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Mastodon is an open source social network project that supports some IndieWeb building blocks like rel-me and (prior to version 4.0) microformats2, and has a federation of many instances, including for IndieWeb fans.

IndieWeb sites interact Mastodon instances directly & via Bridgy Fed. Mastodon is largest deployment of ActivityPub support and also has some compatibility with GNU social. As self-described in a 2021-09-29 tweet:

"Mastodon, your cryptocurrency-free decentralized social network. No blockchains, no NFTs, no attempting to turn every social interaction into a microtransaction"


(this section is a stub, please expand!)

Feature summary:

Specific feature details:



Mastodon profiles show various information:

screenshot of a Mastodon profile on a mobile display

Mastodon’s h-feed support is better than their Atom support!

E.g. screenshot when trying to follow:


And display of an item from a Mastodon h-feed:


Unfortunately, since version 4.0, Mastodon profiles and permalinks are now js;dr and no longer provide h-feed support.



Mastodon has a notifications page that shows various items such as when others react to your posts:



The Atom feeds allow push notifications via WebSub, although this along with Atom support are considered legacy from its OStatus origins.

Federated Reply Interfaces

An interface for prompting the act of posting content from their preferred ActivityPub service of choice.

Screenshot 2020-08-10 Social PV.png

IndieWeb Examples

IndieWeb folks using Mastodon accounts, in particular POSSEing from their IndieWeb site to Mastodon and/or backfeeding responses from Mastodon copies of posts back to their IndieWeb site.

If you’re directly interacting with Mastodon posts on other servers from your site, you should add your site instead to:

Please copy the === Add yourself! === section and add yourself with permalinks to different/interesting examples and dates of when you first started interacting in those ways!

Add yourself!

Add yourself here… (see this for more details)

Other Examples PESOS’s their Mastodon posts:

IndieWeb Support

Building Blocks

IndieWeb Building Blocks that Mastodon supports:

rel-me support

Mastodon uses rel-me to support "verified" site links in a green box with a green checkmark next to the verified site. explains how the verification process works.

Cropped screenshot of Bianca Kastl’s Mastodon profile showing website field with their domain and a green checkmark indicating it’s been verifiedCropped screenshot of Greg McVerry’s Mastodon profile showing website fields with their domain and profile with green checkmarks next to each indicating they’ve been verified

IndieWeb Requests

To Be Proposed

These are ideas/suggestions for Mastodon to support more IndieWeb building blocks. Feel free to file individual issues for them in and then move them (and their issue link) to the Requests section below.

  • IndieAuth support (both sign-in with IndiAuth, and use of a Pleroma profile as an IndieAuth identity to sign-in elsewhere)
  • WebSub support. Given Mastodon's h-feed support, WebSub support would be great for realtime notifications of updates from Mastodon profiles.
  • ...


IndieAuth Provider

Requested informally or as an aside. No formal issue filed (yet).

Requested on Twitter: by @Lady_Ada_King November 14, 2018:

"Indie Web Awesomeness: You can use <a rel="me"> to verify you own the sites in your mastodon profile!

It would be really cool if you could use mastodon as an authentication provider for"


Since Mastodon already supports OAuth 2, and all users already have a URL, adding IndieAuth to Mastodon would not be a huge leap.

It was also discussed in the following GitHub issue:


If you can help add Micropub support to Mastodon, please contribute to:

Micropub in Mastodon support has been requested for multiple reasons on:

    • " I think Micropub in Mastodon is a great idea! It's a simple API (especially for posting) with support from a lot of different tools now." @manton November 13, 2018
  • an indieweb personal site:
    • "There are a bunch of great Micropub apps for the Web, iOS and Android so I definitely think it would be helpful to add Micropub support. "

Founder @Gargron noted Micropub support is “A lot simpler than ActivityPub C2S”:


Please consider rejections as opportunities to listen for feedback on how to improve indieweb building blocks, and always respond politely. It's a good thing when people spend their own time to analyze these requests and provide their reasons for rejection.

