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Mastodon: Servers, Good and Bad (nedbatchelder.com)
88 points by ingve 6 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 121 comments

I agree with some of the complaints mentioned here. The biggest hurdle to joining Mastodon is deciding which server you actually want to join, which has a big impact on your experience and isn't (and probably can't be) clear to a new user. I'm not sure what they can really do for a better onboarding experience. Perhaps one of those "pick which topic most interests you" wizards, which then will give a user a list of servers that have identified themselves as catering towards those types of users. Even then, I don't think this will really help things, and will probably just drive traffic to the biggest servers.

As for some of his other issues, I've been pleased to see that de-centralization hasn't happened largely, as there's been a large number of new servers popping up. I thought as well that Twitter exiles would likely congregate to a few large servers, but I've seen a pretty diverse listing of servers in my own feeds.

> Your handle on Mastodon is more complicated than on Twitter, because you need to name your server also.

I actually like this, it gives a sense of what types of topics the user is interested in, and what their profile is likely to focus on.

Not sure if someone has already coined a term for "a feeling when you don't know which Mastodon server to join", but I'm currently here. I am probably wrong, but joining some themed server makes me think that I should be writing and discussing only about that theme and nothing else. Or joining a server not from your region just feels wrong. Of course, I could just spin my own instance, but how to make it attractive to other users, because one user per server ain't very optimal.

Yes, I believe you're referring to Mastodoubt. I have it as well.

I've had an account on mastodon.social for ages, but there's nobody there talking about topics I care about.

I wound up creating two. One is on hachyderm.io, which is a medium-large instance with lots of k8s nerds. The other is self hosted.

I’m leaning towards just keeping the hachyderm account. Self hosting on digital ocean is a bit more than $50/mo. Instance is underutilized with basically just me on there. I think I’ll maintain a self-hosted fediverse home, but:

- I want to run it in my homelab to avoid cloud fees

- I’ll move from Mastodon to something lighter, like maybe Pleroma.

- I need to figure out how to bootstrap enough subscriptions to make an independent instance useful.

Really, I think we need more managed hosting options. The only one I know of is masto.host, and they’ve frozen signups.

Honestly just pick a medium sized instance with a theme that interests you. You're not expected to only post about that theme at all. The local timeline will be useful because it'll have a lot of people interested in -- though not necessarily posting about -- the theme.

Huge instances are bad because it's like drinking from a firehose. There's too many people with too many diverse interests. Tiny instances are bad because it makes discovery hard. On a medium instance you simply browse the local timeline to find interesting people, and their boosts will introduce you to people from other servers. Which also explains why boosting is way more important on mastodon than retweeting is on the bird site.

Worst comes to worst you can migrate fairly easily to a different instance. Possibly a self-hosted one once you've built a bit of a network of people to follow, since by then the discovery problem is solved.

I had Mastodoubt, torn between not mastodon.social because it’s going to be too big and internetofshit’s server because that’s silly and small. I read that a searcher will only see you if there’s already a connection between their server and yours. I went with mastodon.world.

Next: find an appealing mobile app.

Fedilab, from F-Droid, ties into ntfy.sh [0], which is wonderful. It means I still recieve notifications from Fedilab and Element, without needing Google Play Services.

[0] https://ntfy.sh/

One user per server is absolutelty fine. Don't fall for the hype telling you that you MUST be part of an existing instance: the Fediverse goes beyond your server.

Honestly at this point if you don't want to self host just pick any random instance. If/when you decide it's not the right fit, moving is a straightforward operation.

They have now:


And: masto-debated

I am coming around more and more to the metaphor that "mastodon is email and activitypub is SMTP". At which point for good or ill verification becomes a server-level problem: see http://blog.archive.org/2022/11/13/we-have-added-a-mastodon-... ; archive.org has a staff-only server, and we'll know if interesting things are afoot if potus@whitehouse.pub or mayor@yourtown.gov or whatever start to exist.

"Mastodon is WordPress + a feed reader, posts are posts, and ActivityPub is RSS" is also a near-perfect metaphor.

ActivityStreams are RSS. ActivityPub is Yahoo Pipes.

“blogrolls that work!”

The EU already has one: https://social.network.europa.eu/about

All of this is what I expected: Mastodon is a great big set of public goods problem waiting to happen, and it will take over from Twitter on the Year of Linux on the Desktop.

Public goods problems include:

* Who makes it easy to onboard people?

* Who is responsible for Mastodon not having a reputation - based on some servers, not all but some is enough - as a sink of depravity?

* What happens if, say, anti-Rohingya activists decide to use Mastodon to spread propaganda and plan violence?

* Who will fix the server when it breaks at midnight? Who will pay them?

