Feeding the federation.

It remains the case that I’ve deep difficulties with feed-driven social networking, and I’ve been off Twitter for something close to two years now, I think. In the wake of the latest kerfuffle over there, however, I’m once again tinkering with launching a Mastodon instance.

Primarily, my intent is to offer up a Mastodon onramp for people I know from various times and communities over the course of my life. It will only work if someone else handles the billing (I can only afford to run a very small instance right now), but we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.

There are hurdles. One of the interesting Mastodon forks, Hometown (which I am not running) has local-only posting and “exclusive lists”. The former lets you mark a post as only for the other members of your instance and those posts won’t federate to the rest of the Mastodon network. It’s a great and, I think, necessary addition but I’m not entirely satisfied with the current implementation. The latter lets you put a subset of your follows on a list and exclude those particular follows from your home timeline. This is a feature that absolutely must migrate upstream to core Mastodon, as it would allow me to keep my home timeline limited to people I already know from other contexts, but be able to follow new and interesting people without them overwhelming my central experience of the feed.

Neither of these things, of course, yet exist in the core Mastodon code, so for the time being to maintain as low a stress level as I can when using the thing, I’ve had to take to muting outright any new-to-me people I follow and just intermittently checking in on them by hand. It’s terrible and laborious, and I really do need that “exclusive lists” feature.

At any rate, I’m not linking the instance here because right now there’s no reason to do so, since I can’t yet afford to open it up. If and when it will be accepting new accounts, the instance will be invite-only, but any member will be able to invite new people in—although I might decide to set certain occasional invitation windows rather than having invitations active all the time.

We’ll see how this goes.