We were surprised to find that Lucire’s five-year-old account at Mastodon.art was suspended yesterday. With our automated feed from both Lucire and Lucire Rouge going to the site, someone appeared to have complained about ‘advertising’ after two identical headlines were sent there.
We immediately lodged an appeal with the instance’s (server’s) Curator, which was granted within a very short space of time—no more than two hours.
They explained that they had members sensitive to advertising and suggested we send future posts there that at least had some content beyond a headline, which is a very good win–win idea.
The experience might have been an early one, certainly since Mastodon’s latest influx of members after various débâcles at Twitter, of an established brand getting shut down temporarily.
When we first signed Lucire up to Mastodon, it was actually on the main Mastodon.social domain, but we then looked around and Mastodon.art was the closest for creatives back in 2017.
Here are a few things we learned.
First, the reinstatement within hours was amazing—our thanks to the Curator. When our Instagram was shut down in 2021, it took a week. Twitter took two months as it constantly moved the goalposts of what “evidence” it required—and it took a toughly worded letter to their lawyers to get our account reinstated.
Secondly, while we were locked out, we could still retrieve our data, namely our old posts and images. We’re no experts but it does appear the posts are truncated. Nevertheless, the images appeared to be complete.
Thirdly, and this was the disappointing thing: what remained of our following list was decimated. We had 70-odd followers, and a pretty healthy follow-back ratio. However, the record that was left on Mastodon.art showed 12—somehow 50 or so were unfollowed.
Having been on Mastodon.art for five years, we doubt there was any manipulation, but the software may have operated in a way to do some kind of mass unfollow in the event of suspension. So even when starting afresh on a new instance, you don’t take your followings with you. That was a surprise, as it seems to fly in the face of what the fediverse is all about.
We’ve reached out to Eugen Rochko, the creator of Mastodon, to see if we’ve uncovered a bug or whether this is by design.
As we were used to the week- to months-long suspensions with Meta and Twitter, we began setting up a new home, not realizing the Curator would turn things around so quickly.
During the influx, we got to know Dr Jessica Quillin, a former Glass editor who runs the Fashionsocial.host instance. This turned a week old today. It’s a wonderful home for fashion-related content, and we were having some very good conversations about fashion, transparency, and the industry at large. Check out this thread:
When we first encountered Fashionsocial.host, we thought it would be a useful home for us—but then we’d lose the ‘Joined Dec 22, 2017’ on Mastodon.art (indeed, our first home on Mastodon.social dates back to June 8, 2017).
So we took the suspension as an opportunity. We couldn’t import the old posts, but we did import the 12-strong following list.
When our account at Mastodon.art returned, we thought we could follow back the 50-plus accounts that were unfollowed, then export the resulting following list. However, that would have signalled to all those users at the old account was live again, at a time when we wanted them to see us at our new space.
The only realistic option was to follow each of those 50-plus accounts one by one in the hope they would realize what had happened and follow back. About 30 or so have done. The lesson is to control your own space if you can, but if you can’t, go somewhere where the admin believes in your mission. The second lesson is to do periodic exports of your data, because you can’t trust the program will have all the information if you get locked out.
Fashionsocial.host has welcomed us with this message from Jessica: ‘I will support independent fashion publishing until the end of time.’
We’ll keep our Mastodon.art account live since there were great content and conversations there over the last five years and 1,500 posts. And we will still post to it, but more artistic works (e.g. our covers) in keeping with that instance.
Mastodon is where the great fashion conversations are happening. We hope to see you at our new home at @[email protected], or https://fashionsocial.host/@lucire. And sign up to Fashionsocial.host if you are looking for a fashion-friendly home on the fediverse.
Jack Yan is founder and publisher of Lucire.