30 votes

Alright, I finally want to jump ship and join Mastodon. Can anyone post some getting started guides?

As with many Twitter users, I'm finally at the point where I want to leave and join Mastodon. About a year ago I set up an account after seeing some people on Tildes talk about it, but I found it confusing and ultimately closed the account. I want to give it another go, but I'm a bit confused about all the different instance options, what the practical differences are, and more. Are there any comprehensive getting started guides? Does it matter which instance I join? How did you choose for yourself?

29 comments

  1. [10]
    autumn
    Link
    I run a regional instance, so I think I can answer these! There are many. The one I see get passed around a lot is this one: https://fedi.tips/ Yes. You’ll want to pick one with a good moderation...

    I run a regional instance, so I think I can answer these!

    Are there any comprehensive getting started guides?

    There are many. The one I see get passed around a lot is this one: https://fedi.tips/

    Does it matter which instance I join?

    Yes. You’ll want to pick one with a good moderation policy and active admins. I do not recommend joining one of the flagship instances, because they are huge and it’ll be harder to feel comfortable with the firehose that is the local feed.

    How did you choose for yourself?

    I started out on a flagship instance, migrated to a very anarchist radical one that ended up not being for me, saw a few regional instances and thought they were neat, then started my own.

    12 votes
    1. [9]
      lou
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      What is a "regional instance" and why did you create one instead of joining an instance that already existed? It's great that there's an extensive, well written, accessible guide to Mastodon...

      What is a "regional instance" and why did you create one instead of joining an instance that already existed?

      It's great that there's an extensive, well written, accessible guide to Mastodon instances. On the other hand, the very fact that it needs a guide is enough for me to predict that it will never go mainstream.

      I wonder: do Mastodon users even want it to go mainstream?

      2 votes
      1. [7]
        autumn
        Link Parent
        Regional as in geographically local. So the people who join my instance live in the area near me, making it feel more like a community. Folks needed Twitter guides back when it was new, too. I’d...

        Regional as in geographically local. So the people who join my instance live in the area near me, making it feel more like a community.

        Folks needed Twitter guides back when it was new, too.

        I’d be very okay if my instance never went mainstream. It’s busy enough as-is, and so far is a good group of folks.

        7 votes
        1. [6]
          lou
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          It is not my intention to be overly harsh or needlessly confrontational, but I'm skeptical of that. I imagine someone might want a Twitter manual now, as a tool for digital marketing and all that...

          Folks needed Twitter guides back when it was new, too

          It is not my intention to be overly harsh or needlessly confrontational, but I'm skeptical of that. I imagine someone might want a Twitter manual now, as a tool for digital marketing and all that comes with it.

          When Twitter arrived people where just... Tweeting. It was almost instantaneous and I remember it very well.

          it was a simple proposition. No one was reading manuals, nor needed too. Back then, I never heard of someone doing that, unless you're talking about senior citizens or those not inclined to be online in the first place. And if they needed a guide it might be a 500 words article, not long comprehensive documentation.

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            I don’t remember manuals, but I do remember a lot of people bouncing off Twitter because it didn’t make sense to them. Why is there such a ludicrously short limit on messages? What’s with the...

            I don’t remember manuals, but I do remember a lot of people bouncing off Twitter because it didn’t make sense to them. Why is there such a ludicrously short limit on messages? What’s with the cryptic abbreviations? How do I find anything interesting to read? What should I use it for?

            6 votes
            1. lou
              Link Parent
              This definitely happen. I was one of those people. Although I think I always understood it very well, and was never a user precisely because of that.

              This definitely happen. I was one of those people.

              Although I think I always understood it very well, and was never a user precisely because of that.

              4 votes
            2. ras
              Link Parent
              Trying to explain to my friends that "you send a text to 40404" and then other people can see it on the web was pretty cryptic back in '07.

              Trying to explain to my friends that "you send a text to 40404" and then other people can see it on the web was pretty cryptic back in '07.

              2 votes
          2. [2]
            autumn
            Link Parent
            I personally never needed a guide for Twitter, and I also didn't need one for Mastodon. Most of the guides are centered around common etiquette, deeper features, and how it differs from Twitter...

            I personally never needed a guide for Twitter, and I also didn't need one for Mastodon. Most of the guides are centered around common etiquette, deeper features, and how it differs from Twitter (because people expect it to work exactly the same).

            A lot of us have been "just tooting" (lol) since we arrived years ago. The guides are nice to point people to so we don't have to answer the same questions and rationale behind the answers a bunch of times over.

