What should be done about community name squatting?

Want to get yall’s feedback on community squatting.

There are a good amount of communities with zero posts, comments, etc, as well as some users who have created communities but aren’t trying to grow them or even post to them in any way.

I’d rather have the creators of communities be someone who’s at least contributing to them.

Some options are, occasionally deleting communities with little to no activity, or limiting modship to a small number of communities.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
link
152Y

Reddit has /r/redditrequest which grants change of ownership of subreddits with either no mods or mods that have been inactive on the entire site for a period of time. People can request a subreddit, and if the conditions are met, ownership is transferred to them. This model can be automated with server-side code (I’m pretty sure Reddit does this) and modified with additional (or fewer) requirements.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to unconditionally autodelete communities with low participation, because some communities are naturally niche and are expected to not gain a lot of subscribers (for example a community dedicated to a small content creator).

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
52Y

Ya I don’t wanna remove communities for low participation, that’s certainly not to be blamed on the creators. This is mainly for communities with ~0 zero posts.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
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2
edit-2
2Y

Then what’s to stop community squatters from flying under the radar of an automated system by making a post and commenting something random in it every few days if they really want to deprive others of the community?

A solution for this might be to have a report button for communities, which will alert admins of behavior like squatting and perhaps more importantly, communities dedicated to content like hate speech and trolling.

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
52Y

If they’re contributing to the community, then they probably shouldn’t be removed :) . I imagine bigger moderation problems should get escalated to the instance admins, the final say is really with them.

I might consider some kind of report button, but also you can just be able to ping instance admins from anywhere and get their feedback.

@Certified_Awful_Post
link
4
edit-2
2Y

I have one I made a year ago that I would gladly hand over if I knew the password. Perhaps I may suggest a use it or lose it policy. If you don’t log in for a year (more than enough time), your account is forfeit.

As a moderator I’ve noticed many teams attempt to jury rig ways to purge active users on their respective platforms. Many big titans who have operated for years with millions of users occasionally do inactive user purges to free up old usernames.

Edit: I think a reasonable option would be messaging and removing the moderation team if no manual moderator actions take place within a medium timeframe. Three months sounds good to take into account the more sporadic communities.

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
42Y

I agree. I’ve just set up https://lemmy.ml/c/community_requests as a place to revive / transfer abandoned communities.

@Rumblestiltskin
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72Y

I think if they have zero posts and have been empty for a while it is OK to delete. Someone will recreate if they need it and this will allow a more involved mod to run the community.

@gravity
link
32Y

Implement a request feature to request a subs name being forwarded to someone else, if someone can deny or approve then that’s their choice, but if it goes weeks or months without being denied or accepted, the change is granted… DEPENDING on the number of active users on that sub. If it’s only 1-5-10 people, then it should pass, but if it’s hundreds+ of active people then it shouldn’t pass. Also if a community actively has over 50 users I think they shouldn’t even get the option for people to request the name.

Besides this, I would not touch inactive communities. Please limit the amount of moderation that happens, ideally one person should NOT have control over all instances. It should be user led. This is a major issue with other social media. Developers should intervene maybe at a LAST RESORT (illegal stuff, etc) but besides that it should be left 99% of the time up to moderators for that sub imo.

@trymeout
link
32Y

If an account has not been logged into for over a year, the account gets deleted and the username becomes available.

@Praefringo
link
42Y

I think thats unfair. Some of us create accounts so that we can pop in every now then to see the progress of this project/ how its doing.

Matt
link
62Y

Given this is the single instance of Lemmy, and federation is not yet implemented, I would treat this as demonstration and leave them for the time being.

Once you’re federated and there are other instances, then you could look at removing the low activity communities?

@oriond
link
52Y

0 posts + Certain time of inactivity --> Auto Delete them
Some posts + Certain time of inactivity --> Keep them but flag them as “Inactive”

  • And just use a check mark on searches to either include or not “inactive” communities.
  • I can see some legit uses of communities with very little activity.
@rucrefugee
link
42Y

Using the level of activity in a community as a guage for someone’s fitness to moderate seems like a bad idea. There’s no connection there.

