Code of Conduct and Simplification of Rules

Today I set out to touch up our rules and expand the verbiage which had previously been listed simply as our Moderation Practices. I took this opportunity to also retitle that to the Code of Conduct at the same time. I simplified some of the rules by removing duplication, and by moving some definition of terms from the rules to the Code of Conduct.


The short of it is this: you can see the new Code of Conduct and the simplified rules on the Darkfriend Social About page. You can see a printout of what was there before in the provided PDF.

History and Reasoning

When I originally got Darkfriend Social set up, I lifted the rules directly from The Light’s Work Discord server. If you are not familiar with The Lights Work podcast, it is a podcast about the Wheel of Time fandom. It’s hosted by a couple of really great people. You should give it a listen! For their Discord server, they came up with a really great listing of rules which I found to be fairly comprehensive. With their permission, I lifted those rules and utilized them for Darkfriend Social. I made some adjustments to make some of the verbiage make a little more sense for a Mastodon community.

Initially this worked great, even though Mastodon has a built-in recommendation that rules be kept short. In comparison, Discord doesn’t care how long your rules are. Also, since they are just posted in a channel like any other message, you can format it however you wish. When our Mastodon server got updated to version 4.0.2, things changed a little. The rule character limit actually shortened some, and their styling when displayed to the end user became even more cramped. Given this, I knew then that I wanted to take another swing at the rules and cut some things down.

Then today I found a great Sample Slack Code of Conduct. I decided to merge with the information that I had already posted under our Moderation Practices. This allowed me to move some of the text from the wordier rules to the Code of Conduct. This allowed them to be more verbose.


Here’s a bonus set of graphs from the admin dashboard.

A series of three graphs depicting data related to the darkfriend Mastodon instance from October 24th 2022 to November 22nd 2022. The first graph shows new users, with three distinct spikes and 128 new users. The second graph shows active users, with steady growth to 132 active users with spikes corresponding to the spikes from the first graph. The third graph shows interactions, with two large spikes and otherwise trailing figures, to a total of 8,878 interactions.
A series of graphs displaying information on new users, active users, and interactions.

I am genuinely not sure how Mastodon measures “active users”. I also don’t know how that figure can be higher than the number of new users in a community’s first month. Also, given that many of our users have just set up placeholder accounts in the event that Twitter ceases to exist, I’m actually a little surprised by the number of interactions.


If you have any thoughts on the changes, please let me know! Head over to the announcement post on Darkfriend Social and leave a reply.