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Ask HN: Who are your favourite people to follow on Mastodon?
320 points by rocky1138 on Apr 3, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 128 comments
I'm looking to follow a few more people from my GNU Social instance. Who do you follow, and why?

I have made HackerNewsBot [1] (it publishes stories with 100+ points), comedy bot [2] that reposts jokes and showerthoughts from reddit, writing prompts bot [3], and webcomics bot [4].

My favorite people to follow are:

@Chrishallbeck@mastodon.social (webcomics artist)

@lumen@mastodon.social (writes jokes)

@Gargron@mastodon.social (creator of mastodon)

@cwebber@octodon.social (author of ActivityPub)

And a few cool engineers:







Also come follow my account [5], I don't post often, but I tend to share updates on my projects, cool startup/webdev related stuff, and some digital art. I should get back on mastodon and post more stuff...

[1] https://mastodon.social/@hackernewsbot

[2] https://mastodon.social/@comedy

[3] https://mastodon.social/@webcomics

[4] https://mastodon.social/@WritingPrompts

[5] https://mastodon.social/@rayalez

I follow several of your bots!

One feature request: webcomics bot should provide links to the original when posting, so that people can find webcomics they want to follow regularly.

Yeah, straight-up reposting images in bulk like that is one of those crimes that people do thoughtlessly, but all over the place without even realizing it's a copyright violation, or not even caring that it is one.

The bot should be posting links to the comic pages and let mastodon's multimedia stuff extract preview images.

Anything other than that may be "convenient", but is ultimately entirely self-serving at the detriment of the people whose work the bot is using.

How do you feel about fixing that, rayalez?

Also, for anyone wondering why this matters, further reading from an incident last year: https://twitter.com/aurahack/status/902363519672360962 - https://twitter.com/i/moments/901869159931187200

Hi! Sorry, I wish I could do that, but the comics are taken from comics-related subreddits, and most of the links there are direct to images, they don't give credit to the author, so I can't do it automatically either.

I think a lot of the authors expect their images to be shared all over the internet, so they include a url to their site in an image.

Not everyone, and I understand that's not ideal. But the alternative is curating it manually (which I don't have the time for), or shutting it down (but many people seem to find it useful, so I figured I won't do that unless one of the comics authors complains).

If you want to help curating the comics - send me a message!

I can't amplify this enough, especially with creative products.


https://mastodon.social/@eevee - good tech blogger

https://mastodon.art/@Curator - admin of an art-based instance who boosts lots of cool art

https://framapiaf.org/@davidrevoy - artist behind https://peppercarrot.com

https://octodon.social/@emersion - friend of mine who works on cool projects with me











How to follow -> click "remote follow" on any profile and fill in your account details.

An easier way to follow is to paste any of these urls into the mastadon search box, and then click on + button next to the account. This avoids needing to fill in your account details on the remote site.

If I were to setup my own instance, like you, how do I interact (read & write) with other, curated instances (e.g. octodon.social, mastodon.social etc.)?

Remote follow enough specific people you are interested in and some of the rest of the instance's traffic will show up in your instance's Federated Feed as it interests them.

Sometimes if the remote instance's entire feed is interesting I might set up a "read only" account on that instance to get an idea of people to remote follow from my main account. I've heard good multi-instance clients can help a lot with that, but I've not yet found a multi-instance supporting client I like.

Okay, yeah, doesn't seem to be too many out there. So no real way to do this now, except what you described. You can follow specific people, but no local timelines of instances.

Yeah, there are also interesting experiments out there, like some instances run bots to try to "collect them all" and follow almost everyone they can in the fediverse. The one that found my instance first was @federationbot@mastodon.host.

It's not something I've considered on my instance, to keep costs down and because I like the opportunity to curate it manually a bit.

Oh, and https://smeap.com/@max if anyone was curious to follow.

Every instance can talk to every other one seamlessly. You just follow the people you want or even mention them directly and it'll work.

@eevee@mastodon.social was surprised by all the people suddenly following them... As they've tooted, a lot of what they post could definitely be seen as not safe for work.

but hey, that's what CWs are for

I love that there's a really rich gopher-centric community on the fediverse. It should be noted that the gopher people overlap heavily not just with forth but also with experimental hypertext.

