Increased character limit is Mastodon's least important feature, albeit a nice perk

Mastodon's primary strength are the decentralization (resilience to failures, government censorship, distributed nature of the moderation and ability to own your own megaphone) and the power dynamic between the product and the users. It is free and open source, and does not seek to exploit the user through ads or surveillance; it is, rather, made by the users for the users.

@Gargron That's nice and all, but I'm still going to say Twitter stole a feature from Mastodon just to take the piss out of Twitter

@Gargron Decentralization has benefits but also at least one major cost: is hard.

That’s probably most of the reason why journalists and domain experts don’t move from to .

That in turn is why I haven’t abandoned Twitter.

(You guessed it — those hashtags were an attempt at discoverability.)

@wrenpile @Gargron not true. do a web search on uour post and youd be able to find a link to mastodon.

@davidpgil @Gargron

1/ Last night NYC time when you responded, I put together the search terms “discoverability Twitter Mastodon” and tried them out on 3 search engines.

Google found this thread as the 3rd or 4th result.

DuckDuckGo didn’t find the thread last night, but they did have it this morning.

So you’re right about that. I’m curious about whether the search engines are taking special note of hashtags. I also wonder if is indexed better than other instances.

@Gargron @davidpgil

2/2 While it’s good to know that can find Mastodon threads, maybe I’m greedy, but this isn’t exactly what I want.

I would like to be able to search for terms /only/ within the fediverse. From the Mastodon UI, I don’t see how to search for >1 term, and hashtag search won’t find anything off your federated timeline anyway.

Maybe if Mastodon gets popular enough, one of the search engines will offer a fediverse-only search option.🙃

@wrenpile @Gargron #mastodon hasnt reached a critical mass of users yet. however if #twitter, #facebook and #youtube keep tightening the yokes around their users, i see that changing... Since April I have left twitter, facebook and google and have felt no need to stay with them. If you want to share ur mastodon posts w friends share via #sms. all this stuff is a no-brainer.

@davidpgil @gargron @wrenpile what I've seen while being in the fediverse is that there's usually at least one Twitter exodus per year and each time they get bigger. Most go back to Twitter but each time some stay.

Twitter's situation seems precarious. It's popular but also questionable how financially viable it is. If it folded, or got bought by Google or Facebook then there would probably be a very large exodus.

To prepare for what seems like an inevitability I think we should have some clear instructions in place for setting up new instances, and they should be able to handle a lot of traffic.

@bob @wrenpile @Gargron i always thought that there are basically 1% of users who have the skills to run an instance. in my mind the only way around this is to make a stupid simple single user instance client/server installation or wizard that could be run by someone who knows nothing about system administration. however as of right now i believe this idea is unpopular.

@davidpgil @gargron @wrenpile "How to deploy an instance in 10 mins", or something like that. Step by step for obtaining a domain name, what to download, etc. As unambiguous as possible.

@bob @wrenpile @davidpgil @Gargron this is the simplest I've seen, but it's still a lot of work to get something going.

I can see how you might *not* want just anybody to start an instance because they may not be able to maintain it or keep it secure, and then people on that instance could lose their toots/follows/etc., but maybe that worry is overblown. The democratic solution should be to make it as easy as possible.

@bob @davidpgil @Gargron I think I hear you saying that you can be in Twitter *or* the Fediverse, but not both at the same time. Maybe I'm wrong about that, though...

@wrenpile @bob @Gargron i think leaving twitter for mastodon is a proncipled choice. not required of course.

@wrenpile @Gargron No, journos don't care much about discoverability. They mind volume, that begets traffic, and volume is hard to get on a decentralised platform.

I think it's perfectly fine that no professional group gets to dominate the Masto epistemological space.

It's by design.

@h @Gargron I’m aware that it didn’t just happen.

If Mastodon wants to discourage Twitter journalists and domain experts from immigrating, I don’t mind using Twitter too.

But I would like to have an easier time finding others who share my interests in the fediverse.

@wrenpile @Gargron I don't think "Mastodon wants to discourage" anybody. I think the way Mastodon is built discourages people who want to have a louder voice than everybody else.

I think genuine domain experts can still find an audience in decentralised platforms, if they learn to play by the rules, rather than forcing everybody to play by theirs.
I remember when Jeremy Scahill was an active Tumblr user and that community was still small 10 years ago.

It's possible, if you want it.

@h @Gargron I'm not sure if you're saying it was better when Scahill had fewer people reading him on Tumblr.

As I imagine you already know, he has ~300k followers on Twitter now, so presumably he doesn't think so. The Intercept also has a heavily followed account there.

I don't think the people I follow on Twitter are forcing others to play by their rules, but maybe I'm missing something.

@wrenpile @Gargron i'm not _altogether_ convinced that discoverability is a feature. it is, at the least, not an unambiguous one.

@brennen @Gargron Like most things in life, discoverability’s effects are mixed.

One of the great things about Mastodon is the ability to limit discoverability if you want to.

@Gargron I would actually disagree strenuously. The longer characters increase the ability to have calm discussions, something that is incredibly hard on Twitter.

The power dynamic is improved, but it now centralized around admins who have almost no accountability. No legal recourse... Decentralization is killing discoverability. I can't search for topics at all.

Open source is good tho'

But Nazis are banned. And THAT is the other key point that makes better.

@pnathan @Gargron

I dunno about the 'strenuously' part but I'd disagree about it being 'perk' level, so somewhere between those things?

> I can't search for topics at all.

Well, I mean, you can, it's just that people rarely do the work of tagging. They're used to automatic search, not opt-in search -- but it is usable, it just requires thinking about what threads you want to access again. (Sometimes I'll toot into a thread with tags just so I can find it again, actually. Rarely, tho.)

@sydneyfalk @pnathan The problem with searching for my own old tags is either that I didn’t think I’d need to #search for that post ever again or that I used a popular tag and now it’s buried under everyone else’s posts with the same tag.

Gargon did mention the he like the idea of letting each user have full-text search of their own posts.

@USBloveDog @pnathan

> either that I didn’t think

this is an issue, but it's one users could deal with, IMO, at least for highly relevant stuff in a lot of cases

> full-text search of your own posts

this'd be ideal, IMO, but now that I think about it I might be able to hack something together for that in the short term anyway

(of course most people may not be able to, etc. etc., so the point is taken, just thinking out loud mostly)

@Gargron I do feel the larger word limit has been an important ingredient in making the environment in Mastodon so much nicer.
Discussions are better and so much more nuanced with that extra space to be expressive.

@Gargron Wrong.

The very most important feature is that we have ⭐ instead of ❤ for faving.

Search your feelings, you know I'm right.

@Gargron I wouldn't underestimate the benefits of larger character limits. It's really difficult to have an actual conversation with someone 140 characters at a time.

One of the things that I loved about G+ was that you could find people and have actual conversations about topics of interest. I never really got that on Twitter. I'm hoping to have a similar experience here.

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