Listen, I've spent much of the last two weeks talking about content warnings on here, but always either in reply to someone asking about them, or simply aloud, without picking out anyone in particular. What I generally don't do is jump into people's replies to tell them that their post should have been behind a CW. It's important to talk openly and often about the norms that make these communities work, but be careful that you don't turn into a cop about it.


There are a number of non-confrontational ways you can deal with inconsiderate behavior on Mastodon. From softest to hardest:

😷 Tolerate, but don't boost

⏱ Temp mute: maybe they just need to get it out of their system

🤫 Word mute: maybe they're better if you just avoid that one topic

✂️ Unfollow: uninvited them your Home timeline

🤐 Permamute: drop them from all of your timelines

🙅 Block: keep them from interacting with you at all

⛔️ Server block: Them and what army?

If someone is actively violating the rules or standards of a server, you can:

🗣 Report the account

Once they know what's going on, the moderators can:

🔨 Drop the ban hammer: if the problem is just one bad apple

🙈 Filter a server: to keep media posted there off of the local server

🐌 Limit a server: to keep its members from showing up in the federated timeline

🚫 Suspend a server: aka de-federate

Finally, if your mods won't take action you can:

🚶🚶‍♀️🚶‍♂️ Migrate to a server with different mods

This thread has totally taken over my notifications for the past two days, and shows no indications of stopping, so I'm going to mute this conversation now. Just in case you ask something and are wondering who I haven't replied.

@freakazoid I might do a follow up on admin-level action. This list was strictly about account-level strategies.

@lrhodes @freakazoid as a mod, please tell people to report! We’re only as good as the information we have

@jett @freakazoid Added a new reply to the chain that covers mod action — though, I don't know those options as well as the account-level strategies.

@lrhodes I just joined this past Sun and everyone's been very helpful. It's not difficult to figure out the norms and expectations. It is difficult and frustrating to understand those that deliberately continue to flout those norms. This is a welcome list of how to handle those.

@lrhodes the more that people explain how this place works, the more I love it. This is how the internet should always have been 🙂

@barongreenbacks @lrhodes Changing the relationship from product or customer to guest is vital. There's little incentive for reasonable servers to keep bad actors. Membership in a community is a privilege, not an irrevocable right. There's no Sales Manager demanding that (*)s should be kept because they're revenue.


@lrhodes Thanks! Just what my OCD mind needed now, an escalation ladder with clear steps. baakmarked!

@lrhodes An excellent list. My go-to is the non-boost route at the moment. I might forgive someone's indiscretions, but there's no need for me to inflict that on someone else. At least that's how I think of it.

@lrhodes a thread I was in was getting bombarded with bigoted posts from a server designed for that purpose. within the thread, I @'ed at the admin for the originating server of the thread, and then i blocked the domain of the server on my own instance. Was this the correct procedure? Should I have DMed the other server admin?

@boojit If you're getting blasted by a server that's made to shelter harassers, then it probably doesn't do much good to message their admin. Definitely message your own admin to tell them about that server, and if you're participating in a thread from a third server, you can contact those admins as well.

@lrhodes Thanks. I run my own personal instance (but still a newb and learning the ropes) and so did the federation->suspend thing on that domain.

If you don't mind, on that third server admin, should i have @'ed them in the thread, or should I have DMed?

@lrhodes @boojit I don't necessarily agree with this tbh because it depends on what is getting flagged. Like someone was reporting my cyberbegging posts as spam. I am extremely disabled and struggling, instead the mods could have just said "hey we don't want you here" and I would have moved, which is what I was planning on doing anyway, but I needed someone to help me with it which I didn't have till yesterday. So I'd say depending on the type of server, and the type of posts, ask people to move to more suitable servers before dropping the ban hammer especially if it's a local to you server, not really ok to be needlessly segregating disabled people and non white people from people in local communities that may support them just cause admins don't like them.

@lrhodes @boojit like fine if it's an actual Nazi saying and doing Nazi things but segregating disabled sick people from local communities because you don't like them isn't fair. I wish people would think about how the some of these instances are managed and how the admins aren't necessarily a bastion of kindness

@smollestbunny @lrhodes Yeah i think the way I wrote that was confusing. I have my own server (serverA) and I was responding to a thread on serverB. Then nazi shitposters from serverC came in and started being all...well, you know. So I blocked serverC on my serverA and then told the admin of serverB that maybe they should block serverC too. Turned out, they already had. Hope that clears it up.

