(I do know that you can subscribe to individuals in other instances, but haven't done that yet.)
It seems like the ActivityPub protocol itself is designed from the "email server" perspective, but as different instances try to differentiate themselves and attract users, I bet the platform will swing more and more toward "web forum". It'll be interesting to see how it turns out.
Given the federated protocol, it's a reasonable expectation carrying around the same identity across instances.
alice register on instance "music"
alice wants to see what's up on instance "books"
Is the problem that the default behavior of Mastodon requires alice to register a new account on "books" just to see that instance's timeline?
For example this page shows the instance's timeline without logging in: https://mastodon.sdf.org/about
If you like someone's toots there, you can follow and message any user on SDF's instance from your account on any other instance.
As mentioned elsewhere, the only thing you would gain by creating an account on sdf.org is to have your toots appear by default in the local timeline of other sdf.org users.
Although it might be better to say that that's the manifestation of the real problem. The real problem is that I want to be able to talk about books sometimes, even though I'm a musician so I registered on the musician instance. If there's a way for me to have conversations about books, I don't care whether it's an "instance" or not. I just don't want to manage two separate accounts. (As an end-user, none of my end-goals mention the word "instance".)
For a federated design I'd assume the main difference among instances to be code of conduct/ToS.
More generally, my question is how do you meet people who are talking about something interesting to you? (Considering that there aren't many people using Mastodon yet, I don't expect to chat with people I know.)
The web forum/subreddit model makes it considerably easier to find interesting subject-based communities. This doesn't seem to be what Mastodon was designed for, but it seems like a good idea.
Wait, is this a thing? I've been using Mastodon for months and have never seen this in the UI.
there are a handful of proposals for doing SSO on fediverse, but it isn't super high priority since creating multiple accounts (alts) is a pretty common practice here.
Then you'll only end up with users that are willing to put up with that, and you will not get users that perceive this as a major inconvenience (I'm in this camp, and I suspect many, many others are too.)
I agree some platforms make multiple accounts hard to the point where you're registering multiple free email accounts, installing multiple browsers and using incognito mode, etc.
That is not inherently the case, and can be quite the opposite when allowing users to control multiple accounts is part of the software's design.
If you're forced to create one account per instance, there's no way to do something as simple as "merge comments from two instances into a single stream", which supposedly was the selling point of federated systems like Mastodon.
Obviously "topic" is the easiest way to differentiate instances today, but when was the last time you choose an email provider based on "topic" (or even domain name, for that matter)?
that said, you don't actually need multiple accounts to join conversations on other servers/topics. any account can talk to any other account on whatever server they happen to be registered on.
alts are more about identity than topics, in any case. in some cases, the topics you interact with are different, but that mostly depends on how much your want to differentiate your various identities.
News and e-mail had different server software and clients and were both used around the world.
Mastodon uses standard protocols, too.
Most Mastodon articles fail to even explain that its a server software anyone can run and talk about mastodon.social like that is the whole thing.
rather than being a mastodon instance you simply use pinafore as your portal to your existing mastodon account.
> Error: undefined. Is this a valid Mastodon instance? Is a browser extension blocking the request?
Interestingly, the reason is (as I discovered) that most of these tools consider cross-origin requests as a signal of a third-party tracker or ad, and therefore block it. Pinafore works by talking directly to the instance's API, and so the instance itself is suspected to be a third-party tracker. ️
A fairly popular instance also crashed and lost all accounts, toots etc.: https://web.archive.org/web/20180325132625/https://mastodon....
Most Ruby apps have tens to hundreds of dependencies and require a build environment which immediately limits access to a smaller group of developers familiar with Ruby build environments and debugging their way out of any dependency hell. Customization also becomes a problem.
There is also no particular design in Mastodon itself to enable more transparency and prevent any arbitrary behavior and abuse of power.
There's official Docker images that I've been running sucesfully for a while, the deployment of Mastodon is really no different from any other self-hosted app these days.
And just packaging something in Docker does not make the need to understand it go away, what happens when things needs to be configured, when database connections don't work, when things go wrong? You still need to understand the software stack pretty well if you want to run it with any degree of confidence.
Docker is not a requirement, it's an additional deployment option. Sure, having a static binary might be easier, but with Docker is pretty much equivalent, you get one, static download.
Had Mastodon been written in Go, this would not solve the problem of having to know Go if things go seriously wrong and you need to debug the actual software. Do you need C knowledge to run Linux? No, but it is certainly helpful.
For what it's worth, I've never had to touch anything Ruby-related in my several months of running a Mastodon instance.
