What is lemmy.ml?
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Recently there seems to be some of misunderstanding what the lemmy.ml instance is about, especially from newer users.

Lemmy.ml has always been a niche site, and it will most likely stay this way. We don’t have any intentions to turn it into a mainstream instance, or set a goal of getting as many users as possible. Our goal is simple: make an instance that people like to use. I would say that we have been successful in this, but obviously it is impossible to satisfy everyone.

The reason for this is that @dessalines and I are paid to develop Lemmy, while donations from lemmy.ml users only make up a negligible part of our income. Besides, having more users would force us to spend more time moderating, and less time for development. Lemmy works quite differently from big tech sites like Reddit in this regard: while they get more money with each extra user through advertising, for us it is the opposite. So we would much rather have a smaller, non-toxic, and friendly userbase, than a large one.

Part of the problem might be that lemmy.ml is described as “flagship instance”, which can certainly be interpreted to mean “mainstream” or “general purpose”. I struggle to come up with a better, more accurate description. If you can think of one, please comment here.

If you dont like the way lemmy.ml works, thats okay. Federation exists exactly to solve that problem, let different groups have their own instances, with their own rules and political views. You can see the list of existing instances, and instructions for setting up a new one on join-lemmy.org.

In particular, I would like to see someone (or a group of people) create a mainstream, or liberal instance. That should help to avoid further drama, and avoid attempts to turn lemmy.ml into something that it is not. @dessalines and I would certainly be willing to help with any technical problems that such an instance runs into, and include it on join-lemmy.org (just like any other instance that meets the code of conduct).

@pingveno
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I’m working on getting a Lemmy instance up and running that would be at least somewhat affiliated with the /r/moderatepolitics community. I would be fine with it being the home of a broader set of politics-oriented communities. However, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, I consider the lemmy.ml CoC to be incompatible with a space that invites opinions from an even moderately broad variety of political background. Would there be any flexibility around the CoC, getting listed on join-lemmy.org, and federation?

My vision is to have a three tiered CoC: site-wide, basic, and enhanced. The site-wide CoC would be a set of instance-wide policies that provide just basic rules for good behavior. This would include rules intended to keep the instance from turning into another trash fire like Gab or Parler. The basic CoC would be a template for a medium moderated community like /r/moderatepolitics, so rules that are mainly to keep the peace. The enhanced CoC would be for a heavily moderated community like lemmy.ml or /r/lgbt.

@nutomic
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You are right, making the CoC mandatory for listing on joinlemmy is going to be too restrictive for many communities. Your three tier concept sounds overly complicated though, I would suggest simply adding an icon on joinlemmy, for instances that enforce the code of conduct (and no icon for those who dont). Basically, it should be clear to potential users what they are getting into.

We would still have some criteria which would prevent instances from being included on joinlemmy (mainly support for fascism I would say). That said, I also think there is an important difference if “problematic” views are expressed by a few individual users and opposed by others, or if the majority of users and admins shares these views.

Edit: Whether lemmy.ml would federate with your instance is an entirely separate question though. So far we only federate with instances that have the same CoC, but these kind of moderation decisions are always up for discussion.

Dessalines
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This might not really be an issue… the crawler can start with any list of specific starting instances, and we could also add blocking to that.

@pingveno@lemmy.ml which specific criteria of the CoC wouldn’t work for you? Pretty much the only one I’m staunch about is anti-bigotry, which it sounds like you have no problem with considering your stance against gab and parler. In that case we’d have no issue federating with your instance and having the crawler pick it up for join-lemmy.org .

@nutomic
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The question is, how exactly do you define anti-bigotry? Do bigoted comments have to be removed, and the authors banned? Or is it enough if other users challenge these bigoted views? I tend towards the latter, because it allows for discussion and deradicalization.

Btw it might be better to make a new thread in /c/lemmy regarding joinlemmy inclusion rules, then more people might participate.

@pingveno
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This reflects my line of concerns perfectly. At the same time, I am aware of how any platform geared towards absolute free speech will almost certainly turn into a cesspool. Maybe going ahead with federation would be beneficial, with the understanding that federation could be severed if there is too much divergence in content.

@pingveno
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Oh, yeah, the three tiered CoC was an idea that would be internal to the instance. It would essentially be a way to help start communities with a well thought out base that they might then tweak with amendments. I fully support the idea of having some method of categorizing instance moderation policies so that users know what to expect.

I’m not sure how federation would negatively influence lemmy.ml. I would think the worst that happens is that a lemmy.ml admin would need to block a user, which is not much different than them just registering on lemmy.ml and getting banned here. Am I totally off base? Note that I would include any sort of cross-community or cross-instance brigade as a severe site-wide CoC violation.

@nutomic
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On lemmy.ml we just have site-wide rules which automatically apply to all communities, and then communities can define additional rules if they want. Not sure where your third tier comes in.

The question of federating with an instance without CoC has simply never come up before, because all other instances use the same one. There is probably no major problem with it, but it needs some thought and discussion first.

@pingveno
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My wording probably wasn’t very clear. There would be a set of site-wide rules, then two or more optional suggested CoC’s depending on the desired flavor of community. So in a community that’s devoted to LGBTQ+ people or non-political topics (e.g. tea, cats), it would be appropriate to pick the more restrictive CoC to produce a softer, friendlier environment at the price of self-censorship. But in a political debate space, it would make sense to have a looser CoC to get a diverse set of opinions for the community to mull over. The optional CoC’s would purely be to facilitate creating communities.

