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Whoa...! I was editing one of my community documents, and suddenly the whole community disappeared. Can you help?
  • I temporarily transferred the community to myself and was able to undelete it. I've transferred it back to you now, should be all good.

  • Federation delays?
  • They are using an allowlist rather than a blocklist, unlike most big instances. We are linked, but we're not on their allowlist, so the result is still that they block all federation from lemm.ee.

  • Whoa...! I was editing one of my community documents, and suddenly the whole community disappeared. Can you help?
  • Can you try logging in first at https://next.lemm.ee/login - or are you seeing this while already logged in?

  • Whoa...! I was editing one of my community documents, and suddenly the whole community disappeared. Can you help?
  • Aha, I think this restore feature is missing from the standard Lemmy UI.

    Maybe this will help: I quickly implemented a very basic restore button on lemmy-ui-next. Can you check if you see a "Restore" button in the sidebar at https://next.lemm.ee/c/eurographicnovels? Note that you must be logged in as a moderator to see this button.

    I need to step away from my computer for a while, but if this doesn't work, then I will be able to look into it further during the weekend.

  • Notice for all moderators: please check the lemm.ee moderation policy

    Hey folks!

    This is a quick notice about a change to our moderation policy.

    We have had a policy on lemm.ee for administration and federation nearly since the very beginning. This policy has also always included a section about moderator responsibilities. Today, we have made two changes to this policy:

    1. The policy has been renamed to Policy for administration, moderation, federation - this is to make it clear that the policy is also relevant for mods
    2. We have introduced a new responsibility for moderators, they must "Ensure that they only provide accurate and clear reasons for mod actions".

    The reason for the addition is that mod log actions federate out to other instances, and are more or less permanent (due to how Lemmy and federation works right now). This means that users do not really currently have any easy way to clarify or defend themselves against inaccurate accusations in the mod log.

    As always, I am very grateful to all mods for your efforts in building awesome communities on lemm.ee. I hope you can understand why this new policy is necessary - I do not want to make your lives more difficult, the goal is to just try and reduce any mod log related misunderstandings in the future.

    Thank you for reading and have a nice day!

    9
    Why the sudden increase in removals?
  • Purging is something that can't really be used to hide mod actions, as any federated instances will still retain their copy of any purged content. Purging is a feature which is only really useful for completely removing illegal content from our servers, it's used quite rarely and in fact leaves a trace in the mod log as well.

  • Why the sudden increase in removals?
  • Just to clarify a few things:

    1. Our mod log will show all federated mod actions, not just actions by lemm.ee mods and admins. So if any other instance is generating a ton of actions, it will also be visible from our mod log. In fact I don't think there has been any increase recently in lemm.ee mod actions at all.

    2. The mod log does not actually get cleared, there is simply a UI issue in Lemmy which makes it a bit hard to view the mod log chronologically. The UI makes it appear as if the mod log is one single list of actions, while in fact it's different lists combined together (one list per each action type). You will notice some really old actions even on the first page of the mod log, this makes it seem as if there is a "missing period" in the actions, while in fact you are actually just seeing the first page for each different action type. If you navigate to subsequent pages, you will find all the "missing" actions there.

    In practical terms, it's not really possible to clear the mod log at all, thanks to federation. Even if one instance will delete their local mod log records, those records would still be visible in other instances which they previously federated out to.

  • Lemm.ee mod abuse
  • I agree that using the mod log to attack other users with inaccurate mod action reasons is not really justifiable.

    We now have some additional guidance about this here under the moderator responsibilities section:

    Ensure that they only provide accurate and clear reasons for mod actions

    I will make a separate announcement post about this as well shortly.

    Unfortunately, due to the nature of mod log federation on Lemmy, it's not really possible to retroactively change mod action reasons currently. I am sorry about that. If this does end up causing problems for you in the future, you could point people to this thread for context.

  • Whoa...! I was editing one of my community documents, and suddenly the whole community disappeared. Can you help?
  • Hey, indeed it appears that the community was somehow removed by you:

    Notice it says "Deleted by creator" .

    Can you check in the top right corner, in the area visible in my screenshot, is there not a small "Restore" link? This should in theory let you un-delete the community.

  • 2024-05-06 lemm.ee downtime

    Hey folks!

    We unfortunately had about half an hour of unplanned downtime today. This was caused by an issue with our hosting provider. The issue is solved for now, and I am planning to make some changes to prevent similar issues in the future. Sorry for the inconvenience!

    ----

    Technical details

    Our servers are communicating with our database over Hetzner's "vSwitch" service. Unfortunately, this service seems to be quite flaky - over the past few months, I have had to deal with the connection just dropping without recovering many times. Mostly this has not resulted in any noticeable downtime, as we have redundant servers, so even if one of them stops working, it won't affect lemm.ee users. However, in this instance, all of our API servers lost their connection to our database at the same time, which resulted in actual downtime.

    I have now decided to migrate our setup away from the vSwitch in the near future to hopefully stop these issues for good. Should be possible to do this migration without any downtime, I just need to set aside some time to actually create an alternative solution for us, most likely over the coming weekend. I will update this post once the migration is complete!

    12
    Federation issues popping up again?
  • We had a temporary delay with outgoing federation. Everything should be recovered and back to normal now!

  • Federation delays?
  • We had a temporary delay with outgoing federation. Everything should be recovered and back to normal now!

  • Federation delays?
  • Yes, they indeed blocked us a while ago, AFAIK it was planned as a temporary thing, but no idea where they stand on it now.

  • Linked post leads to page not found
  • Hey! Do I understand correctly that your app is trying to fetch any /post/<id> directly from its source instance API? If so, I have a few ideas:

    1. If you detect anything that looks like a Lemmy post URL (<host>/post/<id>), you could first try to make a request to <host>/version, and only treat the post as a Lemmy post if you get a JSON response from that endpoint where .software.name === 'lemmy'. Otherwise, open that URL in the browser.
    1. The above will already "fix" the issue, but custom frontends on subdomains is actually quite common, so if you want to handle those links without resorting to a browser, then: in cases where <host>/version is not a Lemmy response, but <host> includes a subdomain, you could repeat the same logic from step 1 for the parent domain as well. If you detect a Lemmy API at the parent domain, then just use that to fetch the post.
  • Seeking feedback on lemmy-ui-next! (Milestone 2 is nearing completion!)
  • I’m already accustomed to the light theme of Lemmy and can’t find how to switch from dark to light in “Next.”

    This is planned after the 3rd milestone is complete!

    The red, green, and blue buttons in the footer seem to do nothing.

    They should change the primary color in the UI - are you sure it's not doing this for you? Maybe it's just enough of a subtle change that it's not immediately noticable?

    The notion on every post that “Your IP is hidden from another Lemmy instance” is kind of annoying and useless. Why is it there?

    Most (all) other Lemmy frontends will always leak your IP to external media hosts, I wanted to handle this a bit differently in lemmy-ui-next by proxying by default (to improve user privacy). The message is there to let you know if a specific piece of media is being proxied or not - and the only way for something to not be proxied is for the user to manually approve it first.

