General Updates / Fediverse Review

I just wanted to make a post to say some general updates and share some photos that I’ve taken recently while out walking. This is the first blog-style post that I’ve done so I don’t really know how to approach it.

In the near future, I’m considering creating a presence on a few other platforms, possibly Youtube, Mastodon, Peertube, Scuttlebutt, Retroshare, etc. I’m going to try a couple out pretty soon which might be interesting. Below I review my experience trying out Mastodon and other ActivityPub-centric platforms thus far.

I’m going to make a concerted effort to create some interesting and creative audiovisual content shortly after I explore my platform options. I have a serious love/hate relationship with creating audiovisual media that stems from my past efforts. It is important that I start getting over it though.

Over quarantine, I regularly kept up with my time tracking that I wrote a post about here. Now that I have several months of data I should be able to do something interesting with it. It has enough consistency to be able to do some basic analysis and data visualization as I mentioned before.

The only thing public facing project as of recent may be worth mentioning is I put an old Zinelibrary Archive Search on Neocities. It is a trivial page I helped someone with. I thought it might still be useful to put back up since the original tagging from the archive is all lost apparently.

Review of Fediverse Platforms

In the past month, I experimented with trying out a few Fediverse platforms for the first time. My initial impression is that several have a very vibrant community but overall are frustrating to use.

The more community-oriented atmosphere of the Fediverse is great, there are discrete dividing lines between various zones that connect up into larger clusters. This is a completely different approach to Twitter’s ephemeral clustering of factions.

The federated setup that makes it so unique, is also the root cause of all the flaws. So much of the patchwork is completely cut off and isolated from other clusters due to extensive blocklists. An exorbitant amount of community discussion revolves around who to block or not. This goes one level meta when people argue about blocking people who aren’t seen bad themselves but who didn’t block in solidarity.

Everything about this is quite annoying and makes it hard to interact with people across major block divides. Choosing what instance to create an account on is crucial and which instance you are on dictates who you can send/receive from. I ran into this immediately when I decided I wanted to create an account on a Pleroma instance.

I picked Pleroma simply because I liked the UI design slightly better than Mastodon (I should note that I like Hubzilla best from a technical standpoint but the UI is ugly). I’m very tolerant and forgiving of ugly functional interfaces but since social media software is meant to be stared at for extended periods the one thing it should do well is looking good.

I can see content online anywhere, the whole point of the feed is the presentation. You don’t want the interface to be harsh looking otherwise you won’t want to stay there long.

It was really hard to find a good English language instance that wasn’t in the middle of a blocklist war for some reason. A common solution to get around this is starting your own personal instance of whatever platform you like, and federate with whoever wants. Most people seemed to be doing this, the vast majority of instances were these small hobby projects with 10 or less active users.

The deeper issue here is that by design you spend a lot of time picking and choosing who to federate with and politicking about the platform itself. This might be fun for some people but it is a core task to use the platform that takes time away from actually creating and posting content.

Summer Photos

Photo 1 Sunset through tree branches

Photo 2 A beautiful egret hunting for fish

Photo 3 Mushroom holding water

Photo 4