I mentioned this in a private message to someone recently about why a small handful of servers block qoto. I wanted to reiterate it here for the new comers on QOTO who dont know the history:

So there are some servers out there that demand every server int he network block every instance they do, and if a server doesnt block an instance they block then they block you in rettatliation.

Their reason for this is quite flawed but it goes like this.. If we federate with a bad actor instance and we boost one of their posts then their users will see it and defeat the purpose of the block. The problem is, this isnt how it actually works. If they block a server and we boost it, they wont see the boost, thats how blocks work.

The issue becomes even more complicated when you consider the fact that these servers, by virtue of their policy, have huge block lists where they block tons of major servers. So in order to satisfy them we too would have to block a huge number of servers.

This means you have a choice, you either join a server that isnt blocked, but has a huge block list themselves, or, you join a server that doesnt block and be blocked by a small handful of servers. Obviously that means on QOTO you will have bigger view of the world than you would on any of these others servers. In fact QOTO has onne of the largest federation footprints of any server in the network.

I want to also explain why we choose the decision we did. Years ago when this controversy started and servers across the fediverse started blocking there was a divide of people taking sides. WOTO was one of the few servers that didnt take sides and allowed people read content from any server (but with strict hate speech rules). This caused a huge influx of people,s pecifically from the LGBTQ community, onto our server. It turns out many people relied on us not-blocking for their physical safety. There were big name biggots (like milo yanappolus) who were on the network. They used their accounts here to watch his account for doxing so they could warn themselves and their community and protect themselves accordingly. In fact we added a feature just for them called subscriptions which allowed them to monitor accounts without following them so they could do so anonymously.

In tthe end for the safety of the LGBTQ community here we refused to engage in mass server blocking and instead encouraged our users to block servers on an individual basis and provided access to block lists for them to do so. But some really misguided servers blocked us anyway.

Thankfully the servers blocking us are few and far between and are limited to only the most excessive and aggressive block lists. As I said, QOTO has one of the largest federation footprints on the fediverse,

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@Real_Edwin @freemo Great way to make the point! I have now personally blocked Edwin's server instance.

@freemo Thanks for thinking it through. I'm regularly gladdened that I stumbled into this server instead of another.

@LouisIngenthron This issue has been a long time battle on the fediverse, and not an easy one... Luckily very few servers are still an issue... I hope one day they come to their senses but eh, it is what it is.

@freemo I'm glad I chose this instance. Thanks for this insightful update.

@freemo I mirror @gpowerf's sentiment. I also couldn't find any donation info on the about pages...


I appreciate the desire to donate. For those who insist i cann pass along donations details. But truth be told ive donated tens of thousands to QOTO and we are more than ok on money for years to come. If you want to help out just be active, contribute, and find ways to help.



Much appreciate the praise, it means a lot to me to know you feel I will do a good job with managing the community interests and make this a place you want to be.

@nullifidian @gpowerf

@freemo Me too. Glad I chose here, albeit still only understood about half of that😎

@lavenderlens It is great to have you. Luckily me and the rest of the community are always happy to help if you have any questions.


Thank you, this is a good example of using reason appropriately to pursue noble goals.

Additionally, you've removed the character limit on your instance, making your users responsible for writing posts of the appropriate length instead of imposing a limitation.

This story teaches us that it is not enough to free oneself from the explicit control of central authorities, it is also necessary for everyone to be a responsible person so that the rights of all are respected.

Ironically, many people who implement these blocks are used to calling others "fascists" as a condemnation of authoritarianism.

@post honestly you can post up to the 65K limit and it isnt a huge issue. Basically if your post is long it gets truncated with a "read more" link... so no actual harm is done.

Only way you could abuse it is if you purposely used it to flood the network. But if you do that it will get auto reported and youll get blocked.

Good decision.

Some people just don't understand that forcing server blocks not only protects someone from the "unpleasant" communications, but also prohibits other users from communicating with their peers or finding important information.

@skobkin Exactly... and prevents them from being able to investigate or be aware of attacks on them that may endanger their lives!

@freemo I am extremely happy that the boxes I happened to whimsically check when I was signing up, led me to QOTO. This is an excellent explanation.

@ceoln It makes me happy to hear you feel you made the right choice and are happy here in your new home. I look forward to getting to know you.

@freemo it seems like I accidentally stumbled into the right instance! Also I'm glad there's choice out there for people who want to have massive predetermined block lists because that's how they roll, and I'm glad this choice exists for me.

@gailbear I am a big choice of freedom as the priority so long as it doesnt block other peoples freedoms.

It's helpful to learn some of the history about this, thanks!

@freemo The app on my phone doesn't bookmark. I'll have to remember to catch this when I get home. This is such an ongoing thing. πŸ˜”

@freemo Yay bookmarked on the web site! I see where I can do "lists." I'm not sure that's the correct tool, but I'd love to organize links to the public side of this ongoing "conversation." One does not have to be a (insert various groups presumed toxic) to behave in a toxic way. I'm opposed to the toxic behavior, regardless of the ideology behind it, even if it is an ideology I subscribe to myself.

Toxic is toxic.

