On Mon, Jul 17, 2023 at 8:54 AM Anusha A <aalikhan(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
I wanted to update you that the Wikimedia Foundation
has launched a Mastodon instance.
You can follow us at: wikimedia.social/@wikimediafoundation.
This is wonderful news. I imagine it took quite a bit of behind the
scenes work to get to this point, under a dedicated wikimedia.social
domain name no less. Thanks to all who helped make it happen.
Congratulations and welcome to the fediverse!
In addition, we’ll experiment with posting broader
content about the Wikimedia movement
and projects that might be appealing to tech enthusiasts and fans of open-source
There are definitely a lot of tech enthusiasts on the fediverse who
will appreciate such content. But I would generally encourage a broad
view of the network. I know you're saying it'll be a bit of both --
this is also in response to the Wikimedia account cover image being a
bunch of servers ;-) (I don't know if that's just a temporary
placeholder, or if it was an intentional "know your audience" kind of
Much like Wikipedia, the fediverse has barriers to entry, and those
certainly skew the community more technical. Folks who are very
comfortable with technology will not be _as_ frustrated or confused by
stuff like "how do I choose a server" or "how do I follow someone on
another server". Similarly, more technical folks contributing to
Wikipedia may be less likely to be turned away by wiki syntax or the,
er, magic of talk pages.
But in both cases, people join not necessarily because of some
technical appeal, but because of other goals (improving an
encyclopedia, joining a community). The technology is often a means to
an end, not an end in itself. And many less technical users _do_
overcome friction and frustration, in both cases (I'd wager many
fediverse users are Wikimedians in waiting).
There are many, many communities in the fediverse that are not
"techie" in nature. For example:
- thousands of artists in many different media
- labor organizing, with official accounts for many unions
- news and journalism, with many official media
- science and scholarship across many disciplines
- one of several servers building safe spaces
for the LGBTQIA community
- a community of language learners
- a space for the vegan community
(It's fun to visit the "local timelines" on these servers to see what
the people who just signed up there are talking about.)
With thousands of interconnected servers, even that's just a tiny
slice of the diversity of topics represented today. And of course the
big general purpose servers are home to users with a large variety of
Much like Wikimedia, the fediverse is a fundamentally mission-oriented
endeavor. I personally would describe that mission like so: to create
connected, self-governing social spaces for all of humanity.
Wikimedia is not in the business of hosting general purpose social
networks, and you're rightfully wary of going too far in that
direction -- but the Wikimedia movement _will_ be better off if online
social spaces become more open, inclusive, decentralized and
My concrete suggestion to any movement org would be to dedicate at
least 50% of all effort that goes towards social media towards the
fediverse. That would be placing a bet on the future, not just the
present. Some of that effort could be in the form of lending expertise
to making the fediverse more open, inclusive, and welcoming.
A thriving fediverse will help Wikimedia in its policy struggles
(because it will create new opportunities for alliances with nonprofit
communities impacted by bad policies). It will help it in its outreach
(because it will make Wikimedia less subject to algorithms skewed
towards anything that makes Musk or Zuck money). It will help it to
build community (because all participants will be able to more
actively shape the many ways in which we construct community).
In short, I would suggest not thinking of the fediverse as the place
where the techies are, but as a space to expand our collective future
 As of this writing,
(granted, it's a cool image, though images of servers always make me
feel a bit claustrophobic :)