Specialized development teams (and categories) for specific Mastodon feature-sets

We clearly have a few people who’s primary interest in regards to Mastodon development is working on these types of features, and it wouldn’t be impossible to expand that group of developers (I believe).

There are features we, Gargron and I, are going to focus on in our development plan, but none of this hampers other developers ability to work with us and provide useful tools for the Masto-verse. I will bring this up now, as I’ve been very busy for the past few weeks, and will continue to be until the 2nd of June, finding developers who are interested in specialized [edit: niche] development of mastodon is going to be a priority for me during the summer. And also organization in regards to communication between us.

Specialized development examples are @beatrix-bitrot with anti-harassment.
I know @hoodie is interested in revamping of the messages system, as to allow local only, but I recall there may be a connection to anti-harassment for this feature?
@nolan I see constantly working on performance improvements. Would love to see those update posts get a light on this forum as well.
@mjankowski I believe has done quite some refactoring?
Documentation and translation

These are just some examples, and not in any way saying that this is a solo man project. But rather just giving highlights.

Would any of you want subcategories / categories, to use as a workspace for discussing future features and work you are doing?

Before I open the floor to everyone, I just want to say even though the examples I have given up here are specialization to the code specifically, I do believe that we have plenty of space to add for other specialized work too. Like if the people working on the wiki want their own space, if people from different language groups want their own categories, etc etc. Just let us know!

Major edit:

Replaced "niche" with "specialized" to carry the intended meaning (full details inside),

as niche seems to have a negative connotation to it, even though the definitions I double checked with before posting do not seem negative to me.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of niche:

2 a : a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted finally found her niche
d : a specialized market

Thesaurus: NICHE Synonyms: 20 Synonyms & Antonyms for NICHE | Thesaurus.com

Words related to niche, ‘compartment: section, subdivision.’; ‘department:area of interest, expertise’

Further it would be helpful, for future discussions to not assume malintent in someone’s post, as it tends to risk derailing the discussion. See further forum guidelines here.

[edit: Moved some stuff around]

This thread started as a reply, realized it went off topic and that I had another point to make.

So, are any of these features requested and have associated issue on Github? (yes I am still playing catch up in regards to github issues)

A post was merged into an existing topic: Why do people leave Mastodon?

Err, I’m kinda peeved that you named a thread on anti-harrassment features “niche development.” If you consider anti-harassment a niche then… that’s a big disagreement on priorities.

I got overwhelmed by the Github issues as it became too difficult to sort through them and check for duplicates, and old issues tend to get forgotten.

[moderation: moved section back to original thread]

Anyway, back on the topic of anti-harassment features:

I was doing my occasional checking of all the lolcow forums to make sure nobody I know has been targeted and saw them complaining about how tumblr, twitter, and facebook all have features which enable quick and easy deletion and/or hiding of all of your profile’s content. Tumblr allows you to delete your blog and every post on it, though not the reblogged copies. It also lets you password-protect your blog which hides every post retroactively. Facebook lets you retroactively change the privacy scope on every post earlier than X year. This was immensely helpful to me when I got targeted by S*SS as I was able to set every post I’d ever made to “Friends Only” with only one click. On Twitter you can also delete your account, which retroactively takes with it every post you’ve ever made; and when you lock your account is hides all of your posts, not just those going forward.

Mastodon currently can’t do anything like this, which means if a targeted harassment campaign finds an old mastodon account of yours which you maybe overshared on, you can’t do anything to stop them from reading those old posts and collecting information unless you one-by-one go through and delete thousands of posts.

Account data deletion would also be useful in the event that your instance admin “betrays” you. Someone you thought was trustworthy reveals their true colors, and perhaps you want to get your data off of their server.

So to summarize, useful anti-harassment features built into the 3 Big Social networks which we don’t have are:

  1. Keyword muting in notifications
  2. Notification filtering to weed out dummy accounts (“angry eggs” etc.)
  3. Filtering of private messages (not as applicable to us)
  4. Retroactively hiding all posts on account
  5. Account deletion

I can make GitHub issues for these if you’d like. Not today though I seem to have caught a stomach bug. I’m pretty sure 1 and 5 already have Github issues but they’re very very old.


A post was merged into an existing topic: Why do people leave Mastodon?

Having spoken to @maloki, she intended “niche” in its meaning of “specialized and specific”, not “limited and unimportant”. She cited:

  • 2a : a place, employment, status, or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted (“finally found her niche”)
  • 2d : a specialized market

And said:

“…these niche groups are literally because we do care, but Gargron can’t necessarily do all the work, and it’s a way for us to speed up the process of development of some of htese features, in contact with me but as their own focus group (if that makes sense).”

