Dr. Edward Morbius ⭕ is a user on mastodon.cloud. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse. If you don't, you can sign up here.

And I'll periodically be updating this particular thread (linked from my profile bio) with ... extended stuff.

My general posting / content philosophy. Not all applies here, but the gist does:

My general guidance is that content should show respect. For readers, for people, for ideas, for truth.
Mostly for truth.

I'm a huge fan of this One Amazing Trick to Revolutionise Social Networks: Block Fuckwits.

And yes, sometimes I'm the fuckwit. Mastodon's Mute and Block features are useful, make use of them. I will, and have.

I'm also aware that individual actions aren't sufficient in all instances. But they're a start.

My interests:

That unpacks to ... a lot, discussed on the dredmorbius.reddit.com -- see the Wiki there for more.

I'm not sure if I'm solving these, understanding them, or merely bearing witness.

I've experimented with "index" and "wiki" posts at Ello. Respectively:


You might find some nuggets buried in there. Or turds.

@dredmorbius It would be cool if that could also work for hashtags :thumbsup:

PSA: Mastodon / GNU Social allows animated avatars.

I mute gratuitous animated elements.

But I'm not telling you what to do.

Have a fabulous diurnal cycle.

@dredmorbius I really have missed you for the past two years.

Updating the animated avatars situation: animations are now disabled by default.

See: mastodon.social/users/Gargron/

@dredmorbius @gargron nice! I don't mind most of them, but some are annoying. :)

@frankiesaxx @Gargron Yes. I've now got the challenge of finding and unmuting the profiles which had been employing them. Which, absent a list of muted profiles is ... difficult.

@dredmorbius OSHA would have a field day with the lack of handrails. It's no wonder most alien civilizations have disappeared!

@dredmorbius Thanks for the introduction. Of course I'd heard of the film but never saw a moment of it. 'Tis amazingly modern in visual composition and score for its time.

@dredmorbius one of my favourite films. Love the effects even now, and the sound design is spectacular

Q: Why are all these bots following me?

A: Mastodon and GNU Social are /federated/ network with many individual servers. Only toots from profiles followed by someone on a given server propogate. "Follow Bots" ensure that more content is spread over more of the network. This may or may not be a good thing. And other bots may have other ideas. I'm not settled on the question myself.

A con argument: mastodon.social/users/pan/upda

Q: Can I block all robots easily?

A: If they're well-behaved, add to your profile bio. See: mastodon.social/media/cjbb9KGh

@dredmorbius That means using up 7 characters (incl a space) of your profile to fend off stalkerbots

@shivvi It does. I'm trying to capture information here for reference (and am hoping it doesn't age out too quickly).

@dredmorbius Some people don't like self promotion... I want to make sure nobody's offended

@dredmorbius and any bot that does not behave should be reported to your instance admin and to me so we can warn the offender and ban if needed !

Another discussion on the downside(s) of follow-bots, by @lambadalambda

"...Without [bots], the federated timeline is ... an expression of the interests of the node's users...."


@lambadalambda @dredmorbius in my mind, the idea that individual instances have their own unique community is a reason to use mastodon, and a reason to selectively choose an instance. if all instances are populated by follow bots, what's the difference between instances?

@tuxhedoh @dredmorbius @lambadalambda The difference is the different service providers that offer a different experience. Not unlike how Usenet or Fidonet works.

Also, novelty names, which seems to be more what be are choosing servers over from what I see in my streams.

@lambadalambda @dredmorbius @tuxhedoh The ridiculous thing to me is the fact people are using follow bots to begin with. Just grab the atom feed URLs and have the local mastodon instance populate the federation feeds with that. No need to notify anyone you're following them, which is really what is causing this pointless dramatics people are having. Out of all the arguments people are having, they don't point out the flawed implementation.

@dredmorbius @lambadalambda @Ash as a user and not an admin, I didn't even know this was an option.

@Ash @lambadalambda @tuxhedoh Which atom feeds? Users or is there an Instance-wide one?

