How can we make Lemmy easier for new users?

I’m curious to hear if you have any thoughts or ideas about this. As a developer I understand very well how Lemmy works, and cant tell at all what might be difficult or confusing.

@tracyspcy
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Asking such a question to current users may lead to a survival bias. As people are already here it means there were no critical difficulties which could make them leave . More helpful would be to ask ones who have dropped attempts to be here because of some difficulties. Probably a way to leave a feedback or report an issue on a joinlemmy website could be helpful.

Sightline
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survival bias.

Extremely good point.

@AgreeableLandscape
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I made a GitHub issue on this already, but being able to go to a community or user from a federated instance by typing in a plaintext URL, instead of going by community and user IDs, which change depending on the instance you’re viewing from, would be great. Something like domain.tld/c/community@otherdomain.tld for the community on that instance. I’ve definitely had the issue of taking a while to find the same post or community on another instance.

@SloppilyFloss
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This is one of those little UX changes that would go a long way in making Lemmy and the federation concept it’s built upon be easier to understand for every user.

@AgreeableLandscape
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It’s kind of weird that most federated platforms don’t have plaintext URLs for content originating from other instances.

Dessalines
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This is doable, and I like it better than the current way.

@Miso
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Many respond with specific issues, but for me it’s just the federated structure. For non tech persons this may be a difficult concept to grasp and even though I programm a lot, some things got me confused, because I’ve never used anything like it. List for readability:

  • if I remember correctly I had to choose one instance for my account. (I had no idea if I get any restrictions depending on what instance I choose)
  • How can I visit or follow another instance and more importantly where can I find a list of instances? (I am using lemmur, but this may be a general point of confusion)

Maybe I missed some obvious things, but a getting started video would be great :)

@nutomic
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Each instance has its own rules, and admins can decide which other instances to federate with. You also wont see all content from other instances by default, particularly if you are on a small instance.

Instance list: https://join-lemmy.org/instances

Federation getting started: https://join-lemmy.org/docs/en/administration/federation_getting_started.html

Improvements to the docs are always good, and if someone wants to make a video about this, that would also be helpful.

@14specks
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I think that the fediverse is in its infancy at the moment (what a time to be here), but when/if things mature there will be a lot more structure and resources available. One example is that you might join a server with instances of multiple services running on it (Lemmy, Mastodon, chat etc…) which will help make some sense of things and prevent the confusion of juggling a bunch of accounts (ideally).

In the short term though, the best one-line explanation I’ve heard is to “think about it like email: you can sign up on an email server and chat with people, but you can also chat with people on other email servers.”

I think the target in the very short term should be disenfranchised power users (most likely starting with people who have a strong interest in technology) since they will be able to contribute feedback, development, and other resources to progress thing.

jonuno
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Muting communities. Unsure if this is a lemmy or lemmur issue (I only use lemmur) It has been mentioned/asked before and I will +1 it. With the amount of c/ and instances growing, not having this will be chaotic in the long term. I like to see what is outside of my subscriptions for serendipity, but there are c/s that I would really like not to see ever.

Dessalines
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We’re working on user and community blocking, its one of our next features.

✨ krawieck ✨
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i agree that blocking a community would be a very useful feature

poVoq
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Like a negative subscription… I guess that could be useful, but IMHO just subscribe to more communities?

jonuno
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IMHO just subscribe to more communities?

Not an appropriate solution to stumble upon new ones as I said. I’m talking about the main feed not the subscribed one.

poVoq
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If you want to stumble on new ones you will always see some you don’t like…

jonuno
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If they are new ones I won’t know if I want to see them or not until I actually seem them first… You are missing my point, I don’t know how to make it clearer.

I want to leave the door open to see new communities that i don’t know, while muting ones I know and i don’t want to see (they are not many rn, just a couple, but Im imagining it escalating in the future). Currently you either see everything or you only see the subscribed ones. there is no middleground

I can try further with an example…

Dramatization Imagine there’s a c/drugs and George does not like it. Everyday he comes to lemmy to see what’s new, but he has to go through the posts of this idiots smoking joints that have been posting a lot lately. It makes him feel revolted because his best friend died of a drug related issue. If you tell George “just look at your subscribed feed and you won’t see them” that is not ideal because it will make him miss the c/snooker that was created recently, which is a shame as he is really into snooker. He is not subbed to it and he won’t know of it’s existence by going through the ones he is subscribed. The only way there there is right now to know about c/snooker is to go through the dozens of posts that those guys at c/drugs have been spamming that will make him feel not not so good. Surely he also is not that big on c/poodles and c/womenshoes do not mean anything to him, but that is not really an issue.

Does it help?

