1. "mastodon" is a piece of software that runs on a server. There's a lot of servers that run it & u can follow ppl on other servers.

2. When u follow someone from another server, your server receives their toots.

3. The federated TL is all public toots that the server receives, ie all of the toots from everyone that ppl on your server follow.

4. ERGO: if u want to see more toots in the fed TL, follow + get other ppl on your server to follow ppl from other servers!

@chr important note for people migrating from twitter: You won't see the full complement of replies on non-local twoots—you'll only see replies that your server has populated for some reason.

If you want to see replies, you'll have to click through to see the twoot on the original server

@chr I see. Why "+ get other ppl to follow"? Does the chance of seeing toots from other server Y increase if more from my server X follow users there?

@rateldajer if person B on my server is following person x@X and person y@Y, x and y's public toots will be part of my server's federated TL even if I'm not following them or ppl on their server.

Also, mastodon will sometimes bring in additional toots from people other than x & y from servers X and Y, in order to load boosts or replies for people who are following x & y

@chr I see, so the linking is primarily per user, not per server. interesting. So yes, healthy cross following will allow communities on each instance to have a better chance of seeing each other. The social network graph of the federated network is going to be much more subtle than for twitter or facebook. It would be so contextual.

@chr is that second one true? I haven't seen that behavior for replies. seems to imply otherwise

@nightpool I believe the intended behavior is for replies to be loaded, it may be broken and/or have an unfinished implementation.

salt grain: i haven't looked through the whole codebase or talked to any contributors about this, going off of hearsay and circumstantial evidence from server setup.

@chr ah, thanks, that's good to hear. Hoping to have time to dig into the codebase soon, but until then I can only go by what I see :(

@chr oh, also, while I have you here—is there a way to see the git commit hash a given mastodon instance is running?

How do updates happen on

@nightpool i don't think that's exposed anywhere right now

i'm going into my terminal once a morning and manually pulling in updates. i'd write a script to do it but my script-fu isn't good enough for me to be sure it'll fail safely and notify me.

@chr This is really helpful! Thanks for confirming how it works. :)

@chr That also means there'll be a sizeable natural monopoly effect. Users who have followers from other instances and have their posts shown outside their own instance, will they'll gain more followers across instances will only increase, perpetuating their privileged status. Unless measures are taken otherwise, a few users will have a lot more influence over this social network than others, especially after the 'canonical' or 'original' instance is no longer taking sign ups.

@chr that is very helpful.

I signed up at some other instances to find interesting people and follow them with my main account:

-sign up at remote handle
-copy remote user's handle
-sign off from remote instance
-go to user's public URL
-click remote follow
-sign in with main account

Do you know a better way than that? I mean other than following reposted remote users on my main instance?

@koos unfortunately I haven't found a better way yet. I've heard some instances have follow-bots which add users from other servers so that there's more variety, but haven't seen any of these in action yet.

@koos however you can speed it up slightly by just copying their url into the search bar on your main instance account, e.g. should bring up my account on any mastodon instance

@chr cool will try. Didn't work just now, but there seems to be a more general issue with remotes on Octodon

@chr - I was just trying to find someone from the server using their handle, but they don't show up in search results. Does search work across servers?

@gideonro if you know the exact handle, you can search for that and it'll bring up their profile on your server. fuzzy matching only works for local accounts

@chr - got it. Tks. Just taking a little while to get used to the way things work here.

@chr @gideonro I think it actually works for all accounts already known to the server. So you won't see impersonation accounts until someone else on the server follows them

@b_cavello @gideonro yeah i found out a bit later that it works for anyone that your server has brought in for other reasons

@chr Are you sure that that is required? I found someone who hadn't even yet posted anything. I did include his server address though...

@gideonro sometimes people are brought into masto instances without any of their posts having been brought in, i haven't figured out why yet

@b_cavello Yeah, me too. I just didn't initially know I had to include the server address.