  • 2018-04-03: Webmention sending support was surveyed (most were for it), but rejected (2018-04-03) for a set of privacy concerns that are worth addressing or at least having answers for. E.g. "It's a privacy violation that people aren't expecting", is no more true for sending Webmentions than sending referrer headers, or allowing search engine indexing — all of which could be gated on the same site/user preference.
  • 2017-04-21: Subscribe to Atom feeds directly [1]
    • Update: "I do not plan on supporting Atom feeds that don't have Webfinger and Salmon (i.e. non-interactive, non-user feeds)"
  • ...

If you want to re-request a rejected feature, please at a minimum:

  • document the list of specific reasons for rejection of a feature
  • somehow fix or address (via documentation etc.) the reasons for rejection, i.e. here on the wiki, or by updating the spec for the rejected feature.
  • wait some amount of time before re-requesting. case-by-case judgment call. i.e. if you're able to quickly address all the problems noted, follow-up with a thank you for the feedback and link to where you have addressed the problems. otherwise consider waiting at least a few months, perhaps even a year before re-requesting. In either case, make it very clear what changes have occurred that make the feature request worthy of reconsideration.



See Mastodon Github Issues:


Resolved or apparently resolved past issues.

One Primary Instance

Resolution: Apparently resolved as there is a growing number of Mastodon instances (and the "primary" instances is now closed to new signups). See:


One danger, that projects like Mastodon face, is when they are used as a service by more than one user, any downtime will affect multiple users. For instance, on the morning of Nov 11, 2016 the instance was down briefly and displayed a generic server error.

In this regard, promoting "" the site in particular as an alternative to Twitter (e.g. see tweets encouraging "join me on") merely encourage users to go from one silo, to a perhaps more open source-based and more open standards supporting silo, yet still dependent on another central org.

As a contrast, if each user were to run their own Mastodon instance, one instance going down would not affect multiple users in this fashion. Second best would be if users who choose not to run on their own servers were instead encouraged get together with someone that does, which again, would limit the exposure of when one instance goes down. But when such users all join a single server (e.g. the site itself) or any platform with similar architecture, they will suffer from this single point of failure in design.

On the other hand, multi-user instances benefit from shared community oversight, in the form of having admins and moderators who (presumably) actively block known-hostile instances and users.

Update (and one way to resolve this!) As of 2017-04-04 (or earlier?) is no longer accepting sign-ups and directing people to sign-up elsewhere:

"Due to exceptionally high traffic, registrations on this instance are closed until quality of service can be assured for existing users. Choose one of the various other public instances to sign up!"


Federating Directly with Mastodon

Some in the IndieWeb community are working on bridging the gap between the Fediverse and the IndieWeb efforts, some of these include Advanced plugins/extensions/software which shouldn't require a Mastodon account on an instance as they make your site behave like a standalone instance of Mastodon:



    • "Letting go of what doesn’t give you what you want and upgrading are core principles of Discardia.

      There are many things I like about Twitter, but I find that all those things are available without the stuff I dislike on Mastodon.

      I’l keep a Twitter presence on both, for now." @Discardia August 12, 2018
    • "Mastodon, your cryptocurrency-free decentralized social network. No blockchains, no NFTs, no attempting to turn every social interaction into a microtransaction" @joinmastodon September 30, 2021
  • reasons
    • "Reasons to join mastodon:- No ‘influencers’- Chronological timeline- New mates- Accessibility features - CW etiquette - Without the pressure of trying to please an audience via an algorithm to go viral, your shit-posting skills blossom into beautiful levels, shapes and colours that you didn’t know that you had in you.- Horny on main" @Galdrakinn December 13, 2018


Challenges picking an instance

User experience

  • Indieweb vs. Fediverse — discussing many of the UX issues with actually interacting and publishing within the Fediverse (meaning Mastodon and Pleroma, mostly)

