Recent moves by Eugen Rochko (known as Gargron on fedi), the CEO of Mastodon-the-non-profit and lead developer of Mastodon-the-software, got some people worried about the outsized influence Mastodon (the software project and the non-profit) has on the rest of the Fediverse.
Good. We should be worried.
Mastodon-the-software is used by far by the most people on fedi. The biggest instance, mastodon.social, is home to over 200.000 active accounts as of this writing. This is roughly 1/10th of the whole Fediverse, on a single instance. Worse, Mastodon-the-software is often identified as the whole social network, obscuring the fact that Fediverse is a much broader system comprised of a much more diverse software.
This has poor consequences now, and it might have worse consequences later. What also really bothers me is that I have seen some of this before.
I go on to dive a bit into the history of StatusNet (the software), OStatus (the protocol), and
identi.ca (the biggest instance) on a decentralized social network “grandparent” of the Fediverse.
And draw an analogy to show why
mastodon.social’s size, and Mastodon-the-software-project’s influence on broader fedi is a serious risk we need to do something about.