            6 votes
            1. lou
              Link Parent
              I believe you. To be quite frank, the main reason I do not feel compelled to use Mastodon is that it seems to be an alternative to Twitter, and I don't need I replacement for Twitter because I...

              I believe you. To be quite frank, the main reason I do not feel compelled to use Mastodon is that it seems to be an alternative to Twitter, and I don't need I replacement for Twitter because I never really used Twitter.

              1 vote
      2. skybrian
        Link Parent
        Do you mean the old users or the new users? My guess: probably not. I don’t think the Fediverse could handle going mainstream anyway, either technically or culturally. I recommend enjoying the...

        Do you mean the old users or the new users? My guess: probably not. I don’t think the Fediverse could handle going mainstream anyway, either technically or culturally. I recommend enjoying the fact that it’s not mainstream. It reminds me a bit of the early Internet.

        It’s nice that enough people I know are trying it that it’s worth posting to now. I only need a few likes to keep me going.

        I hope Twitter doesn’t die, because that would be overwhelming.

        3 votes
  2. [2]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    Assorted comments and responses. I've been on Mastodon since the early days, 5-6 years ago. I use browser on laptop, Tusky on phone. Browser works well on phone, too. Which instance you choose to...

    Assorted comments and responses.

    I've been on Mastodon since the early days, 5-6 years ago. I use browser on laptop, Tusky on phone. Browser works well on phone, too.

    Which instance you choose to join "matters" but not much. Avoid the biggest and smallest instances, and just pick any mid-sized group that sounds interesting to you.

    You are allowed to have multiple accounts, on multiple instances, if you like. Nothing wrong with joining 2-4 groups to compare, or for different personas, foci, etc.

    You can also "pack up and move" to a different instance. Just like a real move, the more settled in you are, the more complicated your move is, but it's not that hard.

    One point I haven't seen mentioned yet: to a large degree, the current culture and environment on (most of) Mastodon was intentionally designed and driven by the LGBT+ community to create a safer and more accepting online space. So very often when you notice something different on Mastodon (better or worse), this was at least a contributing factor.

    Every year or so, something bad happens somewhere on the "mainstream" Internet, prompting another million-user Exodus to Mastodon. The Muskocalypse might be the biggest, but it's not new. I think if Mastodon continues to grow in spurts like this, it'll be fine, and could become mainstream-ish in another 5-ish years. OTOH, if Twitter actually dies, and a billion people try to join by Christmas, that'd be a shitshow.

    8 votes
    1. autumn
      Link Parent
      If you are a marginalized person on any level, choosing an instance that is well-moderated is a must. There are corners of the federated network that are "free speech" zones, and you would...

      Which instance you choose to join "matters" but not much. Avoid the biggest and smallest instances, and just pick any mid-sized group that sounds interesting to you.

      If you are a marginalized person on any level, choosing an instance that is well-moderated is a must. There are corners of the federated network that are "free speech" zones, and you would immediately become a target on those instances. Many instance admins like myself play whack-a-mole, trying to block them before our members have to interact with those spaces.

      7 votes
  3. [3]
    noble_pleb
    Link
    Just my opinion but I don't think the so called "federated networks" have actually successfully solved the problems they were supposed to solve. Not only federation of users and content across...

    Just my opinion but I don't think the so called "federated networks" have actually successfully solved the problems they were supposed to solve. Not only federation of users and content across instances adds complexity but these instances themselves are controlled by different players which eventually creates centralization, just at a different level.

    A better solution for decentralization (IMHO) is just to have these different and diverse platforms like tildes, reddit, hacker news, stack overflow, quora, etc. Let's be there on as many as possible and if one has any issue (like twitter is having), we can always shift more content focus on others. Reddit was actually great when it was open source, let's try to go more in that direction?

    7 votes
    1. skybrian
      Link Parent
      The fediverse is interesting because it’s ambiguous whether the server you join matters. For subreddits the boundaries are clear, though they are rather porous since it’s so easy to join multiple...

      The fediverse is interesting because it’s ambiguous whether the server you join matters. For subreddits the boundaries are clear, though they are rather porous since it’s so easy to join multiple subreddits and to post to a subreddit that you don’t usually use. (The boundaries are similarly firm for substacks and blogs.)

      Possibly, there could be multiple subcultures using overlapping sets of fediverse servers but following disjoint sets of people and hashtags, sort of like Twitter has multiple communities but the boundaries are unclear. Or maybe the boundaries between communities will become more firm as subcultures drift towards hanging out on different sets of servers and they start blocking each other due to cultural differences resulting in rule disputes.

      I don’t think anyone knows where it’s going to end up. I suspect that the old fediverse norms won’t get followed by all the new subcultures that fragment off.

