In the last few days, at least two people have created thread unrollers to display multi-part Mastodon posts in one long thread:Masto Reader
by Mario ZechnerMastodon Thread Unroller
This is pretty cool work, similar to the tools that were needed on Twitter.
But I'm wondering, why are they needed in the Fediverse? The Fediverse does not have a 500-character limit.
Yes, most Mastodon instances have a 500 character limit. So why are people using Mastodon to post 5000-character illustrated articles? There are lots of other Fediverse platforms that are suitable for sharing blog-sized posts.
- If you regularly post long stuff, get an account on an instance that supports long stuff.
- If you really love Mastodon and don't want to abandon it, keep your Mastodon account and use it to boost your long stuff that you have posted on a long-stuff instance.
But there's another problem. You can create a long article with fancy formatting and a dozen in-line images. And when your followers view it on Mastodon, it will have no formatting, only 4 images will be shown, and they'll all be at the end instead of in-line.This line is in boldface, and there is a picture of a fish beneath it.This line is in italics, and there is a picture of a fish above it.
This is a sad thing.
Mastodon users can only emulate in-line photos, using multi-part posts. Even if Mastodon had a 50,000 character limit, they would still need a series of short posts in order to insert images at particular places in the text.
So basically, if a Mastodon user wants to create a long post with in-line images, and make it easy to read, there are three options:
- Do it the Mastodon way with umpteen parts, and provide a link to an unrolled version.
- Do it on another platform in one big part, and when you boost it on Mastodon, suggest that people go read the original.
- Convince the majority of the Fediverse to switch to a different platform, so that nobody has these problems.