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    Am I the only one that thinks that the Mastodon/GNU social is going to be a huge mess?

    Even if the federated code works flawlessly, it’s going to be almost impossible to have recognisable identities without some big players setting up their nodes and providing some assurance of who is who.

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      Not great for celebrities/brands. Just fine for me and my friends, and people they vouch for.

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        Yeah, I’m nearly certain that the people complaining about this aren’t the people using it.

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        No more of a mess than email.

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          And look how “uncool” email is now, and Slack et al are in.

          edit: For how federation can turn into a big mess, see Usenet, which is now just pirates and spammers.

          (FWIW, the IRC model of federation is also interesting. More smaller scale.)

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            see Usenet, which is now just pirates and spammers.

            Usenet got that way through an evaporative cooling process when all the real users skipped town to the web. That is the eventual fate of any platform, federated or not.

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              Email and Usenet don’t have investors spending millions of dollars on marketing (or on feature development, to be fair).

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                email is uncool because it’s push not pull.

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                Email is a gigantic mess.

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                  I love email (as a protocol and as a communication medium), but email is by definition something private and sender to receiver (cc: never worked really well). It’s not a publication protocol.

                  Twitter-like protocol is something public, closer to usenet and completely unrelated to email.

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                  I’ve said (roughly) this before, but I’ll put it here because it applies. I genuinely don’t believe that any of these federated services will ever take off so long as “federation” is viewed by the developers as the “killer feature”.

                  Virtually no one wants to run their own instance. And virtually everyone just wants to set up an account and use it without worrying about whether their server will be fast enough, or be kept up-to-date, or even still be online in a year. As an aside, yes, I know Twitter could disappear tomorrow, but I can’t control that risk so I don’t stress about it.

                  In fact, virtually no one even wants to choose their server (or node, or whatever you want to call it). I certainly don’t, because there’s no way for me to make a reasonable decision based on a giant list of servers and basic stats about them. How do I know which ones are run by trustworthy people? How do I know which ones are run by some kid who doesn’t know the first thing about securing a server? That’s too much stress, and most people will respond by giving up. I signed up for a Mastodon account only after it appeared that mastodon.social was something akin to an “official” instance. No idea if that’s true or not, but that was what got me to sign up.

                  So do I think that federation is undesirable? Not at all. But federation is a safety valve, not a core feature. It forces (in theory) providers to put their users first, because their users can leave and take their data and connections with them. It also allows nerds and the paranoid (whether justifiably or not) to self-host, which should make for a richer, more inclusive, and more pleasant experience for everyone. But again, the people self-hosting are going to be a tiny, tiny minority if the system ever becomes widely popular and we should acknowledge this and act accordingly.

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                    I agree not many people want to host their own server, but many people do want to choose their instance. Probably not a majority, but a pretty large minority. So far this is mostly because some instances act kind of like mini-BBS/forums, not merely a place to connect to the larger federated network from. The “local timeline” tab shows a firehose feed of all posts from people on your own instance, and people on instances with some kind of shared community use that as a general chat (it’s less useful on huge instances like mastodon.social). There are other ways this could be built that doesn’t tie the community to a specific server, e.g. GNU Social has a concept of “groups”, which Mastodon doesn’t interoperate with. But some things are hard to implement if not tied to a server; different servers have different moderation/content policies, for example, which is implementable because the admin of the server can enforce them.

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                    I love how many other instances are also named “mastodon”.

                    “No, I’m not user@mastodon.social, I’m user@mastodon.network, you followed the wrong person”

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                      I was sad to see that gay.crime.team does not have open registration.

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                    Are there any curated lists on interesting Mastodon accounts out here? I’ve had my GNU social account for a while and I wanna check out the newbies!

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                      Whether any of us are interesting is for someone else to decide, but a number of crustaceans posted our handles in the previous Mastodon thread.