Lack of privacy

  • 2018-08-17 Criticism: DM/PM lack of privacy/encryption:
    • "Just as a heads-up, don’t use PMs/DMs on Mastodon, and if you have to never share any private information.Admins of sending and receiving instances can read those, as there is no end-to-end encryption. Even if you trust the admins, instance ownership could change or hackers or government could get in. Use different tools designed specifically for this." @thomasfuchs August 17, 2018
  • 2018-08-16 Criticisms (tweetstorm): ([2])
    • "THREAD: In light of so many folks moving to Mastodon/the Fediverse, i want to re-up a couple of threads i did last year about safety and other issues. None of these have gone away, and the increased volume is gonna make them worse, not better." @adrienneleigh August 16, 2018
  • 2018-03-25 Privacy, centralization, trust, and:
    • "Twitter, let's talk about decentralization and federation and trust and why movements towards federated systems like Mastadon are maybe not where we want to be throwing effort and adoption drives behind if the end goal is privacy-preserving infrastructure." @SarahJamieLewis March 25, 2018

Lack of control

  • Criticism: “sign up on this stranger's server” is not really decentralized:
    • "not a big fan of Mastodon. imo if a decentralized digital media app's first step is "sign up on this stranger's server" it's not good enough, and over time will probably look like email at best." @lightcoin January 6, 2020
  • ^^^ additionally:
    • "indeed email has survived but if you run your own server people might never get your emails. it's already getting like that with Mastodon (as your suggestion to avoid shows). that's simply not an architecture I can invest energy into/ converting others to." @lightcoin January 6, 2020
  • Criticism: users vulnerable to whims of the instance admin:
    • "mastodon federation was a disaster honestly; lacking any means to locate or verify your profile and posts other than the exact instance you went with, every single user was entirely vulnerable to the whims of the shard owner unless they ran their own" @widdr June 28, 2022


  • Thread:
    • "This is why I believe federated social networks are never going to work out long term. Someone who starts an instance doesn't know they're signing up for thousands of hours a year wading through the cloaca of the internet. That shit is *terrible* for you." @rahaeli September 2, 2018
  • Another example of overwhelming admintax:
    • "Right now I'm exhausted and trying to figure out what to do next. I am heavily tempted to pull a (, but on the other hand I do still have a lot of sympathy for Mastodon, and I'm encouraged to see that it's finally getting the recognition I think it deserved years ago, back when this Elon mess was just a hypothetical possibility. Also, many folks on are people I consider friends, and so I don't want to leave them in the lurch." @nolan November 8, 2022

Community dynamics

Doesn't fix core problems of twitter

  • Comparison with Twitter, some issues noted, thread:
    • ""elon is part of twitter now, time to move to mastodon"

      - mastodon has all of the same problems twitter does except for celebrities
      - it also has its own additional fun problems

      you will probably hang around mastodon for a few weeks, get bored, and either come back or leave" @xkeepah April 5, 2022
  • Distributed toxicity and the IndieWeb: discussion about how the timeline- and quick-response nature of Twitter is what leads to the toxicity on the platform, and how Mastodon doesn't really fix any of that

Other concerns

  • 2018-08-16 Criticism: apparent non-priority of losing followers problem:
    • "@frankmeeuwsen @benwerd

      It's completely possible, just not with Mastodon's current architecture. There's a long thread about it on the GitHub issue tracker. The gist is it would require a large change and even if the changes were made, it would be difficult to migrate existing instances.

      I think it would be straightforward to design/implement this transition, especially since it's basically a solved problem. But the lead dev is more interested in his other ideas than this feature. :blobcry:" @0x1C3B00DA August 16, 2018
    • Fixed in Mastodon 3.0 (2019): account migration now brings followers along.
      • "You spoke, we listened! Here is the completely revamped account migration system! Easier than ever, and with 3.0 comes the ability to bring your followers with you like magic! Point the old account to the new one, and the new one to the old one, using the new interface, and your followers will be transferred over!" Mastodon 3.0 October 11, 2019
  • Criticism: rebuilds feudalism:
    • "Me : Whereas Mastodon ... well ... why do tech people keep on trying to rebuild feudalism? It would be quite nice that when you join a server, rather than username they just say "serf" and someone tells you who the nobility of that little kingdom is." @swardley November 2, 2022