@tuxhedoh @lambadalambda @dredmorbius the main difference will be the policy or preferences of the admin
@tuxhedoh @lambadalambda @dredmorbius almost all mastodon instances are the same anyway.

they don't have names, just urls
their front page is all the same
it's like the borg

@dredmorbius @Rushyo @hakui @Ash @tuxhedoh

Here's an interesting response to the followbot problem:


Unlike previous followbots that actively follows everyone they find on other instances, this bot /passively/ wait for people from other instances to follow it, and then the bot will boost the "most popular" posts from those other instances.

An "ambassador bot", if you will…

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:

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.

@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.

@danyork @dredmorbius @vhf This is an important restriction that allows for "Live and let live" aspect of federation. Total "open" federation will be polluting; strict "following" federation will restrict organic growth. This is a happy medium while maintaining a happy medium. I think we shouldn't focus on "larger" instances; instead instances that have a well defined "tribal" attribute.

@vhf @dredmorbius @danyork Each instance is neither an island nor a bar; but a moat which opens for a friend of a friend

@Aswath @dredmorbius @vhf Good point about finding a happy medium. My point was really that the "experience" of "federated Mastodon" will vary based on the size of your instance. On a large instance, the "federated timeline" might have many entries and give you a view of a "firehose". On a very small instance, it may seem like few people are in the federated timeline. It might make people there wonder what all the buzz is about.

@danyork @dredmorbius @vhf This is a very good point: and would seem an issue to find ways to remedy...ideally the federated timeline should be as close to showing the entire network as possible, no?

@tchambers @dredmorbius @vhf [email protected]@mastodon.network has pointed out, a fully-federated timeline would be overwhelming and would "pollute" instances focused on building smaller communities. The Mastodon implementation is an interesting balance. Effectively you have everyone who is a "friend of a friend". So it is more than just local, but not *everyone*.

@danyork @dredmorbius @vhf Hmmmm. Agree that this is by design, and can see how it functions in this space. But it does seem of value for people to be able to view a Federation-wide view of things too SOMEHOW. In essence when they wish to, to be able to view what is "trending" across the entire network, or to do searches across the entire network of posts and people as FB and Twitter allow.

@tchambers @danyork @vhf My read is that "trending across the network" has a /different meaning/ within Mastodon / GNU Social / oStatus. The inter-node filtration is part of the trending signal. The structure is far more neural in the sense that a node may choose to amplify /or suppress/ a signal. Both those functions are critical in forming meaning.

The more I think of this, the less I like the followbots.

@tchambers @dredmorbius @vhf That was my initial thought... that there ought to be some way to "see it all" or to "search it all". But that could rapidly become a firehose... and to manage that you really need an algorithm. And right now Mastodon is keeping the chronological feed as Twitter used to do, before it became too big and we needed the algorithm to help. I think there is value in smaller communities.

@dredmorbius @vhf Awesome info. Helps me understand things a bit more.

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


* 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

@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 am I the only one who keeps wondering how Mastodon and matrix.org could work together to take over half of the internet?

@dredmorbius That I am the only one wondering, or that the two together could take over half the internet? I suppose both _are_ a possibility.

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.

@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 Yeah, it might be a good idea for users to put a "my main account is @[name]@[instance]" on their accounts on other instances until there is a better way to link accounts between instances.

@dredmorbius At the future, how can we know if, let say, [email protected], is the official account of Ducati representative rather that the fake one, let say, [email protected]?

@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?"


@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.

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

Q: How private is Mastodon / GNU Social?

A: Not very. Use email, XMPP, or other secure, encrypted protocols if you need privacy.

See: community.highlandarrow.com/no

@dredmorbius well, was it intended to be private or a broadcast / Twitter alternative? Most people here want to get their word out I guess.

@dredmorbius is there any philosophical reason why mastodon isn't on an encrypted protocol, or is it happenstance?

Also, as far as I can tell, everything on Mastodon is public anyway (e.g. no DM feature)

@abbenm There is the option in Mastodon to post Unlisted, Private, or Direct, as well as Global, which you'll find under the :earth_americas: icon in the Toot editor.

