Curating Your Home Feed; The Quiet Riot Method

You’ve selected a Mastodon server and signed up. Great!  You’ve built your profile and started following everyone you could find. Even better! You’ve starting posting and interacting, now you’re getting a following and you’re following even more people! Spectacular! But now you’re home feed has gone from a slow meandering river to raging torrent of content that’s getting kind of tough to keep up with. You’ve turned to starting lists, which is imperfect but helpful, however your home feed is still out of control with a lot of redundant and repetitive noise that makes hanging out in your home feed more of a pain than it’s worth some days.  Honestly it’s a good problem to have as  too much to look at is usually better than not enough, but still you want to whittle it down to a more manageable level.

Enter the  Quiet Riot method of curating your home feed.

Axe grinders

So you’ve come to Mastodon for some peace and quiet. You want to get away from the screaming rage machine that defines the Twitter experience, but guess what people still need to scream into the void even on Mastodon.My home feed filled up fast with hyperbolic “screw the man” posts very quickly and even though you might align with the politics of the poster, hearing the same anger over and over again becomes tiring. It also makes your home feed one dimensional and lets be frank, boring . There’s only so many times I can commiserate with posts about the running dog capitalist lackeys. These users are the axe grinders.

So here’s what you do, and it requires a little work. Every time you identify an outrage post that annoys you take a second to look at the persons profile and look at their post history. If all you see is more of the same then find the button with three dots at the upper right corner of their profile and select “Mute” . This is a gentle option if you don’t want to withdraw your support by unfollowing.

You simply get to tune them out.

One of the great things about Mastodon is that you can also mute someone for a select period of time if all you want is a bit of a sanity break.Going through your home feed and muting axe grinders is a great first step in regulating a home feed that’s become a firehose.

Pile Drivers

Now that you’ve purged some of the outrage you should see your feed lighten up a bit, but… There’s still the issue of repetitive political outrage from across the fediverse making it’s way into your timeline via the chronic outrage booster.This is a person that picks a narrative and does nothing but boost it from all corners of the fediverse relentlessly. These are the pile drivers.

Again hone in on a post that’s been boosted into your home feed, one that you find repetitive and annoying. Click on the profile of the person that boosted it and look through their posts. If all they do is boost content that you don’t find particularly valuable, then follow the same procedure as before, except now choose “Hide Boosts” . This will, as advertised keep their boosts out of your time line without unfollowing them or silencing their own original posts. It’s yet another gentle way to keep following while streamlining your feed.

Momma Says That I Never Never Mind Her

As with most things you get out of Mastodon what you put in. There is no algorithm here to spoon feed you content and re-order your time line. Breaking free from automation and surveillance means that you have to take on the responsibility of managing your own experience. A lot of people migrating from other platforms are not entirely used to this concept and it can be daunting at first to build your own feed but its essential. The quality of  engagement you get will outweigh that of more heavily automated platforms.

So mind your home feed and curate it often. You’ll find over time you’ll be able to zero in on the content that is most important to you  and you’ll meet some surprising personalities along the way.

Like a Laser, Six String Razor

This is where we get tough and cut people out of our timeline. You have several moderating tools available to you that allow you to craft your experience by excluding those that you feel bring you down or make you feel uncomfortable. Our first line of defense is simply unfollowing those that don’t add value to your feed. You may have followed hundreds to raise you up, but there are always a few that may weigh you down. Make a note and unfollow them and don’t be shy about it.

So you’ve unfollowed someone but they actively include you in their conversations or worse seek you out, making you feel less than comfortable. It’s time for the block hammer! Go to their profile, follow the now familiar procedure  and choose “Block” . This means they can’t see you and you can’t see them, perfect! If you’re being harassed by other users from the same server you can choose “Block Domain” which will block all users from that server

I Got a Mouth Like An Alligator

It’s all about engagement on Mastodon. The more you engage and interact the more interesting people you’ll find and you’re time line will be richer and fuller than any algorithm could ever predict. Mastodon is also self policing, which means when you see something happening that’s not right or another user abusing the rules of your server it’s up to you to drop the dime and notify your admin. The super power of Mastodon is that moderation is distributed across servers with many different rules that govern each of them.

You would’ve been presented with these rules when you signed up and the administrator of your server wants to hear from you if you think someone is breaking the rules locally or infringing on your servers rules from another server. In other words be a big mouth, engage with your fellow users and let your admins know when you spot trouble. To report someone go to their profile and again click on the options at the top right and click on “Report” and report the specified user.

Rock It Till It Strikes The Hour

With your home feed fully streamlined and armed with the strongest moderation tools on the internet,  you’re ready to get fully addicted to microblogging again.  Which of course is good for your “metal health”.