* Who will pay for hosting if this is going to scale to the whole world? What is the funding model?

The solution to bad companies - if you think Twitter on Musk will be terrible - is better companies. It is not software run by a collective of Boy Scouts.

All good points, but I think more important than any of them: lacking billions of dollars for growth hacking. These gigantic social media sites didn't become huge organically, they've all dumped boatloads of cash into growing the user base, something a federated social network can never do.

> What happens if, say, anti-Rohingya activists decide to use Mastodon to spread propaganda and plan violence?

Then everyone defederates. There's precedent for this; Gab is a Mastodon instance for Neo-Nazis, which practically no-one federates with (Truth Social is also a Mastodon instance, but I think it voluntarily doesn't attempt to federate with anyone).

Ned's spot on. The single thing that's kept me from joining/participating in Mastodon is the lack of clarity around which server I "should" join, whether I should start my own server, or if I join someone else's server, how portable is my content/profile - can I export it all/import it all into my account on another server easily, or is that a lot of work, or even not possible at all?

> Ned's spot on.

Definitely. This is a great post that helps explain to technical folks why Mastodon is not (and will never be) a replacement for Twitter, which I say as a Mastodon user and fan. If something has a chance to displace Twitter, it'll need to be as dead-simple to use (like Hive¹).

> The single thing that's kept me from joining/participating in Mastodon is the lack of clarity around which server I "should" join…

If you're looking for an opinionated answer to this question by someone who's just gone through this, for HN readers I can also recommend the instance mentioned in the article: hachyderm.io. There are a lot of tech and otherwise-interesting people there, and it's run by Kris Nóva². Her most recent articles on Medium talk about running an instance as a serious endeavor.

> …if I join someone else's server, how portable is my content/profile - can I export it all/import it all into my account on another server easily, or is that a lot of work, or even not possible at all?

Kris's most recent post, "Experimenting with Federation and Migrating Accounts"³, goes into detail on how this works in practice.

¹ https://techcrunch.com/2022/11/21/twitter-alternative-hive-j... ² SME in Linux kernel security, distributed systems and infrastructure management, and open-source software engineering. https://medium.com/@kris-nova ³ https://medium.com/@kris-nova/experimenting-with-federation-...

Thanks, @CharlesW. I'm familiar with Kris and follow her on Twitter, and see a lot of people have opted to join her Mastodon server, which is great, but her explanation of what happened when she tried to migrate her account from one server to another, where she even controlled both, points to the weakness in the fundamental Mastodon design that makes it a non-starter for me.

Being able to export all of your data (posts, followers, following, blocks/mutes, etc.) and to import it into another server MUST be table stakes at this point. Otherwise, you're just trading one Twitter for another, which is foolish, because it means you wrongly believe that history doesn't repeat itself.

I'll keep watching from the sidelines and see if the fundamental issues get resolved. It certainly will be interesting to see how things play out, that's for sure!

There is another threat which is more a problem in my opinion.

Imagine a future where everyone has moved to mastadon, and 1 mastadon server has done a good job of improving the flow and UX to bring in the users. Years later, when everyone is comfortable, this becomes the 'default' because its easy and their policies appeal to main stream users.

The big server sells user metadata and shows ads, and has money to invest in AI moderation and legal compliance with data privacy & anti-abuse laws. Maybe they lobby to increase regulation in a way that they can more easily comply with than the little guys.

Eventually the others wither away into only niche use. Their unwillingness to sell user data gives them thin margins for lawyers and compliance dealings. The big player enacts anti-spam / anti-abuse policies that happen to ban the small servers a lot while trusting themselves a lot. Eventually you are in a situation where you CAN have an account on any mastadon server, in theory, but for your posts to not be flagged as spam, it is more reliable to use the 1 big server everyone uses.

We have seen this starting to happen with email (gmail/msft/apple) for example.

What is the point of all the work to move to a federated system, if there is no force to counter a few players becoming dominant and killing the rest, converting the system back into a few big corporate players?

Open protocols and standards can be used as a trap to lure us in. I'm old enough to remember when facebook used to publish RSS feeds, which was a primitive federating mechanism. Once they got big enough, they stopped.

> Otherwise, you're just trading one Twitter for another, which is foolish, because it means you wrongly believe that history doesn't repeat itself.

I don't see how you can come to this conclusion. Twitter is not a protocol, is a corporation with a profit-motive, and sees itself as the town square of the internet with its design geared toward this function.

Mastodon is about as far from trading in for another Twitter alternative as you can come and that's largely what makes its design so difficult to grasp for Twitter emigrants.

Are there other protocols that fix some of ActivityPub's design flaws? Yes, like nostr and Bluesky's AT Protocol. But ActivityPub, being an open protocol, can also be massaged into a better one by its community.

