A Minute from the Moderators

What we’ve been working on this month: the Hachyderm section of the Community Documentation.

We’ve been working hard to build out more of the Community Documentation to help everyone to create a wonderful experience on Hachyderm. For the past month, we’ve focused most heavily on our new How to Hachyderm section. The docs in this section are:

When you are looking at these sections, please be aware that the docs under the How to Hachyderm section are for the socialized norms around each topic and the subset of those norms that we moderate. Documentation around how to implement the features are both under our Mastodon docs section and on the main Mastodon docs. This is particularly relevant to our Content Warning sections: How To Hachyderm Content Warnings is about how content warnings are used here and on the Fediverse, whereas Mastodon User Interface Content Warnings is about where in the post composition UI you click to create a content warning.

Preserving your mental health

In our new Mental Health doc, we focus on ways that you can use the Mastodon tools for constraining content and other information. We structured the doc to answer two specific questions:

  • How can people be empowered to set and maintain their own boundaries in a public space (the Fediverse)?
  • What are the ways that people can toggle the default “opt-in”?

By default, social media like Mastodon / the Fediverse, opts users in to all federating content. This includes posts, likes, and boosts. Depending on your needs, you may want to opt out of some subsets of that content either on a case-by-case basis, by topic, by source, or by type. Remember:

You can opt out of any content for any reason.

For example, you may want to opt out of displaying media by default because it is a frequent trigger. Perhaps the specific content warnings you need aren’t well socialized. Maybe you are sensitive to animated or moving media. That said, perhaps media isn’t a trigger - you just don’t like it. Regardless of your reason, you can change this setting (outlined in the doc) whenever you wish and however often as meets your needs.

Hashtags and Content Warnings

Our Hashtags and Content Warnings docs are to help Hachydermians better understand both what these features are and the social expectations around them. In both cases, there are some aspects of the feature that people have encountered before: hashtags in particular are very common in social media and content warnings mirror other features that obscure underlying text on sites like Reddit (depending on the subreddit) and tools like Discord.

Both of these features have nuance to how they’re used on the Fediverse that might be new for some. On the Fediverse, and on Hachyderm, there are “reserved hashtags”. These are hashtags that are intended only for a specific, narrow, use. The ones we moderate on Hachyderm are FediBlock, FediHire, and HachyBots. For more about this, please see the doc.

Content warnings are possibly less new in concept. The content warning doc focuses heavily on how to write an effective content warning. Effective content warnings are important as you are creating a situation for someone else to opt in to your content. This requires consent, specifically informed consent. A well written content warning should inform people of the difference between “spoilers”, “Doctor Who spoilers”, and “Doctor Who New Year’s Special Spoilers”. The art of crafting an effective content warning is balancing what information to include while also not making the content warning so transparent that the content warning is the post.

Notably, effective content warnings feature heavily in our Accessible Posting doc.

Accessible Posting

Our Accessible Posting doc is an introductory guide to different ways to improve inclusion. It is important to recognize there are two main constraints for this guide:

  • It is an introductory guide
  • The Mastodon tools

As an introductory guide, it does not cover all topics of accessibility. As a guide that focuses on Mastodon, the guide discusses the current Mastodon tools and how to fully utilize them.

As an introductory guide, our Accessibility doc primarily seeks to help users develop more situational awareness for why there are certain socialized patterns for hashtags, content warnings, and posting media. We, as moderators of Hachyderm, do not expect anyone to be an expert on any issue that the doc covers. Rather, we want to help inspire you to continue to learn about others unlike yourself and see ways that you can be an active participant in creating and maintaining a healthy, accessible, space on the Fediverse.

Content warnings feature heavily on this doc. The reason for this is Mastodon is a very visual platform, so the main ways that you are connecting with others who do not have the same experience of visual content is by supplying relevant information.

There will always be more to learn and more, and better, ways to build software. For those interested in improving the accessibility features of Mastodon, we recommend reviewing Mastodon’s CONTRIBUTING document.

More to come

We are always adding more docs! Please check the docs pages frequently for information that may be useful to you. If you have an idea for the docs, or wish to submit a PR for the docs, please do so on our Community repo on GitHub.

April will mark one month since we launched the Nivenly Foundation, Hachyderm’s parent org. Nivenly’s website is continuing to be updated with information about how to sponsor or become a member. For more information about Nivenly, please see Nivenly’s Hello World blog post.

The creation of Nivenly also allowed us to start taking donations for Hachyderm and sell swag. If you are interested in donating, please use either our GitHub Sponsors or one of the other methods that we outline on our Thank You doc. For Hachyderm swag, please check out Nivenly’s swag store .