    I guess not all users will care about this, so maybe I can add a setting to hide the proxy indicator completely... I will think about it!

    I dislike a little that it tries to copy the old Reddit interface. Although that interface wasn’t bad, and I’m the one who would first say “don’t fix what isn’t broken,” I’m more prone to seeing something new, some experimentation. Right now it feels more like “next to the old Reddit,” which isn’t exactly bad, but still…

    It was an initial goal and guiding principle to heavily take inspiration from the great UIs of existing link aggregators like old reddit and hackernews. At the same time, I realize that this approach is not for everyone, so I am not against adding some different layouts (especially for the post list view) in the future.

    Thank you for all the feedback!

  • Seeking feedback on lemmy-ui-next! (Milestone 2 is nearing completion!)
  • This is planned after the 3rd milestone is complete!

  • Seeking feedback on lemmy-ui-next! (Milestone 2 is nearing completion!)
  • Interesting idea, I think that will also require a small change in the Lemmy backend, but I think it's doable. Thanks!

  • lemmy-ui-next @lemm.ee sunaurus @lemm.ee
    Seeking feedback on lemmy-ui-next! (Milestone 2 is nearing completion!)

    Hey folks!

    I've been steadily working through the roadmap for lemmy-ui-next (which is a new alternative Lemmy frontend), and it's getting to a point where I think https://next.lemm.ee is becoming quite usable. I've been personally using it as my main Lemmy frontend for several weeks now, and I know there are a few other brave users doing the same, so at this point, I'm confident enough to ask the wider lemm.ee population to try it out and share some honest feedback.

    If you're at all interested in this project, I would massively appreciate it if you could spend some time using https://next.lemm.ee and letting me know how you feel about it. I'm interested to hear about things like:

    • are you running into any issues or bugs
    • are there any things that generally annoy you
    • are you missing any features
    • what would it take for lemmy-ui-next to become your preferred frontend
    • anything else that comes to mind

    Please keep in mind that this is still a work in progress - some features are planned but not implemented yet (see the roadmap linked above for more details), other features are half-finished and may be a bit buggy still!

    Any feedback would really help me out, so please don't hesitate to share!

    42
    is there a list of instances that sh.itjust.works defederated from?
  • You can check the federated/defederated instances for any instance on the /instances page. For example:

    https://sh.itjust.works/instances

    https://beehaw.org/instances

  • Testing image post from lemmy-ui-next
  • Test 3 test

  • Testing image post from lemmy-ui-next
  • Test 2

  • Testing image post from lemmy-ui-next
  • Testing image in comment

    alt text

  • When this post is 6 hours old, lemm.ee will undergo database maintenance, which will include a few minutes of downtime

    Hey folks

    This is just a quick heads up that I need to perform some maintenance & upgrades on our database server, which unfortunately will require downtime. I don't expect the downtime to last for longer than 2-3 minutes, but just wanted to give a heads up first so you know not to be concerned.

    That's all, hope you have a great week!

    Edit: maintenance complete!

    7
    Test @lemm.ee sunaurus @lemm.ee
    First test post from lemmy-ui-next!

    Hello, world!

    Edit: first test edit!

    0
    lemmy-ui-next @lemm.ee sunaurus @lemm.ee
    Milestone 1 is complete!

    Milestone 1 complete!

    This is just a mini-announcement & celebration for the fact that I have completed the scope for the first milestone I set for myself in the roadmap.

    Of course, I am still planning to keep improving and tweaking things as I go, but in terms of the raw list of features, the work for milestone 1 is complete. I am now going to take a day or two to clean up the code and work on some performance optimizations, and then in the later half of the week, I will continue working towards milestone 2, starting with commenting features!

    If anybody is interested (and brave), please feel free to check it out at https://next.lemm.ee, and feel free to share any thoughts and feedback in the comments!

    10
    lemmy-ui-next @lemm.ee sunaurus @lemm.ee
    Intro & roadmap

    Intro

    This project is an open source alternative frontend for Lemmy. It is built with Next.js.

    Screenshots (desktop & mobile) !

    Goals

    • Drop-in replacement for lemmy-ui
    • Minimalistic design, following in the footsteps of other timeless link aggregator UIs
    • Fast!
    • Super basic NextJS architecture, taking advantage of features like the app router & server actions

    Motivation

    The original lemmy-ui has been extremely important for the growth of Lemmy, and the new lemmy-ui-leptos also looks quite interesting. One issue with both of these is that they are built using quite obscure technologies (Inferno and Leptos).

    This project was created as an alternative for contributors who are already familiar with NextJs and want to use those skills on Lemmy. The beauty of open source is that anybody can build what they want, and all these alternative projects can happily coexist!

    You can read more in the original announcement post here.

    Roadmap

    ✅ - Completed

    Milestone 1 - Lurk (✅ v0.1.0)

    Includes read-only functionality, more or less everything you need in order to be a lurker on Lemmy

    • Front page (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Single post page with comments (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Single comment thread page (✅ v0.1.0)
    • User profile (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Community page (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Communities list (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Inline expanding media (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Separate mobile layout for narrow screens (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Search page (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Federation page (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Full Lemmy markdown support (spoiler tags, custom emoji, etc) (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Blur NSFW content (✅ v0.1.0)

    Milestone 2 - Participate

    Features related to actually participating on Lemmy

    • Login page (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Sign-up page (✅ v0.9.0)
    • Forgot password page (✅ v0.5.0)
    • Vote functionality (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Post create/edit/delete (✅ v0.3.0)
    • Comment create/edit/delete (✅ v0.1.0)
    • Inbox (Replies, DMs, mentions) (✅ v0.8.0)
    • DM sending (✅ v0.6.0)
    • Post/comment sharing (✅ v0.2.1)
    • Post/comment saving (✅ v0.2.1)
    • Image uploads (✅ v0.10.0)
    • User settings page
    • User/instance/community blocking

    Milestone 3 - Moderate

    Features related to moderation & administration

    • Report posts/comment/DMs
    • Report inbox
    • Community create/edit/delete
    • Modlog
    • "Rap sheet" on user profiles
    • Mod toolbar on posts/comments
    • Instance settings for admins
    • Sign-up applications inbox

    Future ideas

    • GitHub actions pipeline
    • Complete instructions & examples for deployment on other instances
    • More themes/layouts?
    • More features for markdown editor (more formatting options, emoji picker, @mentions)
    4
    Announcing lemmy-ui-next, an alternative Lemmy frontend built with NextJS!

    Hello, friends!

    TL;DR: I am working on a new Lemmy frontend in nextJS. There is still much work to be done, but you can already have an early look at https://next.lemm.ee

    First of all, quick note to lemm.ee users: I am making this announcement post in [email protected], as this is also a notice that I will be hosting an alternative frontend (lemmy-ui-next) for the first time on lemm.ee. Going forward, I will post updates about lemmy-ui-next in a separate dedicated community: [email protected]. If you're interested in future updates, please subscribe there!