Personally, I've found my corner of Mastodon to be a much kinder place than Twitter perhaps because it does not profess to be the town square of the internet nor pursues that status.

Ultimately, I think what we're seeing here is the transparent lie sold to us by Meta and Twitter and Instagram: that social media superapps that try to tie the world together are not forces of good to unite but ultimately weapons that serve to divide it. We are not equipped as a species for the cacophonous screams of billions, only the Bodhisattva of compassion Kuan-Yin, She Who Hears the Cries of the of World, can do this, and she arguably doesn't exist.

So yes, you are at the mercy of whatever server mods you happen to drift to on Mastodon but you are not powerless, like on Twitter.

> Mastodon is about as far from trading in for another Twitter alternative as you can come and that's largely what makes its design so difficult to grasp for Twitter emigrants.

A protocol has no inherent value. Its value comes from its application. And, Mastodon, as one of ActivityPub's applications, is nothing better than Twitter fractured into many smaller islands of Twitter: instead of upsetting Elon and getting the boot, if you upset the Mastodon server operator you happen to choose, you run the same exact risk of being deported off that particular island. If you're going to subject yourself to the whims of a dictator, you might as well stay on Twitter and reap the benefits of the larger network.

You've ignored all of my salient points. Of course Mastodon offers significant advantages for all of the reasons I just described. Of course a protocol has inherent value. Its value is inhered by giving users the option to walk away whenever they want or implement their own server.

You've completely ignored the arrest of user behavior and audience that happens when a single proprietary application is allowed to own the social sphere of the public.

The whims of a dictator become a lot less impactful when users can just walk away. The consequences are massively different when the entire captive audience is on one platform and feels they must remain because there is no other option with critical mass. With federation, critical mass is spread out over the protocol, yes a value inhered in the protocol itself.

> which server I "should" join

Any you want as long as you're happy with their rules.

> whether I should start my own server

It's currently faff (but potentially getting better.)

> how portable is my content/profile - can I export it all/import it all into my account on another server easily

You can move your account with followers easily (but not posts). Can take a while for everything to filter through on busy servers though.

That last point is a doozy. Mastodon servers can be as bad as subreddits with power tripping mods, and you don’t necessarily know that until the day you cross a line that you didn’t know existed, just like on reddit.

And then your account gets nuked and you can’t migrate your posts.

Going from one server (Twitter) to multiple smaller servers doesn’t seem to go far enough on the axis to address major issues that Twitter has. e.g. you still don’t “own” your content.

> …doesn’t seem to go far enough on the axis to address major issues that Twitter has. e.g. you still don’t “own” your content.

it goes much further than twitter does—unlike twitter, you can spin up your own server and you are now in control of your content.

same with modding. if owning your content is the most important feature for you, it’s significantly better than twitter.

if owning your own content and moderating are your largest concerns, what do you propose as an alternative that addresses these, today?

> [...] until the day you cross a line that you didn’t know existed, [...] And then your account gets nuked and you can’t migrate your posts.

Exactly. This is the critical flaw in Mastodon's design. It does not solve the single biggest flaw in Twitter (or any other typical platform) design, where the platform operator owns the network, and not the author/user.

This is why I won't bother investing my own personal time and effort in joining anyone else's server, given how the current design is implemented.

It's sad that BitTorrent has now existed for 21 years, and still no one has built a social media content distribution network on top of it. I would have done it but I don't have the motivation to do it alone, as it would tilt control away from the platform operators who require that control in order to monetize the platform to make it worth the investment.


> And then your account gets nuked and you can’t migrate your posts.

Well, you pretty much can't migrate your posts anyway even if you're moving without being nuked. But if you get nuked, you probably can't move your followers either which would suck.

does twitter have this problem solved?

Well, I suppose if you migrate your account from Twitter to Twitter, you'll probably keep your followers and posts. Then again, given its current state, I'd not be inclined to put money on that.

> e.g. you still don’t “own” your content.

If you're not running your own server, true.

> You can move your account with followers easily (but not posts).

That's what I thought based on what I've read so far, thanks for confirming.

Unless and until that's fixed, if I finally see enough value in joining Mastodon, I will have to do so using my own server where I have full access to all my content.

You can export all your content, including posts, but Mastodon doesn't support directly importing posts, so you need either a (very) friendly admin or your own server if you want to import it somewhere new.

Yeah this is probably a needed feature. There are some good philosophical objections to post imports, but they’re overwhelmed by practical arguments for it. it’s a solvable problem.

Absolutely agree. I think solutions will come, but they may well come as an extension or fork first until it's pointless for the core developers to resist.