Indeed! Hence your Xanadu toot train in that list :)

Those famous outside of Mastodon: https://mastodon.technology/@brion (major MediaWiki contributor), https://mastodon.xyz/@johnonolan (Ghost.org founder), https://mstdn.io/@xahlee (of xahlee.info, which gets posted here a lot), and https://octodon.social/@pzmyers (PZ Myers, the blogger).

Organizations: https://mastodon.technology/@kde, https://mastodon.social/@Purism, https://status.fsf.org/fsf, and https://mastodon.technology/@conservancy

Those who make interesting posts: https://cybre.space/@theZacAttacks, https://mastodon.social/@natecull, and https://dev.glitch.social/@MightyPork.

I'm https://mastodon.technology/@danielhglus, by the way.

And browsing the local timeline of https://mastodon.technology with the unmung tool (direct link: http://www.unmung.com/mastoview?url=mastodon.technology&view...) might turn up some interesting people to follow as well.

To tack on some more folks well-known in the outside world (some of these signed up last year and aren't active now):

- Michael W. Lucas, author: https://bsd.network/@mwlucas

- Amanda Rousseau, malware researcher: https://mastodon.social/@malwareunicorn

- Brendan Eich, creator of Javascript: https://mastodon.social/@BrendanEich

- John Scalzi, author: https://mastodon.social/@scalzi

- Jenn Schiffer, artist and dev at Glitch: https://toot.cafe/@jenn

Anxiously awaiting biologists, bioinformaticists, and other scientists to arrive to Mastodon en masse. So far scientists seem to be firmly entrenched in the blue bird site. Any recommendations along these lines would be sincerely appreciated!

I am squatting at https://mastodon.social/@brendes, lurking silently until more scientists show up.

The only ones more entrenched than academics/scientists are the ones with the little blue checkmark, journalists.

I see more scientists over at scholar.social, have you joined and checked out their local timeline?

Never heard of it—thanks so much.

Janelle Shane: https://wandering.shop/@janellecshane

She runs the http://aiweirdness.com blog, which is delightful

If someone is interested, I'm the amin of an instance focused on functional programming: https://functional.cafe

Looking at the local timeline of functional.cafe there is hardly any tech related toots, much less functional programming. Is this expected of Mastodon networks? I noticed the same thing with bsd.network.

That's why I called it “café”

Jokes apart, I'm trying my best to make it a more technical instance, but I can't control what the users toot. I just hope that someone joins a tech instance to talk about tech...

I'm @loke@functional.cafe, and I certainly post about other things outside my main programming interests. So far no one has complained about that.

I think the point of an instance with a topic has more to do with the fact that people on that instance tend to be people with similar interests to you, not that every single post is about that topic.

This post pushed me over the edge--created an account.


And since @dave was taken I snagged @daveross :P

I don't quite understand the relationship between the various instances on Mastodon.

Once you join an instance are you stuck on that instance for life? What happens if you want to participate on another instance? Can I reply to comments on other instances?

I wrote a thing[0] about Mastodon a while ago. Currently there is no way to migrate an account, but that's being worked on actively, and progress is being made. You can already export your data, and who you follow, block, or mute.

Ideas are being discussed as to how your followers can follow you when you move, but that's tricky given the entire concept of federation.

This is explained on the page I wrote[0], but if anyone on your instance follows person X on another instance, toots from person X turn up on the federated timeline on your instance, you can have a chance to see those toots. Similarly, if someone on your instance boosts a toot, it turns up on your instance, so you can see it and decide whether or not you want to remote follow that person. This the network of connections grows, albeit slowly.

And yes, you can comment on threads on other instances.

Hope that helps. You can always join an instance with a throwaway account, try it out, and if migration does come to life, migrate. If not, start afresh on the instance of choice with a new account. Come find me here:


[0] http://www.solipsys.co.uk/new/ThinkingAboutMastodon.html?HN_...

Useful information, thanks. I've followed your account, though I'm finding it hard to get into using Mastodon. A means to show the oldest unread Toots first, and to sync this across devices/web, might be helpful.

Mastodon generates an RSS feed for every user. Check out their web profile pages and look in the HTML header. Most popular RSS readers will just pick it up if you paste the profile URL in.

That could be rather useful - many thanks. As an aside, I used to follow various organisations' RSS feeds from Facebook, before that was shut down. It was a great way to keep up with their activities.

I think technically it's an "atom" feed, and I'm not hip enough to know the exact difference, but there is certainly come kind of feed there.