    What is lemmy-ui-next?

    Lemmy is generally accessed through some kind of frontend UI. By default, Lemmy provides its own web interface (lemmy-ui), which you can find on the front page of most Lemmy instances (including lemm.ee). There are also several other independent frontends, for both the web and different mobile platforms, which I'm sure many of you are familiar with.

    Lemmy-ui-next is a brand new alternative frontend, built from the ground up with modern and popular tooling - a framework known as NextJS. Lemmy-ui-next has (or aims to have) the following high-level features:

    • Open source (AGPL)
    • Drop-in replacement for lemmy-ui - same exact URL structure, so all existing links will continue working
    • Very plain & minimalistic UI, strongly inspired by other link aggregator sites (of course including the original lemmy-ui!)
    • Very basic and "typical" NextJS architecture, to encourage open source contributions
    • Fully functional even when JavaScript is disabled (but works better with JS enabled!)
    • Optimized data transfer between your browser and the server (filtering out only relevant data from the Lemmy API, caching, memoization)
    • Strong focus on privacy and security (all authentication with the Lemmy API is done through secure httpOnly cookies, user IP addresses are not leaked to external image hosts, etc)

    What is the current status of lemmy-ui-next?

    I have mentally split the initial work I want to complete into 3 milestones:

    1. Lurk - All read-only features of Lemmy
    2. Participate - Voting/posting/commenting/DMs/reports, etc
    3. Moderate - Handling reports, creating & managing communities, etc

    I am now nearing completion of the first milestone. It's not 100% there yet, but you can already log in, browse, subscribe to communities and even vote. Some things may still look a bit wonky, and some features are still missing, but the core experience is getting there.

    In terms of code contributions, I would ask anybody who is interested in getting involved to contact me first before working on anything. I am not looking for PRs just yet - the code structure is still a bit loose, and I am redefining it as I add more stuff. I would ideally really like to complete the first 3 milestones before opening things up for external contributors.

    Who can use lemmy-ui-next?

    At the moment, it is only hosted on this instance, at https://next.lemm.ee. I do not yet have any formal instructions for running it on other instances, but generally speaking, it is a simple NextJS app - to deploy it, you just need to do: npm install, npm run build and LEMMY_BACKEND=https://<your lemmy api here> npm run start.

    Why not just improve lemmy-ui instead?

    Lemmy-ui is an extremely important and valuable project. There has been a significant amount of hard effort put into it so far, and nobody can refute that it is the frontend which has really carried Lemmy to this point.

    Unfortunately, there are some architectural problems with lemmy-ui (mostly related to how data is fetched and how sessions are stored in memory), all of which would require quite a significant rewrite to fix. Additionally, I think that the core technical solution used for lemmy-ui is just a bit too obscure, which has been an obstacle to my own contributions, as well as to contributions by others. If a rewrite is on the table anyway, then I believe a different technology is the best way forward.

    Why not work on lemmy-ui-leptos instead?

    Lemmy-ui-leptos is another rewrite of lemmy-ui, which is being lead by Lemmy maintainers. It is based around a Rust web framework called Leptos. I think this is really cool tech, and will be happy to host lemmy-ui-leptos on lemm.ee in the future as well.

    There are a two key reasons why I personally decided to start working on another alternative, though:

    • I have heard from several people on Lemmy that they feel like Leptos is a big barrier to entry in terms of them contributing
    • Even for myself personally, I am very comfortable (and think I can move very fast) when working on something like NextJS, but with Leptos, I think the learning curve would be quite big and I would get much less done with any time I invest into it

    My hope is that by providing a very vanilla alternative, I can provide an outlet for potential open source contributors who would like to work on Lemmy, but aren't prepared to do it with Leptos.

    Does this mean that lemm.ee will change in ways I don't like?

    First, let me be clear: lemm.ee will always host the default Lemmy frontend. This means lemmy-ui for now, and most likely lemmy-ui-leptos in the future.

    I am however considering the possibility of switching things around at some point in the future, so that lemmy-ui-next will be hosted directly on lemm.ee, and lemmy-ui will be accessible on a different subdomain (like ui.lemm.ee). This would only happen once I have completed all 3 milestones for lemmy-ui-next. The main reason I am considering this is that I feel like I will always be in the best position to offer technical support to users on the frontend which I am myself maintaining. If you have any thoughts about this potential change, please let me know in the comments below!

    That's about it for now!

    This is something I've been thinking of doing for a while now, and I'm very excited to finally get the ball rolling! If you have a chance, please feel free to check out what https://next.lemm.ee looks like so far, and please let me know if you have any thoughts or feedback!

    33
    Hetzner networking issues & minor lemm.ee downtime

    Hey

    This is just a quick heads up that our host, Hetzner, has been experiencing networking issues today, which has caused some downtime for lemm.ee.

    I have a workaround in place for now, so we should (fingers crossed) be recovering at the moment, but I am still waiting on the proper solution from Hetzner. You can track their issue here: https://status.hetzner.com/incident/9406c500-9c8b-48be-9591-a73691134096

    Also, this is a good opportunity to remind everybody about https://status.lemm.ee - you can be sure that I will provide updates on that page as soon as I am aware of & dealing with any issues. I have been posting status updates for the current issue there as well.

    Sorry for the inconvenience and I hope you have an otherwise great day!

    UPDATE: Hetzner claims they have fixed the issue, but the problems have not been resolved for lemm.ee servers yet, so I am keeping my temporary workaround active for now. Will continue troubleshooting this tomorrow.

    UPDATE 2: Hetzner has now fixed their issue, and our network has been restored to its original optimized state.

    8
    I am extremely grateful to everybody involved with Lemmy. That includes you!

    Hello!

    I am sunaurus, the head admin of lemm.ee. Ever since I created my instance, I have been following a lot of public and private discussion channels between different parties involved with Lemmy. As I’m sure many others have also noticed, the discussions in such channels sometimes get heated, and in fact recently, I feel like there has been a constant trend in these discussions towards a lot of demands, hostility, negativity, and a general lack of empathy between different participants in the Lemmy network.

    I am writing this post for a few reasons:

    1. I would like add a bit of positivity by expressing my gratitude towards every single person who has helped improve Lemmy.
    2. I want to speak up in defense of different people who have been receiving negativity lately.
    3. There are a few false rumors spreading on Lemmy, which I would like to try and counteract with very simple evidence.
    4. I want to remind everybody that at the end of the day, all of us care about building and improving Lemmy. We all have the same goal, and it’s too easy to lose sight of that.

    I will split up what I want to say in this post by different user groups - users, mods, admins and developers. I understand that many people belong to several (or even all) of these groups, but I just want to highlight the value of, and express my gratitude to each group separately.

    Users

    At the end of the day, Lemmy would not be worth anything without the users. Users bring Lemmy to life by posting great content, getting involved in discussions in comments, helping surface interesting content for others through voting and even keeping the platform clean through reports. I am extremely thankful for all the users who have given me so much enjoyment on this platform.