It's particularly idiotic because the Activities in the export are all signed, so an importing server just need to do a webfinger and profile lookup, and can then validate all of the posts. Of course you can still fake them, but if you show a "moved from <origin instance>" on them, that's really all you need to do - moves from, say, mastodon.social would be trustworthy, moves from some small instance would not.

But even that can be fixed with tamper proof timestamps and signing the whole archive, and in any case you can validate this against the public API because it remains accessible on the origin server (at least for some time after the initial move, I don't know how long).

And yet, you somehow managed to pick HN over reddit over TikTok or slack or discord or 100 other options. Or maybe all of the above.

I'll never get the hand wringing over missing out on posts on some other server. There's tweets and reddits and tiktoks all over the place you'll never see. The lesson should be to make peace with that, not try to find them all.

I used this website a few days ago to find a suitable server: https://instances.social/

And then https://movetodon.org/ to find some of my twitter contacts on mastodon.

As for importing/exporting accounts, they have some documentation for that: https://docs.joinmastodon.org/user/moving/

The primary UX between servers is the "local feed." This is a feed dedicated to all posts within the server. You can't really access that feed from outside of a server. That's pretty much it. You can follow people on other servers, at-metnion, etc.

Starting your own server is a waste of time, imo.

Many servers allow their Local Timeline to be browsed by anyone. From the server's home page, click the "Local" button to the top-right. If you find a person or post you want to interact with, simply copy and paste its URL into the search bar of your app or home server.

not sure why they’re downvoting you, what you said is absolutely accurate.

I guess my month-long moratorium on bothering to contribute to any Fediverse-related conversation on HN needs to be maintained for a bit longer. Change is painful for many, particularly when they didn't think of it, or can't profit from it.

> whether I should start my own server

This is the right answer. All the questions about moderation, resources, choice and whatever will disappear and you'll be part of the Fediverse like anyone else.

I wonder how easy it is for a small instance to get overwhelmed quickly, though.

One of my responses to Nova got boosted by her, and my media storage and database size immediately spiked (600MiB to 1.3GiB and 20MiB to 42MiB). Requests went from none to 20/sec, just by that triggering more people to favorite and boost.

I imagine if I ever manage to post something profound that someone with even greater influence happens to like, my server will be doomed.

20 requests/sec is absolutely nothing for a server in 2022. Even if you have many relationships, any individual server will handle the load without any fuss. Worth that can happen is a few minutes in the propagation of messages, which is not exactly a big problem. Seriously, there is no technical reasons we don't self-host; only "cultural" ones (it's hard, it's work, it's painful, and such)

My primary reason for not setting up Mastodon myself is I don't want to be a content moderator. I am seeing more and more links to content in various Mastodon Servers in one of the more forward thinking Slack groups I remain apart of and think that is a great thing.

> I don't want to be a content moderator.

If you're the only user on your server, there's no much moderating to do, I find. Might have to block an instance or remote user now and then but that'd be the same on any instance.

That too. I also don't want to have to deal with marketing lol. There is a reason I am not interested in becoming an entrepreneur of anything.

Why would you need to market? You just follow users on other servers and post your thoughts. It's no more marketing than any social space has to be.

How does federation propagation happen?

Ie if i start my own server, how quickly could someone on, say, mastodon.art see my posts? Would they even see them at all?

I use them as an example, because i know they're fairly locked down on who they federate with. In doing so, maybe they only whitelist? Maybe they blacklist? Maybe they automatically blacklist any servers that aren't perfectly aligned with their own blacklist?

Federation feels a bit convoluted in a way that email doesn't. Then again email became so convoluted that only a few big players are even really allowed.. so maybe Mastodon is heading in the same direction?

> how quickly could someone on, say, mastodon.art see my posts? Would they even see them at all?

As soon as someone from there follows you. Post federation is based entirely on that.

The bootstrapping process here is social, not technical, and usually looks like "follow a few people and some of them will follow you back and boost your stuff".

Since you asked about .art specifically, I run a single user instance and I can follow people there. I'm pretty sure they just blacklist aggressively.

> As soon as someone from there follows you. Post federation is based entirely on that.

There's also relays which will send out your posts (assuming your instance is subscribed to a relay) to all the other instances (but not users - this just puts them in the "federated" timeline, not individual ones) subscribed to that relay as a kind of "wider Fedivee view".

If you reply to people on something like .art, would they see your post? I need to read the spec about how federation works, as i have no clue haha.

Which might be a significant barrier. Non-tech users might have no clue who sees what. If ServerA can talk to ServerB. etc

Why yes, if you reply to someone they will see you reply, unless they or their admin has blocked you or your instance. Just like any federated network.

> unless they or their admin has blocked you or your instance. Just like any federated network.

That's kinda the part i'm questioning though. You as a user have to look at how each server handles federation to know what is visible.. maybe?

