Federated social media (ie mastodon, etc)

Mastodon and other federated social media platforms are a pretty hot topic right now - I’ve pretty much avoided them so far but I’m interested to hear if anyone has had some experience with them. I’m not sure if I should go into detail on the technical side of them in this thread, but if anyone knows of a good primer on the tech side for those who don’t know I’d appreciate sharing a link just in case. I know understanding the technical hurdles of it is a big detractor for a lot of folks who are just looking for a place to get their memes or follow artists.

I think the idea that there’s a technology where anyone can spin up their own micro-community that they run themself, and if wanted, connected to the rest of the web brings up a lot of good ideas. I think key to the ongoing shifts in social media it’s become really clear that we do need spaces that are our own, which can’t be snapped away by whoever has the most buying power.

This makes the caveat to me that I’d like to trust or at least know whoever is running an instance I join - because they make the rules and dictate how their instance interacts with all the others. I want to recognize that the exact same thing is true here - you all have to put trust in me - which is why I’m trying to open so many talks about the direction of the site.
Some of the bigger mastodon instances I’ve simply never heard of the owners of - and I assume part of their popularity is that they were just around the longest. I’ve also seen a few pretty large (500+ user) ones ran by pretty young people, which is neat, but I can also imagine things like that not lasting long if they get busy with college or whatnot. If some other community launches an attack campaign on yours while the admins are gone or stepped down, you can’t really do anything to fix it yourself for example.

We now also have a huge commercial entity entering the same space as the open source tech (bluesky) - I think a lot of people are trying to join that one willing to look past the federated side of it, but it’s easier to accept on the basis that it has some ex-twitter background. To me that is defeating the purpose of them making it federated at all (there is only the one main instance of it right now anyways).

Even if I haven’t really tried it out, there is some merit to the premise of the tech, but really only in the right hands. Are there any instances you’re on - how has that been? Any sites with cool twists or gimmicks? What other federated site protocols are out there with unique ideas?

Rekindling this because I know a number of folks found out about the site after a gamedev.place post -

generally my questions are:

  • how did you pick the instance you’re on?
  • how long have you been around the fediverse?
  • what’s been good, bad, or something you want to see improved?
  • Or just whatever other thoughts you have on the state of social media right now.

I was reading a thread (on a mastodon instance) earlier today talking about the site Cohost (which isn’t federated, but still a pretty popular post-twitter destination). I don’t wanna link it because by the end it was a little crass, and it mentions some topics I’m hesitant about linking. One thing it mentions is the site’s funding and development which turns out to be based on a loan - with the source code of the site as collateral, but some of the later stuff is talking about the site’s moderation and terms of service. I think that kind of thing is at the heart of why I find new social sites challenging; it’s hard to know when the rules in place feel complete to you, or if they reflect the actual community vs. just it’s creators.

Obviously the same problems arise on a site like this, so it’s got me thinking a bit to work on those more. I dont think game-development sites really have the same moderation problems as general social media, and this is fortunately tiny enough to probably not have any bad actors show up for a while. Right now I’m compiling some thoughts for a ‘status update’ post of sorts with some more information on the rules/code of conduct, because there are a few topics I don’t think it addresses well enough yet

I dunno. I don’t have much to say about it. I have rarely used social media in the past. I always preferred forums.

I find that there isn’t much actual discussion there, which I guess is about what I expected.

Yea, it seems to be more-or-less the same in terms of twitter where a lot of it is just people shouting out their things to the void. It does feel like there are some folks trying to reach out a bit more, if at least to make things feel a bit better overall there, but that’s the kind of thing that could fall off over time. To be clear I think it is useful and fun to have places like that. The big difference I’m seeing so far with mastodon is that it’s attracted a mostly techy crowd which makes sense given the nature of the software, so it’s mostly just other developers you run into. That can kind of be a good thing, but generally the reason people started using twitter was more to be able to connect to a larger audience and market - which it doesn’t really seem like mastodon is achieving. It just leaves it in a position where I don’t really know what I would want out of it if I were to invest more time in.

I really only joined Mastodon to talk about game dev. It is OK for that, but it doesn’t really feel like a community, since almost all interaction is just likes. It’s mostly just a feed to scroll through.

I have blocked about three dozen people in the past few weeks because they think that what happened with Unity is funny or something to celebrate, and that the people impacted deserve it. These are people who don’t give a shit about games or the people who make them. The tech community living down to expectations as usual.

The forum software this site runs on (discourse) has a “like” feature that is turned on by default, which I disabled specifically because of this. I think if the interest is to promote discussion (I really appreciate the time you’ve taken here so far by the way) - giving a person an easy way to just click and have ‘interacted’ with the post tends to shut things down faster than they can start.