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finally sort of caught up with the mastodon ~~drama~~ that's been happening over the last few years. If there's one image that kept coming to mind, it is the last time I was at AWS Re:Invent. That week was (by a very very very large margin) the most percentage of "whites only" I've seen on grindr & scruff profiles.

yeh, it's hard to discern from the drama, and a lot of it is reminicent standard FLOSS in-fighting. The rabbithole of reading stemmed from this article on the daily dot: (amongst other "toots"

Ah, yeah it does seem kind of sketchy to unconditionally ban Nazis, then establsh yourself as the benevolent dictator for life, and expect nobody to have a problem with that. Personally my biggest beef with Mastodon (aside from the fact that #federation is #stupid) is that it has these tiny columns that look great if you have a closed source, spyware laden smartphone, but on a laptop... not the greatest UI.

Oh man, so I started a reply 3 weeks ago and then got sucked into re-discovering GNUnet and reading all about this secushare thing (I have to admit, though, even after reading I think everything on their site, I'm still not 100% clear on what it is, even though I completely agree with most of their reasonings behind creating a new platform)
I think your comparison to GMail is quite apt. Email is supposedly the most successful form of federation we have, and the current status kind of sucks. A flawed argument to your comments on restrictions, privacy, is to self-host one's own services. One of the most divisive topics in self-hosting communities that I've seen is email EXACTLY for that reason - since email has been relegated to a very few e-mail companies, even if you're following modern standards for e-mail, like SPF, DKIM, DMARC, checking for spam, malware, etc - you might still get blacklisted from major providers like google, microsoft for no reason other than you are not big enough to be considered a trustworthy e-mail server.
There are no good solutions, we can definitely commiserate on that. Here's to hoping that some of these flaws of federation can be alleviated - I hold belief in our libre communities 😀