The long-awaited expansion blog post is finally here!
This is perhaps the single most important update of this month, or maybe even, of this year. I have so much to talk about, oh my Satania.
In this post, I will be explaining the major expansion that Satania Dropout will undergo throughout the coming months. I hope they will get support and that the community will be just excited about this as I am!
So now, roll the intro!
Introduction: We are stagnating
Satania Dropout has existed as a Discord server for 2 years now, and I am extremely thankful for that. Over time, we built our community, our moderation, and our customs. Slowly, we’ve been reaching a point of stagnation: Groundbreaking changes and announcements have been progressively getting few and far between and the number of members is slowly stabilising.
This is because, over time, we perfected the way we run the server to a point where there is not much to do anymore. Sure, we could program a bunch of bots or add emojis, but there’s little to change to the fundamental structure.
Where do you think Satania Dropout will be next year? In two years? In four years? It would certainly be disappointing, and even depressing in a way, if the answer to each of those questions were “still a mediumly sized server on Discord”.
If we’re already optimal in what we do, then it’s time to do new things. Clearly, I’m not optimal in my English, but that’s also a work in progress. I think this community has a lot of potential and it would be silly to stop now. Even if there are still a few issues to address on the Discord, it is nonetheless time to work towards expansion.
I have been planning this for a few months and discussed it with members a few times. Today is the day I officially announce it.
What I mean by expansion
I want to expand our presence to other services. Create a Satania Dropout community somewhere new. But we can’t just pick any random service to expand to. r/Satania has existed for a long time, and yet it never felt (and was) like it was part of the family. Of course, there are multiple reasons for this, like the fact that it wasn’t owned by our community, but also the inherent nature of Reddit.
Reddit isn’t like Discord at all as they have a significantly different approach to the social aspect of their platform. While communities are the heart of both platforms, Discord emphasises the people when Reddit emphasises the content. Discord is meant to allow you to connect with the community and socialise, when Reddit is meant to allow you to discover great stuff and share things to the world.
They’re both just as great as a concept. But they do not complement each other very well. The service that we choose to adopt in the Satania Dropout family ought to have a similar focus on communities and people as Discord.
It must also give us a great amount of control over our community. We always have had a strong value of independence, we have never had any real partnerships with other communities (but did give occasional shout out), we have our own member acquisition source, outside of Discord (satania.moe), we make a lot of custom bots instead of using existing ones for tasks that are easy to implement, and we have our own moderation principles and ways of working.
Control is especially important when many large-scale platforms try to impose restrictions on us and enforce them unreasonably. The Discord Trust & Safety team have a legacy of being extremely unreliable and may enforce their policies in very inconsistent, incomprehensible, or even illogical ways. And most moderation teams from other social networks aren’t any better. This means that we are prone to mistakes from Discord that could end our community, at any moment, and without any warning or way to appeal.
In another blog post, I argued why I think independent social platforms are going to become very attractive and popular in the future. I called this “the Indie Revolution of social networks”. I would like Satania Dropout to be an early actor in this movement as it is very promising and suits our community well.
This is why I am excited to announce our plans to expand our community into the Fediverse! So strap in, I’m going to explain what all of this means.
Mastodon: the next member of the Satania Dropout family
Mastodon is a clone of Twitter that we can host ourselves, we would have our own little Twitter on satania.moe that we moderate and customise. Contrarily to Twitter, Mastodon is more focused on creating communities, you can see posts from everyone in the community in the “Local” tab, and this actually changes everything.
It means that even if you have no followers, everyone in the community will see your message. This means you are never talking in the void, Mastodon was built to encourage friendly interactions, discussions and community like that, while Twitter encourages vapidness by making everyone share the same network, putting the spotlight on famous people, and limiting post length (Mastodon allows up to 500 characters by default, and we will raise it to something between 1,000 and 2,000).
Mastodon is meant to be more humane, we would never downrank a user to censor them, or arbitrarily give people blue checkmarks because we think they’re important (although some people on Mastodon put checkmark emojis in their name by themselves as a joke), and when you join our Mastodon instance, you know you’re joining a community of people of similar interests, which makes everything more fun!
But the most brilliant feature of Mastodon is federation. The different communities running Mastodon servers are able to connect to each other and allow their users to all interact together. Imagine, you have an account on our satania.moe instance, but you can see, follow, and even reply to any other user that has an account on a Mastodon server!
And not just Mastodon actually! See, there is other Twitter-like software that can “talk” to Mastodon, like Pleroma and Misskey. It’s like emails! You can have an account on Gmail and still send messages to someone on Outlook, they are completely different software, but it works because they talk the universal language of emails.
This network of servers is called the Fediverse! (Stands for the federated universe.) There are almost 4 million people in it. On the “Federated” tab, you see all the posts from local users and from users followed by people from your server. There are so many people that the timeline usually goes really really fast. 🚀
But even if you can interact with anyone on the Fediverse, Mastodon is still very much community-centred, as there is a focus on the people from your instance since you see each other in the Local tab. People from your instance will probably be those you’ll interact the most with.
Broadly speaking, the verb “to federate” means “to unite into an alliance”. A very well-chosen word to designate the union of all the servers on the Fediverse!
