Modding Mastodon Source Into Something Else?

I’m interested in prototyping a small social network that is quite limited in its functionality (compared to Mastodon and others), but it would still share some core features with Mastodon. For example, it needs users and authentication, profiles, posts, a feed, maybe a way to follow, and a char limit on text/posts. I probably don’t have a need for other core features, such as federation or the ability to install one’s own server.

I’ve been thinking about forking the source and hacking it into what I want. But before I go down this route, I thought I’d toss the idea out here, see if those with experience see this as crazy for some reason? I know I could start from scratch, assemble something simple – but undoubtedly you all have worked out so many issues and it works so well that I’d like to avoid rebuilding wheels.

Thanks for any thoughts! I thought about posting in Core but thought it was quite on topic so am posting here instead.

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Seems like you are not the only one… You might want to have a look at Pleroma, their source code and backend implementation are much simpler to read and follow. (In my opinion it is less efficient than Mastodon but that’s just an opinion).