Follow and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

I totally understand @chr's decision to shutter Maintaining and moderating a large Mastodon instance is an extremely thankless task; at best, if you're doing a good job, nobody knows about it, and at worst, if something goes wrong, everything's a disaster and a fire drill and everyone's upset at you.

This is why I once again implore people to consider running their own blogs and using feed readers to follow each other.

· · Web · 5 · 5 · 20 and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

There are quite a few feed readers out there, including feedly and The Old Reader. There are quite a few blog publishing platforms, including blogger/blogspot,, cohost (which doesn't support RSS yet but should in the future), Tumblr, and many many more. is a good resource for the more technically-minded. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

There are also emerging protocols to make private/friends-only/etc. posts more feasible. I have an implementation on my site (which is run using Publ, a CMS of my own design which I can't honestly suggest for most users but I'm happy to help people get it running in more places), and while no readers support the federated identity stuff *yet* there are several folks working on it. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

Also, I have long maintained that the problem with Twitter isn't that it's centralized, but that it's Twitter. Mastodon doesn't solve the "it's Twitter" part of things.

Having an instant feedback loop and off-the-cuff rapid-fire Hot Takes and Cold Takedowns doesn't do anyone's mental health any favors.

Life is a lot better if you blog slowly instead of feeling like you have to keep everyone informed of every thought at all times. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

I made a conscious decision a while back to spend less time on timeline-based social media and to primarily post on my own blog, and primarily use Mastodon/Twitter/etc. as autopost targets for it and a place to see replies (which I mostly find out about via's feed functionality). It has done wonders for my mental health. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

Anyway here's a thing I wrote about it a while ago, when the Musk Twitter buyout seemed imminent. My opinions have only strengthened since then. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy lmfao cohost doesn't support rss?? and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@tindall nope :(

It's "on their roadmap" but only as a publish thing, not as a subscribe thing. Very disappointing. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy yeah, that's unfortunate. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy I do need to take you up on Publ at some point; it’s really cool! and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@Kyreeth I need to see how easy it is to get running on It seems like it should be pretty straightforward.

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy I do, but it always feels much more clunky to do than fedi/twatter/whatever. Even with local editing, hugo templates, and scripts to automate save/build/rsync. :blobsad:

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@trentskunk Yeah the tools can be a lot better. Things like Micropub supposedly help although I haven't gotten around to building that into Publ yet. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy I know @ada likely has a ton to say on this, but we definitely echo the sentiment. At the very least, more smaller instances should always be preferred over bigger instances. We know a big issue though is accessibility to hosting. It's unfortunately not always feasible financially, technically, or otherwise for a lot of folks to run their own instance. We think that definitely needs to change, but in some ways just having more smaller instances that are open to a pawful of users would go a long way as well. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy if I could add, apologies for the whole "inserting our opinion unnecessarily" reply here as well if it is taken that way. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@kairi @ada Yeah, that's why i mentioned things like blogger and, and tumblr as a blogging platform. I think both of them have free tiers. You're a lot more limited in what you can do with them of course. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy you make very good points and we appreciate what you have to say, friend. :blobcatheart:

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy i understand the first part but i don't understand the conclusion :akko_think2:

aren't blogs and social networks (microblogging) quite different? why not recommend people to host smaller or single-user instances?

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene They are quite different, and my greater point is that the interaction model of timeline-based "microblogging" social networks is also deleterious to peoples' mental health.

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene Like, my entire point is that the rapid-fire nature of microblogging is where the problem comes in.

Even if the technical admin overhead of a fediverse instance were zero, there's still the massive social issues that make it a constant headache, and the design fundamentally takes away control from people in terms of what they see and who they interact with.

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy > Like, my entire point is that the rapid-fire nature of microblogging is where the problem comes in.
Why so? Isn't it kind of the point? :akko_think2: I prefer to just share some random thoughts with my friends and some stupid jokes, how would a blog be better suited for that?

