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Signed up yesterday to @mastodon.social - today it's @mstdn.social - there's also @mstdn.io

What's the difference between them?! can't quite figure it out

@iamsophiesk @mstdn.social Hi, from what I can work out they're called "instances", I think of them as 'group' they are all independent but you can see and chat to people in other groups.

@LlamaLout thanks! yeah I think I'd figured the basics out but it's really hard to tell from *outside* the instances what the difference is. or even if there IS a difference!

@iamsophiesk I don't think there's much difference in the general/social instances, there are more targeted ones for people keen on certain topics.

@iamsophiesk @mstdn.social you only need to sign up for one. Instances are communities and all have access to the same Mastodon social network.

@iamsophiesk the nicest way i've found to think about it is like email providers. Outlook and Gmail manage sending and receiving mail, but you can contact users on Outlook from Gmail and vice versa. instances work in the same way - they all interact with each other so you can see posts from and follow people on other instances even if it's not the one you're using.

@its_notjack which makes sense, but you can see from outside the application what the difference is between Outlook and Gmail. That's not so clear with mastodon.social vs mstdn.social which don't seem to have "splash pages" to separate them, which is where the confusion is coming from.

@iamsophiesk each instance has an "about this server" page which describes what its aims and goals are, how it chooses to moderate, and differences, if any, from the default software it runs. for your instance, see mstdn.social/about/more#featur and for mastodon.social it's mastodon.social/about/more . hopefully that's helpful to you.

@its_notjack @iamsophiesk quite helpful discussion, thanks! Wondering about that myself!

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