If you want people to find your public posts on Mastodon or the rest of the Fediverse, there's something important you need to know:


For privacy reasons, the only way to search for posts on here is by hashtag. If you don't include tags, no one will see your post in searches.

Hashtags have to be spelt exactly, so and would bring up two separate sets of results. Include multiple tags if you're not sure.

More MastoTips:

@nik @Tchambers

It's important for communicating with other people on here.

If you don't use Hashtags, people will not find your posts.

@nik @switchingsocial I know @Gargron has said that by design the ability to only search toots that use hashtags is intentional - attempting to reduce folks seeking posts to harass. I suppose if you are using a hashtag you are showing you wish to be part of a larger discussion and thus be findable. I'm not sure myself if it is worth the trade off, but that is the reasoning as I understand it.

@Tchambers @nik @Gargron

Twitter is designed to encourage interactions at all costs, especially thoughtlessly provocative interactions. People see something that outrages them incredibly easily (thanks to full text search, algos, trends etc), they reply instantly and the merry cycle begins again.

Mastodon puts a bit more friction in the system (hashtag search, no algo, no trends), and hopefully so encourages more thoughtful actions. It's less convenient to find stuff, but that's the point?

@Tchambers @nik @Gargron

I'm wondering how many of the social problems we face on social media are down to lack of friction. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with people/posts to respond to and information to analyse.

Humans perhaps aren't equipped to deal with this kind of situation. We have previous normally had up to 150 people we deal with in real life, and maybe a few dozen tv channels/newspapers/radio stations to sift through. Now we have millions of people and millions of channels 😱

@switchingsocial @Tchambers @Gargron im of the opinion that these kinds of issues can just be solved with control of your social situation, not some technological neutering

i never let my follows/followers go above ~150

@nik @Gargron @Tchambers

That's an interesting idea, it fits in with the "humane scale" concept.

I guess this comes down to self-control vs platform design, but it's more difficult to keep self-control if a platform is designed to provoke you (as Twitter and FB are).

@switchingsocial @Gargron @Tchambers i agree that twitter and fb are designed to provoke you, but that is due to their optimized timelines and such, a basic feature such as full text search is not a feature designed to provoke

@switchingsocial @nik @Gargron Yes: I’ve even watched other #indieweb social systems like #Microdotblog where they do not support hashtags, and only support reply with comments rather than pure repost/boost/retweet for those same reasons.

@Tchambers @nik @Gargron

It's interesting to hear about that kind of experimentation. I guess it is difficult to know where the best balance between discovery and friction is, so diversity in approaches is really good.

@switchingsocial @nik @Gargron Indeed: BTW I do recommend you consider adding Microdotblog to your list of privacy focused software —👉


You make full-text search sound like a trivial problem. Especially in a distributed system.

Right now all it takes for fulltext search for Mastodon is an elastic search instance which will eat 2-4 GB of RAM for breakfast. For a mastodon instance that probably runs below 1GB of RAM with all its services.

Hashtags are easy and effective way to manage this problem. It's cheap when it comes to queries, caching and storing them remotely.

@switchingsocial @Tchambers

@sheogorath @switchingsocial @Tchambers im running two pleroma instances (130 users and 30 users) on a vps with 2gb of RAM and get full performance out of pleroma AND postgres's internal full text search (which is exposed in mastofe/api)

proof is in the pudding lol

@switchingsocial Yikes. Content is hard enough to find on here as it is. Privacy reasons? Seriously?

@dentangle @switchingsocial

it’s a silly mastodon feature. many fediverse servers support full text search, so it doesn’t do anything unless you only federate with mastodon - elasticsearch
@xj9 @dentangle @switchingsocial For various reasons, full text search is considerably better. For some reason people attribute 'Oh full text search is used by abusive people' crap.


Hashtag-only searches is to prevent trolls from looking for trouble.

If you have full text search, people who frequently get bullied/trolled will have to start avoiding the words that the bullies/trolls flock to (for example homophobes search for "LGBT" etc).

By using hashtags, it means that you're only joining in public conversations that you actively want to take part in.


Also, it helps to keep conversations on topic because you can only find the conversation through that topic's hashtag.

@switchingsocial Privacy is great and all, but it would be very, very nice if I could at least search my own posts and my favorites.

I get full text results for favourites and (if memory serves me) my own posts at least in the Fedilab app.



You do already get full text results for your own posts, your favourites and replies to you.

It's only other people's posts that you have no connection to that require hashtags.


I can add one thing: speciall caracters are not part of the #hashtag, so in your example you could say:

"here are some #MastoTip|s" -> using corect grammer for your sentence and still only having one (not two) hashtags.

@switchingsocial Also; IF. you use hashtags your. toots MUST be "public" (not "unlisted", "followers", or "direct message") to be findable.

You can put hashtags in non-public toots, but they'll only be useful to find other public toots, not to be visible themselves.

IMO this is a design bug:

- Unlisted hashtags should be globally findable.
- Followers, and DMs findable in initial contexts.


If you try to tag a post that isn't public, Mastodon already has a warning pop up straight away telling you that people won't be able to find it.

@switchingsocial Yes, but:

I default to "unlisted"

The public-mode setting UI is utterly fucked in my browser and takes 3-4 attempts to set.

The idea of unlisted - that is, not shown in the public timeline but otherwise fully public toots -- NOT being hashtag-searchable ... escapes me.

@switchingsocial Why the fuck would it be 'for privacy reasons'? People forget to use hashtags or they don't care. Or hashtags all the #fucking time looks stupid or can become out of context (ie Switter sex ads)

@switchingsocial Please don't just make every word a hashtag, Instagram style.

@switchingsocial but I can't find the same #hashtag.s by searching on different instances

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