    I believe that users often get treated unfairly on Lemmy based on what instance they are participating from. I’m sure so many of you have noticed comments around Lemmy along the lines of “Oh, another user from <instance>, I’m going to completely ignore your stupid takes”. I’ve also many cases of people treating users as second-class citizen if they are not on the same instance - for example, I’ve seen users who are active and valuable participants in communities on another instance receive comments like “why are you participating in our discussions, go back to your own instance”. In my opinion this is completely counterproductive to the whole idea of federation. On a human level, I can understand it - you’re far more likely to notice or remember what instance somebody is posting from if you have a negative experience. As a result, as time goes by, people tend to develop negative views of each instance, despite potentially having had many positive interactions with other users of those same instances. The message I want to put out here is that instances, especially bigger ones, are not monoliths - do not judge users based on what instance they are browsing Lemmy from, judge them by their actual words and actions.

    Mods

    There are some excellent communities already on Lemmy, and these communities are all continuously being built up and maintained by mods. Mods put in huge amounts of their free time and energy in order to provide spaces for all Lemmy users. They form the first line of defense against bad actors, they keep communities alive and often receive no praise, only criticism. I am very grateful to everybody who has dedicated time to building communities on Lemmy.

    Users rarely notice the lengths mods go to in order to keep communities running smoothly - mods more often than not only get noticed when users disagree with some mod actions. I believe mods deserve a lot better than this. Constructive criticism can of course be useful to improve communities, but it must be balanced with empathy and kindness towards people who have been putting in effort to provide something for users. Remember that there is another human being reading your words when you start writing about the mods of any particular community. Users who are not happy with mods of a certain community always have the opportunity to start their own community and run it as they like.

    Admins

    Admins provide two main key functions for the network:

    1. Taking care of the actual infrastructure of Lemmy
    2. Working as a higher level defense against bad actors, in cases where mods are not enough

    I can tell from my own experience that being an admin of a bigger instance requires constant energy and attention. I don’t believe that there is a single medium-to-big instance where the admins have not put in hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of their free time, as well as in many cases, probably their own money. This is a service which admins provide for free, and it is necessary in order to keep the Lemmy network healthy. I have endless respect for anybody who is willing to put themselves in the position of a Lemmy admin.

    I have seen awful messages towards admins from all the other groups listed here, including other admins. These messages range from condescending and rude, to downright hateful. I have seen admins treated as useless and their work taken for granted. I have seen people getting frustrated with admins for not spending every waking minute on Lemmy. I have seen some users consistently spreading provably false rumors about particular admins in an effort to tarnish their reputation on Lemmy.

    Before you take out frustration on admins, please remember that they are also humans who have been working tirelessly to improve Lemmy in their own way.

    Also, a reminder: the absolute best feature of Lemmy is that users are free to pick their instance - and as a result, users are also free to pick their admins. Even more than that, users can always become their own admins by spinning up their own instance. Yes, this requires dedication, effort, and research, but that’s exactly my point. It’s not easy running an instance, and mistreating people who do this as a free service is completely unacceptable.

    Developers

    Lemmy development has been lead by a few key maintainers, with a massive amount of smaller contributors. The software is constantly being improved at a very good pace, and everybody is able to benefit from this effort at no cost whatsoever. I am extremely grateful to everybody who has participated in the development of the Lemmy software, and other related software, as without you folks, none of us would even be here now.

    There seems to be a huge amount of people with very little appreciation of the work that has gone into the software. I’m sure many of you have seen countless messages where people express that the devs should be doing more in one way or another. “They should work faster”, “they should prioritize this obviously most important feature”, “they should be available 24/7 to offer support”, etc. I just want to take a moment here and acknowledge what core maintainers have already done for Lemmy:

    • Years worth of work on the code itself
    • Offering support to the community and other admins
    • Reviewing literally thousands of pull requests on GitHub
    • Acting fast in stressful situations where the Lemmy network has been overloaded
    • Not abandoning the project in the face of constant hateful users
    • Sacrificing literally hundreds of thousands of euros in missed salaries which they could have been getting if they were working for a tech company instead of working on Lemmy

    I also want to take this moment to discredit some rumors which I have seen repeated too many times:

    1. Rumor: Lemmy devs do not accept outside code contributions

    This is completely false - the maintainers are completely open to (and even constantly asking for) contributions. When somebody starts contributing, they will receive support and code reviews very quickly. I can tell you that I have experienced this myself several times, but that’s anecdotal, so let me also provide evidence:

    a. Contributors list for the Lemmy backend: https://github.com/LemmyNet/lemmy/graphs/contributors

    b. Contributors list for Lemmy UI: https://github.com/LemmyNet/lemmy-ui/graphs/contributors

    Both of these lists include 100 different names, and that’s only because GitHub literally caps these pages to 100 users. Actually, the amount of different contributors is even bigger. If Lemmy devs did not accept and encourage outside contributions, then there would be no way for these lists to be so big.

    1. Rumor: Lemmy devs work too slowly

    This is an extremely entitled and frankly stupid claim. I try to keep on top of the changes made in the Lemmy repo, and let me tell you, the pace of improvement is very good.

    I very firmly believe that if the network started downgrading to Lemmy versions from ~8 months ago, the whole network would just collapse, as none of the instances could keep up with the current volume. That is to say, we have come an extremely long way since last summer alone.

    Let me provide some more evidence. Take a look at the Pulse page for the Lemmy backend on GitHub: https://github.com/LemmyNet/lemmy/pulse. As of writing this, Lemmy devs have merged 18 pull requests in the week leading up to this post - that’s an average of 2.5 merged PRs per day. This is extremely good for a project with a small underfunded team.

    1. Rumor: Lemmy devs do not prioritize the important issues

    There are two sides to this. First of all, there are endless users who turn to the Lemmy devs with what they believe is the most important issue and should immediately be prioritized - the problem is that almost none of these endless users have the same view of what the most important issue actually is! In that sense, it’s literally impossible to please everybody, because everybody wants different things.

    On the other hand, even when Lemmy devs do prioritize things which some users have been desperately asking for, I have on several occasions seen a dismissive response along the lines of “too little too late”. Basically, the demands made are often unrealistic and impossible to meet.

    If you are somebody who feels like Lemmy devs are not doing enough, I would ask you to please take a step back, look at the actual contributions which they have made, and consider how you yourself would feel if after making such a massive contribution, you would still need to listen to countless strangers on the internet tell you how you’re not good enough in their opinion.

    Conclusion

    Lastly, I am very thankful to anybody who took the time to read to the end of this post. Again, my goal is to try and defuse some of the hostility, as well as to put out a message of gratitude and positivity. I am very interested in the success of Lemmy as a whole, and that is much easier to achieve and maintain if we all work together. Thank you, I hope you're doing well, and have a nice weekend!

    130
    RFC to split reports into admin and mod reports

    The RFC PR is here: https://github.com/LemmyNet/rfcs/pull/6

    Reposting RFC contents below:

    ------

    Summary

    Rather than combining all reports into a single report inbox, we should allow users to select whether they are reporting to mods or admins, and we should split reports into different inboxes based on that selection.