@Romaq I agree, the irony is I agree with their general principle (which is pro-LGBTQ).. .but in practice they do more harm to that community than they help it, and toxic to boost.

@freemo "Lists" would be of people I follow, which is not the intent. I'll just bookmark thread entry points for now and see what turns up later as I learn this system. Essentially, as Questions get asked relative to, "Why is Qoto blocked/ why are you on that site 'everyone' is blocking?"

@freemo It does, I'm using it, but I expect "at some point" I'll need to create a post with thread entry points on that particular topic, bookmark *THAT* and remove the other bookmarks from *THAT* post. Or something. :)

@Romaq you could always just quote the post, add your notes in your post, then set it to DM. Since you are the only one tagged on you will see it... then bookmark that.

@freemo Thank you! Learning the ropes here.😊

@freemo As someone new to the whole thing, is there a place to learn more about this history and see how Qoto compares to the other servers?

@Joshuamcvey depends how you want to learn about it... we have tons of posts discussing it, links to historic posts... block lists with threads discussing it, our own forum discussing a few blocks and issues... but no one single place.

@freemo Got it. I pretty much a lurker anyway, so I don't need a single link. Just curiosity mostly

@Joshuamcvey what would you like a deeper dive on, maybe i can help either explain or point you to some resources

@freemo I guess I want pretty general info. I can do the research myself later, but here's my thoughts:

How big is the biggest instance and how does Qoto compare?

More info on how the block lists work (instance-wide and personal).

What block lists are most used?

And what kind of vulnerability do instances have to bad actors doing false reporting?

@Joshuamcvey I can touch on some of this.

The biggest instances, and ther eare several general instances bigger than us. QOTO is the largest STEM instance on the fedi including, as far as I know, tech instances.

In terms of reach (the number of people who can see you and are seen) QOTO is in the top 20 of all instances. We are not however the least blocked. This number is based on a bomcination of blocking and being blocked so we have one of the biggest reaches. The servers that do block us have massive block lists (and are frankly very toxic). As such those instances have very small reach compared to us.

When a server blocks annother they simply do not communicate, this applies on a personal level as well.

the most used blocklist is here, it is also the most responsible as they do due dilligance on the instances they block and report this:

There is sadly a lot of vulnerability to false reporting and is up to the instance admin to bother to reach out to the other admin and do some due dilligance. There are many irresponsible servers looking for reasons to block and as such this is a constant problem.

Yeah, about that.
Several years ago, one of your users started hurling abuse at one of my contacts, on one-of my toots, purely for existing whilst trans.
When I complained, the response I got was, to paraphrase, "well, they are right!"
My instance admin complained, and my account and the instance got dogpiled by qoto users.
Hence, block.
I thought I had you blocked on here as well, or would that be because someone boosted you?

fediverse meta - defederation policy 

This. A million times this!

I absolutely respect any server community's right to silence or defederate another server, as *they* see fit. This is a decision for their community, and their community alone. Which is precisely why I have absolutely no respect for the practice of blocking for a decision not to block. Let alone the practice of guilt-tripping and dogpiling people for making a different decision about whether to block this servers of that.


@freemo all I want to know is how are you able to post such a long toot without it being a thread?? πŸ˜† also sorry dumb servers block you.

@freemo Defederation can be a threat for decentralization, I'm glad there are other fediverse admins who understand this.

cc: @tio

@freemo Yeah I too run a Friendica instance and I never de-federeated. This is getting old for me already, and I kept screaming about this for a while now. A bunch of admins on the fediverse act like Musk I swear. Quickly block other instances in the name of thousands or millions. Non transparent too.

I have no clue what's the issue here....I've been on the fediverse for 2 years now.....where are these trolls and idiots and nazi and child porn? I have seen none. Maybe because I carefully select who I want to follow and if anyone is a troll I block them immediately. Simple. Works great. Thus, users has a tremendous power at taking care of themselves and new tools/options can improve the situation, such as the ability to mute comments on your posts or only accept comments from your friends, or block lists that individuals can enable for themselves, and so on.

De-federation is a very primitive and destructive behavior.

@freemo It's good to have a true 'gentleman scientist' which is a free-thinking scientist with money (male or female). Very rare.

@freemo @hasmis Apart from the pragmatic reasons, there's another good reason to avoid excessive instance-level blocking, although it is perhaps not so visible.

An admin's choice to let users decide for themselves what they want to block is fundamentally a sign of respect. It says "I trust you to decide for yourself what you want to see."

And respect is a mutual thing. Users tend to respect admins (e.g. @freemo) who do this.

The end result is a better atmosphere on the instance.

@aebrockwell @freemo This reminds me of the abuse of the cc list in the old company. Emails had huge cc lists and the nasties tacked on other names to reply, thus making it invisibly bigger and bigger. So, I have a great fear of invisible lists, it is all for political purposes.

@freemo Thanks for explaining how it works (I haven't paid any attention to that yet), and making a good argument for the choices made. :D

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QOTO: Question Others to Teach Ourselves
An inclusive, Academic Freedom, instance
All cultures welcome.
Hate speech and harassment strictly forbidden.