TL;DR: I have set up a game development themed Mastodon instance at mastodon.gamedev.place. In three weeks it got to almost 2000 users and seems to be holding up nicely. It’s similar to Twitter, but might be nicer in some aspects!
Social media in 2017 can be pretty dreadful. Here are some sentiments:
I wake up every morning to Twitter: Trump is an idiot, everyone is a Nazi, AI will kill us, big games suck, buy my indie game for $0.99, buy this ICO, EU commission thinks about you, look at my shadertoy, look at the craft beer I just had. Why do I keep doing this to myself? (via)
Here are two reasons to yell about an important thing: 1. Because nobody cares about it yet, 2. Everyone cares now, but you need all your friends to know you care the loudest. Everyone who stops at 1 quit social media years ago. (This was unfair. <…> 3., anguished screaming into the void). (via)
“Please Listen To Me” webcomic has put it up nicely here.
One part of my issues with social media lately is the amount of general “everything is on fire, we are doomed” things I see on it every day. Yes, the world might be on fire, and yes, we might be doomed, but repeating that to me over and over again is getting tiring by now. Yes, I’ve got the memo, and I’ve already decided in what ways I plan to improve the situation (as much as I can), kthxbye.
The other part of my annoyances are twitter specific (ads, bots, spam, trolls, randomly non-chrono timeline), and apparent inability of twitter-the-company to solve them in a meaningful way. Even a tiny thing like reporting a sex-spam-bot takes a whole lot of mouse movement and a dozen clicks. Why?! And the issues I have here are all extremely minor, compared to someone who might experience harassment or worse.
So Mastodon is this open source thing where someone can run “their own small twitter-like instance” on their own servers. With some clever technology, it “federates” with other instances; for example you can follow people from other servers, and it kinda works out. Each instance can setup its own rules for moderation, acceptable behavior etc., and it’s up to them to deal with whatever bad things might happen.
Maybe this will take off, or maybe it will be one of the neat ideas that never grew into anything meaningful. I’ve no way to tell.
…but I went and created my own instance anyway, at mastodon.gamedev.place
- It’s like a mini-twitter about everything game development.
- There are short Usage Guidelines.
- And a Code of Conduct too.
- Since I know nothing about servers or the tech stack Mastodon runs on, I used masto.host for the “actual hosting” part; seems to be working out fine.
You are welcome to join!
How is it working out?
It’s been three weeks since the instance is running, and it has reached almost 2000 users by now. That’s quite nice!
Now of course, a “smaller twitter” has downsides too; by definition it is smaller and has less people to interact with, and being game-development specific, has somewhat less topics being talked about. It’s a good idea for peace of mind and cultivating your existing interests; it’s probably not a good place for getting new interests, expanding your horizons or experiencing wildly different points of view.
Right now, it seems to be fairly heavy on programming/engineering side, and out of that, somehow it got a lot of Godot engine users/lovers. I’ve no idea how that happened; I don’t know any of them :) There are some artists, designers, audio people as well, but I’d love if there were more (see point above about limited set of topics). Would be nice to get more diversity in other aspects too (gender, race, age, experience, …).
So far (knocks on wood…) there were no bad incidents; the moderation reports were only a dozen or so in total, and most of them due to people looking into “Federated” (== “friends of friends”) timeline in the UI and thinking these people are from this instance. To the community there: you are doing great, keep it up :)
With current amount of users it runs comfortably on the €60/month server tier, and that should hold up quite well into the future. The cost is totally fine with me; I can keep running it “basically forever” in Internet timeline terms.
I’ve heard from a handful of people that they have effectively quit twitter and are now only on Mastodon. Yay, I guess!