Atom was Google's answer to RSS back when they cared about an open web. As far as I can tell, everything that handles RSS also handles Atom, and they're exposed in the header in the same way.

Firefox users can right click on the browser chrome, go to Customize, and add a subscribe button that lights up when a page has a feed. It's not as snug a fit as what used to go in the address bar, but it still works.

I'm not sure what this means:

> Firefox users can right click on the browser chrome, ...

... but I've made a note of your comment, and when I get time I'll go hunting to find out how it works. It seems to me that RSS/Atom/Subscription is going to make a comeback. Technical people are moving off other platforms and putting their output on their own sites, so some sort of subscription management is the way to go.


We'll see. Thank for the reply.

Cool - thanks - much appreciated.

The thing to do is ask about these things on Mastodon - people might answer, features like this might already be in the works.

I tend to just open up the browser interface and scroll down will I don't recognise things, then read upwards. I've wondered about writing a took to do that, the idea being that if I do so and find it useful then I can offer it to others, and then if it becomes popular then it might get integrated into the code. It is, after all, open source. My problem is that I can't see how the interface would work. "Displayed" is not the same as "have read", and if i's been a while then it might be along way back.

It's things like this that let to the "Things you might have missed" feature in Twitter. Does Mastodon need something similar? Personally, I prefer it as it is, but I can see how others might want something different.

Similarly, I have thought about writing something, but lack of time and engagement have meant that I've never got around to looking at it.

The interface works well with the Twitter clients I've used, usually involving showing a count of unread messages which decreases as one scrolls up. All can be marked as read by scrolling to the top (e.g. by tapping on the count). I suspect it might be harder to manage given the federated nature, though.

So yeah, you can talk with other instances.

And if you want to migrate you should be able to download am your stuff and migrate follower lists etc

Currently you can download the list of people you follow, but have no way to migrate the people who follow you. If you're simply moving then you can leave a forwarding address, but that's currently the best you can do.

People are actively working on it to ensure that people can move across instances smoothly, but it's not yet there.

oh? i thought you could migrate followers already. I haven't used it, tbh, quite happy with my instance.

Person Person X on instance I (X@I) follows Person Y on instance J (Y@J), and Person Y moves to instance K (Y@J->Y@K), there is currently no automatic way to have X@I start following Y@K.

Y@J can announce they're moving and say where they're going, but there's no automated process. Several have been proposed, all (so far) can be horrendously abused. So far, X@I has to see the notification and follow Y@K manually.

Just like email addresses, you can have multiple ones, and speak with everyone else (AFAIK). What changes is that you also have a timeline (like a mailing list that goes in a folder) for your local instance, and one for the instances it federated with.

As far as I know, a lot of people have different accounts for their different centers of interest.

That comparison doesn't map gracefully though, given that people don't "subscribe passively" to a single email account, and email users don't (outside of mailing lists) generally broadcast.

Nothing is stopping you from making a new account but there is no account migration. Assuming you and your instance admin arent bad people (as in, your old account isnt deleted or banned) you can make a new account and put a link to your old one in your about me section of your profile.

Everyone you see on the public timeline is on a server that contains at least one person someone om your server follows. Thats how servers get to know each other. If you go seek out and follow someone on madeupname.social and youre the first to do so them you have caused new federation!

Its a good thing. Interract with as many people as you care to and your instance will benefit. This isnt like Reddit where subs will ban you for contributing in any way to subs they dont like. Its just not like that

That rocky1138 guy is a great person to follow https://kwat.chat/rocky1138 cough

Maybe you can help me here. I'm on a Mastodon instance:


I've clicked on your link, but from the page I get I can find no way to follow you.

What should I be doing? Do I click the "Subscribe" link at the top left? Given that your page doesn't look at all like the Mastodon I'm used to, it's not at all clear.

Advice welcome.

You can copy-paste the profile url in mastodon's searchbar, it'll open that profile in the UI of your mastodon instance, so you can follow it as you normally would.

Your words "the profile url" don't mean anything to me. The URL I have - as quoted above - when pasted into the search bar gives no results.

That was exactly what I meant, sorry if it was unclear. Copy-pasting the http URL in the search bar works for me. I am however on a different instance, mastodon.social, no idea what may be causing the different behavior.

