Micro.blog

pratik
pratik

I think Micro.blog should give in and support #hashtags. They’re including it in the official photo challenge for the folks who crosspost to Twitter anyway.

I like emoji tagging but hashtags open up lot more possibilities for context without having to be literal.

dominikhoecht
dominikhoecht

@pratik This 👍

pratik
pratik

@pratik One more thought in favor of hashtags instead of emoji tags. After writing the post, I can simply continue typing and add the hashtag as opposed to hitting the emoji button and then frustratingly searching for it by which time I want to give up.

simonwoods
simonwoods

@pratik The moment the Micro.blog team is both large enough and has access to the relevant resources for mitigating abuse and junk, then sure, your points are valid.

pratik
pratik

@simonwoods But that may mean never unless Manton goes on a hiring spree or sells MB. If we can have a hashtag as part of the official MB challenge coz people cross-post on a Twitter, it’s time to support it.

maique
maique

@pratik Isn’t the mbaug hashtag just a nice way to draw attention to M.b for those who are cross posting to Twitter ? It was suggested as such, if I remember correctly, and does absolutely nothing on M.b. Or am I missing something ?

simonwoods
simonwoods

@pratik Disagree. An allowance for Twitter that keeps Micro.blog clean does not logically mean it is time to take on the costs of hashtags.

Acting as if hashtags have no costs is to ignore a lot of the problems with existing social networks.

pratik
pratik

@maique Yes, in a way that makes it feel wrong. You evangelize on Twitter using hashtags to attract people to a social network that doesn’t support hashtags. Maybe I’m wrong to see the disconnect here.

pratik
pratik

@simonwoods I can understand why individual users who cross post on Twitter use hashtags but I don’t see why official MB people have to use them. For my part, I’m going to stop using them on MB until they are supported coz it’s akin to junk characters.

odd
odd

@maique It will still remain there, even if it isn’t supported at this moment, so if @manton officially supports it tomorrow, they will be “active”. @pratik

maique
maique

@pratik I get your point. I’m not a big hashtag user, so I don’t miss them here, and I haven’t even given the subject much thought. I do see your point, and obviously you’re entitled to wish for them to be enabled. Also no idea about what the implications would be if they were on. Interested in this post for that reason: trying to figure out both sides of the equation.

simonwoods
simonwoods

@pratik This is why I don't use them. I'm sure a lot of people will consider it a good feature and assume that lots more people will join Micro.blog -- and maybe it will have such an effect -- but I just don't think it would be a good idea, assuming the negative effects can't be mitigated.

manton
manton

@pratik It's good to reevaluate this every once in a while, so I appreciate the discussion. But adding hashtags is a can of worms that inevitably means adding algorithmic search results ranking too, which every other platform has to do to deal with it, and that doesn't fit Micro.blog. (It's a good point on the photo hashtag, but that's a super-optional thing only for people who want it, not a recommendation. Micro.blog ignores it unless you've set a filter on your blog to assign categories.)

jsonbecker
jsonbecker

@manton so in the spirit of evaluation, something I kept thinking about through this thread is how categories/tags on blogs are already supported, already useful, and can be displayed or not. I think it could be valuable to have, not unlike emojis but with some broader reach, some Micro.blog set/accepted/determined taxonomies. Those taxonomies could be used in the future for feeds, human/machine curated or not curated, and Discovery.

Discover is great-- and I've clearly found people and blogs here. But there is value in filtering out things I don't want to see and browsing for more content I do want to see. Emoji feeds are great and a nice branded way to do that, but categories or tags can be more flexible in the long run. They don't have the junk character problem, and I don't see how they have any more of a spam problem than just posting anyway.

I'm not at all involved in this community, but look at the power and importance of tags in the fanfiction world as a community organizing and discovery mechanism.

manton
manton

@jsonbecker Thanks! I think exploring taxonomies beyond the emoji is an interesting path to take. It would potentially be less open-ended/clunky than hashtags and so wouldn't have some of my concerns. (Although I haven't thought much about it beyond that.)

jsonbecker
jsonbecker

@manton yeah, my gut is "taxonomies exist and are native to blogging, and using them a bit more and providing some 'community advisory’ on how to use them consistently with m.b seems low risk”.

fiona
fiona

@manton

But adding hashtags is a can of worms that inevitably means adding algorithmic search results ranking too

I don't understand, why is it inevitable? Couldn't searching for a hashtag just return chronological results?

manton
manton

@fiona Yes, it could be chronological but in practice, it's so easy to spam search results that there would need to be some kind of curation or filter, which is difficult if there are essentially an unlimited number of search terms. It wouldn't be a huge problem today, but eventually would be.

simonwoods
simonwoods

@manton Ha! That's what I thought but didn't want to get in the way. Is it a fair assumption to make that the hashtag feature would likely attract a number of bad actors?

manton
manton

@simonwoods I'm not sure if it would attract them, but it's definitely something that could be exploited.

gregmoore
gregmoore

@manton Micro.blog not having hashtags and other easy-to-game social media junk was one of the primary reasons I came to this service. On here, I can follow actual humans and discover things I might not have thought to see and read. I’d hate if MB turned into just another service where machines sort through “content.”

