Why I no Longer Use Diaspora
I'm guessing that most of you joined Diaspora for the same reasons I did - to protect your privacy, for a decentralised network with no authority, for the impossibility of network wide censorship, for seamless integration with people on other servers, for owning your own data, for removing your content from walled gardens.
Diaspora has failed on all of these points.
The trend is very much towards mega-pods. JoinDiaspora has one thousand, three hundred times more users than any pod should ever have (based on the notion that everybody should be on a server owned by somebody they know - and using Dunbar's number to deduce the number of people we know). It doesn't federate much to other servers, and when it does federate, it's 24-48 hours behind. What's worse, the posts that federate keep their initial time stamp, so you never see them in your stream.
It follows from here that that network wide censorship isn't far from being a real option - indeed, they already impose a NSFW tag for people who don't agree to abide by the (undefined) community guidelines, and make it impossible to leave by not federating much to other pods. Your data is still trapped in a walled garden - it just happens to be a walled garden with an AGPL licence, that sometimes shares some of it with some other servers if the planets are correctly aligned.
Being part of a walled garden means you don't really own your data. It's not doing what you signed up for it to do - it isn't federating seamlessly with other people on different servers, it's not even parsing correctly.
Even worse, Diaspora Inc recently announced they have no interest whatsoever in interoperability with other networks like StatusNet or Friendica (of course, that doesn't stop them joining threads started on StatusNet and Friendica to argue the toss about why they're still cool, and how they less than three everyone, but that's another story). They're even planning to break compatibility with other Diaspora forks, with a dubious reimagining of federation. Of course, they promise to document this, but I don't think many people are very hopeful about this - changes they've made this far remain undocumented, and the documentation for the existing federation protocol is fictional in the first place.
Before very long, Diaspora users will no longer be able to contact any of us on Friendica, or anybody on the Diaspora forks. That puts you right back where you started - Facebook with another name.
Diaspora sells itself by claiming you're in control of your own data. Of course, you're not. When you make a post, you expect it to be federated to all the people you chose to share it with, and it very seldom is, but worse than that, when you delete your account, it never actually gets deleted. Log in to your Diaspora account, and search for tags like #ZombiePikachu, #DestructionOfTheUniverseAndEverythingInIt or #OmnicidalPacifist. Assuming my posts were federated to your pod in the first place, you'll find me.
Except, I don't have a Diaspora account.
You might argue that using Alpha software you have to accept some things. You might (sort of) have a point. Except, Diaspora Inc vehemently denied that this can happen back when Bonnie left, even though it turns out every word she said was true.
Even if you did write this off as a bug, I fail to see how this next point can be. Delete your account. Now, give them a chance to remove everything - a few days, a week, a month, it doesn't matter. Now, try to recover your password. Oooh, look - they kept your email address.
update: After several weeks, I now get the "No account with this email exists. If you are waiting for an invite, we are rolling them out as soon as possible" message when attempting to retrieve my email. However, I still get "so and so started sharing with you on Diaspora" emails every few days, so it appears the only thing that changed is the text. They definitely still have my email, otherwise they wouldn't be able to email me. A copy of my posts still exists on every pod it was ever federated to.
It's bad enough that a "privacy conscious" social network site has Amazon and Google crap embedded in their code, and running on the "official" pod, it's even worse that they keep your data for themselves.
I don't want to lose touch with the friends I've made over the Diaspora network, anymore than I wanted to lose touch with the friends I had on Facebook, but I'm going to do very soon.
These are just a few of the problems. In fact, it's easier for them to explain everything that's wrong with the project than it is for me to outline it. Read a chat log where they do precisely that here.
Notice how all the things they want to do "right now" are stupid, trivial crap, and all the fundamentals - like ease of installation, integration with other networks, distribution - are things to do later. Later is never specified, and as your grandmother told you, later never comes - especially for a for-profit organisation that already ran out of money.