By the way, a “mastodon” is a kind of pre-historical mammoth, a predecessor of the elephant, hence the mascot is an elephant.
If you want to learn more about Mastodon, you can check out the following:
- The official website, joinmastodon.org
- The Wikipedia page
- The official Getting Started guide (Really good, mostly up to date except for the default user interface screenshot)
- The official usage documentations (Up to date)
- An old official FAQ (Slightly out of date)
Please note that we’ll be modding Mastodon to modify some features, such as raising the post length limit further and allowing anything to be searched.
Other projects will be worked on
That’s right, while Mastodon is the focus of the Satania Dropout Expansion, there will be a few other projects that are meant to complement the Mastodon server to ensure we have the best start possible!
The sequel of satania.moe
We’re all here thanks to satania.moe, it is our main member acquisition source that made us grow from 22 members to 6.4k. So, of course, we wanna make something like that again!
The goal would be to make another viral meme website to spread the word about our community once again, to get us the members needed for the Mastodon.
I already know what I will make, it will be about Satania and will have humour similar to satania.moe, but with brand-new themes. The perfect sequel, uwu.
A Satania Dropout landing page
We need a great website to really sell our community, giving a proper introduction to new members and explaining what makes us different and better. What we would probably do is move satania.moe to a subdomain like “praise.satania.moe”, and use the root domain for the community landing page.
This is a different project from the satania.moe sequel. The sequel would just be a meme website that happens to tell people about us, while this landing page would be dedicated to presenting the community and giving more detailed information.
A translation hub
Satania.moe was translated in 20 languages over the years! As a worldwide community, we have members from all over the world. We used this to our advantage and obtained many translations for satania.moe, which further enhanced our worldwide presence. Brilliant!
I want to continue this and really strive to give foreign users a proper native experience on our services. We’re going to need a lot of new translations for the satania.moe sequel, the community landing page, and the last project I’ll talk about afterwards. So the best moment to set up such a platform is now!
It will run with Weblate, an open-source translation platform that I have been testing locally for a bit, and was very impressed by how powerful it can be with little configuration. Setting up Weblate shouldn’t be very difficult and will help the translation process a lot!
Satania Connect: A global Satania account system
As we’ll grow and provide more services, one thing would get messy: accounts. You would need to have a different account on Mastodon, on the translation hub, and on any other service that we may provide. And it would be hard to keep track of who everyone is since you could have different usernames everywhere and actions between accounts couldn’t easily be linked…
The solution to this problem is simple: a single account for every Satania Dropout services, and this will be called Satania Connect.
This won’t only be convenient but will also provide many advantages. As the Discord server is an important member of the family, Satania Connect will have numerous interoperability features with Discord, planned features (no promises) include:
- Synchronising account changes (avatar and name) from Discord to Satania (Easy)
- Displaying your Discord account as verified, similarly to how Mastodon lets you verify you own a certain page (Medium because we need to mess with the DB)
- Giving you notifications of new activity on Discord instead of by email (Hard)
Another advantage that may surprise you is that Satania Connect could be much more secure.
Creating a login system is easy. Creating a secure login system is very hard. When platforms like Mastodon make a login system, they may not be as thorough and careful as they would need to be to provide a very resilient account platform, because these projects have other goals in mind and cannot perfect every single detail that is unrelated to those goals.
By making our own system, we can increase security by being a lot more meticulous and cautious. Furthermore, it reduces the amount of points of failure. If we had many logins, we would have more chances that at least one of them has a critical flaw, by only having one, we reduce the amount of hackable places to a single closely-monitored platform.
Satania Connect is definitely, out of these projects, the one that will require the most effort to be made. But it is a one-time investment of time that will keep paying off as we go.
Please wait. Quality takes time.
While these announcements are very exciting, they require a lot of work from our end. I want the Mastodon launch to mark a great leap forward for our community, I don’t want to rush anything and won’t make members use unfinished services on launch day.
I would like to release by the start of Autumn, but this only a preference, there are still a lot of things to figure out, so I won’t schedule any release date for now. But I will try to report on the advancement of the projects so members of the community can get an idea of the progress.
Furthermore, plans aren’t final. As development progress, we may change our mind on certain details. I don’t want to make any promises, if things don’t go accordingly to the plan, some ideas could be cancelled. But I really think that even if this expansion project is ambitious, it is doable with effort.
But there is a way to ensure we have the capacity to make this happen.
We need your help!
To work on the project, I would like to create a Satania Dropout Technical Team. A group of coders including me who would work on the programming side of the community.
In an upcoming blog post (give me a week; I’ll be on holiday), I’ll detail the different projects in a more technical way, as well as talk about the basic workflow and technologies used, so that those who may be interested can judge by themselves if it is the kind of thing they would like to work on.
If you think you may be interested in working with such a team, contact me at Pizzacus#2884! If you’re hesitating, we can also talk about it so you can make your mind. (Although I am still unsure if I’ll be able to get to you while I’m gone next week.)
So there you have it, that’s everything I’m planning to work on for this server during the holidays.
This was quite an update, thanks a lot for reading! Be sure to ask me or a Mod if you have any questions!