I think what feels *architecturally* strange to me, about Mastodon, is the role that instances are expected to have in a community.

So you get instances built around common interests (FOSSdon) or instances built around common community standards, etc.

And then users have their account "on" (or "at," I confess I'm really interested in these localizing words that are chosen as digital metaphors) a single instance.


Of course you can follow people across instances, etc.

But the federation is really federation *of instances,* not of individual accounts, and there are things you can't do with some friends because they happened to choose another instance for their account than you did

And that choice is what's interesting to me. I have, like, a dozen areas of interest / focus / activity in my life. How do I choose a single one, to be represented in my choice of instance?

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Do I choose an instance tied to my job or my industry? (and then I have to move my account elsewhere if those change)

Is my instance based on my friend group?

On my "primary" personal area of excitement and discussion?

Or do I just choose a random instance, and try to break all connection to topic / network / professional expertise?

It's weird, is what I'm saying.

Sometimes mastodon feels like it was built by the same people who used to want to build "universal" ontologies as giant, tree-shaped taxonomies of words, and then they'd get into these really angry arguments about "which subset of words names a 'top-level' concept"

@jonabbett I know, right? what a world.

"federation, but what is being federated?"

"what prepositions are you abusing today, to give your digital collations the sense of being real, physical places?"

We use language in such funny little ways don't we

@arthegall i agree. I haven‘t found a lot of Mastodon accounts on #RUSG, #BelgianFootball, #W40k, #MiniatureWargaming, #Tabletopgaming and some other interests of mine, so if anybody has any pointers: plz let me know :) #followerpower

@arthegall I had the same issue with Twitter personally. Eventually I decided my account is for my personal interests and LinkedIn is professional.

If you don't have a single or overlapping group of hobbies just start with a general instance and hashtag your posts to help find like interested folks.

@arthegall what kind of things can you not do with friends on another instance (other than activities which might be specifically banned on one instance)?

@arthegall understood, but I think it depends how you find friends. On Twitter I mostly followed people due to them being retweeted by people I already followed, and by reading replies to posts of people I followed. I think both of those things exist here too. Occasionally if I knew someone specific had a Twitter account I would look them up. I don’t think I ever followed someone on Twitter because the algorithm pushed them into my timeline

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