👓 Exploring Mastodon | Bryan Alexander

Read Exploring Mastodon by Bryan Alexander (Bryan Alexander)
I decided to explore the Mastodon social network after a great deal of suggestions and gentle prodding from many people. That’s Mastodon the software, not the very fine metal band. In this post I’ll share my experiences of getting to know the thing.
I joined Mastodon about two years ago this week. I’d written a bit about it as well as bookmarked several interesting early articles that help to explain it, what it is, and what it does, which can be found here and scrolling back a few pages: https://boffosocko.com/tag/mastodon/

While Mastodon is working to remedy some of the issues that large corporate and advertising supported social sites like Facebook and Twitter have, one ought to be careful jumping into just any instance as there is little, if any, guarantee that the instance you choose will still be around tomorrow.

indieweb movement.  

November 28, 2018 at 08:02PM

What was that about crowdfunding instances?  How much of an instance’s conversation was visible to the outside?  How much of this is Google-spidered?  What are those anti-abuse tools?  Why can’t governments “completely block” Mastodon (as a whole, or just instances?)? Can one join more than a single instance?  

Managing an instance can come with a lot of work and maintenance, so some instances are crowdfunded to help defray the costs of full time management of a particular instance.

Anti-abuse tools give users the ability to better block people as well as instances have the ability to block incoming messages from entire instances. Thus an instance that serves as a haven for Nazis could be completely blocked by one or more other instances which prevent their users from seeing any content from all users on an instance that is a “bad actor.” One of the common anti-abuse tools is the CW or content warning functionality, which some instances mandate, which can be used to hide spoilers or controversial content. (As an example, some instances require content warnings on political related posts.)

Governments could block instances based on their IP addresses, but would have to do some work to block all instances (primarily by knowing where they all are).

One can join as many instances as they’d like, but it would likely become confusing after a while. Ideally one should be able to join just one instance and be able to follow or be followed by anyone from any other instance. Some communities have particular sets of rules they expect their users to abide by. Some may be centered on particular topics of discussion as well. Some instances are individually run and have only one user.
November 28, 2018 at 08:11PM

Is stability a problem in the Fediverse?  

Stability is typically an issue based on who is running the instance and what sort of server they’re doing it on. Is it fast or slow? Does it have 3 people or 300,000? Naturally the larger the instance, the more resources it requires. Some instances have popped up and shut themselves down because the maintainer was doing it as a hobby and just got tired of it. Often there isn’t much information about who is running the server and how long it may or may not be around or how well it’s maintained.
November 28, 2018 at 08:16PM

No other options presented themselves on the page  

This website has some reasonable set up for helping one determine an appropriate instance:
November 28, 2018 at 08:19PM

other routes in.  

http://www.unmung.com/mastoview will show content from random instances to give one an idea about the content within a particular instance before joining.

Most instances will have some general information about themselves. Usually the more thought out they are, the more likely they will be around for a while. Here’s an example of the instance maintained by the creator of the original platform, which is also one of the largest and most popular instances out there: https://mastodon.social/about/more
November 28, 2018 at 08:24PM

Any pointers or experiences to share?  

There are a couple of WordPress plugins for Mastodon that allow you to syndicate your content from your own website into your instance. You might find that somewhat useful.

The IndieWeb wiki has some generally useful information as well as some criticisms and related articles which might be helpful: https://indieweb.org/Mastodon

Mastodon runs on the Activity Pub specification for sending messages back and forth. As a result some people are looking into having their personal websites support these protocols so that people on Mastodon (or other parts of the Fediverse) can subscribe to one’s primary website. If you can do this then you don’t necessarily need “yet another social platform” for interacting with those online. The two biggest of these efforts within the WordPress community are Fed Bridgy and the Activity Pub plugin
November 28, 2018 at 08:50PM

Published by

Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

4 thoughts on “👓 Exploring Mastodon | Bryan Alexander”

    1. Chris (@fncll@social.coop) Apologies for the late reply, but Mastodon doesn’t support Webmention yet, and I don’t spend much native time here.

      I’m still tweaking some of the ways I’m using things, so most of it is based on importing data via RSS with a small amount of manual work. Ultimately I hope to use their API to automate the entire piece. If you’re looking for something, Kris Shaffer built a Hypothes.is Aggregator that might serve as a model.

      Syndicated copies:

      1. Chris Lott says:

        Thanks for the info and pointer. I just ended up writing a little Python script that grabs the title and my annotations and highlights for a URL and spits out HTML suitable for cutting and pasting. I would like to make it (more) automated, but good enough for now!

        1. If you think of it, dump it into a GitHub gist and ping Jon Udell with it. He or someone on the Hypothes.is team might be able to extend it and build it into their product for others’ benefit as well.

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