According to fedidb.org, there are 39 #hometown servers which are home to 3.9k users who wrote 2.6M messages.
Mastodon is used by 3.3K servers, home to 3.17M users who wrote 485.7M messages.
If one does some really simple math: hometown has 67.5K messages per server, or 714 per user.
Mastodon meanwhile has ~145.5k messages per server but only 152 messages per user.
So how come hometown users write so much more?
Hometown is 99% the same as Mastodon. The main difference? Hometown allows posting local-only, meaning messages do not leave the instance and are only visible to those on the instance.
Here is a theory: servers focused on a specific community which in addition allow local-only posting create much more engagement. Even when, or specifically because, these messages are not visible in the larger network.
The numbers above are really back-of-the-envelope so there are caveats. There might also be other factors at play, such as self-selection. Talkative and community oriented-folks gravitate towards hometown? People join large mastodon servers and quickly leave?
Meanwhile, Mastodon has resisted local-only posting and in current official apps even remove the local timeline. This is (maybe??) good for network growth and large generic servers but is it good for communities? Is this really an alternative?
local-only posting does not make a lot of sense, if your instance is a quarter of the whole fediverse, there is not a lot of difference to the federated timeline - another reason, why huge instances like mastodon.social are problem...
@tobbsn Agreed! An interesting corollary is that local-only, because it doesn't federate, creates a better case for a federation with more small providers?
@rra I wonder if the longer allowable length of Hometown posts also plays a role. It’s counter-intuitive, because you’d have to post multiple messages on Mastodon to equal what you can hammer out on Hometown in a single post. But maybe longer posts encourage more thoughtfulness, which in turn encourages more engagement?
@rra thanks for the analysis, I really hope you're right!
However, I think it's worth recognizing that maybe these stats differences also have another reason: Mastodon instances, esp. the big and popular ones, are often the first port of call for users joining fedi, esp. after leaving .
A lot of these accounts are set-up, post a few posts, and become dormant and silent.
Meanwhile, #hometown users can be expected to be a bit more engaged, since they did move or find a smaller instance. 🤔
@rra I don't think either is the full explanation, of course. But I think both have measurable effect on these stats.
@rysiek yes absolutely. Perhaps a more fair comparison would be either remove the biggest instances or to compare only similar-sized ones.
We are an instance for discussions around cultural freedom, experimental, new media art, net and computational culture, and things like that.