The idea is to create some consistency across the instance without forcing a single set of rules on everyone. The /r/moderatepolitics moderators have found that people who are new to the subreddit often run afoul of our rules, particularly our interpretation of what constitutes a personal attack. Having a common set of rules would at least create some consistency from community to community.

@nutomic
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Ah I see. For lemmy.ml the current way of doing rules works fine in my opinion, and is more flexible than your idea. But of course you are free to do things differently on your own instance.

@seahorse
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@dessalines and I are paid to develop Lemmy

I didn’t know this. I just assumed that it was a hobby project. If you don’t mind telling me, who is financing this? I’m glad someone has the resources to get an app like this developed.

@kpax
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Hi, I would like to create a lemmy server for my country. I am wondering:

  1. Would I be able to customize it? For example, remove the NSFW option entirely, or removing the need for a captcha?
  2. Does it have to be connected with lemmy.ml ? For example, I wouldn’t want all communities (such as Linux@lemmy.ml, Metal@lemmy.ml…)?

Thanks

@nutomic
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Welcome! Disabling nsfw is currently not possible, but you can make an issue for that. For the captcha, there is already a config option to disable it. As admin you can choose which instances to federate with (or not), and you can also remove remote communities, so they wont be federated to your instance.

Edit: I was wrong, there is an admin setting “disable nsfw”.

@zksmk
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Part of the problem might be that lemmy.ml is described as “flagship instance”, which can certainly be interpreted to mean “mainstream” or “general purpose”. I struggle to come up with a better, more accurate description. If you can think of one, please comment here.

How about root instance or just simply dev instance?

@nutomic
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“Dev instance” makes it sounds like its primarily about development and programming, which is not the case. Note that the description doesnt have to be that short, the limit is 150 characters.

soronixa
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what about this: “lemmy.ml, an instance run by Lemmy’s developers”

But I don’t get something, if a new instance that adheres to your code of conduct comes around, and ask to be the flagship instance, as in mainstream and general purpose, you will agree with their request?

@nutomic
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I would prefer something that focuses on the community, and not just on two of the instance admins. But its a good suggestion anyway.

The question about the flagship instance is a difficult one. I guess we would have to talk to the admins of such an instance, and see if we get along with them.

At the same time, I dont think it should be necessary to have a single flagship instance, because that leads to centralization. Maybe there could be multiple such instances in the future?

soronixa
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so something like “lemmy.ml, a community of leftist privacy and FOSS enthusiasts, run by Lemmy’s developers”.

The question about the flagship instance is a difficult one. I guess we would have to talk to the admins of such an instance, and see if we get along with them.

thank you. I think it’s a good compromise between protecting a community like lemmy.ml and helping the adoption of Lemmy.

At the same time, I dont think it should be necessary to have a single flagship instance, because that leads to centralization. Maybe there could be multiple such instances in the future?

good point, we’re safe for now, but surely we sould keep an eye on that.

do you want to make an official announcement that you’re looking for someone to host a general purpose instance to function as the flagship? and maybe posting the announcement on mastodon, and some subreddits?

@nutomic
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so something like “lemmy.ml, a community of leftist privacy and FOSS enthusiasts, run by Lemmy’s developers”.

That sounds pretty good 👍

you want to make an official announcement that you’re looking for someone to host a general purpose instance to function as the flagship? and maybe posting the announcement on mastodon, and some subreddits?

I thought this post would be enough of an announcement, lets see if anyone shows interest to start such an instance over the next days. Anyway, the decision to make it a flagship instance for Lemmy would probably take some time after the instance is launched.

mickie
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lemmy.ml, a community of leftist privacy and FOSS enthusiasts, run by Lemmy’s developers”.

I agree too.

Dessalines
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a community of leftist privacy and FOSS enthusiasts, run by Lemmy’s developers

I’m running the instance crawler, so I just changed this now.

soronixa
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I thought this post would be enough of an announcement, lets see if anyone shows interest to start such an instance over the next days. Anyway, the decision to make it a flagship instance for Lemmy would probably take some time after the instance is launched.

I kinda meant announcing it on subs like r/fediverse, r/linux, r/selfhosting, r/privacy, r/privacytools, subs like that.(just not on r/redditalternatives, it’s an absolute disaster xD ) and on mastodon. and maybe a post to see if other lemmurs agree with the idea.

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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The word root can be misused politically by malicious actors, especially those that are admittedly seeking to harm Lemmy actively. This can simply be called a dev or origin instance, instead.

@zksmk
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I’m not sure I fully see the point you’re making regarding misuse, or the difference between root and origin, but I think I sort of see it, things can be detached from their origin, not so much from their root. Another suggestion this made me think of tho is simply the first instance or the original instance.

@Tomat0
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Maybe branding it in a certain way might do a better job giving off that impression. Small things like the domain name give off the vibes that this is a flagship instance even when its not.

@nutomic
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Unfortunately it is not possible to change the domain of a federated instance.

grtcdr
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lemmy.ml meta
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    Anything about the lemmy.ml instance and its moderation.

    For discussion about the Lemmy software project, go to !lemmy@lemmy.ml.

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