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Eugen @Gargron

People are asking me to implement webmentions, and since I don't have a strong opinion on it (it would not be hard to implement), here's another poll:

Webmentions are like blog pingbacks, essentially, if you remember those.

· Web · 41 · 34


Seeing how many polls you do.. maybe it'd be worth making a poll system in Mastodon ;)

@lionirdeadman Yes but you can also see I don't mind using strawpoll for it

@Gargron @lionirdeadman but then you could see instance-level voting rollups!

@miki @lionirdeadman @Gargron or instance only voting? That would be useful for internal decision making.

@nemeciii @Gargron @lionirdeadman I think instance-level aggregation might have a similar effect anyway? Either way, it pushes the responsibility to assemble a representative vote down to the instance itself, but with aggregation, the results could be more transparent.

@gargron if done at all, i think an opt-in per toot would be appropriate.

@lifning The next version of Mastodon will be usable only via a plane cockpit interface

I jest, but I can't really add options for every new thing when people already complain there's too many options.

@Gargron @lifning if you are implementing a plane cockpit interface shouldn't it have been "I jets"?

@Gargron @lifning I think tying it to listed/unlisted status would make sense. Public posts would send webmentions, anything more restrictive could suppress sending them.

@D_ @Gargron @lifning Makes perfect sense. I strongly support adding Webmentions in general, and agree that it doesn't need a setting or an option. Public messages about something should be easily traceable across multiple websites, rather than split across multiple silos.

@gargron @D_ @trwnh instances have some degree of control over which other instances get federated to directly, to avoid as readily propagating things to malicious actors that would draw their attention and encourage abuse. this doesn't seem subject to that type of control, AFAIK?
suppose for example, someone toots publicly "please help! my ex is slandering & harassing me please go report his blog to WordPress: <URL> please boost," would you want to pingback?

@lifning @D_ @Gargron I would say that such a message doesn't need to be public -- theoretically, the abusive ex could see it on the federated timeline. The toot would ideally be unlisted or followers-only, and most likely such a user would have a private account so that their ex could not see their messages.

@gargron @D_ @trwnh the ex in my example might not even be in the fediverse, or if he is, his victim is on an instance that doesn't federate with (anyone that federates with) his, or they at least aren't followed by anyone who's followed by people on his instance.

this, on the other hand, puts it straight on his lap.

at least a word of warning before drawing a target on yourself in a situation like this would be good...

@lifning @D_ @Gargron Absolutely, pasting a link into a public toot should remind the user if webmentions are enabled -- just like the reminder that direct messages are not necessarily private or secure.

@lifning @gargron @d @trwnh I think the @http://blah suggestion was a good one. No options clutter, opt-in. The only problem is it would make it an obscure feature.

@clacke @Gargron @D_ @lifning Effectively no different than making it opt-in, just using shorthand to do so (and necessitating more parsing logic to handle links with @ symbols behind them)

@trwnh @gargron @d @lifning Yes, it's opt-in without added UI clutter. But I admit it hurts discoverability. Maybe showing a warning and an opt-out (or in) when a URL is detected is the best course.

@Gargron @lifning I might recommend a basic interface with """reasonable""" defaults, with an optional advanced mode for people who like banging their head against a cockpit interface.

@gargron @christianbundy oh, how about something like a little "by default, mastodon will send a pingback to the URL you're sharing in this public toot. if you'd like to disable this, [click here](/settings/foo#bar) to go to your settings" in the little message area where the "FYI your privacy settings won't be respected by GS instances" used to be?

@christianbundy @Gargron @lifning or have a muted checkbox with unobtrusive text only appear for toots with links?

@Gargron @lifning I get that this is a concern, but to be honest, you also can't just dismiss every request for something to be optional because "there's already too many options".

Do this too often and you'll end up repeating the same mistakes Other Social Media sites make.

@esp @Gargron @lifning advanced options section you can expand. In that case there's not too many options unless you want them?

@gargron @lifning oof, i have never heard such a complaint and definitely do not agree (doesn't birdsite have even more options? and let's not get started on facebook), but then again i live in my bubble

@Gargron It seems like it would only be a positive thing - it could draw more people to the instances where people are tooting.

