Is there a simple video or document that could explain to an idiot how this service works?

@stephenfry Ooh I need this too. On recommendations I've just downloaded app. Format looks much easier to follow.
ps. I was once your wife for about 10 minutes 😂 It's a Sin!

@stephenfry there are lots out there , but also being an idiot I have no idea how to direct you to one 🤣


think of a mastodon as a town with houses.
Each house has like-minded people who live together and share their thoughts and ideas (these are your servers)

Your neighbors and other houses in the town also have like-minded people who share their thoughts and ideas.

But what if you want to explore and talk to other people about their interests, you can pick up the phone and speak to them, or go visit. This is how federation works. You can explore other houses (servers) and others...

@stephenfry ..can come to you. Very quickly you can discover other houses with cool conversations and follow them


Nice metaphor. Newcomers necessarily move into a house before knowing the neighbourhoods. If we realise we want to move house, is there any kind of mail (existing toots, followers, etc) forwarding mechanism?

@jim_holmes I'm not 100% sure on the ins-and-outs of a profile migration. But I know for certain that your followers/following list is migrated.

There's then a redirect set up on your account. For anyone visiting your old profile, will be redirected to your new profile.

I'm not sure if toots are transferred. Maybe someone else can help with that query? @feditips

@jim_holmes @edphones

Yes there is, you can either forward people to a different account or migrate completely

on /settings/migration

@edphones @stephenfry I really dislike this explanation for a number of reasons: for one it's an analogy and one must be exceptionally careful with analogy to avoid misleading one's interlocutor.
- The explanation obscures how federation works, rather than explaining it (it practically confused me)
- A town's a polity while the fediverse is sort of the opposite of one
- A house is practically defined by its private aspect and its segmentation from everything else while Mastodon servers are outposts giving access to the whole fediverse

@edphones @stephenfry
If one must use a physical analogy, I'd use one involving communication to begin with, something more like this:
Imagine each server to be a group of people who circulate open letters among themselves (they may be joined by interest or location or chance acquaintance - very 18th century).
However, there are many such groups and they all (or most really) agree on a method to allow members of one group to search for interesting letters circulated by other groups and then to ask for copies from that group to be sent to the interested individual.

Of course, all that would be rather complicated in reality, but the computer does all the work for us (well some's handled by the server admins).

@edphones @stephenfry
Good analogy. If the first. Mastodon dwelling you are welcomed into doesn't cover conversations you're mostly interested in, Mastodon helps you move to another server easily taking your data and interests with you and getting visitors to your old address redirected. I think this will encourage groups with particular interests, e.g. winemaking or book editing, to setup their own Mastodon servers, as this will add much value to the local newsfeed.

@edphones @stephenfry

and some people don't have roommates, but can still visit and look through the window to see what everyone else is up to 😅

@stephenfry Stephen - I helped you in Applecenter West One decades ago. I have changed a lot .... I too wish there was a simple video to how this thing works! Bless you for joining here!

@RelayOne @stephenfry

I'd probably recommend against watching this one, Stephen. The video's creator was part of Kiwifarms (a website that solely exists to organise online harassment) and is urging users to use Mastodon instead of Parler.

@stephenfry while I'm no expert on the subject, I'm happy to help if the need arises. I run my own instance like many others here, and an Administrator is likely to be able to give you solid answers. Or you can use the #askfedi hashtag, and your question will be more broadly read.

Good luck, and welcome!

Also I suggest you use the webapp at first to get the hang of it, the mobile apps make it more difficult to understand.

@stephenfry Is this really you, General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett? Where is your blue tick?


Is that really you? :-)

Either way, try this:

Pretty sure that you will get it in next to no time.

@JamesJ @stephenfry Do I have to have various handles to read/write other people’s postings? As in CanI migrate? Do I need to? Oh, man!

@canuckuk @JamesJ @stephenfry No, you don't. Everyone you follow shows up on your home feed, no matter what their home instance is.

@canuckuk @Tarbh @JamesJ @stephenfry you only need the full handle to find their account (so you can mention / follow), but that's about it. If you browse a thread and see somebody from another server in a conversation then the app/site already knows their full handle so you don't need to enter it manually. You can click on the handle to go to their profile directly, and there you'll have the option to follow.

@canuckuk @JamesJ @stephenfry

Imagine you've likely figured this out by now but the answer is no you don't.
I just found it wouldn't let me follow people on different servers in my browser, so I downloaded one of the apps (I got tusky) and found I could just click follow on anyone then. #howtofollowonmastodon

@stephenfry I'm going to start my own helpdesk and remote support any device that will run teamviewer and that's practically all of them. Let me know if you want to be customer #1 😉
I only joined 4 days ago and did not come from Twitter. That said this place isn't Twitter as the folks that were already here do like to GENTLY point out, their party was getting along nicely until the fuzz shut down next door party and everyone piled overand immediately changed the stereo...

@spytfyre Wonderfully put! Well, if you have a moment I certainly would like to know more - how these servers work etc. I don’t even know how to sign in from another device (iPad for instance) as I seem to have signed in originally on an iPhone without somehow paying attention to how I did it! Do I sign in with my email address or as [email protected] for instance? Forgive my complete bafflement!

@stephenfry yes you sign in as [email protected] so that is your server instance though as they're individual you could easily pick another server has a great chunk on apps for devices but the choice is vast due to open source. So yes you should be able to switch from iPad to iPhone if you can't get password start again with a different instance and do different things with different usernames

@stephenfry @spytfyre This is the most reassuring thing I’ve read in ages!

@stephenfry not sure if you got the DMs but I'll be around for four hours of you would like a blether and some tech tips. Can't promise I can answer everything but the basics I reckon I'm in a good place.

@spytfyre @stephenfry And if you want a perspective from someone who has been here a while and runs a couple of instances, feel free to message :)

@stephenfry Your server is having issues today but it should be up and running again soon.

@stephenfry is it really you? You followed me on Twitter, I have no idea why, it was the early giddy days before the rot set in. So glad you made it here. Hope you stick around.

@stephenfry @spytfyre experienced same thing, a small learning curve, but you’ll be fine. lots of helpful folks about

@stephenfry @spytfyre

You sign in as [email protected]

stephenfry is your handle, is your server. (and I hope the server admin there can cope with all the traffic you'll undoubtedly generate)

This is like someone's "full name" here :) There may be other jbaert's, but I'm the one at Mastodon.Social :)

@jbaert @stephenfry I heard some rich guy hired an iPad butler just to look after their apple kit. *clang hint* Maybe Stephen should have his own server, I have a spare Raspberry pi I could run it on though it would probably need to be in a freezer to stop it melting.


uh yes... as one of the team on my server(instance), I hate to think what the admins/mods of your server are going through since you joined...
That is really tough on a (I assume) volunteer team. You holding up ok over there @wild1145

@spytfyre @jbaert

@swansinflight @stephenfry @wild1145 @jbaert he's not posted for a while so this is starting to feel like we're all wearing the party hats and holding the confetti poppers but the birthday boy is out of the room 😆

@spytfyre @swansinflight @stephenfry @wild1145 I'm sure he's on a plane or doing very important Stephen Fry things! Right?

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UK Hosted and Managed Mastodon Instance. General communal space for discussion, everyone welcome!