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 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.