Some musings on Mastodon

 Mon, 21 Nov 2022 21:07 UTC

Some musings on Mastodon
Image: David Revoy


I joined Mastodon on 16 November 2022 and I’ve already left as of today, 21 November 2022. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Mastodon; it is a perfect solution to the problem of Twitter. No, no, I left because of the centralised nature of control which firmly rests in the hands of the server administrators.

Everyone on Mastodon is super-polite and nice, at least, that was my experience on mastodon.social. One may suppose that this is likely because the last thing that anyone wants is to upset the server admin and get booted. This, in my humble opinion, might lead to some self-censoring. Of course, one can easily join another of the thousands of Mastodon servers but that means starting over with a new identity and rebuilding your base of followers.

Another thing that I noticed whilst browsing through some other Mastodon instances is how much server-banning is going on. Take a look at the ban list from the largest server on the planet, mastodon.social.

The Federation

I fully accept that the idea of federated, nomadic social media is a fairly new one. It is still in it’s infancy but has made a good, solid start. Mastodon is just in the right place at the right time and fully deserves all the glory that it receives. I just wish that it could be a little less centralised. At the same time, I also wish that it was a little less fragmented in terms of how it all connects together.

What I am really looking for is in two parts:

  1. An identity that is completely mine;
  2. A way to participate in the entire Federation via a means fully under my control.

I appreciate that I could be unfollowed or blocked by anyone but that then would only reduce my reach on the network by one. I do, however, resent the fact that someone can be totally silenced by an admin for what is effectively their right to free speech or tweet or toot. I further despise the fact that a complete community can be marginalised or excluded by a ban command just because their opinions may be (slightly) off-kilter with the rest of so-called “normal society”.

We must not strive for an online world where only a few voices are heard. It is a place meant for all voices; even the vile and hate-filled ones should have their place (somewhere). Just not on Mastodon, it would seem.

My Federation

I looked into running my own instance of Mastodon but decided to go instead with Hubzilla. I spent some part of the past weekend learning and installing Hubzilla and it is finally working - see here: x.cybrkyd.com so.pfm.cx

I own my identity which ticks the box for one of my requirements. To fulfil my second, by using Hubzilla, I can participate in the conversation with almost the entire Federation including Mastodon, Friendica, Diaspora, GNU Social, Misskey, PeerTube, Pleroma, Pixelfed and Funkwhale.