Unlike Twitter, Mastodon developers use an open-source model. Open-source means, if you take the effort to, you can see the source of the messages you see on screen.
Because Mastodon is an open-source app developed on GitHub, you can create an issue when you see something wrong.
- Start by learning how the app works.
- Then identify an issue that needs to be fixed.
- Finally, submit a fix to the issue!
The following screenshot highlights some text I see on my Mastodon home page, “Pinned post”, followed by a screenshot of the same string, in code.
The next screenshot shows the same message “Pinned post”, in the file defaultMessages.json, in the Mastodon open-source project on GitHub.
After I edit the text in the file, I can submit it to the Mastodon maintainers for their consideration. On GitHub, we call this type of change request a pull request. I’m making a request from the maintainers. I want someone in that group to “pull” my change into the current version of the code. We call this “committing” the change, or a “commit” to the project.
If you feel intimidated by the language, take a breath. You can take your time digesting this new world of open-source – it’s worth understanding. Open-source software puts the power in your hands. And that power requires responsibility. It won’t happen overnight. However, if you try to understand the language of open-source and experiment with creating forks and submitting pull requests, you can gain the power to improve the experience in applications that millions of people use every day.