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      I think everyone’s experience is going to be different, this is all highly subjective depending on what communities you want to interact with. That being said, I’m very pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the transition to Mastodon has gone for my professional/programming feed.

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        I’m shocked that it worked (~70% of people I follow have moved to Mastodon, and it’s more active than Twitter now). It’s like the year of Linux desktop happening.

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          It turns out all we need for the year of the Linux desktop to happen is for Elon Musk to buy a major competitor, say, Microsoft, or Apple. Doesn’t seem likely, but neither does a lot of stuff that is definitely happening in our timeline.

          Maybe there is someone else (incredibly rich yet wildly incompetent and detached from reality) who could do Linux a similar service? It doesn’t literally have to be Elon Musk, it’s clear that wealth does not correlate with any ability or positive qualities whatsoever, there’s got to be hundreds of other (less famous?) plutocrats who also have the potential to destroy anything they touch. Thiel? DHH? Maybe a young con artist in the tradition of Theranos or FTX could convince investors to fund their joyride in the crumbling shell of a previously productive corporation.

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            Doesn’t seem likely,

            0% chance. Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion. Apple and Microsoft are worth way more than that.

            Apple market cap: $2.29 trillion (52 Twitters)

            Microsoft market cap: $1.80 trillion (41 Twitters)

            Even assuming either company would consider privatizing (they wouldn’t), even the top 10 richest people pooling their net worth couldn’t buy either of them.

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          I’m on the one hand happy that it worked, but the move for me has been… spotty. Essentially my whole tech timeline moved, so that’s fine.

          But I actively used Twitter to get into community I am very curious about. I have family in Botswana and so I used Twitter to stay up to speed on what happens in the region. All that migrated to about 0% and that’s a huge loss for me.

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        I need to check it out again. When I’ve tried it in the past, it always felt like a bunch of people and bots shouting into the void–lots of content, but very little dialogue.

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          lots of content, but very little dialogue

          Twitter isn’t really a medium for dialogue anyway…

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            Well, it’s not a platform that optimizes for constructive dialogue, so maybe a less ambiguous term would be “engagement”: there is a lot of engagement on Twitter, but very little on Mastodon (IME).

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          Anecdotally, the Twitter Migration has caused a qualitative change, for better or worse. There is tons of dialogue on my instance.

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            My biggest challenge right now is that my instance got too popular I guess and now is constantly down. :(

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              What’s the bottleneck? Database? Web server? Something else?

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                Oh sorry I meant the instance I’m on. That is, I don’t know what the problem is.

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          If you’re active on Twitter I can recommend using one of the services that checks if your followers are also on a Fediverse instance, and allow you to easily import them.

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      Social media has come to play an important role in our society. It’s a way for people to get news and to discuss it with their peers as well as a tool for education. For better or worse, social media has become an invaluable tool and an integral part of our society.

      It’s important to remember who owns corporate platforms and whose interests they ultimately represent. These are not neutral and unbiased channels that allow for the free flow of information. The content on these sites is carefully curated. Views and opinions that are unpalatable to the owners of these platforms are often suppressed, and sometimes outright banned.

      Some examples include Facebook banning antifascist pages and Twitter banning left-wing accounts during the midterm elections in US. When the content that the user produce does not fit with the interests of the platform then it often gets removed and communities end up being destroyed.

      Another problem is that user data constitutes a significant source of revenue for corporate social media platforms. The information collected about the users, and it can reveal a lot more about the individual than most people realize. It’s possible for the owners of the platforms to identify users based on the address of the device they’re using, see their location, who they interact with, and so on. This creates a comprehensive profile of the person along with the network of individuals whom they interact with. This information is often shared with the affiliates of the platform as well as government entities.

      It’s clear that commercial platforms do not respect user privacy, nor are the users in control of their content. Users are just a product that the owners of the platform sell to their actual customers who mine personal data.

      Platforms like Lemmy and Mastodon are developed in the open making it possible to tell how they work internally. These platforms explicitly avoid tracking users and collecting their data. Not only are these platforms better at respecting user privacy, they also tend to provide a better user experience without annoying ads, analytics, and other garbage.

      Another interesting aspect of the Fediverse is that it promotes collaboration. Traditional commercial platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have no incentive to allow users to move data between them. They directly compete for users in a zero sum game and go out of their way to make it difficult to share content across them. This is the reason we often see screenshots from one site being posted on another.

      On the other hand, a federated network that’s developed in the open and largely hosted non-profit results in a positive-sum game environment. Users joining any of the platforms on the network help grow the entire network.

      Having many different sites hosted by individuals was the way the internet was intended to work in the first place, it’s actually quite impressive how corporations took the open network of the internet and managed to turn it into a series of walled gardens. Only when we own the platforms that we use will we be free to post our thoughts and ideas without having to worry about them being censored or manipulated by corporate interests.

      No matter how great a commercial platform might be, sooner or later it’s going to either disappear or change in a way that doesn’t suit you because companies must constantly chase profit in order to survive. This is a bad situation to be in as a user since you have little control over the evolution of a platform.

