there’s no place like code

Mastodon misconceptions

I’ve collected some of the things I found myself explaining to people in recent days.

Checking Mastodon out is too much of a hassle. I don’t even know if any of my friends are on it

Use fedi finder to check out how many people you follow on Twitter moved. It will also show what instances they are on. After you create an account I’d recommend using movestodon, because it allows you to follow people right from the page, instead of having to import a CSV file.

When you move, leave your mastodon handle in your Twitter description, user name or pinned tweet, so people can find you using these tools.

It’s hard to choose what instance to create account on. I don’t want to be stuck with something

You can move your account to a different insurance later. Your followers will be redirected to the new address. Unfortunately, your toots will not be moved.

“Toot” is a silly name

Agreed. But so is “tweet”, if you think about it. Also, some clients don’t use it.

How does moderation work (a.k.a. will there be nazis?)

Moderation is done on per–instance basis. That’s important to remember for few reasons:

  • Ideally choose an instance run by people you trust.
  • If you don’t feel good on your instance, don’t abandon Mastodon just yet — try finding one with admins that share your values.
  • Remember that many instances are run by people out of their pockets and there’s no advertising there. Look for ways to support them on insurances’ “About” pages, if you can afford it.
  • Everybody can host their own insurance, so there surely already are very bad™️ ones out there. There are block lists of both accounts and whole instances and they can be shared between instance admins. Hopefully this will make it easier to keep things under control.

Fediverse is just another name for Mastodon

Mastodon is built on top of open standards like Activity Pub and is not the only one using it. There’s e.g. Instagram–like PixelFed. Fediverse’s promise is that you can follow people not only from other Mastodon instances, but also from other “things”. Some already established sites may join the fun: Tumblr will implement Activity Pub and Flickr is thinking about fediverse as well.

Mastodon is also not the first one of its kind. There’s a nice thread about the history.

I don’t like Twitter/Mastodon, because it should be casual, writing about nonsense, but it stays in the internet forever. I’ll stick with Instagram Stories/TikTok

You are in luck. There’s an option in Mastodon to let your toots be deleted after a given time.

So, there are different clients?

Sure. Unlike Twitter, which didn’t really like people using non–official clients there’s healthy ecosystem for Mastodon.

The web site of your instance is installable as PWA. Because of Apple iOS browser ban you won’t get notifications on iOS, but maybe you don’t mind.

Other clients lack some of the features, e.g. DM or local timeline sections or bookmarks, viewing your started toots, but offer logging in with multiple instances/accounts and may do a better job of remembering position where scrolling your timeline.

Some of the more popular ones:

  1. Pinafore’s original author stopped maintaining it. Project got forked as Semaphore