These limit the /distribution scope/ of messages, but /do not/ encrypt messages. Instance admins, Follow Bots, and others may be able to see those messages.

I'd have to read spec for the comms link encryption itself.

@dredmorbius awesome, thanks for the tip. glad to know there are DMs. If you don't mind my wasting more of your time, how is it that follow bots "and others" would be able to see non-public messages?

@abbenm Admins can see all traffic, so there's that.

I need to re-scan the docs, but your "Private" posts go to your followers only. Note that your followers select you, /you do not select your followers/. Though you can /block/ selected followers. So ... if you've got a ton of followers, "Private" really isn't particularly useful.

Some of the GNU Social admins strongly recommend small, 40-50ish, instances, so that everyone knows everyone, or at least largely so.

@abbenm As to philosophy regarding encryption, you'd have to ask @Gargron

@dredmorbius by the way neither email nor xmpp is encrypted by design regarding your admin. Thus use email+GPG or Xmpp+otr :)

@Cryptie Fair point. Clearly you'd have to encrypt either. I'm not entirely convinced xmpp is a particularly valid option myself.

@dredmorbius email is not a good example for a secure, encrypted protocol ;)

@dredmorbius But at least you can use #tor against most instances afaik. !GNUsocial also works hard on avoiding third party servers, so no external javascript (also compatible without javascript at all) as well as locally stored media. Not even third party servers with a misleading domain name (i.e. Amazon S3 on a subdomain.service.example DNS).

Q: I need help / support on Mastodon, can I tag somebody?

A: Yes @support or

Q: How can I find a Mastodon Instance to join?

A: A good starting point is tooter.today, which will make the choice for you. There's an automatically updated list off of mastodon.social, the primary instance, here: instances.mastodon.xyz/
The GitHub project also lists a set of manually-updated Instances: github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/

Q: Is this an official Mastadon FAQ?

A: No, not at all. It's a handy place for me to park and reference information though. I'm hoping it's not too erroneous, and doesn't age-out too quickly. Official documents are referenced where available, and those should take priority.

This is technology. Everything changes.

Q: So, I hear that Mastodon is a Nazi-free safe zone, is that correct?

A: Um. Not exactly. Each individual Instance can set its policy, and the largest presently, mastodon.social, looks dimly on such things.

There's nothing to stop someone from spinning up their own Nazi-friendly instance, though other instance admins might or might not care to communicate with it.

Questions of acceptable content, behaviour, speech, freeedom, limits, obligations, and consequences, are complex.

Q: Are there filters or other tools for limiting content by type or contents?

A: Not presently. This is a feature that's being discussed.

There are those who remember Usenet Killfiles fondly. They don't solve all problems, but they solve a large class of them.

There are nations in which it's difficult for ethnic subgroups to sit at the same table, given differences over what foods are considered morally clean.

At another level, I've seen questions about instances appropriate for young children or other groups.

This is not a simple problem, there are not simple answers. As Clay Shirky notes, when you make it possible for everyone in the world to talk to each other, the first thing they discover is a vastly greater number of people they disagree with.

@dredmorbius most of most people's beliefs are inherited, thus the culture clash... Most people are actually extremely - disturbingly - similar, but it benefits people in positions of power to pretend the opposite is true.

@jfm And therein lies a whole 'nother set of lectures.

What I'd really like to do is be able to indicate (or have reported to me) interest in and/or interactions with posters. There are a set of profiles I'm finding absolutely captivating, others I'd only like to see if they are boosted generally, or are boosted by those I follow (or designate). Or, maybe, see that they're active in a given thread.

But yes, scoring.

Global cultures are diverse, and Western traditions -- along with Liberalism and Judeao-Christian traditions, themselves no guarantee of social tranquility, comprise only about 10% of the world population. Muslim nations, divided amongst Arab, Persian, Sub-Saharan African, Indonesian, and other cultures, are roughly 30%. China and India alone account for about 15% each, with complex inner cultural structures. "Latin America" combines European and native cultures. Oceanea numerous others.

Q: Someone is saying things on Mastodon / GNU Social / elsewhere that I don't like. What should I do?

