You have to take care to recognize all the other software and protocols in the fediverse. You can't just call it all "Mastodon".

@evan Unqualified disagree, all four of my large sons are named Mastodon

@evan I think people at large are going to call it by it’s most popular application, correct semantics be damned.

@locriani @evan Exactly this. Hence qualified disagree.

And now I question this. Are we ready for mass adoption? This is a good time for the "market". Is it a good time for the #Fediverse?

Or is perfect the enemy of good enough?


It's kind of like people calling Wikipedia "wiki". I think it's fine if folks discover the breadth of the fediverse over time. :)

@eloquence @evan I still think of c2wiki when people do that, and it continues to lead to confusion.

@eloquence @evan

No, it is like people calling wiki's "Wikipedia".

And calling all email software "Gmail".


Soda versus pop...

Or in the south (US) they like to call all soft drinks Coke. 🤦‍♂️

@eloquence @evan

This is an interesting prompt. I feel like it's important to meet people where they are at.


Also Mastondon is not an "App" nor a "Site". You wouldn't call email an "App", you have email clients and email server software.

Same with the Fediverse.


Qualified disagree.

Allow me to elaborate.

Let's... make sure folks are comfortable, first. And then blow their minds with all the options. 🤣 As a person who started using Mastodon this month, and is relatively tech savvy, *I* had a bit of a learning curve, and I rarely do. 🤣

Anyways, once they're "here," they can explore. And when they explore, they can find their herd. :dancingpenguin:

Yes, after Christmas I plan to stop welcoming newcomers to Mastodon and instead welcome them to the Fediverse. Right now is not the time to make a fuss about such things.


@evan I fumbled my vote but Strong Agree*
*you should always credit sources but I’m speaking about what “should happen”. I don’t think people should expect the layman to know these things much like I’m not too savvy about my car beyond some bare basics. Yes I can look all these things up and educate myself etc but I don’t think about it so I would think that’s how it is for everyone about something and the components of Mastodon feels like it’s that layer under the iceberg.

@evan Strong agree for software but for the past few years I would say that Fediverse is basically a loose ActivityPub profile, others like Diaspora being doing their own things.
Even more for XMPP clients with microblogging like Salut-À-Toi and Movim.

@evan most of us newbies have no idea what this question means, so Mastodon is all we would know to call it.

@kk @evan I started reading the thread to see if I could understand the question completely as well. It sounds like a good question but I had no idea what was really being asked.

But seeing as who it is from I knew it was something of interest to everyone.

My best guess is it's about Mastodon-like instances which I have no familiarity with having just arrived.

So, I'll get the popcorn, sit back and watch and maybe learn something.

@kaybee335 @kk @evan

Well, this is a bit complicated to explain (at least for me) so I'll try my best.

The #Fediverse :fediverse: is a federated social network with a bunch of different servers. But not all those servers run the same software, currently #Mastodon :mastodon: is the most popular one, but not the only.
#Pleroma :pleroma:
#Akkoma :akkoshrug:
#Misskey :misskey:
#Pixelfeed :pixelfed:
#PeerTube :peertube:
And an enourmus etc.

@kaybee335 @kk @evan
But all of those use the same protocol/speak the same lang (ActivityPub :activitypub:) which is what enables federation among them.

Some are similar to mastodon, others serve complete different propurses…
We have a lot of diversity.

And as it is composed by a myriad of projects it might be a bit frustrating to see media simply calling it mastodon. :blobcatphoto:

@SrEstegosaurio @kk @evan thank you! Your explanation was excellent and I'll definitely dive deeper into those other links

@evan I feel like sometimes people are saying you should make sure to recognize all of the other software and protocols in the fediverse and say fediverse when people are actually just talking about mastodon; sometimes you are talking about the fediverse, sometimes you're talking about mastodon (sometimes you're talking about something else), use what is relevant for the situation.

@evan extra strong agree, especially when you read uninformed articles that say things like "Interview with the startup Mastodon's CEO eugen on doing an IPO"

@evan is this like the GNU/Linux debate appeared again?

@evan @niomi I have already seen like 5 variations on the rms joke "Mastodon, or as I believe it should properly be called Fediverse/Mastodon..."

