The more Mastodon servers there, are, the better. The more spread out people are across them, the more the network is resilient to various failure modes.

The basic premise of Mastodon is that you follow your friends from different servers! So go forth, and explore the fediverse ☺️



Instance is synonymous with server, and I think using the word "instance" was a bit of a mistake on my part during early Mastodon development. It's a programming term that less people are familiar with from other contexts. I suggest using "server" in your UIs

@ilovecomputers @oct2pus @Gargron I'm not sure community works, because people often think of subreddits. An instance may have a theme, but not all posts are about that theme.

Even sever is problematic because of Discourse and video games. They both have a concept of "servers" but all of those servers are run by discourse or Blizzard/EA/etc. Several people have already made the mistake of thinking Gargron runs everything. I think time and more fed services will change this concept naturally.


you are always going to be run into trouble with people wanting to compare the concept of the fediverse to the closest proprietary analogues they can think of. This really shouldn't give us pause. If it did, we will never come up with a good term to discuss what we actually are.
@djsumdog there is not a better term than 'community' to describe the comradery you form with people who are using the exact same website you are, when i say 'community' i don't mean in a marketing sense, i mean a literal community. is a literal community i am a part of.

@djsumdog @ilovecomputers @Gargron Maybe it’s the Geocities in me, but “neighborhood” is a social construct that fits. You may have have local laws (admins/mods), get to know your neighbors (local timeline), and can still visit/send postcards to people in other towns (federation).

@gargron Most people do not know what a server is anyway, so it wasn't as much of a mistake as one might think.

@Gargron At the same time, the instance is running on multiple (physical) servers. So isn't "server" a more confusing and more technical term then?

I have to say that I'm a techie again and surprised by Discord having managed to bring "server" into usage as a synonym for "own namespaced admin-domain".

@schmittlauch Yes, which is why I picked instance originally, but in colloquial usage server is appropriate, especially after Discord popularized the term.

@Gargron Are you aware of any other services calling their namespaces "server"?

But I agree that terminology a bit confusing, even in research people struggle with “pod” vs “server” vs “instance”. But from these I find “instance” still the clearest.

@Gargron @schmittlauch others called it pods, hubs and whatnot and it didn't make anything simpler

@Gargron huh. I believe you but I would've guessed exactly the opposite. (As I suppose you did, initially.)

@Gargron I think 'server' might actually cause confusion. People might get the idea that Mastodon is one unified service, with servers spread over different geographical regions to reduce latency...

The analogy works well if you think of a multiplayer game's community servers... but it will fail if you think of Steam servers or MMORPG servers. And I expect many to read it as the latter.


Moreover, even if everything does go well, "server" doesn't quite cut it... because a single server can actually host multiple instances, no?

"Community" is closer of a term. But, "Instance" is great because not only is it memorable and cool, it also makes sure people look it up to see what it is.

@Gargron Maybe neighborhoods? Or server, cause people nowadays think they understood what it means.

@Gargron i'd call it a "site" or "website" because that's what it really is and almost everyone understands that. it's a site that can talk to other sites.

@Gargron You’re probably right. I think I’ll update the texts in Toot! accordingly.

Is it too late at this point to switch?

"Federated" is also still a little confusing to me and I need to look it up to see what it is again

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