About The RapidBlock Project

The RapidBlock Project is a grassroots initiative to make Fediverse domain blocking more effective through collective action.

Moderation on the Fediverse is unevenly distributed. Some instance admins devotedly follow the #FediBlock hashtag, blocking abusive servers within hours of their first appearance on the network. Others wait until their own users file a report. Still others do nothing at all.

This uneven distribution of moderation allows abusive instances to do significant psychological harm. Abusive instances are a fast-moving target; setting up a new Mastodon instance takes only an hour or two, as does resetting an instance to give it a new domain name. This gives abusers a substantial time window in which there are a lot of available victims to target.

Some people have suggested algorithmic alternatives, whether something as sophisticated as modern AI/ML techniques, or something as simple as auto-blocking based on surveys of popular user-level or instance-level domain blocks. However, such approaches have frequently led to hard-to-find but easy-to-abuse loopholes for harassers to evade such auto-bans, or even to turn auto-ban algorithms against the “good guys”. I don't know about other Fediverse projects, but part of the point of Mastodon is to reject the modern itch to surrender all control to algorithms and leave ourselves at the mercy of some software developer's poorly-debugged fever dream.

The RapidBlock Project is something different: humans are in the loop at every step of the decision-making process, and the only thing that is automated is the actual propagation of the decisions. Moderation is hard, especially good moderation. Moderation is a full-time job, and many Fediverse admins aren't taking up that mantle of responsibility. We are trying to build a central moderation team with a clear, published rationale for our blocking criteria and a clear dispute process for remediating mistaken blocks.

But a central moderation council would be toothless without solidarity. Solidarity, for those not versed in labor organization, is the active choice to act together as a unified front, rather than to try and negotiate one-on-one, because we know that while a few might be able to negotiate a better deal for themselves, it will only be the ones in the most privileged or nepotistic positions who manage it, and the majority of individuals will end up worse off.

In the RapidBlock context, solidarity means this: by standing alongside the RapidBlock Project's moderation decisions, you as an admin are forcing abusers and harassers to treat you with more respect, because they will be forced to acknowledge that losing you means losing everyone that they want to hurt, even the people who they haven't gotten around to hurting yet.

Who We Are

Please see the Team page.

Files

blocklist.json [plain text]
The most recently generated export of the RapidBlock official blocklist, in RapidBlock v1 JSON format.
blocklist.json.sig
A cryptographic Ed25519 signature for blocklist.json.
blocklist.json.diff [plain text]
The most recent batch of changes to the blocklist.json file, in Unified Diff format.
blocked_domains.csv [plain text]
The most recently generated export of the RapidBlock official blocklist, in Mastodon per-user “blocked domains list” import CSV format.
blocked_domains.csv.sig
A cryptographic Ed25519 signature for blocked_domains.csv.
blocked_domains.csv.diff [plain text]
The most recent batch of changes to the blocked_domains.csv file, in Unified Diff format.
rapidblock.pub
The public key for verifying our Ed25519 signatures.

Statement of Principles

Diversity

Diversity is much, much more than just representation of, and participation by, minority voices. Diversity is resilience to disaster. Diversity is how evolution safeguards against extinction. Not “diversity of thought”: diversity of genetics, diversity of experiences and backgrounds, diversity of creativity and ideas, diversity of strategies and life styles. These are where the resilience of human society comes from, our ability to survive and succeed in the face of the unexpected.

The opposite of diversity is eugenics: the idea that there is one “correct” genetic template, one “correct” race, one “correct” gender, one “correct” sexuality, one “correct” set of life experiences. Eugenics sees the natural variation of evolution as a disease to be cured. Eugenics says that there is one objectively “best” way to live your life, and anyone who is differs from it — in any way — is inferior and does not need to be listened to. It rejects the fundamental truth that evolution is a game of rock-paper-scissors, that sometimes A beats B, B beats C, and C beats A. “Merit” is context-sensitive, not an objectively true thing that can be measured for all situations simultaenously.

Safety

Safety is more than just safety from physical injury. Safety means that you have the tools and information available to you to adapt to the ever-changing world. Safety means that you feel in control of your own life. It is never okay to sacrifice one person's safety for that of another, unless it is the voluntary choice of the person who is giving up their safety to protect another.

Safety is intimately connected to both diversity and consent. Safety promotes diversity, and therefore resilience to the unexpected. Safety and consent feed upon each other in a virtuous cycle: people who feel safe generally are better at respecting the consent of others, and people who respect the consent of others help them to feel safe.

Moderation Policy

Nota bene: all moderation criteria are subject to human judgement calls. There is no such thing as objective moderation; even a complete lack of moderation is not truly objective because it promotes violent voices over peaceful ones.

Harassment

Targeted harassment is strictly prohibited. One person disagreeing with one other person is not harassment, but a dogpile of people disagreeing with one person might be. Insulting or verbally abusing someone in your first interaction with them might constitute harassment. Threatening someone's life, physical safety, or job safety is usually harassment, and threatening someone's family or loved ones with the same is almost certainly harassment. Persistently arguing with someone after they ask you to stop is harassment, if they are mentioned or DMed.

As a general rule of thumb, we assume that any Fediverse instance that advertises itself as favoring “free speech” permits harassment.

Nationalism

Nationalism is the vacuously false belief that people from some countries are superior to people from other countries, regardless of their knowledge, skills, and behavior toward others. Like racism and sexism (listed below), nationalism is best understood as a desire by an insecure person to feel superior to someone, to have someone they are “permitted” by society to boss around. It can be seen as an expression of desire to violate consent, and it frequently overlaps with racism and eugenics.