A: If you know them, you might ask them not to. Otherwise, as a first step, especially if they're not directing the content at you specifically, Mute them.

If they are messaging you directly, Block them.

Q: Someone, or several people or accounts, are hasseling me directly. Now what?

A: Contact your Instance admin. That's going to be on the "/about/more" page of that instance. For example, mastodon.social/about/more

You might also contact the remote instance admin.

Admins can block some or all traffic from other Instances.

Q: What are the limitations of blocking?

A: Numbers. Identity. References and reshares. Disruption.

There are a lot of idiots in the world. If a given social space you're in is free of them, it is generally either very small, or has excellent gatekeeping. Usually the first. The problem is that staying small doesn't scale.

Identity online is asserted, not intrinsic, and generating new IDs is cheap. Absent checks on that, blocking someone who doesn't /want/ to be blocked is ... difficult.

References and reshares mean that even if you block a source directly, indirect references to them in threads will still fill your space. If this presents a problem to you, then it's a problem which blocking alone cannot address (or at least not simple origin-based blocking -- a source-and-replies filter might). Some reshares might also leak through.

If you're blocking someone because they create shitstorms wherever they go, then at the margin your own blocking won't improve the situation.

This is a situation where collective or unified action, based on community impacts, comes into play.

If the consequences leak into real life -- relationships, employers, business relationships, gangs, politics, political unrest -- then you have a more significant problem for which simple solutions don't exist. But neither can Admin owners nor protocol developers wash their hands of them either. The committlog on this particular bug goes back about 6,000 years. Earlier records are lost.

Q: Somebody is demanding that /I/ stop discussing some topic or subject, or conceal that content. What should I do?

A: Most Mastodon / OSocial instances request that "not safe for work" content (generally: nudity, sex), carry an NSFW hashtag. On Mastodon (but not OSocial), the "content warning" (CW) feature can be used to conceal body content. Common courtesy suggests not posting spoilers of current dramatic events (TV, radio, video, film, etc.) Generally, try to keep this in mind.

That said, if you're discussing a topic that's of reasonable general interest, including news, politics, religion, business, technology, entertainment, etc., requests to /not/ do so openly strike me as ... less than well-founded, and potentially exceedingly problematic.

Gently suggest this to the person making that request.

If this isn't acceptable to them, blocking them is probably your best option. Changing others' minds is hard, and fraught.

If they harrass you on the matter, report them.

@dredmorbius I must have missed that post from you... ;-)
for the record, none of your posts have made me recoil in horror. Perhaps I'm getting tolerant in my old age....

@eileenb :smile: One of my early politically-oriented posts drew a response. The FAQ isn't /necessarily/ responding to things that I've experience directly. Any similarity to persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

@dredmorbius btw, thanks for all the input - radio silence due to the fact I was working on my zdnet piece - now submitted.
So much information flooding in that I had to draw the line somewhere. giving it an Enterprise angle was the hard part.. :-/

@eileenb You're more than welcome. Give a shout when that posts.

Q: Someone is requesting that I not tag or mention them within a given discussion. Or generally. What should I do?

A: Don't tag or mention them in that given discussion. Or generally. Why do you even need to ask this?

If the problem is an ongoing one, consider blocking and/or muting them. Odds are fairly high that the requester will see this as an acceptable resolution as well.

@dredmorbius that double-exclamation-mark was a nice touch. Have almost fallen for it.

@jubalfh May not be obvious from the Livestream, but this is part of a FAQ :smile:

Q: /You/ are saying things or failing to comply with <my arbitrary code-of-conduct standard> not already addressed above. You must change your behaviour or I will block and/or mute you immediately!!!

A: Blocking and/or muting me sounds like a wonderfully appropriate and mutually acceptable remedy to this situation. Have a wonderful diurnal cycle!

Q: What does @Gargron have to say about this?

A: "There is no policy mandating the use of content warnings (not to be confused with NSFW on images) on mastodon.social. It's between you and your followers. You shouldn't demand that someone use it for politics (but I believe politely asking is OK)"


Q: How big is Mastodon?