OK, so interpreted you correctly, but it didn't work on my instance. Fair enough - not really worth pursuing, but worth being aware of.


You can click subscribe and put in your mastodon address ColinTheMathmo@mathstodon.xyz, or you can search rocky1138@kwat.chatin the mastodon search box and click follow from there.

Right, that search in the search box worked - thanks.

Now following!

I really want to get into Mastodon, but I cannot decide which one I would want to join. Is there one that's say best for.. gaming? Or one best for the arts? I tried to use their search but it's hard to tell which one I'd actually want to be part of.

For the arts, definitely mastodon.art. For gaming, I couldn't find any good (uptime-wise, and English) instances for just gaming, but https://mastodon.gamedev.place (gamedev) or https://boardgames.social (for the other kind of gaming) came up while I was looking. I used the list at https://instances.social.

Join multiple.

Part of the fun of Mastodon is opening up the Local feed and seeing what everyone on the instance is talking about even if you don't follow them.

Pick one to be your "primary" where you do your following but don't forget to check up on the exciting things going on with the other instances too.

I too couldn't decide, so I started my own private instance recently (it was dead simple with the docker stack), and sometimes I feel a bit isolated and wonder if I should have joined an established instance instead. I suppose that's the burden one takes upon with a private instance: you have to actively go out and find people to follow and interact with. The advantage of course being that you're not bound by any sort of community rules or norms, and all the other advantages of hosting your own services. In any case my main goal was to get myself to write more, regardless of who's reading it, so to that end it's been successful.

You could always set up a second account to dig more into another instance. I'm currently on octodon.social (largely because mastodon.social was full when I first joined), but I've been thinking of creating a personal instance to play around with things that I don't necessarily want to clutter another local timeline with.

Have a look at https://instances.noct.zone/, a hand-curated list of a number of the more popular instances and their themes.

But really, you can join anywhere, don't think about it too hard. You can always follow anyone from anywhere. I have a very diverse follower/follow list, instance-wise.

Make your own instance. Then you can turn it into whatever you want. You can follow anybody in the fediverse, regardless of what instance they're on.

Join one, participate in any of them. That's the beauty of Mastodon.

Lots of people across the fediverse like gaming. You just need to pick an instance that isn't heavy on censorship so you don't find yourself trapped in a small sandbox. Many Mastodon instances suffer from this problem so you might want to try some of the older GNU Social instances that federate with a wider audience like loadaverage or quitter.se

I typically follow people I've had a number of meaningful conversations with.

If looking for techies, they're scattered across several instances. The i.write.codethat.sucks instance I am on I think is on the smaller side.

I'm nobody important, but I really am loving the atmosphere in Mastodon. I'm @JordiGH@mathstodon.xyz

Come say hi! :-)

Some of my faves:

* djsundog@toot-lab.reclaim.technology

* qrs@mastodon.social

* cypnk@mastodon.social

* mulander@bsd.network

* jk@mastodon.social

* tinker@infosec.exchange

In case anyone's vaguely interested I can be reached at stevelord@mastodon.social. I mostly post about hardware hacking and conferences.

I wrote a bot that provides randomized follow suggestions (from its follower list) -- https://botsin.space/@FollowFriday

As for interesting people to follow (biased in favor of people who post interesting technical content) I recommend https://mastodon.social/@natecull, https://cybre.space/@a_breakin_glass, https://mastodon.social/@hisham_hm, https://mastodon.social/@tomharris, and https://hackers.town/@thegibson

I'm at https://a.weirder.earth/@enkiv2 at the moment.

http://mastodonusermatching.tk recommends infinite users for you.

I typically just shout into the void and follow most people who engage with my posts. Its a big network out there

I'll be following up on several of these recommendations. In the meantime, I can be found here:


Just Mastodon, or anything in the fediverse?

BTW, https://sealion.club/craig. Mostly I post music that I have recently found and like.

Anything in the fediverse, of course. It's just that everyone knows Mastodon, so it's low-friction to title the question with it.


For cool retro computing stuff, and general archival-of-tech stuff

https://bsd.network/@ed1conf for useful tips about the standard Unix editor

Pretty much every other account on https://bsd.network/

https://mastodon.social/@qrs for retrocomputing and CG pictures

What is Mastodon?

