Arindam Basu
2 min readNov 22, 2022


Hi Jeff,

Fantastic write up, as always!

Great to see you focused on Fediverse as a whole in the opening paragraph! You may want to link to

to provide readers a 'smorgasbord' of different fediverse apps, :-), just a thought.

Where you write that it

"does not greatly matter what server you join", you may want to qualify that statement a little, stating that it does not matter only if the reader wants to join a general purpose server but then there are 'theme' or 'topic' or 'geography' based servers that have slightly different focus, praps norms; although people can post anything they want anywhere, sometimes the instance admins take umbrage if they do something that is not expected.

Before I started my own server, I was on an NZ-based server and one time I posted a Bengali language post explaining a friend about Mastodon. A few hours later the "friendly" instance admin wrote to me a polite note that someone reported me for writing in Bengali language and that, he was kind enough to read the translated version and he thought it was "all good". But this was a signal to me that writing in a non-English language was not welcome. So it might be a good idea to read the policies of a server before joining. Overall I agree with you about not to stress about the choice, picking one, because one can always move and move their followers with them.

Other than that, there are a couple of things you may want to add:

- People can now 'follow' hashtags in the same way they follow people. On Mastodon 4.0 (latest version), search for a hashtag, and then on the top right hand corner of the search results, click on the + sign to follow the hashtag, :-)

- Wrt local timeline, I found 'local' timeline useful to find 'local' or nearby people on my server. For example, I used to find on our NZ based local servers, browsing the 'local' timeline brought up several interesting New Zealand based people whom I later followed. Likely that if people were to discover smaller instances, the local timeline can be a great resource to find new and interesting people. Same for servers such as "med-mastodon", or topic based servers, :-), good discovery tool; might not be a good idea for larger servers such as

- The reason 'alt' tags are being asked for is that, it helps visually impaired people to follow an image with the descriptors, perhaps you may want to mention.

- A related convention is to use the first letter in capital for writing a hashtag.

Thanks again for writing a nice post!

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Arindam Basu

Medical Doctor and an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University of Canterbury. Founder of TwinMe,