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Server rules

Below is a summary of rules you need to follow if you want to have an account on this server of Mastodon:

  1. Don't be racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, fatphobic, etc., you know the drill. Don't interact with people if they've asked you to stop doing so. Don't be a "reply guy".
  2. Be considerate when posting photos of commonly feared animals like bugs, snakes, etc.: use informative descriptions or hashtags so people can filter them out if they want, and/or mark media as sensitive so it is hidden behind a click.
  3. Act as an ambassador for wildlife; aim to stimulate people's curiosity, not shame them for fear or ignorance.
  4. Credit other artists/photographers/creators appropriately when posting their work.
  5. Don't do/discuss doing/link to illegal shit. Neither I nor this server's host are willing to go to jail for you.


This server is for people who want to appreciate, share, and learn about arthropods, herps, fungi, etc.—and who are open to helping other people appreciate them, too.

You don't have to only post about nature, though. If you also want a general fediverse home for chatting with friends and posting about other interests, that's okay too.

If you like, you can chip in for hosting costs.

For non-members

You don't have to join this server to follow people, see posts, or participate! We would love to see the cool fungi, bugs, spiders, snakes, etc., that you find. For accounts to follow, check out the public user directory. If you'd like to get a better sense of what the server is like without following a bunch of people, check out the public timeline.

If you would like to join, I'd like to get a sense of who you are. If you already have a profile or social media presence elsewhere, e. g. Mastodon, Tumblr, or iNaturalist, please state it in your reasons for applying.

If someone on here is breaking the rules, posting objectionable content, or just generally being an ass, please report it—don't assume I already know about it!

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  • Home: all posts from the people you follow, plus posts they boost.
  • Local: all public posts from everyone else on flipping.rocks.
  • Federated: all public posts from people that anyone on flipping.rocks follows, plus posts they boost.

Here is a more detailed explanation:

Title: What makes up each timeline? Text: This flow chart might help explain. To look at it from the other direction: Your public toots will always be in your instance's local timeline. If even one person from example.instance follows you, your public toots will be visible in the federated timeline for everyone on example.instance. (Replies don't make it into the public or federated timelines.) Flow chart: Start: Public toot by @Foo. Am I following @Foo? Yes: Toot shows in Home timeline. No: Is @Foo on my instance? Yes: Toot shows in Local timeline. No: Does someone on my instance follow @Foo? Yes: Toot shows in Federated timeline. No: Did someone on my instance boost @Foo's toot or search for it with its URL? Yes: Toot shows in Federated timeline. No: @Foo's toot never reaches my instance. If you choose "unlisted" instead of "public", your toots will be seen by followers and be visible on your profile but they won't appear in the timelines.

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Post visibility options

Post visibility options: public, unlisted, followers-only, and mentioned people only (direct message)

If you post something unlisted, your followers will see it, but it won't show up in Local or Federated timelines, or in searches for any hashtags in it. This is good for long threads, for example.

Direct messages, where only people mentioned can see them, are not end-to-end encrypted, and theoretically I could see them if I really wanted to. (In reality, I don't actually know how, also I am far too lazy and I just don't care.) If you need a secure communication channel, use something like Signal.

Local-only posting

Choose federated or local-only posting by clicking the chain-link icon in the posting area

The flavour of Mastodon this server runs on, Hometown, has an extra feature: local-only posting. This means that the post will only be visible on flipping.rocks; it doesn't get sent to other servers. It will not be sent to followers on other servers, and it won't show up in other servers' federated timelines. If the post is public or unlisted, it will still show up on your profile page if someone visits it in a web browser. You can make a post local-only by clicking the chain-link icon below the post field. If you are using an app that doesn't have that option, you can use the custom emoji local_only: Local-only emoji

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Image descriptions, CWs, and sensitive media

Image descriptions/alt text

Click 'Edit' or 'No description added' to bring up the media description window.

The posting interface with an attached image.

The image description window.

What the image description window looks like.

Please do your best to add image descriptions, a.k.a alt text! This is so people using screen readers or text-only clients can understand your posts. It is a basic point of fediverse etiquette, and many people will not boost images without them. Here's a guide to writing good image descriptions.

