ThatOneKirbyMain2568, (edited )
ThatOneKirbyMain2568 avatar

I've been thinking a bit about this post regarding 's responsibility to be compatible with the ( thread aggregators like & ). Right now, a thread from Lemmy or Kbin usually federates to Mastodon with truncated text and a link to the actual thread. However, many want Mastodon to be more compatible with threads so that the people over on Mastodon interact with the threadiverse more.

I was initially in agreement as a Kbin user. But having given it some thought, I think this is an unwise approach that'll only serve to overcomplicate platforms on the . Yes, people on Mastodon should promote other parts of the fediverse (and vice versa), but complete interoperability shouldn't be expected of every platform.

As much as many would like it, you can't have long-form video from PeerTube, images from Pixelfed, threads from Kbin, blogs from Writefreely, etc. all neatly fit in a microblog feed. These are different formats made for different platforms, and the people making them are expecting them to be interacted with in completely different ways. When someone makes a thread in a Lemmy community, they're probably expecting that the people who are going to see and interact with the thread are people that want to see threads and are thus on a Lemmy instance (or another thread aggregator). If someone from Mastodon were to interact with it as if it were a microblog post, there'd be a big mismatch. People interact with microblogs differently than they do with threads — that's why they're separate to begin with. You don't see everyone on Twitter also wanting to use to Reddit because people who want microblogs don't necessarily want Reddit-style threads, and vice versa.

The other option, then, is to separate these different formats into different feeds or otherwise make them clearly distinct from one another. Kbin does this by separating threads and microblog posts into two tabs. While you can view both in the "All Content" tab if you'd like, they're styled differently enough that it's very clear when you're looking at a thread and when you're looking at a microblog post. This distinction lets users treat threads like threads and microblog posts like microblog posts, which is really helpful since the two formats serve different purposes and have different audiences. This option — clear distinction — is a great way to solve the conundrum I've been talking about… if your platform is meant for viewing all these different kinds of content to begin with.

And that's what it really comes down to imo. Mastodon is a platform for microblogging. Most people go to Mastodon because they want a Twitter alternative, not a Twitter alternative that's also an Instagram alternative and a Reddit alternative and a YouTube alternative. Even if you put these different content types in separate tabs, it would inevitably make things seem more confusing and thus raise the barrier of entry. Add a Videos tab to Mastodon to view stuff on PeerTube, and people are inevitably going to go, "Wait, what's this? Is this like YouTube? I thought this was just a Twitter alternative! This all seems too complicated," even if you tell them to ignore it.

It's probably best to leave Mastodon as it is: a microblogging platform that has some limited federation with other formats. The way Kbin threads currently display on Mastodon is fine. In fact, when I post a Kbin thread, I'm expecting it to be viewed via a thread aggregator. If people on Mastodon were part of the target audience, I would've made a microblog post.

Now, if you want to make something that lets you view everything on the fediverse via different tabs, feel free. As aforementioned, Kbin supports both threads and microblogs, though it comes with some challenges (e.g., trying to fit magazine-less microblog posts into Kbin's magazine system). However, this doesn't mean every platform on the fediverse needs to seamlessly incorporate everything else. I'd love people on Mastodon to promote and even try out Lemmy & Kbin more, but that doesn't mean Mastodon needs to also become a thread aggregator.

Masimatutu avatar

@ThatOneKirbyMain2568 Oh hello there! It's me on my kbin account. Please excuse my ramble, I wasn't feeling very well.

I will say that your point is well made and that different platforms should definitely prioritise different kinds of content. For instance, I find it entirely reasonable for Lemmy to not federate anything that is not in a magazine, and that Pixelfed only supports content with images. That is simply what they were made for.

But Mastodonians account for nearly 80% of Fedizens making it most people's entire viewpoint of the Fediverse, which makes it reasonable that they support its entire diverse range of content, considering that they are almost there (microblogs, macroblogs, pictures; only thing left is titled content, which they could simply reformat just like Lemmy reformats microblogs).

They will mostly see microblogs anyway, since that is currently more than 90% of the Fediverse and that's what people are more likely to boost, but it will be an option to view other content, maybe helping other platforms get off the ground and allowing the Fediverse to develop like it should. I will also add that the mismatch is not that big. I have often seen Mastodonians making meaningful contributions in Lemmy discussions, and I've seen a Lemmy comment making the boost rounds on Mastodon.

And I completely agree that a distinction should be made between different kinds of content. I have quite a few times seen a stray Mastodonian complaining under content from other platforms saying it doesn't live up to their expectations. I quite like Friendica's approach to this; putting the platform as a badge next to the username in each post.

