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: 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

@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.

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@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.

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mastodon.cloud

Generalistic and moderated instance.