A: There are several updating counters. See instances.mastodon.xyz for a total current instance and user count, relative to mastodon.xyz.

Several instances run /local/ usercount bots which show historic growth (over the reporting period). A fairly comprehensive one appears to be social.lou.lt/@mastodonusercou

As of 9 Apr 2016: There are currently 371 instances being tracked, with a total of 130547 users.

That would be doubling Mastodon users roughly once a week.

@dredmorbius Impressive for an upstart social network. Will see how long it lasts

@dredmorbius Better question is how many of those account are active since you ant delete your account~

@chen That's where the toot volume becomes more useful.

I've previously tried to estimate the /intelligent/ discussion across a range of websites / webspace, I found the results fascinating. Am thinking of how to update this:

Q: What's a good article on the background of GNU Social and the technologies underlying Mastodon?

A: This: "What is GNU Social and is Mastodon Social a 'Twitter Clone'?"

h/t @maiyannah who knows vastly more about this than I.

"Mastodon: Here to stay or DOA?"

Better than the title would suggest -- strengths/weaknesses analysis.


@dredmorbius I think @shelholtz hits the nail on the head with this article, that just having an account at one instance is never enough, it should be around your interest; likewise, will likely to carve out a different revenue model than what we have seen with social media so far (er ... centralised social media). This is definitely a space to watch, rather than proclaim DOA.

@arinbasu @shelholtz I've currently got two profiles running, one on mastodon.cloud (this), and @dredmorbius (mammouth.cafe).

The first is a 40k user instance, the second ... has about 50 users. It's a /very/ different feel.

@arinbasu @dredmorbius @shelholtz

2 thoughts:

1) Interest-based instances seem a natural way forward, a bit like subreddits without reddit. Users get a local timeline of shared interests plus ability to signal that interest across federation.

2) Fracturing may seem like a problem. I don't think so. People will always make boundaries. Houses have walls, properties have fences, etc. Free disassociation is as important as free association.

@MariusAgricola @dredmorbius @shelholtz
Excellent points; I think so too, as and instances very deftly meld the two concepts people network with interest network, through its localised instances and distributed nature of the fediverse. As @dredmorbius wrote recently, instances with different user count feel very different, yet the two can coexist.

I don't know about anyone else on here, but I was totally unaware of GNU social, Plurk and Jaiku. I was aware of Ello fairly early on, and created an account, but had virtually no interactions with anyone other than the person who invited me to Ello. We continued to interact more on another site, though, so I stopped checking in there.
I wonder how many Mastodon people tried those other platforms.
This is certainly a good primer for curious people or newbies.

Q: What's your policy on comments to your FAQ toots?

A: Well, it is what it is. The medium doesn't clearly establish context of individual posts, and people will respond to them. I could try to stop the tide, or accept that it will do what it will.

I'm going with the second.

Though I may delete and re-post individual items as the information is updated.

Q: Can I delete my Mastodon account?

A: As of April 10, 2017, no.

Realise that your previously-published content is distributed across the Mastodon and connected networks, and may well be un-recallable. "Publish" means "to make public", and it's forever. Toot thoughtfully!

(Note: this updates an earlier item based on unreliable information.)

@dredmorbius Well, as a person who never thinks before he speaks/types/sings, this is very alarming.

@OldandConfused There are reasons I'm pseudonymous.

Persistent identity, but not an official one.

@dredmorbius I almost never use a name not my own, but I'm slowly learning.

Very slowly.

@dredmorbius this should be understood to be like email - where you can delete (or disable?) an account but the messages sent are already out there. No take backs.

@Kirbstr Correct.

You can lose access to your email account, so that you don't send new mail. But what's sent is sent.

@Kirbstr @dredmorbius Not the worst model out there, by the way. There are all sorts of reasons one might want to limit deletion, just as there are all sorts of reasons one might want to be able to delete.

@MariusAgricola @Kirbstr I agree. The concept of being able to /recall/ any information at any time is itself a possible route of abuse. Though I think most harm tends in the other direction -- information outflows over which we have no control.