@smollestbunny I kinda took it for granted that @boojit was talking about targeted harassment. I certainly wouldn't recommend that people report accounts for requesting help. And you're correct, a person's estimation of the capacity of the admins to empathize is definitely a factor.

@BeanieMacIntosh @boojit DMing them is probably fine. Just bear in mind that @-ing the offending account will include them on the thread.

@BeanieMacIntosh @lrhodes if you take the server part of anyone's handle and then add "/about" and browse to that location (so for example browse to "") you will find a page showing you who the admin for that server is.


If anyone deliberately annoyed me on the Birdplace, I usually just replied with a photo of me sweeping up unicorn shit.

@lrhodes I really love this walk to another server concept here. Thanks for the list

@lrhodes I've got a feeling my server will get blocked. Not because I'm a bad person, but because I'm neurodivergent and someone is certain to find me uncomfortable, eventually. Also, I'm moving to my own server soon, to relieve the burden on the system.

Curious. Are you Lauren Rhodes, writer of books about cemeteries?

@lrhodes thanks so much for posting. Very useful and clear guide as to the steps that can be taken by users and instance staff to keep # #mastodon running smoothly

@lrhodes do we get notification of a decision? I reported something today and not heard anything. Too soon/busy maybe?

@lrhodes Thanks for this. Super helpful. I've found myself blocked for what I thought were fairly innocent questions and replies so still learning (e.g. someone blocked me for asking how do we strike a balance between the right of the poster not to be given unsolicited advice vs the right of the replier to give advice).

@escarpment @lrhodes tbh that sounds like an answer in the form of a practical demonstration!

@knack @lrhodes Fair point. Thought the resulting block can also hurt the person being blocked and further cut off the free flow of ideas. On Twitter, I had reserved blocking users for extreme cases.

This also raises this issue of consent. I was surprised that replying to someone's public post can be viewed as non-consensual. I'm curious to better define the rules of consent: by posting publicly where others may reply, are you consenting to advice and disagreements?

@knack @lrhodes If not, how can the platform make that story clearer? Is there a technical solution (I have only consented to a given group of people replying) or an etiquette solution?

👆️ @lrhodes heads up; that last option - blocking a server instance - is going to get less useful. Why? Because a ton of people joining right now have *no clue* about instances, and don’t care about which they’re on. Consequently; instances are losing their cultural identity.
Consequently; they’re less effective targets.

Bad actors can always split over many instances to cause persistent problems.

Eventually, “open registration” will need to become vetted to maintain the system

@mattwilcox @lrhodes I think this is not going to last. I've already read some people who joined a specific instance talking about moving to another one which better suits their interests/needs.

We'll probably have some turmoil, but I think that's going to settle after a while, especially in instances with more active moderators.

@thekernelinyellow @mattwilcox Bad actors also tend to congregate, in part because good moderation on conscientious servers pushes then onto servers with lax or complicit moderation. The Moderation Covenant is designed to provide standards for moderation that build trust between the servers that adopt it.

@lrhodes @mattwilcox There's that, too.

In fact, I think there already are some instances recognised as nests of bad actors.

@thekernelinyellow @lrhodes yup - and all of that is by design. It’s fine; move to instances that better suit you.

I hope that the influx of users that don’t know this settles down. Maybe it will, but for a period “server blocking” is going to be less useful as it’ll take time for servers themselves to settle their members.

@mattwilcox @thekernelinyellow I see it the other way around. More than 400 new serves have launched since the latest influx began, and it's critically important that those admins get up-to-date on blocks of known hives.

@lrhodes Someone mentioned the temp mute feature and it has made my feed a much more thoughtful place.

Thanks for breaking this down so emojily!

When you say "Word mute", where can I find that?

@lrhodes Of course all these work on twitter too. But people forgot / got lazy and expected algorithms to do this work for them.

@lrhodes Is it possible to unblock if I change my mind about a block?

@sogerald Yes. The follow button on their profile turns into an unblock button.

@lrhodes Wow, thank you! I’ve been here since the beginning, but this is the clearest explanation I’ve seen. The one I’m getting asked but don’t know the answer to is how do you prevent someone you blocked from getting boosted into your timeline?


As someone who is new to this I'd actually appreciate someone confronting me and having a quiet word with me if I inadvertently break the rules or even unintentionally without breaking rules cause offence. I can appreciate why people may not want to confront but if you do not everyone is going to hostile and defensive.

@lrhodes How do I 'Word mute' please?

Not seeing that (using Fosstodon) option available. Is it Mastodon App only?

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