> the design fundamentally takes away control from people in terms of what they see and who they interact with
Could you elaborate on this?

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene "In terms of what they see and who they interact with" comes down to two things:

1. The timeline where you have to peruse a deluge of disconnected thoughts and try to piece together a conversation from it
2. The inability to delete comments/replies to your posts in any nuanced way; there's just an all-or-nothing Block Someone result, and that still allows others to pollute your "space" for others to see

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene and don't get me wrong, Tumblr has a lot of issues with its interaction model as well, like the way that "notes" work is pretty cruddy too

Maybe it's just my own nostalgia based on how things were in the Movable Type and Livejournal days, and maybe that benefited a lot from a smaller audience to begin with.

But blog drama hit very different than Twitter/Mastodon drama.

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene also the fact that we have a dozen bifurcated threads here and a rapid-fire real-time demand on each others' attention for this conversation only proves my point, IMO

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy Well, I don’t really see much if any “drama”, so I’m assuming we all have very different expectations and experiences; which is fine! If you believe personal pages and blogs are more of your thing, that’s fine; it may not be the case for everyone, however, I know it wouldn’t suit me personally, for example.

I’d still recommend things like WriteFreely or Plume however, WriteFreely blogs can be followed from the fediverse (but do not have comments/etc), and Plume blogs support comments via replies. There are some instances out there hosting both WriteFreely and Plume openly! I’d still recommend against using centralised services, which are as prone to closing down at any moment, but can be even worse for many reasons (inexplicable limitations on content to appease advertisers, advertisements, user tracking, not having RSS or having it disappear out of nowhere, etc.)

Mastodon handles displaying things, federating things in very different ways. The hard limit on 500 characters may lead to less thought-focused posts, which leads to “threads”, which many people don’t really like. Things you mentioned, like hiding/rejecting a person’s replies to one of your posts (or to your posts in general) is entirely dependent on the software you use, and can be done.

PS: You might like to know that Mastodon, Pleroma and many other fediverse software expose RSS feeds for users. For example, yours is

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene I'm aware that mastodon publishes RSS feeds, but they're not particularly useful. Following mastodon from RSS means getting flooded with tiny micro-updates without context, especially when threads happen, and the entire interaction model is completely different.

Also I have serious misgivings about activitypub as a protocol, and I have written extensively about that on my blog.

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene like it's not just about the protocols, it's about how they're used and the entire UX involved.

You could very well build something exactly like twitter/mastodon/etc. on RSS (several people have, even), and I think that would still be an awful idea.

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene for that matter, Mastodon started out as OStatus, which is basically "Twitter but using Atom+WebSub." The move to ActivityPub was to hack in slightly better access control as a minimum-effort thing, rather than in trying to actually solve the problem of distributed access control.

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene but anyway the main thing that I really want people to do is to own their own experience, and to have experiences that they can own in the first place. Blogging is a much easier chunk to carve off for that than, say, running a personal Pleroma instance or whatever.

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene also quick jokes and shitposts are something that twitter/mastodon do better than blogs, yeah, but I'm not sure if enabling those is worth the other interaction pitfalls, and things like that are also well-suited to realtime chat places like Discord or IRC.

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy I don't believe instant messaging really is the answer to that. They tend to be centralised on topic discussions or group discussions, and not exactly "here's a cat picture while you're talking about repairing your car", for example. (though, sending pictures on IRC, that's a whole different ordeal)

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy How is it? I think it's like all things, it depends on how you use it, the software you use, etc.

Is it deleterious to my mental health to use timeline-based microblogging to keep in touch with my friends and chat with them, and meet their friends too? I'm not sure I understand.

How does Tumblr/cohost/<other centralised alternative you recommend> solve these issues? Wouldn't people want to self-host their blogs (with software like WriteFreely, Plume, which can federate and expose RSS, or even others that exist already like WordPress and things like that)?