Edit: not s/

poVoq
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I mostly discover new communities through cross posts, which seems more efficient than browsing the local feed.

jonuno
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I mostly discover new communities through cross posts

Cool

which seems more efficient than browsing the local feed.

My issue is not a lack of efficiency when looking for new c/'s, it’s with clutter on the front page of communities i couldn’t care less but i have see anyway. muting them while allowing for finding new ones, either from crossposts or not, would be nice

@the_tech_beast
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A getting started video tutorial? I think a video will be useful for new users. Most of the users from Reddit will probably be able to use lemmy without any issues

@Niquarl
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In the same spirit perhaps tips like RES does could be beneficial too?

@Niquarl
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Yeah, the PeerTube and Mastodon vidéos are cool vu they are a bit too much like ads.

Perhaps the best would be to have a promo video and a short (<10mins) how-to-basics video.

@Txopi
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The option to list only the local communities in the Communities page.

This would be very appreciated by the instances other than lemmy.ml, specially the little ones where it’s difficult for local users to find the existing local communities. You can see an example here: https://lemmy.eus/communities

Perhaps the default value of this filter could be managed by the “subscribed | local | all” option on the settings, like the posts on the home page.

Dessalines
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I agree, that is an important one, and it should be local only by default.

Issue link

poVoq
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A cross instance subscription button. If you are on a Mastodon instance where you don’t have an account you can still press the follow button and it will ask you your federated account name and pop up a small window where you can automatically setup the subscription in your home instance. This also works cross systems, so I can for example press that button and have the popup window show the subscription interface from a Hubzilla instance.

@Wild
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I’m surprised no one mentioned the very difficult captcha which almost turned me away… I think you once mentioned the reason why you use it instead of something like hcapatcha but it’s a real problem imo

@nutomic
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The reason why its difficult is that the captcha is case sensitive, but that isnt indicated anywhere. That has already been changed to make it ignore case, but not released yet.

@Wild
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Glad to hear that, keep up the good work!

@Slatlun
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I access Lemmy almost entirely through Lemmur. Generally everything works super smoothly for my use case (Thank you!), but there are some limitations (eg quoting when responding to comments). Could I just go to the source? Yep. Will I? Almost never. I am guessing the more you can work with the app folks (I am just guessing that they are different people) to make all of your hard work easy to package the easier it would be for a newbie to pick it up.

jonuno
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quoting when responding to comments

^working well here, what limitations does it have?

@Slatlun
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what limitations does it have

None, you’re right. I have no idea what I did wrong when I tried it before.

@AtomicGoddess
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I still think a theme precisely imitating the old reddit design would go a long way in helping new users navigate the site. I am still bothered by the fact that lemmy’s interface looks and acts like new reddit. I know its more “modern” but I feel like reddits modern users are exactly the opposite of who we want to target if were aiming to keep quality high on the site though I suspect as the flagship instance keep quality high will be difficult no matter what.

@nutomic
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Lemmy is not a Reddit clone. I also dont think that Reddits problems are caused by its redesign, but by its administration policies and profit incentive. That said, we have documentation for making new themes, and someone could create one that looks like old Reddit.

By the way, lemmy.ml is not a flagship instance.

Halce
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Make #hashtags work as filtering categories of posts with similar, or related themes?

10_0
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being ablle to @ people on mobile like on desktop would be nice

@Echedenyan
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You mean Lemmur? It is from a different author.

The web client in mobile allows that perfectly.

10_0
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wait i thought lemmur was from the lemmy team, i saw it f-droid and used it from lemmur ever since, is lemmur safe to use?

I think a way to search for new federated communities from your instance would be nice (unless I’m not seeing it in the UI). Pasting the community URL into the search works, but it’s a bit unintuitive. Perhaps a checkbox to search federated communities, or a dropdown of federated instances? Element for Matrix has an “Add a new server” option when you explore rooms, so something like that might work too. I guess I’m suggesting a little bit more of a discoverable UI.

I also think that this ticket here would be nice as well: https://github.com/LemmyNet/lemmy/issues/1540

@nutomic
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You can also search for !community@instance.com, maybe that needs to be explained somewhere? The remote follow button mentioned by someone else should also help with this problem.

Nice! I didn’t know that. Maybe even just a button to bring up the search syntax would be helpful.

@yxzi
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I don’t think ease of use is the problem here, but rather the general appeal – like an incentive why someone would join Lemmy instead of some other community with similar features. One approach could be spreading posts on other sites that take the user to Lemmy with the option to sign up to comment or vote.

Then just let the network effect do its magic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_effect

@Echedenyan
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The user profile in responsive 1-column mode lists the posts and comments you made before that your configuration and subscribed communities.

