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So, after using Nextcloud for a while and disliking the archival format, my wife wants me to set up something like Mastodon, but just for family communication.

Is it possible to make a private, invitation-only instance that doesn't interoperate with the rest of the world?

Also, is one of the alternative Fedi systems (Plemora, Friendica, etc.) better for this?

We have a decent number of barely computer literate family members across a wide variety of different devices.

@urusan If you don't want federation, probably it's better to choose a non-federated one. I just found out about HumHub: github.com/humhub/humhub/

@urusan Long route is that you set up an instance, spout some evil long enough to get defederated. Risk is that you federate with nazi and anti lgbtq instances instead, and that everybody in the free net thinks you’re an evil douche forever.

Short route is just to set up an instance and don’t federate.

@dlek I think I'd go the short route here.

Though I would not be surprised if toxic family members got the instance defederated if they were exposed to the rest of the Fediverse...so best just to save everyone the grief.

I'm actually pretty sure they'd be better behaved if it was just people they were related to and have to deal with IRL.

@urusan Yah for sure.

Before I got all flippant what I have thought of for my own family is an open source Slack alternative, Zulip.

@urusan You can disable federation entirely on a Mastodon instance.

@urusan you could set up an IRC server. or pleroma and just disable federation entirely

@urusan Only limited experience with pleroma, but: (1) There's a box to turn off all federation. (2) You can click boxes to declare the instance closed to new members, membership by invite only, members authorized or not to issue invites, admin approval for members, ... lots of choices. (3) I *believe* you can set it to not expose membership numbers or any timeline material publicly (but have to verify). It short, dauntingly configurable, highly restrictable :-p

@urusan that's a great idea. You could look at Hometown, a Mastodon fork designed specifically for that use case: github.com/hometown-fork/homet

Otherwise, a defederated Mastodon or Pleroma instance for which you manually approve accounts will also work.

@urusan Isn’t a private Matrix server better suited for this? You can hide the public room list, and have invite only rooms for sensitive discussions.

@urusan
I've read that Friendica may be more like Facebook than Mastodon or Pleroma. No idea if it's possible to de-federate a Friendica instance.

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Fosstodon

Fosstodon is an English speaking Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.