On 2016-05-02 at 7:05 am IST. D180CDI.png

    • "My Mastodon instance has been down for two months. I finally accept it's gone. One hidden cost of federation; a lot more partial points of failure. Not sure if I'm going to bother setting up a new account. Mastodon is pretty good tech and a nice community but isolated." @nelson April 21, 2022



See Also

  • GNU social
  • federation
  • fediverse
  • Bridgy_Fed
  • ActivityPub
  • Kevin Marks 2017-04-24 Mastodon, Twitter and publics 2017-04-24
  • Thread:
    • "Please don’t leave for Mastodon." @mattl August 20, 2018
  • And IndieWeb: Thread:
    • "While I'm on Mastodon (and I do enjoy it), I'd much rather we lowered the friction to getting people using their own blogs." @qubyte August 20, 2018
  • To expand a page full of content warning blocks you can run the following in your browser’s console (or turn it into a bookmarklet): for(let a of document.querySelectorAll('.status__content__spoiler-link'))
  • "Geniune Mastodon Software" (what? separate article maybe?)
    • "Operators are standing by to help you determine if your instance is running genuine Mastodon software or not. Don't live in doubt, find out today. Choose instances running genuine Mastodon software." @mastodongenuineadvantage October 31, 2018
  • Darius Kazemi 2019-07-08 Run your own social: A guide on how to run a small social network site for your friends
  • Mastodon Server Covenant Introducing the Mastodon Server Covenant with descriptions for protections against abuses, encouraging longevity, and data back ups
  • Mastodon Webmention Relay a Glitch project by Mark Everitt to check for new toots by you and relay webmentions to URLs in them.
  • Post with useful diagram of the various timelines
    • "A few years ago I made this flow chart of which Mastodon posts end up in which timelines!So, you can see how each instance will have a different local timeline, and even a slightly different federated timeline - and you can see why the federated timeline moves so much faster than the local one, too.This is why it's important to boost good posts and use hashtags - the fediverse is fragmented and harder to search by nature.[ #mastodon #meta #tootorial #howto #mastopedia #mastotip ]" @cassolotl April 25, 2022
    • "IndieWeb is a community of bloggers who use microformats and webmentions (technological evolution of pingbacks) for blog interactions" @joinmastodon March 30, 2022
  • ^ FgqaQnKWYAIpn92.jpg
  • Criticism: some Mastodon instances are js;dr, i.e. no longer display content without Javascript, e.g. ( says

    To use the Mastodon web application, please enable JavaScript. Alternatively, try one of the native apps for Mastodon for your platform.

    • "Who Is “Web3” For?> Like radioactivity, blockchain can be a useful tool in solving certain kinds of problems. Like dental hygiene, the decentralization of global communication platforms is an important problem, but not necessarily the right application for the instrument.> Like Doromad Radioactive Toothpaste, web3 has little to do with solving the stated problem, and everything to do with profiting off of a buzzword, resulting in more harm than good in the process." @rysiek November 11, 2022
  • Criticism: boring (and lots more UX issues noted in replies)
    • "Mastodon is boring.

      I can absolutely see how it’s a good environment for certain types of interactions, but it is not a Twitter replacement for discourse.

