Want to try out Mastodon? Thinking about hosting your own? Or maybe you’re new to the experience and need some help or want tips for better connecting? Our kind friends at Reclaim Hosting and ALT are doing a 90 day Mastodon experiment/class/seminar series where you can sign up for an account on a server that will self-destruct at the end of their trial run. They’re doing three sessions (live with recordings after), have a Discord for discussion and questions, and a Google doc with details and tips.
Session 1: Mission briefing: 19 January 2023 at 16:00 GMT (Watch Live)
Session 2: Verifying your progress: 23 February 2023 at 16:00 GMT (Watch Live)
Session 3: 30 days until self-destruct: 23 March 2023 at 16:00 GMT (Watch Live)
I’ve wanted full RSS feeds for several Mastodon instances for ages.
They can be particularly useful for small instances (aka communities) with slow posting velocity—you know, that instance you wanted to join for the local camaraderie, but having/maintaining/maintaining yet another Mastodon account wasn’t worth it, the hashtag discovery wasn’t going to cut it, and trying to follow all the people in the local community individually is irksome. Well OpenRSS.org might be able to cover you.
Since my personal website works with Mastodon and the Fediverse, this last part of more easily following groups of people in my social reader helps me complete the circle of reading, following, and responding in a more IndieWeb way. (Of course I wish that Mastodon 4.0 had not gone full js;dr, which would have allowed following them using Microformats mark up with much better fidelity. le sigh)
@email@example.com @coachtony @firstname.lastname@example.org @email@example.com Thanks for these links! Definitely exciting to see how this is being approached from different angles. I’m excited for this next chapter.
@firstname.lastname@example.org @email@example.com @firstname.lastname@example.org @email@example.com @firstname.lastname@example.org
Another example of longer posts which are folded under a “read more” type link within the Fediverse itself can be seen in the Hometown fork of Mastodon (https://github.com/hometown-fork/hometown), which is running the hcommons.social platform. The admins have upped the character limit to 1000 instead of the usual 500. Ideally those reading in other parts of the network would see the beginning of a post and a “Read more” link to read the remainder of the piece.
I often post to my own WordPress website which has a plugin to make it appear as if it were ActivityPub compatible. If I follow it via a Hometown-based (Mastodon) server, like my hcommons.social account, I see all the full short notes/replies content which are usually 1000 characters or less. For posts over that limit, there’s a “Read More >” which opens up the entirety of the article within the hcommons.social interface where I can read it in its entirety. Naturally there’s a link to the original, so I can also go back to read that if I chose.
I’ve just gone over the 1000 character limit, so I’ll post this on my own site, syndicate a copy to my hcommons.social account, and with any luck it will serve as an example of how all this might work between WordPress, a forked version of Mastodon, and Mastodon itself, as well as for testing it for reading in other parts of the Fediverse if one wished.
Beyond this reading experience, one should also be aware of a separate user interface/interaction problem inherent in how Mastodon and potentially other parts of the Fediverse handle replies and who can see them. I’ll leave this link to explain that issue separately: https://fedi.simonwillison.net/@simon/109559268498004036. (Hopefully your instance will let you see a subsection of some of the replies to it…)
An additional benefit that one gets in bolting on ActivityPub the way it works for my WordPress site is that folks who subscribe to @email@example.com can see linked text natively from within Mastodon despite the fact that Mastodon doesn’t allow one to wrap text with URLs to link out.
In addition to becoming incomprehensibly js;dr in Mastodon 4.0, why did #Mastodon change it’s default reply workflow to make me copy a URL, switch to a different window, go to my server, log in, paste the URL, search, and then reply? I used to be able to just input my account and go directly to a reply box? This new user interface of 7 steps is far worse than the prior two…
I'm pessimistic about the chances of a federated Twitter gaining and sustaining wide adoption. But I could be wrong, and I'd love to be wrong. So in the spirit of contributing rather than just whining, I wrote up a few thoughts. Don't let federation make the experience suck. cc @firstname.lastname@example.org http://benlog.com/2022/12/28/dont-let-federation-make-the-experience-suck/ #federation#web#mastodon
@email@example.com@firstname.lastname@example.org I can’t find the quote from earlier in the week for proper attribution, but someone essentially said “Mastodon brought a spec (ActivityPub, etc.) to a user experience fight.” This is too true, but we also need to be careful of all this not devolving into the RSS Atom Wars which sidetracked developers and allowed corporations to win on the usability front. Conversation on this post already shows heavy evidence of this devolution into architecture astronomy instead of usability. 😔
@chrisaldrich Another #IndieWeb question for you! I'm syndicating blog posts from kfitz.info to Mastodon, where they appear from @email@example.com, and then I boost from this account. Replies to @firstname.lastname@example.org appear as comments to the blog post, as desired. But if I reply to the comment on the blog, that reply doesn't syndicate here, so the commenter doesn't know. And if I reply to the comment here, the reply comes from this account (and I'm not yet sure whether it appears as a reply on the blog or not). How do you manage this?
