This article is dedicated to show from a sexwork/client perspective on how the federated content managment system hubzilla can be of use to create safe online spaces facilitating their needs, and countering SESTA/FOSTA in addition to the current effords of switter, with thx to AssemblyFour
pushing sexworker away from public online spaces it’s opon everyone, depending on their capabilities to push back against this discrimination
, thanks to their latest efford with #switter
has brought the oportunity to be as a sexworker/client in a safe online space. Switter is using with some modifications a software called mastodon. Yet it is functions missing that sexworker/clients would be of use.
That's why I like to introduce you to another software that might be of great value for sexworker
, as for any other group/person that is being pushed out of online spaces. It is not ment as a concurence towards switter, but being inspired by and wishing that AssemblyFour or others will like it and host it as an alternative to switter.
The software I’m speaking about is called #hubzilla
and it is capable to federate with switter aJoin a Forum:nd the rest of the #fediverse
. I will start with a more general description, followed by tryn to give an idea how it could be used in praxis for #sexworker.
I try to focus on the most relevant features (I believe) for sexworker/clients.
What is hubzilla?Hubzilla is a fully federated content mangment system
. It combines social network, forum, chat, cloud, calender, webpage, directionary
It can be used as a standalone plattform, or being connected with other plattforms that are being part of the fediverse (fediverse is a network of multible interconnected plattforms
In fine detail it lets you decide who’s able to see what, and even letting specific content be encrypted by a passphrase. This, I asume (I’m not a sexworker) can be of great use for working with clients. Countering cencorship - nomadic identity
Furthermore (and this is a specific function of hubzilla) it’s build opon a nomadic identity
. This simply means that your account isn’t bound to a specific url, server or even admin. Imagine being on sexworkis.work, but for some reasons your admin is forced to take the site down. Instead of loosing what you have build up, you just take your “nomadic identity” and upload it to any other server you choose
. By that, also clients wouldn’t loose any given access. They will remain connected with you, indipendent from the goodwill of the state or the admins. This means, you can really own your data.
The best might be if there will be dedicated instance (also called hub) hosting sexworkers service. Though also for the reason of having people hosting the plattform that are within the struggle and also being aware how to deal with possible state repression, that is also depending much based on where it is hosted.
But of course, you are more then welcome to use the registration open hubs. Just be reflective before making a marketplace out of them, read the terms of service and consult with the admin.
A list of hubs you’ll find here: https://the-federation.info/hubzilla
(take in mind that even while there are many open for registration, it doesn’t mean that every admin is trustworthy)Creating a profile:
Just choose an instance you feel comfortable with (or host your own, maybe together with other #sexworkers)
and register an account.
(note: I've recorded the videos while having a really slow internet connection)Setting up your first channel:
After registration you’ll start with setting up your first channel. A channel is basicly a stream of content where you define how it can be used, and who can access it. Doesn’t matter what kind of channel type you choose, you can change it any given time. So no need to overthink this for the start.
I suggest to just start with “Social – Mostly Public”. (you can change the visability of any content individualy, doesn’t matter what channel you’ve choose, even encrypt it)
(don’t forget to click on submit, as I’ve done in the video
Here’ll you see how to edit your channel image.
Great! If you done the steps until here, you have a fully functioning channel that you can start using. I’ll now will explore a bit some of the basic functions and how they can be used.Premium Channel:
If you like to offer a service under specific conditions, there’s a function called “Premium channel”. It shows visitors a message of yours that they need to agree to in order to continue and connect with your channel. "Adult Content"
If you share regular content from that you believe should/would be seen as “adult content”, I advice to use this function. It creates a content warning that lets people decide if they’d like to view this now or not. Especially usefull for your public content.
If they like, and have access rights, they just need to click on the content warning and can view it.
Your posts will by now look like this:
when clicking on the content warning, the content will apear:
here you can read the full post:https://email@example.com
The “Adult Content” warning will be visable to all non-hubzilla users. To show a content warning also for connected users, you just need to add the word “nsfw” or “contentwarning”. (which is why this post has the "nsfw -view" even so not nessasary for this content)Creating a private group for clients/non-public content:
There are general rules that aply depending on what you have choosen under settings → channel settings → security and privacy settings → channel permission category
(you can change those any given time)
Then there are predefined permission groups where you’ll be able to group your contacts into permission groups and giving them different access rights based on what you choose.
You’ll be also able create you’re own permission group. Here’ll you see how to create a “client permission group”:
To be able view content that is created by thirten types of people (could be your clients, or co-sexworker) you need to have the function “privacy group enabled” The video above shows you how.
Here’s how you can use this function: How can clients find a sexworker that offers a service they are looking for?
There’s the “Advanced Directory Search
”. If you’ll be thinking of hosting a sexworker hub, it might be usefull if this funtion is activated by default. But it’s also simple to activate it as a user.
