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I've gotten around to one thing I planned to do in the new year: running my own Mastodon instance! I've moved from @keweddji to @aysamanra

@aysamanra @keweddji What’s the upside? It’s a really neat aspect of mastodon, but I’ve struggled to take advantage of it.

@acowley Right now I'm on Mastodon main-line, but I plan on switching to a fork before too long, and in particular to the Hometown fork here github.com/hometown-fork/homet which has some other features I'd like, like support for reading and interacting with more content types.

@acowley And in addition to just more features that I'd like, I'm also planning on allowing a small number of close friends (right now only people I know in real life) to join, which would make features like the 'local timeline' be a lot more useful: running my own lets me run my own community hub, a thing that I don't really use Mastodon for at present.

@aysamanra I like the idea of more focused instances, but something doesn’t click for me. I end up needing a separate account on that instance for the local timeline, but then why not just use a hashtag? Would the posts on your personal instance be private? That could be cool, but now you personally are their social hub?

@acowley I think for topic-specific conversation, you _do_ just want hashtags. The idea of topic-focused instances (like an instance devoted entirely to math or to functional programming or whatnot) seemed appealing at first, but it ends up having the problem you describe: needing an account on each one for the local timeline to be useful, so I don't think that's actually as good an idea.

@acowley But I think social-group-focused, and not topic-focused, instances _do_ make sense. The fork I'm planning on running does have "instance-local visibility" where posts are private to just the people on the same instance, which could be really useful if your instance is only close friends. I guess the guideline I'm using is 'a small instance makes sense if everyone on it can be on good terms with everyone else on it', if that makes sense?

@acowley I guess more concisely, "A small instance isn't a substitute for a hashtag, it's a substitute for a group chat."

@aysamanra that does make some sense, but the web UX of URLs and accounts seems iffy; apps work pretty well though. There’s also something to be said about the egalitarianism of group chats that are a collection of user names messaging each other rather than something hosted by one individual. I’m genuinely curious to hear how it works for you as these aspects of mastodon are so tantalizing, but thinking along the lines of that hashtag tangent cut short some of my enthusiasm.

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Sometimes When Computer

Sometimes When Computer is an instance of Mastodon, a decentralized social network with no ads, no corporate surveillance, and ethical design.