I have a lot of thoughts on this rich text deal and I have put a lot of them down on GitHub but I still need to vent more

Mastodon isn't a Twitter clone but it was made to fill that exact niche. Short posts with mentions, hashtags, and URLs. Such details give the feel of a platform. The velocity, the atmosphere. On a personal level that's just what I like. And I think it would be reasonable to assume many of those who signed up do, too.

Show thread

A social network is also a kind of common playground. Individuals have the capacity to spoil it for others. For example, when there was a bug in Mastodon that allowed you to make links spin, many made use of it for fun, which spoiled the experience for people with motion sickness. The more vectors there are for how information is transmitted, the more pronounced this is.

Show thread

Right now, there is not a whole lot of ways that individual posts can escape their boundaries to affect the whole experience. They can use lots of line breaks or a wall of text, but it's limited by a maximum height. They can use caps, but they don't stand out that much. Custom emoji are one of the weaker spots when people use them as fonts, and that's annoying.

But adding more elements to the mix? More control over visuals? People WILL make it look ugly, that's a guarantee.

Show thread

There's another angle to this. The fediverse is large, and its participants who are not Mastodon have different ideas and design philosophies. Some of them are publishing all sorts of lists and quotes and strike-through items. And when those posts show up on Mastodon, those visuals are lost.

That is not ideal, when it happens! But interoperability between systems with different goals and capabilities can't ever be full, it's a spectrum.

Show thread

@Gargron If you're so incredibly concerned people will abuse it, you could just have rich formatting as an option. That way, people who like it can see it and people who don't won't, and if an issue breaks out (as with the spinning links) users could switch it off until the troublemakers were dealt with and the issue was patched, if possible.



Right, and next time I post something on Mastodon I have to think about "How will this look like for people who filter richtext?" We know this problem from email and as someone who uses plaintext mails basically since ever, I can tell you, people have no interest in providing useful plaintext versions when they have richtext.

Keep in mind each option just adds exponential likely hood to break things that have to be tested. When you can, avoid.


@sheogorath @Gargron I never said anything about posting with it, only displaying it.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Sheogorath's Microblog

This is my personal microblog. It's filled with my fun, joy and silliness.