Due to recent events around Twitter, I finally decided to give Mastodon a try. Naturally, I find the idea of an open and decentralized platform much more appealing than the privately owned walled gardens that became so hugely popular in the past two decades. I’m curious whether Mastodon can keep up the momentum of the last two weeks and eventually establish itself as an alternative to Twitter. On that note, I think it will be interesting to see how well moderation of hate speech etc. works- and scales on Mastodon. I believe that Twitter, Facebook and the likes, spend a significant amount of resources on content moderation, so this may become a huge headache for Mastodon instance admins when it gets more popular.
Choosing an Instance
For no particular reason, I went with the mastodon.social instance, so my handle is @email@example.com. After my first steps, I realized that choosing the instance does have an impact, particularly if you follow the local timeline. mastodon.social is currently one of the biggest instances and therefore the local timeline is very busy and the topics naturally very random. Maybe I’ll try out a more specialized instance such as fosstodon at some point – one of the awesome features of Mastodon is that it actually supports the migration of accounts between instances!
I wonder if there are plans to have an official Debian instance?
So far I’m quite happy with Mastodon. There’s good quality content and I already found a few people that I was following on Twitter here on Mastodon too. Interestingly, some of them actually are more active on Mastodon than on Twitter. But truth to be told: many of them do cross-post on both mediums, and most of the people I follow on Twitter are not on Mastodon yet.
I do like the concepts of the local- and federated timelines, although they are quite busy.
I like that you can set the language of your (individual) toots which allows users to filter their timelines for languages. In practice, this does not work so well yet, and I still see a lot of different languages in my local and federated timelines. I assume the problem is that people just forget to set the language of their toots so the default language is used. This problem should be easily solvable in the frontend by “guessing” the language once a few words have been typed.
I also like the idea that you can follow hashtags, although for me the results
were mixed. I tried to follow
#python and got a lot of toots
that were not really relevant for me in the case of
#python I got quite
spammed with job ads so I had to unfollow it again.
Unfollwing a hashtag is not very intuitive, as the tags are not in your list of people you follow, so you have to find the page of the hashtag itself (e.g. #debian) and unfollow from there.
You see, there are some rough edges here and there, but I find the overall experience much more enjoyable than Twitter.
Debian Folks in the Fediverse?
Which brings me to: are there any Debian Developers or -Maintainers out there to follow in the fediverse? I found most of the ones I’m following on Twitter, but I’m sure there’s more hiding out there.