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.
@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!
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!
@cassolotl This is helpful. I recently joined a new instance but left because it felt highly censored. This makes me understand the scenario better.
What I don't understand is how in that new instance even though I followed FOO and FOO followed me back, I could not see any history of FOO's timeline.
This meant if I spotted a great toot from FOO in mastodon.social then followed them in the new instance (FOO even soon following me back) I could not boost the great toot.
@david_ross Ahhh yeah, that's frustrating! Your instance can only "see" toots from the moment you started following Foo.
The way to get around this is to find the toot on mastodon.social, open the toot in a new tab to get the toot URL, and then enter that toot's URL in the search box of your new instance and press enter.
The toot will appear underneath the search box, and you can click the boost button. :)
It's a bit of a workaround but it *does* work!
@david_ross So it wasn't just that you could only see toots after you started following them - more like, toots are not known to an instance at all until one person from the instance is following them. So the problem was that you were the *first* person from that instance to follow Foo!
@cassolotl thanks for taking your time to teach people like this. Have you written this in a blog somewhere? This along with the previous one you did about the messaging would be a phenomenal addition to any current newbies guides out there, like in Mastodon's Github.
@david_ross I have written some introductory blog post things for people new to Mastodon, which I'd be very happy for someone to transfer to Github if they wanted to do that - but I'm not very confident on Github myself, so it would probably have to be someone else!
Here's the Mastodon tag on my blog, though: http://cassolotl.tumblr.com/tagged/mastodon
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