New to Matrix/Riot? Just getting here from discord and need an idiot proof guide to the system? You have come to the correct place.
First install riot and get to the register page. You can ignore the email and phone number requirements, they don't matter in the slightest. Got to the bottom and check the "custom server" box. Here comes the important part. Picking a homeserver.
Go to this website: https://www.hello-matrix.net/public_servers.php
Choose an open server at absolute random. It is important that you pick this server at random, as this makes it much harder to shut things down in the case that the admins get ban happy. There is a technical discussion about why this makes things more difficult, but I will spare you the pain. Copy the host name and paste it in the home server url box. Register your account.
Now you are going to see a ton of crap you don't need to worry about. Disregard the default matrix tutorial bot, and hit settings (in the bottom left corner of the screen). Set a profile picture, no one likes to see a floating letter. Scroll down and change your theme. The status.im theme and riot dark are far superior to the default. Also make sure to opt out of analytics.
That is much better. Now it is time to join some rooms. Click the rooms directory button in the bottom left corner. You will see a list of the most popular matrix rooms. They are universally crap, even conspiracy. Instead, type one of these channels into the search bar:
|#8chan:matrix.org||Unofficial 8chan matrix channel|
|#conspiracy:disroot.org||Conspiracy channel, tons of plebbit users but also has some good shitposting|
|#natfed-public:matrix.org||NATFED/Subvert.pw public shitposting channel|
|#chanpol:matrix.org||/pol/ shitposting room|
|#cyber:matrix.ordoevangelistarum.com||A club /cyber/ia chat|
|#thebog:matrix.ordoevangelistarum.com||General bogposting autism|
This is a topic many autists never even need to worry about. However, because we are doing edgy things online and need some protection, you will probably need a half decent understanding of how this works.
Somewhere down line you are going to see a message like this blocking you from messaging. Simply put, matrix users can see all of the devices other matrix users are logged in with. Before you can send a secure message to another user, you need to verify that. Hit the show devices button, and you will get a screen like this.
This is a list of all of the unknown devices in use. Verify the ones you want, and ignore the others. The security stop feature is a little under developed here, but it has its perks. Something you may want to do on your own is to check out the device keys your own account has attached to it on the settings page. Make sure you regularly delete keys that have been generated by web-browser logins. If you see an unknown device pop up here, change your password immediately and delete their keys.
Communities are nice. They make using riot sane, as they will allow you to filter rooms based on group rather than just letting them all sit about. You can find new communities by looking at the flair next to people's username in various chats. Click them, and you will be taken to their page.
When you join a community, a nice little button will appear on the left hand side. Clicking it will show only pages affiliated with the community. For now, joining communities from an id (eg: +8chan:matrix.org) however you can easily join them by clicking links generated via matrix.to (eg: https://matrix.to/#/+8chan:matrix.to).
At some point, you are going to want to know how to run your own Matrix room as well as join them. To make a new channel hit the plus sign in the bottom left corner. Name the room, and hit "create room". You will now be dropped into this barren wasteland:
Lets change some channel settings. Hit the options button in the top right hand corner of your screen. Change the room icon, give it a good name and description. After this, scroll down to the addresses area and add a new name. Addresses follow a #name:server.tld format. If I wanted to make a car theft channel on the matrix.org server the format would be #cartheft:matrix.org. The other thing you will notice here is flairs/communities. Don't add your channel to a community here. Instead use the community management screen.
There is also powerlevel management in this area. Here you can set who can delete/manage messages, who can kick/ban, and who can update/delete settings. There is a default 50 power moderator and 100 power admin. Stick to these levels in the beginning, and make new roles as time goes on.
You can make a new community to associate with your chats by clicking the community icon in the bottom left hand corner, and then the "create a new community button" that will appear in the center of the screen.
Now hit the community options button (its in the same place that the channel options button was). Scroll to the very bottom and add your rooms to this community. Give it a nice long html description. If you want new people to easily join your community, make sure to select this.
Now distribute the id to various people. You can invite people to the community just like a room, or you can give people a link generated via matrix.to. The only other way to find communities is via flairs, and they suck balls.