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Mastodon 2.7: Highlights from the changelog (joinmastodon.org)
142 points by Kye 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 53 comments



One thing I didn't like when I tried Mastodon (and I'm talking about the web client implementation here, not the underlying protocol) was that the feed element was too thin and there was no way to increase its width without resorting to inspect element or grease-monkey scripts.

Mastodon thread: https://mastodon.social/@dsandoval/100137860645975194

Good part is that people actually replied to me, instead of the 0 interaction I would have gotten on twitter.


Mastodon has alternative front-ends, a lot of instances have:

* pleroma front/back-end alternative, e.g. https://soteria.mastodon.host/

* pinafore front-end, e.g. https://pinafore.mastodon.host/


I am using this in userContent.css with Firefox for Mastodon:

    @-moz-document domain(mastodon.social) {
        .column {
            width: 450px !important;
        }
    }
And this for Tweetdeck:

    @-moz-document domain(tweetdeck.twitter.com) {
        .is-wide-columns .column {
            width: 500px !important;
        }
    }


The default UI in Mastodon is definitely its worst problem. Who decided 225x150 was a reasonable size for displaying images?!


Interesting, I just joined a week ago and had the same feeling from the start, I was even looking in the settings but couldn't find anything. I wonder if I could change it to use the full width of the window. It's free software and I know CSS, I could try to create a pull request on Github.

Btw. I decided to host my stuff myself: https://toot.jeena.net/@jeena


If you run your instance you can define your own layout css in the admin options for you and your users (my example https://toot.wales has a wider layout)


This is also the release that adds the foundation of support for follower migration.

https://github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/pull/9629


This is such a great idea!

After reading the PR, there is one thing that is not clear to me: how can you ensure an swarm of bad servers are not trying to DDOS a remote server? If a bunch of servers create fake users, and some fake super users who everyone follows, then the act of moving those super accounts is O(3) jobs for every follower the super user has (as it says in the PR)

Wouldn't this attack be easily exploitable? Are there any other tools to prevent these kinds of attacks? (apart from baning server domains)


Although the receiving server needs to run (2n+m) jobs to migrate a super account with n users on m servers (m <= n), which is 3n in the worst case, the originating server also needs to run (n+m) jobs, for a maximum amplification factor of 2 (when m=1). If servers really want to DDoS each other, they can probably find a better method.


I really can't recommend Mastodon highly enough.

The interactions on there are just so much more organic than on Twitter. You get to actually have discussions with people, instead of aiming for as much snark as possible.


I feel the opposite. I don't use twitter but Mastodon is kind of an echo chamber.

1. There's no way to discover content. Sure you can search for tag but that's absurdly inconvenient. The pinable UI is borked and awkward as it allows to subscribe only to one tag. The language filter is laughable at best.

2. There's just so much spam. Just take a look at public or local timeline - if you're not on a small isntance it's just people doing the same pointless messages like "umm spaghetti"

3. Only now proper moderetion tools are introduced - before you'd get suspended with a mysteri 403 error where you can't even log out lol. This was heavily abused by mastodon.social administrator and every github issue closed and purged.

I'm so sad to see Mastodon overtake actually well thought out social networks such as Diaspora*. I'm not even touching how much of a step back the whole Fediverse is to XMPP or Federation protocols.


> 1. There's no way to discover content. Sure you can search for tag but that's absurdly inconvenient

Coincidentally, there's a new directory feature to help with just that. Just go onto any 2.7 instance that has it enabled and /explore would list users you might want to follow based on somolar interests, i.e. [1].

1 - https://mastodon.social/explore

> There's just so much spam.

Either go to a particular interest instance if you want to see a useful local timeline, or follow people and then look at your personal timeline, which is not really different than how Twitter does it.

> Only now proper moderation tools are introduced

Moderation tools have been pretty robust for a long time.

> This was heavily abused by mastodon.social administrator

Mastodon.social is based in Germany and has to follow local speech laws, which are more restrictive than in the U.S. It also has several moderators, not just the admin. But you can just join a U.S. based instance, which is the whole point of federation.

Now if your content is such that no respectable instance wants to take you, there's still the self-host option, which is quite straight forward with Docker, but perhaps also reconsider why you're getting banned.


