Does Lemmy currently use hashtags in any way? I’m assuming it doesn’t since they don’t show up in the UI anywhere. But while thinking about non-lemmy software posting to lemmy communities, I was wondering how lemmy would use hashtags.

My suggestion would be for lemmy to handle hashtags in a similar way to current microblogging software, by putting them in the tag field and allow lemmy users to add #hashtags to their posts. Lobsters displays tags beside post titles (though these tags are admin controlled I think). It seems like there is a maximum of 2 tags, which I think would be a reasonable limit for lemmy to display too. The UI could display the tags as badges, with some affordance to view any additional tags, and clicking a tag would show other posts with that tag.

As for why, I think tags on lemmy would serve two main purposes:

  1. They would enable better discoverability on non-lemmy software where hashtags are the main topical grouping mechanism right now.
  2. While lemmy uses communities for topical grouping, some posts might fit into multiple categories, even unrelated categories. Crossposting sort of solves this, but crossposting can be considered spammy if it’s done too much. And, on lemmy, crossposting creates another post which fractures the conversation. This may be desirable sometimes, but a poster may also prefer to keep all the conversation in one spot.
  • @ragica
    51 year ago

    I’ve been tossing in hashtags on lemmy posts for some time. I actually started doing it on reddit also before that. They are so prevalent elsewhere, I just figured they may be useful for discoverability in these places someday too. And now that accounts here can be followed by Mastodon, for example, it’s nice the my hashtags show up and are possibly useful elsewhere in the fediverse, even if not yet used here.

    In my view hashtags allow for ‘virtual communities’ that potentially span platforms. The sub-reddit style of community is good for organization, management and moderation; but hashtags allow for crossing all boundaries with minimal friction; one doesn’t have to find a group or “join” anything to be a part of a topic’s conversation (or at least see what other people are saying, and where they are saying it). Obviously this is how they became popularly used on Twitter, and then appeared in other big closed systems. But those systems don’t talk to each other, so your hashtags are trapped on each platform. They are even more potentially powerful in the fediverse as they can potentially span everywhere ActivityPub is federated. And in fact do span many fediverse platforms already.

    It’s just a shame hashtags look so ugly. It’s a wonder they got traction on twitter at all, in the crude form that they did. It just goes to show how useful they proved to be.