      2 votes
    2. nothis
      Link Parent
      I agree in principle but Mastodon does seem like an intentional replacement for "centralization" (i.e. one, big platform everybody uses). There'll always be something like Twitter. This is an...

      I agree in principle but Mastodon does seem like an intentional replacement for "centralization" (i.e. one, big platform everybody uses). There'll always be something like Twitter. This is an attempt to make that something better.

      2 votes
  4. Immortal
    Link
    I added this to my bookmarks a few days ago, you might appreciate it.

    I added this to my bookmarks a few days ago, you might appreciate it.

    3 votes
  5. Jectoons
    Link
    I'm also new to Mastodon, started hanging out there in January and I think I am finally getting the hang of it. Sort of. The way I understand it: Mastodon is the software and the various instances...

    I'm also new to Mastodon, started hanging out there in January and I think I am finally getting the hang of it. Sort of.
    The way I understand it:
    Mastodon is the software and the various instances use the software. The software connects all instances, but lso connects with other softwares like Misskey and Pleroma and Friendica. The connection between all of those is the fediverse.
    The original mastodon instance is mastodon.social, and it is quite big and has people from everywhere and doing all sorts of things. There are also more specialized instances, like comicscamp.club or mastodon.art which cater more to artists and crafts and such. There are some tools to help you pick an instance, but even if you pick the "wrong one" for yourself, you can migrate your data to a different one quite easily. Personally I would recommend a smaller instance; they have better moderation and discoverability. Plus since it's all connected you can follow people from other instances and viceversa.
    Here are some sites that I hope help:
    https://fedi.guide/
    https://www.fediversesearch.com/
    Good luck!

    3 votes
  6. guts
    Link
    Right now i have chosen based on a niche I do work as mastodon.beer, the good thing is they have been gathering big and small people in the industry.

    Right now i have chosen based on a niche I do work as mastodon.beer, the good thing is they have been gathering big and small people in the industry.

    3 votes
  7. [7]
    pocketry
    Link
    How do you all use maston on mobile? Their app in Google play has had reviews. Maybe mobile web? I like using tildes in the browser and am open to that.

    How do you all use maston on mobile? Their app in Google play has had reviews. Maybe mobile web? I like using tildes in the browser and am open to that.

    2 votes
    1. mtset
      Link Parent
      On Android, I use Tusky, which is a truly excellent app.

      On Android, I use Tusky, which is a truly excellent app.

      3 votes
    2. Jectoons
      Link Parent
      I use most socials on browser, comicscamp.club and mastodon.social work great on Vivaldi mobile. :)

      I use most socials on browser, comicscamp.club and mastodon.social work great on Vivaldi mobile. :)

      2 votes
    3. jcrabapple
      Link Parent
      Tusky, Husky, Fedilab, Mastodon. The default Mastodon Android app is decent. The mobile web app works great too.

      Tusky, Husky, Fedilab, Mastodon. The default Mastodon Android app is decent. The mobile web app works great too.

      2 votes
    4. skybrian
      Link Parent
      I've only used it in a web browser. Mostly on a Mac, but I think I tried it on mobile at some point.

      I've only used it in a web browser. Mostly on a Mac, but I think I tried it on mobile at some point.

      1 vote
    5. inwardpath
      Link Parent
      On the iOS side there are quite a few mobile apps (Toot!, Metatext, etc). Not sure what the options are like on android.

      On the iOS side there are quite a few mobile apps (Toot!, Metatext, etc). Not sure what the options are like on android.

      1 vote
  8. [2]
    lou
    Link
    I have a related question (please ignore if that is absurd), but are there Mastodon instances dedicated to roleplaying?

    I have a related question (please ignore if that is absurd), but are there Mastodon instances dedicated to roleplaying?

    2 votes
    1. autumn
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I would be surprised if there weren’t! Edit: @lou I happened upon one! https://dice.camp/ Looks like they have a good blocklist, too.

      I would be surprised if there weren’t!

      Edit: @lou I happened upon one! https://dice.camp/ Looks like they have a good blocklist, too.

      2 votes
  9. gpl
    (edited )
    Link
    Thank you all for the helpful information. My final question is - any recommendations for science servers? Or short of that, does anyone have an invite for the big ones (e.g. mastodon.social?)...

    Thank you all for the helpful information. My final question is - any recommendations for science servers? Or short of that, does anyone have an invite for the big ones (e.g. mastodon.social?)

    EDIT: If anyone is interested they can find me at @gpl@astrodon.social . This is linked with my IRL identity so I might delete later lol

    1 vote