Social Media Deathwatch II

Not content with seeing Elmo destroy Twitter, Reddit's management have one-upped them, and killed Apollo, the good mobile app (there was Alien Blue, but Reddit bought it and screwed it up; it's trash now).

Many subreddits were going to protest by going dark on June 12-14, some ongoing, but now while that's probably still happening, it's irrelevant.

When a site tells you they don't want you using it, except by their captured clients, you should stop using it. All they want is to control you and put ads in your eyeballs, until you explode.

That happened for me years ago with Twitter. It happened before that with MySpace; I know it sounds like a joke now, but if you liked music and web design, MySpace was a fantastic place to meet people. And before that, there was LiveJournal; now owned by Russian criminals. Reddit came out of Digg being fed into a woodchipper just because Kevin Rose wanted a little bit of money. I dunno what keeps a billion people trapped in Facebook, but they've never had open clients, those people like being property.

Don't use closed networks owned by someone else.

Use fediverse and IRC, and be prepared to jump servers if you don't like hosting your instances. There's a Reddit/Digg-like Lemmy built on ActivityPub, so you can subscribe to things from Mastodon, etc.; I've started reading that and will probably start posting to it some. There's dozens of fedi/mastodon/pixelfed clients; hopefully someone makes one as nice as Apollo for Lemmy.

Update: is overloaded, there's instructions on how to pick other instances and join groups. It's happening!

Smurf You, Gargamel

Mastodon 4.0.2 has been released, with one of the worst UI choices ever: Changing "Toot!" to "Publish!"

This aggression will not stand, man!

  • stupidcomments.css - now changes it back to Toot!, and hides the mastodon image. Import this into Safari with Preferences, Advanced, Style Sheet. The sheet also blocks a lot of comment forms and other crap, you can just delete all rules above and below the mastodon entry if you only care about that.

Update 2022-12-01, removed all the excess whitespace from the post UI, and enlarged emoji so I can read them. Maybe too much, but I like it. If you're not so happy with that, edit (carefully!) and remove the padding rules, or change 0 to 4px or 8px to taste; you'll have to use Safari preferences to un-choose and then re-choose the file to make it reload.



Sidebar after:

Footnote about the title, because it's come up from yapping commenters who know nothing: Peyo, the artist who created the Smurfs, was emphatically not anti-semitic, Gargamel is not a racist stereotype, he's just an evil/misguided alchemist character borrowed from Rabelais, and we mock "Gargron" with his name. You savages. How dare you.

How to Fediverse

Since everyone is finally joining Fediverse as the maniac burns down Twitter shitbird, I have some more advice, after 6 years on (plus some OStatus way back when):

  1. Don't be a dick. Be kind, and even if you like arguing (as I do), don't go off the rails. We're hopefully here to have fun and build little communities. This isn't the Torment Nexus®, it's not a hell where your punishment is to be with every other shitbird user forever.

  2. Pick any instance except or, those are run by mstdn gGmbh (aka Gargamel), gigantic, massively overloaded, poorly moderated now and for the foreseeable future. Also don't join an instance blocked by everyone else, see the list of moderated servers - if in doubt, ask a friend on already on fediverse.

  3. Set your avatar, write a bio. Put your interests in there. Blank accounts might be pigs or advertisers. We fear faceless intruders.

  4. Toot (what we call posts) at least an - maybe pin that on your profile (ellipses … menu under the toot).

  5. THEN you can follow people, see Local or Federated timelines or look thru follows/mentions. If you know someone's @userid@host, put that in the search box, hit enter, it'll show up in a list, and you can pick it there.

  6. When you write something good, pin it. Read pinned toots to know who and what people are. I'm amused by people faving all my pins, but it's a little noisy.

  7. CW (content warning) ANYTHING someone might be bugged by. ESPECIALLY politics, pictures which might be even a little slutty or eye-contact, gross, whatever. CW anything that might annoy or trigger someone. If you don't do this, you will be rapidly blocked by almost everyone. This is maybe the single most important bit of etiquette.

  8. When you toot pictures, write a description. It doesn't have to be long, but the key text & image & context. There are blind users, and those on text-only interfaces. There are online OCR sites or on macOS/iOS you can just open it, copy-paste the text. If the picture is NSFW or blinking or otherwise annoying, hit NSFW to blur it out until it's clicked on.

