- http://www.unmung.com/mastoview?url=mathstodon.xyz&view=loca...
 - https://m6n-view.hnle.tk/
Then, I realized the full ramifications of federation and I realized that Mastodon was likely to go the way of IRC if it ever "caught on" with the masses, in that open federation was doomed to outside abuse.
I then realized that because of this, my account being on a friends' small instance that he put up on a whim was probably not a good idea.
However, I had no idea which other instance to migrate to, considering that there are a billion of them and it was hard to get a flavor for what instances are like with no obvious way to get a public feed.
Now it's months later, my friends' mastodon has been taken down from lack of use, and I still don't have a clear idea of what instance I should use instead. I really don't want to have to create an account on a half-dozen different servers just to find out.
Projects default picker: https://instances.mastodon.xyz/ (will release a new version tomorrow)
Biggest instances list: https://mnm.social/
Fediverse (GNU social + Mastodon) overview: https://radar.amberstone.digital/chart/fediverse
If you want more details from an instance: https://dashboards.mnm.social/dashboard/db/instance-detail?r...
They're working on ways to prevent this. Individual users can now mute both other individual users and entire instances, for example, which makes silencing abusers and other pests a matter of a couple of clicks the way we used to do on Usenet with a killfile (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_file).
I'm cautiously optimistic about the future of Mastodon; it has a lot of challenges ahead of it, but the developers and the community both take them seriously and are actively engaged in tackling them.
Could you expand on this? I haven't heard of this problem before and I'm curious to know more.
Here are some suggestions:
mastodon.social: It was initially populated by furry Twitter and LGBTQ communities, and we're pretty good about onboarding people with culture primers every time there's a new flood of people. For the most part, this goes well, and it helps that the admin and moderators are amenable to keeping it a safe space for marginalized identities.
mastodon.technology: Probably what most people on HN will prefer.
The links in this post are good: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14567465
So far, popularity of instances is a pretty good guide for how well-run they are.
Maybe not knowing that Mastodon.social was the main instance was a bigger issue back when you signed up?
Discovery is a little harder, of course. But if you already have some prior form of contact with the people you'd like to follow, then you can just get their handle and go directly to their page.
To view the local timeline for mathstodon.xyz one can use this link , even though  looks better (but can't use a direct link).
 - http://www.unmung.com/mastoview
 - https://m6n-view.hnle.tk/
 - http://www.unmung.com/mastoview?url=mathstodon.xyz&view=loca...
This means that you can drop a Mastodon user into your feed reader and follow them the way you would follow any feed-enabled web site. No Mastodon account required; in fact, once you know the schema for feed URLs, all you need is their username and you don't need to touch a Mastodon site even once.
It was easy to quote a tweet, and you didn't need an account.
I'm email@example.com, ping me anytime.
 - https://github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/pull/2404
Sure it can be used for link sharing, but in my opinion reddit offers a better kind of model for this with its structured comments section.