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Another great thing about Mastodon is the level of engagement. During my entire time on Twitter I constantly had the feeling of shouting into the void. Responses were rare, and actual conversations were rarer still.

The difference on Mastodon has been stark, right from the start. People *talk* to each other here. The Federated and Local timelines facilitate responding to people outside your little bubble, without algorithm-driven "trending" topics.

Algorithms like that are bad because they serve you up more of the things you already like or interact with, and eventually distill those things down to a narrower and narrower range of topics.

You don't make an echo chamber by refusing to give time to chuds. You make it by restricting what's served up as easily accessible topics. Algorithms are VERY good at that, even when they're not designed to do so.

The timelines here are kind of the opposite.

What we need, as heavily online people, is the Small Internet.

Search engines that aren't algorithmically based, and maybe give some less relevant -- but more intriguing -- results. Social media that has filters you can set, but doesn't let an AI curate your topics. Weird little blogs, less ad-laden websites.

What we need is a little more inconvenience.

@betsythemuffin

Pretty sure I've read that, but it's worth sharing and reading again.

@Nezchan ive learned that the little inconvencies nourish the brain.

Would be too dull otherwise

> Search engines that aren't algorithmically based, and maybe give some less relevant -- but more intriguing -- results. Social media that has filters you can set, but doesn't let an AI curate your topics. Weird little blogs, less ad-laden websites.

@Nezchan I gotchu fam: https://seirdy.one/2021/03/10/search-engines-with-own-indexes.html

Check the "Smaller indexes" and "Non-generalist search" sections.

One caveat: you really do need algorithmically-based results if you index has more than a million or so entries. Spam, shock content, keyword soup, etc. are really common. Often, it's not even intentional.
But algorithms can be simple. Simple custom centrality algorithms centered aorund some favored sites with some noise added can go a long way, offering some serendipity without trying to give you an exact answer.

@Seirdy

Well, I'm not necessarily saying no algorithms of any kind here, but more keeping it to the baseline that checks relevance as you point out. But of course all the big name engines don't restrict themselves to that.

@Nezchan the only algo search engines need is "do these results all contain what was searched for?" google often breaks even that simple expectation

@patterfloof

I find it even harder to get really good results out of DuckDuckGo, to be honest. Sometimes I still have to use Google to get something useful.

i hate the term "algorithm" because it alienates people from the forces behind that code. just call it what it is, "malicious software made to keep you engaged with the *platform* it runs". but i guess "algorithm" rolls off the tongue more easily, so whatever.

@Nezchan I still sort of feel like I'm shouting into the void here but eh... when I do get a response, it tends to be a better conversation, that's for sure.

@Nezchan On twitter I got plenty of replies to my posts, accusing me of having the gall to try to introduce nuance into a conversation and being a bot.

@Nezchan

On twitter you shout into the void.

On mastodon the void shouts into you.

@Nezchan I haven't noticed, but you're right. Also I feel that a lot of conversations here are a lot less shouty and a little bit more productive. It's pretty refreshing

@spm2008

The layout suggests that this was part of a talk, so it's a bit hard to understand what they're trying to communicate.

I think they want to develop systems that don't push us into snap decisions, but rather facilitate a moment of reflection, and encourage us, by subtle design, to think about it?

@Nezchan yeah skery I wrote it and it was a presentation. I think you have the right gist of things and would be happy to chat about it… :-) please let me know if you want to talk and I would to share more!

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Wandering Shop

The Wandering Shop is a Mastodon instance initially geared for the science fiction and fantasy community but open to anyone. We want our 'local' timeline to have the feel of a coffee shop at a good convention: tables full of friendly conversation on a wide variety of topics. We welcome everyone who wants to participate, so long as you're willing to abide by our Code of Conduct.