Cheri
Cheri

@gregmoore @manton Yeah, What Greg said. My personal opinion is that slowed-down discovery is micro blog’s secret sauce. It forces you to follow people instead of topics, and there’s a different culture that arises from that.

maique
maique

@gregmoore I’ll second that.

manton
manton

@Cheri @gregmoore Thanks y'all!

fabio
fabio

@manton Agree with @Cheri, I absolutely enjoy not having hashtags, the focus on personal connections (which is a spirit that must be sought and upheld by the community or it dies) and i like tag-mojis as a super-light directory system for posts. I wish we had some more!

hutaffe
hutaffe

@manton @simonwoods besides being able to exploit them, I find them simply annoying. I’m really happy to not see lakes of hashtags like for example on Instagram. They usually add nothing to the content, so I‘m in favor of keeping them away too 😉

simonwoods
simonwoods

@hutaffe I definitely have a rant in me regarding how such artifacts look (URLs are also included 😒) and how hostile they are for all but the software professionals and the nerds but I'll save it for a full post. 😇

pratik
pratik

@manton Thanks. I’m not particularly interested in hashtags so was disappointed when MB started including it just because it would help publicize MB on a siloed non-indieweb platform. My main point was that hashtags are easier than emojis to categorize/add context.

Perhaps with better emoji search in iOS 14, it may be easier to use. Also, I guess limited number of emojis make it less susceptible to abuse than hashtags.

In reply to
vivianlee
vivianlee

@simonwoods You’ll have to excuse my ignorance here, but you could elaborate on the negative effects of hashtags? I’m new to the IndieWeb philosophy, and having just come from the likes of Twitter and Instagram, the lack of hashtags here has made it difficult for discovery. I’m wondering what the workaround is, and why hashtags would be a negative thing.

mcg
mcg

@pratik I would love actual metadata for hashtag like categorization rather that including them in the text.

gpittman
gpittman

@pratik @manton Since Micro.blog is not nearly as populated as, say, Twitter or Instagram, I don’t think that abuse of hashtags is a big concern. Too, Micro.blog is a paid service and I doubt anyone would want to pay just to spam a hashtag (though I may be naïve in that assumption). I do find inline hashtags helpful for discovering content. I usually have little use for extraneous hashtags, however. And I rarely use emoji for discovery here on MB because of the friction it creates.

amit
amit

@pratik This discussion was fascinating -- when you say MB should add hastag support, do you mean MB as social community or MB as a blog hosting platform?

Because as blog hosting platform, it's easier to add (as tags) where the context and reach is limited to a particular website (for example, I did so with #mbnov hashtag). In this case, it's way less prone to exploitation that both @manton and @simonwoods referred to.

As a social community, I think adding it would be tricky as MB hosted blogs aren't the only source of posts that flow into the timeline. In long term, I wouldn't want a link to the discover section of a particular community on my blog. That's getting siloed in.

amit
amit

@pratik Having said that, I get your original point around meaningless characters -- the discover section these days is full of those. You should at least manually link them to the tags on your website though.

purisubzi
purisubzi

@Cheri Hard agree. In fact, that was the subject of perhaps my first post on M.b when I switched over. @gregmoore @manton

pratik
pratik

@gpittman I haven’t quite understood how hashtags would be exploited by spammers on a pad service. If they do, wouldn’t it make it easier to spot them? If spammers can exploit hashtags, they can just as easily exploit emoji tags. Hashtags get a bad rap coz of their negative association on Twitter and Instagram. But that’s a function of those platform’s popularity and not of hashtags per se. It’s like hating television coz of bad commercials.

manton
manton

@hutaffe Thanks, I agree.

pratik
pratik

@amit Hmm...I meant it more in the social community aspect in lieu of emoji tagging. I use regular words/phrases as tags instead of categories on my blog. Those don't show up in the timeline but do on my blog. My original post started from the point where I was comparing emoji tagging to regular hashtag tagging. I've no particular demand for tagging per se. As Cheri said in this discussion, it rather be slow and gradual (based on replies and manual curation of the Discover section). It has its pros and cons. But then if we are going to use a hashtag in an official challenge, I rather it be linked to others using it.

Anyway, the discussion has now devolved into hashtag-bashing which wasn't my intention since I'm no fan either so don't want to defend. Sorry I couldn't respond sooner. Hitting reply on iOS doesn't let me see the post I'm replying to so doesn't work for a longer response like yours.

simonwoods
simonwoods

@vivianlee Yeah, sure! I went a bit further than a comment: Hashtags for Micro.blog Sorry about the delay; your question inspired a lot of thought and I wanted to put in the requisite effort.