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option to follow hashtags #1096

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donnerkarlson opened this Issue Apr 6, 2017 · 29 comments

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@donnerkarlson
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donnerkarlson commented Apr 6, 2017

I did not find an option to follow hashtags, that would be a nice feature.


  • I searched or browsed the repo’s other issues to ensure this is not a duplicate.

@wxcafe wxcafe referenced this issue Apr 7, 2017

Closed

Hashtag subscriptions #1135

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@thomaskuntzz

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thomaskuntzz commented Apr 15, 2017

Yeah, that would be great! 👍

@donnerkarlson donnerkarlson referenced this issue Apr 21, 2017

Closed

List of favorite hashtags/people #2239

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@rikmendes

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rikmendes commented Apr 22, 2017

that would be awesome !

@diegogangl

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diegogangl commented Apr 22, 2017

This would be totally awesome. It would be great if we could have these "hashtag timelines" in separate columns too, so we can stay on top of them.
Either that or have them on the third column list with a badge showing the number of unread toots.

@thiagomgd

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thiagomgd commented Sep 17, 2017

I agree with it!
Tumblr has (or used to have) this feature, and it was nice being able to have some tags ready to click and check.

@zcdunn

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zcdunn commented Sep 18, 2017

I think a better solution would be supporting GNU Social !groups

@thiagomgd

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thiagomgd commented Sep 18, 2017

@zcdunn !groups are a nice solution to... groups. But following hashtags (at least on tumblr) are used to another goal

@zcdunn

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zcdunn commented Sep 18, 2017

If I understand correctly, the point of groups was to allow users to follow topics, which is your goal with following hashtags. Your instance won't see every post with a hashtag, so following a hashtag wouldn't give you a complete view. I thought groups were designed specifically to address the request to follow hashtags

@thiagomgd

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thiagomgd commented Sep 18, 2017

@zcdunn you're the first to mention groups on this issue. The point of following hashtags is to... follow hashtags.

Your instance won't see every post with a hashtag, so following a hashtag wouldn't give you a complete view.

So, according to your view, we can just remove the search from Mastodon, as we can only search hashtags, and the search wouldn't give us a complete view? What we (I, and the OP) want, is to follow a hashtag, maybe even having a counter (new posts since last view) on the side of it, and maybe notifications.

Tumblr example:
After searching
image

After following, when I click the search bar, it auto-suggests the tag. It used to show the number of new posts, but I don't know if they removed that, or if it doesn't work with tags with a massive amount of posts, because it's been years since I've used tumblr.
image

After clicking on it again:
image

Also, check @diegogangl's suggestion earlier on this post

@Cassolotl

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Cassolotl commented Sep 18, 2017

we can just remove the search from Mastodon, as we can only search hashtags

(The search looks for people by username or instance and toots by URL as well.)

@zcdunn

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zcdunn commented Sep 18, 2017

you're the first to mention groups on this issue. The point of following hashtags is to... follow hashtags.

This issue isn't the first time this feature has been brought up. Groups were implemented in GNU Social to address this request.

What we (I, and the OP) want, is to follow a hashtag, maybe even having a counter (new posts since last view) on the side of it, and maybe notifications

That's exactly what groups provide, but instead of following #topic you would follow !topic.

@thiagomgd

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thiagomgd commented Sep 18, 2017

@zcdunn never used GNU Social, but looking here, seems that it's not what we want. Also, if it as what we wanted, it would be a big naming problem, just confusing everyone. Let's see my considerations.

You can send a message to a group using the syntax "!groupname"

So you'll block people from using #mastodon and force everyone to use !mastodon instead? Also, it says here you can 'send a message to a group', but we are talking about regular posts, like I love #mastodon, it's nice being here

You can join a group by clicking on the "Join" button either in the group list

Ok, but you can set the privacy so no one can see if you are following the tag/are in the group?

When choosing the nickname for your group, try to keep it short.

So, if I'm faster than the others, and create !book, which is a private group now, no one will be able to follow the tag #book? (still not understanding how this works to FOLLOW A TAG)
Also, it'll be boring having to create a !something manually for every tag ever used in an instance

New group messages will appear in your inbox,

That's not what we want. I don't want everything with #book in my inbox (or, if we completely forbid the use of # and replaces it with !, !book)

So, I think that now you'll be able to understand that we are NOT talking about groups, but about FOLLOWING A TAG.


