What is your principle Fediverse stream?

How do you follow / use The Fediverse / Mastodon?

Boosts appreciated.

Far more and different responses on my "how do you stream the Fediverse" poll than I'd expected. Keep them coming.

I'm not going to assume this is representational (my stats background speaking), but it's quite informative.

About 11 hours left on "What is your principle Fediverse stream?".

I'll be commenting on results and issues once it's wrapped.

Again, much larger response than expected. Still time to respond and boost (ow! my notifs) if you haven't already.

Comments on "What is your principle Fediverse stream?" poll.

1. Self-selected response polls are all but statistically useless. Don't take results (or analysis) as representative. Sample size has little to do with representative accuracy. (Random or stratified random sampling is much more accurate.)

That said this suggests some usage patterns.

2. I know fitting multiple options to a single choice sucks. My own usage fits the poll poorly too.

Speaking of my own usage ...


3. Poll results are all but completely unlike my own usage. I usually have 3-6 columns visible:

  • Compose/search
  • Notifications
  • 1-3 pinned lists
  • Maybe "Home"
  • The "Browse" (?) column

Obviously, I'm using the multi-pane view.

Public timelines are rarely visible.

Hashtags may occasionally be pinned.

From responses, 94% of you don't do anything like this, instead following Home, Local, or Federated timelines.


I'm suspecting that most users:

  • Simply use the default layout.
  • Aren't aware columns can be aadded/removed, rearranged, or pinned.
  • Aren't aware that List and Hashtag colums can be pinned.
  • Aren't aware of Lists.
  • Have found Lists too cumbersome, possibly not discovering simpler management interfaces.

This suggessts usability, discoverability, and possibly evangelism or documentation opportunities.


There are about 20 respondants who principally follow lists and maybe 10 who follow hastags. I'd like to know how and why these people came to use these options.

For the 94% following Home, Local, or Federated limelines: are you aware of the ability to redefine & rearrange streams?


@dredmorbius I use the stock Home, Notifications, Local as my main screen, go over to masto.soc and read Federated firehose once or twice a day.

@dredmorbius Federated timeline, but I hacked pleroma to write my own timeline using a GROUP BY clause to ensure that only one post from each user appears in the timeline, whatever their most recent post is, in order of discovery. So someone spamming a thousand posts of “now I eet sandwich” loses all their posts but one, and three pages into the timeline the more infrequent posters start getting clustered together.

Now I just have to write my own complete Fediverse server from scratch that’s not in fucking Elixir.

@cy Interesting.

(I'm finding responses generally fascinating, though will try to keep quiet as to why until the poll closes.)

@dredmorbius I think multiple answers may have been useful here. For me it's my personal tl, pinned hashtags and sometimes the local tl.

@dredmorbius It is, but it's not the wording you've used if I'm not missing on something?

It is, but I'd also be curious to know whether most people use other tools tools in addition to home timeline (e.g. I often use local tl and pinned hashtags).
Maybe for the next poll?

@dredmorbius @tofuwabohu same answers but question would be "what Fediverse /Mastodon streams do you regularly check", maybe?

@dredmorbius I jump around and haven't found anything compelling enough to call it my main stream. I probably still spend more time on Twitter (shame on me, but political news is pretty much blocked). AT least I am NOT on FB.

@dredmorbius Depends on the time and energy available.
Mostly I interact with my notifications, then two lists i set up and then the home timeline. Rarely look at the local or fediverse Tl.

@dredmorbius Home timeline and pinned #introduction hashtag. Unfortunately, it has not brought me new interesting people for a long time now. Probably my instance doesn't federate enough. :) Or maybe people don't write enough introductions. :)

@dredmorbius My principal one is Notifications but if there are no new ones then it is the Home timeline. I rarely look at the other timelines and don't use pinned lists or hashtags.

@dredmorbius Principle stream is my personal timeline but I dip into the federated timeline a lot to find people to follow, get a sense of the zeitgeist, and do pre-emotive blocking. I’ve tried using lists to keep track of people who don’t post frequently or are mostly active when I’m asleep, but I’ve found the interface is too fiddly. I don’t use hashtags much - I’m not really #looking for #relateable #content - except to keep an eye on fediblock and mastoadmin.

@dredmorbius Primarily my personal timeline, plus a few lists that I keep pinned as columns. If someone’s posting often enough to crowd out my personal timeline and I don’t find their posts valuable enough, I unfollow them.

I very rarely dip into the local and federated timelines nowadays. crap, can't change my vote and... didn't read the directions, story of my life. Move one from "local" to "home" s'il vous plait.

@dredmorbius wow I just now realized you can pin hashtags :chefkiss: . this will probably change things for me. if this was multiple choice I would have answered both home, local and federated timeslines together. Local and Home is where the bulk of reading and replying happens, but I like the federated feed as a sort of high speed information vortex that occasionally surfaces interesting toots.