@dredmorbius @Kirbstr Undoubtedly. Main use case for limited deletion is anything covered by, e.g., Presidential Records Act, etc. In that case, it's not _necessarily_ the job of the platform to comply, but facilitating it isn't problematic.

@dredmorbius so what does 'Delete' toot do? Or are referring to the hypothetical situation in which instances do not respect deletes?

@koos AFAIU: the delete is effectively a message to other instances: "Please delete the referenced toot". Whether or not that request is respected is up to the other instance(s). And if the request isn't received, well ... So, it's not clearly guaranteed.

A set of images shared turned out to be copied off the Web:

The profile images claimed from Pinterest (unverified):

Gargon confirmed that claims of co-founder-hood were false:

@dredmorbius His Twitter bio says "Founder @/EsentiaBrasil, is one of the greatest experts in data marketing, brand reputation, monitoring, research and digital relationship."

@anonorpheus That fits with the first comments made to the mastodon.network Instance, inquiring about Brasilians.

@anonorpheus Yep. Claim was that the headshots came off of Pinterest. I wasn't able to find them.

@anonorpheus @dredmorbius yes, this is me. Nothing to do with Mastodon

@dredmorbius IT would appear that either something has been done -- by admins or by the original owner -- or else he's trying to _pretend_ something has been done: mastodon.cloud/@gustavoramos

@woozle I'm backing off my earlier thought. I don't have enough information to know who was claiming to be the co-founder, other than whose name they were making that claim under.

@dredmorbius thank you for clarifying that... someone took access on my .cloud account...

@gustavoramos Was that an account you'd created, or did someone else create it independently of your mastodon.network account?

What I'm getting at is whether the account was /compromised/ or if it was simply created in your name.

Q: How do I find people to follow?

A: Organically: Check your local and federated timelines, click on stuff you like and read the conversations. Follow people that seem interested, and the people they are talking with. Seek out signal, shun noise, for best results.

See: octodon.social/users/kensanata

You can Search for either Hashtags or Profiles, but not full-text of toots/posts. The Search dialog is under the Compose pane. Enter a handle (prefixed with '@'), or a hashtag (prefixed with '#'). You can then follow these.

Keep in mind that Mastodon and OSocial are more like Email than Facebook or Twitter: an "unqualified" username, without its home instance, is /not/ unique across the system. Nor is there verification. Confirm that people are who you think they are as you follow them.

Since local parts of usernames can be shared, <name> is /not/ necessarily the same on multiple Instances.

As an example, the @admin handle is often reserved for the Instance administrator, but you would have to distinguish, say, @admin vs. @[email protected], to differentiate between the mastodon.social and toot.cat admins.

(If you don't see the full names, and they're collapsed in many clients, hover or click the links to see the fully qualified username.)

You can also, of course, ask people for their Mastodon or OSocial handles or URLs. Pasting these into the Search dialog should turn them up in the system.

If you /don't/ find that the search resolves, it's possible that there is a block in place on either their instance or yours -- not all Instances within the Mastodon / OSocial universe, the "fediverse", talk to all other instances.


答え:日本のマストドンユーザー:mastodon.nil.nuは、今登録したいかもしれない日本語のサーバーです(2017年4月)。参加したい場所はどこでも歓迎ですが。 (Googleはこれを翻訳しました)

Question: Is there a Japanese-language Mastodon community?

Answer: Japanese Mastodon users: mastodon.nil.nu is a Japanese-language server you might want to register with for now (April, 2017). Though you're welcome anywhere you want to join. (Google translated this)

Q: How did Mastodon become so popular in Japan?

A: An exceptionally good article in "ASCII" magazine by Satoshi Endo, a long-time computer researcher in Japan, based in part on setting up and running his own Mastodon instance (8-p.net). That's a journalistic standard I'd like to see more in the West.

@dredmorbius Except that it doesn't really answer that question does it? Unless the answer is 'the larger message size is useful for kanji users

Users whose domain name is "mastodon.nil.nu" have its name changed to "mstdn.jp". But its contents are the same.

See: mstdn.io/users/ym/updates/1276

Q: Have you ever Tootstormed?

