Idiomdrottning’s homepage

Re: Mastodon Is Easy and Fun Except When It Isn’t

An interesting post from last summer that I didn’t see until now:

The most common—but usually not the only—response, cited as a primary or secondary reason in about 75 replies—had to do with feeling unwelcome, being scolded, and getting lectured.

I’m not happy that Fedi is this way. There was an “anti-September” frenzy last summer when people were scared that CWs were gonna go away etc.

I am partially culpable for this since I sometimes scold people for no alt text.

I wish this could change (in a healthy way, ofc—there are plenty of ways a change could go south).

For me, it was that Mastodon seemed to actively discourage discoverability. One of the things I loved most about Twitter was the way it could throw things in front of me that I never would have even thought to go look for on my own.

Right. I love this part of Mastodon. I think it’s the main reason I’m even on here. I don’t get a constant flow of things to discover.

The new Discover tab that Mastodon has introduced is especially toxic since it’s the same on every instance (that has that enabled).

Algorithms are bad for two reasons:

  1. The addictive flow of moremoremore. I don’t get that on here and I think that’s great. I can go read books or catch up on Campaign 3 or something.

  2. The curation. Remember that post that went around a while ago about how in science fiction, there’s a HUGE gap between the well-known, best-selling authors vs the second tier. Being among the “second-best” selling authors means basically no-one reads you. Same thing happens on social where some posts go absolutely viral. It’s lagom that posts do that on their own, that they do it via boosting/reblogging. We don’t need a page that takes the most amplified posts and amplifies them even further.

However. I do have some fondness for groups and web forums. Once groups work a li’l better, that’s gonna be able to replace hashtags in a good way and be a good replacement for subreddits, tumblr tags, phpBB sites and so on. FEP-1b12. I miss being able to post to there because it’s currently been broken for a few months.

The next big cluster includes group #3, too confusing/too much work getting started, group #5, felt siloed/federation worked badly, and group #7, instance selection was too hard/intimidating.

OMG yes. This is a mess. The technical issues are bigger than the social ones.

Problem one is whether it works: Posts gets dropped, go missing, never go through, don’t show up. I want it to get much flakier.

Problem two is how it works. I’m browsing the web & Safari and I find a fun li’l post on someone’s Masto or Pixelfed. I know how to boost, like, even reply to it and I’ve created a Shortcut (or Bookmarklet) to do so. And figuring that stuff out was not easy.

Until the “Fedi links” proposal becomes real, we need an UI that makes it absolovinglutely crystal that A. “here you can find the permalink to that post”, and B. “here is where, in your frontend or app, you paste in that permalink URL to find the post”.

A, sometimes called “original post”, is a complete labyrinthine experience worse than GDPR and different on every instance, and B. looks like a “search” box and you need to somehow have been told that that’s for importing posts.

(And I understand that anytime there’s a technical issue on line that’s partially on me because it’s my job to go fix every god damn thing and send patches in order to be a good FOSS citizen but my li’l backlog on that is just growing & growing.)

People in this category talked about a seriousness that precluded shitposting or goofiness, and a perceived pressure to stay on topic and be earnest at all times.

Here’s another category where Fedi as it is right now is a pretty good fit for me 💁🏻‍♀️

But once we get groups going people can find their meme groups so they can esspost and goof to their hearts contents there.

And I don’t think the Health First school has come to terms with the fact that in an non-authoritarian society, you can’t make people choose networks that feel like eating their vegetables over the ones that feel like candy stores

So it’s not a win for me that every man, woman and child is on Masto or Fedi. But the goal I have is that it’ll work well as open infrastructure not controlled by for-profit interests or deliberate darkpatterns like using addiction psychologists to make your app more addictive. I love email and RSS and if Fedi can become something that’s as reliable of a backbone as those things, that’s a win, that’s a huge win.

I’m getting less and less convinced by the non-authoritarian society’s ability to deal with climate change (not that the authoritarian society does any better—greetings from Soviet’s fossil&steel economy) but as I’ve said before, the ancom direct action, federation toolbox, for all its inability to deal with climate change, is pretty good at making your own individual life a li’l better with things like worker coops, unions, and labelling for addressing labor issues and with things like rough consensus and running code to get a useful non-toxic smolnet for you & me. It doesn’t solve the problem for everyone but it solves it for us.

(That said, our broken climate is a consequence of our broken economics which is a consequence of our broken political system which is a consequence of our broken media, especially social media. So the fact that Meta and Twitter and Google håller på with their siloing and their fever-pitching algorithms is ultimately a problem for the entire planet. But on a more direct, short-term level I do not want the Fediverse to become what Twitter was.)

I’m not implying that her post & analysis & conclusions were not good. They were! 👍🏻