Anyway to elaborate on why algorithmic "relevance" sorting in social media timelines is bad:
1. It makes the system opaque, which means that when it fails it's more infuriating/shitty for users
2. Part of the value of home timelines is that you curate them, and curating them is better when you understand how someone's posts will appear when you follow them.
3. Part of the value of public timelines is finding things you didn't know you wanted.
The problems with users splitting into the "right" communities for them, though:
1. Switching instances has way too much friction for anyone with an account that is even a little bit established.
2. Followbots were a mistake, as they make federated TLS indiscriminate rather than a curated reflection of the interests of local users.
People are going to talk about salience-sorting algorithms as a solution to this. Those people are bad, and wrong; algorithms for "relevance" sorting are, I'm pretty convinced, inherently evil.
The real solution is user self-sorting into instances that would operate as communities, which has already happened.
Like, the influx of Argentine Mastodon is very illustrative of this. If you halfway understand Spanish like I do, you'll realize that in actuality most of those toots are actually profoundly banal; whether or not there is a language barrier, they are very much outside the wavelength of Mastodon's OG community. Since at this stage in the network's life, growth comes in bursts that are generated by spots of media attention, this will be a pattern with new large inflows of users.
Picking up a bit on what @u2764 has been talking about...
The public timeline is what gives Mastodon value. It's what allows it to escape the chicken-and-egg trap that prevents new social networks from taking off, by giving the system discoverability.
But, as instances get bigger, the PTL becomes progressively more useless; not just because it accelerates. but because it becomes an anonymous crowd instead of a community. (Cont'd in replies)
Okay here's a real toot that you can actually boost without people looking at you like you're crazy.
The past few weeks (okay, ever since the schism) I've felt kind of disenchanted by Mastodon and especially its development environment, and I wrote an essay about why that is. It's long, but if you're interested in Mastodon's history or politics you should give it a read.