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Blue Skies Over Mastodon

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Good post. On the other hand, IMHO (as a non-Fedi-expert I should say), I think the Fediverse does not absolutely need to appeal to everyone. A lot of people are happy with Twitter, and a lot of people are happy with Facebook. Evolving Mastodon into a clone of Twitter is perhaps missing the point of building a different platform in the first place. Not to say there's no place for new ideas or criticism of course...

To add after reading the post again: A centralized social media site with a professional content moderation team is, of course, always going to provide a better experience to new users. I don't think a decentralized platform will ever be able to compete, by design. "Full text search" and "quote posts" are not going to help when someone accidentally joins a poorly moderated instance.

This entry was edited (5 months ago)

I completely agree. The goal for the Fediverse is to be sustainable. There's no point worrying that it's not growing as fast as commercial networks, or that it doesn't have the same mainstream penetration, or whatever it is people worry about. The only thing that really matters is that there are enough people to develop platforms and enough users to produce interesting content. This is already the case today, and things will only be getting better going forward as the Fediverse grows.

Maybe Bluesky will get more popular than the entire Fediverse and attract a huge number of users, and maybe it won't. However, I can guarantee that the Fediverse will be around long after everyone forgot what Bluesky was.

This entry was edited (5 months ago)

I respectfully disagree with some of your points. The benefit of a Twitter clone that is federated (or more precisely, a Twitter clone that supports activityPub) is that the users of said Twitter clone can see content from and interact with users who aren't on said clone, but another platform that supports activityPub. And conversely, I can see content from said Twitter clone without necessarily having to be on it, as long as I use some activityPub platform that fits my taste.

This provides a lot more choices. I can choose a platform with the best user experience for my taste, without any regard to privacy and moderation. That would be completely fine. Conversely, another person may choose to search for an instance based on their specific moderation, topics, privacy, or other preferences. Another person may even self host their own instance. All of those can interact with each other, and that is what makes it nice.

Sure. I'm a big fan of federation. However, I switched to Mastodon (the ActivityPub application) because I liked its style better than Twitter. Turning Mastodon into Twitter to attract a larger audience and placate the complainers isn't necessarily what everyone wants. Just my personal view on this. But it honestly doesn't bother me that much.

The signup/moderation issue feels somewhat similar. Yeah, it would be way more Twitter-like if signup defaulted to and that mega-instance hired a content moderation team to rival a professional social media site. But that's not quite what I think is currently good about Mastodon and Fedi...

On that part, I do agree with you. I do not like mastodon just because I'm not a huge fan of the micro-blogging-focused user experience, but I do agree that there's value in a platform not imitating Twitter but having some of the UX. Likewise, I think that there is value in another platform that would attract Twitter users. I think it could just be a separate mastodon instance that is modified to fit said user base.

I agree. I hate Twitter but really enjoy Mastodon, because of the people and content it draws (at least what I see).

I want the Fediverse to walk a fine line between providing a platform that interests a niche group without gatekeeping and which sustains enough interest to sustain itself.

Some people are already working on making Fediverse compatible with Bluesky. So if we can interact with them from here, then I dont care what people prefer.

H3L1X doesn't like this.

I don't understand the bluesky hype. If it ever is properly federated, I'll try it out, but until then it's just one of these new hip social media sites that appear every few months.

I think the hype is driven by people that just want Twitter without Elon and realized the Fediverse is not that. I know that by saying so I somewhat sound like the people that the article is criticizing, but I think people that want Twitter without Elon are missing a big part of the picture, i.e that Twitter was and is bleeding money fast, so "their" Twitter was going to die one way or the other.

To build a sustainable platform you need to invest in it. People in the Fediverse have done so, but are painfully aware that it is a careful balance and that it can't work with millions of Twitter users switching over expecting a gratis platform with no strings attached.

And this failure to understand these basic dynamics will probably drive them into the hands of yet another venture capital funded fly-trap and the circle will begin anew.

I think a fediverse can house both types.
those who dont want to pay to have an account on a server (which obviouslly costs money to host), then some instances can show ads on their webinterfaces and fund their costs that way. people who dont care about ads can join such instance and have their free account.

those who dont like ads can either donate or pay for their account or join a free server without ads (if available) or host their own server.

I really hate advertising but I guess you're right. Let's hope that a culture emerges of enough people donating so ads aren't needed.
yeah that would be the best scenario :-)

IMHO you can't fund a service with meagre normal banner advertisement revenue anymore.

Someone wishing to fund a Fediverse service would have to write a deep data-mining system that displays personalized and targeted advertisement to their users and get sufficient investment to survive until they have a large enough user-base and scale for their data-mining to turn a profit.

Not impossible, I guess, but given the invasive nature of said data-mining they would probably be defederated quite quickly (if found out) as in a federated network you can't cleanly separate whom's data gets mined.

Anders Rytter Hansen doesn't like this.