  9. Don't crosspost from shitbird. "Free content!", no. Nobody wants that, nobody will read you.

  10. Favorite just sends a "hey, cool" beep to the author of the toot. Boost sends it to your followers as well. There is no algorithm, just a timeline! So if you like something, boost it!

    • If you don't like seeing a lot of boosts from someone, open their profile, and hit ellipses … and "Hide boosts from user".
    • If you don't like seeing ANY boosts, open 3-seashells ㆔ menu under Home, and uncheck "Show boosts".
  11. Full-text search doesn't exist mostly; some servers allow searching your own toot text only. Hashtags, userids, and toot URLs can be searched for. Put in all your toots that you want to find again, or want anyone to see in a topic search! should be camelCasedLikeThat, for screen readers; avoid punctuation in hashtags.

  12. Mastodon starts in a single-column simplified UI. It has a much better mode:

    1. Settings, Advanced Web Interface, check. Back to UI, and you have 3+ columns.
    2. The 3-seashells ㆔ menu on each column lets you modify it.
    3. Search for a hashtag, hit the 3 seashells under that search, +Pin.
    4. Hit 3-seashells ㆔ again, add even more tags, so you can have your own constant search for a whole topic.

    There are also lists of users, so you can see JUST the important stuff, and in the next update (rolling out to servers soonish) you can follow a hashtag, but that puts it in Home, which may be too busy.

Welcome to fedi, here's your pineapple and jorts.

Look on my Tweets, ye Mighty, and Despair

And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
—"Ozymandias", Percy Bysshe Shelley

Immediately after ElmoNusk came into shitbird central with a sink (what), he fired the old management (and claims he doesn't need to pay their bailouts), and is already "making redundant" the workforce (before having to pay off their stock vesting). Win or lose, his scam there is funny; the people who built the Torment Nexus deserve punishment, but he's likely to have to pay out more in legal fees by the time it's over.

Already the shitbird to Fediverse migration is going well, the stats account I follow shows a couple million up, which might be half the "MAU" Humans left on shitbird, the rest being bots and defunct accounts. Shitbird's stats describe anyone posting 3-5 weekly as a "heavy tweeter", which many of the actual people I know do per hour. I've got a lot of new followers, and my policy is "followbackfriday", every Friday I go thru my new follows and see who's filled in their avatar, bio, and an intro post at least. I say "a lot", but on fediverse that's <500 follows, <1000 followers, I had something like 5x as many on shitbird, but 1% of the activity and "engaaaagement" (excuse the SEO word). Anyway, I expect migration will take another week or so as frogs figure out the stove really is on.

When the Crown Prince of the Joseon Empire (defunct) bought out Freenode, it took a few weeks for everyone to get over to with the same or better channels (# lisp is now all LISP-family, # commonlisp is CL-specific, # scheme is for all Schemes, etc.), and get kicked off the corpse of Freenode. Nobody knows or cares what happened to the CPotJE or what used to be freenode.

So now I'm wondering how long it'll take for that to happen to shitbird. Days? ElmoNusk posted QAnon shit almost immediately. GM pulled their advertising. And this is just Halloween weekend. Next week, mostly awake and sober, is gonna be lit. And not in a good way, more "your entire city is on fire". Will there be anything but jesus-dakimakura pillow guy and (Kan't)Ye posting by next Friday?

OK, you want something more positive, actionable than my schadenfreude? Back up your tweets. I had a hell of a time getting my shitbird data out. Don't stall on this. Because when stupid companies shut down a service, they do it fast and don't care about your stuff. Remember Yahoo! paying billions for GeoCities, the greatest communal artwork of Humanity, and shuttering it with no backup or warning? That's what's gonna happen to shitbird. Don't be there when it does.


This is a post for Twitter users. Your yearly reminder that Twitter is run badly by terrible people, it's getting worse, and you're in a neverending cycle of hell, doomscrolling.

OR, you can come over to Fediverse. If you were on back in the day (or really, last few years), I can invite you to or you can join anything on the, or join Mastodon - just don't choose or other >10K user instances, try to spread out a bit. We're all safer if we decentralize! Don't just put a different Man's boot on your neck!