And if you remember, pingbacks devolved into spamfests.


- Blog/website authors know when their stuff is discussed on Mastodon
- More links towards Mastodon from outside


- You may not want blog/website authors to know that you are discussing their stuff, lol

@Gargron No is currently winning, and it's my vote from the options, but perhaps it could be a setting?


Is this something that if implemented would be added to every instance, or would be be a toggle-able module?

At a certain point I think Mastodon would benefit more from less-is-more (cheaper less demanding hardware, lower running costs). I don't know where that point is, any maybe it's less about whether to add it so much as knowing the % of instances that ever think it is worth activating.

@Barcode Yeah that's another contra: processing webmentions *is* going to take server resources, however few

@gargron i kinda dont because i think about how angry some people get about criticism

@Gargron the con can be "bypassed" by just talking in Private visibility, doesn't it?

@Doshirae @gargron Also, won't they see where you came from in the referral logs anyway, or am I super out of date?

@Gargron Probably adding and making it opt-in would be a good way to go, if it's added. This way no one would be using it "by accident" and Mastodon would behave as it does until now and people who want it, can just go to settings and enable it for their account.

This way everyone could/would be happy.

@Gargron maybe make it optional? or only in public toots maybe

@Gargron It would be hard to communicate to everyone that - by default - all their toots that have a link will know they are linking to it (if they accept webmention requests).

So in that way, it's probably not a good idea, unless it was opt-in. But, like you say, there are already a lot of configuration options.

@Gargron If anywhere you could put it as a setting in the "Other" section right under "Opt out of search indexing." Those two are pretty related.

Also I'm glad I looked because I just checked that box, haha.

@gargron This feature sounds handy but only for public toots (so not unlisted ones, either), imo. That's why the poll says "public toots" That's why the poll says "public toots" That's why the poll says "public toots" That's why the poll says "public toots"

@florrie That's why the poll says "public toots"

@Gargron I'd really like these, but yeah, I can see how it'd need to be optional somehow and the complications that brings... 🤔

@Gargron I'd really like these, but yeah, I can see how it'd need to be optional somehow and the complications that brings... 🤔

@Gargron yeah, that. I don't see a point, really. if it really is similar to @'ing the author, you might not always want them to be part of your conversation, and the only way to opt out is to obfuscate the link.

@impiaaa @Gargron perhaps have some kind of explicit opt-in control if a webmention link is detected at toot time?

pros: less permanent clutter, user control every time
cons: more stuff for clients to build, stock web client doesn't do that facebook tier shit (yet?)

@impiaaa @Gargron yeah, it basically would depend on a more complex compose screen like fbook that does a bunch of fetching and stealing PII and other nonsense in the background

Might that be a way that readers could easily find discussion about an article they found eg via RSS? For either use case how would it compare to just searching Mastodon for the article's URL?

@sporksmith @Gargron searching masto for the articles URL would turn up nothing unless you were looking for a conversation you’d already participated in - masto has intentionally not implemented a full search for a variety of reasons

Don't blog/website owners already know that their site is being mentioned by looking at the referer URL in their server logs? It seems like actually implementing pingbacks would be too much effort for something that doesn't actually add utility over log processing & also will be controversial on the fediverse (which is pretty privacy-concerned generally).

@enkiv2 @Gargron The referrer policy ( on my instance tells the browser to strip the path from outbound referrers to other sites. They'd see that my instance linked to their website, but not what toot did.

@tek @Gargron
In my experience, browsers don't totally consistently strip referers from links on mastodon. However, I usually get a totally unrelated toot in referer.

@Gargron yeah if this was implemented i'd want it to be opt-in. i don't necessarily feel comf posting links if they always tell the link's owner about my toot. i always felt like pingbacks were kind of a kludge to connect independent blogs discussing different topics anyway - the concept is barely relevant here imo

@Gargron I don't see why us users would want this.

@esp @Gargron I can see a case for users following those back if they have access to it to find what other people are saying about [thing], but this mainly benefits the people being linked to. If those people are also mastodon users, it could make finding people talking about your thing easier, I guess.

