Qoto.org

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qoto.org: "Question Others to Teach Ourselves. A STEM-oriented instance."

  • site: qoto.org
  • status: silenced (November 2022)

About

qoto.org is a STEM-oriented Mastodon instance with a "free speech" approach to moderation.

The domain was registered on 2008-05-31whois, long before Mastodon existed, and appears to have first been used in 2011 to present content[1] from Syncleus, Jeffrey Freeman's think-tank[2]. The earliest evidence of its being a Mastodon instance is in July, 2018[3], at which time the slogan was "Question Others, Teach Others" and the site had 19 users.

Issues

While having a lot of valid science content, they have also unfortunately chosen a "free speech" approach to moderation, potentially allowing anti-science content and toxic users to proliferate. Numerous users (on and off TootCat) have brought this problem to our attention. At the present time, however, we have no specific examples of problematic posts. Using "#woke" as an example of a politically-charged tag, I found mostly positive/reasonable posts and relatively few which seem problematic. (Notes: [1]) They do federate with NoAgendaSocial and with brighteon.social which hosts anti-science site Natural News, and their main feed consequently does contain a small but significant quantity of right-wing BS.

On 2022/11/17, Jeffrey Freeman (apparently the domain owner) used a tool published by the now-defunct Kiwi Farms online-terrorism organization to identify instances which had blocked QOTO, and sent out an email to the admins of each asking to have the block removed. The email, unfortunately, did not really address the issues, and made a number of questionable claims.

History

  • 2022-11-30 Freeman starts a United Federation of Instances project, with high-minded-sounding Constitution draft. some analysis
  • 2022-11-17 email from QOTO sent to numerous instances, requesting lift of limitations
  • 2022-11-12 On request from a new user, this was changed from block to silence.
  • 2022-11-?? Instance suspended. "An inclusive free speech instance," transmisia, COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, etc.
  • 2018-12-06 qoto.org has 2149 users[4]
  • 2018-11-07 qoto.org has 1936 users[5]
  • 2018-10-07 qoto.org has 1799 users[6]
  • 2018-09-02 qoto.org has 1433 users[7]
  • 2018-08-15 qoto.org has 112 users[8]
  • 2018-08-07 qoto.org has 102 users[9]
  • 2018-07-10 qoto.org has 19 users[3]; first appearance in archive.org

Footnotes

  1. 2011-09-23 archive: qoto.org home page
  2. 2011-07-16 archive: Syncleus: Our Team: Jeffrey Freeman, CTO, President, & Chairman
  3. 3.0 3.1 2018-07-10 archive: qoto.org about page
  4. 2018-12-06 archive: qoto.org about page
  5. 2018-11-07 archive: qoto.org about page
  6. 2018-10-07 archive: qoto.org about page
  7. 2018-09-02 archive: qoto.org about page
  8. 2018-08-15 archive: qoto.org about page
  9. 2018-08-07 archive: qoto.org about page