> Now if your content is such that no respectable instance wants to take you... perhaps also reconsider why you're getting banned.

Except, there are multiple "wrongthink" lists that are used to auto-ban entire instances [1][2]. Technical merits of Mastadon aside, the community very much encourages echo chamber behaviour - hell on of the reasons for un-federating an instance is "apparent free speech zone". And to top it off, this is a viral list. If your instance federates with "wrongthink" instances there is a very real chance you'll get banned too - just for not banning the "wrong" people.

[1] https://github.com/dzuk-mutant/blockchain/blob/master/list/l... [2] https://toot.cafe/about/more#blocked-instances


This is a social problem, only exacerbated by technology. There's no technical solution.


[flagged]


Are you suggesting there is no free speech in the EU?


Technically, there isn't...

But the US doesn't have it either, if you take it literally. Free speech is basically a misnomer. You can only have it in a society if you define the free speech to only apply to some generally agreed upon limits.

I.e inciting rebellion, lynchings or similar have no place in society, but is technically free speech in the literal sense


Same here, I've been on it for about a year now and I prefer it to Twitter in every single way. One example is that you can turn off tracking boosts and retoots in the notifications. It's complete noise to me, and I find it's just distracting. Twitter splits notifications between all and mentions, but there's no way to stop notifications for things other than mentions. This is just one of the many little things that result in a much nicer user experience for me.


>You get to actually have discussions with people

Ofc. Mastodon by nature is an echo chamber. Choose your own enclosure and find people who agree with you. The only difference that Mastodon is the first where that's the main selling point


The trope of "X is an echo-chamber" needs to die out. You say it like high-trust communities are a bad thing.

All productive interest groups are that way by their nature (HN is that way too). The opposite simply devolves into lowest common denominator garbage...instagram models posing with their breakfast, twitter outrage-porn, etc.


And in the bad old days of the internet, people wouldn't just pick one group to be part of. You could have different personas on different sites and decide how much to participate with different groups. This is harder to do with Twitter and Facebook because they only run one instance. E.g. there's no "fringe science" echo-chamber Twitter, but that means the fringe science people just get thrown in with the rest of Twitter.


Sometimes it's just nice to have a conversation, you know? Not everyone is looking for an argument or criticism 100% of the time.


I get what you're saying, but disagree. I receive plenty of pushback, but we have a back and forth and it can often be quite stimulating.


There is also self-selection: early adopters will always be, on average, more knowledgeable than mainstream users, which usually correlates with politeness and civility.


You can have the ability to make an echo chamber without making one.

The truly dangerous situation is one where you don't have any control and an echo chamber is made for you.


Isn't it due to the ratio of highly motivated people being more on Mastodon or does anything else makes it so? Like HN vs Reddit.


Has identity been dealt with?

I have a domain, and I want my identity to be tied to my domain, regardless of which mastadon server I’m using. I don’t want someone else in control of my identity. I don’t want to lose my followers.

It’d be ideal if Mastadon supported something like IndieAuth. That way I could control my identity while also using the same identity across mastodon servers.


You can verify yourself by adding a tag on your website:

<a rel="me" href="https://mastodon.social/@yourid"></a>

Then you can link to the site in your profile, and that verifyies your identity.

There's no support for having a single Mastodon account that can move between different instances at the moment though.


Self-host or use a managed host like https://masto.host


That shouldn't be necessary. I don't have to host my own email servers to use my own domain. I've changed email providers 4 times and kept the same email address. I've changed web hosts dozens of times, and kept the same address.

For me it's a non-starter.


You have completely overlooked the part of the statement advising you to use a managed host.

What do you think your email and web providers are doing on your behalf?


My understanding is/was that if you decide to change managed host you then still lose your formed identity - is this no longer the case?


If you decide to change your managed host, you take your domain name and database with you, so outwardly, nothing changes and you lose nothing.


