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Developer's Move to Bridge Mastodon and Bluesky Sparks Debate!

An interesting solution to bridge two modern-age social media networks. But, it attracted some trouble with it.

Uh-oh! A new controversy has broken out between a developer and many members of the Fediverse, who didn't like how he handled one key element of his project, Bridgy Fed, that aims to bridge Mastodon and Bluesky.

Two open social media networks, bridged together, sounds interesting!

This commotion started just after Bluesky was made open for all, and many feared that this project would be a bad omen for the many servers that wouldn't want their content exposed so publicly.

Join me as I take you through the tricky situation 😬

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What's happening: Spotted first by TechCrunch, the lead developer of the Bridgy Fed project, Ryan Barrett ran into a sea of criticism when many people caught on to the fact that he intended to make this bridge opt-out by default.

Many thought that such a move would result in Mastodon posts being shown in Bluesky without any way of the author knowing that their content has been made more public than they initially intended it to be.

It also didn't help that Bluesky is a platform that is quite centralized in nature; contrary to what the many Mastodon servers and other services using the ActivityPub protocol stand for.

But, it is not meant to work out like that. Ryan clarified:

Some people have assumed that when the bridge goes live, immediately every fediverse post will be visible on Bluesky, and vice versa, and the bridge proactively takes them and shoves them in across in both directions.
It only does that when someone first requests to follow a person across the bridge.

Sadly, the damage had already been done by the time he was able to handle the issues with his project.

He admits that it was not easy being at the center of this situation on the Fediverse, and that he understands the fear some Mastodon users may have about their posts turning up at places they didn't intend to.

After going through feedback from many users, Ryan has now decided to go for what he terms as “discoverable opt-in”.

With this approach, users from either sides of the bridge will have to send a request to follow accounts, with a one-time pop-up asking whether they want their accounts to be bridged across Mastodon and Bluesky, or not.

You can check it out on GitHub or the official website.

Does it matter?

It does for those who are privacy conscious, who don't like the idea of the opt-out approach used commonly on the web, and would rather prefer the opt-in approach as a much privacy-friendly way of doing things.

It is great to see that the developer was so prompt in handling the problem at hand. But, there's another major issue that I think should be talked about.

The developer had to bear the brunt of an outraged mob 🗣️ that turned up and insulted him using slurs, a few unfounded legal threats, some good old gaslighting and what not.

In this day and age, mental health is of the utmost importance, and no one should be treated like this, not even by people who think they have been wronged.

There's always a civil way to approach situations like this, and many did follow that. We now have a solid solution in the works that should be more appropriate for the Bridge Fedi project.

What do you think of this project to bridge an emerging open social media network and an establish decentralized network?

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