I'm working on something that would allow schools to run sandboxed Mastodon servers for educational purposes, but I need to modify the frontpage in such a way as to make it abundantly clear to random visitors that they couldn't participate in the network/fediverse if they signed up there.

I'll probably figure something out but ideas appreciated.

Yo I'm trying to come up with a tagline that would replace "Follow friends and discover new ones" below the logo when ☝️ is active.

What do I call it? Academic Edition? School Edition? Sandbox Edition? Putting the word "edition" in there is my only lead

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(Actually not convinced a frontpage is needed in that case at all. Maybe just a login page)

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@gargron Big and red enough. But 10% and color="red" should work, maybe a box with in shadows and rounded corners.
(Was more of a joke, but something like that makes it pretty clear.)

@Gargron @alsternerd Very big and very red 🤣

Would this basically end up being a checkbox in the admin-section or should the text be customizable by the admin (outside of modifying the template 🙃)?

@gargron Something like this should work, I think.

Maybe bold, too. :)

<div class="box-widget" style="margin-top:30px;background-color:red;font-size:large;">This server is sandboxed and does not federate!</div>

@alsternerd Makes sense, I like it. I need to change the text above the sign up form too, though. And perhaps the tagline under the logo.

@Gargron @alsternerd I just guess any "random user" who ends up there may not know the meaning of the word "federate"…

@alsternerd @Gargron I'd say "sandboxed" and "federated" are terms of art that we can't expect everyone to understand (especially school students learning to use social media). "This server is a private, standalone server" or similar might be better (and if the admin chooses this function, open reg should be disabled automatically or very clearly connected to the option to choose at the same time)

@Gargron wouldn't these instances tightly control registration anyway? not a big risk i think?

@_ Hard to tell. They might keep open registrations and could end up on those fediverse server list websites so I think strangers accidentally stumbling into a silo is a real risk

@gargron @_ my old high school did something like this in late 1990s (my last IT/Computer Studies teacher implemented it).

It replaced a homework "record book" and messages to parents. AFAIK they also allowed parents and guardians to sign up.

I had long since left by the time it was implemented, but AFAIK it was a distinctive website with the school branding and access to it was vetted by checking against pupil records (but the system is no longer in use, I just checked)

@gargron @_ I would suggest adding a prominent space clearly explaining exactly what is different to normal Mastodon and *why*, and provide space also for the schools own branding and links to their cybersecurity and Safeguarding policies. that should be sufficient for just about anywhere in the World..

@Gargron A cool little info graphic showing the server being federated, then a ring in-circling it and cutting off the links.
Then some helpful text.

@Gargron Completely unfederated or only federating with other school instances?
As a kid I also had a bunch of friends from other schools.

@Gargron How about a nice clipart showing elephants in a sandbox, fenced area? Similar to this jumbotron might get a small text inidcating "hidden/isolated/standalone mode" and that they don't federate?

Will the instance endpoint return a special value like "federate: bool"?

@fedilab I'm undecided on whether the instance endpoint should be publicly available in such a case

Adding a new boolean won't stop old list websites from accidentally picking it up

@Gargron I thing that the "api/v1/instance" endpoint should remain publicly available (with an extra boolean parameter that will help devs to improve the UX by knowing the behaviour of the instance).
But for sure public, local and tag timelines should not be publicly available.

@Gargron in my experience the more obvious the better

a warning message in big red letters would have side effects (like regular school users thinking there's something wrong with the software)

I'd suggest a separate name (mastoschool or mastosandbox, or whatever), maybe a different mascot, with a sentence somewhere that reads " a sandbox version of mastodon, for schools etc..." with an explicit link to regular mastodon ("if you want the regular masto experience; go here")

It would be great to allow schools to show kids alternatives to commercial social networks and a bunch of us on #bida were discussing about this a few months ago...
Keep us posted!
Cc @Ca_Gi @sophyl

@Gargron so what you think about is a Mastodon Server for educational purpose? Something like, hello kids. This is the principle how facebooks and Twitter works. And this are the dangers and this are the benefits?!

@DerRicky I'm not actually a school so I'm the wrong person to ask this but I've been approached by schools who want to teach kids to use social media in a safe environment

@Gargron I think having the ability to run private, secure, air-gapped Mastodon servers could have tons of uses in schools, academics, communities, etc. Kudos!


@Gargron perhaps this could be a good point to have some kind of gauge going from "will not federate" through "federates with limited instances", "federated but blocks n domains" and finally "we won't block anything". This is a really useful indicator on federated instances too.

A red "display: sticky;" banner with a bold white "this server is not part of mastodon federation" or similar

If on mobile, display a popup-like box instead

@Gargron Mastodon: You're Going To Hate Mastodon Because This Is The First Experience You Had With It Edition

@Gargron no matter how good the software is, if someone's first experience with it is in school, they're going to hate it forever

@ben @Gargron only if you hate school, it's sad people used to hate school for no good reason.

@Gargron could also let it be white-label or grey-label, i.e. "[institiutional website name] powered by Mastodon".

just a login screen sounds fine, especially when you consider that it could be skipped often by SSO.

@Gargron I... like front pages, actually? I think they do a good job of up-front setting expectations and common-knowledge for the community.
If it's not too much work, it might be worth trying to do a reasonable front-page and only then considering removing it?

@starwall But does that work grammatically? Shouldn't it be Educational Edition?

@Gargron @starwall School Edition? It's not educational software, it's just locked down for school purposes.

@Gargron does this mean you're making it easier to build, deploy, maintain and upgrade mastodon? If so, will this be generally available for everyone to use?

@neil Deploying, maintaining and upgrading mastodon is not that difficult.

@Gargron I love the idea, like a private social network only for the school, or for anyone who needs an instance without federation. Can be "Mastodon for Education" or a block saying "Private instance: this instance is not federated"

@Gargron Schools, clubs... I asked about this before on IRC and I remember hearing you had to firewall other servers. Is there going to be a "no federate" flag? One-way would be nice, too.

@Gargron I think this would be something that I would like to offer on our server It’s in 3.0! Called whitelist mode. Check our official blog for more details

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