ThatOneKirbyMain2568 avatar


I get that Mastodon has most of the people on the fediverse, but that doesn't mean it's on Mastodon to feed activity to other platforms. Even if it wanted to, I don't think it could.

Even if we ignore the issues, I just don't think other ActivityPub platforms would benefit much from this. People are going to Mastodon for microblogs, not all the other stuff. Even if you give people the option to view PeerTube videos from Mastodon, if that's not what they're here for, then most of them won't bother. We see this on other platforms. Even on Kbin, which has great support for the microblog format with a unique tab and all, a ton of the people who came here for a Reddit alternative just don't bother with the Twitter stuff.

And again, that's ignoring all the downsides of implementing this stuff. Add all of this non-microblog stuff, and more people who are searching for a Twitter alternative will disregard Mastodon as too cluttered and confusing. People already do that because of needing to pick an instance, and yet more do because they can't immediately grasp federation. Additionally, those who do interact with, say, a Lemmy comment through Mastodon won't be aware of the context behind it being in a Lemmy thread that's part of a community and which has different functionality (e.g., downvotes & a title). You could have a badge to indicate that it's from Lemmy, but then you worsen the problem of people getting to Mastodon and going, "Wait, wtf is this? Why is this platform so confusing?"

And let's say Lemmy/Kbin threads did get some great surge in activity from this. You'd end up with a significant portion of activity on these platform being people using a Twitter alternative, which I don't think people looking for a Reddit alternative (or even people already on these platforms) would find desirable.

Since you brought it up, I think Lemmy's handling of microblogs is a good example of what I mean, as I don't think Lemmy should be handling microblogs at all. Lemmy has to assign a title to something that doesn't have one and downvotes to something that doesn't accept them. The result is that several Kbin magazines, when viewed from Lemmy, are dotted with posts that obviously aren't meant to be there and which would clutter the thread to death if microblog usage on Kbin increased. And for what? When I make a microblog post, I don't intend for it to reach people on Lemmy, as that format is not what most people on Lemmy are interested in. Likewise, most people on Lemmy aren't trying to reach people on the Twitter alternative and might prefer not to. Lemmy supporting microblogs doesn't really do much, and the same would go for Mastodon even given its large user count. People just won't be interested.

EDIT: Forgot some text.

tcely, avatar

As a Mastodon user who follows Lemmy posts, I find Kbin integration insufficient to the task.

I want to read link aggregator posts in my Mastodon app, not a web browser.

As for long posts, Mastodon handles those just fine. App developers know there isn't a universal limit already.


ThatOneKirbyMain2568 avatar


The point I'm trying to make is that you don't have to be able to read non-microblog stuff (Kbin threads, PeerTube, Writefreely, etc.) on a microblogging platform and that it's probably best for Mastodon to not have that functionality. Many people on Mastodon are going there for microblog posts, not threads. They want a Twitter alternative, not something that's also a Reddit alternative. Conversely, people on Lemmy & Kbin aren't making threads for people on Mastodon to view and interact with, as they're platforms for different types of content.

If you want to be able to cleanly view both threads & microblog posts, there are platforms that allow that, but I don't think Mastodon needs to or even should be one of them. If you make Mastodon support all these kinds of content from all these different platforms, people who go to Mastodon for a Twitter alternative will wonder, "Wait, why is there stuff from the Reddit alternative? Wait, I can see things from the Instagram alternative too? Why's that? And I can see full blog posts?" Mastodon, being an introduction to the fediverse and sought after as a Twitter alternative, shouldn't do all of that.

tcely, avatar

I understand the point you were trying to make. You're just wrong, in my opinion.

You are also focusing on the wrong software.

Mastodon, as the place most people start with ActivityPub software, absolutely should be able to view other types of content.

The important point is to not force anyone to view that content or display it particularly badly.

When all I know about Kbin is that it doesn't work with my Mastodon account, why exactly do I use it?


tcely, avatar

As an aside, I absolutely tried PeerTube and continue to keep track of it because it integrated videos well with Mastodon.

I often use YouTube links first for the same reason. There are better YouTube front-ends, but they don't integrate with Mastodon as well, so they aren't used as often.

ThatOneKirbyMain2568 avatar


I disagree. Yes, Mastodon is the first ActivityPub-based platform for most people, but that doesn't mean it's obligated to be an app for all social media on the fediverse. Most people go there for microblogging, not to see threads from Kbin or images from Pixelfed or videos from PeerTube. They just want a Twitter alternative, and Mastodon should provide that imo. If people already view the mere act of selecting an instance as enough of a barrier to prevent them from trying it out, you're going to lose more people if you complicate things by shoving YouTube-style or Reddit-style content into the platform.

