I've taken the account private, removed the app permissions, turned off SMS 2FA (leaving app based on,) and left a pointer here.

Hoping the feds intervene, but not much faith they will.

@timbray The increased volume of engagement despite the much lower number of followers is the element of Mastodon that intrigues me the most. It's fascinating when you consider how much of Twitter's design is theoretically there to maximize engagement.

@jalefkowit @timbray I have experienced the same thing. I’m actually blown away by how much more engagement there is over here.

@IrwinFletcher0 @timbray I have suspected for a long time that part of Twitter's engagement-maximization algorithm involves suppressing non-hot-button posts to make more room for ones that push hot buttons. So a post from someone you follow that's just generally interesting may be deprioritized compared to one from someone you don't follow that touches a live wire.

I have no way to confirm this, of course.

@jalefkowit @timbray That’s an interesting theory. Not sure how it can be proved but the fact that there is much more engagement here says a whole lot, that’s for sure.

@jalefkowit @IrwinFletcher0 @timbray Yes. I constantly had to fight with Twitter to just show me stuff from accounts I followed in chronological order. Instead it would show me stuff based on an algorithm to get me worked up or advertise to me, uh, “boost engagement.” It’s a much different experience here.

@IrwinFletcher0 @jalefkowit @timbray On twitter we were not the customer we were the product. Twitter was more interested in selling product so they could sell us to advertisers. It does mean more work for us but that's a feature not a bug. Welcome to Mastodon!

@jalefkowit @timbray agree re: engagement. I wonder if the new-ness plays a strong factor.

@ronaldwidha @timbray I've been here for years, and it's been that way since the beginning.

@jalefkowit @timbray Though there's little incentive for twitter to optimize for positive engagement. If you are doomscrolling and sharing memes you'll generate just as much advertising revenue.

@grahamsz @timbray Possibly "negative engagement" generates more overall engagement than "positive engagement" does, so they lean into the former and away from the latter.

I suspect there's a celebrity aspect to it as well -- posts from blue-checks/high-follower-count accounts generate more "heat" than posts from non-celebrities, so non-celebrities you follow get pushed to the side to show you more from the celebs.

@jalefkowit @timbray I doubt it's even that clever, pretty sure they optimize for sheer eyeball hours and everything else flows as a byproduct of that.

I'm definitely enjoying how I spend less time on Mastodon than any other social media site, but I'm actually here talking to people.

@timbray @grahamsz @jalefkowit

Maya Wiley with an “authentic” blue bird check just got notified that it would be removed f she didn’t pay up. I wonder how that will affect engagement since some people there comment on blue check posts purely for eyeballs.

Since I follow the blue checks I want to follow, e.g., Stephen King, the only visual I’ll need to be sure it’s him is to be more aware of the handle. However, I’m trying to spend less time there anyway.

@jalefkowit @grahamsz @timbray -
Bingo. It feels like a graph power law effect. Once you dump a small number of extremely well connected celebrities (who are currently gamely trying to stick it out over there) onto mastodon, the oxygen will get sucked out of the room again.

@jalefkowit @timbray this place rewards sane, thoughtful conversation in a way that Twitter basically never had in my experience. People are decent here so you want to stay decent. Twitter is just so about trying to dunk on people.

@jalefkowit @timbray If you're only there to shout, you're not there to listen and it's hard to have a conversation that way.

@jalefkowit @timbray early adopters and new adopters are both reliably more engaged then the average person. This is entirely unsurprising. Come back to be in 2-3 years and see if you see the same thing:p

@jalefkowit @timbray that slight difference between "coomunicating" Vs. "appearing". People are not interested (anymore?) in communicating on Twitter, that's all about appearance and showing off.
Whereas Mastodon is a community of people with more or less similar interests.
Hoping that's gonna stay like this forever.

@jalefkowit @timbray My suspicion is that Twitter's design optimizes average engagement, but that people like those in this thread are decidedly not average.

Kinda like how radio stations play pop music chosen to optimize popularity with the average person, so I stopped listening to the radio.

