@Temrin e.g. I followed you after you sent your first toot, so by default my feed just shows nothing:

However, if I click your profile picture, it opens a tab with your actual feed as it is on the instance, which shows everything you've made public:

@Temrin There's a special 'Federated timeline' that is 'everything my instance knows about every other instance in a global feed'. I don't use it that much, because on a big server like yours it can be pretty spammy. Think of that kind of like Twitter's 'trending'.

@Temrin Typically, think of following someone as more subscribing to all *future* content from that point. The reason being, with no real central server (it's all decentralized/federated), your instance basically sends a request to their instance going 'please send me copies of everything this person makes public so I can include them in my feed'.

@Temrin You can imagine after a couple years, you don't want to be 'please send me all their old stuff for the past X years too' unless you go digging for it, hence having to actually visit their profile page on their home instance to see 'old' stuff.

@kithop Hmmm *nods* I just signed up for this one because it was what was shown to me. I had no idea it made a difference because i'm so used to social media being one big thing. Not like discord servers. XD

@Temrin Yeah, you're on basically 'the big server run by the core developers as an example instance', that many many people conflate with the entirety of the system. It's no big deal, but you may not specifically want to stay there.

@Temrin If you're unsure, there's good resources like and

Basically - the owners of the instance can set their own rules re: harassment, if they will ban people and for what, etc., because it's *their* server, not some corporation's. It could get to the point where certain instances could choose to not federate (i.e. ban/block) an entire other server if they wanted to.

@kithop So, when you said to me before that you had found some instances of content you were interested in, you just watched someone in that instance to get all the instances content? (sorry just confirming. Makes 0 sense to me LOL. I'm usually not this slow at understanding this sort of stuff.) It just feels wrong to watch someone to get access to their entire instance and not to watch their content for THEM.

@Temrin I mean, you can look at who I'm following, but it's the same as with Twitter. People 'boost' (retweet) other posts, I go 'oh hey, that's neat, what else do they talk about, cool, I'll follow them'. So I've ended up seeing tech-inclined furries, music, and stuff like that. I think and have a lot of LGBTQ+ and/or furry-friendly types, for example.

@Temrin When posting, you see the little globe icon? That lets you specifically post public/followers only/private toots. 'CW' is 'Content Warning', and lets you tag your stuff with e.g. 'nsfw', which hides it by default unless someone clicks 'more' beside it to open the toot.

@kithop Yeah i've read all through those. It's not quite answering my questions.

@Temrin I think this sounds like what you're describing?

Doesn't sound like something you can do directly in your feed, unfortunately - you'd have to open a tab and browse the instance homepage to view their ongoing public feed specifically.

@kithop I'm not even sure how to view their public feed. Is this the small feed on their join pages?

@Temrin Yup, that's it! All public posts sans replies.

@kithop hrrng. Thats rather frustrating and counter intuitive imo. So i have no choice but to sign up with a different instance/(at)Temrin(at)server to actually have access to it one my dash. I still cannot find if you can be logged into multiple accounts/instances at the same time or only one at a time. blurg.

@Temrin It's... not really meant to be like that though; I'm kind of confused as to why you want a *whole instance* and not just the people you find interesting and follow?

@Temrin I dunno, it'd be almost like saying 'hey I'd like a Twitter feed with *everyone in Canada in one giant mess*', in my mind. It'd get.. really unwieldy fast.

@Temrin Instance feeds are not really indicative of some global conversation beyond 'here's some random stuff people are talking about that happens to be all on this one server, so you can get a feel for if this place is right for you or not'. You still have to follow individual users, regardless of whatever instance they're on (and TBH, that doesn't *really* matter anyhow).

@kithop They just seem more like groups than "heres just a thing attached to my name" to me. I'm obviously still going to watch people individually if i want to, but instances feel more like groups to me and thats why i have an interest to see whats in them.

@kithop (and reading that if a server goes down/gets deleted i have to sign up elsewhere under a different instance to get access to mastodon is weird to me. I dunno. It just makes more sense to me to have one name and allow people to join instances. From what i read on instances, they are pretty much like groups or discord servers. Lots of them have topics the group is about.)

@Temrin The threat of a server going down is always a thing, yeah. It's a function of size, money, maintainers. I mean, look at stuff like Yahoo Messenger or MSN or whatever - these things die too, and those are really big corporations.

But yeah, I don't think 'groups or Discord servers' is at all accurate. Think more... 'this instance is like and that one is like and that one is'.

@Temrin They're groups in that yeah, you'll get a core set of people being like 'we're going to make our own instance, so-and-so will run the server, we'll all chip in some money for costs, and we set our own rules about how our place is going to be awesome', but I'm not sure people use the server-wide feed as a general chat like you would on Discord.

@Temrin Think of it more like 'we can run our own Twitter server and set our own rules to keep out people we don't like or enforce behaviour we want to see'. It's really meant to be more like Twitter without the corporate control.

@kithop Hmmm okay. That stuff i get the appeal of. It's just weird to me, the way it interacts and works overall. I'll get it eventually.

@kithop Hmm. Kay. Well it is still all weird to me. I'm sure I'll get it eventually. I think it's hard for me to associate it with email because really, you don't SEE the other people using your email service unless you happen to know their actual email.

@Temrin Right. I honestly never look at the federated feed or instance-wide feeds elsewhere, because this is how I think of it - it's just the server their account happens to live on, but it's the people I'm interested in, so I see them from boosts/who my friends are following or interacting with/etc. and then follow them too, just like I've done on Twitter.

@Temrin The only time you should worry about what instance it is is when *you're* signing up, because you're saying 'I'm going to make an account on your server, so I'm going to follow your rules, *and* you're the one responsible for hosting my posts, images, etc.' Otherwise, it's basically Twitter but where people's account names include the server they're on, because there's more than one server, like e-mail.

@Temrin The big instances like are akin to signing up for Gmail. They're big, they're well tested, you have a reasonable expectation that things are going to work fine, and there's enough people interested in it and funding / supporting it that you're pretty good.

Or you can sign up at someone's vanity instance because you want to be different. ;p

Oh, right, there's also ... because yes, you could be if you wanted. XD

@kithop Lol. Yeah i've seen a few like that and i'm just like no thanks. xD If anything i'd make something with like my website name or something in it just because but i'm not going to bother even looking into what it takes to run a server just for that lol. I'd use it for nothing else but that. XD

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@kithop Yeah. Wish the FAQ and stuff i read before joining actually said anything about the importance of picking a server. It was super non-challant "what about this one?" "sure i guess?" XD Oh well. Whatever. I'll poke around some other time. I wont be using it too much until i can cross post to it from Hootsuite or something. I'll forget otherwise. XD

@kithop I understand that sort of thing but what i'm interested in, is seeing an instances actual feed on my dash, like how i see my "home" server feed.

@kithop Like how i can join mailing lists with an email and get all their content in my inbox or how on discord i can join multiple servers and see the content posted in each as long as i'm joined. Is that even possible here without having to seperately join servers?

@Temrin If that issue I linked sounds about right, it looks like a lot of people are talking about it and thinking of how to potentially implement it but it's not a thing yet.

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Kithop's Mastodon

This is Kithop's private, invite-only instance - hosted on FreeBSD in Canada.