You go to, settings → Additional features → General Features → Advanced Directory Search
And while you’re there, just also activate the “Advanced Profil” function.
Here a short video on how to activate it both.How use the advanced search?
To search, for example someone interested/doing sexwork in New York and being bisexual but not being into BDSM, this is how your search querie would look like:
keywords=sexwork and locale=New York and sexual=bisexual and not keywords=BDSM
Here a short video on how the “Advanced Search” is being used:
Here you’ll find a list of advanced search requests:
name=xxx [Channel name contains xxx]
address=xxx [Channel address (webbie) contains xxx]
locale=xxx [Locale (typically 'city') contains xxx]
region=xxx [Region (state/territory) contains xxx]
postcode=xxx [Postcode or zip code contains xxx]
country=xxx [Country name contains xxx]
gender=xxx [Gender contains xxx]
marital=xxx [Marital status contains xxx]
sexual=xxx [Sexual preference contains xxx]
keywords=xxx [Keywords contain xxx]
If there’s something missing you would need, drop us a message.Having a chat:
Hubzilla has a chat integrated that lets you create multible rooms while being also able to define who can access it. You’re also able to send out specific access tokens to non-hubzilla users. Those access tokens by the way work for any access right that you like to define. So it’s not limited to chatting.
Here’ll you see how the chat can be used: Video and Images:
When you like to share your work via images or videos, there’s the “file” app. You define who’s able to access it. You would be also able to give out access tokens that just remain active as long as you define.
The videos you see in this tutourial I have uploaded through the "files" app and embeded them within this post via
[video]the url of the video[/video]
(if you can't see them, that is cause your brower is blocking it, or doesn't has an integrated video player. Most common browser are able to view them as video)Inviting clients for your service:
If you like to offer a service during a specific timeframe, you’ll propably find the “event app” usefull.
While you’ll be (as always) able to define who’s seing it, you’ll be also able to create special offers/service depending on who’s the client.
Events will also create a notification so that clients can be reminded of an upcomming event.
Creating an event is very simple. This video shows you how to use the “event app”:creating special access tokens, also for non-hubzilla users:
This, as mentioned above already, will create an token with access rights that you will define. The token itself is only valid as long as you decide. The token works in form of a specific url.using the token:
If you’ve done the step above, just choose when uploading content that it should be visable for the guest-token, and that’s it. If you just choose the guest-token, this specific content will be then just visable for those having the token (and you).
Here an example on how to do this: encrypting content:
All you need is to activate this function in your settings. After, when then posting something just click on the encryption symbol and define a passphrase. Anyone knowing the passphrase can get access. Others can’t see it. You can encypt text same as images or what ever file you attach to your post.
Here’s how to activate and use the encyption funtion: Forum:
While there are yet many more funtions available, I’d like to end with showing the “forum” function, to not be to overwhelming. (hope it wasn’t to much already?)
A forum is basicly just like any other channel, but with having specific access rights that lets other to post in them too.
Here’s how you create one: Join a Forum:
There are also already forums dedicated to sexworker/clients. While they are very new, there’re just very few people active, but you’ll find already really usefull content, such as “What can clients do to help fight for decriminalization? “ or “Tips for handling the FOSTA/SESTA debacle“
(note: I’m not a sexworker neither a client (been in the past), so if my asumptions are wrong, pls correct me)https://gerzilla.de/channel/sexworkers
Other forums that I like to invite you:
hubzilla support forum:
If you have any questions about the use of hubzilla, that is a great place to get support. (or just ask in the comment section under this post)https://zotadel.net/channel/support&r
If you’re new to hubzilla, feel free to say hello here: https://sparklechicken.net/channel/newhereAnd now?
I’d be happy to resieve feedback about this totourial, especially from sexworker/clients so that the totourial/softare can improve from that.
I’m reachable via hubzilla: https://hub.libranet.de/channel/paulfree14
Also reachable via mastodon: https://todon.nl/@paulfree14
(feel free to reuse/change this content. No credit needed)
...ooh, and I nearly forgot:
Remember the “nomadic identity
” that I mentioned in the beginning, that let’s you own you’re data and enables you to just take it to any server you want without loosing connections to other hubzilla user?
Here’s how to use it: https://project.hubzilla.org/wiki/hubzilla/Feature%2BArticles/Nomadic%2BidentityAlso
keep in mind that all the development/hosting/support is done by volunteers
. We aren't a company neither do we have employees. If you're able to support the effort of hubzilla, that would be great, but isn't a requirements to be welcomed.You are welcome!
(except if you plan to use this plattform/network for opressive purpose)
(in process)"Is it possible to have a "private" directory server? That is, a full directory server that only serves certain hubs. Or is it necessary for a directory server to be "non-discriminatory"?"