Predictably, I’ve returned to Mastodon

I’ve returned to Mastodon after a recent absence, and this time, I’m hosting my own instance. You can follow me at (at)vkc(at)linuxmom(dot)net.

I’ve advised folks against this in the past, and generally I stand by what I said. I think that most users-to-be should probably join a good instance that fits their interests on the internet. Starting up your own instance makes finding your people on the Fediverse considerably harder, as you lose the benefits that come with local timelines.

I’m hosting my own primarily to shoulder the moderation and infrastructure burden, but also because my needs as a public facing content creator aren’t always compatible with the small-net feel of my previous, locally-oriented instance. Tldr, I don’t want to bog down my wonderful mods and community over at my previous instance. They are wonderful people and I care about them.

But whatever, rando people on the internet, you probably don’t care about my instance. If you’re reading this after reading my previous post on the subject, you’re probably wondering why I’m going back to Mastodon. Or maybe you are assuming you know the answer, and you’re hoping your assumptions about me are correct. πŸ˜›

I just watched the classic movie Clue, so in fitting style, I’m going to give you three possible endings to this question. (Spoiler alert, they’re all true.)

Reply guys are annoying, but not being able to reply is annoying-er

One reason I’m going back to Mastodon is quite simple, the WordPress ActivityPub integration is, as of writing, a subpar experience. I can post and get replies, which is awesome. But what I can’t do is comment back, and that’s terrible.

There’s been some really good nuanced commentary here, but I have no way to respond to it with the current WordPress plugin, and I don’t see a simple way around that limitation.

Posting and soliciting comments without the ability to engage in discussion feels a little more like a megaphone, and less like a conversation.

(This sounds familiar, where have I read that before?)

Anyway, I’ve found that the annoyance of the reply guy is less annoying than the annoyance of losing the nuance that comes from give and take. If the WordPress ActivityPub plugin was a bit more full featured in this way, I could imagine this could have been more useful. But as it is, I became concerned about posting because I couldn’t respond to comments, and that felt weird.

Search sucks here in 2024, and Mastodon improves it immensely

Searching for solutions to everyday problems like “does this resistor array look broken” or “what’s the best vegetarian sushi place in my town” used to be pretty straight forward.

But here in the roaring 2K20s, between the endless SEO escalations and the rise of so-called “AI results”, it’s increasingly challenging to get good results from a search engine.

I’ve talked about my complaints about search before, and this is one area where asking friends makes things significantly better. Mastodon is actually a pretty great place to ask a group of friends about something, whether it’s through hashtags publicly or direct messages.

Now, this is where, predictably, my last post lamenting the omnipresence of reply guys might sound a bit obtuse, and perhaps it was. I’m willing to admit when I was wrong- I’d rather deal with reply guys than be limited to horrible search engine results.

I think that being in control of my own instance will ease this a bit, too, as I won’t be worried about impacting my neighbors and friends if I rile up the wrong jerk. Knowing I’m the only admin impacted by my posts is going to help things out- the replyfolk are my nuisance and not my mods’ problem anymore.

But here’s the real reason: I’m sick of being silenced.

When you leave the arena, the only folks who win are the ones that don’t want to see you play.

I’ve shared a few details about my social media history here on this blog. I stand by my general accounting of it, but over the last few weeks I’ve come to realize another perspective on it: I’ve retreated from a lot of corners of the social web.

I’m not on Instagram, so I don’t have a voice there. I’m not on Twitter, so I don’t have a voice there. And over the last few weeks, I’ve lost my voice on Mastodon (and effectively, the broader Fediverse), too.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I don’t know if I need a voice everywhere. But thinking about my media usage from that perspective has given me a bit of clarity- do I want to silence myself because some dudes on the internet have a problem with me?

Hell no. So yeah, I’m back.

What comes next for this blog?

Well, I might turn off federation and just repost everything over on my Mastodon, so that replying is easier.

One thing is that I’ve really been thinking of switching this site completely over to the Eleventy static site generator. I’ve been running on WordPress for a really long time, but it takes a lot of work to make WordPress this performant and it might be nice to reduce some of that work. I’d just have to figure out something else to do with the merch store.

In any case, I still picture longer form content that I want to be publicly available posted here, for the foreseeable future anyway.

Thanks for reading!

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My blog is using the ActivityPub plugin to join the Fediverse. That means you can can comment on blog posts using some ActivityPub services, such as Mastodon and Mbin, and your comments may show up here publicly. To leave a comment, try copying the URL for this article into your instance's search bar, then reply to the post that pops up- it should show up here!

You can also subscribe to future updates from my website right from your favorite ActivityPub service. Try searching for in the search bar. Just hit "follow" or "subscribe" on the profile that pops up, and future posts should automatically federate to you!

2 thoughts on “Predictably, I’ve returned to Mastodon”

  1. @posts
    Have you considered any Mastodon alternatives in the fediverse?
    Pleroma, Hubzilla, Soapbox?

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