Commenting across instances

If I registered at, is it possible to still comment on a thread at say I get the expected "You are not logged in" and while subscribing is easy enough, I'm not able to comment or interact with other instances. This seems normal as users are unique per instance, I just want to make sure I'm not missing a key component of federated services. The sign in page at says "You will still be able to interact with other instances" so that is confusing wording there as well.

EDIT: it works fine, you just need to be subbed to the other community before you can comment. Thanks /u/nulluser !

Edit 2: you don't even need to be subbed, I still have lots to learn, lol thank you all for your patience

bdjohns1 avatar

I think this whole process of figuring out how to connect yourself to other federated communities isn't the most intuitive thing. Yet. Just another learning curve to work through though.

effingjoe avatar

It might help wrap your mind around this federation stuff by thinking about email. You don't need to concern yourself with whether you and someone you want to send an email to are on the same email domain, say between Outlook and Gmail, you just send an email and because everyone is using the same protocol, the email can get to anyone with an email address.

The fediverse is kinda the same way.


Good analogy. I think it's closer to USENET in nature, but there's every chance many people are not aware of what usenet is or was.


I miss the Usenet. That was my intro to nerd culture.


It's super interesting seeing how Lemmy works. Came here from kbin and prior to this post had no idea about how instances link.


Took me a few minutes to work out how to link my communities, can you access the links if I do them like this? !photography and !formula1


Greetings from, Lemmy's cooler younger cousin.

NRVulture avatar

Greetings from as well! (still figuring this whole thing out)

Edit: I can see my comment on but not on That's weird.

lixus98 avatar

I'm not using lemmy (the software) however because kbin is also federated I can see your post and leave a reply as well.


This is the part that blows my mind!


Heck, I'm not even subbed to this community, and I can still comment on your post from Beehaw.

lixus98 avatar

I'm not even using Lemmy and I can still comment here

birdjazz, avatar

I'm not even on the internet and I can comment here.

johsny, avatar

I'm not even alive and I can comment here




You don't even have to subcribe to the other community to comment on it, you just need to "arrive" at that community/post through your instance. example, I 'm on and not subscribed to, but comment here. I actually got here from browsing 'All' from so I was already within my instance.

The other method would be to go to your home instance, I'm using in my case, go to the search and search for either the instance or user you want. Instances start with ! and users start with @. So either !lemmyworld or @ArtVandelay, then you can click through and you'll be able to comment on it from your instance and it will have an instance link. In this case, this post through is url

ArtVandelay, avatar

Thanks, it seems I've got some research to do on how this all works, I'm saving this comment though thanks


Question. If you live on instance 1, and located a useful post on instance 2 through a social link or Google search, is there an expedient way to go to “instance1/instance2/thatpost”? So far, my process has been to search the community link, and then Ctrl+F for the post title.


Doesn’t look like anyone has answered you yet. I don’t believe there is a default way to do so, but through my browsing it appears that some people have written scripts that will open a page in your particular instance. I just saw one browsing through c/Lemmyworld, maybe check it out!


I really think the fediverse decentralized structure is going to be the future in the long run. It's going to have some rough stuff here and there, and I don't fully understand how it will work (for example, let us say I joined a small lemmy server and it shuts down. Will all of those communities and posts cease to be part of the whole?)

I'm loving it so far though.

GrouchyLady, avatar

That's a good question! I'm still learning about federation and trying to get my head around things too.

sunspider, avatar

To your question, my understanding is that all your account activity is stored on your instance as the primary source, and then copied into other instances as users there view and interact with your posts and comments. So if the instance with your account on it shuts down, all of its content that was already copied over to other servers will be preserved there, but some of the newer activity that didn't have time to propagate yet might be lost.


Thank you, that makes sense. So another question. If my instance closes down, will I lose control over all of the copied content from my previous account since I would most likely have to make a new one on another instance?


If my instance closes down, will I lose control over all of the copied content from my previous account

Once the old instance is gone, yes. If it fails suddenly and never comes back up, there's not much that can be done about that, unfortunately.

If the old server closes up shop in a planned way, and the admins give you enough advance notice, you can take whatever steps you want before the shutdown.

I'm not sure if Lemmy has this feature, but some servers (Mastodon, off the top of my head) have a "self-destruct" mode to send out delete notices during a planned shutdown. It's not a 100% guarantee that all the other copies will go away, but neither is deleting a random post from an active server!

sunspider, avatar

I'm not sure what options there might exist now or in the future for gracefully migrating between instances, but in the worst case yes, if your instance unexpectedly shuts down then you won't be able to authenticate and access that user account anymore. You do need to have some trust in the instance you join.


What about user accounts and ownership of the community though?


it would help if there was some background identifier though so we could differentiate from the same community on two different instances without having to type @instance every time


I ( registered) just managed to comment on a beehaw post… I don’t know enough about how this works to help you fix it but it is possible!

I got the “you are not logged in” error before my registration was accepted, not sure if that’s useful for you?

ArtVandelay, avatar

Thanks, I got it figured out. It turns out the cross instance community you want to comment on, you just need to subscribe to it first.

nulluser, avatar

Once subscribed, you can view the community from your instance and vote/comment on it from there. Your votes/comments are then diseminated across to other instances.

ArtVandelay, avatar

oh my god that was so simple, i was looking at communities i wasn't subbed to yet lol - thanks!

nulluser, avatar

Happy to help.

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