Fediverse has better social interaction, you can choose to look at just your home (people you follow), Local, or the entire nearby Federated feeds; some days Federated's too much. Dip my toes in and see if anyone interesting is up there, otherwise just see what my friends are saying. You can post world-wide, local, followers-only, or "direct" (not quite private, but close). You can block & report people, or block an entire instance if they're all assholes.

The tech is better. Most instances have a 500-char post limit, some have higher limits, and some allow Markdown or raw HTML markup (most don't, tho). Quote-tweeting doesn't really exist (screenshot-dunking is a reportable offense), threading actually works. You can enable some local & global trending tags, but don't. Search is deliberately less useful, to prevent bad actors from searching keywords and attacking you in a private conversation. If you want it to be searchable, add hashtags. It's not 100% secure from scanning bots for ads or "research", but they're uncommon.

The culture's probably a bit of a shock if you spend all your time in the shit. People have their own interests, but aren't generally screaming about every disaster. There's, on the mainstream instances anyway, no fascists, tankies, transphobes, or Republicans (they've been exiled to "", a Mastodon fork without federation). You'll have to find actual news sources instead of random links promoted by Russian spambots.

Couple of get-started guides for you:

And I'm here:

I promise you it's much nicer than what you're putting up with now.

comic by KC Green

Paid Twitter

I said years ago Twitter should have a paid no-ads tier.

But now, I think they should do microtransactions, with their own microcurrency, the birdseed (BS), roughly 1 BS = $0.01 but look out for bundle sales!

Emoji gachapon packs cost 300 BS for one pull, 3000 BS for a 10x with guaranteed S-tier; keep pulling, maybe you'll get that ? you need (0.00062% chance). Avatar from webcam/front camera only costs 1000 BS, avatar from anime builder is 200 BS, a new avatar "costume" or filter costs 100 BS, uploading a photo is 10,000 BS. Every post costs 10 BS, or special packs of 200 for 1500 BS. Faves cost 69 BS, of which 7 BS goes back to the faved person, quote-dunking costs 666 BS. Following costs 100 BS, blocking is free.

This would just about fix Twitter. In that nobody would put up with it (well, millions of phone gamers do, but there's sometimes an actual game under the microcurrency shit); but apparently they don't mind being spammed at which costs far more.

Or you can Join Mastodon for free, and not be on the same network as the orange shitgibbon and every crazy person screaming at each other because they don't know where the block button is. That's nice, too.

Way back in 2017, Manton Reece (who'd previously made Tweetmarker, a last-read-syncing service back when multiple Twitter clients existed, but then he quit using Twitter!) had a Kickstarter for a microblog/Twitter-like service where you'd host your own content, and a book about that.

3 years on, what's happened with How's it compare to blogging, fediverse, and Twitter?

No book yet, he's kicked the deadline down the road from 2018 to February 2020. Necromancers have a more strict understanding of "deadline". I have no leg to stand on mocking someone else's procrastination, but I do it anyway. Not just out of "where's my book?", but also it'd hopefully explain why he's made some of these decisions.

The service currently mostly hosts content on his silo, a Dreamhosts Hugo configuration, either free as, or paid as or your own DNS name pointing at the silo. Or, you can syndicate posts from any other blog, but there are difficult limitations.

There's no easy way to tell, but I believe the userbase is in the high hundreds or low thousands, mostly free. I follow a good number of busy people and see far <100 posts/day.

Microblogging: is, as Manton describes it, only for microblogging. Which means different things to different people.

To me, the Twitter experience was finding your friends at meetups, and links to long blog posts and art, often reposted widely, and then you'd have a discussion in replies. We wanted to see all our friends' replies because that's how you found out what was interesting to them. It was a social RSS reader.

Later as Twitter sabotaged the community to try to become a new Facebook, it devolved into brainless blipverts and morons shouting at you. I think the restriction of short posts cuts off oxygen to your brain and you start to die, which is why people panic and hate so much there. That's the part you shouldn't emulate. I blame Twitter for much of the political situation of the US.

fediverse has a few defense mechanisms against becoming Twitter. Long posts, and content warnings (intended to hide adult or possibly annoying content, often used as humorous titles or to minimize long posts for those not interested) encourage thinking about a post. You can have an intelligent discussion, not screaming slogans at each other.

