Mastodon v2.1.3 and revamped Bridge
 
Heya! Two announcements here: I've released two new patch versions of Mastodon that fix minor issues with 2.1 and add some small new features. And I have reworked the Mastodon Bridge website (the one where you can find your Twitter friends on Mastodon).

First things first, what's new from 2.1.0 to 2.1.3:

As a new feature, Mastodon will finally start aggregating user activity stats. And by that I mean specifically the number of unique weekly sign-ons, number of weekly registrations and number of weekly new toots. I've long been curious about what the number of active users on Mastodon is, but what constitutes "active" is a very open-ended question. Well, in the end, I think if somebody checks Mastodon regularly, that's all you really need to know. Unfortunately it's impossible to get historical data for this, the stats begin at the point of deployment of the new version. In a few weeks from now we'll have some more or less consistent data on most instances, I think.

Instances will now also announce other instances that they know of, by aggregating/crawling this information we can actually create a spatial map of the fediverse. (Both of these features can be disabled by admins if they so wish, but I do not think anyone would want to). We'll probably want to wait until most of the network is upgraded to 2.1.3 though.

We added more caching to federation APIs to make traffic between instances lighter. On that note, we reworked how account deletes work (this was actually planned since 1.6 so it's backwards-compatible) to optimize the traffic there. Also added a command-line task for admins to clean out old deleted/dysfunctional accounts to "catch up" with the new method.

Other than that there are minor performance fixes, UI fixes, and there are some security patches as well. So it's advisable to upgrade to 2.1.3 soon.

Full changelogs as always: https://github.com/tootsuite/mastodon/releases 

Now to the bridge!

I got rid of the "followers" check. I think checking "friends" (who you follow) is quite sufficient for giving relevant results, and the problem with followers was that some people had rather a lot of them, which led to Twitter API rate limit errors and all sorts of performance trouble. Furthermore, now only people who connected their Mastodon accounts are displayed, because simply recounting all of the Twitter friends was quite meaningless.

I made it use the Mastodon API to fetch up-to-date profile data from Mastodon - display name and avatar. I also added a section that summarizes which instances your friends are using, with info from the Mastodon API for each instance.

I removed the requirement of connecting a Mastodon account before showing any results. Now just logging in with Twitter is sufficient, since this tool should be used to convince people to sign up to Mastodon in the first place. So now, you login with Twitter, it shows you your friends already on Mastodon, and below a grid of instances you could very well choose to sign up!

If no friends are found, it displays a sad but hopeful message and a grid of some random instances that might be good starting points for a general audience. And also a reminder to sign in with Mastodon.

And if you are signed in with Mastodon, the bridge now checks who you are already following and displays a checkmark next to their avatar, so you know at a glance who you've missed. Their Twitter identity is mostly irrelevant but it's available in a tooltip for when you don't know who's who.

Finally, I have added some OpenGraph tags and improved the copy on the pages a bit to make the bridge tool more shareable and findable. That's it!

The bridge is now also linked from the joinmastodon.org page in the "Getting started" area.

Thank you for listening and thank you for your support!