Rails is performant, but like all languages and frameworks, if you aren't writing good code, it's going to be slow.
Flash 2 years later, last week I finally got a Mastodon instance up, and I don't host it myself. I'm using https://masto.host
They let you used your own domain.
My thought process is to not waste my time writing automation to stand up a server until I know I really want to use it.
So far I love it even though I only have 3 followers. I'm "micro blogging" more frequently than I used to on Twitter.
Of you have been meaning to stand up a Mastodon instance but just have not gotten around to it, maybe give mastodon.host a try.
They provide the ability to export and self host.
It also allows you to expire your toots, boosts, etc. The idea is that you don't want people searching your timeline to find gotcha's.
That's the #1 feature that allows separate communities to grow, which makes places like Usenet or Reddit or ICQ to become a global conversation where anyone can participate, and where private conversations between restricted communities can happen independent of a central server.
The "timeline" model where everyone publishes their own stream, and anyone subscribe to individual persons, is good for fast propagating of ideas and news; but it doesn't create "clusters" of like-minded ideas that you can follow, and forces everybody to curate their own inputs. This makes it really difficult to jump in, as building a subscription list that provides interesting content and avoids noise has a lot of friction.
Matrix.org has a good model for channels (called rooms), groups of channels  (called Communities), and distributed identities. I only hope that Matrix.org will become the common background middleware for all federated services, and all these will tend to implement the same features for interoperability.
That content will not inspire others to join.
You just described 90% of the content on every social media platform
Mastodon does not solve this in the slightest, just enables thousands of arbitrary admins. At least with Twitter there is one source and its easier to seek some kind of accountability and put a global spotlight on them.
With platforms like Mastodon this becomes impossible. We instead quickly develop 'ingroups of admins' quietly suppressing others and not amenable to transparency or accountability. Decentralization is about diffusing control not empowering a super group of admins. If that is what you seek why not just stick to twitter.
The decentralized nature certainly allows for "competition" between "ingroups of admins". Don't like your current admins? Move to an instance elsewhere. If you have friends, encourage them to follow you in the move.
Different instances have different transparency/accountability metrics, and the good ones tend to have that posted in the Instance About page/terms. Many of the "ingroups of admins" people decry have all of their silences/suspends posted publicly and transparently on GitHub repositories and offer suggestions/propose fixes as GitHub issues and PRs. That's certainly way more amenable to transparency/accountability than anything Twitter has ever offered.
The things that lead to censorship/suppressing views/bubbles/etc on Mastodon aren't power-hungry admins in a secretive cabal, but instead the same powers that be in the world of email: signal-to-noise management (spam management, "newsletter" management, "fwd: fwd: re:" management). That's as much a user opt-in choice/need as any sort of admin opt-out "power", and if other users think you are more part of the noise rather than the signal, then that's more of a "you" problem, isn't it?
This is just replacing the admins of twitter with random others. So you are not solving the problems of Twitter or decentralization, just promoting your own solution on misleading grounds.
For the average users at least it easier to trust the admins of twitter and expect some accountability and standards of transparency than random others with no accountability.
Every Mastodon instance lists its admins on its frontpage, including how to @ mention them. Most instance admins respond to feedback directly. As I mentioned in the previous comment, particularly good Mastodon instances list their moderation policies and accountability/transparency standards on their frontpages, too, with many of them linking to GitHub repositories or similar where they conduct their business in the source-controlled open.
It's not "random others", because you have the option to choose your instance(s), and can often form personal bonds with the instance's admin(s). Some good instances like toot.cafe and friend.camp are making that a focus that you know who your friendly neighborhood admin is/are and should have a good relationship with them. Sure, your local admin probably talks to other admins or follows other admins, but at the end of the day the admin accountable to the instance is still the one running the instance. There's no central cabal secretly running the show behind the scenes because the admins are already as diverse as the users.
One of the few ways I can see people trust Twitter better is that at least as a for-profit company, it has a business model, and accountability to shareholders (if really, no one else in modern corporate America). There's nothing stopping Mastodon instances from incorporating and forming "proper" business models/governance models to get that additional level of government-blessed transparency. In fact, I've advocated for just that and think that something like a non-profit/charitable Mastodon Foundation to help instances run the business administrivia would be a good idea.
EDIT: the article mentions shitposter.club as a blacklisted instance. I've been following https://shitposter.club/moonman for years with only minor migration issues.
It's not, but counter.social users are blacklisted by Mastodon folks who don't like how th3j35t3r is running his Mastodon node.
Wonder what kind of speech (which you only defend by its supposed legality) you're concerned about being banned.
Maybe they play the piano (88 keys)?