    Motivation

    The current approach has some shortcomings:

    • Users are not currently able to bypass mods and report directly to admins - this may allow mods to conceal instance rule breaking in specific communities
    • Admins are not aware of community rules, so they may wish to take no action for most community rule breaking reports. However, if an admin resolves such a report, the relevant community mods most likely never see it.
    • Different instances may have different rules, but somebody resolving a report on one instance will resolve it for other instances as well, thus potentially resulting in missed reports.
    • Mods might take local action on a report and mark it as resolved even in cases where a user should be banned from the entire instance. In this case, admins are very unlikely to see the report.

    Guide-level explanation

    When creating reports, users will be able to select if it's a mod report, or an admin report (or both)

    !image

    Note: labels on the sreenshot are illustrative, actual labels can be more user-friendy. Maybe something like:

    • Breaks community rules (report sent to moderators)
    • Breaks instance rules (report sent to admins)

    Instead of the current single report inbox, there will be three different kinds of inboxes

    • Admin reports - show all reports sent to admins (only visible to admins)
    • Mod reports - show all reports sent to mods for any communities the user moderates (visible to admins in case they are explicit mods in any communities)
      • This is equivalent to the report view that mods currently have in Lemmy already
    • All reports - Shows a view of all (admin and mod) reports, only visible to admins
      • This is akin to the current 0.19.3 admin report view, and would allow admins to still keep an eye on mod actions on their instance if they wish

    The UI wouldn't need to change for mods, but for admins, there would be a new selection at the top of the reports page (the "mod reports" tab would only be visible if the admin is also a mod in any community): !image

    Resolving reports should be more granular

    • Reports in the "admin reports" tab can only be manually resolved for admins of the local instance
      • To reduce overhead, banning the reported user on the user's home instance + removing reported content should automatically resolve reports for remote admins as well.
    • Reports in the "mod reports" tab should be manually resolved by relevant mods (including admins, if they are explicit mods in the relevant community).
      • To reduce overhead, admins banning the reported user on the community instance OR the user's home instance + removing reported content should automatically resolve reports for mods as well
    • Admins could still resolve reports in the "all reports" tab
      • If it's not an admin report, and not a mod report from a community the admin explicitly moderates, then there should be an additional warning/confirmation when resolving a report here. This is to prevent cases of admins accidentally preventing mods from moderating according to their own community rules.

    To further clarify automatic resolution of reports: in any case where there is no further action possible, the report should be automatically resolved.

    Mods should be able to escalate reports to admins

    This would generate a corresponding report in the admin inbox.

    Reference-level explanation

    • In the UI, changes are needed for both reporting as well as the reports inbox views
    • In the database and API, we should split reports by intended audience
    • Federation needs to be changed as well in order to allow distinguishing the report target audience

    Drawbacks

    It might make reporting slightly more confusing for end users - the mod/admin distinction might not be fully clear to all.

    Rationale and alternatives

    Alternatively, we could make reporting even more granular. It would be possible to allow users to select only a specific instances admins as the intended report audience, for example. However, I think this has several downsides:

    • Makes the report UI even more confusing
    • Potentially takes away valuable information from other admins (imagine a user only reports CSAM to their own instances admins, while leaving the offending post authors home admins in the dark)

    Prior art

    Most other social networks allow users to select whether they are reporting a violation of community rules, or site rules as whole.

    Unresolved questions

    Does ActivityPub properly support splitting up reports like this?

    Future possibilities

    In the future, it might be a nice addition to have some automation to always escalate to admins, even if they're submitted as mod reports, based on report keywords. For example, "CSAM", "Spam", etc.

    13
    Ongoing spam attack on the Fediverse

    Hey folks

    Some of you may have noticed comments complaining about spam and lack of moderation within the past day or so. Maybe you've even noticed a few spam posts yourself (hopefully not too much, as we have automations in place on lemm.ee to remove the spam as soon as it is posted).

    I just wanted to write a quick post with some context about the attack, what we are doing about it, and how you can help.

    Context

    Allegedly, a group of kids in Japan have created a bot, which signs up on different Fediverse instances and posts spam into different communities. The spam generally consists of Japanese text and/or an image and/or a bunch of random @mentions into different communities. You can check a post on Mastodon with more information here: https://mastodon.de/@ErikUden/111940301222380638

    What we are doing about it

    Many instances are actively working to limit this spam-wave, and lemm.ee is no different. Thankfully, we have not had to deal with any bot sign-ups on our instance (potentially as a result of different protections we have implemented for sign-ups), but we still suffer the effects of the spam, even if it's posted from other instances. To help us quickly eliminate most of the spam for lemm.ee users, I am continually tuning our @adminbot to automatically detect and remove content posted in this current spam-wave.

    We cannot remove content from the wider Fediverse if it's not posted there by a lemm.ee user, so our automated removals won't help users on other instances, but we are at least improving the experience for our own users. For an example, you can compare how /c/[email protected] currently looks like on lemm.ee, to how it looks like on this screenshot I took from another smaller instance:

    !

    How you can help

    First and foremost, please continue reporting any spam you find, so that relevant mods and admins can deal with it. I am very grateful to users who help us identify spam through reports, and your reports are precisely what allow me to implement automated content removal for more extreme spam-waves such as this current one.

    Secondly, I am seeking for a few volunteers to grow the lemm.ee admin team. I am purposely burying this at the bottom of the post, to hopefully pre-filter out some candidates who would want to join for the wrong reasons. If you have read until this point in the post, then I assume you are already quite interested in improving the experience on lemm.ee, so if you feel like you could contribute to the admin team, please read on.

    First, I will say a few words about who we are looking for, then I will describe what kind of tasks you would have as an admin, and finally, I will cover some significant downsides of joining the admin team.

    We are looking for folks who more or less match the following profile:

    • You have already been active on the Fediverse for several months (not necessarily on lemm.ee)
    • Previous mod experience would be a huge plus
    • You should feel a strong agreement with our basic instance rules and our administration & federation policy
    • You should be prepared to be exposed to some vile content through reports
    • You are OK with using Discord as the main method of admin communication (that is what we have settled on and will continue using for the foreseeable future)

    As volunteers, we don't expect admins to be available 24/7, but as our instance grows, I do think it would be quite important to achieve a state of pretty good timezone coverage with our admin team, so please only consider applying if you are already regularly active on Lemmy.

    As for what tasks admins are responsible are for: it's mostly covered in the administration policy post linked above. But in short, you should be prepared to regularly check the report queue, contact users with friendly messages to de-escalate conflicts, issue bans, remove content, and monitor the activity of @adminbot. Additionally, if you're interested in taking a more hands-on approach to any kind of community-building on lemm.ee, then this would be totally welcome as well, but not strictly considered a core responsibility for admins.

    Please note that the lemm.ee admin team has an absolute zero tolerance policy against any kind of abuse towards minority communities. If you do not share this mindset, then please do not consider applying.

