I could sort servers on the joinmastodon.org list by proximity to 150 active users (Dunbar's number), I don't know if that would be an improvement. The working set is still 60 top active ones in each category.

For example, sorting the "I am ..." set like that puts writing.exchange, lbgt.io, and monsterpit.net on top, and mastodon.social on the very bottom

On the other hand I do not see a compelling argument for why exactly Dunbar's number (number of personal connections you can maintain in your life) should be used. I don't think most people go into social media expecting to know every single person on their server, and having a headroom of people you don't know might even be a positive thing.

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In any case I have absolutely zero proof that people at large use joinmastodon.org to sign up anywhere, that is to say, the reason a lot of people sign up on mastodon.social is because of high search ranking due to its age and a lot of links from the press. So all these potential changes might be absolutely meaningless.

I've also seen people say "their top server is only 200k users" as a negative when checking what Mastodon is, so consider that as well.

@Gargron I just started at mastodon and am very confused about this haha :D

@Gargron I think the last point is sort of an inevitable stumbling block when it comes to introducing the concept of decentralization to people.

@Gargron Please don’t let chasing a big number for the top server’s user count become a goal. That’s how you end up with a giant pile of uncontrollable users like Twitter. I think the proper response to “the top server is only 200k” is “sure, that means we can pay more attention to keeping things chill; our total user count across every server we know of is (number) and that’s not counting the ones that choose not to be counted.”

@gargron
Maybe a stupid question but why don't you simply close registrations on mastodon.social?

@roipoussiere The people who come here through press and search will leave instead of finding another server.

@gargron Hmm, indeed.
What about adding a gentle message like "Hey this is a very big instance, you can find others ones on joinmastodon.org" on the mastodon.social main page?

@Gargron @roipoussiere I'd propose to give newbies a recommendation to join the currently smallest generalistic instance matching the following criteria:
- code of conduct similar to mastodon.social,
- min. 500 users,
- primary language matching the Accept-Language HTTP header of the visitor.
Accompanied by a note promising access to the whole federation.

This is based on a totally subjective observation that it's the choice that's driving them off. Ergo: give them only one option.

@Gargron@mastodon.social redirect new account creation by default to bridge.joinmastodon.org. give a box to uncheck or something like that to create the acct on the current instance. This functionality would be built into mastodon, but can be disabled by admin.
@roipoussiere

@Gargron @roipoussiere I guess the question is do you want to become that you wanted to replace quickly or become that which you wanted to be but at your own pace? If we adopt the success criteria of the current mainstream, we will end up reproducing the current mainstream. If you want to control what a thing will become, make sure you’re the one writing the success criteria.

@Gargron The people that say that don’t fully understand federation

@Gargron I think the problem is, that the possibilities to find an appropriate mastodon instance are pretty limited. The search interface on e.g. joinmastodon.org looks pretty, but a new user never gets an overview of all mastodon instances. The consequence is that some small instances do not get recognized at all. I think a simple table like podupti.me/ or the-federation.info/ can be much more handy. Uptime should always be specified, because it is a very important criteria.

@Gargron
When we signed up we did check different instances, but there wasn't enough quantity nor quality in Spanish speaking instances and after peeking around a bit more we came to think mastodon.social was the most trustworthy.

@gargron
I think that the most related issue for this is to support account migration (github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/).
In this way, it's not so important that new users subscribe on mastodon.social at the first time - just because they don't really understand the federation concept - because they will be able to move later.

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Mastodon

Server run by the main developers of the project 🐘 It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!