Frequently Asked Questions

Where does the data come from?

MNM data comes from various sources:

  • the list of instances is grabbed from https://instances.mastodon.xyz/instances.json
  • Instance data (users, statuses, connections, HTTPS score...) is also grabbed every hour from https://instances.mastodon.xyz/instances.json. This will probably change soon, as we're in the process to fetching this data directly from each instance.
  • country data is deduced either from FreeGeoIP API or TLDs countries
  • release data is queried every five minutes from the GitHub API
  • hashtag / status data is gathered by subscribing to various instances public timelines (mastodon.xyz at the moment). Once we extracted relevant data from each toot, such as content length, media usage or hashtags, toots are simply discarded. We do not store them or their content.

The country data / user map is not accurate!

We have no way to reliably geolocate Mastodon users. This is private data that is only accessible to instance owner, and exposing it in any way would probably cause privacy issues.

What we do instead is focusing on each instance location. To know an instance location, we have two ways:

  1. If the instance TLD (the last part in the domain name) is bound to a specific country, such as France for .fr or Japan for .jp, we use this country as the instance country.
  2. Otherwise, we use the instance server IP adress location, by querying FreeGeoIP.

None of this solution is ideal, but at the moment, this is the best we found. If you thought of another option, please open an issue on our repository, as we are really interested to make location data more accurate.

Can I reuse MNM data somewhere else?

You can reuse our data in your papers, toots, blog entries, or anywhere you want, without asking for our permission. Our end goal is to but all the data in the public domain, but we have to ensure we can actually do that, since data comes from various sources so this may take some time.

In the meanwhile, you can still reuse our data, preferably with a link or a mention of the source, but this is not mandatory.

If you're interested in the raw data, we can send you dumps from the database, you just need to contact us. There is an ongoing project of building a public API for MNM data, to make this process easier.

How can I contribute?

There are various ways to contribute to this project:

  • You can suggest new features on our repository
  • You can also report bugs, typos, errors in statistics via the repository
  • You can design or suggest new dashboards or ways to visualize the data
  • You can contribute directly to Mastodon to make data extraction easier
  • You can help with redacting this FAQ
  • You can maintain a mirror of the project: all the resources, API and technologies needed by MNM are free and/or open-source, meaning you can host your own clone of MNM, or even take a different path by providing different dashboards, for example. If you want to setup a mirror, please contact us so we can give you some guidance and up-to-date data dumps.
  • You can share the project with other people

In general, contributions are much appreciated, even if they are not part of the previous list.

Are there similar projects?

There are various projects with similar data:

If you're working on a similar project, please contact us to get added to this list.

How can I contact you?

You can contact us by mail at mnm@eliotberriot.com or directly on Mastodon, by mentionning @eliotberriot@mastodon.eliotberriot.com.