Mastodon has the responsibility to promote diversity in the Fediverse

I love the Threadiverse. Compared to the microblogging Fediverse’s sea of random thoughts, Lemmy and kbin are so much easier to navigate with the options to sort posts by subscribed, from local instances or everything federated. You can also sort by individual community, and then there are the countless ways to order the posts and comments (which are stored neatly under the main post, by the way). That people can more easily find the right discussions and see where they can contribute also means that the discussions tend to be more focused and productive than elsewhere. Decentralisation also makes a lot of sense, since it is built around different communities. All that’s needed is users.

Things were going quite well for a while when Reddit killed third-party apps, prompting many to leave and find the Threadiverse. However, it is quite difficult to entertain a crowd that has grown accustomed to a constant bombardment of dopamine-inducing or interesting content by tens of millions of users, if you only have a couple hundred thousand people. This is causing some to leave, which of course increases this effect. The active users have more than halved since July, according to FediDB. The mood is also becoming more tense. Maybe the lack of engagement drives some to cause it through hostility, I’m not quite sure. Either way, the Threadiverse becoming a less enjoyable place to be, which is quite sad considering how promising it is.

But what is really frustrating is that we could easily have that userbase. The entire Fediverse has over ten million users, and many Mastodonians clearly want to engage in group-based discussion, looking at Guppe groups. The focused discussions should also be quite attractive. Technically we are federated, so why do Mastodonians interact so little with the Threadiverse? The main reason is that Mastodon simply doesn’t federate post content. I really can’t see why the platform that federates entire Wordpress blogs refuses to federate thread content just because it has a title, and instead just replaces the body with a link to the post. Very unhelpful.

The same goes with PeerTube. There are plenty of videos on there that I am quite sure a lot of Mastodonians would appreciate, yet both views and likes there stay consistently in the tens. Yes, Mastodon’s web interface has a local video player, but in most clients it is the same link shenanigans, may may partly explain the small amount of engagement. This is also quite sad, because Google’s YouTube is one of the worst social network monopolies out there, if not the worst.

And I know some might say that Mastodon is a microblogging platform and that it makes sense only to have microblogging content, but the problem is that Mastodon is the dominant platform on the Fediverse, its users making up close to 80% of all Fedizens. It has gone so far that several Friendica and Hubzilla users have been complaining about complaints from Mastodonians that their posts do not live up to Mastodon customs, and of course, that people frequently use “Mastodon” to refer to the entire Fediverse. This, of course, goes entirely against the idea of the Fediverse, that many diverse platforms live in harmony with and awareness of each other.

The very least that Mastodon could do is to support the content of other platforms. Then I’d wish that they’d improve discoverability, by for instance adding a videos tab in the explore section, improving federation of favourites since it is the dominant sorting mechanism on many other platforms, and making a clear distinction between people (@person@instance) and groups (!group@instance), but I know that that is quite much to ask.

P.S. @feditips , @FediFollows , I know that you are reluctant to promote Lemmy and its communities because of the ideology of its founders, but the fact is firstly that it’s open source and there aren’t any individual people who control the entire project, and that the software itself is very apolitical. In fact, most Lemmy users both oppose and are on instances that have rules against such beliefs, so I highly encourage you to at least help raise awareness on the communities. Then, of course, there’s kbin, which isn’t associated with any extremism at all. As a bonus, it has much better integration with the microblogging Fediverse, but it is a lot smaller and younger, and still very much under development.

Anyways, that was a ramble. Thanks for hearing me out.

@fediverse #fediverse #threadiverse #mastodon #lemmy #kbin

  • @[email protected]
    6 months ago

    No, it doesn’t.

    At the core of the various fediverse solutions is the idea of choosing who to federate with and who not to. Mastodon should not be forced to “federate” with lemmy. And

    I know that you are reluctant to promote Lemmy and its communities because of the ideology of its founders,

    Is about as good a reason as possible to not want to touch something with a ten foot pole. I know that I like Lemmy and Mastodon, but I have a VERY large blocklist on lemmy.

    But the other aspect is: As influencers learned in the 10s, the kind of content that makes sense on mastodon/twitter doesn’t make sense on cohost/tumblr or lemmy/reddit or whatever else. All cross posting does is make for a lesser experience on the secondary platforms.

    That said, I do think there could be better support for the decentralized nature of each platform. It would be really nice if I could specify what mastodon instance I use in lemmy and what lemmy instance I use in mastodon so that links would automagically convert. Which would make linking to posts a lot less awkward. I don’t want things to be mirrored, but it would be nice to link to an interesting topic or a fun post from a developer or artist.

    As for why mastodon is more successful: Because people are actually making content on Mastodon. I like Lemmy, but too many of these boards feel like “race to copy links and comments from reddit”. It IS nice to have fewer nazi chuds but… it feels like there were tankie seat fillers waiting in the wings.

    But that also extends to interactions. I like to shitpost on lemmy and rant about my various bugbears but… I have yet to have a “meaningful” interaction. Whereas I have had at least a dozen solid exchanges and discussions on Mastodon. And… it is baffling that the twitter-like feels more like a community and less like I am shouting into a crowded room.

    And a lot of that boils down to “why” people embrace the sites. Lemmy… feels like going on a date with someone who just got out of a long term relationship and can’t stop talking about their ex… and then tries to send a dick pic to show that they are over him.

    Whereas twitter is still in a mess of “Well… I don’t like nazis and transphobes but all the brands and creators I like are on twitter so I am going to protest and stay on twitter”. And blue skies and the other one very much feel like a twitter replacement whereas Mastodon (and, sort of, Cohost) feel like a “Twitter sucked. Let’s actually do better”. To go back to the dating metaphor, it is like going on a date with someone who will unabashedly order the whole fish or the ribs because life is too short to pretend you don’t like “ugly” food or messy food or whatever.

    If Lemmy can actually build its own identity? Then I don’t think we would need to worry because people will naturally want to link to discussions. But until it does? It isn’t worth it.

    And peertube is just a stupid idea that means videos can’t be monetized (so creators have zero incentive or justification to put time and effort in) while also providing a hefty cost to instance hosts because video is expensive.