This also makes me think that it wouldn't be very effective way of supporting other platforms. You're not going to get much engagement from Mastodonians on other types of content because those types are just not what they're there for. At best, you'll get people commenting on Lemmy threads thinking that they're microblog posts and thus not actually understanding the format of the thing they're replying to.

tcely, avatar

At best, it's an opportunity to organically introduce other types of content and the associated software to people through the social graph they chose to participate in.

If you did as you suggested, by adding posts / threads / communities / magazines without the consent of the users, that would indeed be a problem.

Preventing Mastodon users from seeing the content after they made the choice is also a problem.


tcely, avatar

As for selecting an instance, if that is a barrier, then forcing users to create and use multiple accounts in different ways to see all the content they want to is an even larger hurdle to present to users.

One of the biggest problems with Mastodon is new users who think they need an account on every instance website they interact with.


ThatOneKirbyMain2568 avatar

This isn't a hurdle because people typically aren't going to the fediverse with the idea of "I want a single app for all my social media." That's not how social media works outside the fediverse, so it's not really going to be a surprise that the Twitter replacement is a Twitter replacement and not one for 5 other platforms. If someone really wants to view Reddit-style threads, they're straight up better of making an account on a different platform (just like they would make a different account for Reddit) because Mastodon is a microblogging site.

ThatOneKirbyMain2568 avatar


Even the best attempt to incorporate all these different types of content into Mastodon is going to further complicate the platform and make more people dismiss Mastodon as too complicated of a Twitter alternative. This isn't a situation where there's no harm at best. And the potential benefit? Lemmy comments having the occasional Mastodon user?

Mastodon itself is a good enough introduction to ActivityPub without needing to make it support other things. It shows how people on different servers can share & interact with a pool of media through the same protocol. When people learn about other platforms on the fediverse, they can go check those out. Just promoting the platforms will do the job fine without complicating people's entry into the fediverse.

tcely, (edited ) avatar

> Technically we are federated, so why do Mastodonians interact so little with the Threadiverse?

I have a much simpler answer to this. Kbin doesn't allow me to follow (or even view) a lot of the content. Lemmy does better at this.

To be useful, I need to be able to follow magazines / communities without resorting to a web browser that doesn't have my account (and often won't show me the content).

The up voting mapping needs to be consistent too!


tcely, avatar

Here is an example of Kbin being unfit for use:

Viewing a comment on a Lemmy instance just works. Kbin blocks this entirely.

Also, the ActivityPub object that showed up in my feed gives no indication what they are replying to. Unlike other software. Even isn't as bad at this as Kbin.


Kotking avatar

Difference between Kbin and Lemmy is how they show their threads. Lemmy does community self boosting that's why it shows in Mastodon Groups, Kbin does not.
Mastodon working on groups but last I heard about it is in August I think... so nothing yet.
You can manually add lemmy and Kbin threads by posting link into Mastodon search, but again not useful and only when you want to respond not lurking.
I would also want more interactivity with threads as I use my account much more for posting but have to do jump hoops for threads I want to share show up. You can't make threads to Kbin from Mastodon/Misskey as they are sorted to microblogs, while addressing @ to lemmy community will work to make a thread.
All in all we are yet to have good communication between threads and microblogs, my solution for that is set up Mastodon bot that checks RSS feed of my community/magazine and post whenever new thread is made. Afterwards just copy link from bot in mastodon search and you can view/reply.

Semmelstulle, avatar

@ThatOneKirbyMain2568 I didn’t read the attached article but I mostly agree with you. I’ve tried it but in the end, I’ve unsubbed all the video and podcast accounts with this account. There might be a solution similar to Ivory for iOS, where you could use filters or even separate tabs for different kinds of media, but there is no "one layout fits all media" in my opinion.

carturo222, avatar

It continues to puzzle me that Friendica isn't even mentioned. Friendica can do exactly what a completist would ask for: display content from PeerTube and Pixelfed and Kbin and Mastodon and Lemmy impeccably in a single timeline.

ThatOneKirbyMain2568 avatar

@carturo222 I didn't mention it due to a lack of familiarity, but if Friendica serves that purpose, that's great! People who want to interact with all of the fediverse with a single account should use that or a similar platform. The thing is that people are starting to advocate for everything to do what Friendica does — e.g., for Mastodon to be able to seamlessly interact with non-microblog stuff in the fediverse — and that's just not what Mastodon is trying to do.

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