Birdsite

So, my Mastodon instance of choice is having notification/sending/receiving issues again, and rather than doing what I usually do in this circumstance (temporarily switch back to mastodon.social or see what other instances I’ve been on are still around – spoiler: very few of them) I decided to just go without instant-update social networking for most of the day.

But then I still needed that little dopamine rush, and so I decided to try Twitter again (at least, more than my usual “post some stuff and maybe check my notifications” tendencies), and friends, let me tell you… Twitter is awful.

I’d forgotten just how much of a hellhole of advertising, “engagement”-optimizing, outrage-inducing chatter it is.

On the plus side, a lot of people seem to really enjoy the anti-ads I’ve been running for a few weeks (for $1 a day). I think I’ll expand that out into other subject areas.

But what’s even better is just getting unaddicted to commercial social media. Yikes.

Mastodon instance rambling

Lately most of my social networking has been via Mastodon, which is basically an open source, semi-distributed equivalent to Twitter. When I first joined a few years ago I got an account on the flagship instance, but not much later ended up switching to queer.party. Unfortunately, queer.party has had several scaling issues – similar to a lot of the other small instances – and while it hasn’t gone down entirely, it’s so backlogged that it’s gotten to be pretty much useless.

On Mastodon there’s a general feeling that anyone with a mastodon.social address isn’t savvy because they don’t “get” Mastodon, that the whole point to it is that it’s distributed and you don’t have to be on a single central instance and so on. But the problem is that most of the instances – and there’s quite a lot of them – aren’t run in a way that can be expected to scale over time.

Most instances are maintained as a spare-time thing by someone, but instance management is more and more becoming a full-time job. I am incredibly grateful that Maffsie is willing to run the instance even on that basis, don’t get me wrong! But all the same I’d like to be on an instance where it doesn’t regularly go down or have massive backlogs (7 hours, at present) or random weird federation problems.

The problem with Mastodon in this case is that any Mastodon instance, regardless of the user count (or a user limit), will continue to grow without bounds for as long as it’s being used, and as the ActivityPub network grows, the amount of stuff that every instance needs to keep track of will grow too.

Read more…