the never-ending fedi guide pt 2
you can check out the first part of my never-ending fedi guide here.
the first part of the guide covers the basics of the fediverse, mastodon, and most of the features. this part will cover #Fediquette and server recommendation.
when starting as a new user, picking a home server can seem very overwhelming. it is important to think about what you want to use your account for. just like other social media sites, mastodon/the fediverse is not encrypted and secure: using these tools for organizing is not suggested.
some servers are general interest servers. this means that anyone can join and post about whatever they want. some have “themes” perse, where scholars join and post about their academic life and studies, where artists join and post about their art and process, etc., on the public timelines, but may keep other posts off the public timeline.
not all servers will list an admin, or have a set a rules on their /about page. this should be a red flag that this server is likely not moderated properly, and you shouldn’t join it. however, even servers with these key factors are not always moderated properly.
mastodon dot social is a great example of this—my home server has suspended federation with them (aka blocked them on a server to server level) due to their poor moderation and open registrations allowing for a mass of spam. now, due to how the fediverse works a block does not work like you think a block would and many people on mastodon dot social can see and interact with my posts, despite me not seeing any of it.
some places require certain topics, especially when posted publicly, be under a CW (nudity, porn, politics, mental health topics, violence, etc.) while other servers may be less strict. it is important, when looking for a server, to consider all of these things.
now, when looking for a server: https://instances.social/ is a tool to help look through instances of different languages, and certain limitations to pick an instance. however, this will suggest any and all instances, even shitty ones.
some of my recommendations of well-moderated instances:
kitty.town (my home instance, i am a moderator there)
now that you’ve found a place to start, it is important to set up your profile! many people are wary of blank profiles due to harassment and bots on both the fediverse, but other social media sites.
you can access your profile from the “preferences” tab. you can add a bio with hashtags, create an #introduction post and pin it to your profile (click the elipses on the post, then click “pin to profile), and people will be much more likely to follow and allow you to follow them. include information about yourself, pronouns if you feel safe doing so, any interests, and what you might be posting about. you can also add links to your own website or other socials you use.
looking through hashtags is a great way to find others you may want to follow, as well as looking at the various timelines. trunk is another resource for finding and mass following others. twitodon allows you to link your twitter to your mastodon account as a way to find others that have migrated over.
so, now you have a home instance, set up your profile, and maybe followed some people.
make sure you’ve read your instances rules to see what is required of you for CW, image captions, marking images as sensitive, etc.
for most people on the fedi, folks try to create a community. they want to interact and learn with others, and doing so etiquette for posting has been established.
it is very common to mark images as sensitive if they have: eye contact, nudity, blood/gore, body horror, food, drugs or alcohol. these are also often covered in a CW with the subject filled for what the CW is for (any of the topics listed above suffice as a simple Content Warning without going into too much detail and leaving the CW meaningless.
CW are important for consent to interaction, and the continued and habitual use of them allow for people to filter properly as well. without the key words one would use in a CW, sometimes the filter may miss the post and even though others are trying to protect themselves without demanding more of others, they are left trying to navigate a topic they were not prepared to handle.
reply-guys often get blocked. respond to what a post is saying, not your assumption of the person or post.
common CW you may see:
- EC (eye contact) from humans and non-human animals—photos and drawings
- nudity (including pornographic, artistic, and neutral)
- blood/gore/physical violence
- abuse/sexual violence/rape
- sui (suicidal ideation), MH – (mental health, negative)
- ph (physical health)
- transphobia [or transmisia] / racism
- fascism / nazis
- USpol (US politics)
- drugs and alcohol
- food / meat specifically
- menstruation / pregnancy / abortion
- COVID / pandemic
- doom posting
- twitter links, youtube links, instagram links, etc,
and much, much more.
people may use the CW to say whether or not to interact with the post (boosts ok, no likes/favs/boosts/replies) which is them setting a boundary, please be respectful.
people also use the CW for jokes or spoilers, or for longer threads. you can find your own way to do specific, but not detailed, CW but many people have shorthand you will see often. it is wise to pin a post of the common shorthand CW abbreviations you may use so folks who follow can filter what they need.
some folks even ask permission to repost something with a CW, which i think is a great way to respond rather than demanding a CW on a post.
people have different thresholds for stress and triggers, so what may trigger one person may not impact another so CW are not a science and everyone will miss one or two every now and then.
if you see something that you don’t want to see, find a way to filter it, or block/mute the person posting about it. if it violates your instances rules, you can report the post and your moderation team will work on it—you can also forward the report to the offending instance for them to take a look as well. your name will not be included in the report, so any harassment you may fear from reporting should be alleviated by this. depending on the instances rules, a lack of a CW may not be an offense that causes any response.
you can report a post (or user, if the whole profile is trash) by click on the elipses […] on the offending post, or on the user profile and clicking “report”. this will open the report interface where you can type a bit more to the moderators, and a switch to forward the report.
take your time, learn how different features work, and you’ll grow to love the fedi just like you enjoy other social media sites.