I’ve been trying to understanding how federation works. I won’t be talking here about technical aspects, but more social ones (maybe?). So it’s not about HOW you see a Note, but WHICH notes can you see. In what, I write below, I will focus on what Mastodon calls a “Hashtag timeline”, but I think the concept applies equally well to the visibility of replies.
“Fediverse Selection” is an idea I had to describe what is visible on an Instance in the Fediverse. I’ve tried to write up what I mean in the Jupyter notebook:
Note: This is Work In Progress, the ideas are still forming. The jupyter notebook performs roughly 3 * # hashtag * # instances requests.
By encouraging “Fediverse Selection”, I want to encourage people to “Choose instances that already federate topics they are interested in”. This would mean instances become more focused. I hope the consequences would be
More content on the instance people are interested in
Less network traffic, as focused posts only get federated to specialized servers
The only negative effect, I could imagine is that it would encourage the formation of isolated communities, and thus potential radicalization.
This sounds similar to the strategy that Mastodon already employs. They do exactly as you describe. They direct people to instances that have a particular topic or niche or shared interest.
It does reduce some of the network traffic, and it does make it easier for people to find people with shared interests, and it does promote the idea of communities, which can be a great thing or a toxic thing. It all depends on who is in the community and whether they shun outsiders who think differently than they do. But that really is not a new problem.
Another model that I am working on is a “content and community” concept, where a website or app has content about a specific topic, and then creates a community around that. People come for the content, and stay for the community.
I think community-building can be a very positive thing. Sure, you will have a small percentage of toxic communities, but that is not unique to the internet. The key is that any community that is built should have publicly stated rules and moderators that act professionally and reasonably.