What is Mastodon? (And why do I love it?)

If you come from Twitter, here’s some difference with Mastodon:

You can interact with a post in the same ways as in Twitter, but they work a tiny bit differently (list from Jon):


On top of your own feed with the people you follow, there’s a local and a federated timeline.


Privacy settings:

Best practices

Content warnings

As a general rule, before you post a message, ask yourself whether everybody wants to see what you have posted without warning. Maybe your message will trigger a panic attack for some people? Maybe some folks read Mastodon among their family or at work, and don’t want to see graphic images appear suddenly on their screen?

Having a content warning allows others to choose to confront themselves with topics that can be hard for them, instead of having these topics forced upon them.

Some people also use the CW field as announcement or as title for the topic of their post, or to say that their toot is long: that way, the toot is folded and doesn’t clutter the feed.

Interacting with others

Before you reply to a toot, especially if it’s someone asking for help or advice, please try to:

Un-mention someone in replies when they haven’t replied to the past 2-3 messages. It’s cluttering their notifications and if they’re really interested in the conversation they’ll read it anyway.
If you’re the one being mentioned in the conversation, you can also “Mute the conversation” in the menu item of any toot you’re mentioned in.

Finally, don’t hesitate to unfollow/mute/block people you’re uncomfortable with! Doesn’t matter that they’re your friends!

Random redaction tips

As a general rule, try to give your sources when you’re quoting or reposting something. (And only repost when you can’t do otherwise.)

If you have the energy for it, try to write image descriptions of the pictures you post. It can be a few words (“Books on a shelf.”) or several sentences (“Four books on a shelf. From left to right: […]”).
The image description should convey what the image mean. If it’s a picture you took, explain what drew your eye; if it’s a graph, explain its behavior and key numbers; that sort of things.

If the image is a long text, you can try to mention @OCRbot for their text recognition. Be mindful that OCR doesn’t always work, and it’s best to copy and edit the output of the bot rather than letting disabled users try to decipher what the text says.

If you don’t have the energy to write an image description, you can write so in the CW, or tag the @imagecaptionpls group, which will notify everyone who follows the group that there’s someone who needs an image description.

If you see an image without description, you can reply to it with the cw “image description”, remove the mention of the OP, and write the image description. As an acquaintance said, “Some people get mad when their images are described without their permission (as if permission should ever be required to make something less disabling!); many will be reminded they could do better. Bigots should be blocked, not enabled.”


Tags: tech

Last updated on 13 Nov 21