It's about the same scenario as email: if you've got backups of your mailbox (or Mastodon equivalents) you just set the same accounts back up and restore from backups. In some ways Mastodon is slightly better because it makes it easier to backup/restore everything about an account versus there are a lot of email hosts that provide no way to restore a previous mailbox from a different provider, whereas in the Mastodon hosting world more of the hosts seem happy to help you restore anything you need to. In other ways it is a little weirder because the people you follow might get resubscription notifications when you restore from a Mastodon backup, but that's not really a huge deal.



For that reason I just host it myself.


That would be awesome. Definetly would interest me in Mastadon if only to push my branding.


Honestly, without a way to search content and not just people/hashtags, there isn't an organic way for me to discover people talking about what I'm interested in, so Mastodon just isn't useful out of the gate. It relies on finding a niche community you're interested in out of the gate, and if I wanted to go that route I'd just use Reddit.


I've never found anything like snouts.online on Reddit. Even /r/furry doesn't come close. It's the Anthrocon or MFF of subreddits. Furry may be a niche, but it's a big niche. Mastodon has several furry-focused instances with their own unique communities.

There are a lot of good subreddits, but the nature of the experience is different from a Mastodon instance. And a Pleroma instance will also be different because the choice of Pleroma over Mastodon is conscious.

Mastodon doesn't yet have communities centered around hashtags (like #amwriting or #mbmbam, for example) like on Twitter, but it's getting there.


The way I found people is that I knew one person who was using Mastodon and the looked at who they follow on there and who the people they follow are following and so on.

There's also the new 'Explore' feature introduced in this release. It will take maybe a week or two until enough people enable it, but it might be what you're looking for[1].

1 - https://mastodon.social/explore

P.S. This works on any instance running 2.7 where at least one user has the Directory feature enabled, just add '/explore' to the instance root URL.


Interestingly, my first time updating to a new version (I just joined last weekend) didn't go well: https://github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/issues/9882

I rolled back for now but I hope I'll be able to find out what causes this syntax error somewhere deep in one of the modules which node uses to serve the streaming API or something.


Are you deploying directly? I found the update experience much nicer when using the Docker option.


I had it in docker first, but because I just have the smallest server on Digital Ocean with 500 MB RAM and already running redis and Postgres, using Docker made it obviously start complete new instances which would fill the RAM and swap and make the load go up to 20. After reusing the already running services and removing docker I could easily fit everything in the existing RAM+swap and the load would go down to 0.15, that is why I decided not to use docker, even if it is much nicer for deployment.

The smallest offering at Digital Ocean is $5/month, if I want to go up with RAM it's additional $5 per GB of RAM, to get it running nicely in docker it seems I'd need to pay 3 times the monthly fee of what I'm paying now.


"This repository has been archived by the owner. It is now read-only." (https://github.com/tootsuite/documentation/blob/master/Runni...)

So where is it?


https://docs.joinmastodon.org/

Linked from the README in the repository you linked.


I want to try Mastadon, but after giving up all social media (besides some private slack/irc/discord servers, hn, and reddit) I don't know if I want to go back to it again.

But Mastadon does intrigue me.


FWIW I find that Mastodon doesn't have the same effect as commercial social media because it's not designed to suck you in and keep you engaged so you can be monetized. There's little drama that I've observed on Mastodon compared to Twitter. People mostly just post things they're interested in and have discussions about them. Since Mastodon is decentralized, you can find a community that fits your interests best. And since Mastodon is a federation of small communities with common interests the interactions tend to be more meaningful. Mastodon also allows turning off boosts and retoots, so you only see notifications when somebody messages you or replies to your toot. I find this alone makes it much easier to step away from it.


You and me both (however I still have a FB account for some reason). I keep on hearing about Mastadon but haven't dabbled.

I have access to quite a lot of hardware and internets ... right ... deploy VM and let's have a play.

https://github.com/tootsuite/documentation#running-mastodon


I found the Docker option to be the best route, especially as far as updating is concerned.


Can anyone recommend a high quality Mastodon client for iOS? I’d like to use it a bit more, but always end up falling back to Twitter.


Toot! is the one you want. It’s fully-featured and can compete with other social network clients. It costs money, but it’s definitely a case of getting what you pay for.


i've been using Amaroq for a few months now and its really good (i find it better than the twitter app)



Tootdon and Mast are the two best ones I've tried.




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