you probably shouldn't join this instance. In the interest of specificity, we do have a code of conduct and privacy policy which you should read. Friend Camp features several modifications that were requested by our users. * you can log in via any subdomain, which means you can log in to multiple accounts in the same browser session (for example, log in once on and then as another user on * they are no longer called "toots", they are now "posts" * if you have a locked account and you get a follow request, a reminder appears under your "post" button (on normal Mastodon mobile it is otherwise buried in a sub-menu and you might not see it for a long time) * the emoji dropdown is a neutral smiley face instead of the cry-laughing smiley @mentions are rendered as "@user" for a Friend Camp user and "@user@domain" for remote users. This helps clear up when you follow two people who have the same username on different servers. * there is a "never ask me again" checkbox on the confirmation for clearing your notifications -- more info here * When an mp3 link is in a post, we also embed an inline mp3 player. git commit here * 500 characters of profile text git commit here, requested by @deerful Important Bit from the Privacy Docs: If you want decent privacy (the info doesn't leave this server), the only way to do that is to set your account to private, only accept friend requests from other users, and only ever @ mention other users. Once you start talking to people on other servers, all bets are off. Any private message you send to someone on another server could be looked at by the admin of a different server. This is kind of like email: if you are on a private email server, and you send an unencrypted email to a gmail account, congrats, Google now has the content of that email. But also, you do this every day, so, hey. The internet! Our beautiful icon is based on photo3idea_studio from, licensed CC 3.0 BY. It has been modified by!