The early Mastodon (specifically, not so much the other servers) community was rabidly anti-business and anti-celebrity; and I do mean rabid in the way they attacked Wil Wheaton, of all people (he said "Don't be a dick!" and they were dicks to him). There's places more neutral now, but most extremists are still federated. Gab's ludicrous move to fediverse didn't do much for them, since many servers block them and even try unpersoning anyone who doesn't. But is a hive of scum & villainy like Twitter, so beware of large instances.

Manton's view, as I understand it, is that microblogging is just conversation in short SMS-like messages (280 chars for m.b, which maybe provoked Twitter into doubling its 140? But fediverse posts are 500+). Titles are not allowed, or it becomes just a link with no context, summary, or images (except the current bug/design flaw which does post 16x16 flyspeck icons of your images).

In WordPress, titles are not realistically optional. The scheduler and batch editors are nearly unusable without them, all the blog themes look bad and can't be easily navigated. WordPress is for writing—I don't like the Gutenberg editor, but they clearly understand the power of Johannes Gutenberg's printing press—generally long, coherent thoughts and essays. Even short linked-list content, like my music of the day, needs to say what it is first, and I put effort into writing puns, poems, or suggestive descriptions. Just irreconcilable.

Art: m.b does sort of support photography. Originally it cropped all photos square, compressed to some small size, run thru one of a few ugly filters like it was still 2010—but now if your post is hosted on the silo, it'll post a photo unmolested, I believe. If hosted elsewhere, and you have no title, and low enough char count, it might post your images, rescaled to some smaller size, after some processing time; all the joy of 24 Hour Photos for the 21st Century. There's even a separate iOS app Sunlit, sort of an Instagram clone, but rather pointless since the main m.b app or Icro (a 3rd party iOS client) will read the whole timeline and also post images. Now's a good time to see this in action, as there's a "pin" for posting a photo every day for the month.

If you have a title, you get the flyspeck icons instead of actual art. This might be my biggest problem. I put effort into making a post fun & interesting, and it's stripped to a bare text link.

Tagging: m.b has its own solution, which is a limited (10? 4 of which are America-centric sportsballs) set of emoji. If you post ? it'll show up in a discover tab about books. It's pretty quiet.

This is totally incompatible with WordPress, where categories are named, or Twitter or fediverse, where is standard, so you need both to syndicate your taxonomy. Since m.b doesn't pick up any post content with a title, I'd have to put emoji tags in the title which is weird and puts a bunch of hex escapes in the URL slug. And most of my posts are unclassifiable, because I don't talk about sportsball; where's the Scheme programming emoji? The Sumerians invented a system of syllabic writing 5200 years ago to get away from pure hieroglyphics because they couldn't have enough symbols to represent every idea. Maybe in another few thousand years this new hieroglyphics idea will fade out.

There's no search function in m.b, though search engines generally crawl some or all of the timeline. Search in fediverse is limited to your own posts and stars, public hashtags, and user accounts, but also search engines and all sorts of research and marketers scan the public timelines, it's easy to find anything. Blogs are nice and persistent, and search engines work fine with these.

Reply hazy: In Twitter, a post has a permalink, and if you click that it shows the post & replies, as you'd expect from a silo. Actually, it now makes you hit "more" links all thru the thread because Jack hates the Twitter-that-was.

m.b has no visible permalink in the apps, but does on the site. Except where it doesn't, like in replies, where you need to click the reply date to see the reply & one parent, then the upper name, and you can see the thread.

WP of course only has comments, but they're just down there.

fediverse permalinks show only immediate parents & replies, except the root post shows all replies (sometimes including 1000+ reply "hellthreads" which will peg your CPU, it's great fun).

In theory, all of these are connectible by webmention protocols and ActivityPub and IFTTT, in practice even nerds like me only have patience for one cross-wiring.

Identity: Possibly the weirdest part of is the sign-in system, which has no password. It sends a token to your email, you click the link and you're logged in until you clear cookies, which I do rather often. Since there's no username/password, the browser can't remember it for you, and there's nothing in 1password. Somewhat more dangerous than other email recovery systems, since there's no "something you know and something you have", it should probably have at least a recovery PIN.