For sake of argument, it might be possible to one-way-federate. Ie read posts from mastodon.art, but if i reply my post might not be seen by mastodon.art users. This is just an example, i have no clue, but i'm illustrating where confusing could arise as rules get more complex on how federation works.

Hopefully it's black and white. If i as a user can see mastodon.art posts, then they can see me. Anything more complex than that (like one-way federation) would be prevented by the software for sake of a simplified UX.

Federation isn't symmetrical: I might be able to read mastodon.art posts, but be blocked such that people there can't see me. But that's not really an issue. Being part of the fediverse is learning that people may not want to hear about you, for reasons unknown to you. Maybe bad reasons. But that's ok. You are not owed an audience. And maybe, if you are blocked, there is a good reason for that. On the fediverse there is a high value in the interactions and the relationships, so if a connection is to happen the individuals will do what is needed to make it happen.

Maybe an instance blocks you. Maybe not. Fret not, it will be ok; you will have interactions with other people anyway.

Eh, i disagree. If i have the option to join a niche community or be external to it - i feel you just made an argument against federation. I should join the community, so that i'm not arbitrarily blocked for reasons out of my control. If i get kicked out at least i'll know, and it was likely due to my own actions.

Ie imagine mastodon.art has a good Blender community. I'm joining Mastodon for exactly that community. If i join mastodon.social, i may as well .. not. It's blocked by mastodon.art. It's not even worth my time signing up if my goal is to be part of a specific community.

I'm not trying to build a general audience or have my general posts heard by the public. I'm trying to be part of a specific community. Federation seems bad here, if the community you're interested in is not fully open at least. As mastodon.art most certainly is not.

if you’re not trying to have your posts heard by the public, then why would you be concerned who mastodon.art is federated with? wouldn’t you just join there and enjoy the specific community…

> I’m not trying to build a general audience or have my general posts be heard by the public.

> i’m trying to be part of a specific community.

> Federation seems bad here if the community is not fully open.

these seem to entirely contradict each other.

> then why would you be concerned who mastodon.art is federated with? wouldn’t you just join there and enjoy the specific community…

Because the community is closed, currently lol.

> these seem to entirely contradict each other.

Yea, i think we agree? My point was (roughly) that Federation contradicts being part of a community if you rely on Federation to be part of the community.

Ie don't use federation if you need to be part of a specific community. And in my case, well, i guess i just don't join lol. If the community is at max capacity, too late. Maybe one day they open, but such is life. Federation isn't designed for this, it seems, and that's fine. "This" being, distributing a community. It seems communities are centralized.

We agree fundamentally: federation is not compatible with community-on-a-server, and the latter is being phased out by the Mastodon devs. The future is in groups that can span multiple servers and fully use federation.

Ooo neat, i'll have to look into Groups. Thanks!

Right there's https://a.gup.pe/ but it's a hack and isn't meant to work long term. The long term thing is proper group actors and stuff in ActivityPub, and it's being discussed here I believe: https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/standardizing-on-activ...

If you reply to someone using a hotmail address via your gmail account, would they see your email?

Depends, does hotmail have gmail blocked? As in the case of Mastodon.art

Oh it's that connected? For some reason I thought it was more involved. Maybe I will look into hosting it on the personal EKS cluster and get some real use out of it looks like it would be as simple as installing the https://artifacthub.io/packages/helm/si-gitops/mastodon helm chart and setting up a domain. Thanks for convincing me ha.

Unless you want 100% Mastodon API / quirks compatibility, I'd skip the original Mastodon source and go for something like Akkoma[1] (it's a fork of Pleroma) - easier to install and much lighter in resource use.

If you're only ever going to be single-user, Ktistec[2] might be worth a look

Or if you want to go ultra-minimal, there's Honk[3].

(GoToSocial is an up-and-comer but I'm having weird issues with it talking to other instances. But they're working on these things.)

[1] https://akkoma.dev/AkkomaGang/akkoma/

[2] https://github.com/toddsundsted/ktistec

[3] https://humungus.tedunangst.com/r/honk

I kind of just want to self host right now with 100% Mastodon API compatibility, but I am a SRE and enjoy making personal infrastructure needlessly complex to reflect what you might see in an enterprise setup :)

The absence of global search outside of #s is annoying.

> Defederation: A server can decide to never communicate with some other specific server. Your vegan community server could decide not to federate with the safari hunter community server, because of the clash of interests. That’s good, it helps focus you on what you want to see and keeps communities cohesive. It gives server admins a giant kill switch to keep their servers safe.

Server admins, X have two switches for defederation another server Y:

1. X silences Y: posts from X aren't visible on X's public timelines. 2. X blocks Y: users on X are unable to follow users from Y.