Generally, you’d post on your site where it’s seen in the Fediverse via the ActivityPub plugin and/or optionally boosted by your native Mastodon account. Replies to your post (on Mastodon) show up on your site as comments and you reply to them there in your site’s comments section. Then you manually copy/paste the text of your reply from your website into your native Mastodon account and include the comment/reply permalink in that reply. If you’ve got Webmention set up with Brid.gy for Mastodon, replies to your replies on Mastodon should then make their way back to the proper threaded spot in your website’s comments section.
An example of this at work can be seen on my earlier mistake:
Related, I’ve been playing around with mirroring my WP site as an instance with the ActivityPub plugin and have boosted posts with my more broadly followed mastodon.social account the same way you mentioned that you were doing with yours. Somehow I’m anecdotally finding that I get more responses/reactions with native posts that with these boosts. I’m curious what your experience has been with this strategy so far? I’m still just starting my experimentation here, but I do like the fact that I’m able to include richer presentation of wrapped links in my WordPress native posts which are seen in the Fediverse while Mastodon seems to strip them out or not allow them (see an example of this in the post above this reply).
One might think that instead of using Hugo (or previously Medium) that Mastodon’s blog would be on an ActivityPub-based platform likeWriteFreely. This seems like a missed opportunity for ActivityPub, but a bigger win for the (more) open web.
Keep in mind that the output of these feeds will be instance specific, and the tag feed will only get mentions from your instance and instances yours can “see” (or gets by follows with federation). So if you use a different instance, you may see more or less in your feeds. Because of its size and depth of federation, this makes mastodon.social a good bet for these sorts of subscriptions, but your experience may vary depending on your needs.
Thinking of changing up my strategy for syndicating content from my website into Mastodon. How can my posts integrate better with ActivityPub?
Manton and Daniel talk about payments from the Small App Developer settlement against Apple. Why does Manton refuse to accept free money, and are there valid reasons to opt out of the settlement? Then they reflect on the wave of opportunity from Twitter’s drastic downfall, and whether Manton and Daniel can “catch it”. Finally, Manton remembers the IndieWeb principles about plurality and monoculture, and they discuss how that might relate to Mastodon.
It’s been. . .a while. It would take too long to review everything that’s happened since I posted last, so let’s start with a recent turn of events: the absolute implosion of Twitter. I’ve been on that site for about fifteen years, and for portions of that time, I barely looked at it. At others times it’s been a critical part of my professional work. Given my on-again, off-again relationship with the space, it feels weird to say that the recent events are terribly significant to me, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I feel at a bit of a loss as I watch my community over there fracture.
@martha I’m hearing a lot of similar experiences across the web like this. Thanks for your thoughts on it.
Kathleen Fitzgerald recently asked about crossposting to Mastodon from her WordPress site and getting replies back. She’s documented some parts recently, and I’ve outlined a few pieces preliminarily including ways you can make your WordPress site look like it’s a Mastodon instance with a few plugins. I suspect Kathleen will have some further thoughts soon after she spends some time tinkering. If you had previously set up to syndicate to Twitter and get responses by via the Brid.gy service, that same sort of workflow will definitely work with Mastodon if you like. (Though it bears mentioning that some of the updates to Mastodon 4.0 this past week or so have introduced some bugs depending on which instance you’re on. I’m sure they’ll be sorted shortly.)
If you’ve not puzzled it out yet, the adding of the requisite rel="me" class to your Mastodon URL link on your website (in the header, footer, via plugin, via menu item, other) is broadly described here (including some details for the classic editor): https://g13g.blog/2022/11/09/how-to-verify-your-wordpress-site-on-mastodon/. I’m personally using the IndieWeb Plugin to accomplish this and have added the URL for my mastodon instance into a field which gets added to my WordPress Profile at /wp-admin/profile.php. I’m happy to help if you need other ideas about how to do it as there are maybe too many potential options—it was all the different options and ways of doing it that confused me when I did it.
In addition to the broader Domain of One’s Own ideas that the “Twitter migration” is spurring, I’m always glad to see more people exploring ways we can have “A Twitter of our Own“.
@chrisaldrich Today I learned about Hometown. I'm not sure I have an opinion about local posting (yet), but am curious about the various fediverse programs (including what features exists across all of them and what do not).
Hometown is one of the few well-maintained forks of Mastodon that I’m aware of. There are obviously a number of other projects that support the ActivityPub protocol which are used for blogging, video, bookmarking, events, books, etc. One of the best lists I’ve seen is at https://indieweb.org/federation#Federation_projects
Perhaps hidden/unknown to many, but hcommons.social and other instances running the Hometown version of Mastodon, have the ability to post only to their local community and specifically not federate their content to the broader Fediverse. In the posting interface, click on the link icon and choose whether you want to allow your post greater reach or stay only within your community. This can be a helpful affordance for having smaller/restricted conversations. #FediTips