@Cassolotl it was sarcasm :D

@Phyks

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Phyks commented Sep 18, 2017

Just to add up a bit on this, and commenting on my use case. I am watching a couple of tags right now, be they group-like (see #weeklyphotochallenge for instance) or about softwares I am contributing to (as people tend to ask question using #NameOfTheSoftware, rather than @OfficialAccountOfTheSoftware). First use case seems to be matching the group use case, but not the second one.

For now, my solution is to "pin" panels with all these different tags, but my homescreen is just getting wider and wider and less and less usable. I would love to be able to follow these tags, so that all these messages would end in the timeline, mixed with peoples I follow.

@zcdunn

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zcdunn commented Sep 18, 2017

Also, it says here you can 'send a message to a group', but we are talking about regular posts, like I love #mastodon, it's nice being here

I love !mastodon, it's nice being here is a regular post and anybody subscribed to !mastodon would see it in their home timeline.

Ok, but you can set the privacy so no one can see if you are following the tag/are in the group?

I don't know if other GNU Social servers do that, but I'm sure the Mastodon implementation could add that.

That's not what we want. I don't want everything with #book in my inbox

Following a user puts all of their posts in your home timeline. Why would following a hastag/group be any different?

You seem to be getting a little upset with this conversation so I'll end with this. I don't have any stake in groups or hashtags. But if we want the ability to follow a topic, I think it makes sense to use the feature that is already available and in use elsewhere, instead of creating something that wouldn't interact well with the rest of the fediverse. The UX would be slightly different from what you imagine, but I don't see that as being a huge drawback.

@Cassolotl

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Cassolotl commented Sep 18, 2017

I tried GNU Social for a little while. Posts in !groups appeared in the timeline, and it was pretty cool. As far as I can tell, the ! showed that it was in your timeline because you were in a group; you could send something to !mastodon and tag it #mastodon if you wanted to.

The main difference was that someone on an instance would make the group, be the admin of the group, and then they could have the power to choose who can be in the group. If the person stopped using their account or left the instance without handing over ownership, the group would be unusable.

Plus, someone could make another group with the same name on another instance, which just made things extremely confusing. At least one hashtag is the same hashtag across all instances, you know?

So personally I do not like the GNU Social group concept, and would much rather follow hashtags, which are less exclusive and tend to shift and change with the people using it.

Maybe a symbol in the toot to say "this is here in your home timeline because you follow this hashtag" might be nice?


@thiagomgd

@Cassolotl it was sarcasm :D

Oh thanks! :P Oops.

@thiagomgd

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thiagomgd commented Sep 19, 2017

@zcdunn didn't mean to be rude or offend in any way, so, sorry about that :)


@Cassolotl

Maybe a symbol in the toot to say "this is here in your home timeline because you follow this hashtag"
Yes, that would be nice. Like Twitter shows a post a say 'Cassolot liked this' on top of it. Although I really hate that I can't turn that off.

I have I few ideas how that could work (with or without putting posts on the timeline). I guess I'll try to edit something on paint (or using chrome's devtools) to illustrate when I have some time :)

@rory

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rory commented Sep 19, 2017

Groups might be a good idea, technically, but people now-a-days are using hashtags the way they would use hashtags. Maybe it would be better if everyone used groups, but since people are using hashtags in this way, why not implement "follow hashtag" as a way to implement "groups" as they are currently used? Pave the goatpaths and all that.

@Cassolotl

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Cassolotl commented Dec 29, 2017

I just wanted to pop in and say that being able to pin hashtags is really cool, but there are a LOT of hashtags I'd like to keep up with, and I don't have the biggest screen ever, so I'd much rather they be booped into my home feed instead!

@kpcyrd

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kpcyrd commented Jan 2, 2018

Adding hashtags to lists might be a good idea. That way I could create a list with a couple of hashtags and create a pinned column for a specific topic (that doesn't have a common hashtag).