      It’s the definition of silos." @leahmcelrath November 12, 2022
  • Criticism: high friction for signup and use:
    • "It’s insane to me that people are pretending Mastodon doesn’t have massive friction for sign up and use. The entire premise of the consumer-internet age, for good and ill, was based on reducing friction as much as possible—especially at signup. You are all kidding yourselves." @ibogost November 6, 2022
  • Criticism: banning of jwz Mastodon is going great
  • How to POSSE:
  • Issue: instances that have rules against "political" content, or requiring "political" content be placed behind Content Warnings:
    • "'s social conventions around political content warnings is raising some hackles. I've seen an Indigenous activist bristle at the idea their entire identity would need a content warning and I think the messaging so far makes it fair for them to feel that way" @rocketpilot November 9, 2022
  • Warning: if you’re considering running an instance, beware of the concerns/hazards documented in: 2022-11-21 A quick hypothetical situation, or, your crash introduction to the real world /

    When you are running a Mastodon server, you are the public policy team, and you are the legal team. Whether you

  • Moderation on Mastodon: there's a lot of work to do
  • Criticism: Mastodon 4 is js;dr 😞
    • "ok so mastodon 4 just made everything js-only and shows //nothing at all// otherwise. what a humiliating step backwards" @eevee November 25, 2022
  • Verifying your WordPress site with Mastodon instructions:
  • Alternate reading interface experiment:
  • Warning for those who want to run a multi-user instance (could apply beyond Mastodon). Thread (feel free to unroll inline here in this page) :
    • "As an experienced admin and #mastoadmin here is my opinion on you running your own instance.Don't. Do. It!I have your attention now? I will explain myself in this short thread. 🧵 👇" @leah December 14, 2022
  • Criticism: Volunteer-run instances may be sold to corporations:
    • "Like it or not, it should no longer be assumed that "volunteers" are running your instances. The Mask Group, which now runs three large instances "has raised over US$50 million from private and institutional backers"—their words not mine." @atomicpoet December 21, 2022
  • Issue: may lead to re-centralization in practice:
    • "@HelenGraham again, I think that is more difficult than it might appear. If 75% of all Fediverse users were on a Google instance (say, for example, if it was included free in many data plans) I think it is going to be tough to defederate. Easy to say in theory, hard to do in practice.@Ncstarguy @Natanox @atomicpoet" @Sbectol December 21, 2022
  • Issue: post permalinks of the same post across different servers each show a different subset of the replies to that post, in contrast to IndieWeb examples where there is one canonical post permalink which shows all responses except those blocked/hidden by the original post author:
    • "My least favourite sharp edge of Mastodon is the fact that when you view someone else's post you only see replies to it that are known to your server - so there's actually a good chance there will be replies that are completely invisible to you, especially if you run your own instanceI'd love it if tapping a post kicked off a request back to the original server that fetched the current reply count and provided a "view all replies" button if there were replies not yet visible to me" @simon December 22, 2022
  • Issue: amplifies the "reply guy" problem because of aforementioned ^ issue of disparate subsets of replies shown, reply guys may not see each others replies and thus think their own reply is clever and unique, while the original poster is inundated:
    • "@simon that explains so much! Like why the whole Reply guy thing is SO MUCH WORSE here. They perhaps can’t see each other’s replies, making theirs seem unique, while me as the original poster is inundated with repetitive replies like tiny biting ants that just make me never want to picnic here.
      So fixing this for everyone in the way you suggested would not only be more convenient, it will help stop an Only On Mastodon Bad User Experience With Reply Guy Pile Ons phenomenon." @k8em0 December 22, 2022
  • Criticism: UX regression, the timestamp on social media posts has a well established semantic as link to canonical permalink, whereas Mastodon has subverted that in some instances to display a ”local pseudo-permalink” instead, breaking expectations and adding friction to navigating to the original post:
    • "@stefan @k8em0 @simon to make things even worse, the "original page" link used to be the timestampit's significantly more friction to reach that original page nowthere was never any reason for this change" @carcinopithecus December 22, 2022
  • more on the problem of subsets of replies that Simon pointed out and some analysis of what’s going wrong with replies & threads on Mastodon:
  • Criticism (of various Mastodon UX etc.) 2022-12-25 Mastodon Brought a Protocol to a Product Fight / Mastodon vs. Twitter? Come on…
  • Whalebird is a Mastodon, Pleroma, and Misskey client for desktop application with a Slack-like interface.
  • Criticism: replicates many of the poor community behaviors from Twitter: threads:
    • "I posted "we're all in it together 🖤" on Mastodon and got MULTIPLE replies about how actually we're not all in it together and I'm slinking back off of Mastodon now" @IanColdwater January 23, 2023
  • @-@ UX criticism, excess complexity for users, thread:
    • "There is a tendency for app designers to create layers & subgroups to deal with complexity:
      Mastodon attempts this with usernames—which have 2 parts.

