Fediverse Loves Open Responsible Ethical Networks for Communicating with Everyone

Content Warning: this post discusses abuse and transparency. It also mentions Laurelai Bailey, a past member of the ForkOff/ForkTogether initiative (which later transformed into the Florence project).

Thank you all for your patience with us as we’ve taken the time to process this. We wanted to make sure to cool our heads, have a proper conversation between each other, figure out what had gone wrong, and figure out how to avoid doing anything like this ever again. We also took almost a month to write and edit this post, which shows that we honestly didn’t know how to approach this subject, apology, or situation to begin with.

What Happened

In July, a thread on the fediverse featured abuse of Laurelai Bailey, as well as a heated argument involving a few members of Florence, namely maloki and lightdark. While it is tempting to recount everything that happened leading up to this event we decided to keep this post short and to the point.

First, we would like to apologize to Laurelai, for how this incident came about and where it came about. We spoke out about an issue in absolutely the worst possible place we could have done it, and although we can't change what happened, we're going to try and make sure it doesn't happen again.

Second, we would like to extend an apology for our lapse in communication about the issue from the start. We have yet to reach a point where our process is transparent enough about these sorts of decisions, and we want to acknowledge and improve this.

We completely understand if we’re not forgiven for this incident, and we understand if this has destroyed any trust in the project we're working on. However, we've always been open to give people second chances in this project, and we hope that one day you can to do the same for us.

How We Want to Do Better

We recognize that we do not have a lot of the processes in place yet to handle communication regarding events like these, nor have we had time (even if we've been working on this project for the past eight months at a baby-step pace) to internalize some of the previous decisions we have made. We did lapse in judgement, and it's possible that this is growing pains, and it is also possible that we are just human.

Currently there are some quirks involved with team communication, both internally and externally, which we hope to be able to iron out over the next few weeks and months by clarifying to ourselves what we respond to, and how. We're finalizing the Code of Conduct, and while we agree on its general content, we've been putting off actually saying “this is our current draft, and this is how we’ll handle reports”. We need to continue figuring out how our entire outreach process should work, especially in regards to responding to certain types of comments, and we hope that you'll stay with us along the way.


Florence Team:

@maloki@elekk.xyz @1011X@mastodon.social @jhaye@social.libre.fi @lightdark@toot.cat

Last Friday (12 Apr 2019, 8pm UTC) the “Florence Kick-off Crew”, had a meeting about what steps we could accomplish this week. See meeting notes here. As we mentioned when we brought ForkTogether back to life as Florence in January, we’ve gone back to a smaller core group to start things off, to make decisions and move things along. We’ve (as mentioned here) also been taking into account all old conversations and discussions as we make our decisions. Now the goal is to get some more shared communications platforms up, which brings us to today’s update. The team has changed a bit in the past month.

Kick-off Crew

Currently we have maloki and mecaka as project managers (we’ll introduce that further in the next section) working together with 1011X, jhaye and lightdark. PaulFerence took their leave a while back, and Satsuma has been out of commission due to health, but is starting to come back.

We also have some people assigned to teams which we’ll be working with getting up and running as the communications platforms are up. These teams will start out with Governance (which is basically this kick-off team), Development and Infrastructure. Then we’ll add on with more teams as we keep progressing. We hope to introduce those teams when we have something to show. If you’re interested in joining any of these teams do not hesitate to contact myself or mecaka.

Project management

In light of maloki’s health situation, @mecaka@elekk.xyz will be helping maloki with project management tasks and anything else she can, hopefully helping keep the ball rolling after quite a few hiccups. Her main focus this week has been to catch up on the various on-goings from the last couple of months, and get orientated as a part of the kick-off crew. She's been doing a lot of reading, on the Discord server, the blog posts, maloki's posts on the Fediverse, and so on, to get there. And, incidentally she helped us write this post together with maloki.


We’ve had ligthdark and woozle work together to get Mattermost up and running, which will be replacing Discord, and this will be where the real work will begin, and the teams start working together more closely. This has been one of the thresholds for a while, but we’re hoping that when this is up it will help facilitate some conversations.

If you want to join the conversation, you can do so through this invite, just be aware that the verification email may take a moment to send.