Or how movie studios started churning out superhero movies and other effects reels optimized for commercial success, and I stopped going to the movies. (Even before COVID-19.)

@jalefkowit @timbray After two weeks, there is nothing close to the same level of engagement. I know this will take time. But Mastadon needs to up the ante on user interface and tools to aid cross-server interaction. I know they are there, and I am using some. But there's a learning curve, that I am willing to acknowledge will take time. But it seems far too early for me to "catch up" to the level of engagement and news value of Twitter, esp on the "Climate Crisis" centered info/engagement

@jalefkowit @timbray I see, Jason, that you've been on Mastadon for 5 years, so that explains a lot. I'm not only hoping for that for me (that I'm where I need to be on Mastadon, in 5 years), but that the entire social media landscape is a much more "Federated/integrated/interoperable" place

@timbray I am on the same trajectory. 1) Protected tweets, 2) Told others where I am, 3) Stopping updating, 4) Still need to delete from phone.

@timbray counter.social is an odd one. i belive it used to be in the fediverse, but pissed off so many people and got so widely defenestrated (i'm gonna say that now) that the guy went "screw you i'm gonna be a shining jewel of my own".

I remember a long thread where a counter.social user was telling someone what a great example of mastodon it was and how they should totally join it, and mentioned only at the end that by the way it's not federated at all with the rest. Cos it's too cool, obviously.

@davidgerard @timbray

It's not federated because it blocked a bunch of IP addresses--ones from Russia, China, Pakistan, and three other countries--because the admin says that's where most troll farms and bots are from.

The rest of the fediverse blocked CounterSocial after that. I'm there once in a while and it's a nice, if as-yet-small, place.

@AliceAllonym @timbray @davidgerard

I found the Counter interface confusing. Haven’t been there in awhile. Also, didn’t want to pay to get news.

@AliceAllonym @davidgerard @timbray the guy that runs counter social has always been a bit of a weirdo. He went after wikileaks and anonymous back in the day. Very jack Bauer mentality. I'd avoid his instance if you have intention to try and improve society somewhat.

@dave @davidgerard @timbray

Yes, I read all the information I could find on him. I work daily to improve society, & will continue to do so.

Internecine hacker pissing contests are right under "illegal material" on the list of things I avoid online (internecine everybody-else wars constituting most of the rest of the items on the list).

@timbray 🎉 congrats on making the jump! there should be a name for the level of disengagement you're describing; I stopped using Twitter for anything but linking to blog posts too. Twitter vegetarianism?

@timbray I agree with everything you've said except one word: Hive. I've installed the client and played around, and they don't really seem like A Twitter at all.

I'd describe them as... I dunno. TwinstaTok? The discovery tab ("for you"/trending) is an image grid by topic. Hashtags seem almost bolted on. And, of course, mobile-first (and so far mobile-only), like Instagram when it first launched.

They might not succeed in their niche, but that niche isn't "new Twitter".

@timbray i disagree with the assertion that cohost in particular is doomed, mostly bc i don’t see them chasing some massive growth strategy or VC funding. i think the team will be happy to chug along as a lifestyle company for a long time. they’re catering to a more specific type of audience too that i think helps. maybe not. agree with the rest of the doomed networks tho.

@0xAFAEBABE @timbray oh, but they must. Twitter is financed like a startup with huge upside, even though it's a mature company with meager revenue options. Elon's financing for Twitter alone costs $2B/year to service, 4x Twitter's EBITDA. Subscriptions right now are making only $7M/year, and they need over half the population of the US to sign up for a blue checkmark just to cover his financing.

@timbray@mastodon.cloud very happy to be following you off twitter now. I also don't want to support any of what Elno is brewing over there now

@timbray Ok. Here are a few:

1. We have populations now that can't/won't join Mastodon because of the differing attitudes towards content warnings and the aggressive nature of the enforcement. What about those populations? How is this solvable in a federated world where every server can and does make up its own rules?


