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Hashtags don’t work well on Fedi

The problem with hashtags is that you’ll only see posts that your instance has stumbled over one way or the other, and promoting hashtags will lead to people getting pushed to fewer and fewer and larger and larger instances.

Don’t worry, there’s a group protocol (called FEP-1b12F) that’s gonna work much better with the federated model—there are servers up already but they are a li’l bit buggy still.

So if you want to post to boardgames, you can mention one of the boardgame groups like, and if you want to read about boardgames you can follow that group.

Finding these groups is still a big problem since they’re all on different instances. That’s hopefully going to get easier as this protocol gains traction and more servers start to implement it.

One of the common things new arrivals wanna do on Fedi is find kindred spirits into the same things they are. Especially if it’s not tech stuff. And it’s super difficult and they often bounce off it. Finding groups is difficult but hopefully as time goes by and the culture evolves, it’ll get easier.

Why hashtags don’t federate well

Too wide scope

For a hashtag to work the way some people seem to think they work, the instance needs to have indexed 100% of every post on Fediverse, making it meaningless to be federated in the first place if it’s just gonna be a handful of twitterlike sites mirroring every single post from other. That’s not gonna happen and that wouldn’t scale. That’s how Usenet died.

Too narrow scope

In theory, hashtags could be a good tool for a focused local instance to filter local posts. Like if an Emacs focused instance like, on there I can see how, for them, #Emacs would be useful. But that’s not federated! No one else could post there.

One use for hashtags

Hashtags exist on Fedi because whomever implemented them did not think it through and didn’t realize the drawbacks I’ve brought up in this post. But there’s still a good use for them.

Hashtags are a good tool to organize your own posts, like “I wanna see all of Alice’s posts about knitting”.

It’s just not a very reliable or inclusive tool for community or conversation.