That makes editing your profile difficult by making you to have to scroll a lot.

It would be great to set a tab for editing your profile, other for the posts and comments you made and a third one for the communities you subscribed.

Dessalines
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This one is here, at some point I plan to make user settings its own dedicated page.

@uthredii
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Most people here now come from Reddit, the interfaces are similar so I don’t think most people would find it that difficult.

Maybe have a tutorial that highlights key buttons and describes what they do?

@nutomic
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It would be nice if people who dont use Reddit could also use Lemmy without problems. What would you say are the key buttons which are not obvious?

@Wild
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The button that collapses threads, it doesn’t even say anything when you hover over it

@nutomic
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You’re right, I opened an issue.

https://github.com/LemmyNet/lemmy-ui/issues/318

@uthredii
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Yeah, I agree that people who come here from other places should have an easy time. I think the UI is simple and intuitive overall, but an optional tutorial for new users might be good for some people.

Federation is not a common feature so I think ‘subscribed’, ‘local’ and ‘all’ could be highlighted/explained/described.

One of the first things a lot of social media apps do is get you to subscribe to content/communities you are interested in. So maybe you could highlight the ‘Communities’ button and say that you can find communities you are interested in.

You could also highlight that clicking the username in the top right takes you to post/comment history and settings.

@nutomic
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Could you please open an issue in the lemmy-ui repo for this?

@uthredii
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Sure, done.

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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Restrictions on voting, post making and community creation rights for new accounts to increase and/or maintain quality of Lemmy posting. The last thing we want is Lemmy to become another Reddit with a different name and colour UI.

poVoq
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How would that help with on-boarding of new users / making it more user-friendly for new users? Seems like the opposite.

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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It makes the case for users trying a bit harder than just manipulating discussions silently, and trolling people with sockpuppets if they get into conflicts. A lot do this, and Lemmy makes anonymity so easy that this measure seems fair to disallow such silent incidents.

Dessalines
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I’m personally against reputation systems, especially those that introduce barriers to entry: I don’t want to make it difficult for new users to start here, make communities, etc.

The main thing is that we have enough moderators, and strong mod tools to make cleanup easy, because that’s unavoidable even with reputation based systems. IE you might limit them from doing anything but commenting, yet still troll accounts will do everything they’re able to do.

@mikelgs@lemmy.eus
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I think “mod tools to make cleanup” are already easy. Thanks for that 👌👌 I managed to ban a user last day, and spam messages where deleted too 👍

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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Atleast with voting restrictions, troll.accounts have to show up on surface for moderation to have a chance to be able to oversee such people.

Even if post creation or community creation restrictions seem unreasonable, voting should still.be restricted. It creates a massive problem for the people who try to guest blog or make in depth comments.

Dessalines
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I’m particularly interested in suggestions to make the front end more user-friendly. Especially giving examples of current sites / apps.

@Niquarl
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Perhaps you should have an alternative webclient like Reddit did with their new apps?

It does work better on mobile if you are not using a native app I have to say.

On the computer I quite like the feel for it. Then again if you were to get professional help I’m sure they would recommended moving loads of stuff around that would make it better that couldn’t even think about.

@tracyspcy
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Honestly I can’t see anything in lemmy that could anyhow confuse any internet user at all:) In case of any questions anyone can use asklemmy to get friendly advises.

Moreover, trying to sell ease of use and comfortable ux comparing to existing alternatives is a more silicon valley trick to sell useless apps.

Lemmy is different and does not need to concentrate on this.

@PuaNani
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https://www.nngroup.com/articles/computer-skill-levels/

69% (not a meme) of the population is not able to complete the task “Find all emails from John Smith.”

@tracyspcy
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Whoah, why lemmy devs should educate them how to use internet then :)

@Slatlun
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I understand that you’re saying this tongue in cheek, but this is basically a stance saying that if a person doesn’t have the knowledge that I think they should they shouldn’t join this community.

Making a tool easier to use isn’t wasted effort, it’s inclusion. That is especially true if we’re talking about well over half the population. Conversely, we could hoard our knowledge and try to ignore or look down on people with less.

@DonutVeteran
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Just one thing. I’m pretty sure it isn’t possible yet to “fold” or collapse comment threads on the web client, correct me if I’m wrong. That would be a really nice improvement now that there are longer conversations on some posts.

Dessalines
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To the right of user names, the minus sign.

@DonutVeteran
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Ah, thank you

jonuno
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I guess this is saying that it could be more obvious! Perhaps making it bigger/more contrast ?

Dessalines
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We just made a fix for this, it should be in the next update.

jonuno
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That’s awesome, thanks for your work

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