Like many others, I’m exploring using Mastodon as a replacement for Twitter in anticipation of the latter’s descent into Gab/Parler knock-off, trainwreck into unusability, or otherwise going away. One thing very different is the lack of numbers for boosts (known in Twitter as retweets or RTs) and replies. At first this rubbed me the wrong way, as I follow enough people that I want to know a post’s popularity before I enter into the conversation. One beneficial side-effect, though, is that my reflexive move to help solve someone’s problem when they post “I can’t X” gets a little dampened. The issue is that I may not be helping, they may not need something solved, and it may not be a problem. Even if I eventually notice one or more of those — and I have gotten better at that — I will have spent time researching how to help and that’s not useful to anyone. It most often happens when X is something I know a little bit about, think I know a little bit about, or want to learn about. With no reply numbers, I have to actually open up the conversation to see what more I ought to know, and tend to see what I need to figure out whether help is needed or wanted, and it gives me a breath to ask myself whether I am the one.