Racism

Racism, often in the form of so-called “white supremacy” or “white nationalism”, is the vacuously false belief that some races, ethnicities, castes, or skin tones are superior to others by virtue of their birth. Advocacy for racism or racist policies is immediately suspect.

Like nationalism (above) and misogyny (below), racism is frequently rooted in a desire by insecure people to feel superior to someone, to have someone they are “permitted” by society to boss around. However, in contrast to non-racist nationalism (rare), racism usually has a clear eugenic component.

European-style classism, which is commonly found in Europe's current and former colonies, often falls under this aegis. We consider something “racist” for moderation purposes if one person is considered inherently superior over another based on who they are, or aren't, related to. Financial and social success within families is better explained by nepotism than by genetics.

Presently there is one subcategory of racism that we tag: antisemitism. Other racism subcategory tags, such as colorism and casteism, may be added in the future.

Antisemitism

Antisemitism frequently goes hand-in-hand with “white supremacy” and is a particularly virulent form of racism that targets Jewish or other Semitic and Levantine peoples for their ethnicity and real-or-supposed genetic traits.

Misogyny

Misogyny is the vacuously false belief that men are superior to women. It often looks very similar to racism, queerphobia, and eugenics, despite the clear contradiction that the human race could not survive without both men and women. Similarly to nationalism (above), this is best understood as a desire by insecure men to feel superior to someone, to have someone they are “permitted” by society to boss around.

There is a major misogyny streak in the eugenics movement, where people who believe in eugenics — especially those who accept the racist and antisemitic “Great Replacement” lie — also believe that they know what (those whom they consider) women should be doing with their bodies, better than the body owners do. This is a big component of their advocacy against abortion, against birth control (both hormonal and barrier), against divorce, and in favor of pedophilia/ephebophilia and child brides. Their goal is to take away the power to say no — to abrogate consent.

Queerphobia

Queerphobia is an umbrella term for hatred of LGBTQIA+ people. The proximate cause of this hatred is often their lack of interest in procreation, but it ultimately is an intersection of eugenics and misogyny, very much tied into the racist and antisemitic “Great Replacement” lie. Queerphobia exists for the same reasons that misogyny exists.

Subtypes of queerphobia are not currently tagged, but homophobia, biphobia, aphobia, transphobia, enbyphobia, and transmedicalism are some subtypes that we recognize as harmful.

Ableism

Ableism is hatred for disabled people. A common pattern is for ableists to be contrite about harming people with disabilities acquired during adulthood due to certain types of accidents, such as paraplegia due to an automobile or motorcycle accident, but to express great contempt for people with disabilities that are genetic or that are tied to a way of life that the ableist hates. As such, the connection between ableism and eugenics is clear.

Fraud

Fraud is any attempt to deceive or trick people into an action that they would otherwise not take, by giving them false or misleading information. Our moderation team is most heavily focused on financial and investment fraud because it is one of the most common and most impactful types of fraud. Fraud is, by definition, a violation of consent.

Privacy

A violation of privacy is a direct violation of consent. Doxxing of one's physical address or unlisted/hidden contact information, usually for the purpose of harassment, can be a privacy violation. So can scraping or collection of public content in ways that the creator or curator of that content did not intend. Automatic scraping of content for the purposes of displaying it in public is a privacy violation, especially if it is mandatory or opt-out (sometimes euphemistically called “auto-opt-in” by violators).

Spam

Spam is any unsolicited action — including hashtag spam, DM spam, and follow spam — that affects one or more people who have not expressed or implied an interest in seeing it. Spam is a fuzzy category, but the key is that spam is targeted at an audience, not at an individual, and there is no particular reason to believe that the audience being targeted has any interest in seeing the spam. Thus, spam is a violation of consent.

Malware

Malware is software that performs activities not wanted by the person whose computer the malware is running on. Older forms of malware, such as viruses and keyloggers delivered via drive-by downloads, are well known to anyone older than a certain age, and these are still in use today. One of the newer forms of malware is cryptocurrency mining, often done in web browsers using JavaScript or WebAssembly. Malware is, of course, a violation of consent.

Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM)

CSAM, commonly known as “child pornography”, is any media recording a real person who is too young to consent to sex with an adult, in any situation where there the primary reason for the recording to exist is to sexually titillate an adult who is attracted to the child.

Controversially, we also extend this to “loli” art — short for “Lolita”, after the titular character in Vladimir Nabokov's novel from the first-person perspective of a pedophile with narcissistic tendencies — and other visual and aural depictions of underage characters in sexual situations or situations that primarily exist to titillate an adult audience. “Loli” is legal in the United States, but the Fediverse is world-wide, and this material is extremely illegal in many countries. Many server admins do not consent to have this material mirrored to their servers, and “loli” fans have historically been bad at compartmentalizing their content.

This policy does not extend to the case of written fiction. Fiction, especially fanfiction, can serve as a useful outlet for victims of CSA to work through their feelings and process what was done to them. This includes sexually explicit writing about underage characters. However, such content must be clearly tagged, and should ideally be hosted off-site, e.g. on AO3, and not as part of the Fediverse itself.

We do not currently tag bestiality with real animals, or depictions of bestiality, but this is primarily because such content is uncommon and — to be quite honest — people who are into bestiality are better at compartmentalizing it rather than forcing other people to look at it. We will create a similar policy if the need arises.

For the moment, we do not generally prohibit any “furry” content, i.e. content depicting fictional animal-like characters with full human-level sapience, although any position in either direction on this matter will be inherently controversial. This currently extends to not prohibiting the depiction of characters that would be underage by human standards, but we may need to revisit that standpoint if such content escapes containment and reaches the broader network. Again, consent. Use CWs and create alt accounts on instances dedicated to that kind of content if it's escaping containment, or we will have to block you.