I see how silencing can be seen as keeping users safe. Unsuspecting users of X might not want to see messages from Y.

I don't see how blocking for content moderation is reasonable: users of X have to opt in to users of Y to see their content anyway.

Mastodon's decentralization issues and Twitter's rogue behavior is what's pushing us to develop OpenDolphin [1].

Sadly decentralization doesn't seem to work for multiple reasons that are outlined in the post, and the scary part is that the admin of the Mastodon instance you choose has a lot of power (including reading your DMs). We are trying to build something that will give power to the people in terms of product definition and company's direction.

[1]: https://about.opendolphin.social/

> We might decide to not remove hate speech

If you go that route, you'll pretty quickly become a haven for the hate speech crowd and anathema to everyone else.

De-prioritizing it is probably the way to go, but we'll see. Nothing is written in stone and we encourage people to provide their feedback in form of PRs or Slack messages

Maybe it's a feature only of the soapbox frontend the instance I'm on uses but I can add a remote instance timeline and it's exactly the same as being a user there. The "which instance to choose" problem has already been solved.

Another feature is that you can migrate your profile and follows to another instance very easily, your followers get a message to say you've moved and they are already set to follow you.

The more I read about Mastodon, the more I think wont' take off (unless a deep redesign will be done) and the more I think ActivityPub will succeed.

The problem with Twitter and Mastodon is that they both are based on poor abstractions of how humans communicate. They just don't model it well enough. For instance, they completely ignore the basic fact that one person can have multiple interests and communicates with different groups of people depending on interests. Humans are multifaceted things, after all.

Another problem is with monetization. There must be paid instances of Mastodon or whatever federated it will be replaced with. Techno-communizm won't work, we've seen it so many times. Yet, here we are again.

Every mastodon server has its own Musk :P

As the sole user and admin of my server, How Dare You!

Twitter is a great Mastodon alternative.

Author describes Elon Musk as “a deranged over-leveraged misanthropic moron”

I stopped reading there.

Too much silly, hateful hyperbole about Elon Musk at the moment. Yes, I get it - he’s seen as a Republican, and you’re a Democrat supporter. You don’t like the fact Twitter used to be owned by the Blue tribe and now it’s owned by a member of the Red tribe.

But for goodness sake, just give it a rest. If you don’t like Musk, just don’t use Twitter. There’s no need to broadcast this.

Projection. It has nothing to do with his politics, and everything to do with his corrosive and toxic style of management, communication, and planning.

The crazy part is the pivot from hero to villain with Musk. I have been sick of him for years but many fan boys turned into haters over politics and almost overnight. To believe otherwise just seems out of touch with reality to me.

Twitter's 2021 annual financial report is a joke. They were basically being ran as a non-profit and that is what was above water.

Then go work somewhere else.

It's BS. It's entirely about political and ideological hate. Who do you think are you going to fool? Amazon poorly treeting warehouse workers and swe alikes didn't create nearly fraction as much hate and no one cried when Bezos was buying WaPo.

Worst case Musk will run Twitter to the ground and people there will find work elsewhere. So why all the hate?

Amazon gets a ton of criticism for how it treats warehouse, delivery, and tech employees, as well as how it mixes inventory and treats 3rd party vendors. You can't hardly have a thread here on HN without all these topics coming up.

> no one cried when Bezos was buying WaPo. Bezos was buying WaPo.

Most people couldn't tell you what's changed about the WaPo, many probably don't even know Bezos is the owner. There's certainly been nothing like the public and obvious turmoil going on at Twitter.

And in spite of that, here are plenty of people who expressed concern about Bezos's ownership not only at time of purchase but on an ongoing basis.

No billionaire gets more hate than Jeff bezoz and Washington Post is not comparable to twitter.

Almost everyone uses twitter, it getting bought is news enough but elon also hilariously mismanaged it during the first week.

The hate is deserved and has nothing to do with his politics.

> No billionaire gets more hate than Jeff bezoz

Elon by a mile. I can't go an hour without seeing his smirk on some headline. I haven't seen or heard about Jeff Bezos but maybe once this month, and every month before that.

Because Bezos wasn't even remotely as attention seeking as Musk is.

You're asking why someone seeking attention got attention. Which.. shouldn't really be surprising, should it?

> Worst case Musk will run Twitter to the ground and people there will find work elsewhere.

Yeah, that would appear to be what's happening.

> So why all the hate?

For all its many many flaws, I personally enjoyed Twitter, and it was useful to many people. It is irritating to see it ruined by an idiot billionaire.

Well said. I've been on mastodon for about three years now and there a sudden influx of people griping about Twitter on mastodon and it's super annoying.