@evan you're probably followed by a ton of tech folks so these results will be terribly skewed

@evan I primarily agree with this because IMO mastodon is one of the *worst* implementations of activitypub, which is in turn one of the worst federation protocols.

@pixelherodev @evan which protocols are better? Which implementations are better?

uh, you know that
@evan was one of the co-authors of activity pub?

@evan Nope too late!

It's already Mastodon, if you want to change it now you'd need a time machine.


/me builds time machine

/me goes back to Paris in 1817

"Congratulations Baron Cuvier! You've identified an extinct species! I propose you name it 'The Fediverse'."

@evan hi, good to see you too.
I feel that if people call it mastodon and the way they interact with the fediverse is mastodon then why not to call it that way?

@gaba @evan

This totally depends if you only follow people from m. or if you also follow people from
mobilizon, wordpress, peertube, pixelfed, lemmy, inventaire, bookwyrm, castopod, owncast, funkwhale, WriteFreely and all the other fediverse software (soon tumblr and redaktor) …

The problem is rather if W3C (public-interest now !!!) is only naming the fediverse-software "m." [which btw would be illegal in my country for public-interest orgs]

@evan @gaba then there are those that need an option for, "choose not to answer, but still want to participate"😅

@evan If you've ever called a generic medication by its brand name, don't judge anyone for calling the Fediverse "Mastodon."

@StarCrashr @evan I'm assuming many people on the Fediverse are like me and do in fact take care not to call concepts by the first-mover brand or dominant brand's name. 😅

I know my assumption is a bit wrong, as apart from individual traits there are also differences between the Swedish culture I grew up and the dominant US culture on Fedi.

For whatever reason US people seem much more prone to e.g. wiping their face with Kleenexes and Xeroxing their papers, whereas Swedes tend to use paper tissues and photocopiers. There is no Velcro in Sweden, only "burdock straps".

@evan Are people doing this? It seems pretty clear, in all the explainers I've seen, that Mastodon is described as part of the fediverse, not the fediverse itself.

@evan It's actually Fediverse/Mastodon, or, as I've recently started calling it, Fediverse plus Mastodon.

@evan Speaking seriously: I'm more or less in the "qualified disagree" camp. It's important to have the option of recognizing all the other software and protocols in the fediverse, but in colloquial usage — which is how the vast majority of people use the term the vast majority of the time — it really doesn't matter. It really is a lot like the Linux vs. GNU/Linux issue.

@kechpaja @evan

To me it is different. More like product vs. open technology (yes, technically that's ActivityPub).

On the web I am searching, not googling. Same as I am not gmailing people. And I don't have a feedly stream on my site.

The moment you drop it all in one Mastodon basket you create a new future tech giant (though maybe one that has a non-profit structure still.. or a mozilla-like mix)

@evan I think it's important to call the things people create by their actual names, but I expect a rather large learning curve as folks adjust to the idea of federated social media.

For those of us who've been around since the GUI arrived, none of this is new.

(TBH, it's been a thrill to be back to a place that prioritizes people interacting on equal footing.)
I think people should at least stop call all the network as Mastodon. It's not so important to know about everything about Fediverse software, IMO.

@evan to the average user, brands are what matters. Mastodon is the foremost brand in the Fediverse. Taking care to inform them of all the layers and alternatives when they mention "mastodon" would be akin to the whole "it's not Linux, it's GNU/Linux, and there are distros, and they all have different names, and let me tell you about their different package managers and here is what a rolling release is and..." thing.

@evan everyone calls the World Wide Web the internet anyway.

@evan @natanyaakov You mean Facebook? Grampa switched on the Facebook and checked the timetable of trains, then read the mail. But the Facebook is slow today, possibly have to ask little Johnny to reinstall it. Or buy a larger Facebook, this one's almost 10 years old!

@evan I don’t understand the question. Can I choose to have someone yell at me about this? I want mastolifeline.

@evan Yes, you should promote all the fediverse. Just don't make peoples' first contact too complicated.

@evan I agree with you that, in an ideal world, all people would do this, but at the end of the day you have to accept that some people are going to call all nasal tissue "kleenex" all adhesive medical strips "band-aids" and all fediverse instances "mastodon".

Often this phenomenon occurs because the generalized forms don't "roll off the tongue" as easily. "Fediverse" is a really clunky term, but is also too entrenched to replace easily...

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