    Finally, let me share some negative aspects about joining the admin team. I think this will probably reduce the amount of any potential candidates, but I still feel it's important to be honest and upfront about this:

    Through the report queue, you will regularly see absolutely vile content which you might otherwise never even notice on Lemmy. Many users come to Lemmy to spread hate, post disturbing images, etc, and in order to clean such content up for other users, mods and admins need to actually be exposed to this content in much larger amounts than regular users.

    Additionally, while Lemmy is constantly being improved by the developers, the moderation tools are still quite rough around the edges. Lemmy is not at 1.0 yet, and that will most likely become even more obvious to you as you work on admin tasks.

    Maybe this is the most important one: no matter what you do, there will always be people unhappy with how you apply our rules. I have seen countless comments complaining about lemm.ee admins specifically. I have been told by complete strangers that they hate me. I have seen many complaints about us moderating too harshly. I have seen complaints about us not moderating enough. I have seen users on Lemmy make up wild stories about our admin team, and share them as facts. There are of course plenty of supportive users, but the negative experiences tend to leave a much more lasting impression.

    If after reading all of the above, you are still motivated to help make lemm.ee a better place through offering your help in the admin team, please contact me on Discord (@sunaurus)!

    That's all from me for now. Thank you very much to anybody who went through this whole wall of text, and I hope you are all having a good weekend!

    6
    We have a new lemm.ee status page, including federation status, at status.lemm.ee!

    Hey folks!

    Just a quick update: we now have a dedicated status page for lemm.ee.

    You can find it at status.lemm.ee. It currently contains three sections:

    1. A web status section, which I will update manually to communicate issues about lemm.ee
    2. A financial status section, which I will update monthly to give an overview of how we're doing financially
    3. A federation section, which automatically checks the current federation status, both incoming and outgoing, between lemm.ee and other instances. By default it shows 3 large instances, but you can also search for any specific instance you are interested in.

    This status page is hosted completely separately from our main servers, so if there is any trouble with our servers, you can expect the status page to still be available!

    If you have any issues with this page, or any other thoughts, feel free to comment.

    19
    When this post is 48 hours old, lemm.ee will be going down for a database upgrade (Edit: upgrade complete!)

    Hey folks

    This is a heads up that I will be performing some maintenance and hardware upgrades on our database this Saturday.

    We are currently experiencing several spikes throughout the day which cause our database to become overloaded - this results in degraded performance for many users. The spikes are happening due to a combination of continued growth of the database, some expensive periodic scheduled tasks which Lemmy runs, and fluctuating traffic patterns. Some of this can be optimized on the code level in the future, but it seems that the best way to deal with it right now is to add some additional resources to our database server.

    I am intending to switch to slightly different hardware in this upgrade, and will be unable to make this switch without downtime, so unfortunately lemm.ee will be unavailable for the duration.

    As our database has grown quite a bit, cloning it will most likely take a few hours, so I expect the downtime to last 2-3 hours. Sorry for the inconvenience, I am hopeful that it will be worth it and that this upgrade will significantly reduce some of our recent long page load times!

    ------

    Edit: upgrade complete!

    I have now migrated the lemm.ee database from the original DigitalOcean managed database service to a dedicated server on Hetzner.

    As part of this migration, I have also moved all of our Lemmy servers from the DigitalOcean cloud to Hetzner's Cloud. I always want the servers to be as close as possible to the database, in order to keep latencies low. At the same time, I am very interested in having the ability to dynamically spin up and down servers as needed, so a cloud-type solution is really ideal for that. Fortunately, Hetzner allows connecting cloud servers to their dedicated servers through a private network, so we are able to take advantage of a powerful dedicated server for the database, while retaining the flexibility of the cloud approach for the rest of our servers. I'm really happy with the solution now.

    In terms of results, I am already seeing far better page load times and far less resource use on the new hardware, so I think the migration has been a success. I will keep monitoring things and tuning as necessary.

    63
    Image uploads, federation delays, and performance

    Happy new year!

    Hi folks! I hope everybody had a good holiday period and I wish you all the best for 2024. I have some quick updates to share about lemm.ee:

    Image uploads

    Image uploads are now enabled for all lemm.ee users 4 weeks after account creation. The upload size limit is currently set to 500kb.

    The 4 week account age requirement is in place to discourage spam and abuse. It is of course not a fool-proof solution, but let's give it a go and see what the results are.

    Please note that lemm.ee is not intended to be a image hosting service! Feel free to upload avatars and banners for your profile and communities, but please be aware that we reserve the right to modify the upload limits going forward, as well as delete old images if storage costs become too high.

    For image posts and comments, it would still be preferable for you to use an external image hosting service.

    Federation delays

    Over the holidays, our outgoing federation workers began experiencing some significant delays. I have been working on this problem for the past few days, and after updating to 0.19.1, applying some additional patches to the code, and changing our infrastructure a bit, I believe the issue has been resolved.

    The good news is that now that we are on 0.19, problems such as this do not cause Lemmy to completely drop federated activities, as we now retain a persistent queue of federation activities for all linked instances. This means that after the issue was resolved, our federation workers started going through the backlog of likes, comments, and posts which you had made over the past several days, and sending these out to other instances. Essentially, all of your activities did end up reaching their target servers, just with some additional delay.

    One quick side-note here, while we are now federating your activities in real-time again to most big instances, there is still a bit of a backlog left on the lemm.ee -> lemmy.world federation (it is a few days behind). I expect this to also catch up by tomorrow.

    Performance

    The new persistent federation queue is still quite a new feature in Lemmy, so it's a bit rough around the edges - after resolving the federation issues, our federation workers started going through the queue at extreme speed, which caused intense additional load on our database. This was one of the reasons for some performance degradation many of you noticed over the past few days.

    Additionally, since updating to 0.19, there have been regular performance issues for many users. I have managed to solve a few of these by making some changes in our infrastructure, but I am also aware of a few more issues which I will continue to monitor and hopefully improve in the near future. Sorry for the inconvenience, I hope that the changes I have made so far will help make it a bit smoother already!

    That's all from me for now, as always, feel free to comment if you have any thoughts, and have a nice day!

    38
    When this post is 6 hours old, lemm.ee will be going down for an upgrade [Edit: upgrade complete]

    Hey folks!

    Lemmy 0.19 was released this week! It brings a bunch of awesome new features, so I hope you are all willing to forgive some downtime in order to upgrade to this latest version.

    Unfortunately some migration will be necessary as part of this upgrade, so it might take a while, but I will try to keep it as short as possible.

    I hope you are all having a great holiday period, and I will see you soon in 0.19!

    ------

    Edit: Update complete!

    Welcome to 0.19! Unfortunately, the upgrade took somewhat longer than usual, but I believe everything is in order now. As always, please let me know if you notice anything strange, and have fun!

    90
    lemm.ee plans for mitigating image upload abuse

    Hey folks!

    I made a short post last night explaining why image uploads had been disabled. This was in the middle of the night for me, so I did not have time to go into a lot of detail, but I'm writing a more detailed post now to clear up where we are now and where we plan to go.

