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Cleaning my follow list using “jacanaoesta”

Last year we saw the rise of the Fediverse. Mostly because of a series of external events, that ended up pushing many people to try other alternatives to their centralized platform of choice.

Mastodon was clearly the software component that got most attention and has been under the spotlight in the last few months. It wasn’t launched last year, in fact, mastodon instances (servers) have been online since 2016, managed by its developers and other enthusiasts.

I’ve been running my own instance since 2017 and since then, I’ve seen people come and gone. I started following many of them, but some no longer are active. This brings us to the real topic of this post.

Since I couldn’t find a place in the Mastodon interface that would allow me to check which users I follow are inactive, I decided to build a small tool for that. It also served as a nice exercise to put my rust skills into practice (a language that I’m trying to slowly learn during my spare time).

The user just needs to specify the instance and API key, plus the number of days for an account to be considered inactive if the default (180 days) is not reasonable. Then the tools will print all the accounts you follow that fit that criteria.

Find people that no longer are active in your Mastodon follow list.

Usage: jacanaoesta [OPTIONS] <instance>

Arguments:
  <instance>

Options:
  -k, --api-key      Ask for API key
  -d, --days <days>  Days since last status to consider inactive [default: 180]
  -h, --help         Print help information
  -V, --version      Print version information

And this is an example of the expected output:

Paste API Key here:
Found 171 users. Checking...
veracrypt (https://mastodon.social/@veracrypt) seems to be inactive
...
fsf (https://status.fsf.org/fsf) seems to be inactive
38 of them seem to be inactive for at least 180 days

Without the -k option, the program tries to grab the API key from the environment variables instead of asking the user for it.

Problem solved. If you want or need to give it a try, the code and binaries can be found here: https://github.com/dethos/jacanaoesta

Note: After publishing this tool, someone brought to my attention that Mastodon does indeed have a similar functionality in its interface. The difference being it only considers accounts that don’t publish a status for 1 month as inactive (it’s not configurable).

You can find it in “Preferences → Follows and Followers → Account Activity → Dormant”

Screenshot of where to find the "dormant" functionality.

By Gonçalo Valério

Software developer and owner of this blog. More in the "about" page.

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