2. If we assume that all of this - dev, operations, content moderation, etc - can be funded through user payments, what voices will we lose from people unwilling to pay for a service they previously received for free? History suggests that this will be a lot of them.


3. If we assume that people will be paying for the service, how is the revenue divided between, say, the software development team(s) and the operators of said software?
4. How long will the transition to paid services take? Because from the sounds of it, current admins are already burning out due to the influx of new users.
5. How valuable is the ability to move from server to server if you lose all of the content in the process?


Given the current UI challenges and even the funding model you’re proposing, it seems more probable to me that on a spectrum of services Mastodon will be closer to a tech-biased niche community than true town square alternative.

Which, ok, I’ll follow it because I’ll have to. But it doesn’t project to be the diverse set of participants I’m currently engaged with, and that’s a bummer.

@sogrady @timbray isn't the answer partially embedded in your question? those with opinions on CW policies will find their server in the network, and those who chose a server against their interests will migrate. from there they can choose who to associate with.

unless, of course, these hypothetical people are expecting ideological purity, in which case that goes against the notion of federation, and they will suffer as much as they do in any other network failing their tests.

@bss @timbray that works assuming they only associate with members of their own server, which is not how it’s working in practice. instead, people are posting and then being criticized by member of other federated servers for policies the poster did not sign up for.

also, the people in question are not hypothetical. they’re people i know and work with. and they’re not expecting purity, simply not being harassed for talking about their lives.

@sogrady @timbray sorry, I did not mean to imply that the people themselves didn't exist, just that I wasn't sure which kind of problem we were talking about. so, eliminating the purity test element for these users, I agree with you in that it's not just the new users who have some etiquette to learn. users shouldn't be chastised for a style choice beyond their instance's rules, but many are struggling to get their norms made part of the network, which I think is natural (but again, imperfect behavior).

I am loathe to immediately jump to it, but I think those style choices need to be largely ignored (or their vocal adherents blocked, ugh) until the network finds an equilibrium again. maybe it's optimistic of me, but I believe that eventually people will retire to their sides on trivial arguments like how much is CWed. it's a particularly tumultuous time in the network, but I do think it will settle and there will be spaces for everyone.

I hate the block/"thick skin" argument, but I think it's necessary at this particular moment, and hope that it will become less necessary in, say, a month from now.

@sogrady Good questions! Was about to start answering them when it occurred to me that this dialogue deserves long-form home. By default, I'll just turn them into an ongoing piece but is there a scope for a podcast or some other mode?

@timbray hmm…not sure? @bcantrill is another Mastodon believer and used to host Oxide Twitter Spaces on that platform, so assuming they’ve come up a new platform, maybe there?

otherwise, long form will do. i probably should have gone that route myself, in fact.

@sogrady @timbray All true: I am another Mastodon believer, and @ahl and I have indeed left Twitter Spaces. After some toying around last week, Discord is going to be our new home for the @oxidecomputer and Friends podcast.

Our first Discord is going to be tomorrow -- and we would absolutely love to host a discussion on @timbray's piece (which, unsurprisingly, nails it). Let us know if you're up for it!

@timbray @sogrady @ahl @oxidecomputer We have done them at 5p Pacific (and occasionally at 9a Pacific to give Europe a shot to participate). We record them and turn it into a podcast:


@bcantrill @sogrady @ahl @oxidecomputer

So 5PM Pacific tomorrow Nov 28? Someone shoot me a Discord link and I'll drop by.

@timbray @bcantrill @ahl @oxidecomputer i’m at reinvent and tied up, but will listen to the recording with interest

@sogrady @timbray @ahl @oxidecomputer Send or DM your questions for Tim? Failing that, I will do my best to proxy the concerns you've already expressed...


Hoo boy, just totally screwed up my discord by logging in with the wrong email, now my phone is blocked. With any luck I'll be back on the air by tomorrow…

@timbray 🤣 The good news is that Discord is teenage gamer proof -- the bad news is that you don't get there by assuming positive intent! 😉

@bcantrill OK, got my Discord unjammed, am hooked up to 0x

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