Squatting is a good thing - it counters bias

It’s a much bigger problem to find non-biased moderators (squatting or not). If PepsiCo creates and moderates c/pepsi, it invites corruption because obviously PepsiCo will censor posts critical of Pepsi. Squatters create several forums, and thus tend not to be biased. E.g. say a squatter creates c/pepsi, c/coke, c/drpepper, and c/microsoft. They are likely not affiliated with those companies, and can serve as a less biased moderator than the representatives of those companies who would like to control the narrative to favor their profit-driven bias.

It’s less of a squatter, more of an absentee landlord type issue.

@PatagoniaKid
link
22Y

I read the op’s post as more a complain about community name parking rather than squatting.

@diorama
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2
edit-2
2Y

I made a community to expressly park a name against predatory attitudes of “ethical publishers” (see this) in my native language/piece of land.
I suggest to prevent brandjacking in this discussion. Please participate. :hugging face:

@dirtfindr
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2
edit-2
2Y

Please give a different link.

archive.is is a Tor-hostile CloudFlare site, and it cannot be circumvented by using Tor Browser or by using archive.org (which gives: “This page is not available on the web because of server error”).

BTW to be clear, brandjacking benefits the human users of Lemmy. To oppose brandjacking is to put the interests of corporations above the interest of human beings. Non-biased control cannot be achived if the brand owner is in control of the community.

@diorama
link
12Y

Yes you are right.
Also: the archiving default way of Lemmy is via archive.is. Would you mind to fork a post on /c/asklemmy ? <3

@diorama
link
22Y

Also: please please please enable [Link](http://a.com) in community titles e.g. for meta-community reference. :hugging face:

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
22Y

Use @ for users, # for communities. So /c/italy works.

@diorama
link
22Y

thanks for the kindness and prompt reply! shall I remove my comment? what is th lemmyquette?

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
22Y

Haha you’re good, no need to remove comments :smiling face with sunglasses:

@diorama
link
12Y

Does it really work? https://lemmy.ml/c/italia the title of the community does not href the other communities… :thinking face:

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
12Y

I don’t understand. That link works, its to the /c/italia community.

@diorama
link
12Y

I clarify: it is the title of #italia referring to #italy or #italiano, e.g. see the first line in card-body:

  1. it is:
    1.1. Italia - go to #italy or #italiano
  2. I expect:
    2.1. Italia - go to #italy or #italiano
Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
22Y

This uses markdown, so all links have to have the full link. I’m really unsure about re-working the markdown engine to do auto-parsing like that, I’d rather just have explicit markdown links.

Mastodon doesn’t support markdown which is why they have to do weird things like that.

@diorama
link
12Y

I also tried this community title w/o success: Italia - go to [#italy](/c/italy) or [#italiano](/c/italiano)

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
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2
edit-2
2Y

Oh sorry, yeah no markdown support for community names or titles. Only for comment, post bodies, message bodies, sidebars etc.

You’d need to put this in your community sidebar.

I also wanna say that name-squatting like that is discouraged. Someone might want to make or build that community.

@diorama
link
22Y

OK I can delete it after a clarification. It is name parking on purpose (redirecting to a language community and a topic community) made to avoid brandjacking.
Reference here: https://lemmy.ml/post/32994

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
22Y

Italy isn’t really a brand tho, its a country. Someone might want to make an alternate italy community, this happens a lot on reddit when people don’t like the moderation of their local / country subs.

I understand the need to stop brandjacking, but luckily in our federation builds we use the fully qualified usernames / community names, so people are going to know its the real one.

@diorama
link
22Y

Yes you are right. The analogy does not hold. I am going to delete the community. :hugging face:

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
22Y

The links work for me: Italia - go to #italy or #italiano .