Content warnings

A post with the content warning 'It's been' and the post body 'ONE WEEK'.

Content warnings are good for hiding many things: book or movie spoilers, Wordle results (or anything else with lots of emoji that will mess up screen readers), depressing/enraging politics, all-caps rants, joke punchlines, common triggers for conditions like PTSD, addictions, eating disorders, etc. Here is more about content warnings and how (and why) to use them.

If you attach an image to a post with a content warning, it will automatically be marked sensitive. However, you can also mark media sensitive without using a content warning. The post text will be visible, but the image will be blurred until the reader clicks/taps it.

Sensitive media

A picture marked sensitive in a public federated post.

Many people have an irrational fear of spiders, insects and other arthropods, and snakes, and they don't appreciate being surprised with pictures of them. On the other hand, it is important to destigmatize and demystify these animals by not treating them as inherently scary or different from any other wildlife.

If you are posting a picture of an arthropod, snake, or any other creature people commonly have phobias about, use informative descriptions or hashtags (like #spiders, #snakes, #insects, #bugs, etc.) so people can filter out the post if they want. This will also allow people who want to see your photos to find them easily!

Optionally, you can also choose the "Mark media as sensitive" option, which blurs the image so users must click to reveal it.

Turning off CWs and hidden media

If you want to disable content warnings and hidden media, go to Sensitive Content in Appearance preferences. You can choose to always show sensitive media and always expand post content warnings.

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Safety and privacy

Your account can be as public or locked-down as you like. Please look through the settings thoroughly. Some things you can do, for example:

  • Require follow requests be approved by you
  • Hide who you follow and who follows you
  • Opt out of search engines indexing your public posts
  • Automatically delete old posts

That said, this is designed to be public social media, not secure messaging. Most of Mastodon's/Hometown's privacy/blocking features only work with platforms that respect the same rules, and there are Fediverse platforms that have been explicitly designed to get around these rules. Assume people or servers you block can still see your posts if they really want to.

Flipping.rocks has a public profile directory. If you would like your profile included, go to profile settings and check the box "Suggest account to others".

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This server is for public outreach and assistance as well as socializing among ourselves. Therefore, you will be able to interact with people on many other servers with different rules and levels of moderation. Please do so judiciously. If you want to argue with trolls or get into vendettas with other users, don't do it here.

Mute, block, and report generously. Report problematic posts both to me and the user's server, so that server's mods know about it. If you come across a server that proudly hosts Nazis, transphobes, police, CHUDs, insufferable reply guys, etc.—anyone who might harass or cause trouble for our server as a whole—let me know.

If I've invited you/accepted your application, it's because I trust you know how to conduct yourself online. That said, I only have so much time for moderation and mediation. Even if you do not explicitly break any rules, if you have a history of doing so or if you cause undue trouble for me or other users, I will boot your ass.

Federation and defederation

As an administrator, I can also silence (mute) and suspend (block) remote accounts for the entire server. I can also silence or suspend entire servers. I regularly monitor for bad servers/users and communicate with other admins. You can see the list of silenced and suspended servers, plus reasons. If you think a server should be removed from the list, just let me know, and I'll take another look at it.

When it concerns a server with users who follow or are followed by flipping.rocks users, I ask our users for feedback.

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Technical stuff

We run a flavour of Mastodon called Hometown and are hosted by fedi.monster.

This is not the place for high-res photos, long videos, or irreplaceable data. Photo uploads are limited to 8 MB and video/audio to 40 MB. If you would like help backing up your content or having it cross-posted to Twitter, let me know, and I'm happy to help you set it up.

I'm open to hosting other services for users, like wikis, Git repositories, etc. If you think of anything you want, let me know! Just know that it will probably be run off an ancient netbook in my living room with 2 GB of RAM, so, you know, nothing too resource-intensive.

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Backup plans

There are daily backups, courtesy of our host fedi.monster.

If I ever decide to shut down the server, I'll give you at least 3 months' notice so you can export your data.

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More resources

Like-minded servers/groups

Species ID help