Does Mastodon Hate Community?
Mike Hall’s post about the Local timeline of Social.LOL, the Mastodon instance of OMG.LOL, only underscores my wish for two particular features I wish would come to core Mastodon.
Something kind of cool happened, though, as I stopped looking at the Federated feed and would find my way into Local more often if I had a few minutes to poke around: I started recognizing more people as their posts went by, and found the folks in Local were more likely to engage, too. I don’t know how many active users there are on omg.lol’s instance, but few enough that I recognize a lot of names and have gotten to know peoples’ assorted interests and tics, but also enough that there are still plenty of “oh, I don’t recognize this person” moments.
There’s a fork of two of Mastodon that implement “local-only” posting and it’s something that really needs to be merged back into the core product. In addition, and I don’t know if any fork has this, they need to implement the ability for you to flag your account as accepting only local followers.
Since having once again abandoned Mastodon usage as a going concern due to the cognitive hits I take trying to use a social media feed, the reality is that I do still watch the Local timeline and sometimes interact with same. Or, rather, with individual posts; I’ve been replying to people with my post viability set to “mentioned people only”.
What I’ve realized, though, is that if I could post only to the Local timeline and restrict any followers to the local instance, the pace and tenor of Social.LOL has been such that it seems cognitively manageable.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely either of those features ever will make it into core Mastodon, because Eugen Rochko opposes local-only posts and steadfastly has for years.
His recent reasoning, that the use case of local-only posting “will become irrelevant once we have groups” of course is ludicrous. Groups is for self-selected members to organize interest-based discussions across instances. He doesn’t hate community, per se. Rather, he’s simply only interested in Mastodon enabling community if it’s federated community.
What am I supposed to do, invite all members of Social.LOL to a group? We already have that: it’s called the Local timeline. We just can’t restrict our posts to it because Rochko won’t let us do that.
So, I’m mostly left to lurk, and intermittently chime in directly to a specific user or two, never actually myself contributing to the Local community as a whole, and so effectively cut off from much of it. All because I can’t sacrifice my cognitive health upon the altar of Rochko’s weird, community-subverting limitation.