mastodon.social account suspension
another article on closing Mastodon doors!
Today I woke up very early. Sometimes that happens... It was about 5 a.m. and little did I know that I had awoken to a big surprise!
I went to the bathroom and, while there, I checked my e-mail and there was this e-mail waiting for me: mastodon.social was informing me that my account had been suspended and everything I had posted during the past year had been permanently erased!
The e-mail explained the reason why such action had been taken:
“Some of your toots have been reported as advocating hate, or violence against minorities.”
Needless to say that this came to me as a big surprise because I was not given any prior warning of any kind!
I joined Mastodon more than one year ago on a different instance and I felt that I had to move because that instance was too specific and had CW rules I felt were too restrictive for me. So, I moved to mastodon.social, a more generalist instance. I've been there for approximately one year.
When I joined Mastodon I thought it was such a great project that I decided that I had to contribute my “two cents” to it. I translated what needed to be translated into European Portuguese.
I am 50 years old now. I am a Portuguese teacher of English, I am also teacher of Portuguese, and I am a Jehovah's Witness. I went to university, took my degree and I do my best daily IRL (In Real Life) to help my students grow, to open their minds and to help them develop a respectful attitude towards everybody else regardless of origin, faith, culture, gender, race, social status, etc...
You might not know this but what I've just said is also mandatory because I'm a Jehovah's Witness. Jehovah's Witnesses respect every single human being because that's what Christ and Jehovah, his father, God, commanded humans to do! We don't go to war! We don't even join the army! There are Jehovah's Witnesses under arrest because they refuse to join the army! And we don't do hate speech! We don't hate! We love everybody and try to teach others to do the same. Humanity should be united by love!
Now, this brings me to the justification for my punishment. I was found “advocating hate, or violence against minorities”!!! WHAT?! When or where did that happen?! What did I say that led to that conclusion? Why didn't anyone warn me about the issue?
The answer to these questions is simple: No one could! I have never in my entire life written a single line against anyone or any minority, nor have I ever advocated hate against any human being!
So, I'll rest my case, now that I have made my defence. But I won't close without, first, inform those who pressed the block button on mastodon.social of one or two rules that you, who say you stand for non-hate, non-violence and minorities, should bare in your minds:
“With great power comes great responsibility”;
As far as I know, in the so called advanced societies, the ones that we also try to mimic online, people on trial are always given the change to defend themselves. That's a basic human right! Right?;
Respecting the others means that we must do what needs to be done to understand him/her (I'm not implying here that we must accept any outrageous behaviour, but someone might make a mistake.);
Finally, showing some respect for the time, knowledge and work others contribute for our own projects is, to say the least, polite.
Eugene (@Gargron@mastodon.social, developer of Mastodon and administrator of mastodon.social.), as I have told you before on a number of other occasions, I respect and value your work but I truly believe that closing the door of mastodon.social this way doesn't add up in any way to what people are expecting from you and to how they must be treated. You (or someone on your instance) have handled this issue as if you were commanding a sort of a dictatorship. And what is even worse is the fact that I can't find any single reason for you to suspend my account and erase one year of toots and work!
Anyway, it was your decision. It's your instance and you can do as you please. But this raises some questions about the Fediverse that I've grown to love: To what extent is our time, effort and dedication secure when such arbitrary and dictatorial decisions can be made by instance administrators? How can I, now, advise relatives and friends to join the Fediverse when I know that their work can suddenly and without any prior notice be erased?
Well, perhaps I have just made a bad decision when I chose your instance.
I can only wish that you and your instances may prosper.
I was hesitant about publicising this text. But, some days have passed and I haven't received a single word from any of mastodon.social team. So, I decided that, if someone could destroy my last year of publications and my contribution to the project without a warning and without a decent justification, I am also entitled the right to publicly express my profound disagreement and concern regarding these attitudes that are becoming more and more common nowadays.
I suggest the reading of this short letter that will put some more light on the matter.
And there is also this news article from The Guardian.