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Background: we blocked qoto.org a week or three ago for the following reason:

"An inclusive free speech instance," transmisia, COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, etc. [2022-11-12] changing from block to silence by user request; see https://toot.cat/@woozle/109331146818085671

We received an email today from Jeffrey Freeman, presumably the owner.

Investigation by our admins found that basically, the admin used a tool to identify other instances that were blocking QOTO, and sent them all emails (probably this one, verbatim). The list of email addresses was apparently assembled manually, and his argument seems reasonable, but the tool in question originally comes from the Kiwi Farms online terrorism organization (thankfully now defunct).

email from Jeffrey Freeman

a QOTO user mentions the tool
JF plans to email the admins of instances that have defederated from QOTO
screenshot of the tool in question, clearly showing its KF provenance

received: 2022-11-17 15:13 EST

Hi, I noticed you had QOTO blocked, I figured this might be a mistake as there has, for some time, been attempts to lie about our policies by some users we blocked for hate speech and sadly some of the community followed along.

Snow, some years back, was blocked for hate speech and he began a campaign against us spoofing various users claiming we accept hate speech on our instance and other outright lies. At one point he even attempted to create accounts on QOTO that posted hate speech and despite getting suspended shortly after, by doing so in the middle of the night, some of it was noticed for the short time it was up. 

My guess is some of this misinformation made its way to you and you, understandably, may have blocked our instance.

We also had some similar trouble many years ago where the LGBTQ community was being attacked and they fled, en masse to our server (which is how our server became so popular early on). This caused several people to attack us in a similar manner spreading quite a few lies as well.

For more information detailing that incident please see this post, it also explains our subscribe feature, which is privacy-respecting and provides the same level of access as using an RSS reader to follow an account: https://qoto.org/@freemo/109319817943835261

I urge you to actually review our timeline and see for yourself, hate speech, harassment, misinformation, etc has never been tolerated in our instance and still is not.

To recap some of the misinformation:

1) We have very strict and aggressively enforced policies against hate speech in all forms, you wont find any on our timeline and if you do and report it you will find it is usually acted on with a suspension very quickly.
2) Our subscribe feature is privacy respecting and was specifically implemented to protect the physical safety of our LGBTQ community during their mass exodus to QOTO in the early years. Similarly, for their protection and at their request, is why we only silence servers and do not suspend them (see the post I linked above for the details on this).
3) harassment and other issues are also strictly enforced on our server.

If you wish to discuss this further please feel free to reach out to me either by email or by reaching out to me at @freemo@qoto.org

In case you have trouble following the link above to the post I referenced I will include the text of that post below for your convenience.

original post

I mentioned this in a private message to someone recently about why a small handful of servers block qoto. I wanted to reiterate it here for the newcomers on QOTO who don't know the history:

So there are some servers out there that demand every server in the network block every instance they do, and if a server doesn't block an instance they block then they block you in retaliation.

Their reason for this is quite flawed but it goes like this.. If we federate with a bad actor instance and we boost one of their posts then their users will see it and defeat the purpose of the block. The problem is, this isnt how it actually works. If they block a server and we boost it, they wont see the boost, that's how blocks work.

The issue becomes even more complicated when you consider the fact that these servers, by virtue of their policy, have huge block lists where they block tons of major servers. So in order to satisfy them we too would have to block a huge number of servers.

This means you have a choice, you either join a server that isnt blocked, but has a huge block list themselves, or, you join a server that doesn't block and be blocked by a small handful of servers. Obviously that means on QOTO you will have a bigger view of the world than you would on any of these other servers. In fact QOTO has one of the largest federation footprints of any server in the network.

I want to also explain why we chose the decision we did. Years ago when this controversy started and servers across the fediverse started blocking there was a divide of people taking sides. WOTO was one of the few servers that didnt take sides and allowed people to read content from any server (but with strict hate speech rules). This caused a huge influx of people,specifically from the LGBTQ community, onto our server. It turns out many people relied on us not-blocking for their physical safety. There were big name bigots (like milo yiannopoulos) who were on the network. They used their accounts here to watch his account for doxing so they could warn themselves and their community and protect themselves accordingly. In fact we added a feature just for them called subscriptions which allowed them to monitor accounts without following them so they could do so anonymously.

In tthe end for the safety of the LGBTQ community here we refused to engage in mass server blocking and instead encouraged our users to block servers on an individual basis and provided access to block lists for them to do so. But some really misguided servers blocked us anyway.

Thankfully the servers blocking us are few and far between and are limited to only the most excessive and aggressive block lists. As I said, QOTO has one of the largest federation footprints on the fediverse,