@conatus Note that you can add additional hashtag searches to a pinned hashtag column (though that seems to be extremely inefficient and sometimes needs ages to load).


Notifications is the first thing I check, but Home timeline is what I check primarily I guess.

@dredmorbius I use mostly home, notifications of course, lists, hashtags and the local timeline.

@dredmorbius I look through Home first usually and scroll back a good amount. I like more news-ish stuff there. I look at Local when I'm kinda bored I guess.

@dredmorbius i selected home, but i use home and local timelines nearly equally.

@dredmorbius Home timeline is still the winner, but Local timeline is a *very* close second, because my home instance @fosstodon is so lovely ♥

@dredmorbius i read all the posts in local and probably 85% of home, but i spend more time reading home bc it moves faster

So you can decide which of those counts as principle lol

@dredmorbius I'm using Pinafore as frontend on the desktop, so I live on the Home timeline.
On a single-user instance, Local is just me, and Federated is mostly Home plus some cruft (the bulk seems to come from accounts I've unfollowed at some point).
Every now and then I log into Mastodon proper, to look at a couple of pinned hashtag columns.
I've never worked up enough motivation to create Lists.
Rarely, I look at hashtag search results elsewhere (/tags/<tag> is almost universally available).

@dredmorbius With Android, I'm on Subway Tooter. It has a feature to load hashtag searches from foreign instances (see above), and public posts from their local timelines (if the relevant API endpoint is available). I make use of both, even the implementation is a bit clunky. Somewhat helps to find new accounts to follow.
Still waiting for a web frontend that implements either of those features.

@dredmorbius i just look at my home feed i guess? i’ve never really understood the point of the others as they feel so chaotic to me

@dredmorbius That depends on the situation.When I was at work and come back home,I scroll through my home timeline to see what I've missed from people I follow.When I'm at the computer the whole time,I keep the federated timeline open to see everything and find interesting new stuff.

@dredmorbius I mean I use everything. I wouldn't have a home timeline if I didn't.

I also use Lists to try to organize contextual content.

@dredmorbius I clicked local, but it's about 50/50 home and local - both are good quality and manageable.

The timeline is way better than Twitter's. It actually shows all of what you follow and none of what you don't, and you can start where you left off and move forward in time.

On my phone, just home tl
On the laptop, home and notifications are visible.

I often forget now that i can go to a local timeline but if i do do that, I'll often end up doing it once im caught up on home and since im following a number of ppl on my instance already, i frequently see stuff i already saw.

@dredmorbius there's a huge UX problem that Mastodon seems to be deliberately ignoring: most people don't want to follow, or discover, random new people. They mostly want to follow their existing circles. That's how most people use social media. Mastodon makes it impossible to find the people you already know without you asking each of them for their fediverse handles.

That's something I'm aiming to solve with #Smithereen. (I'm writing from a Mastodon instance because I don't support polls yet)

@grishka @dredmorbius I really like the possibility to find random new people.With the public timelines I can discover new content easily and start having good talks in the fediverse without having known anyone before.

@dredmorbius Always used notifications; at fitst used local & federated timelines a lot to meet new people but after a while I just sticked with the home timeline

@Gregvan Typically Mastodon/Fedivverse content is displaed in a pane or column structured as a stream. These can be pinned as persistent columns in most web clients. The streams have specific conteextx.

TL;DR: Major elements of the Mastodon UI.

As here shown here, showing Compose, Home, and Notifications panels.

@dredmorbius OK... almost all the time i publish things I've written... and a link to my blog... so people who are interested can read more... in the Compose column... occasionally I READ what other people write in the other three columns...


While the Home timeline is what I probably read most, I regularly watch for notifications. They are conversational. I watch hashtags with favored columns easy to see with a horizontal scroll. I keep routine track of the posting from the local

I rarely seek out the federated timeline.

It isn't a strict hierarchy, but does not fit your "pick one" poll.

@dredmorbius You can't put multiple tags in a column, so it's fairly useless. I do open my bio tag block and click a tag sometimes to check what's happening, but they're all low-traffic.

If I want to follow people, I follow them, I don't need lists, and I'm not letting Fediverse get like Twitter where I had thousands of people in a firehose.

@mdhughes You can add additional hashtags to a colum from their context menu, once it's been pinned. Recently posted a screenshot over here:

This seems to create a separate hashtag search for each one listed there, and combines the results and filtering clientside.

@dredmorbius See latest boost! It's working, but I don't know if I'll keep it.

@dredmorbius I've been aware of the rearrangement option for awhile, but dang me if I can remember how I discovered it or how to do it.

To repeat what I've probably said elsewhere, the most glaring oversight in Masto along these lines is the lack of anything like Groups (G+ Communities), where the content can be moderated separately from the instance's moderation, or even circles (lists serve the incoming function of circles, but not the outgoing -- which was never properly implemented in G+ anyway).

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