    What's the problem?

    As shared by the lemmy.world team, over the past few days, some people have been spamming one of their communities with CSAM images. Lemmy has been attacked in various ways before, but this is clearly on a whole new level of depravity, as it's first and foremost an attack on actual victims of child abuse, in addition to being an attack on the users and admins on Lemmy.

    What's the solution?

    I am putting together a plan, both for the short term and for the longer term, to combat and prevent such content from ever reaching lemm.ee servers.

    For the immediate future, I am taking the following steps:

    1) Image uploads are completely disabled for all users

    This is a drastic measure, and I am aware that it's the opposite of what many of our users have been hoping, but at the moment, we simply don't have the necessary tools to safely handle uploaded images.

    2) All images which have federated in from other instances will be deleted from our servers, without any exception

    At this point, we have millions of such images, and I am planning to just indiscriminately purge all of them. Posts from other instances will not be broken after the deletion, the deleted images will simply be loaded directly from other instances.

    3) I will apply a small patch to the Lemmy backend running on lemm.ee to prevent images from other instances from being downloaded to our servers

    Lemmy has always loaded some images directly from other servers, while saving other images locally to serve directly. I am eliminating the second option for the time being, forcing all images uploaded on external instances to always be loaded from those servers. This will somewhat increase the amount of servers which users will fetch images from when opening lemm.ee, which certainly has downsides, but I believe this is preferable to opening up our servers to potentially illegal content.

    For the longer term, I have some further ideas:

    4) Invite-based registrations

    I believe that one of the best ways to effectively combat spam and malicious users is to implement an invite system on Lemmy. I have wanted to work on such a system ever since I first set up this instance, but real life and other things have been getting in the way, so I haven't had a chance. However, with the current situation, I believe this feature is more important then ever, and I'm very hopeful I will be able to make time to work on it very soon.

    My idea would be to grant our users a few invites, which would replenish every month if used. An invite will be required to sign up on lemm.ee after that point. The system will keep track of the invite hierarchy, and in extreme cases (such as spambot sign-ups), inviters may be held responsible for rule breaking users they have invited.

    While this will certainly create a barrier of entry to signing up on lemm.ee, we are already one of the biggest instances, and I think at this point, such a barrier will do more good than harm.

    5) Account requirements for specific activities

    This is something that many admins and mods have been discussing for a while now, and I believe it would be an important feature for lemm.ee as well. Essentially, I would like to limit certain activities to users which meet specific requirements (maybe account age, amount of comments, etc). These activities might include things like image uploads, community creation, perhaps even private messages.

    This could in theory limit creation of new accounts just to break rules (or laws).

    6) Automated ML based NSFW scanning for all uploaded images

    I think it makes sense to apply automatic scanning on all images before we save them on our servers, and if it's flagged as NSFW, then we don't accept the upload. While machine learning is not 100% accurate and will produce false positives, I believe this is a trade-off that we simply need to accept at this point. Not only will this help against any potential CSAM, it will also help us better enforce our "no pornography" rule.

    This would potentially also allow us to resume caching images from other instances, which will improve both performance and privacy on lemm.ee.

    ----

    With all of the above in place, I believe we will be able to re-enable image uploads with a much higher degree of safety. Of course, most of these ideas come with some significant downsides, but please keep in mind that users posting CSAM present an existential threat to Lemmy (in addition to just being absolutely morally disgusting and actively harmful to the victims of the abuse). If the choice is between having a Lemmy instance with some restrictions, or not having a Lemmy instance at all, then I think the restrictions are the better option.

    I also would appreciate your patience in this matter, as all of the long term plans require additional development, and while this is currently a high priority issue for all Lemmy admins, we are all still volunteers and do not have the freedom to dedicate huge amounts of hours to working on new features.

    ----

    As always, your feedback and thoughts are appreciated, so please feel free to leave a comment if you disagree with any of the plans or if you have any suggestions on how to improve them.

    171
    Image uploads are now disabled on lemm.ee due to malicious users

    Sorry for the short post, I'm not able to make it nice with full context at the moment, but I want to quickly get this announcement out to prevent confusion:

    Unfortunately, people are uploading child sexual abuse images on some instances (apparently as a form of attack against Lemmy). I am taking some steps to prevent such content from making it onto lemm.ee servers. As one preventative measure, I am disabling all image uploads on lemm.ee until further notice - this is to ensure that lemm.ee can not be used as gateway to spread CSAM into the network.

    It will not possible to upload any new avatars or banners while this limit is in effect.

    I'm really sorry for the disruption, it's a necessary trade-off for now until we figure out the way forward.

    96
    Hexbear federation megathread

    Hey folks

    I have been receiving a lot of messages every single day about federation with hexbear. Some of our users are vehemently against it, others are in full support. The conversation does not seem to be dying down, rather, the volume of messages I receive about it seems to be increasing, so I am opening this public space where we can openly discuss the topic.

    I am going to write a wall of text about my own thoughts on the situation, I’m sorry, but no tl;dr this time, and I ask anybody participating in this thread to first read through this post before commenting.

    Before I go any further, I want to be clear that for anybody who participates here, it is required to focus on the quality of your posts. That means:

    • Be kind to each other, even if you disagree
    • Use arguments rather than calling people names
    • Realize that this is a divisive topic, so your comments should be even more thoughtful than usual

    With that out of the way, there are a few things I want to cover.

    On defederation in general

    First of all, I am a firm believer that defederation must be reserved only for cases where all other methods have failed. If defederation is used liberally, then a small group of malicious users can effectively completely shut down the federated network, by simply creating the type of drama between instances which would inevitably result in defederation. In my view, federation is the biggest strength of Lemmy compared to any centralized discussion forum, so naturally I think maintaining federation by default is an important goal in general.

    I am also a believer in the value of deplatforming hateful content, but I think defederation is not the best way to do this. Banning individual users, banning communities and establishing a culture of mutual support between mods and admins of different instances should be the first line of defense against such content. There are some further steps that can be taken before defederation as well, but these are not really documented anywhere (in order to prevent circumvention). The point is: for myself, defederation is the absolute last resort, only to be used when it is completely clear that other methods are ineffective.

    Finally, I am wary of creating a false expectation among lemm.ee users that lemm.ee admins endorse all users and communities and content on instances we are federated with. Here at lemm.ee, we use a blocklist for federation, which means our default apporach is to federate with all new instances. We do not have the resources (manpower, skills and knowledge) necessary to pass judgement on all instances which exist out there, as a result, users on lemm.ee are expected to curate their own content to quite a high degree. In addition to downvoting and/or reporting as necessary, individual lemm.ee users are also able to block specific users and communities, and the ability to block entire instances is coming very soon as well.

    Having said all that, in a situation where all other methods do indeed fail, defederation is not out of the question. Making such a call is up to the discretion of lemm.ee admins, and doing it as a last resort is completely in line with our federation policy.

