A couple of people from various instances have mentioned that #Mastodon is confusing at first. So I decided to write a comprehensive guide on how to get started with Mastodon.
Hopefully this helps new users to Mastodon. Please do Boost if you feel it could be useful to others.
@puffinux @kev Yeah, I've had the same issue. That's a big part of why I wrote the "Mastodon is Better than Twitter: Elevator Pitch" post, which is a bit like Kev's new guide but more focused on pitching the advantages of Mastodon (and less on explaining how federation works—which is really important info, but not as relevant to getting people to switch)
@kev Great guide! I'd already read a few guides, and this is one of the clearer ones. I didn't realize that federation was driven by user follows—I thought it was something admins had to opt into. Very interesting!
Minor nit: The links to instances in your unordered list aren't displaying correctly (they show the Markdown source instead of the link)
@kev I decided I like your guide to Mastodon so much that I've gone back and edited my Mastodon Elevator Pitch post to include a link to your guide for readers interested in the technical details.
@kev Very good work! Two tweaks I'd be tempted to make:
- in "The Fediverse", it might be worth noting that you don't have to remember everyone's full @name@instance; folks unfamiliar with Masto might inadvertently see that as a point of friction. Perhaps a screenshot showing the usual autocomplete once you start entering someone's username?
- in "Moderation Tools", perhaps note (AFAIK) that reports are sent to /your/ instance's admin, and /if you choose/, to the remote admin as well.
@porsupah you're not the first to mention the auto-complete thing, and you're absolutely right. I just added an extra paragraph and image to that effect.
I've deliberately stayed light on the reporting info, as it's pretty straightforward once someone actually knows where the option is.
Thanks for the feedback. 👍
@kev Great article! I have some quibbles though. I believe the federated timeline is the sum of all the toots from accounts followed by users on your instance. Also federation is not unique to Mastodon. Federation is a property of ActivityPub, which Mastodon is built on. I know it is easy to overwhelm users with seemingly minor details but if users see Mastodon as equal to ActivityPub and no one uses Pleroma, or Pixelfed or other networks than we really haven't made progress.
@kev Thanks your great article !
Just a question : if I created a new instance without knowing any user on another instance, does this mean that my instance would stay isolated from the fediverse for ever ? If yes, can we conclude that there can be several separated fediverses ?
@kev Nice and simple, except trying to explain federation discovery, which cannot be simply explained.
Perhaps make mention when talking about the timelines that these are only the *public* toots; that unlisted, private, and reply toots aren't shown there?
Maybe it's outside your scope, but mention that the Fediverse isn't just Mastodon, that other services can use the same underlying tech in a compatible way?
@kev "You can also Favourite a Toot. Which basically means that you support or agree with a Toot. It’s the same as a Facebook like, or a Twitter heart"
I'm not sure that's true. Isn't the intended purpose to add the toot in your favorite list, for easier retieval later? Though I admit in this case the counter shouldn't be there. I think you're right that a lot of people use it as a "like" button, but it's still not clear to me what's the initial purpose of that feature.
@kev many thanks, great overview.
As you mention instances are often based on interest - I would like to see groups of interests within an instance. E.g. if there's an instace for a region, it would be useful for me to join a group about a specific interest of people living in that region. I wouldn't like to open separate instances for each group of interest.
Fosstodon is a Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.