@chr - nevermind. Just figured it out. You need to specify the server too. Just like email.

@gideonro @chr Doesn't seem like it? Which is quite a bad situation. Here's hoping it's high on the priority list of @gargron :fingers_crossed: (which I'm sure is already huuuge with all kinds of great and important stuff :D )

@forteller @Gargron @chr - got it working. You just have to specify the server along with the name and then it shows up.

@Gargron @chr @forteller - still, seems like if I type a user name, it'd be nice to see a list of possible matches on different servers. That's going to take some sort of master registry though, which I'm not sure exists. No idea how this thing is architected.

@gideonro @chr @gargron What if you don't know the server and that's why you're searching. Also: searching for words and hashtags is important to find people to follow and just as a way to use the communications system (e.g. 'what are people saying about X nowadays?')

@forteller @gideonro @gargron
- deprioritizing being able to search for words was an intentional design decision to prevent dogpiling/namesearching
- fuzzy searching names on other servers could increase load a lot and would almost certainly only show people from servers yours has communicated with before (that being said it might be possible to do in a limited capacity)

@chr @Gargron @forteller - yes, and if there is a centralized registry, that kinda takes away from the whole idea, I suppose.

@forteller @Gargron @chr @gideonro There's definitely an opportunity for someone to build a huuuuge index of users and toots, and make it searchable. Would be interesting to see different people trying different approaches and open-sourcing their code. Twitter didn't have its own search originally; search started as a completely separate company.

@josh @Gargron @chr @forteller - I didn't realize that about Twitter, Josh. Seems like that would end up being a massive synchronization job for a federated platform like this - kind of like a giant email registry in the cloud.

@dredmorbius @chr good to know. Do you mean that you didn't have to include the "" address?

@gideonro @chr Correct. Search will match any substring. "@leo" turnes up Leo Laport for me. You've got to visually filter the results, but with ~40 - 80k users across instances, that's still viable. Won't be in a while assuming growth.

@chr With that out of the way, a few questions:

Is there a way to pull in another servers' local timeline into the local instance's federated timeline, carte blanche?

Is there a way to subscribe to a group/hashtag on another instance and have those appear in the federated timeline?

My instance is looking really sparse, that's all.

@Motoma neither of those exist yet as far as i'm aware. they're good feature ideas though.

for now they can probably be emulated by having bots on your instance that follow all the people from a server/group/hashtag on other servers

@chr do you have to have an account on other instances to see the toots from that instance?

@backhand nope, just have to be following someone on that instance and you'll see all their toots and some toots peripheral to them (boosts etc)

@chr so is it best practice to simply have an account on one instance, or multiple accounts on instances based on what communities you want to be part of?

@backhand until instances diversify/specialize, i think its probably best to stick with one for the moment

later on, if, say, became a programming-focused instance (it probably won't but who knows), and you wanted to be part of that community, then maybe it would make sense!

for now the network is growing both horizontally and vertically, and everyone's just trying to get in on the central discourse before fanning out to their interest circles

@chr "if, say, became a programming-focused instance"

could you imagine how boring that would be tho

@chr @backhand it feels like there is a lot of people joining who are unhappy with the bird site and really want there to be a successful alternative.

@tetron @backhand yeah i think the issue is the newly transferred don't really get what federation is about, so they want there to be one central site where they congregate

and heck i dont think the rest of us have really figured it all out either, but we're making progress

@chr @backhand its the discovery problem. Everyone already advertises their email address and whatever other social media handles, but this is too new / not mainstream (yet). But the software / sign up processes is easy enough for normal people, the UI is fantastic (even if a total ripoff) so it doesn't feel so much like compromising for principles.

@tetron @chr it's also a conceptual problem; everyone is so used to walled gardens, for everything to sat on one platform, it's actually quite jarring to have to think about federation in a different way.

@tetron @chr yeah, feels like the general consensus. I also like how this is open source (yes?) and distributed.

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