Mastodon is dead in the water
John Henry

Elephants in the Mastodon room

if they all have the same name

I am surprised at the glowing account of the Mastodon interface by John Henry in Hacker Noon, as I found it a pig’s ear, even worse in use.

That for Tusky, an Android app, is far cleaner, neater, something Mastodon should adopt. All credit to the Tusky designer.

Unlike twitter, Mastodon does not display the link, workaround, add an image.

Unlike twitter, Mastodon does not automatically shorten a link. With 500 characters to play with not 140 cf twitter, this may not seem to be an issue.

Try posting a couple of long links, and you soon find out that it is. Luckily came to the rescue.

What happens when the node you are registered at is down or no longer exists?

If I post a message, it is only visible to the community at the node where I have registered, unless someone within another community has chosen to follow me, then I am visible at that community too.

I have been visited by a handful of follow bots, which automates this process.

But this begs a question, if I am not visible outside, until I am followed by external entities, how do they know I exist to follow?

Also comes to mind #hashtags are they visible across the network?

The raison d’etre of social media, social networks, is to be able to comunicate, interact, not live on isolated islands, or worse reside in hardened silos.

  • broadcast → one to many
  • social networks → many to many, interaction

As Charles Eisenstein discusses in Sacred Economics, few if any make money from the internet, and those that do, do so by screwing you, and the economic value of their activity is a fraction of what it displaces. Maybe something to do with the internet was designed as a global collaborate commons, you provide content free, others draw upon that content, often one and the same, the commoners.

We see this with Medium, which just happens to again involve Ev Williams.

The commoners were perfectly happy, the writers and readers, often one and the same thing, until one day, Ev Williams and a bunch of Vulture Capitalists decided to do an excellent impression of the Sheriff of Nottingham and his evil Barons and enclose the Medium commons.

I quite happily freely provide content for Medium, but I do not do so to satisfy the greed of Vulture Capitalists.

Mastodon is open source, but who supplies the hardware, the platform, the servers?

A commons is the land and the commoners.

Eugen Rochko is funding through Patreon. How are the other nodes to be funded? How will payment be made? I prefer to see faircoin and fairpay card used.

A distributed network is only worth its name if it is resilient, able to self-adapt.

The twitter notoriety may have visited Mastodon. Is Ev Williams there?

If yes, how many

as that is the elephant in the room.

On twitter, there is only one, on Mastodon there can be many, as many as there are nodes on the network, assuming choose to register on the network.

On twitter I am

same on Medium

same on Mastodon

only I am not, on Mastodon, I am strictly speaking

and therein lies the problem.

A lack of understanding that we even have a problem is this comment from Nic Wistreich:

Tho we all have email addresses in the form name@domain.tld and that seems to work ok.

It was in a similar vein to a message on Mastodon, which was something along the lines: that’s how it works, get over it.

Do I not get it, contrast with e-mail?

Oh so Mastodon is distributed e-mail, restricted to one network, to 500 characters.

Eugen Rochko was quite clear, he was developing an open source distributed alternative to twitter, he was not developing a cut down e-mail service.

My name is Eugen Rochko and I’m the creator of Mastodon, a free, open-source federated social network server.

Users being encouraged to migrate from twitter, are doing so on the assumption they are migrating to something as good as if not better than twitter.

But at the very least, they expect it to function like twitter, but without the Vulture Capitalists, without the advertising, without the irritating sponsored tweets, and where the users are treated as sentient beings with a say on how it is run not a commodity to be sold.

If I register on one node as @keithpp no one else can register as @keithpp at that node, but they can elsewhere. It is a reasonable assumption a flag is set to prevent multiple registrations of same name at that node. Therefore when @keithpp is registered at one node, then immediately transmit to all other nodes to prevent multiple registrations.

Lack of display of links, failure to shorten links, all have simple solutions.

If one node is down, share database of users with other nodes. A network has to be able to self-adapt when one node is out, otherwise it is not a network.

But to claim, no problems, get over it, that is how it works, is to stick head in the sand and hope the problems will go away. They will not.

And for those who still do not get it and keep raising the e-mail analogy which is false, I suggest they read and comprehend the excellent article by Sean Bonner, then maybe they will then get it.

A more fundamental issue, who or what are we communicating with?

We only know this through provenance or some form of crypt-secure ID, for example a signed and verified PGP key.

If you accept who I am here then possible to accept who I am on Mastodon, or maybe accept who I am on Medium, because I was on twitter before.

With PGP, have to be certain who the key belongs to. Only can be certain if given in person, or signed by someone you know and trust, and whose PGP key you already have.

As you will see, my key has a few signatures on it.

Type Bits/KeyID    Date       User ID
pub 1024/B09CC89D 1996/04/22 Keith Parkins <10 GU14 6QJ England>
sig 3BA294A1 Bhima Auro <>
sig 32DD98D9 Vesselin V. Bontchev <>
sig FC0C02D5 Eugene H. Spafford <>
sig E82D54FD SlipIt <+44-1252-513279>
sig E3E092F1 Fleet Micro <>
sig B09CC89D Keith Parkins <10 GU14 6QJ England>

None of this is to knock Eugen Rochko or the open source movement, far from it, I fully appreciate and support the hard work he and they put in.

Postcapitalism I would like to see everything run open source, open coops, collaborate commons, coop platforms, which is why I object so strongly to the enclosure of the Medium commons, and wish to see an open source open coop alternative to Deliveroo.

But with Mastodon, there are numerous design flaws which must be addressed, if it is not to be consigned to a techie niche dead end.

Maybe the use of an extinct mammal for the name and logo is telling us something.