Maybe they're a ham radio operator ("love and kisses")?
Maybe they're a big Kill Bill fan (Crazy 88s)?
Maybe they think it's a lucky number (Chinese culture)?
There's a million possibilities besides this baseless ad hominem attack in which you're implying they're a neo-nazi. This moral panic over white supremacists supposedly hiding under every bed is really tiring.
A little bit of trivia: turns out in France a "département" is a country subdivision which receives two-digit codes, and it's quite common for people to include that in their online identity pseudonyms as a suffix. 88 is the Vosges department.
EDIT: Given the ambiguity, I do not support the use of the "88" thing at all, yet one cannot detract from the fact that cultural context and localization is a tricky subject. Even as a location thing I was not supporting it anyway as it's a terrible practice, being leaky information-wise.
You're a perfect example of what they're complaining about. They've said nothing even remotely offensive, just that they don't agree with shared block lists, and you've already decided that they're wrong and a nazi. I've seen people get added to shared block lists on twitter just because they commented on a thread saying that they both political parties in the US should work together instead of being so devisive, so it's not like only trolls and abusive people get added to those lists.
I hope you enjoy your self-imposed bubble, where everyone you disagree with is a nazi.
Many, many people believe in unfettered free speech. You should assume anyone who supports free speech is doing so in good faith as it's historically been the norm.
"I may not agree with what you say, but I'll fight to the death for your right to say it".
It's about building a national socialist state. Some people might feel that it's the best way to organize large number of people. Just because they hold that view doesn't mean that they are somehow bad people or have bad intentions. By itself it doesn't require any fucking with others but since most such people are also authoritarians and fascists it has lead to that in the past.
>It is about separating people who they disapprove of and killing them.
It doesn't necessarily require killing people you disapprove of. But one of the goals of nazis is to remove people of other ethnicities from their sphere of influence.
>If you're trying to normalise Nazis
Discussing something isn't normalizing it.
>you are one of them
Discussing national socialism doesn't mean that one supports their cause or shares any of their beliefs.
>and the 88 dogwhistle doesn't look good.
The 88 in his name could be reference to literally anything. It could be some athlete's number or birth year. It could be just because he likes the number. Could be anything really. You automatically assuming that it means that the guy is a nazi is just pants on retarded.
Just everyone who values freedom of speech then?
>so many people invoking it are doing so in bad faith.
You really think people who support freedom of speech are doing so in bad faith?
People definitely should have the ability to put restrictive rules in place in place if the association with that community is voluntary, and nobody forces you to use mastodon.
I find strictly moderated communities very pleasant because I have no interest in debating trolls, nazis or whatever else crops up on the internet, and many mastodon instances as a result of this, especially the smaller ones are a lot more pleasant and feel more like a community than twitter.
You'd think, but no. Some instances are run by "free speech absolutists" (in quotes, because they're really not) who block instances which, in their opinion, are "too aggressive" about blocking spam and bad actors. For example, mastodon.social blocks counter.social, preventing all counter.social users from federating with mastodon.social users.
In other words, Twitter users have to deal with the opaque decision making of one @jack. Mastodon users have to deal with the opaque decision making of a bunch of @jacks.
Also: your Mastodon admin could well be someone you know personally, rather than @jack.
Ah, assuming that's true this is the first I'd heard. My guess is that we'll see more of this as a handful of instances dominate and (in at least some cases) consolidate.
My point about @jack is that, for now, you're trading one benevolent dictator for many. The result is a Tower of Babel of moderation and federation standards. Maybe that's a feature and not a bug?
I run a Mastodon instance and I sure am not blocking counter.social and I sure do not see a single toot from them anywhere in my database. Mr. Actual The Jester followed me for a day or two and then just vanished from federation along with the rest of his instance.
Edit: Damn, that was a stupid comment, but I'll leave it as penance. I just wasn't seeing that Mastodon is perfectly setup for compartmentalization. So my Mirimir persona would have an account on some instance that focused on privacy, security and anonymity. And I would be protected from off-topic trolls. But I could have other unlinked personas on other instances, with different topics and blocking criteria. That's very cool.
I like the "make the internet weird again" stuff, revivals of Geocities and tilde clubs and so on. My impression of the Mastodon-era fediverse is that the culture is about as far as you can get from that - it was designed by people who thought Twitter wasn't sanitized enough.
Or you simply get the best of both worlds and stay on Twitter.
There is no overarching authority on these instances, so there's a lot of options, it may just be hard to find the one that meets your needs.