"What is Mastodon?" by Mastodon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPSbNdBmWKE

In addition to the links other people have provided, here's a thing wot I wrote:


In short, it's a sort of Twitter like thing, but no ads, chronological timeline, not controlled by a single organisation, and federated across multiple instances.

Its a recent new server software and client for the StatusNet "fediverse". StatusNet and the protocols it uses are very old, and a small community of users have been there for like a decade.

Its a federated social network. It is like a cross between Twitter and email. Anyone can start a server and set their own community rules and guide lines. If you or someone on your server remotely follows someone they like on another server then your servers will federate and posts from both will be in the public timeline. Eventually you will have a full timeline of many servers. Though your admin can silence or outright block other instances. Most GS veteran admins prefer their users just block people, as full instance banning is an extreme measure and against the spirit of federation. This is also a future-proof approach to social networking because if your server and its admin are malicious you can either start your own or just move and you still can contribute to the same network of people as before.

Recently a guy named Eugen who goes by @gargon@mastodon.social made Mastodon and a patreon account to support its development.

It has a troubled history, as the early adopters of Mastodon were Twitter and Tumblr users from the far-left pro-censorship crowd. They didnt understand how federation worked but they were paying Eugen's bills so he focused on redundant administration tools instead of more critical fixes (its ok now tho). Many popular Mastodon servers for example cybre.space, witches.town(now dead), and others they maintained big instance block lists and they live mostly in a bubble as they did not agree with the hands off, self moderation (blocking individuals) approach of older GNU Social sites. This bubble is really small though and is not sustainable.

Now, even though Eugen and his audience might prefer Mastodon servers not federate with GNU social servers not every masto server uses a huge instance block list. Anyone can host a masto server same as GS.

> It has a troubled history

Stop there; this is where your comment goes off the rails. I'm an admin (disclosure - my blocklist: https://github.com/kstrauser/freeradical/blob/master/content...) and see almost none of the far-left censorship you describe, particularly on content. You want to be pro-Trump? Go for it, as long as you're polite and respectful. Sure, people will argue with you, but that's their right to be expressive, too.

GNU Social is an interesting experiment and was quickly adopted by a lot of people who wanted to have literally zero limits on free speech. I initially switched from running a GS node to running a Mastodon instance because the software was orders of magnitude better, but quickly decided that adding a couple of rules (be polite. Don't harass. Respect others.) made for a much better user experience than the wild west "say anything you want" environment of GS. I guess you could argue that those rules are imposing censorship, but much in the same way that outlawing physical assault is a restriction of our freedom to beat people up.

As an admin, here's my take on the matter: https://blog.freeradical.zone/welcome-to-my-living-room/ . You don't have to agree with everything I say, but you don't get to punch my other guests and then whine when I throw you out. In practice, this is hypothetical because I've never had to ban anyone. Turns out adults are perfectly capable of treating each other decently when they know that's expected of them.

- @tek@freeradical.zone (https://freeradical.zone/@tek)

Calm down. You're free to block whatever you want for your instance. That's not my concern. If you want to ban certain politocal alignments or specific opinions then your free to do that as well. I disagree with painting such broad strokes like the early mastodon servers did because it leads to quiet/dead instances. It happened to the one I was on and I switched.

There is a market for closed instances, as some people don't want their opinions challenged or to see things they don't like and it's awesome that there's a way to get that. It just shouldn't be the norm because it discourages federation.

Edit: FWIW judging by your blog post and block list you arent an example of what I was talking about so don't take it that way. There are plenty of reasonable Mastodon servers now that repect dialogue it just had a rough start.

I'm enjoying my time with Mastodon so far, and don't generally engage with politically heated discussions on social media anyway, but this is still my biggest concern as things stand right now. Part of the reason Hacker News is so appealing is the comments, in which you can often read opinions approaching a controversial subject from wildly different angles, sometimes leading to fascinating and civil discussions which leave you feeling better off and more well-rounded for having read them.

Within the currently popular Mastodon servers however, it definitely does feel like a bit of a self-imposed bubble, whereby the about pages espouse civil discussion, but in reality statements or opinions closer to centre on the political spectrum are usually met with hostility and treated as egregiously offensive. I'm hopeful it'll mature over time, settle into a less ambiguous moderation policy that allows for wider coverage of the political spectrum so long as it's civil and ultimately attract a broader range of users.

This is where federation wins really. If your mastodon server wont come out of its bubble nothing is stopping someone from making a new server that does. Instances may die, but the social network as a whole never will.

