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Andy Piper
Andy Piper

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Six (and a bit) months on Team Mastodon

Back in May, Eugen announced that I’d joined the team at Mastodon gGmbH, to look after Developer Relations. I was helping out in different ways, and getting to know the community across different Fediverse projects, since the start of the year; it was great to be able to spend a small portion of my freelance time working on something that I personally believe in, that I’m excited about, and where I can bring relevant experience to bear in multiple areas.

The initial six month arrangement technically wrapped up at the end of November, and I thought it might be nice to reflect on what I was able to achieve over that period (I’m also excited to be able to continue this work going into 2024). Some of the work was very much “behind the scenes” / “under the radar”, so it is less straightforward to document here, but here are some of the larger and more visible outcomes.

  • I worked on a full update of supporting libraries and client apps for the website. This is now much more complete and vibrant! I’m a particular fan of the niche “retro computing” section of the site, since it directly intersects with my other interests in tech.
    • I’d also like to use this space to again, say Thank You to the large number of developers that spend their time building libraries, tools, and full Mastodon apps, for the platform. We appreciate you!
  • I refreshed the GitHub organisation & project look-and-feel, setting up an organisation-level README, and links to our Code of Conduct across all of our projects.
  • I worked on cross-project and cross-instance collaboration channels. This is a little more difficult to document because there are a lot of channels (Mastodon, Discord, Signal, GitHub / other source control communities, face-to-face and 1:1 meetings), but I’m hopeful (and I believe) that I’ve been successful in bringing folks together in meaningful ways over the course of the year.
  • I attended a number of workshops on behalf of the team – the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a series on challenges to moderation and safety in distributed social networks, the Data Transfer Initiative ran an excellent conversation, and I’ve had several contacts with folks via Fediforum.
  • I talked about Mastodon and the Fediverse to Developer Relations-specific audiences at DevRelCon in London, and at the Dublin DevRel meetup (recording here).
  • I represented and spoke about Mastodon at All Things Open (alongside my personal attendance). Stickers!

An array of tech-related stickers on a tabletop, featuring Mastodon logos
An array of tech-related stickers on a tabletop, featuring Mastodon logos

  • I worked with the triage team that Renaud established to significantly burn down the backlog of documentation and website issues. There was a particularly large burst of activity around this during November and December, and this was also part of my 24 Pull Requests contribution this month.
    • there is a lot more still to do here, and contributions are welcomed. We want to rebuild the documentation website in a format that is more closely aligned with the site, and would love to have some help with that.
  • I secured a table for the project at FOSDEM 2024, and I will be working with Renaud and others to run that presence.

Excited to announce that the @Mastodon project will have a stand at #FOSDEM2024 … February this year was my first time at #FOSDEM, and this time I'll be there with a project I support! Looking forward to it.

— Andy Piper (@andypiper)2023-11-21T19:58:45.211Z

  • With the aim to maintain a range of different relationships and channels of conversation, I’ve also been actively having discussions with organisations and supporting groups such as IFTAS, Fastly, Fediforum, and more.

I’d love to spend more time with the Mastodon team and contribute in even more ways; from the perspective of building a sustainable freelancer lifestyle, it is only a small part of my time, and I’m open to other opportunities.

The author (a white man with blonde hair and glasses with dark frames) is facing the camera, holding up a small brown fluffy mammoth toy in his left hand. He is standing in front of a sea view in the north of Malta
Mastodon in Malta!

Looking forward to 2024! FOSDEM next, and then, Princeton

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