    Regarding hexbear

    Hexbear is an established Lemmy instance, focused on many flavors of leftism. They have quite a large userbase who are very active on Lemmy (often so active that they leave the impression brigading all popular Lemmy posts). One important thing to note is that while some forms of bigotry seem to be quite accepted by many hexbear users (but seemingly not by mods - more on that below), they at least are very protective of LGBT rights (and yes, I am quite certain that they are not just pretending to do this, as many users seem to believe). Additionally, while I have noticed quite high quality posts from hexbear users, there are also several users there who seem to really enjoy trolling and baiting (very reminiscent of 4chan-type “for the lulz” posting), and it’s important to note that this kind of posting is in general allowed on hexbear itself.

    The reason this whole topic is important to so many people right now (despite hexbear being a relatively old instance), is that hexbear only recently enabled federation. A combination of their volume of posts, their strong convictions, the excitement about federation, and the aforementioned trolling has made them very visible to almost all Lemmy users, and this has sparked discussions about the value of federation with hexbear on a lot of Lemmy instances.

    My own experience with hexbear

    I want to write down my own experience with interacting with hexbear users, mods, and admins over the past few days. I believe this experience will highlight why I am hesitant to advocate for immediate full defederation from hexbear at this point in time, and am for now still more in favor of taking action on a more individual user basis. Please read and see how you feel about the situation afterwards.

    Background

    My first real contact with hexbear users was in the comments section of a post in this meta community requesting defederation from hexbear by @[email protected]. That post is now locked, because several hexbear users very quickly started doing the aforementioned “for the lulz” type spamming of meme images in the comments (these are actually just emojis, but they are rendered as full-size images on all instances other than the source instance, due to a current Lemmy bug).

    I did not want to take further actions in that thread in general (for archival purposes), but I did take one action, which in retrospect was a mistake: I removed a comment which contained the hammer and sickle symbol. I ignorantly associated this symbolism with Kremlin propaganda, and the atrocities my own people suffered at the hands of the soviet union during the previous century. Many users (including hexbear users) correctly (and politely) pointed out to me in DMs that the symbol has a much broader use than just as the symbol of the USSR, and people elsewhere in the world may not associate it with the USSR at all. I am grateful for users who pointed this out to me without resorting to personal attacks.

    Let me be clear here: while I do not have anything against leftism or communist ideas in general (in fact in today’s world, I think discussion of such ideas is quite necessary), Kremlin propaganda has no place on lemm.ee. Any dehumanizing talking points of the Kremlin on lemm.ee are treated as any other bigotry, and if communist symbolism is used in context of Kremlin propaganda (that is the context in which I have been exposed to it throughout my whole life), then it will still be removed. But there is no blanket ban on communist symbolism in general on lemm.ee, and discussing and advocating for leftist and communist topics (as distinct from the imperialist and dehumanizing policies of the Kremlin) is certainly allowed on lemm.ee.

    Hexbear user response

    Coming back to the events of the past few days: soon after my removal of the comment containing the symbol from the meta thread, two posts popped up on hexbear. One was focused on insulting and spreading lies about me personally. Another was focused on diminishing the horrors of the soviet occupation in my country. In the comments under both of these posts (and in a few other threads on hexbear), I noticed some seriously disturbing bigotry against my people. There were comments which reflected the anti-Estonian propaganda of the current Russian state, things like:

    • Suggesting that my people has no right to exist
    • Stating that my people (and other Baltic nations) are subhuman
    • Claiming that anybody critical of both nazi and soviet occupations is themselves a nazi and a holocaust denier

    I expect to hear such statements from the Russian state - here in Estonia, we are subjected to this and other kinds of bigotry constantly from Russian media - but to see it spread openly in non-Russian channels is extremely disturbing. Such bigotry is completely against lemm.ee rules in general. Additionally, my identity is public information, because I feel it’s important for the integrity of lemm.ee that I don’t hide behind anonymity. Considering this, I’m sure you can understand why I am very worried about my own safety when people leave comments in many unrelated threads (where my original posts are not even visible), baselessly calling me a nazi and a holocaust denier.

    Note that the goal of this post is not to start a new debate in the comments about the the repressions of the soviet union in Estonia or other occupied territories, but if the topic interests any users, I can recommend the 2006 documentary The Singing Revolution (imdb). The trailer is a bit cheesy, but the actual film contains lots of historical footage from the soviet occupation, and also many interviews with people who experienced it, who share stories which are deeply familiar to all Estonians. If anybody is interested in further discussion, then I suggest making a post about it in the Estonian community here: [email protected].

    Hexbear admin response

    After the above events had played out, I reached out to hexbear admins for clarification on their moderation policies and how they handle such cases. I was actually very happy with their response:

    1. They immediately removed the personal attacks and dehumanizing comments containing Kremlin propaganda from Hexbear, and assured me that such content is always handled by mods
    2. They told me that while there are all kinds of leftists on hexbear, Russian disinformation is generally either refuted in comments or removed by mods
    3. They implemented some additional rules on hexbear to try and reduce the trolling experienced by many other instances, including ours: https://hexbear.net/post/352119
    My personal take-aways

    Let me play the devil’s advocate here and employ some “self-whataboutism”: among all users that have been banned on lemm.ee for bigotry, the majority were actually not users from other instances, and in fact people with lemm.ee accounts. If we judge any larger instance only by bigoted posts that some of its users make, then we might as well declare all instances as cesspools and close down Lemmy completely. I believe it’s far more useful to judge instances based on moderation in response to such content. Just as we remove bigoted content from lemm.ee, I have also witnessed bigoted content being removed from hexbear.

    At the same time, I am aware of some internal conflict between hexbear users over the more strict moderation they are now starting to employ, and I am definitely keeping an eye on that situation and how admins handle it.

    I am also still quite worried about the amount of distinct users on hexbear who have posted Kremlin propaganda. I so far don't have reason to believe that these users are employed by the Russian state, but the fact that they are spreading the same hateful content which can be seen on Russian television seems problematic to say the least, and it remains to be seen if moderators can truly keep up with such content.

    Where thing stand right now

    I am not convinced that we are currently at a point where the “last resort” of defederation is necessary. This is based on the presumption that our moderation workload at lemm.ee will not get out of hand just due to users from that particular instance. My current expectation is that as the excitement of federation calms down (and as new rules on hexbear go into effect), the currently relatively high volume of low effort trolling will be replaced by more thoughtful posts. If this is not the case then we will certainly need to re-evaluate things.

    Additionally, nothing is changing about our own rules regarding bigotry. Especially relevant in the context of Kremlin propaganda, I want to say that dehumanizing anybody is not allowed on lemm.ee (hopefully I do not have to spell it out, but this of course includes Ukrainians, LGBT folks, and others that the Kremlin despises), and action will be taken against any users who do this, regardless of what instance they are posting from.

    Finally, I am very interested to hear thoughts and responses from our own users. I am super grateful to anybody who actually took the time to read through this massive dump of my own thoughts, and I am very interested to get a proper understanding of how our users feel about what I’ve written here. Please share any thoughts in the comments.

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