Mastodon and the Fediverse is too noisy. Why?

Mastodon and most Fediverse platforms may be better than traditional social networks at interoperability but they don’t do much about other issues. In fact, they largely copy these issues straight from the social media giants.

Most Fediverse platforms, including Mastodon, publicly display follower counts, like (favorite) counts, and share (boost) counts. And you’re notified about all of these things by default too. These defaults act as algorithms in their own right, fueling our digital addictions and tuning us to focus on all the wrong elements instead of what really matters: conversations. Mastodon servers also promote trending posts and hashtags via a dedicated section. Relatedly, #posts on the #Fediverse tend to heavily use #hashtags instead of just one or two relevant #topics, which further clutters the #reading #experience.

Bottomline, the average Fediverse experience is only a little less addictive and chaotic than Twitter, Instagram, and Threads. The social media giants are such a disappointingly low bar to compare against though.

Mastodon wants to notify you of everything by default.

Some Mastodon frontends like Phanpy do hide the like and boost buttons on the Timeline and Profile views, but not in the conversation view. Some, like Pinafore, offer an option to hide these counts but hidden inside a “Wellness” or some such setting somewhere. To me, these feel like putting one step forward to be on sand while your other foot is still in water. One wave, and it’s all washed over. Again and again. In any case, what fraction of people on the Fediverse even use Phanpy or Pinafore? How many are even aware of its existence? Not many. is the only Fediverse-compatible platform I know of which truly does away with likes, boosts, follower counts, and hashtags. I wish all social networks removed these pointless stats by default. Maybe offer an option to see them privately but I certainly don’t find the stats to be doing any good publicly. has but a single social component, a Mentions feed. It doesn’t care for any popularity contests, even if you go looking for it. This has made the local community warmer, better welcoming, and more human than other digital places I’ve been to. And that’s why even though I’ve embraced a no-social-media life, which includes not being active on, I don’t mind having a very minimal Fediverse presence via at

Coming back to the noisy Fediverse, I’ve heard users say that the likes, boosts, and hashtags help with discovering people. I don’t buy this. Replies and mentions in shares are higher quality signals of someone connecting with you than passive, low-effort likes and boosts. If someone is curious about a topic, they can simply search for terms of interest, and posts shows up even if they don’t have hashtags. Likes, boosts, and hashtags only add noise over things of direct value.

Aside: On all of these fronts, Bluesky is no different than Mastodon or the Fediverse. It’s essentially the Twitter UI but which happens to a little bit interoperable—and that’s about it.

Is your experience about these kinds of Fediverse interactions different and positive? If so, I’d love to hear from you. And if these social features really are good, then why not make the likes, and boost counts, private? It will let us discover people without spamming the whole network. Why even show follower counts instead of just displaying the followers if you really must? In fact, why not show only whom someone is following like does? That’s a more interesting way to discover new people anyway.

Microblogging is a terribly contextually deprived way to create and consume things anyway. The Fediverse, sadly, hasn’t started off building the next phase of the Web with the intention of explicitly tackling such issues.

Edit: This post led to a good conversation, and Manton—the creator of—shared the post on his blog.

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