Proof once again that your Mastodon data are not portable.
New Mastodon.social users apparently sent out a lot of spam. I never saw any—the only one I received was from Mastodon.uk overnight—and this morning I found myself cut off mid-conversation with a friend on Mastodon.nz as the admins there made the decision to suspend its connection with Mastodon.social.
And bang! Five hundred followers and followings gone.
Pretty rich since I’ve heard less than stellar accounts about Mastodon.nz from some people who have left, and I’ve had to block at least one person from there for sheer rudeness. Only Grace seems to consistently fly the flag high there among the admin team, at least among my feed (or rather, the feed I used to have).
Some people are advising that Mastodon.social users should move, but why should we? In my case over 40 per cent of my followers have disappeared, so if I moved now, they’d still be gone.
I chose Mastodon.social in 2017 because it looked the most stable, not because it might be a default. It was hosted in Germany, and at the time I signed up, Angela Merkel was the leader of the free world, so it made sense. But more recently there was talk about making it a default option for new users who didn’t want to pick their own instance, and that was where I think the mistake lay: spammers automated their processes and overwhelmed Mastodon.social. In fact, I posted something about how I disagreed with the new development last week. It’s hard to begrudge other instances for cutting off the one I reside on, given my own stance.
If you asked a layperson what portable data meant, I’m sure they would suggest your lists of followers and followings would be included. It shouldn’t be up to the whims of other instance moderators. It’s through the sweat of my own brow that I built those connections. (So far only two people have reconnected out of the 500 gone.) And that’s where the annoying bit lies.
So even though I could export to Calckey, where I have an account, my lists would be 40 per cent light.
This is not my first experience; last time 60 followings became 12 when I tried to go from Mastodon.art to Fashionsocial.host. Only 12 were portable. And that wasn’t down to defederation, either, but a suspension that was quickly lifted.
The best solution to all of this is to host your own instance, which I lack the technical know-how to do, and all the guides presume a level of knowledge that far exceeds mine.
It’s still not for the everyday person, and I consider this a huge disappointment. Big Tech is evil, and small tech is too hard. Laypeople are still caught in between the whims of others.
Better to stay away from social media, full stop.
PS.: Also try requesting your archive from Mastodon.social. I did, on the day I wrote the above. It’s now the 18th and there is still no sign of it.—JY