If a right-leaning instance showed up that actively cracked down on people who hang out on the federated timeline looking for people to argue with, and other trolling behavior, I wouldn’t block it. But I haven’t seen such a thing. It’s just an endless sea of Pleroma installations with an admin who has an anime girl avatar and posts shit like “watch me get blocked by twenty more instances: [ethnic slur]”.
I've been keeping on eye on this project for many months, and it's been very interesting. A recent post about moderation and mastadon was very nice to read, but I had only considered the info there from my personal perspective.
I had not considered the network affects of shared blocklists, and now I wonder if this is put up front and center on each instance - are people who sign up notified of the blocklists each instance has?
It's also interesting to consider the end user who does not care about the tech and it's possibilities, and instead just looking for a social network that is easy to use and different than the other big networks in one way or another.
I do not see how creating an instance is like IRC, and I have not seen anything about joining small instances and how that would be like IRC. To me IRC is like a download and run, with mastadon you have to host an instance. I guess it could be just run on someone else's though.
If it was self hosted as an app or browser extension, I suppose it could run something like scuttlebutt and just re-sync when it re-connects - that would be interesting.
That makes me wonder what it could be like if it was installed on a million routers like nextcould is doing(?) - not sure I read that recent post correct.
I am still interested in mastadon, my idea is to somehow make it, or something like it has various bouncers you can follow / make part of your stream. So rather than depend on or have one block list server wise, you could have open servers and subscribe to different bouncer lists, kind of like the adblock lists - and that way some people could choose bouncers that block certain types of material they may want to avoid and be comfortable with certain people or groups making those kinds of, for example left or right leaning, or even block all trump and kardashian news, or all kinds of neat bouncers that could be created.
The future looks interesting and more possible to be less non-federated, I think the world is more ready for that now.
or just make your own and associate as you please.
Pleroma culture, on the other hand, is generally geared more toward free speech.
- marking incoming messages with media from a given account or instance as sensitive
rejecting messages from a specific instance
- removing/unlisting messages from the public timelines
- removing media from messages
- sending only public messages to a specific instance
Luckily for you, there's also https://pleroma.social where they might align with your values a lot more.
1 - I am pro free speech, however many on the right these days seem to think that free speech means they should be free to insult, abuse, impose their religion etc. on others, while also being free to ignore people's right to kneel, protest, worship Satan, support Palestine or whatever else they might want to do.
If that is the sort of "free speech" you're looking for, Mastodon might not be for you, otherwise it's a perfectly free speech tolerant place.
Where did I say this? I said I am pro free speech, especially one that I disagree with, that's the whole point. However I do not think me speaking means that people HAVE TO LISTEN to me. I do not want to be banned from speaking, but I do not demand an audience for my speech, therefore if someone blocks me because they find me annoying, that just means I haven't convinced them to be a part of my audience, as long as I can still speak freely, that's their personal choice.
My problem is with people who pretend to be free speech absolutists, but really aren't in that they'll make a fuss if you disrespect the flag, kneel etc. even as those are very clearly protected by freedom of expression. They're free to not watch someone do these things, (akin to blocking on social media), but not to go beyond that, in my opinion.
I am saying two things:
1. If someone blocks you, that does not violate your free speech, they don't have to listen. As long as they don't take action beyond blocking you it's within their right to do so and they do not violate your free speech.
2. That you should only complain about lack of free speech if you yourself respect speech you disagree with. If you think it's free speech to throw your stuff at people's ears, but then disagree with other people saying stuff YOU don't like, then you should not complain about anything free speech related, (see the whole NFL kneeling controversy for an example of what I mean, or people complaining about a statue of Satan, yet wanting to have In God We Trust in public schools etc.)
Generally don't like AJAX, it's JS and XML, and in the latter case Twitter services don't require Stylesheets or XLS as it's called -- without -- XML is bloated and creates metadata for sale. In addition to AJAX allowing Orwellian advertisement influence.
Edit: this gets downvoted? reasonable technical criticism or dialogue.
For example getting flooded with bad things about people working or the US state just because they're in the vicinity of Trump to either reinforce or encourage guilt by association. After you've made a Trump pun for additional effect.
Is this wrong? Only worked with HPC and mostly hardware-software layer.
What concerns Trump is merely that this technically allows political manipulation by having a short and cheap route to be able to do just that.
If that's hyperbole, I'm in stable orbit around earth.
Wannabe "fiddlers" love JS as everything works.
"They should peruse their Web site for cross-site scripting flaws and fix those."
Every site is now cross-site with FB and Google, even using them as JS service providers. It has shot security that inherently dead.
Also um I think pretty much the entire fediverse is free of ads right now.