@diorama
link
21Y

Because I made them work! I did:

I leave as suggestion these 2 others community:  
* [#italy](/c/italy)  
* [#italiano](/c/italiano)

But if I do the following in the card-body:

I leave as suggestion these 2 others community:  
* #italia
* #italiano

it does not link to the communities.

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
21Y

The right way to do community linking is now !, so !italiano@lemmy.ml , and !italy@lemmy.ml

@diorama
link
21Y

Gotcha! Thanks for your time :hugging face:

@k_o_t
admin
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5
edit-2
2Y

I don’t think this is necessarily done out of ill intent, but rather people who have never been mods before becoming one. For example some people might necessarily realize how much effort it exactly it to moderate or maybe that they don’t have as much interest in the subject as they thought they had, or maybe they simply don’t have time at the moment.

For example I when signed up created /c/firefox, /c/matrix and /c/linuxmasterrace, /c/archlinux. I had some interesting content at the time and some free time, but now that I’m preparing for the finals I have very little time to spend on it. And I would be happy to pass those communities to other people.

My point being that maybe a solution could be mod voting? For example a person realizes that he does a poor job at managing a community and/or populating it with content, so from that moment users could propose themselves to become mods, other users will look through their posting history and will eventually decide. This can of course be done through a simple post, but automating it would be nice. I think this has been discussed here before, can’t find it unfortunately.

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
72Y

The mod voting thing we’ll postpone for a longer discussion, because there isn’t too clear a way to do that without it leaving subs open to hijacking (we have a github issue for it somewhere).

But ya community squatting is something all instance runners will have to deal with. I do like the lemmyrequest idea /u/AgreeableLandscape mentioned where idle / modless communities could be requested by whoever, then that gives a chance to ping the mods there and see if they’re inactive.

Serge Tarkovski
link
4
edit-2
2Y
  • the rules for automatic suspension/deletion etc. should be adjustable for an instance by its admin
  • I think it’s a good idea to suspend or archive a community by renaming it after a certain rule is matched (i.e. a period of inactivity)
  • by renaming I mean adding an underscore before the name, or the ~ symbol, or any other symbol suitable for this purpose
  • by archiving I also mean adding a special flag to the community to be able to show/hide such communities in the UI
  • this frees up the squatted name back for anyone interested in growing a certain topic, but keeps the original community in case its owner would ever want to resume their activity
@daraul
link
22Y

Just here to say I’m not name squatting :s

@Facebook
banned
link
12Y

Make a criteria for mods to meet, if they don’t, There should be a button for anyone to take control of the community and kick the squatter. Otherwise, the mod doesn’t care, no one else cares about the sub, just let it be.

@liam
link
32Y

Maybe I’m misunderstanding the tech, but isn’t this irrelevant with federation? If lemmy.ml/c/privacy is squatted, then people will subscribe to (hypothetically) lemmy.privacytools.io/c/privacy.

Or are you asking with respect to just this instance and not the Lemmy defaults, since you’re administrating this one? In that case, this is a great example of the power of federation. You can pick what you think will keep the instance healthy; I don’t have an opinion.

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
42Y

You’re correct, but ya this is just w/ respect to this instance. Lots of name squatting going on.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
link
1
edit-2
2Y

If it’s on an instance by instance basis then it makes sense, but I wouldn’t recommend implementing active community requirements in the web engine itself. For example a dedicated instance for a software project like Blender (they have their own peertube instance so them getting Lemmy isn’t out of the question) might want to reserve admin-only communities for official updates.

@lps
link
32Y

how about simply removing after say 15 days of no activity. Is it possible to archive and mark as inactive so it can be resurrected later?

Dessalines
mod
admin
creator
link
3
edit-2
2Y

Sounds like a good idea. Admins can transfer and remove communities, but they can’t “delete” them through the UI rn.

Serge Tarkovski
link
12Y

I keep saying I believe those rules should be as adjustable as possible for an instance.

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