I see you making fun of my post Eugen. https://mastodon.social/@Gargron/99795655453246031

If I'm wrong about any of this tell me. There's nothing inherently wrong with a blocklist, I just don't like them and I'm just pointing out that it's a thing. I'm just posting my personal observations.

If you want a freezepeach instance there are lots of them, and I wish you luck.

Frankly, social media is a place where I want a bit of a "bubble", and by "bubble" I mean "blocking people and communities that annoy me".

Send an email or text.

Social media is what is replacing our town square, and the potential for someone to walk by and say "Nah, mate, that's fuckin stupid, and here's why" will be sorely missed in the environment that bubble-ists desire.

That's just trading one madness for another. You're missing my point. We should be promoting federation instead of trying to fragment what we have.

Othetwise our shared social network will not grow

For the news, journalism and freedom of the press inclined I've posted an invitation link below that will allow you into FourthEstate.social. Expires in 12 hours.


Mastodon looks great, but one newbie Q holds me back - what if you join, participate, and after some years your the instance/community upon which you built goes under? Are you starting again from scratch somewhere else? Thanks for any help!

Just as you might vet the domain your email address is hosted with, you want to vet the instance you join. Most instances post information about their admin policies. Some instances post information about their business/hosting model (ie, cooperatives that pay for their instance among themselves, versus people using spare VM cycles "for fun"), and many admins will answer questions about it even if not posted explicitly.

As with email, there's also always the option to use a custom domain you control for your instance. There are a couple of SaaS providers for Mastodon instances like https://masto.host, and cookbooks for several DIY options on major hosting providers. A benefit to custom domain is that you have some power to migrate your CNAME records if you had to switch hosts, and keep your existing followers even.

Basically, yes. I don't see that being any different to any other online service though.

As others have said you can backup your data, which is a good rule of thumb everywhere.

There's support for exporting and importing the people you follow and block lists.

There's also a migration feature that lets you say "I'm at this new handle now" on an old profile. But I don't think it automatically brings your old followers with you.

Note that these are only viable if you know ahead of time that the instance is going away (this is happening right now with witches.town which is closing at the end of April).

I had the same concerns so I started my own instance.

Looks like

You can (and should) export & backup your following list.

Migrating posts is complicated -- it's straightforward to export all your posts with third party tools, but you shouldn't expect to be able to move them to a new instance unless you're running it yourself, in order to avoid the possibility of faked histories. (I personally keep a backup of all my posts, and it's fairly straightforward to re-format them as a static html document if you feel like you need to re-host them for archival purposes.)

Personally, I recommend keeping accounts on several instances, and posting to different accounts corresponding to your various interests. This makes it less irritating for members of your social group that don't want to hear about particular topics, makes migration in case of instance apocalypse easier, and encourages you to stretch out your identity a bit (rather than feeling like you need to stay 'on-brand' like people do on twitter).


[...] Suricrasia Online is a Toronto-based ISP staffed entirely by anthropomorphic sharks in maid outfits. [...]

My favourite is this one: @MicroSFF@mastodon.social

I'm here: @alexduf@mastodon.xyz

I think people will assume their data is safer with Mastadon. But in a way, your data might even be more insecure, as you have no idea what and who the Instance owner is, and what they will do with the data.

Also, now the responsibility of securing the platform is in the hands of the instance owner, whom you have no idea how they have their platform setup.

FYI, an open source project called Drupal, was recently affected with a a bug where millions of sites could be hacked.

Now I'd like to know how Mastadon will combat these issues.

I think that fundamentally misses the point. No one is using a social network for "data security", the whole value add of twitter (and by extension mastodon) is the public nature.

The value add of something like mastodon is you get to choose your instance owner (and it could be yourself) which means choosing your moderation scheme. As well as offering a more transparent social experience (ie no algorithmically generated timelines to push adds or "engagement").

Comparing Mastodon to a php CMS seems like an apples to oranges comparison in every sense.

I get that. I haven't fully read the in and outs of Mastadon but from a glance, it reminds me of Wordpress with Pingbacks. Or quite simply RSS feeds, where user you follow is essentially subscribing to their feeds.

But all that aside, at the end of the day, if you "are" a user in one of the instances, you are still at the mercy of the owner's technical skills to make sure your data is safe.

