Imagining if Mastodon called instances "neighborhoods" instead. The metaphor works really well IMO and doesn't sound like robot-speke.

@alexhillman I’ve been reading about mastodon since I first replied to your tweet and this thing seems insanely awesome and exiting. I created my account like a year ago but nobody was here. The more I think about it the more I like the idea of hyper-local (i.e. Philly) neighborhoods. Will really help to cultivate community both online and off.

@alexhillman I like that. Gets you thinking that the instance you choose is important to your experience.

@jag @alexhillman I’m trying to figure out what instance(s) I want to be on and that seems to be the hardest part.

@alexhillman @miketannenbaum @jag it would be great if "federated timeline" could be explained in terms of "neighborhoods". In the Polish translation of I took the liberty to use "rozmowa" ("conversation", "talk") instead of timeline and therefore I could use "rozmowa miejscowa" (lit. "Local talk" but also "local (telephone) call" and "rozmowa międzymiastowa" (lit. "Inter-city talk" but really "long distance call"). Old telecom meanings seemed to play nicely in Polish

@alexhillman this makes too much sense, people would understand it immediately.

"instances" is such a dev word to describe it :blobugh:

@alexhillman would this just invite nextdoor-style communities though? I consider nextdoor a digital community anti-pattern fwiw.

@Soypunk I don't think so. Nextdoor's anti patterns are almost 100% driven by their recruitment strategy and winner-take-all zip code leadership model

@alexhillman Imagine if they called toots “posts” instead.

@alexhillman or sticking to that animal world, you could name them billabongs. 🐘

@alexhillman or just waterhole. I just learned Billabong is the australian term.^^

@alexhillman reminds me that Google tried such a thing with circles ... 🤔😉

@alexhillman @Gargron I think this is a really good idea. There are lots of people saying they don't get how instances work

@alexhillman absolutely agree. While instances makes sense to us nerds, it's not the most accessible term for your average person.

@alexhillman in this analogy, would mastodon.social be "downtown"?

@alexhillman I've been likening them to bubbles or second life islands.

@alexhillman I've thought of instances as cafes/bars/pubs/clubs :)

@alexhillman I’d be happy if they just changed the term Toot. Because, seriously: I lose so many people (to laughter and derision) in a discussion of Mastodon when they discover that posts are called toots.

Often “ya, I have no interest in a social media platform designed by juvenile boys.”

Why didn’t y’all just call them “Farts” and be done with it?

@alexhillman Also, makes the "local" timeline make more sense, since I always expect it to be geo local, not instance local.

@alexhillman good idea but neighbourhood still has geographical suggestion. ‘Communities’ seems to make more sense to me. In the end both are better than ‘Instances’ which refers to how they run, not what they are for. Tense is everything.

@alexhillman agree the "instance" label is a bit confusing for #newbie... In order for #Mastadon to thrive with the current uptick of users we need to remove any friction when it comes to the on-boarding process. Picking a instance,neighbohood,pub.. or whatever it ends up being called should be a super simple and intuitive

@alexhillman I like that idea. Where can we submit a pull request?

@alexhillman yes! Someone else suggested “community”, which I also like.

@alexhillman yesssss. I said this last week! It’s how I understood the concept better. Then I likened it to Geocities, obviously.

@alexhillman The whole verbiage of instances makes me not want to try to explain it to others because as soon as I start I can tell their eyes are glossing over.

@alexhillman when I first saw "instance" I thought of the term and got confused at the idea of it going away😂

@alexhillman YES! …or “tribes”, or “communities”? All of which seem to make a lot more sense describing what an instance is.

@alexhillman call me old fashioned but I don't know why we aren't just using the well established "domains" (since instances are tied to them) 🤔

@alexhillman I use "planets in the federation" because I'm a sci-fi nerd 😎

Although really I just use "sites" for general purpose explanations. Everyone knows what a site is in the context of the web.

@alexhillman "Neighborhoods" takes me back to old GeoCities. Maybe not in a good way? To fit the Mastodon theme/motif, I've thought "herd" a possible option.

@alexhillman Feel like I should be linking the song from "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood".

@alexhillman
I See your point and the term is great. In the other Hand, instances are pretty common and well defined term in distributed networks and tech language. So we nerds know whats (exactly) all about ;)

@alexhillman I personally prefer "site" because that's literally what it is, while still being more appropriate than "instance". No one really cares about the finer points of software instantiation or server architecture, but basically everyone already understands what a "site" or "web site" is. (Consider how many people use the term "bird site" here, as opposed to "bird network" or "bird [instance/neighborhood/community/etc]", for example.)

@alexhillman If you're aware of this already, I apologize, but Geocities had "neighborhoods" organized exactly like Mastodon instances 20 years ago.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!_G

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