I’m also finding out that my preferred home server is blocked by a lot of others as I discover and try to follow people I've known on Twitter that just joined mastodon. Fortunately I've got an alt on a server about nobody blocks so new users considering joining somewhere should consider that. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be many good tools for finding that out.

Do you know why it's blocked by a lot of others? Widely blocked servers are in that state for a reason. The reason might ultimately be "server admin is unable to do moderation," which adds to the moderation and potentially legal burden of the other server admins if they don't defederate that instance.

MMasnick's moderation speedrun article, although targeted at emerald boy, applies equally (mostly) to every new Mastodon instance admin. Unless your instance is locked down to just you. Or you and a couple of close friends.


Oh yes, I know why it's blocked. There is no moderation and a couple nasties interacting with people on other servers early on brought that down on us. It's mostly self policing and block lists these days. Generally a fun group but there's things that come up in the free speech area some people don't want to hear.

No matter, I'm also on another server that's highly technical and federation seems to be working fine.

DistroTube (A tech youtuber) pointed out this would probably happen - Mastodon servers seem to be a more polite place, and legions of upset twitter uses would just not fit into that culture.

On the flipside, I was last on twitter in 2020. Joined again recently out of curiosity, and it's a much more pleasant site. (Not attributing this to Musk, as I was not on twitter immediately before him). No longer has clickbait partisan news articles all over the front page, and it seems much easier to just follow chill people you find amusing rather than tempting you with cortisol spiking arguments all the time. YMMV.

i’ll echo the sibling comment that my twitter feed has gotten significantly more abusive and troll comments than before.

Your Twitter feed is dependent on who you follow. Why follow people who abuse and troll?

oh my apologies, i meant the feed and replies. i figured most people would be able to deduce this—my fault for not being more specific.

the replies to tweets are now a heap of trash replies from trash fascists, racists, trolls, bots, etc…

Counteranecdata: a nontrivial number of people I talk to have been leaving Twitter because their feeds are suddenly filled with MAGA ragebait and coded bigotry, which is the absolute straw for them.

2020 was the height of Trumpism, so it's possible that it really is calmer even so, or it might be more calm for new accounts for some reason? I'm certainly not planning to sharecrop on the Elmo plantation to find out personally.

Weird, when I look at my feed it's either people I follow, people they follow (some of whom I've decided to mute), and their replies to people I don't follow.

Pretty easy to curate to me (if someone engages with too much "Ragebait", unfollow them), but I can't speak for everyones feed.

My complaint with Musk is that he's running the company in a chaotic and destructive way. It's true, I don't agree with his politics, but that's not the problem here. He's got $1B/year of interest to pay, but has lost half of his advertisers. He's gutted the moderation teams, and says he will reinstate all of the banned accounts. He's capriciously laid off much of the staff. It's hard to see how Twitter will continue to survive.

I felt the same reading the article. So much hate towards a single human. There are many ways to express dislike or disagreement with someone or their ideas and management styles without being so explicit and rude about it. It seems like its a badge of honor and prerequisite to say "I hate Elon, ok moving on about Mastodon..." I believe it's possible to dislike someones views and still have common ground and dialog, but I guess I'm in the minority (online) now.

because he told everyone that Tesla cars would be robotaxis that make you $30,000 a year and you would be dumb not to buy a Tesla...i know a few people who fell for this scam. I stay away from anything he is involved in after this. There are lots of reasons for people hating him and for good reasons.

So he’s slow on delivering a very difficult and ground breaking technology (he has, however, delivered FSD to North America).

Is that really a reason to hate the man? “Hate” is a strong and emotionally loaded word.

This is nothing personal against Musk. When you look at what he has done since taking over Twitter, it's nothing but chaos. He doesn't seem to have a clue how to run that company. I have liked Twitter, and I hate what he is doing to it.

As someone who likely has opposing political views to yours I think the following outcomes were vital to a well-functioning public square for inclusive and civil discourse:

* taking the company private, and off the stock market, so decisions are no longer made with short term valuation / stock price movements in mind

* sacking the vast majority of bureaucratic staff, who have shown themselves to be politically biased. Suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story would NEVER have happened on an impartial social network

* trying out new ideas. Twitter was haemorrhaging money and was technically stuck in a rut

* sacking the board and C-suite (for the gross failures described above)

A lot of people will have their noses put out of joint by Musk’s moves so far. But there are tens, possibly hundreds, of millions of ordinary people out there who will feel they can trust the network again, since Musk’s changes. These people are not extremists, or racists, or bigots - they are just people who have right-of-centre views and who value fairness and freedom of expression.

> Twitter was haemorrhaging money

Well, no, if not for the $800M lawsuit settlement (a one-off), they'd have made $580M profit in 2020.