Remember the "pins" from Art? They're achievements, but hidden away in the site, Account, pins; there's no way to see anyone else's, or compare to global stats, or anything like that. Likewise, you can't see anyone's follower/following count exactly, tho it does list "Following N users you aren't following".

The profile if you're using the free account is incredibly minimalist; an avatar and short bio, no ability to theme it. If you pay for the silo, you can theme your Hugo instance, but it's fairly limited because most Hugo themes don't work with title-less posts, either.

Back in the day, Twitter let you customize your colors and page background, but now it's generic with a little header image if anyone looks at your profile.

fediverse has a much more extensive bio, up to 4 key/value links (I use them for Blog, BBS, Patreon, and Pronouns), and tabs for all your pings (aka toots/awoos/posts, depending on server), pings & replies, and media posts.

Of course, you can do anything with WP; I'm on the Twenty Sixteen theme, but heavily customized, and I may strip out the stock CSS soon to make a few tweaks easier.

Where are we? So, this blog seems nearly ideal to me now. I need to clean up my categories, and there's a few site & style hacks I'd like to make, but it's the happiest I've been with a technical system in a long time. Audience is good, at least by current standards. I'd love to get more, but Scheme, RPGs, music, movie, videogame, & book reviews, and space news may just be a niche intersection.

Syndication is my big problem, and unfortunately is by far the least capable of the 4 places my posts go out to, and aside from commenting does nothing an RSS link wouldn't do better.

I couldn't, or wouldn't, go back to a SMS-level Twitter service, so posting on m.b the way it's "intended" isn't useful.

Be like Luke. Delete Facebook.

I deleted mine a few years ago, and it's great to be free. See also:

Though since then, has stalled out and is the ugliest, least capable of the social networks I'm connected to. It's a useful comment system on my posts.

Fediverse, whether Mastodon or Pleroma, is much more capable, a W3C standard, and is growing fast without most of the problems of "social networks". The former App.Net community is at

Twitter to Join Fediverse!

Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media. The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard. ?

Which to me just sounds like ActivityPub with extra steps. My immediate shitpost reaction was "Twitter's new servers will only federate with Gab and 4chan."

But to be serious a second:

  1. has 423K users; 10% are "active". M.s is a social mess, really an open sewer; reading the Federation timeline on it with a LOT of filtering is unpleasant or impossible. Much of the content there is kind of unpleasant; it's more left-wing but just as bad as Twitter is. For a while, I had the instance blocked, but it interfered with me following & being followed by friends who live there. I'd like them to leave for a nicer suburb, but they won't yet.
  2. has 590K users, but it's on the fringes of Fediverse and gets blocked or silenced by a lot for porn publishing. shrug
  3. Twitter has 330M users; probably 1% are "active", but that's still 3.3M users, 6x more than the biggest Mastodons. Every social problem of M.s is going to be vastly worse, and it'll need a fairly different software architecture than Mastodon or even Pleroma (which is more efficient, but we haven't seen any big Pleroma instances).

I think if Twitter does adopt ActivityPub, they'll need to split into a bunch of servers. Ideally they'd take a cue from GeoCities and have regional or interest-based servers, so there'd be,,,,, etc., and on a big naming day they'd make everyone pick their new home. Cap them at 100K or something sane. Then they could participate in Fediverse like everyone else.

More likely Twitter will be intensely boring and character-less, and name them,, etc., and have some hack where the front end routes users to their shard, there won't be a Local or Federated timeline at all, and they'll just wreck the Federated timeline with the Twitter firehose of shit.

