A photograph of Slocan Lake, British Columbia

Slocan Statement
Towards a Charter for the Fediverse


The following is intended as a starting point, a first draft towards establishing a shared charter that would serve to protect, support, and enrich the nascent Fediverse.

This text is intended to be received in the spirit of iteration and is presented absent any fundamentalism about the ideas within. We don't have great tools for usable decentralized collaboration on text, so while I have misgivings about placing it in a space that is only accessible by engineers, it is available to be forked.

I encourage anyone to use this text as a basis for their own statement, but my hope is that we can build towards a collective statement for the whole fediverse. I encourage the use of the #SlocanStatement hashtag on the Fediverse if you post a derivative work elsewhere.

Blaine Cook, blaine@mastodon.social
November 20, 2022

A Charter for the Fediverse

The federation of online services, known as “the Fediverse”, agree to the following:

By operating a network that connects to the fediverse by way of recognizing and leveraging the freedoms of online identity and communication and agreeing to principles of interoperability:

  1. We agree to maintain, in perpetuity, an open interface that ensures the continuation of these freedoms of online identity and communication in accordance with the principles of interoperability.
  2. We agree that software and standards written to support federated systems will be published with licenses and agreements that require adherence to this charter.
  3. We agree to obtain necessary license(s) from users in order to permit the redistribution of content created by members across the fediverse provided that correct attribution to the original creator is maintained.
  4. We agree to neither federate nor provide services to any organization that, having agreed to these principles, later withdraws from this charter.

We agree these principles in order to ensure that online communities have the autonomy to self-determine and individuals have the ability to freely communicate, free from the tendency of dominant nodes in the network to leverage network effects as a monopolizing strategy.


  1. The freedom of online identity — to use and present a federated online identity (a “Name”) to any federated system — is considered a fundamental right.
    1. Organizations that grant names to individuals agree to do so in trust.
    2. To the extent made possible by protocols or agreement, they will allow the transfer of the management of an individual's name to another federated organization of the individual's choosing.
    3. They agree to make available to the best of their ability the facilities associated with naming, in particular the ability to freely perform discovery of the mechanisms for communication.
  2. The freedom of communication — the ability for individuals and communities to share information between federated systems — is considered a fundamental right.
  3. The principles of interoperability are as follows:
    1. The protocols that enable and facilitate federated identity and federated communication shall be agreed to by independent standards bodies and must be free of legal obligations or copyright or patent claims.
    2. Federated instances agree to conform to the standards in order to promote the flow of communication, to the extent possible.
    3. Neither (i) nor (ii) prevent the creation of new standards or approaches to identity or communication
    4. As de-facto standards emerge, they shall be subject to and adhered to by federated services and software per clause (i) and (ii) of this section.

Community Mutual Support

In recognition of

  1. the importance of the wider fediverse
  2. the labour and costs associated with creating and maintaining federated systems, standards, and shared infrastructure
  3. the ongoing need to defend the principles of federated communities

commercial federated services that agree to this convention agree to contribute

  1. to wholly independent trusts, foundations, or non-profits whose charters are to support the continued maintenance and development of code, policy and legal structures associated with and in support of the fediverse in accordance with this charter
  2. at intervals according to the prevailing custom
  3. with consideration of the organization's financial ability to contribute
  4. an amount according to the prevailing custom.
  5. This obligation should be construed to have a high priority vis other interests, as it is intended as a form of voluntary taxation in support of the immense benefits conferred by participating in the Fediverse.


Nothing above should be construed to prevent federated communities from restricting or limiting federation in order to protect themselves or their members against abuse or to apply community standards. However, federated identities must be made available online according to the wishes of the individual, and the ability for any individuals to communicate using their assigned identifiers must not be restricted.

Future Considerations

In light of the many diverse possibilities afforded by the fediverse and the complex relationship between content created by individuals and community-generated datasets, this statement intentionally omits discussion of data portability, copyright, privacy, content and community moderation, and any other jurisdictionally necessary questions of legal compliance.

The omission of the above should in no way be construed to diminish the importance of those subjects and discussions. Rather, each of those topics represents a fundamental topic unto themselves.


This section is currently empty, and will be populated as and when necessary.


This text is intended to represent an initial draft of something that sits somewhere between the Franklin Street Statement , the GPL, MIT, and other FLOSS licenses, and the intent of the Creative Commons project, but with the specific intent of providing a treaty basis for federated networked culture and communities.

To that end, in offering this statement, my hope is that we can arrive at something that looks like the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child , but with specific application to online communities.

I would also like to acknowledge that I live and work on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of Sinixt Peoples. I make this acknowledgment to show my respect for the tmxʷulaʔxʷ (homeland), and Sinixt Nation. I feel privileged and grateful to be here, and I invite those reading this to explore their own relationship to place.