      For every part of your app that you fragment, expect to increase your app’s overall probability of failure by 50%." @nikitabier January 25, 2023
  • POSUM (is this term worth its own page?) for Post to your Own Site Using Mastodon: (especially for the hilarity of the image therein)
    • "POSUM  : Post Own Site Using Mastodon.I just made that up.Describes [my] practice of writing things as Mastodon posts first.Then,Either copying & pasting,or RSS-ingWhat you, okay I,Wrote in those Mastodon toots/posts onto one's self-hosted website or blog.POSUM.PreviouslySometimes people created tweet-threads as public drafts of potential blog posts.Replies to tweets in thread might also end up in one's blog post on their own site.| #Indieweb #Mastodon #POSUM cc: #POSSE" @HiMYSYeD January 21, 2023
  • Issue: heavy admintax warning for would-be self-hosters: 2022-11-15 Mastodon Is Too Heavy for Its Own Good
  • Darius on experimentation (and thread)
    • "I'm confused when devs claim that you can't experiment with software on the fediverse. I have spent the last 5 years of my life building experimental software on the fediverse, and people have been very supportive!There is a MASSIVE design space for weird ideas that are not just dressed-up surveillance capitalism, but so many devs come here saying "I will try out some dressed-up surveillance capitalism" and then act like their genius design thinking is being stymied when people say "fuck off"" @darius January 24, 2023
  • 2022-12-28 Mastodon vs. Twitter: Is Mastodon a True Twitter Alternative?
  • — a service for viewing Mastodon permalinks (requires a particular URL structure)
  • Issue: laws & regulations impacting instance admins are a big admintax burden (and more) 2023-02-01 Financial Times Sets Up Mastodon Server, Realizes Laws Exist (Which It Was Already Subject To), Pulls Down Mastodon Server
  • Issue: @-mentioning someone in a DM automatically cc's them that DM!
    • "Another way DMs are hopelessly broken: if your handle is mentioned anywhere in a DM, you get a copy.Yes, I understand why (technically) it might work that way. That doesn't mean it's not broken.DMs here are a dumpster fire of buggy behavior and non-intuitive semantics." @mattblaze May 4, 2023
  • "Mastodon Content Mover is a command-line tool that downloads your posts from one Mastodon instance, saving them as a set of files on your computer, and then re-posts them on any other Mastodon instance." (currently in development)
  • 2022-11-07: Les Orchard There are no ushers on Mastodon
  • Stepping stone / onramp to IndieWeb:
    • "I'm gonna have to do more #IndieWeb publishing my own content on my own site, aren't I. Mastodon isn't meant to be a long term stable host of content any more than Twitter is, as much as we might wish for it." @toba June 30, 2023
    • and also in

      But the advice you’ll hear from most people in this space is this: own your own domain. Don’t be or Have a space that is yours, that belongs to you, a username and identity that can’t disappear just because a company goes out of business or sells to a megalomaniac.

      Emphasis added.
  • Humor:
    • "Daily Mastodon trending topic report:1. You’re using it wrong in many ways that personally offend me2. This place was better without any people3. Open-source software4. You’re being polite but not in the way I prefer5. The Fediverse (“fedora universe”)6. Should we de-federate Toyota if they start a server?7. Top 20 Fediverse alternatives to Wikipedia8. Historical evidence that Hitler invented quote tweets9. Cats10. It’s weird how people create accounts but don’t stick around" @Chris July 2, 2023
  • Good rough anecdotal summary of new user / onboarding experiences / criticisms: 2023-07-28 Mastodon is easy and fun except when it isn’t
  • admintax watch and prune excess disk usage