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 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?

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@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.

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mastodon.cloud

Generalistic and moderated instance.