Unless there's something obvious I'm missing somewhere

@Gargron public posts having pingbacks would be nice but followers only shouldnt - if its too complicated to implement that way than I’d side with no/not right now

Are you fucking kidding

@mike @Gargron wait until the whole UK wakes up again. We know how to resolve a tight vote. 😨

@celesteh @Gargron the Ayes had it last I saw, but it's super close...

@Gargron I feel like it would cause a large surface for harvesting, and would be counter-intuitive -- linking and @-ing should be two very seperate things. This conflates them.


Ahahahaha yessss the wisdom of the masses speaks!

@Mainebot @Gargron Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others we've tried.

@Gargron As fun for it to see a tie vote, just cast a vote to slightly shift the balance.

@Gargron As fun for it to see a tie vote, just cast a vote to slightly shift the balance.

@yookoala Dunno what's happening but you're posting double at the exact same time.

@luzi82 @Gargron: Strange. I don't see a double in my profile or my main timeline.

@yookoala @Gargron Just look at ur profile page in web UI. No double post is shown. Strange.

@Gargron 🤣🤣 well, are there more requested features that could be implemented for the same effort?

@Gargron Can't this be optional in some way (eg per instance or include a user opt out)?

If the problem is that *some* people don't want ping backs to their content, then surely being able to disable it is the correct policy?

@Gargron and also it could get very fast spam... I would not have any toot as pingback on my blogposts anyway I want to know who is tooting about.

@Gargron How would it actually work though, auto-link activation in a toot? Is this not something which could be trivially circumvented with a caesar cipher (esp. everyone's favourite 13 positional shifts one) ...

@Gargron normally I dislike the, "let's just put this in a config" approach. However, it seems to me that an instance might have specific rules for how search engines, for instance, are able to index their content.

I'd posit that instances may diverge in how they want their data indexed in the future, and this seems rather related in a way.

@Gargron Even if I wanted it *some* of the time, I wouldn't want it *all* of the time. Config option might not be enough; per-post or even per-link opt-in makes the most sense to me.

Which is probably not the answer you wanted to hear.

@Gargron Alternate pro: might be an easier method to federate comments to things like PeerTube?

@gargron comments widgets would be way more interesting than webmentions IMO.

I don't know how you'd do it, but just log in with your mastodon and post comments with your mastodon. no webmentions, no stuff like that, just a plain comments widget.

altho maybe make the "comments" visible on mastodon so ppl can boost it and stuff? would also help instance admins for it to be visible outside the comments widget.

@gargron it's the best of both worlds - the ppl who want the website to see it, just go and comment straight on the website. the ppl who don't, just go and comment straight on the instance.

@Gargron > - You may not want blog/website authors to know that you are discussing their stuff, lol

Well then people shouldn't post it publicly. Somehow we still can't get used to the idea that posting publicly does technically mean it can be found and seen by anyone. Somehow people still have expectation of privacy if they post it at some place they consider "secluded" for some reason :-)

@isagalaev CAN be found does not equal MAKES SURE that it's found

@Gargron public toots are public. So whether Mastodon implements these webmentions or not, others can do anyways; but all that polling will be way more inefficient.

@Gargron the other way of thinking about this is more federation. Webmentions are not like pingbacks, they're like mastodon notifications. How about framing the question in user terms:

Would you like Mastodon to connect notifications to a broader range of websites?

@kevinmarks @Gargron Could links work like they do currently, but send a webmention if you use a special syntax? Then a user can opt in to #webmentions on each post, which gives the user maximum control and there are no additional options in settings.

e.g. []

@0x1C3B00DA @Gargron this is extra burdensome though. Public posts make sense for this, and maybe hiding them in CW too, but adding yet another variation seems too much authoring overhead

@kevinmarks @0x1C3B00DA if the reason blog authors (indie web) want webmentions in mastodon is to know when people talk about them, then making this feature opt-in is a waste of time: it's an obscure feature, nobody would know to enable it. people don't even know they can enable GIF autoplay here.

@Gargron @0x1C3B00DA I agree - opt-in is not great, but a per account setting feels reasonable for those who are more private. Fritter goes even further than this, not showing http images in frets (as opposed to dat ones) unless you opt in to load them.
mastodon possibly showing incoming webmentions in notifications is also an interesting case.

