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About Mastodon

Mastodon is a distributed social media platform, similar to Twitter. There are hundreds of different Mastodon sites in the Fediverse, and you can make an account on any of them and then follow and interact with users across all the different instances. It has easy apps for your phone too! This is a great guide to Mastodon that goes over what it is and will answer many questions you might have.

About Us

leftist.network is a Mastodon server specifically geared towards those with Leftist politics -- though your posts aren't restricted to politics! While you're welcome to follow people from this server if your politics don't fall considerably on the left side of the spectrum, we'd strongly suggest making your Mastodon account elsewhere. This is meant to be a space where Leftists feel welcome, and our Code of Conduct is stricter than other instances.

Lack of Privacy

Please remember that public toots made on this instance are public! If you wish to only share your posts with friends, we recommend both:

  1. Setting the privacy of your toots as Followers Only when posting. You can set this as the default under Posting Privacy in the Other section of Preferences
  2. Choose Lock Account in the Profile -> Appearance section of your Preferences (which will only allow accounts to follow yours with approval.)

Even then, as with all other Mastodon instances, your posts and Direct Messages are not encrypted, are still subject to subpoena (for this instance in the United States), and should not be considered secure. You're encouraged to use secure messaging for confidential communications, and we have recommendations below.

Code of Conduct

The following guidelines are not a legal document, and final interpretation is up to the administration of leftist.network; they are here to provide you with an insight into our content moderation policies.

Given that leftist.network will be more restrictive than other Mastodon instances, we've separated out the Code of Conduct into 2 sections:

  • Common Code of Conduct (lifted in almost entirely from mastodon.social, the first mastodon instance)
  • Extended Code of Conduct, with new requirements for leftist.network.

Remember that both apply, and if you're not comfortable with the extended Code of Conduct, we recommend creating your account elsewhere and limiting interactions with accounts on this instance. If posts or messages break either sets of Code of Conduct, users are encouraged to report them.

Common Code of Conduct

  1. The following types of content will be removed from the public timeline:
    1. Excessive advertising
    2. Uncurated news bots posting from third-party news sources
    3. Untagged nudity, pornography and sexually explicit content, including artistic depictions
    4. Untagged gore and extremely graphic violence, including artistic depictions
  2. The following types of content will be removed from the public timeline, and may result in account suspension and revocation of access to the service:
    1. Racism or advocation of racism
    2. Sexism or advocation of sexism
    3. Casteism or advocation of casteism
    4. Discrimination against gender and sexual minorities, or advocation thereof
    5. Xenophobic and/or violent nationalism
  3. The following types of content are explicitly disallowed and will result in revocation of access to the service:
    1. Sexual depictions of children
    2. Content illegal in Germany and/or France, such as holocaust denial or Nazi symbolism
    3. Conduct promoting the ideology of National Socialism
  4. Any conduct intended to stalk or harass other users, or to impede other users from utilizing the service, or to degrade the performance of the service, or to harass other users, or to incite other users to perform any of the aforementioned actions, is also disallowed, and subject to punishment up to and including revocation of access to the service. This includes, but is not limited to, the following behaviors:
    1. Continuing to engage in conversation with a user that has specifically has requested for said engagement with that user to cease and desist may be considered harassment, regardless of platform-specific privacy tools employed.
    2. Aggregating, posting, and/or disseminating a person's demographic, personal, or private data without express permission (informally called doxing or dropping dox) may be considered harassment.
    3. Inciting users to engage another user in continued interaction or discussion after a user has requested for said engagement with that user to cease and desist (informally called brigading or dogpiling) may be considered harassment.

These provisions notwithstanding, the administration of the service reserves the right to revoke any user's access permissions, at any time, for any reason, except as limited by law.

Extended Code of Conduct

Leftist.network is meant to be a space where Leftists feel welcome to discuss their politics, beliefs, and lives openly, without fear of constant criticism or argument. This service is only a vehicle for debate if the users in question have been clear in being open to it.

The following conduct is disallowed and is grounds for removal from this platform:

  • As noted in Common Code of Conduct, continuing to engage in conversation or debate with a user that has specifically requested to stop discussion
  • Sea-Lioning users, a type of harassment where one repeatedly asks someone to give evidence for all their opinions and generally insists on a bad faith debate
  • Mansplaining diatribe responses. If you plan to respond to a post in a way which naturally begins with some form of "Well actually", "To be fair" or similar, don't.
  • Playing Devil's Advocate. If a user wishes to have an argument based on the other side not believing what they are arguing, there are plenty of other avenues for doing so. Unless a Vatican Council opens an account here and requests public dialogue regarding someone's Beatification, your Devil's Advocate arguments are unnecessary. Have debates only based on your actual viewpoint.

Secure Communications

As noted above, neither leftist.network nor any other Mastodon instance should be considered secure communications. We recommend meeting other Leftists here, and then connecting via secure platforms if you wish to have a private discussion.

Text Communications

Main Recommendation: Briar

Briar is a secured End to End Encrypted messaging application for Android phones. It's available on Google Play Store, F-Droid, or directly.

Why Briar specifically? Because it offers decentralized messaging with or without internet. We strongly recommend reading their How it Works page

  • If you have internet access, Briar can connect directly to other users via the TOR internet anonymizing network
  • If you do not have internet, Briar can connect to local users via wifi or bluetooth
  • If you have a message for someone not locally available, Briar can send the message to others in your private group, and those messages can be couriered to the other person when your friend gets into their area

It works great for messaging each other currently, and will still work if you later find yourself trying to communicate with others without internet access, such as at a protest. Besides private messages, Briar supports private group messages, forums, and blog posts. Briar is essentially a better version of Firechat, the distributed messaging Hong Kong protesters used to communicate with each other. If you plan to communicate with others using Briar for a protest, it's recommended to have a copy of the apk to be able to give to others to install, such as connecting to each other's phones via USB, or passing it on a USB flash drive.

Secondary Recommendation: Signal

Signal is also encrypted messaging, and a secure platform for messaging. Unlike Briar, which is only available for Android, Signal is available for iPhone and Android. The reason Briar has our main recommendation is that it works both with and without internet, while Signal requires internet. If Briar doesn't entirely fit your needs, we recommend installing both Briar and Signal, and falling back to Signal when needed.

Video/Audio Communications: Jitsi Meet

Jitsi Meet is Open Source hosted videoconferencing software. On your laptop or desktop you can videoconference using only your browser with no extensions or installation. For mobile there is an easy app available for Android and iPhone

Note that while it is easy to have client to server encryption for Jitsi, using normal https ssl connections and the built-in encryption of WebRTC video, Jitsi calls are not End to End Encrypted. They are only as secure as the server being used for them, and how much you trust the owners of that server. While there is a Public Jitsi Server available, for confidential chats we'd recommend setting up your own server or using the server of someone you trust. It's extremely easy to setup, either from your house or a cheap web host.