Summary written with claude.ai:
The article argues that as social media platforms like Mastodon grow, they will face two major challenges:
- Scale has social effects - As more people join, behaviors change. People act differently if they think they might encounter their boss, mother, neighbors etc. on the platform. This reduces the initial social homogeneity of early adopters.
- Founding filters fall away - Early adopters tend to have similar backgrounds/cultures. But as the platform grows, it includes more diverse users with different norms. This leads to more conflict - the article gives the example of English-speaking vs Russian-speaking communities on LiveJournal having very different cultures and priorities.
The article warns against complacency - assuming problems are solved just because they haven’t arisen yet on a small platform. More rigor, curiosity and learning from past mistakes is needed.
It advocates consciously “engineering” online societies, drawing on expertise like social sciences. Users should engage thoughtfully, asking questions rather than just demanding solutions. The goal should be spurring interest in the engineering of social spaces, not just implementing quick fixes.