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:
📣 USE HASHTAGS!
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.
@switchingsocial important feature that took me a while to get.
@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.
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?
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 😱
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 Yikes. Content is hard enough to find on here as it is. Privacy reasons? Seriously?
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.
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.
@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 huh. Good to know
@switchingsocial Please don't just make every word a hashtag, Instagram style.
mastodon.at is a microblogging site that federates with most instances on the Fediverse.