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@helene Self-hosting is definitely better than a centralized hosting system, but self-hosting requires a lot more technical ability, and I am being pragmatic when I suggest that people look into A Blogging Platform that they don't have to pay the admin tax on.

re: and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

When I say that things are deleterious to mental health I am thinking of the constant dogpiling and drama that keeps on occurring on Mastodon, because of people talking past each other with a sense of urgency. Also the short format makes it very difficult to present a complete thought. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy that sounds so lonely

I'm on Mastodon in part because I delight in seeing people who share my instance suffix show up in my feed
Like we're neighbors and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs it doesn't have to be though, if peopel follow each other via rss it becomes just as social

and I mean obviously I do use mastodon for some things, but I prefer the experience of long-form blogging over short-form microblogging. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs also in blogging's heyday people would spread other peoples' blogs by like. linking to them, or commenting on blogs or posts to say why they think their followers should see it, which is IMO a much nicer, more human/friendly experience than just clicking "boost" and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy I like microblogging, is the thing

It's conversational

Real blogging requires me to have my thoughts in paragraphs and, like, edited

There's so much less pressure when saying short stupid things is normal and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs sure and for that use case I feel like discord is generally a better match, although it also has the problem of reach.

Microblogging does serve *a* purpose but I feel like people use it too much for *every* purpose

And regardless, my main point is that folks should take control of their own experience as much as possible by choosing the software that works for them and not relying on the continued existence of a specific mastodon instance and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs I mean obviously there's a lot of stuff I post to mastodon that I don't post to my blog and I appreciate its existence. but if mastodon were to just disappear overnight it wouldn't be devastating to me, because it's a *secondary* publishing target for anything I care about having any longevity

well okay my long-running thread from my cat's POV would disappear and that would make me sad, but that's just an extended shitpost anyway and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs and the problem I run into is that "conversations" are often more like high-stress firehoses, like what's happened with this specific thread where I have a whole bunch of people disagreeing with me in parallel and there's a time pressure and stress point where I address each person individually rather than it being a comment thread that everyone can read as it develops, for example. People on fedi are awful about reading other responses. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs like maybe the issue isn't "microblogging" itself so much as how replies etc. work in microblogging contexts, but it's still an issue that causes a lot of stress and also the rapid-fire nature of it is a huge driver of stress/frustration/burnout/etc. for a LOT of people, especially when "conversations" fly out of control. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

. @WizardOfDocs I feel like old-fashioned mailing lists and usenet and so on are a better target for online conversation UX. Google Wave was a really good idea and it's a shame that never went anywhere.

The fact that Twitter became popular doesn't mean Twitter is good, and it's definitely worth evaluating *why* a thing is set up in a Twitter-esque fashion. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy you could reaggregate the reply threads, if there's something you need to say to everyone. I only see your responses to me, so from my perspective this is a two-person conversation. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs And that feels like a failing of the Mastodon conversation model, to me. Aggregating responses puts way more burden on me, and also doesn't fit into the thread/reply model of Mastodon in the first place. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy and that's why it's great that I can follow your pixelfed or account from Mastodon and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs Yes but you can also follow my traditional blog from mastodon, because I crosspost my blog posts to it and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs like not only do I use an rss-to-mastodon crosspost bot, I also have an activitypub bridge at (although it doesn't work very well and it misses private posts in particular) and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@fluffy I didn't realize rss to mastodon crossposting was a thing, and yes, now that I know about it I think more people should use it.

But by that I mean people who have long form things to say. Which I generally don't. My average blog project gets about two posts. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs And I mean, you don't follow me, presumably you saw my posts boosted by someone else and felt like replying. And that's totally fine! But it means you missed out on a hell of a lot of context, like how I normally post to fedi, and also the entire rest of the conversation thread that came from the root post.

Which isn't a failing on your part! But it's a problem with how fedi works when it comes to wider visibility of posts. and Mastodon/Fedi in general 

@WizardOfDocs Also it would be really nice if Mastodon supported subscribing to RSS/atom feeds natively instead of requiring shitty hacks like post-bots (like what I use).

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