I made a flow chart of which Mastodon posts end up in which timelines!

So, you can see how each instance will have a different local timeline, and even a slightly different federated timeline - and you can see why the federated timeline moves so much faster than the local one, too.


Full disclosure, this diagram is not complete. For example:

- If someone followed by someone on your instance replies to a public toot, that public toot will end up in your federated timeline.

- If someone on your instance follows someone who boosted Foo's public toot, Foo's public toot will end up in your federated timeline.

... but I didn't want to make the diagram too 🙃 , you know?

It also explains why smaller instances have quieter federated timelines.

People on smaller instances really benefit from the people they follow boosting good posts. It gets new people into their federated timeline, giving them more interesting folks to follow, which gets more people into the federated timeline... and so on!

@devurandom I've put my original diagram on Wikimedia Commons CC0 (public domain) so that people stop asking me questions. :D commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fil

@cassolotl there's also the fact that people you follows replies to people you don't follow doesn't show up in your home timeline, which is kind of annoying imo

@a_breakin_glass Oh yeah, someone else mentioned that, but I think it is probably not very helpful to try and include it in this overview diagram thing - it's complicated enough as it is!

@a_breakin_glass Ohh, what's your objection to that?

I feel like tenuously-connected toots sneaking into the federated timelines and being seen by people who might otherwise not see them might be good? And if the toot is getting replied to it is probably not the Worst Toot Ever... But I don't really know, there might be reasons I've not yet considered!

@cassolotl I feel like I might miss an interesting conversation or something

Maybe it's because of my preferences, but I love this visual style stuff you have been putting out.
Might not be *perfect* in all respects, as you acknowledge there are complications, but a lot clearer for a quick idea of how things work 😀
I could have done with a lot of these things when I first got on here, so I'm sure there'll be loads of appreciative newcomers :blobcheer:

@RunningInCircles Thank you for the feedback! :) I feel like a bit of a simple and visual introduction is probably helpful, and it's no big deal if people work out the more finicky details later on.

@cassolotl This is super helpful! Would you or anyone boost every month? 😁

@Otterscotter Hehe, yes - if it's good it'll get boosted around a bit, I'm sure!

Why don't instances swap known-instance-lists? Is it desirable to limit the amount of known instances?

@cassolotl I'd like to make that more widely known, are you happy to have your mastodon handle associated with it if I post it on the bird site?

@cassolotl This is a helpful thing that you made. Thanks!

@cassolotl This is really helpful! I found this very confusing in the beginning. It took me a long time to collect all that info.

I think all that might be generally confusing to newcomers. That diagram should get a spot in some public wiki, maybe in the Mastodon FAQ?

@cassolotl Nice chart, although I think there is a mistake (or a simplification). It is not dicotomic, as toot appearing in "Home" timeline also may appear in "Local" will appear in "Federated", which is not reflected in the chart.

In any case, thank you for sharing it!

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