A: Don't tell my mom, OK?

@dredmorbius 500 chars instead of 140 doesn't make long form content divided into pieces any less palatable. The only advantage I can think of at the moment is it brings the ability to react and comment on parts of the discussion. As long as each individual thought in the paper is less than 500 chars. And the author is rigorous about partitioning the thoughts.

@jbond Funnily enough, I'm just addressing that right now. In another (though hopefully shorter and less ranty) storm.

Chrome on Android:

(With a mass of misspellings and typoes enshrined for all eternity.)

I never metatootstorm I didn't like:

Alice in Wonderland had the Mad Hatter. I'm the Meta Catter.

@dredmorbius At first, I thought the Japanese posts were ok, but now that their numbers have swelled, it's become more of a hindrance and takes away from the experience here for those of us who cannot read Japanese.

Some sort of filter may be needed to separate them out. The Federated feed is becoming all but useless.

Why AI is /not/ the answer to the problem of overwhelming complexity in science.


@dredmorbius human labor costs are high now, but consider that renewables are an emergent economy. The foundation/infrastructure is still being laid. Once it is mature, the labor costs will likely decrease. How much depends on how resilient the technologies are.

@Jirikiha Renewables are bound by the theoretical efficiencies of the technologies in question, and the net flux.

For solar, that's about 1 kW/m^2 of incoming flux, and a /maximum/ of 37% conversion efficiency of single-layer solar PV, plus a bunch of other factors. In practice, capturing more than 1-3% of the total flux is a long shot. That works out to about 10 - 30W/m^3 (over time), rather than 1 kW.

@Jirikiha I explored this a while back at an Ello post, looking at total human population, land area per person, and the solar flux per person.

From 1 AD to present land area has fallen from 70 hectare/person to less than1.

Solar flux from over 200 MW to about 5.

Keep in mind: that's /incident/ solar, and includes all other life on Earth as well.



@Jirikiha Falling labour costs have essentially nothing to do with this. There's simply not sufficient freely-available energy, relative to total population. That assuming the 7.5 billions presently and likely 9 billions by 2050.

You cant bake more cakes by adding cooks but no flour.

@dredmorbius in the case of population, overpopulation is reduced by education and health care. Countries with the best healthcare have the lowest birth rates. Japan's population rate is negative, for one example.

@dredmorbius you can improve energy/person in two ways, population controls (education, health care, access to contraceptives, etc.) and cultural change (reducing energy usage per person.) That one is harder than the first, IMO. Tell people that you can feed more people with vegetables than with beef and they take it as an attack on their way of life.

@dredmorbius well, increasing energy supply is a possibility too, but we don't have artificial fusion generators just yet.
Also, I might have started this conversation by responding to the wrong thread. Heh. Well, I must get off my duff now and go to work. Servers don't manage themselves, yet.

Official administrivia announcement that yes, I have profiles on:

⭕ mastodon.cloud as @dredmorbius
❌ mammouth.cafe as @dredmorbius

The distinguishing 'O' and 'X' emoji may help keep things straight.

@dredmorbius lucky you I'm overwhelmed with ninah maries ... can I hide with you?
So they let me at ease for a while?

@NinahMarie @dredmorbius How many profiles /do/ you have? I've ... seen a few.

I'm thinking that some sort of metaprofile / multiprofile thing might be useful, though with deduplication as well (so there's not a battery of posts all the time). Hrm.

Sure, slip behind the curtain a moment....

@dredmorbius @dredmorbius If I didn't lost track there must be 10 now.

That could be useful but honestly I don't see how that would be. Unless you can 'subscribe' to local timelines like already proposed by different people.

Thank you! What's the maximum time I can stay behind the curtain?

@Euphoria Given I've decided to hang my bio and FAQ off that, I have a frequent opportunity to consider just what message I'm sending.

I think it's accurate....

So ... what's the story behind the name "Dr. Edward Morbius" or "dredmorbius"?

Funny you should ask ...

@dredmorbius I came back to check on the status of Mastodon and was delighted to find this gem.