      On the other hand, open source has a very different dynamic. Projects can survive with little or no commercial incentive because they’re developed by people who themselves benefit from their work. Projects can also be easily forked and taken in different directions by different groups of users if there is a disagreement regarding the direction of the platform. Even when projects become abandoned, they can be picked up again by new teams as long as there is an interested community of users around them.

      It’s time for people to get serious about owning our tools and start using communication platforms built by the people and for the people. Let’s get back to making the internet work the way it was intended to work.

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        Social media has come to play an important role in our society. It’s a way for people to get news and to discuss it with their peers as well as a tool for education. For better or worse, social media has become an invaluable tool and an integral part of our society.

        that’s either wrong or a tautology. it’s a tautology because social media platforms are society-making, so that people who don’t use them are not considered part of the society. it looks like twitter users make up about 20% of the US population.

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          It’s a new mode of interaction that did not exist until recently. I’m talking about social media in the context of historical development of this new medium.

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            I don’t really follow. does that mean it’s an integral part of society?

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              I would argue that it is. Social media has become a primary way many people communicate and how information discriminates in our society. It’s quickly replacing traditional forms of media that people used to rely upon.

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        Projects can survive with little or no commercial incentive because they’re developed by people who themselves benefit from their work. Projects can also be easily forked and taken in different directions by different groups of users if there is a disagreement regarding the direction of the platform.

        I selfishly love this, but it does give programmers an unequal amount of power. There’s not a lot of incentive to build things that are easy to use, so you end up in situations where newcomers can’t make sense of the fediverse and give up quickly.

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          I think that problem should be addressed by funding feature development. Crowdfunding model or some foundation would be the vehicle for doing that sort of stuff.

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      I’m not sure how well ActivityPub will scale. The Mastodon server I’m on has a DB of over 200GB with 25K users - and it’s only been up for a few weeks. It seems like fairly soon it will hit the limits of what can be handled on a couple of home servers. I don’t know how much of this is Mastodon specific though.

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        Let me assure you that the ActivityPub content is an insignificant part of that.

        Mastodon’s developers had the unfortunate (IMHO) idea to cache every piece of media it reaches a server on that server. The official explanation is that it alleviates the burden on smaller instances, so they don’t get hammered by thousands of requests for one piece of media that happens to go viral.

        However this makes it that every instance in the fediverse graph will have a full copy of every other piece of media of the other instances it federates with.

        This is not tenable, and in my opinion is working against the federation concept itself.

        I am working on software where serving dumb files and ActivityPub content that generated them is a low overhead affair, so even receiving hundreds of requests per second the performance won’t drop.

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          Is the caching meant to alleviate network performance load or network/disk bandwidth load?

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            I am not sure to be honest, I was presenting what I remembered from very old discussions (cca 2019,2020) - which might have been on github, or directly on Mastodon with Eugen and the other people in their dev team.

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          Something combining CDN + media hosting + dedupe would be the obvious fix for this. There are github issues proposing IPFS, which probably hits the media hosting + dedupe part.

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            I’m also considering using IPFS for media storage in the application I’m writing, but I’m not there yet. I’m prepared to let hyperlinking do its thing for a while. :)

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        You should not expect a home server to handle 25K users. But the great thing about how the network is structured, is that it doesn’t have to be that way. I find that the smaller instances, of around 100 people, are a lot better, both in moderation quality, and in community.

        I am honestly disturbed how much people flock to the big servers, because this is coming back to centralize the network. I’ve already seen old-timers starting to block the biggest instances, because the moderation quality in them very noticeably dropped after Elon bought Twitter.

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          I don’t think that’s a reasonable expectation, because that essentially boils down to ignoring everyone that isn’t tech savvy enough to roll their own instance, or lifting the burden onto each and every selfhosting capable IT guy.

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            You don’t need to be tech savvy to run an instance, you just need a bit of cash to pay a hosting service.

            I realize not everyone has that either, but it’s a lot more people than have the time and energy to be their own host.

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              The same goes for everything where you are currently paying someone to make it work. For example your cloud, vegetables, messenger, email or your car.

              And yes for many people this is on the same level. Truly federated, self hosted stuff is a pipe dream of us techies. It’s nice in theory, but a lot of burned out admins in their off time in reality if you really want to make it happen. I wouldn’t want to share random instances with folks I met one day, which I liked at that point, the same way people add and remove others on facebook and twitter. And there is so much more: Do all these instances have enough bandwidth ? Backups ? Privacy & Security things ? Stuff that really matter if you actually throw normal users in this.

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            You only need one tech-savvy person per 100 people to host an instance. In my country, around 2.5% of working force are described as “IT specialists” - so to host enough servers for the entire country, about 80% of them would need to host their own instance. A lot, but that’s still possible.

            But you don’t need to be that tech-savvy to admin an instance - there’s plenty of different services offering hosting services. Last I heard, Masto.host hosts around 10% of all Mastodon instances by count, but other services, offering Mastodon or other software hosting exist. Using these services requires little technical knowledge.

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            That is still more people than what traditional centralized social networks are offering.

            Yes by all means make it easy to run, invest time into having a straightforward install and configuration, but asking a dev to make server software that your grandma’ can run is a little unreasonable to ask in my opinion.