https://wiki.diasporafoundation.org/Choosing_a_pod lists “Location of the server” as one of the reasons for pod choice, and includes this language: “you may want to choose a pod which is based near where you live, which may help improve response time”
I submit that this is an unhelpful and confusing statement, because:
It is very difficult to actually figure out where a given pod is physically hosted. Domain names are often misleading (pod.diaspora.co.nz is apparently in California not New Zealand) and IP maps are unreliable (seattlediaspora.org is either in California or New Jersey depending on which service you consult… and either way it ain’t in Seattle).
It implies that physical proximity to the server is more important than it likely really is. There are many other important factors (server size, load, host network capabilities, etc) that have as much – if not more – effect on response time.
The whole thing is supposed to be distributed and federated, so why put any undue emphasis on localization? I just saw a post from a fellow asking why he couldn’t find any pods in Maine where he lives. He shouldn’t be worrying about that.
The part about choosing a location based on privacy laws per country is of course very pertinent, however, and should definitely be kept.
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