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The thing to remember is that at some point in recent past nobody knew what e-mail was and people had to learn about. And before that personal computers were new and folks had to learn how to use them.

Not everything can be reduced to what you already know! Mastodon requires a tiny bit of extra knowledge because it differs from other social media platforms.

@Gargron so much this. I've been trying to figure out how to put this in words for such a long time, and you've nailed it.

@Gargron people learned email because they had to. Email is necessary online. When mastodon is confusing, they can just dip out and go to some other social site.

@0x1C3B00DA When e-mail is confusing, people can just dip out and fax or phone

@Gargron Come on. That's an asinine comparison and you know it. If you want to use online services, you have to be able to use email. So people learned as much of it as they needed. Mastodon is purely optional and people have no reason to put in the effort to learn it.

Most users only want to use tech if it's immediately useful and will put in only the minimal effort to get to the usefulness.

@0x1C3B00DA Online was completely to businesses when online first became a thing lol. It's a justified comparison.

@Gargron That's not true. There were niche communities online before business started converting.

Even if you wanna ignore that, if you worked for a company that switched to email, you had to use email. So muggles had to learn how to use it, even when they found it confusing and wanted to stop using it

@Gargron Out of curiosity: What are these tiny bits? I came here with next to one previous knowledge so I'm wondering…

@empwilli Essentially just the whole 'different servers' bit together with picking a server to sign up on.

@Gargron Well actually I think the whole pick your server page is done quite well, so I don't see that big of a "novelty" there.

@Gargron whenever people use the argument that mastodon is somehow "too complicated" I like to encourage them to do a web search for "how to use facebook." there's like a gazillion tutorials, videos, online classes, training seminars, etc. the alternatives aren't inherently less complicated—it's just that tech folks have come to accept the way they work as the "default" and so that complication is invisible to them.

@aparrish @Gargron But! (and I don't think you mean this) That's no reason to say we can't try to improve!

@masklayer @Gargron yeah, that's definitely not what I mean. I'm just trying to say that I think we shouldn't take for granted the idea that other social media platforms are somehow especially "easy to use." fb and twitter etc. might make the on-boarding process easy (though citation needed even on THAT topic imo) but they're certainly not well designed from a holistic perspective (citation: the state of the world right now).

@aparrish @masklayer @Gargron Most people have no idea how email works nor do they know FB or Twitter. Most got their email address from work or a friend helped them create one. The difference here is uptake.

Using email as a comparison is not bad... but I think it could be done even better. Like that you have to chose a "home" (not using "server" or any of such technical lingo). By choosing a home you will then be able to connect to other in your city and other cities in a network of cities.

@aparrish @Gargron The saving grace for me is that there is enough time on Mastodon to explore how to use it, while on Facebook you have to reorganise your life so you can use it. Facebook is simple to use not because its simple, but because we've gotten used to its non-intuitive design.

Exploring Mastodon is like exploring a new world. Sure, its complex, but why rush through it?

@aparrish @Gargron Just a thought, if there is a standard way then the complexity does not matter. The complex things you know are not complex to you. One of the rules that I remember from Web usability is that most people spend most of their time on other web sites. It's perhaps similar.

@aparrish @Gargron Yes. And the same argument can be made about Windows

@Gargron thinking back to two decades ago when two mouse buttons was intimidating and 3 icons in the top corner of an app window were impossible to memorize. It was probably 5 years until I really understood what minimize and uh, windowize actually did

@Gargron maybe the learning curve behind it can be reduced

@Gargron I suppose I'm always really confused by people being confused about most websites -- is it just that I'm not afraid to click on things?

@fournm That's unironically a big part of it, I believe.

@Gargron It's easier for me to pick up than Discord ever was. 🤷‍♀️

@Gargron
I'm a brand new user and it took me a minute to figure out the instanced server thing, but now I get it. For me the hardest thing was picking a server to hang my hat and then trust that the federated feed would link with enough other instances.

@Gargron also, if it worked solely on what you already know, what would make it unique?

@Gargron Email is a good example of how federation works, but the average user never really needed to _pick_. It's your ISP, or your work, or Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail which are pushed _hard_ by other services they already use. And regardless of what service you pick, only the GUI changes.

For Mastodon, there's no "default" beyond mastodon.social unless someone gets invited by a friend. On top of that, since the fed timeline is a firehose, instance choice is significant for finding people to follow.

@Gargron Words of wisdom. Plus if you've never swum before - you can't learn without getting your feet wet.

@Gargron how kids get into snapchat is beyond my comprehension

@saper Snapchat is the most unintuitive application but nudes is an uncontested motivator for people 😂

@gargron That's a problematic comparison however: It's not the fact that people have to learn. It's the fact that, in case of Facebook / Twitter / Google+ / WhatsApp and any other mainstream system, people have *less* to learn than in order to use distributed social networks, and that possibly some of that learning curve could be avoided. Same as with cell-phones and early mobile internet: Everyone used SMS because few people even knew how to make e-mail on pre-smartphone devices work... 😉

@Gargron Reticence to use something new is not confined to information technology. Henry Ford is alleged to have said, "If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said 'a faster horse'." And Benjamin Franklin received significant resistance to his invention of the lightning rod to protect buildings from fires! Still, we should do everything possible to help users transition to Mastodon and the fediverse without judgement.

@Gargron wasn't there someone comparing the registration progress with bitcoin orbs or something?
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