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Q: What's this "Federation thing?"

A: A bunch of communities, on different servers, sharing /some/ but not necessarily /all/ of their traffic. Or, in some cases, none. It depends.

The User Guide has a good section:
github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/

Q: It sounds as if that's complicated. Do you have a picture you can share?

A: @vhf made one: techn.ical.ist/users/vhf/updat

It misses a few edge cases, but mostly, that's how the spice flows. Er, toots.

Q: What about descriptions of associated networks, Stats / Nodes / Instances / Hubs, etc?

A:

* diaspora, friendica & hubzilla: the-federation.info/
* gnusocial & postactiv: fediverse.org/
* mastodon: instances.mastodon.xyz/

Fediverse visualization: kumu.io/wakest/fediverse

See: gnusocial.no/notice/1928996
h/t @ymivlr

Q: Does Federation -- different sites and even networks interconnecting -- mean that there might be the same username in different places?

A: Yes. It's a lot like email in that regard. "rosa.martinez" might exist on, say, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo, but be three separate people. Or two the same and one different. You've got to check.

See: mastodon.social/users/drw/upda

Q: Is there a realtime-updating network overview with zoomable historical data?

A: Yes: mnm.eliotberriot.com/

Screenshot showing 2 days of data as of 12 April, 2017. mastodon.cloud/media/RCObGXKeN

@dredmorbius @vhf Interesting. I did not understand that if someone is not followed by *anyone* on an instance, then *none* of their tweets appear in the federated timeline. So the "federated timeline" is only those users who have some connection to your instance. This means that the larger instances (ex. mastodon.social, mastodon.cloud) will have a bigger and richer federated timeline by virtue of having more people who will follow others on other instances.

@danyork @vhf Keep in mind that bigger need not equal richer. If you're on a smaller Instance with a discerning population, you may find it's selecting out the good stuff, and kicking off the bad.

That's where the follow-bot concept strikes me as potentially badly misguided. It directly disrupts the selection and filtering behaviour of organic following.

It's not clear to me that it's possible to readily distinguish bot from non-bot traffic.

@dredmorbius @ymivlr don't forget fediwiki.info ! I put a bunch of cool info about how GNUSocial works, with API documentation, etc. as well as a How-to-setup-mastodon-in-docker tutorial!

@stitchxd @ymivlr Since this toot is part of the FAQ, you've just added it :smile:

@dredmorbius I know this too is quite old (by some standards) but it gives a security warning first, and then a 404.

Do you have a more recent diagram?

CC: @vhf

@dredmorbius And that should be OK, it's just the way it works in real life. Same name, different persona, different context. What makes me like Mastodon even more is this anonymity; allows for freedom of expression.

@arinbasu Understood. My documentation here is about what it /is/, not whether it is /ok/.

Helping people understand the system behaviour, such that they're not surprised by it.

@dredmorbius At the future, how can we know if, let say, ducati@mastodon.social, is the official account of Ducati representative rather that the fake one, let say, ducati@some.mastodon.instance?

@hanung665 You'd have to get out-of-band verification, or a specific denial.

There was a profile claiming to be a co-founder of Mastodon yesterday. It looked and smelled funny, I did some investigation. Eventually Gargron made a statement that there was no such thing.

The account's toots started disappearing, and someone claimed that it had been stolen from him (or copied, not sure which).

It becomes a test of truth -- consistency and correspondence are strong tip-offs.

See: Epistemology.

@hanung665 Wikipedia's Criteria of Truth page lists various tests, some better than others.
"[T[here seem to be only three functional, effective tests of truth[:] correspondence, coherence and pragmatic."

"Pragmatic" is "is the knowledge useful in application?"
"Correspondence" is "does the knowledge correspond with that it describes?"
"Coherence" is "are all pertinent facts arranged in a consistent and cohesive fashion as an integrated whole?"

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criter

@hanung665 There's also the consistency tests: do the claims not contradict one another, and relate in a logical fashion. You might consider this a /rational/ test of truth. It's useful, but incomplete. Often it's all we have to go on, though, and it can be leveraged in useful ways.

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mastodon.cloud

Generalistic and moderated instance.