Languages on Mastodon

With the rise of Toxic Muskulinity on Twitter Mastodon, or the Fediverse respectively, is talk of the town. And for the largest part – rightly so! It seems that parts of the IndieWeb finally get at least their 15 minutes of fame. Of course, the hopes are high that this momentum becomes a sustainable one.

The situation, nonetheless, forces many of us from a platform that was a virtual home (or at least a considerable part of our social media usage). Without spreading platitudes, this could lead to new starts in a new environment, that has both less and more features than the so-called "birdsite".

One of the features that Mastodon has, but Twitter doesn't is to explicitly set the Tweet/Toot (Twoot?) language. The only obvious advantage for that is at first glance, that in a multi-language timeline full of status updates with explicitly set language, screen readers can read, erm, twoots in the language their respective authors intended. And - while Twitter's autodetection heuristics of the tweet language seems (or seemed?) to be mostly capable of recognizing the language - that is an advantage of its own.

But this feature really shines with the 4.0.X release of the Mastodon core software, because it enables users to follow other users but in only selected languages. It may be only me – but that should prevent people that toot in different languages the "need" to set up different accounts (a thing that I did on Twitter to, let's say, keep motorsports, local politics and - for the most part - TV shows and music out of my "main account").

Now, the solution of course isn't perfect - language alone does not automatically equals "region" or local context. But still, it is a start to me, to tweet toot more and more spontaneous, like I did before. Because I'm, for the most part, really enjoying the "early Twitter" feel of the "Mammoth site".

So, tldr: For the foreseeable future I will likely more post more "local accessibility stuff", so for example some things related to the German WCAG/EN 301549 test collective "BIK BITV Test", since it is right now a large part of my everyday work. But I will set the toot language to "German", so international followers can filter these ones out, per:

  1. Visiting a profile
  2. Clicking the overflow menu with the three dots (programmatic name is "Menu")
  3. Select "Change subscribed languages"
  4. Pick the languages via checking checkboxes in the modal that appears
  5. Click "save changes"

And I would really like to see mobile and native apps, other great web interfaces to catch up. But the good thing about this environment is: We can - at least, partly - contribute, and are not dependable on the irratic whims of a rich child king.

Meta, blog-related "Only one blog post a year" was definitely not my publishing goal for 2022. I actually got plans, designs, and a feature branch with the new version of – but I haven't found the time to advance and blog this year due to various reasons. Because I don't want to make New Year's resolutions at all (especially not a month early): Let's just say that I hope the article frequency changes in 2023 for the better.


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