If the owner one day decides he can't afford to pay his bills, or gets hacked and wipes out data, what would happen to all your posts? I believe it'd just disappear, but please do correct me if I'm wrong.

There is a lot of overlap with RSS and Pingbacks, indeed.

Mastodon today provides a tool to get data backups of your account's own data, at least, so in the case of a lost instance there may be some options.

Plus, as with blogs there is the option to be your own instance owner on a custom domain you control. So the assumed risk level can vary to what you are comfortable with.

For me the main draw of Mastodon is that my interactions with it aren't being increasingly optimized for revenue.

There are no ads in my feed, and no opaque algorithm determining what I see.

Data security is a concern of mine, but I don't think Mastodon is any more or less vulnerable to attacks than any other software.

As I am the instance owner, I am pretty sure my data is secure, both against prying eyes as well as against data rot.

> FYI, an open source project called Drupal, was recently affected with a a bug where millions of sites could be hacked.

Goiven that Drupal is a CMS, something completely different from a social network, this is like asking that you have seen an airship burn, so how are fish avoiding being eaten.

Perhaps we are talking two different things here, I was merely talking about securing your server to protect you and your users' data.

For example, can I ask you how you secure your server? Would your server be able to pass an Openvas/Nessus penetration test, have you even performed one? What are your server update policies like? Do you have any external logging server? If not, how do you know someone malicious didn't login to your server and stole your data and erased his tracks?

There are a lot more variables when it comes to security and data.

I'm the instance owner on my own instance, so I have a pretty decent idea of where the data is going :)

Me, if you want to hear about books I read, papers I find while working on neuromorphic systems and in general my opinions...


How to find people to follow? Is there a hashtag on mastodon to ask about finding certain people based on certain interests?

Another user in this thread posted a comment[1] containing a link to http://www.unmung.com/mastoview?url=mastodon.technology&view... which no doubt will come in very useful for browsing local timelines of other instances to find interesting users.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16742180

On the left there is a search box. Type in a hashtag and it will give you a list of possible hashtags. Click on one of them and the search results come up in the right-hand column.

Your instance may vary, but that works on mine, and is effective.

Either that or follow a few people and then see who they boost. Follow those boostees if they look interesting. Growth is slower and more organic, but it's a good way to keep growth under control and not end up with a firehose.

There's #ff or #followfriday for suggesting, but i've seen it used to ask for suggestions as well.

There's also Freya, the Follow Friday bot, who will randomly throw you suggestions and let yourself be added to the pool. https://botsin.space/@FollowFriday

You can search on #introductions and see a lot of people making often-hashtag-laden posts describing themselves.

Judging by the recommendations in the comments here, this would be a great place to start.

here's some interesting people I follow:

@crowd42@infosec.exchange @tinker@infosec.exchange @xeb@mastodon.social @lain@pleroma.soykaf.com

I'm @slipstream@mastodon.social and @Rairii@cybre.space :)

I second @tinker@infosec.exchange. Followed on twitter and was glad when they showed up on Mastodon.

kaniini@pleroma.dereferenced.org is really neat. He worked on Alpine Linux, audacious, pkgconf and other stuff


Lain, developer of Pleroma, is also rad:

@lain@pleroma.soykaf.com https://pleroma.soykaf.com/users/lain

mastodon.cloud/@occrp - because stories on organized crime and corruption are fun.

And now to partially answer the original question, culled from the 200 or so people I follow, so I will have missed some I should have left in, and some of these might be of less interest to the HN crowd:

https://octodon.social/@craigmaloney - Linux, programmer, stuff

https://mastodon.social/@natecull - computery and other stuff

https://mastodon.social/@rysiek - security

https://mastodon.social/@Ronkjeffries - Well, it's Ron Jeffries

https://mastodon.technology/@Ronkjeffries - and again

https://mastodon.social/@andrewt - Maths stuff and odd observations

https://mathstodon.xyz/@virtuosew - Linguistics, odd observations

And then there are the maths people:











Was Sage Sharp previously known as Sarah? Did they transition?

I just want to know if it's the same person. It would be a big coincidence if they were not.

Since that person is no longer in that list, we detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16743065 and marked it off-topic.

yes, they are


Explain? I mean it's running and there's a sizable amount of people using it?

It already is!

If you want to discuss it further say something to: "@dethos@s.ovalerio.net"

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