mstdn.jp in 2020 | Interview with Sujitech

日本語版は こちら

This is an article which is second day of Fediverse Advent Calendar 2020. Let's read articles involved Fediverse from Japanese!!

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1201 : First publish
1203 : Add information about "Sponsor of Mastodon"
1218 : Add information about "mstdn.jp's update"

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June 2020, DSNO which is the maintainer of mstdn.jp decided to stop maintaining mstdn.jp. It is a large Mastodon server which led the Mastodon boom in Japan 2017. The maintainer had changed several times until DSNO started to maintain it. After the announcement of stopping, DSNO announced that they will trance the maintenance authority if a candidate company is enough to be the maintainer. Eventually Sujitech became the maintainer. Sujitech is an American company, founded by Suji Yan. Sujitech is a sponsor of the well-known third-party Twitter client Twidere. Twidere also supports Mastodon. He is also the founder of a company called Dimention, which has created a project called Mask Network (renamed from Maskbook). It was great news that they recently got $2 million funding.

I’m personally paying attention that Mask Network is an interesting project. You can post encrypted text on Facebook and Twitter by using Mask Network. This post can only be decrypted by the receiver if they have installed Mask Network and have the right to decrypt it. It is just mysterious letters when see from the outside. Other features, you can also exchange cryptocurrencies without leaving the page of Twitter. Details can be found at Introducing Mask Network(Maskbook) — the future of the Internet .

On the point of Sujitech start maintaining, Japanese IT journalist Mikami Yo had the opportunity to online interview. Japan media namedITmedia’s journalist mazzo, who is familiar with speaking and writing English participated as an interviewer. He is a writer of "Mastodon Picking Eating Diary" on ITmedia, Suji's partner, kattgu7, who is familiar with legal affairs, also participated. The interview was conducted by these four people. The archive of the online interview is マストドンjp新運営スージーヤン氏インタビュー , I think you can understand if you can listen English.

I thought the article of summary of the interview will be publish from ITmedia but it doesn’t. I wrote a miscellaneous note, Sujitechへのインタビューについての私的なメモ #jpsuji|blank71 , only Japanese.

It is hard for me to write an article from Japanese and English mixed interview, because my English skill is poor. I did another interview myself based on the online interview.

These are the following questions and answers. The conversation is at here, this is English and I put here the raw.

01. What is the purpose that you decided to be a maintainer of mstdn.jp/mastodon.cloud?

In the early days of Fediverse / Mastodon I already know the cool concept. Also noticed the launch of Nico.friends and Pawoo - talked with Pawoo and several Pixiv members since 2016. I understand the decision to shut them down as a business but there’re huge potentials underestimated. When I heard Mstdn.jp and Mastodon.cloud is considering closing down I contact them directly to keep the maintenance.

So for pixiv my connection start from 2016 when I was still in U of Tokyo. Later in 2017’s IVS, talked with Mr. Ito (he’s ceo of Pixiv that time). I have more conversations with other Pixiv members afterwards including employee responsible for Pawoo. Later during the cryptocurrency bubble (late 2017/early 2018) I also talked to the current executive about Pawoo, Mastodon and the future of decentralized network.

02. Since Sujitech started maintaining mstdn.jp, it was down several times by VPS because of terrorism intended post, child porn post etc. What do you think of it?

It’s actually very interesting that some users will try to post malicious contents during the first several weeks of the transaction. During that time we are also negotiating with several VPS providers to find the most reasonable one (regulation and price). It will not like to happen again recently unless we have a huge user base growth etc. we also always have back up plan for our VPS /cloud provider and even other solutions(methods used by Proton Mail). These will be unnecessary for Mstdn.jp and Mastodon.cloud now.

03. What kind of posts are allowed or should be avoided.

As we said before we want to make sure the users have freedom while be responsible for the community. Malicious posts such as real world child porn and terrorism will be banned. In the end I hope the community (or in other word, cyberian ) of Mstdn.jp and governance the community by themselves through a democratic process. However this is not viable now due to many management and technology limitations.

04. Sujitech is a maintainer of Twidere, Twitter and Mastodon mobile client. Can you give me an introduction of Twidere?

Twidere start as a client for Twitter & twitter like social network years ago, including Mastodon/Fediverse. It got half million download on Google play alone. We will release a new beta version `Twidere X` for Twitter V2 API and iOS beta testing

05. Also Twidere is an open source project. Is there anything contribution that you want to call Fediverse people?

Yes. For now if you're developer pls wait for https://github.com/TwidereProject/Twidere-Android/issues/1388 -> we will open sourced the beta TwidereX soon so you can work on it. For non-devs if you want to contribute https://www.patreon.com/twidere :)

06. You are a foundation of Dimension and it is developing Maskbook. Maskbook is awesome and interesting project. Can you give me an introduction of Maskbook?

For Maskbook / Mask.io there're several interviews in English already. In short we want go one step further-> let user enjoy the decentralized web right on top of the current major platforms (without migration). Read more https://note.com/harunon/n/n717947bafa65  & https://alis.to/blank71/articles/2jDG0n8wQ9zR

note: These are Japanese articles. You can get information from here.

07. Maskbook can use on Facebook and Twitter. Is there any plans to enable at Mastodon or mstdn.jp/mastodn.cloud?

Yes; we also give @syuilo a part-time $$ to see what we can do together on fediverse. 

note: syuillo is a developer of Misskey, one of the Fediverse project.

08. You said that you will make Patreon account to receive donations as like Twidere. However, recently Patreon is warning some illustrators who activate on Twitter, Pawoo, Pixiv to delete the contents because they think the contents are child porn. If they avoid the warning and not delete it, Patreon says they will delete their Patreon accounts. I don't think this should not be related to mstdn.jp/mastodon.cloud and your maintaining policy. What do you think about this problem? Use another service?https://twitter.com/SineSian/status/1281758228334800897

I know this problem since early days from both creators and our contacts at Pixiv.  This is so call `locked-in` of a platform- user get benefit first and then the platform will `lock u in` to form a typical platform capitalism ecosystem, and let the early investor and founders will likely happily cash out through an IPO :). The action of Patreon is a typical this type of behavior and an unfair competition, and Pixiv should take legal action if necessary. However from my understanding usually Japanese company or entrepreneur will not use law and politics as a weapon to defense their right. (maybe Masa Son's one of the few exception). From another perspective (more technical), thats one of the reason why decentralized web is important, since in a decentralized web users can chose to migrate their social graph away to any platform easily --> no `locked in` exists . You own your own data

The questions and the answers are end.

They are pretty busy for Mask Network and have no time to do for mstdn.jp/mastodon.cloud . However mstdn.jp didn't disappear and its remains are a big possibility. I would like to see what impact they will effect on Fediverse. Recently Suji Yan announced that Sujitech would like to hire one part time DevOps on Mastodon service maintain and helping us trying/integrating experimental features.

Sujitech start to sponsor Mastodon development few months ago. The logo of Sujitch is now on Sponsors of Mastodon. Suji Yan says "We will keep supporting fediverse and decentralized web to shape a better version of Internet."

On 12/18, Sujitech did maintenance and update mstdn.jp. The update is after almost a year from before, and msdn.jp was updated from 3.0.1 to 3.2.1. Sujitech has also announced they will do maintenance and update mastodon.cloud, which is also Sujitech maintaining, at the end of December.

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