As we are slowly preparing our own infrastructure, we've started with a few simple links and redirects. So, you can now reach the ForkTogether/Florence Wiki via wiki.florencesoc.org and the Mattermost at chat.florencesoc.org (but sign up with previous link first).

As you can tell, we’re trying to work around achievable and attainable goals on a fairly slow pace at the moment, but as the communication infrastructure gets up, we will be kicking off the development team and infrastructure team a bit more. Along with some other teams like translation, wiki, and outreach.

If you want to stay up to date you can follow the #Florence hashtag on the fediverse, or this blog via @florence@write.as.

Our next meeting is set for 22 April 2019, 8pm UTC. And we’ll keep working and keep trying to be transparent in our processes and progress. We want to keep this momentum going, and get to the point where we can properly involve everyone who wants to be involved, at the level they want to be involved.

Published by maloki as a Medium post and a write.as post: Some of you may remember me from hit series such as “Mastodon has a Project Manager”, “I've returned as Project Manager for Mastodon - a love-letter”, and “Time to Fork This Stuff”. It is time for a reboot.

picks up Mastodon This does not spark joy. Thank you Mastodon for all you've done for me, but I'm moving you into the no-joy pile.

In true Konmari spirit, I want to thank Mastodon for the time we've had. While Mastodon has been problematic to say the least, Mastodon has also been great in a lot of ways for a lot of us. We've found community, love, support, and valuable friendships. We've had opportunities to learn new lessons and grow. We've had people calling us on our bullshit, and it's generally been an open and welcoming space. I want to thank Mastodon for this.

Now some of us, both long time developers and contributors, as well as community members, are choosing to pick that up to continue building something new. I wish you the best, Mastodon; you served us well.

picks up Florence This feels different. I like this.


Fediverse Loves Open Responsible Ethical Networks for Communicating with Everyone

It's been a long time coming, and it's time we keep moving this forward.

Florence will be a lot more than just a Mastodon fork. We are still putting some of those thoughts into words, but we have plans to contribute to all fediverse software that will have us. Our goals include focusing on anti-harassment tools and accessibility. We want to utilize the strength of the diverse experiences, backgrounds, and knowledge we have seen to build something together. We want to listen and have open dialogue with all of you as part of the development process, and it will be at the heart of our work. We will bring this with us to any project that wants to take advantage of what we have to offer. We are stronger together.

Which is why today we want to present you with Florence Mastodon, and the plans for it.

Florence Mastodon

Instead of continuing the existing versions from Mastodon, we're going to be using semantic versioning, to make it obvious when you need to update your software or when there will be game-changing updates or important patches. We'll be sure to list what Masto-main version each release corresponds to.

  • 0.1: For our first release we will have set up the repo and created an upgrade path from Masto-main, you can switch over now, if you like (glitch.soc or other forks would be a downgrade).
  • 1.0: We will have incorporated changes from existing forks, to create Florence-Masto's unique flavour. At this point you've been on other forks, with other features, you should be able to switch. Since the goal is to get 1.0 out there as soon as possible, we will put new additions in the next update.
  • 1.1: New features not existing in other forks, or features that need to be reworked, will probably end up here.
  • 2.0: When we reach this point, the goal is to have included major UI changes which have been requested. What else is in store, time will tell.

There will be a longer post available soon if you want to read about our thoughts about how we'll version and work on the development for Florence. The idea is for the development team to elaborate on that to figure out how they want to work with Florence.

Organization goals

There's a few other things we're interested in, that I'll just list below:

  • We are signing the Post-Meritocracy Manifesto as part of our goal to focus on compassion, community, and creating ethically sound software. We want to hear from marginalized people when creating this software, we want you to be part of our organization, we want to pay you (when we can, and according to need), and we want to give you credit for your work.
  • We will always aim to utilize Open Source Software as part of our infrastructure. However, that won't always be practical, so we also want to be pragmatic.
    • Some of the conversation is still happening on Discord, but one of those conversations has been about moving off Discord, and we aim to finalize that in the next few weeks. More info soon!
    • Yes, we're starting out on GitHub, but it's for some practical reasons, and we are looking at putting the code somewhere more accessible, as we want it to be easy to provide feedback.
    • Yes, chosa and ocdtrekkie, we've forked now!

Now we look forward, and start building, together.

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