"People have been flocking to it lately, only to get confused by the way it’s set up—which is a shame, because it’s not that hard to get started. Here’s how."
I'm reading "How to Move From Twitter to Mastodon/There are many similarities between the two—except that Mastodon feels like a nice place to be" (lifehacker).
I'm reading that because I wanted to take a look at something I've heard about a lot lately, but — as it says above — I got confused. I had to find an article explaining it.
I'm confused by this article too. How can a speech forum have a mood as specific as quiet and calm? And what kind of dolt feels "refreshed" by a feeling that a place is "free of Nazis"? I would expect Nazis — especially dangerous Nazis — to lull people into "not see"ing them (until it's too late). You know those old movies where somebody would say "It's quiet. Too quiet." It's like that, I would think. If you're saying "It's refreshingly free of Nazis," you ought to go on to say "Too refreshingly free of Nazis."
And what's this "Mastodon feels like a nice place to be"? Yeah, feels like.
Lifehacker proceeds to help us with our confusion by trying — trying — to talk to us as though we are easily triggered by anything that sounds disconnected from a simple, off-screen life:
Whereas Twitter is a single huge corporate entity, Mastodon is more like a bunch of local mom-and-pop shops. That means you need to choose an “instance”—a server you’ll call home.
You're trying to soothe me into absorbing a technical description, and you're telling me I need to call something "home" that you're calling an "instance." Just tell me there's something called an "instance" and what it is. And don't drag in mom-and-pop shops. Are we going shopping or going home? Neither. We're having an "instance." Look, I was attracted by the "mastodon," which is a cute extinct animal. There are no Ice Ace behemoths in this Bedford Falls you've got me imagining. And I am more and more alienated from this nice, quiet, Nazi-free place.
It’s like how you can choose to keep your money at your local bank or credit union, but your money is still good everywhere....
Another analogy! Now it's about money. My eyes glaze over. I don't want to understand it. I just want to do it. I'll skip ahead to what I'd see if I did get on this thing:
[Y]our instance also has two special timelines: The local timeline is a stream of everybody tweeting from that instance. So if I click there, I see everything that’s going on on wandering.shop. It’s like listening in on everybody in your neighborhood.
It's like Mr. Rogers is explaining this... but he's not helping. And in real life, "listening in on everybody in your neighborhood" is not nice. It's quite wrong. But I know they don't mean "listening in." They just mean reading things people have written and posted.
The federated timeline...
Federated! I don't get niceness vibes from "federated." Is this for people with warm feelings toward the federal government?
... is everything on the local timeline, plus everybody who is followed by someone on your instance. So if I follow Nick, his toots (yep, they’re called toots) will show up in wandering.shop’s federated timeline.
They're only called "toots" if people call them "toots," and I doubt that people will do that. The writer of this article already wrote about "a stream of everybody tweeting from that instance."
A few terms to help ease your transition from Twitter: It’s not a tweet, it’s a toot. It’s not a retweet, it’s a boost. There is no such thing as a quote-tweet, you just either boost or you don’t. Twitter itself is referred to as “the birdsite.” Do not bring birdsite drama onto Mastodon....
Who is telling use what we can do or not do and what words we need to use? Is my question dramatic and birdsite-y? I feel unwanted at Mastodon. It feels inclusive and exclusive simultaneously. How will this rule of niceness be enforced? With niceness?
First, this is not Twitter. Each instance has its own administrator and its own code of conduct, so make sure you read up before you toot.
So I have to pick an "instance" to start, but each instance has a different code. How many codes should I read before I pick? But reading the code wouldn't be enough, because I wouldn't know how the code is interpreted and enforced. I see that one instance has a code that says (in part):
The following types of content will be removed from the public timeline, and may result in account suspension and revocation of access to the service: Racism or advocation of racism/Sexism or advocation of sexism/Discrimination against gender and sexual minorities, or advocation thereof/Xenophobic and/or violent nationalism....
I'm required to understand a word that isn't even a word: "advocation." Plus, of course, I don't know what will count as "racism" or "sexism." It could be quite broad or idiosyncratic. One person's feminism is another person's sexism. And, for some people, racism is structured into everything and operates covertly, like those clever Nazis I was just talking about.
I quit. I quoot.