> technically stuck in a rut

Being under an FTC consent decree where every feature has to be thoroughly documented, analysed, and approved re: user privacy before launch tends to slow development down.

Ol' Musky has made the first almost infinitely worse ($1B interest/year) and cannot do anything about the second.

How do you feel about taking on a billion dollars of interest per year? Then fumbling new features to lose half the advertisers? What do you think of asking software engineers to bring screenshots of lines of code? It makes no sense.

He's the world's richest man. He can take on big interest payments.

He experimented with some changes to Twitter, and his style is to rapidly try different things and see what works. I would expect him to continue like this. I hope he does. He's one of America's greatest innovators. This is how he works.

The screenshots of code thing wasn't so he could pick over the lines and analyse their style. It's so he had hard evidence of engineers who weren't writing code (many companies have them) and fire them immediately.

if musk doesn’t want attention then he should stop screaming “look at me! look at me!”

it’s illogical to constantly cry out for attention and then complain how unfair it is that he’s getting attention.

All the insults the author wrote, and you still needed to make something up to get angry about? It's entirely possible to dislike someone regardless of their politics. Lots of people do it every day.

Had this been the British parliament I would have said "hear, hear" but since it is not I can but vote this up and as that this polarisation better stop and be reversed soon if you U.S. of Americans want to remain one country, under whatever deity you prefer if one. The sheer hatred coming from the self-proclaimed "good" side towards the "red" side is as destructive as can be, the disdain for the "blue" side coming from the "red" is almost as - but not quite as - bad. Musk buying Twitter may be a step in the right direction if he manages to make the platform open for more than just "blue" narratives but he better not turn it into one for "red" narratives if he is to succeed.

Who needs a social network? HN is almost too much. How much hubris is enough to say "people should hear my smallest thoughts and acknowledge them with appreciation or by repeating them".

Find people with non-small thoughts, or at least positive-if-small-value small thoughts, same as any other avenue of connection with other human beings.

Social networks are a tech/tool. Like most other tech/tools, they're more magnifiers of existing facts of the human condition than they are things that fundamentally change them.

If what you dislike is the thoughts of other people, fortunately there have always been choices that can increase isolation.

I don't "need" one, but i appreciate their ability for community. Ie i'm in the mood for a semi-niche Computer Graphics community. There's something about Microblogging that i find.. interesting. Something like a Forum, say Reddit or an actual Forum is so.. purposeful. Does my WIP post warrant an actual forum post? Likely not. Something about Microblogging seems more fit for WIP posts of artwork/etc, tech thoughts, etc. Likewise i enjoy subscribing to other peoples content in the same nature.

The barrier for forums seems to be large enough that the posts that get submitted are often finished works only.. at least in my experience. To me that's less interesting.

You need one, but the word 'need' is too strong. If that's the case what other word would you use?

Not sure i follow. I said i didn't need one because, well, i don't believe i do. Good evidence of this is that i have not, and do not currently, have one. Nor have i ever used Twitter, Facebook or any social platform beyond link aggregators. And even with link aggregators i've rotated accounts and/or deleted history frequently as a way to undermine "identity", which to me is vital to social networks.

With that said, lately i've been in the process for searching for one because of the reasons i stated above. I'm looking for a like-minded community on Art stuffs. A forum will do, but microblogging seems to be more inlined with my desired, as i described above.

I guess to reword my previous post; "social networks" can have different applications in my view. In the case of microblogging, i like the idea more as a Forum flipped on it's head to reduce friction on content posting.

You know, I think there are a lot of people who completely miss one important aspect of Mastodon: while it's open source, it's EXTREMELY Linux-centric. While people have gotten it running on other platforms, it's fraught with problems and assumptions.

Then add that Ruby on Rails has a history of breaking when trying to update to keep ahead of security vulnerabilities, and we may expect to see some big security issues when something is found that's exploitable and updating breaks things, and everyone is sitting around waiting for the Mastodon people and/or the Docker image makers to update things properly.

Mastodon would be improved by spending more energy making fewer assumptions about the underlying OS and being less dependent on specific versions of underlying Ruby components.

> Mastodon [...] fraught with problems and assumptions

Many other servers are available - Akkoma (Elixir), Honk (Go), GoToSocial (Go), Takahe (Python), Ktistec (Crystal), snac2 (C), ...

I should expect by this time next month, you can probably add another 3-5 to that list.

Indeed. I'm running Akkoma, and it was straightforward to set up and get running, unlike Mastodon.

And Pleroma too, which somehow missed your list despite being the second most popular AP server...

Well, Akkoma is a fork of Pleroma with a more active and user-friendly focus on development. Pleroma seemed to have stalled and been largely dormant not long ago.

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