the two camps of mastodon

Jun 27, 2023

I like the framing of this article, but I disagree with some of the conclusions.

It posits that there are two camps in mastodon: the Twitter 2.0 camp and the Small Community camp, and then goes on to discuss the different desires of each group.

I think there's a lot of truth to that divide.

Unfortunately, I think mastodon is bad at building small communities and also bad as a twitter replacment, and that the software is going to be torn between the two until and unless it picks a direction that it wants to head. If it picks neither, I doubt it's going to last very long.

as a small community

I would really like to use mastodon as a small community, but unfortunately it's terrible at it.

The author touts the ability to defederate, moderate, and enforce community standards such as content warnings as key tools for using mastodon as a small community server.

As a user, however, there are almost no tools on mastodon for building community. You can't search, you can't chat, and the local timeline is mostly a wasteland. It's not a place that's pleasant to be in a community, regardless of how easy it is to moderate

I would love it if mastodon were the sort of place where building a community was the center of activity, but in my experience it doesn't lend itself to that well at all. The author compares it to a living room instead of a town square, but while quieter than twitter, it steel feels very shouty to me, and doesn't lend itself to subtlety.

as twitter 2.0

As a twitter 2.0, the lack of search and the lack of retweets are big flaws. Furthermore, twitter-style usage lends itself to centralization, and that leads to cost spirals and moderation issues.

It's hard to imagine mastodon working as a twitter 2.0, but that's also what the grain of the software seems to be encouraging it to be.

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