Stepping Down From Hachyderm

Removing myself as the admin from Hachyderm, an apology, and some clarifications.

Stepping Down From Hachyderm

Recently I abruptly removed myself from the “Admin” position of Hachyderm. This has surfaced a number of threads about me, Hachyderm, and the broader Fediverse. Today I would like to offer an apology as well as provide some clarity. There are a lot of rumors going around and I want to address some of them.

Before I get into why I am stepping down as admin, I want to be crystal clear: Hachyderm allows mutual aid. Hachyderm has always allowed mutual aid.

There has never been a point in Hachyderm’s history when mutual aid was not allowed. What we have never allowed on Hachyderm, is spam. Which we see a lot of, including phishing. What we have changed positions on, is corporate and organizational fundraising.

For us to say “Hachyderm does allow mutual aid,” and “Hachyderm does not allow spam or organizational fundraising,” requires the mods to define “Mutual Aid,” “Spam,” and “Organizational fundraising.” Once defined, Hachyderm need to come up with policies for these concepts, and instruct moderators to manage them. We do not always get this right, and we rely on the community’s help to tell us when we get it wrong, and how we can be more precise in our language and our actions.

One of the things I’ve found difficult about engaging in moderation discussions on the Fediverse, is the inability to agree on the facts at hand. I’ve always been very willing to take accountability for my actions, and take feedback on how to improve and make things better for all of our users. But that’s not possible to do when we can’t even agree on the topic at hand, and when we don’t engage with each other. In this most recent incident, I’ve had to spend significantly more time re-stating that Hachyderm does support mutual aid, and less time focusing on improving our policies and communications, so that our anti-spam and anti-organizational fundraising policies don’t harm members of our community that we want to support.

I would be very happy to have conversations about how Hachyderm’s policy, language, and enforcement were wrong, caused harm, and need to be fixed. That is a conversation worth having. I was also happy to have conversations around our stance on organizational fundraising. But the conversations about how I personally “contribute to trans genocide because I don’t support mutual aid,” are untrue, hurtful, and in my opinion, unproductive. Yes, this is extra hurtful to me, as I have experienced homelessness, and my own dependency on mutual aid as a transgender person. This is dear to my heart.

In many cases, decisions by other admins and mods were made on the assumption that I don’t support mutual aid, and this has been hard for me to reconcile.

I want to address something else, as my departure has some folks in our Hachyderm community and the broader Fediverse concerned about who will lead moderation after I leave. Moderation at Hachyderm will continue to be led by our lead moderator, as it has always been. I have never been the moderator of Hachyderm. In fact, on several occasions, I was moderated by the moderation team, including being asked to remove my post on Capitalism. This is as it should be, and I accepted the decisions of the moderation team on each occasion. In a healthy community, no one is above the rules.

Regarding the post on BlueSky, my hope was to push BlueSky towards an open identity provider such that the rest of the Fediverse could leverage the work. This would address the problem with people not owning their own identity/authentication, which is something that is important to many Hachydermians. People are already asking about this, and the AT protocol in general.

Effectively my intention was to utilize BlueSky’s hype and resources on behalf of federated identity such that people can own their own identity. Mastodon also has open issues about this. At this point I am exhausted and am abandoning BlueSky as well. I am taking a break from all social media at this time to protect my mental health.

The Hachyderm service has grown unexpectedly and I have tried my best to build a strong organization to live on without me. I have always intended on stepping down such that the collective could continue without me. Part of relinquishing control involved slowly stepping back one position at a time. It is up to the collective now to manage the service moving forward, and I deeply believe there are wonderful people in place to manage the service.