Edit to reply to the the reply below, apparently speed is frowned upon in HN:
> Maybe this analysis helps:
This is hyperbole :)
>> Generally don't like AJAX
> Not quite sure what AJAX has to do with this - I don't think Mastodon differs from Twitter here? In the sense that it has webpages that make requests to servers without reloading the page.
AJAX is said to be an improvement, exactly why?
The implications is that it "improves" the platform.
The reason why is well, pun intended, objectifying "documents".
>> it's JS and XML
> This is confusing as well. You refer to XML, which is probably due to the first method of sending HTTP requests without a full page request being the XMLHTTPRequest DOM API. I'm not sure if XML was necessarily involved when that was the only method, but I'm quite sure no XML is involved at all in Mastodon. But even if it was, it's not quite sure what the problem of that would be for you as a user.
Let's perhaps agree that hashtags suffice. Value add for opportunities in the backend does nothing for the users. For it's the enforce "internet bubbles".
>> Twitter services don't require Stylesheets or XLS as it's called
> This one is really hard to parse. My intuition would be that you're talking about Cascading Stylesheets (CSS), the method commonly used to define what a webpage looks like. But then you also mention XLS, which I assume does not refer to Microsoft Excel's file format, but I'm not quite sure what it does refer to - maybe you meant XSLT? But both Mastodon and Twitter use CSS (and I can't imagine you being against that), and neither uses XSLT?
XML is in a family of initiatives for preserving text an data across platforms and formats. Stylesheets allow you to EXPLAIN in a parseable way what that tagged data is supposed to look like as presentable information.
>> XML is bloated and creates metadata for sale.
> As far as I know XML only contains the data the developers put in there, and the same would be true for alternatives such as the more commonly used JSON. And again, there's no XML in Mastodon.
It's tagged data and information, as in metadata and widely abused in the "semantic web" that mostly has value to those that sell user data for-profit. Try and follow the thought train from the premises in the technology and the industry of today.
>> In addition to AJAX allowing Orwellian advertisement influence.
> So I guess your point is that somehow there's more advertisement influence at Mastodon than at Twitter? Again, it's entirely unclear how that would be the case.
Because of these technologies, it can be sold to investors as such. It may just be there for being told it is better due to to easier route to as a paid-for service.
> To sum up: it's probably downvoted because there doesn't appear to be reasonable criticism in here, and in fact, there doesn't really seem to be any content that one could even technically criticise.
> I hope I at least made clear why I was unable to understand your post, or even to criticise it. I might have misunderstood, in which case do enlighten me, but it can at least explain why people downvote you. Hope that helps.
Not in the slightest, but this dialogue is far more useful than having to ask why something is down voted prior to there being an exchange of arguments.
Maybe this analysis helps:
> Generally don't like AJAX
Not quite sure what AJAX has to do with this - I don't think Mastodon differs from Twitter here? In the sense that it has webpages that make requests to servers without reloading the page.
> it's JS and XML
This is confusing as well. You refer to XML, which is probably due to the first method of sending HTTP requests without a full page request being the XMLHTTPRequest DOM API. I'm not sure if XML was necessarily involved when that was the only method, but I'm quite sure no XML is involved at all in Mastodon. But even if it was, it's not quite sure what the problem of that would be for you as a user.
> Twitter services don't require Stylesheets or XLS as it's called
This one is really hard to parse. My intuition would be that you're talking about Cascading Stylesheets (CSS), the method commonly used to define what a webpage looks like. But then you also mention XLS, which I assume does not refer to Microsoft Excel's file format, but I'm not quite sure what it does refer to - maybe you meant XSLT? But both Mastodon and Twitter use CSS (and I can't imagine you being against that), and neither uses XSLT?
> XML is bloated and creates metadata for sale.
As far as I know XML only contains the data the developers put in there, and the same would be true for alternatives such as the more commonly used JSON. And again, there's no XML in Mastodon.
> In addition to AJAX allowing Orwellian advertisement influence.
So I guess your point is that somehow there's more advertisement influence at Mastodon than at Twitter? Again, it's entirely unclear how that would be the case.
To sum up: it's probably downvoted because there doesn't appear to be reasonable criticism in here, and in fact, there doesn't really seem to be any content that one could even technically criticise.
I hope I at least made clear why I was unable to understand your post, or even to criticise it. I might have misunderstood, in which case do enlighten me, but it can at least explain why people downvote you. Hope that helps.
Again: AJAX and XML have nothing to do with Mastodon. You keep going into those, claiming that people say that it's an improvement, but it's not even relevant. Your entire posts appear to build on that, but it's a premise that is faulty.