@Gargron @0x1C3B00DA the other use for webmentions (as well as link to a post for a like, comment etc) is to mention a person - the way @ works in mastodon. mentioning my homepage is a person tag in indieweb parlance.

@kevinmarks @0x1C3B00DA but people don't perceive blogs as people, strictly speaking.

@Gargron @0x1C3B00DA yes they do - there is a pattern of citation of blog URLs to refer to the blogger that goes back to the dawn of blogs - it's a very natural thing to do I wrote about this about 10 years ago:

@Gargron @kevinmarks Most of the features in mastodon are obscure, but they're still there. Enabling sending/receiving webmentions would open mastodon up to a whole new segment of the open web. Even if not everybody uses it, that's still valuable, because it increases the range of mastodon.

@0x1C3B00DA @kevinmarks A feature that is not used still requires maintenance and documentation and translations etc. It's not worth the effort

@Gargron your "contra" is counter to your argument against quote-toots ("quote-toots would be bad because people should be engaging in conversation").


"- You may not want blog/website authors to know that you are discussing their stuff, lol"


In that case I'd just use


I like the idea that someone else mentioned, that there's a pingback only if the link begins with a '@' character or equivalent.

Pingbacks are an important aspect of the open web because they allow people to build community while self-hosting their content.

@gargron I'm curious why some people are opposed in the straw poll, since to me it seems like a great way to add interoperability and increase the visibility of Mastodon instances. Is there a GitHub issues where this is being discussed?

@npd @Gargron My no vote is out of the concern that this sounds like something that would be optimized by advertising companies to promote/capture analytics of the reach for their "content."

At which point the back to square one.

@npd @Gargron why would a normal user like me want to expose their account to a blog site if I link something from there? What use is it to those people?

@esp @gargron thanks for the reply, I hadn't realized the concern.

To your question, I think an average user who toots publicly about someone's blog post would benefit from notifying them so that there can be a better chance of a conversation with the author, or with other people reading the blog post.

@npd @Gargron tbh 99% of the time if I were to post a link I don't want to "start a conversation" with the author.

Simply not interested. I'd share links because I want my followers to see something or to give my own isolated opinion on something, I don't care for that to become an argument between me and the author if they disagree. I feel like that could be abused too.

I'm a bit too concerned about the privacy for this. I don't want to expose my account to blogs

Maybe that's just me.

@npd @Gargron oh and regarding other people reading the post: I personally most certainly don't want to expose my account to them.

I feel like this is a privacy issue and thus if anything it should be optional.

@esp @gargron yeah, I see how it's a privacy issue, even for toots that are explicitly public.

I was just providing the positive use in case you weren't aware of it. I'd like to be able to reply to bloggers or folks from my account here and have some chance of their seeing it. Maybe if it were framed as a reply (like with an @ preceding the link), that would be more consistent with user expectations.

@npd @Gargron I get that this is awesome for blog owners, that's what the feature seems to be geared at. But tbh, this has no pro for users.

@esp @gargron well, I think it's awesome for people on either (sending/receiving) side that *want* to engage in conversation.

Bloggers that don't want a conversation won't have any interest in that functionality either, although the side-effects for them are pretty miniscule.

@Gargron No, there are higher priorities, like what @lionirdeadman said: #polls

...and a lot of other things.

On-topic: AFAIK almost nobody uses #webmentions right now. Hubzilla has a plugin for it, I think not many hub admins enabled it. But maybe I'm wrong.

@Gargron Oh yes, I read it. Interesting. If it doesn't harm Mastodon performance and privacy I see no problems. Especially because it's now a W3C recommendation.

But (as mentioned in that issue) an admin toggle would be nice (or maybe even a user toggle) and only public toots of course.

@jeroenpraat @Gargron sounds cool but events would be super useful for activists, I think gnusocial supports it

@jeroenpraat @Gargron a caveat: W3C seems to be too often in contrast with a privacy-by-design spirit...

@Gargron I want to know when people are linking my toots from outside the site because harassment gangs do this before starting some shit, warning is nice

@Gargron could you make bare URLs not do web mentions, but @url do web mention?

like @ doing a web mention?

@ajroach42 @gargron
yeah, I had the same thought
it marks it as an explicit reply/mention and not just a passing link.

