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The current list of ways something can get into the federated timeline:

- someone from your server is following that user
- someone from your server replied to that user
- someone from your server is following someone who replied to that user
- someone from your server liked/boosted it
- someone from your server copy/pasted the link into the search box, causing the server to load it

@gargron for the record, I consider many of these to be bugs, especially the reply one. The federated timeline makes the most sense when its only 2nd degree connections

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@nightpool Hold on a second!
If I reply once to a user, all it's toots will be visible to my instance? Or just it's answers to the discussion?

@chindit If you reply to a user, only the post you reply to will be included in the federated timeline. (not just for your server, but for all the servers where people follow you)

@nightpool so mere fact of being on #instance connected to another one is not enough?

@crecca Correct. this is a common misconception. The federated timeline is the union of every user on that instance's timeline, plus the exceptions above. It's every user followed by anyone on your server.

@nightpool …and from then on, no matter which of those events fired, that user’s toots appear on your fedline?

@babelcarp No, no, only the toots involved in one of those events appear on the federated timeline.

Another way to think of it is that the federated timeline is a feed of "all the toots your server knows about". The main way for your server to find out about a toot is if someone follows a user on a another server—then it will get notified for every toot that user makes. There are other ways for it to find out about a toot though, which is what I listed above

@nightpool So let me guess: Mastodon searches, hashtag or otherwise, cover only toots that have found their way to your home instance by one of the ways you enumerated.
/cc @baldur

@nightpool @baldur So the way Mastodon is organized now, I’d find it useful to have a lurker account on, say, mastodon.social from which it’d be possible to search its fediverse.

Or maybe mega-instances should have guest accounts: no passwords, no timelines even, just searching?

I’m aware that wouldn’t be a clean solution, just a hack. But *something* is needed soon, I think, if Mastodon is gonna be as useful as Twitter.

@babelcarp @baldur that's certainly an opinion you can have.

I think the concept of trying to see "everything" happening on ""mastodon"" is flawed in a ton of different ways. What does the concept of "all of mastodon" even mean in a federated environment? Focus on yourself, and your community. Searching isn't required. There are a ton of reasons people don't want full-text searching.

@babelcarp

mastodon doesn't need to be twitter. we don't *want* to be twitter

@nightpool @baldur Seems to me “searching isn’t required” applies to Google, DuckDuckGo et al if it applies to Mastodon.

@nightpool @baldur If search across all instances (except those with policies against it) is bad, then why is local search good?

@nightpool I *think* you’re saying you reject searching even on the local instance. If so, maybe you should try to fork a version of the Mastodon client that omits search and then install it on your instance.🙃

@babelcarp the mastodon server does not have full text search—it only searches hashtags and usernames. This is intentional, and you can read elsewhere why they made this decision

@nightpool Understood. But here, posting from the small instance where I live, I want to meet people interested in tea. There aren’t any such people here. The chance of finding them on other instances, even if they habitually use the hashtag #tea, is tiny. Global hashtag search is precisely the way I’d like Mastodon to learn from Twitter.

@nightpool Someone clever must be able to #model how long it should take until all federated #timelines are alike (barring the blocking of course) - #six #degrees of #federation :)

@dBu_fs small instances are always going to have unique federated timelines. Large instances less so.

@nightpool didn't know about the last one on your list. are you sure about that?

@nightpool it is absolutely required for you to be able to view conversations without leaving your instance

@gargron

I absolutely agree. But the original toots without context shouldn't *show up in the federated timeline* on their own. The federated timeline should JUST be toots made by people followed by the server or boosted by the same. Others should be excluded because their relationship to the server is tenuous at best, and invariably drags down the quality, readability, and usefulness of the timeline

@gargron I understand that the current implementation of the federated timeline is "ever toot known about by the server". Users find this very hard to reason about though.

@nightpool But on the turnside it's a plus for discovering content

@gargron yes but it adds a LOT of statuses, and, anecdotally, every time I saw a really obnoxious or boring toot in my timeline, it was because of this effect.

Plus it increases conflict, because any arguments get spread across the entire fediverse, to instances that are PREDISPOSED to disagree with them, but that CAN'T see that there are already people arguing about them

@nightpool @Gargron I find it hard to reason about a reply when I can’t tell what prompted it.

@babelcarp @gargron to be clear—i absolutely thing threads should be resolved and loaded. I *don't* think that this technical detail should impact the federated timeline

@nightpool @babelcarp @gargron
"it's not a bug, it's a feature"
seriously, i miss posts from people i follow and who are following me on another instance
for me, it's simple : local is the ghetto you chose, federated is the universe
with a setting if you only want original posts, and not replies or reposts

@maow @nightpool @Gargron I don’t see that setting. Is it for the admin, not the user?

@babelcarp @nightpool @gargron
sorry, i wasn't clear
it was more a wish than an actual setting
though, i think it's available on laptop for your personal (home 🏠) stream

@nightpool @Gargron Okay, so if I see the following toot from @someone@somewhere on my fedline: “@someoneelse@somewhereelse You’re nuts!”, I can open the thread to see what elicited the outburst.

Sounds good to me.

@babelcarp @gargron right, but that's not what happens. In the federated timeline, you only see the toot from someoneelse@somewherelese, and the reply doesn't show up at all.

@nightpool @Gargron When you say “reason about”, I know I’m among my people.

@Gargron @nightpool I like all of them except for the third one. Doesn't it give an extra degree of separation?

@captainskyhawk @gargron the third one is the most wack, and definitely the most confusing in practice, yeah.

@nightpool What I like about this is that it's so simple to understand

@ti (: this is by far my most popular toot, which should tell you something.

@nightpool you forgot : someone from your server follows an user that boosted that post (unless this user set his posts to be "unlisted" by default which modify boosts status, according to my tests)

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