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Twitter, but for Math, with Toots (ams.org)
175 points by aqsalose 181 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 29 comments

I joined a few days ago, it's been great so far :) https://mathstodon.xyz/@j2kun

In case you didn't get the Pi * z^2 * a joke (like me), the volume of a pizza with radius z and thickness a is = pi * z * z * a

Edit: formatting

Since I see people annoyed in the comments by the lack of a timeline view: you can see the public timeline for this instance at [0], or fill mathstodon.xyz on [1].

[0] - http://www.unmung.com/mastoview?url=mathstodon.xyz&view=loca...

[1] - https://m6n-view.hnle.tk/

Mastodon is a really great piece of software, at least from the point of view from a user like me, and I really wish more people would use it. There's so much content out there, so many things to reply to and see, from different corners of the fediverse.

I actually signed up for a mastodon and thought it was a pretty nice and funky environment for a week or so.

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.

Here are a few links with more info for picking an instance:

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...

> 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.

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.

> that open federation was doomed to outside abuse.

Could you expand on this? I haven't heard of this problem before and I'm curious to know more.

Individuals can block instances they don't like. Abusers seem to filter into those with lax or nonexistent moderation policies, so it's not that hard.

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.

Within day one of hearing about Mastodon I was easily able to discover that Mastodon.social was the "main" instance and that Mastodon.cloud and Mastodon.xyz were the other biggest instances with English speakers. And people are extremely good about answering questions and sharing information, if that's an issue.

Maybe not knowing that Mastodon.social was the main instance was a bigger issue back when you signed up?

I am not sure if I understand your issue. The whole point of federation is that you don't need to care about the instance, just about the people you want to follow.

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.

I waited for the 'run by the dev crew' mastodon.social to open registrations because I knew it would be kept the most up to date, and moderated in a consistent manner

I wish I could see what people are tooting about without having to create an account.

The API for viewing an instance timeline is public, there are some timeline viewers in the wild [0][1].

To view the local timeline for mathstodon.xyz one can use this link [2], even though [1] looks better (but can't use a direct link).

[0] - http://www.unmung.com/mastoview

[1] - https://m6n-view.hnle.tk/

[2] - http://www.unmung.com/mastoview?url=mathstodon.xyz&view=loca...

You can get an Atom feed of any Mastodon user's toots, if you know the right URL format to ask for or have a feed reader that can do autodiscovery. To demonstrate, here's mine:


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.

That's actually one of the reasons (I think) Twitter became popular.

It was easy to quote a tweet, and you didn't need an account.

you can view feeds[0] and quote toots[1] w/o an account, but yah no public federated timeline as far as I know.

[0] https://mastodon.club/@jszym

[1] https://mastodon.club/@jszym/1784533

care to list some cool users/tags ?. I just got an account and have no idea where to look.

Some I've been using

#proofinatoot: https://mathstodon.xyz/tags/proofinatoot



Unfortunately I'm on an ideologically-bent and rather inactive instance, so I'm not sure if I would do much good here. mastodon.xyz seems to be the "canonical" way to get into the fediverse, though; you can look at the global timeline and then follow people you like from what you see there.

I think I'm cool! :-D (Or at least my mom used to say I was)

I'm jalefkowit@octodon.social, ping me anytime.

put a math problem in a box and put it behind a login. this is more annoying than anything.

They might find this work useful [0]

[0] - https://github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/pull/2404

Latex is already enabled on Mathstodon, using \( \) syntax

Just noticed, unfortunately the period for deleting has expired, thanks!

nothing more to add ?

There is something inherently wrong with this I think. This trend with knowledge, like as any commodity, getting cut down into smallest intelligible or consumable piece and delivered that way is not suitable for disciplines like math. Sure twitter is good for memes, one liners, little nuggets of knowledge or headlines, and sometimes even tweet chains but math requires more context, more rigor, more attention by the consumer. Which is the opposite of Twitter.

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.

The 500 character limit is actually quite liberating after using Twitter.

can we pick another mascot?

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