Why I'm Leaving Bluesky — the Open Defense Fund is a Fork to Practice the Principles we Promised

We, the People, are Launching $650K in Grants for Projects to Defend the Web. Apply Today.

Bluesky was supposed to be @Jack's attempt to fund an open initiative to decentralize social media away from solo-corporate monopolistic control.

I was one of the original protocols published in the Bluesky ecosystem document, and have heavily participated in the community from 2019 until last week. I too believed in the call for openness and transparency.

But in over the 2 years since it started, little has happened other than the official entity finally getting legally established last month.

This was supposed to be the moment of clarity that we, the community, were waiting for — an independent entity with the capacity to be transparent from any corporate incentives.

In an initial Q&A in that room, Jack wrote “The biggest and long term goal is to build a durable and open protocol for public conversation. That it not be owned by any one organization but contributed by as many as possible. And that it is born and evolved on the internet with the same principles.” This resonated with us.

How it Started, Bluesky Blog

This promise has been broken. The official Bluesky entity plans to remain in a type of stealth mode, developing products in private until launch. This is hypocritical, so effective immediately, we're 'forking' the bluesky community to stay aligned with Jack's vision.

That said, I admire the current team and hope for their success. There is a place for the Moxies, Satoshis, and Vitaliks in the world, differences in all. Strong variety of opinions only lifts the industry as a whole. While I hope Bluesky corrects course and remerges with its founding values, their latest blog indicates that only the 'community' will be inclusive, not Bluesky itself:

Announcing the Open Defense Fund for Cultural Humanity

By the time Bluesky could even ink their express mission statement, the actual people participating in the community shipped products that achieved it — the large-scale adoption (tens of millions of monthly users) of open decentralized protocols. Now, we have a mantle of responsibility to foster and nourish that, so we're announcing $650K in grants for open source projects that aim to further protect the web from monopoly, whether cultural or technological.

In contrast, Bluesky to date has not disclosed how much funding they have received nor how it will be administered. Things remain behind closed doors, secretive. This is against ODF's core values and mission, so we have already made everything public on git, where you can join us too.

There is no discord, there is no politics, there is only build. No member speaks for another (not even this blog) and we hold each other accountable by calling each other out in public and constructively criticizing each other's algorithms. We're here to fund the future of healthy discourse, by practicing what we preach: public conversation.


~ Mark Nadal

If you're interested in keeping up with the discussions or podcast series, follow me or any other in the fund. If you're interested in learning more about my personal vision, check out this (archived). It does not represent any others.