Confession: I have never given much thought to Mastodon instances.

Too lazy! It felt like information overload, where the signal/noise ratio wasn't that great. IMO the Federation's reliance on people intelligently choosing instances is actually a significant usability problem.

I just signed up for an instance I'd seen someone else in my Twitter network using.

And now that I know a bit better, I just hope the federation works and I can connect with people wherever they are...

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@HerraBRE so you didnt have to think about it, you are using it, people talk to you as far as I can see.
So no real issue then?

@kyzh Yep it's working for me!

I vaguely wonder if I'm missing out on part of the experience.

But - if my experience is typical, then maybe the community elders have incorrect expectations of how things actually work, which does actually matter when docs are written and new features drafted.

That is potentially an issue.

@HerraBRE I too just signed up for an instance someone I knew on Twitter joined - seems to work fine so even though I now know more about different instances I don't see any particular reason to switch.


I think it's a pair of problems.

1). Judging whether an instance *is* focused on what it's description *claims it is*.

The description might be accurate at the start, but the local timeline might quickly be consumed by users more interested in something else entirely.

2). Fluid mobility vs delayed mobility.

Suppose I'm fed up with a local timeline/instance & want to just up-sticks & change instance.

Should I be able to?
It may be empowering for me, but as norm for all the fed.?

@Barcode IMO mobility is, or would be, one of the most important features. It's on at least Mastodon's radar, but it's a long time coming.

The problem of course is that ultimately, the Fediverse is the web, your identity is an URL. URLs are not mobile unless you plan ahead and give everyone their own DNS name. Redirects are a kludge, an ugly and fragile hack.

Proper mobility would have needed to be baked in to things very early one, and that did not happen.



As I see it, making it easier and easier for each user to run their own instance would make users more likely to act like they've a pre-existing reputation to uphold than engage in a kind of attention seeking to shed some sort of 'newbie shame'.

I think when there's no need to attack an individual's character because you can criticise what they've chosen to build when given the same opportunity as others there's a higher baseline of netiquette to other soc. networks.

@HerraBRE i was lucky enough to come across this mastodon instance as the first time i heard about mastodon. choosing an instance is hard!

federation depends upon your instances' block list. i think publishing it is up to the admin? there are a couple standard block lists in use but its not enabled by default, iirc.

@HerraBRE It seems like a serious issue that you can't migrate your whole account to a new instance while keeping your social graph intact

@HerraBRE tbh, I just picked the instance with the most users.

@HerraBRE I guess I didn't either. I just joined one because a friend was there. Mostly for testing... and now I ended up using it "for real". So far I've been happy with the instance I'm using, though :-) But you're right it's an issue. It's also the first threshold for new users to have to pick an instance, and it feels like a big decision.

@HerraBRE certainly it does. I'm a Canadian using an instance based in France and I read you loud and clear.

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