@kev Yes !! Sure it is ! Because there are some big and a lot of little !!! Just like email, like cities, like everything ! 😎
@x great post.
@kev The idea was to have a reasonable first step. After you found your way, you'd then move to an instance which fit your interests and community.
The tools for migrating to a new instance have improved immensely. The missing link seems to be an easy way to become aware of specific communities.
@kev While I'm also annoyed at Eugen's instances being so big, the fact you can move away whenever and not be cut off from everyone makes it very different from a centralised system.
@Matter that's true.
@kev great post!
I agree big instances are helpful for people to get started. I started my own because I’m more technically minded, know how to manage my own servers, and was fascinated and curious about the inner workings.
If we truly want to make this a better for all to use we have to think about the non-technical user. They most likely won’t spin up their own instance and instead find one to join.
@kev I think part of the reason Mastodon.social being as large is because of most people probably don't understand what federation means.
I consider myself to be a littlbe bit technical and when I joined the fediverse 4-5 years ago I had NO IDEA whatsoever what federation in this context meant. I joined the largest instance that I could find and you can imagine my confusing when I started seeing posts from other instances.
@hund agreed. It was completely alien to me when I first started using it.
@kev While the decision to stop expanding mastodon.social was the right one, one could argue he should not have made the second one. I can’t help but feel he’s making the situation worse.
A decision could have been made to either make a series of instances, run by different people, and promote those. Or, even better, invest more in promoting existing instances to better distribute the influx of users.
(Copy pasted my lobste.rs reply)
@yarmo @kev As it turns out, "decentralized" is a system property that is more intended as a freedom for technical/admin users and that regular users just acknowledge. Just like not every user of Gimp is actually writing code for it even though they could. Most people just don't want to go through all the hassle. They just want to use the system.
@yarmo @kev sad truth from multiple occasions that I had with people is: people seem overwhelmed by the request to chose their instance. Always being afraid of making the wrong choice. It wasn't different for me. My first toot talked about Mastodon being the loneliest social media I've ever experienced. Things worked out, but facts are, telling someone got to "example.social" and sign up. Makes people a lot more likely than telling them select one of those instances.
Go ahead, ask people on the street for their email address. Most of them will be: yahoo, gmail, microsoft, and probably some older regionally popular providers (due to phone/landline/internet contracts or similar).
It's amazing how little people (want to) decide on the internet. They just follow what's popular and "free" for the most part and stick with it. That's not choice, that chance.
@kev There's also the argument that when people are choosing an instance they are trying to find one that will most likely stay around. Something run by the founder of Mastodon has a good chance of staying around. Like email I think the more important thing is that the little instances are on a even playing field with the big instances.
@kev I think what scares many sysadms. like me from opening instance open for registration, is the work associated with moderation, takedown requests and such nontechnical work.
I think more federation could helped by making it really easy install a "family" #mastodon server, maybe as a app on #Nextcloud or as a #docker instance. Moderating a small instance with only your friends and family seems more manageable job.
@MrManor yeah, totally. We have 10k users and moderation is a lot of work!
@kev wow! That is a lot. Have you considered limiting new members by having applicants having to fill some sort of application form? Like What are your Foss background.. ect..
@MrManor we have thought about that, but we don't want there to be a barrier to entry for legit members.
@kev I wonder if casual users just reading about Mastodon and dipping their toe in the water, select mastodon.social as their instance - precisely because it is the biggest and therefore should be the most reliable with the best uptime and running the latest version.
So it becomes a vicious circle.
@andyc I think that probably what a lot of it is.
That is exactly what I thought.
@kev Good article. Being devils advocate here for a moment, I'd bet that "truly decentralized" Mastodon (or something similar) will only happen if running "your own instance" in a safe and secure manner is as easy as installing a Mastodon client app on a smartphone is, by today. We're quite a bit from that, at the moment... 😉
@kev Looking at my current timeline, one post is from someone on mastodon.social and all the rest are on smaller instances. So from my point of view it looks fairly decentralized. If one instance went down it wouldn't impact my timeline all that much.
People tend to forget or ignore that 3-4 of the most used GNU social instances were handled by the GNU social project maintainer. I think it's normal to try to ease the adoption of the technology, and let people choose what to do thereafter. "Refugees" from centralized services usually don't want to learn about instances and decentralization just to begin using it. They just want to sign up and start interacting. From what I read, they often move to other instances as they mature.
@bob Of course most of them leave an empty shell on the Fediverse and go back to the dark side...
As a newer user, mastodon.social gets written up in articles more and it's insinuated that it's exclusive, so more people probably join it or did because of that.
As someone who tries to get more people to try Mastodon, that the loli instance is that big puts a lot of people off.
@IronMan yeah, having a flagship instance is both a blessing and a curse.
It's good that people like yourself find out about Mastodon and choose to join a different instance though.
@kev I know I’m late to the punch and new to the server but this is exactly why I think a change in approach is needed.
For instance, a friend of mines had an idea that instead of starting a Discord for a twitch channel that they start a Masto instance. This would get people into fedi and away from the other sites. It will also have the benefit of introducing them to the concept and good company to start with.
Fosstodon is an English speaking Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.