This morning I removed just over 3000 dead instance connections from I know Mastodonizens don’t follow their follower accounts as closely as some folks on other networks, but I wanted to let you know you this operation might have caused some go missing in this purge.

These are instances that have quit responding for at least seven days, and in some cases they haven’t been around since November. A couple weeks ago I saw an uptick in the amount of SSL errors in Sidekiq communicating with various remote instances and noticed a trend of instances that were stood up around 90 days ago, with Let’s Encrypt certificates, that have since been abandoned.

It's likely that folks were trying to self host and then realized what a pain in the ass it is 😉 As just put it to me in the project Discord, “lots of failed dreams in there.”

I’d say that most of the domains listed didn’t have anyone following or being followed by users, but some did. These accounts would not have been in communication with us for some time, as Mastodon stops actively trying to communicate with systems after they have failed for seven days.

While some of these were removed manually if they were larger instances, this process was largely accomplished by doing a dump of the unavailable_domains table in the Mastodon Postgres database, and exporting the list to a giant string of domains.

RAILS_ENV=production ./bin/tootctl domains purge away.we.go bye.bye.birdie

In my spot checking of these instances, most of them had no direct follow/follower relationship with our users, but some of them did.

Going forward this process will be run more frequently.