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Groups yes, hashtags no

I’ve got a couple of rants on why hashtags don’t work very well on Fedi but one thing that does work somewhat (it’s a li’l janky still) is groups!

Here is a li’l tutorial for how to use groups from Mastodon:

Follow method

Easy method is to just the groups as if they were normal users. For example or or Finding the right groups is… Not easy. There are many groups and often more than one alternative for a given topic. Suggestions welcome for this part of the tutorial!

That’ll give you a ton of posts about that topic and then you can tag the group name in your replies os everyone in the group will see your replies, or untag the group if discussions get deep and boring for other people.

You can also start new threads by mentioning the group. I don’t think you even need to be following a group in order to participate. Easy peasy.

Participating without following

Now this is way more difficult and nerdy so if you’re just starting out, stick with the follow method above, and read no further!

I don’t like to get overwhelmed by a ton of posts so I don’t like to be directly subscribed to the groups.

You can reply to posts without following them by going to the search box on your instance and pasting in the true, real, original, originating URL for a post. But it’s gotta be the original.

Like, if you’re browsing Mastodon web and you go to Alice’s instance, let’s say it’s called vegetables.example, and you see Bob replying to her, but Bob is posting from gardens.example, he doesn’t have an account on vegetables, he has an account on gardens. That means pasting in the link to his reply as it’s shown on vegetables is no good. You need to go all the way to his own webpage gardens and find his reply there. How to find this original is different on every site. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Some make it easy with a li’l “Fedi link”, others don’t have an easy way to find it at all.

This is one of the main challenges Fedi faces. You see a post online and you can reply to it but figuring out how to get that post into your own instance so you can reply or reblog or like is not very easy.

“Threadiverse” group servers like Mbin, Kbin, PieFed and Lemmy have web views of their groups so I can sometimes figure out what’s going on from there, and find the posts from there.

Guppe doesn’t have those kinds of web views for its groups as far as I know. If you want to find Bookstodon posts, the idea is that you follow and then you’ll see new posts and that’s the intended way. But there is a hack!

If you have the Unix command line and wget and jq, this’ll print a list of URLs to recent posts!

wget -qO- --header \
'Accept: application/ld+json; profile=""' \\?page=true |jq -r '..|.object? // empty'

Mastodon alternatives

There are other Fedi apps that are set up to more easily work with groups so if you love groups then you might wanna check them out! For example Mbin or Lemmy. I don’t have that much experience using those apps directly since I use Akkoma which is similar to Mastodon when it comes to groups.