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How to reply to Lemmy posts from Mastodon

If you got an account on Mastodon, Homecamp, Akkoma, Misskey, Pixelfed or similar during the big Twitter migration and you wanna reply to a post on Lemmy or kbin, read on!

If you don’t have any Fedi account at all yet, you’re living the blessed life. Good on you!♥︎ Bookmark this page and return here once you’ve been on Fedi a few weeks and have gotten comfy and wanna branch out to the threadiverse. Or, if it’s the threadiverse itself that’s appealing rather than the seedy world of microblogging, just make an account on Lemmy or kbin instead and in that case you don’t need this tutorial. You might need a reverse tutorial if you wanna interact with people from Mastodon or Pixelfed or whatever, but I don’t know how to make one since I don’t know how Lemmy looks from the inside!

First of all: it doesn’t always work

Sometimes servers are unavailable, queues are filled, posts deep in threads don’t propagate properly. It’s a flaky, unreliable mess that’ll bring tears to us who remember the relative reliability of mailing lists.

Option one: subscribing to groups

Groups are called “communities” on Lemmy and “magazines” on kbin.

Subscribing to the groups as if they were users is the basic level of compatibility. In that sense, it works kinda like did. Each group is associated with a username on a server, like for example if you have a server named bar and a group that’s https://bar/c/nitpicking the group’s “user name” is either !nitpicking@bar or @nitpicking@bar (depending on whether your own instance’s server software supports the ! thing or if it only supports @).

You can search for that user in the search field on your own instance in order to follow it (“subscribe to it”).

Option two: Replying to a specific post without being subscribed

I don’t like to subscribe to things. I don’t wanna bring in a bunch of floods and must-check-must-check communities to my life. I try to keep my “daily torrent” pretty limited, and then if I do wanna spend some time browsing a little bit further, that’s perfectly fine, and that’s when I sometimes stumble over a comment or post I wanna reply to.

Let’s say Alice@foo has started a thread in the community nitpicking@bar and Bob@baz has replied somewhere in that thread and you wanna reply to Bob@baz’s comment. Since posts are federated, they are copied and show up in multiple servers; a post here might show up on foo, bar, and baz, for example. So the challenge for you is to find the right version. If you wanna reply to a comment by bob@baz, that means that the URL to the post you wanna find is the one on the baz server. It doesn’t matter that the thread is on a group on bar or was started by a user on foo.

You’re looking for an URL such as https://baz/comment/12345 if baz is a Lemmy server, and an URL that’s a li’l longer and more complicated if baz is kbin. Look for a “fedilink” or for the li’l rainbow-colored Fedi logo until you’ve made your way to the original post.

Then you can paste that URL of the original post into the search field of your instance. It’ll spin and search for a while, and sometimes you have to reload and try twice, and other times it won’t work at all.

And from here you can reply, boost, or like the post, although your boosts or likes won’t show up on Lemmy at all, go figure; and Lemmy upvotes of your reply won’t show up on your instance at all; kbin upvotes will, though.

Now to the most frustrating part: sometimes your reply won’t even show up! You’ve spent all this time typing it and even then sometimes it just goes missing in the wind. And you won’t know for sure for sometimes it shows up right away, sometimes it takes a few seconds, sometimes a few hours, and sometimes it just never shows up.

The threadiverse is a flaky and dangerous ocean.

When to include the username?

On Mastodon it’s good practice to not delete the username of the person you’re replying to. It helps make sure they get notified and that they can even see the post.

On Lemmy, that’s not the norm. Most replies on there from Lemmy users to each other do not include the username, and I’ve taken to deleting the usernames when replying to them on there. Works great, looks great on their end, awesome all around.

But that only works if the person you’re replying to is on the same server as the group is. Otherwise, you’ve got to include the group’s username.

So if you are replying to a comment by in a thread started by @jack@apple.banana in the group, you do need to have a mention of

But if you are replying to a comment by in a thread started by @jack@apple.banana in the group, you don’t need any mentions since you’re replying to someone on the same server as the group. It doesn’t seem to matter who started the thread.

<asideThis is all my li’l trial and error on Akkoma v3.10.4. Hopefully it’ll all get sorted out as Fedi’s software matures.</aside>

Posting to groups

You can mention the user in order to post to the group, whether or not you’re subscribed. You can not post links, I don’t know why, seems like that’d be the most natural thing in the world, but you can make text posts.

The first line will become the headline so I’d keep that short and then a blank line and then the rest of the post and then I’d put the mention at the bottom.

What about

I dunno! I don’t know how to find and browse and see individual posts, let alone reply to them; lemmy and kbin I can jam in any RSS reader but I haven’t figured out how to do that for yet. Of course, the “follow the user in order to subscribe to the group” method, as intended by, works, but that runs into the whole “have to accept the entire firehose” problem as outlined above.