New Twitter UI

Speaking of social fucking media. The new Twitter UI is ridiculous. It's now impossible to have a bookmark to your "Latest Tweets" view or set a preference to only see that instead of "the algorithm" picking shit for you, have to manually click a star icon which has no mouseover text, title, or hints, I want you to see the source for this button (turn away if you're squeamish):

<div class="css-1dbjc4n r-1awozwy r-18u37iz r-1h3ijdo r-1777fci r-1jgb5lz r-sb58tz r-utggzx r-13qz1uu">
<div class="css-1dbjc4n r-16y2uox r-1wbh5a2 r-1pi2tsx r-1777fci">
<div class="css-1dbjc4n r-1habvwh">
<h2 aria-level="2" dir="auto" role="heading" class="css-4rbku5 css-901oao css-bfa6kz r-1fmj7o5 r-1qd0xha r-1b6yd1w r-1vr29t4 r-ad9z0x r-bcqeeo r-qvutc0">
<span class="css-901oao css-16my406 r-1qd0xha r-ad9z0x r-bcqeeo r-qvutc0">
Latest Tweets</span>
<div class="css-1dbjc4n r-obd0qt r-1pz39u2 r-1777fci r-1joea0r r-1vsu8ta r-18qmn74">
<div aria-label="Top Tweets off" role="button" data-focusable="true" tabindex="0" class="css-18t94o4 css-1dbjc4n r-1niwhzg r-42olwf r-sdzlij r-1phboty r-rs99b7 r-1w2pmg r-1vuscfd r-53xb7h r-mk0yit r-o7ynqc r-6416eg r-lrvibr" style="margin-right: calc(5px + ((-1 * (41px - 1.5em)) / 2));">
<div dir="auto" class="css-901oao r-1awozwy r-13gxpu9 r-6koalj r-18u37iz r-16y2uox r-1qd0xha r-a023e6 r-vw2c0b r-1777fci r-eljoum r-dnmrzs r-bcqeeo r-q4m81j r-qvutc0">
<svg viewBox="0 0 24 24" class="r-13gxpu9 r-4qtqp9 r-yyyyoo r-1q142lx r-50lct3 r-dnmrzs r-bnwqim r-1plcrui r-lrvibr">
<path d="M22.772 10.506l-5.618-2.192-2.16-6.5c-.102-.307-.39-.514-.712-.514s-.61.207-.712.513l-2.16 6.5-5.62 2.192c-.287.112-.477.39-.477.7s.19.585.478.698l5.62 2.192 2.16 6.5c.102.306.39.513.712.513s.61-.207.712-.513l2.16-6.5 5.62-2.192c.287-.112.477-.39.477-.7s-.19-.585-.478-.697zm-6.49 2.32c-.208.08-.37.25-.44.46l-1.56 4.695-1.56-4.693c-.07-.21-.23-.38-.438-.462l-4.155-1.62 4.154-1.622c.208-.08.37-.25.44-.462l1.56-4.693 1.56 4.694c. 1.62-4.155 1.622zM6.663 3.812h-1.88V2.05c0-.414-.337-.75-.75-.75s-.75.336-.75.75v1.762H1.5c-.414 0-.75.336-.75.75s.336.75.75.75h1.782v1.762c0 .414.336.75.75.75s.75-.336.75-.75V5.312h1.88c.415 0 .75-.336.75-.75s-.335-.75-.75-.75zm2.535 15.622h-1.1v-1.016c0-.414-.335-.75-.75-.75s-.75.336-.75.75v1.016H5.57c-.414 0-.75.336-.75.75s.336.75.75.75H6.6v1.016c0 .414.335.75.75.75s.75-.336.75-.75v-1.016h1.098c.414 0 .75-.336.75-.75s-.336-.75-.75-.75z">
<span class="css-901oao css-16my406 css-bfa6kz r-1qd0xha r-ad9z0x r-bcqeeo r-qvutc0">

Are you fucking kidding me.

They removed the ability to set your own profile's background color & image some time ago, back in the day everyone's Twitter pages (if they knew what they were doing) looked unique and like a home page, but now it's entirely gone. There's a little swatch of image behind your profile photo, but nobody'll ever see it.

Conversations are even harder to read, but the site's been just broken for conversations for years. Kara Swisher's interview/monstering of Jack proved that.

I'm sure there's more to hate.

Come over to Fediverse, if you actually want a quieter place to have a few conversations, and a relentlessly non-algorithmic timeline; Mastodon's more baseline what-Twitter-was-like for good and bad, Pleroma's a better server and client but often smaller, isolated instances (porn and weirdos, yay!). Don't be a gigantic flaming asshole there and it'll be fine; well, and Gab is sorta federated except everyone blocks them, so even flaming assholes have a home.