These groups are intended to help focus groups work on a set of features of their specialized interest, in contact with the Project Manager so we are on the same page regarding the project as a whole. I’ll modify the title to reflect that.

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Yeah like @shel I don’t see performance as a “niche” concern, but I’m gonna guess this is a language barrier issue. :slight_smile: The word “niche” in English carries some baggage of “unimportant,” “trifling,” etc. But I understand what you mean.

I think my “performance” work could also be characterized as “mobile” work. Essentially my goal is for Mastodon (the web client) to be usable on mobile browsers like iOS Safari, Android Chrome, and Android Firefox. This is important not only for users who are sensitive to bandwidth issues with native apps (e.g. in emerging markets), but also those of us who prefer to avoid app stores and the inherent centralization/censorship/proprietary-ness they represent.

Incidentally I think this “mobile” work will also help users who are using desktop browsers on low-end or older laptops; those of us running the latest and greatest rarely see the kinds of performance issues they see. So it’s also a kind of “equal opportunity” push, to try to make Mastodon accessible to everyone. But yes, “performance” is a fine banner to fly over it. :smile:


Yeah “niche” is most commonly used in the phrases “niche market” and “niche interest” meaning “unimportant/uninteresting to all but a few dedicated individuals.”

Now that the word’s been removed, let’s steer the discussion back on course, please. :slight_smile:

This is great, I only said performance because it is what you yourself have tagged your posts with, which I’ve been following diligently and enthusiastically. Do you want a sub-category for this development focus to work with others in?

Sure, “Performance” or “Perf” sounds great. I think “Accessibility” (or “a11y”) would also be a good category, and it’s also something I’ve been thinking about a bit (e.g. getting alt tags for the images so that vision-impaired users can still enjoy the pictures).


my goal is simply to work on making the most logical and fluid design decisions to make features make sense and be easy to use. this is simply one of the many features i have taken under my wing to explain how they should be implemented.

if i have a specialized development focus, it is that i (personally believe, though this may come off as bragging) that my experiences in UI design, systems design, and just overall, designing features, makes me specially suited for expanding and better outlining features that others request

also just as much features i come up with personally, its about equal on both tbh. anyway, that’s my piece on the matter, feel free to assign me to fleshing out features and i will do my best on the matter.

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16 posts were split to a new topic: Off-Topic of the thread Technical vs Social solutions harassment

Yes. I am working on instance cataloging and “exploration”, primarily so that new users can pick an instance and/or “get their feet wet”. But also for developers so they can use collected data to play with their own instances/websites/bots, what have you.

Right now I’m

  • gathering basic instance data (description, admin, etc.)
  • rendering instance list pages
  • scooping up hashtags with a polite bot (very slow!)

Beginning example of a WIP here https://upsided.github.io/DescribedInstances.html

But I’d like to do these:

  • Instance “character describing” algorithms implemented in Mastodon, whose results would be revealed through the API (hashtag cloud, e.g.)
  • A website to interact with instances from the external world
  • Community promotion of instances who are trying to be something distinct.
  • And more I haven’t thought of yet

Not sure if this kind of thing warrants a category, but it’d be nice to meet with others on search/metadata/out-of-band things relating to Mastodon.


Would UX be a good flag for this? User Experience [UX] ?

“User Experience is a conglomeration of tasks focused on optimization of a product for effective and enjoyable use”

Or would it be useful to have UX and UI in the same category?

Trying to figure out a name for this category, would “New User On-boarding” be useful, or just Onboarding, and then expand on what it means in the description?

Also, Would you be interested in helping out creating the instance picker for joinmastodon.org ?
Join Mastodon Landing-page Feedback Thread

My list so far is:

  • Performance
  • Accessibility (a11y)

Still needs feedback:

If you can help me write “about this category” posts following this structure, it would help make my job easier:

(Replace this first paragraph with a brief description of your new category. This guidance will appear in the category selection area, so try to keep it below 200 characters. Until you edit this description or create topics, this category won’t appear on the categories page.)
Use the following paragraphs for a longer description, or to establish category guidelines or rules:

  • Why should people use this category? What is it for?
  • What should topics in this category generally contain?

not sure what you mean here. what’s a “performance” topic? that’s way too general.

good as is.

good as is.

would argue this falls under UX just because this is the NEW user experience.

It is as following, categorized under specialization:

Accesssibility a11y, antiharassment:
I need help to write a good intro to this category.

I think users should have the option to hide duplicate posts. For example, the EFF sends out many posts in a day and it would seem that between a sixth and a third of those posts are duplicates of ones from a day or two ago. This makes it take more time to scroll through your timeline, as it becomes bogged down with duplicate posts. This is especially problematic for users who are catching up on their Mastodon “feed” after a few days of inactivity.