@Cassolotl

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Cassolotl commented Feb 26, 2018

Ability to subscribe or follow tags #945 exists and is one day older. Since we can now pin hashtag search columns, maybe this one can be closed as a duplicate of #945?

@rikmendes

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rikmendes commented Feb 28, 2018

@Cassolotl Cassolotl referenced this issue Apr 3, 2018

Closed

Hagstags column #7023

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@Cassolotl

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Cassolotl commented Apr 16, 2018

Just spotted this on Instagram today:

insta

@woj-tek

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woj-tek commented Aug 2, 2018

Subscribing to hashtags would be awesome. There is a question of the subset:

  • only user hashtags (#7988): #hashtag-to-follow@user@server (comming from most narrow to less narrow)
  • only hashtags from local timeline: #hashtag-to-follow@server
  • all hashtags from fediverse: #hashtag-to-follow
@wottpal

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wottpal commented Aug 19, 2018

Adding hashtags to lists might be a good idea. That way I could create a list with a couple of hashtags and create a pinned column for a specific topic (that doesn't have a common hashtag).

There is already an issue for that #6359.

Personally seeing #6359 to be implemented would make following hashtags unnecessary for me.

@woj-tek

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woj-tek commented Aug 19, 2018

I'm aware of #6359 but it's slightly different than following hashtags in itself.

@duven87

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duven87 commented Sep 30, 2018

It would be very nice! I miss !groups

@Gargron Gargron added suggestion and removed enhancement labels Oct 20, 2018

@MirceaKitsune

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MirceaKitsune commented Jan 5, 2019

I was just about to open an issue for this. This is a feature I've always wanted to see on Twitter: It and other social media networks never chose to implement it, but Mastodon easily could. I use this ability on some art sites and it's been very helpful. I see no downsides to having it, and believe it would help strengthen communities and let users more easily find content of interest as well as other users who share similar interests. Apart from being very helpful it would give Mastodon another unique advantage which might further help with adoption.

I imagine this would be a relatively simple system to implement: Just as an user can follow another user to see what they post, they may also follow tags, causing any post (in the reachable fediverse) containing that tag to appear in their Home timeline the same way. The setting itself can be a simple list, where users add tags they'd like to follow and delete ones they wish to stop following.

@cyisfor

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cyisfor commented Jan 15, 2019

causing any post (in the reachable fediverse) containing that tag to appear in their Home timeline the same way

Thinking of under the hood, there must already be a way to request posts by @user, which is effectively a search for that user's posts on an instance, and that's how people follow a user on a different instance. Their instance regularly "searches" for that user's posts on the other instance, and aggregates the search results.

So just having an instance do the same thing, but generalizing that regular search to allow polling regularly for #tags on each instance, that's how I'd do it. Or, actually I'd have a way for instances to add themselves to subscription lists, for #tags or @users, and when a post is posted, that instance finds its #tags and @users, and pushes it to any subscribed instances. Probably could even do that recursively, with a TTL...

Biggest problem is spam. Try searching for the #Portland tag sometime, you should see what I mean. Any tag search wouldn't work well if it had no way to filter according to who's posting to that tag, to remove opportunistic spammers or other off topic posters. That's not usually a problem if you're following one single user, since most people don't say "Oh well this Friday I'm gonna spam porn ads to all my friends, then Saturday it'll be normal posting again."

@remram44

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remram44 commented Jan 15, 2019

Thinking of under the hood, there must already be a way to request posts by @user, which is effectively a search for that user's posts on an instance, and that's how people follow a user on a different instance. Their instance regularly "searches" for that user's posts on the other instance, and aggregates the search results.

This is not how it works...

@Bugsbane

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Bugsbane commented Jan 27, 2019

I'm also desperate to be able to follow hashtags. Following groups, well, meh. I wouldn't object to it being there, but the problem is that people have to join the group and specifically choose to post to the group or you won't see the message. This is opposed to just sticking a hashtag in front of a word any time from the very first toot they write, which is a very well known paradigm. Just compare the number of messages using #mastodon, vs !mastodon.

As an aside, Diaspora has hastag following and I used it extensively and loved it. The system in Mastodon of needing whole separate columns for each tag is super ungainly.

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