ThatOneKirbyMain2568 , avatar

I've noticed that a lot of people on the aren't particularly welcoming to those who don't initially get it or have trouble with it. You'd think that if multiple people say they have trouble picking an instance, it might be a genuine barrier to entry that we need to consider when introducing them to the fediverse. But no, instead of suggesting an instance to get rid of that barrier everyone gives unhelpful advice like "just pick one" or "it's not that hard." We'd have a much easier time getting people on the fediverse if there weren't so many people with this attitude of "the fediverse is simple, and the people who don't get it are lazy and should try harder."

wizardbeard , avatar

The issue is that there isn’t really anything more to choosing an instance than just picking one though, and we don’t want to funnel every new user to a single instance lest this end up becoming just reddit with extra steps. Or the reccomended instance gets flooded with more traffic than it can handle.

At most, a new user may want to look at what instances have defederated from the one they want to sign up on, but that’s a concept that isn’t going to make sense to someone who is already having trouble understanding “sign up somewhere, interact with everywhere” setup.

Numerous guides to all of this have been created. Rather than tilting at windmills (you will never stop people from being rude online, best to just accept it) your effort would be better spent being the friendly guiding hand. That’s far more effective than trying to call out people who probably don’t care whether we’re attracting more users or not.

Die4Ever , avatar

I guess for choosing an instance we could ask them what topics they’re interested in and then make a suggestion, basically what this link does

ThatOneKirbyMain2568 OP , avatar


I think it'd be more effective to just tell them an instance to choose. If someone asked me how to pick a Lemmy instance, I'd say direct them to a large, general instance: "Just sign up on [or some other instance]; it's a large instance with good moderation, and you can figure out if you want to switch to a different one once you've gotten more acquainted with the fediverse." My idea here would be to just get them to try it out without lingering on the question of which instance to choose, as it doesn't really matter for newcomers when we're talking about large, general-purpose instances.

ThatOneKirbyMain2568 OP , avatar

@wizardbeard I'd argue that telling people to join largest (or at least a larger) instance isn't a bad thing. If I was telling someone to join Kbin, I'd tell them to just pick Later on, once they get accustomed to fediverse and understand the idea better, they can go to a smaller instance if they want
(e.g., if it's focused on a topic you like, it has features or moderation policies you prefer, or you just want to take some load off the larger instance). Having people initially go to larger, more established instances — where the experience tends to be more approachable due to more active hosts, more old content being federated, a larger community within the instance, etc. — greatly reduces the barrier to entry.

And the danger of a lot of people on a single instance is really exaggerated. If things go badly on, say, a Lemmy instance that most people are on, they can just move to another one with the same features, same UI, and similar access to content. It's not like Reddit or Twitter where moving means you're missing out on a ton.

You're right that it's usually better to be the change you want to see as opposed to simply criticizing others, but I think it's still important to discuss how we introduce people to the fediverse.

0x4E4F , avatar

And the danger of a lot of people on a single instance is really exaggerated. If things go badly on, say, a Lemmy instance that most people are on, they can just move to another one with the same features, same UI, and similar access to content.

See, for new users, a slow glitchy instance means “fediverse don’t work like advertised”… sorry, but if you haven’t noticed, the techies are the ones that stayed on Lemmy. Everyone else pretty much left it after the big Reddit migration wave hit it. Glitches, bugs, unstable instances, instances going dark… that’s just not for everyone. Yeah, we understand the reasons, so we stayed, but for normies, this was generally a bad sign and just left.

That’s why it’s advisable to distribute the load, so we don’t get into these same problems, which of course just gives the fediverse a bad name.

ThatOneKirbyMain2568 OP , avatar


That's definitely a good point in the case of a mass exodus like what happened with Reddit. But even in those situations, I don't think this means we need to direct people to tiny instances. Lemmy now has a bunch of solid instances (,,,,,, etc.), so if some mass immigration to Lemmy were to happen again, you could say something like the following:

"Pick,, or; doesn't matter too much since they're all decently large instances with good moderators."

Saying something like this:

  • Narrows the options down to a small few that don't really differ for the new user
  • Leads them to an established instance with a lot of people, making them more likely to stay
  • Splits people between instances so we don't get instance slowdowns, shutdowns, etc.
0x4E4F , avatar

That is true, you could give a list of stable instances, that I agree with 👍.

carturo222 , avatar

@ThatOneKirbyMain2568 @wizardbeard I recently switched Lemmy instances, and didn't see an option to carry my follows with me the way you can in Mastodon.

ContentConsumer9999 ,

@carturo222 As far as I know that's a Mastodon feature. Probably because it could cause some massive issues.

Mpwg , avatar

@ThatOneKirbyMain2568 I remember asking my brother (he has a phd in cs) if he’s on mastodon, and he told me he didn’t understood the instance picking immediately and didn’t join.

ThatOneKirbyMain2568 OP , avatar

@Mpwg Yeah, unfortunately a lot of people are quick to dismiss the fediverse if they don't get how to pick an instance. That's why I think it's important to get them on an instance quickly and get into the nitty gritty later. Mastodon has a lot of decently large instances
tmk, so I'd just suggest or another such instance. Trying the fediverse at all is much more important than picking the right instance from the get-go.

LoganFive , avatar

It would be nice if there was a search option when people signed up, like “Pick which top three words represent the type of person you are,” and each instance does the same (if it wants to be searchable) and then it gives people matches to instances. Or something along those lines.

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