@DialMforMara @Gargron
When you mention a blog on another blog, pingbacks are a mechanism to automatically mention the URL for your blog as a comment on the blog you're responding to.

@DialMforMara it would let you know if someone is talking about your stuff elsewhere. @enkiv2 @Gargron

@maloki @enkiv2 @Gargron how is this different from being @-ed? Does it point to things outside Mastodon?

@enkiv2 @maloki @Gargron so if, say, @Canageek were to plug my blog, I'd get a notification? Like that?

@DialMforMara @Canageek @Gargron @maloki
Looks like (according to it's not even a w3c standard yet. Your blog software would need to know how to handle it.

But, it would mean that if your blog software supported it, as soon as somebody posted a URL containing your domain, it'd send a message to your server containing the linked URL and the post it came from, and your server would display it in whatever dashboard you usually use to look at referers.

@Canageek That's where all this started. Now, do I understand what's going on?

@DialMforMara @Canageek If you look in the comments in this blog post, there's a pingback. It's acting like a comment.

It just means that Christine Guest linked to that post on her blog, and I got a notification. The nice thing about pingbacks in this context is that not only do I know that Christine linked to me (yay!), but her blog post is on a related topic to my blog post, and potentially of interest to my readers. (1/2)

@DialMforMara @Canageek pingbacks can sometimes get spammy (I can even report pingbacks from certain websites as spam to Wordpress).

Fortunately, since they count as comments, and I have comment moderation set up, they don't show up publicly unless I decide to let them.

(Also handy because I do a lot of internal linking on my blog, and not all the pingbacks would be useful for my readers.)

Oops, link:

@gannet @DialMforMara @Canageek I have the "no self pingbacks" plugin, which saves me much hassle because I have lots of internal links too!

@DialMforMara @irina @gannet when I still updated my blog I like the self pingbacks thing because it would let people know it when they were reading an older post if a newer post referenced it.

@Canageek @irina @DialMforMara I thing I let some self-pingbacks through occasionally, but mostly they'd really be irrelevant and clutter things up.

@gannet @Canageek omg fractal picots
there's a doily in there somewhere

@DialMforMara probably so! THis is as close as I've come, but I haven't written up the pattern variation yet.

@DialMforMara I think, maybe, more like "someone linked a toot and are talking about it". But I'm not sure!

@enkiv2 @Gargron

@vantablack @Gargron

it's essentially a pingback; it allows things like backfeeding ( comments/likes/replies/boosts/etc using something like (

perhaps most famously, uses webmentions to show articles written in response to other wordpress articles, kind of like this

@Gargron webmentions could be monetised, couldn't they?

@Gargron Is it possible to make it optional? Perhaps an unlisted toot prevents sending it?

@Gargron Yes, but tie it to the "Opt-out of search engine indexing" setting under Preferences -> Other.

Then maybe just change the label to say "Opt-out of search indexing" and cover all indexing options under one umbrella. :mastodon: ☂️

@Gargron i feel like this would be a huge privacy thing for me; like, i'd be upset if i couldn't disable it, especially if it's around sensitive topics? i'm thinking of ways it can be used against people talking about things in places where they can get in trouble for political speech, or say a discussion around HIV status or many other personal matters.

@Gargron an example i can think of would be someone posting an article where they've been doxxed, causing masto to then alert the person who published it in the first place of this new account they might not've already known about

I really like the idea, because for example,'s blog ( supports webmentions as comments, and it works really, really well. You could very easily implement a federated replacement for Disqus this way, even on a static blog, and that would be really cool.

On the other hand, I can see it doesn't really fit with Mastodon's privacy culture.

@Gargron This seems like it should be a per-user choice, but I don't know that I care too strongly. If I recall, pingbacks were a setting on most blogs, too, for example.

@Gargron I would say no, not unless it could be implemented in such a way that users would have control and privacy respected.

@Mycroft @Gargron tbh even for public toots there should be a way to respect privacy. Public does not mean I want to opt in to this

@Gargron Webmentions: That way lies a Mastodon instance essentially being used to DDS a website. Wordpress sites are frequently used this way, too. I consider it a pain for the admin to police.

@gargron id be okay with it if it could be opt-in vs "now i just can't link to things in public tweets if I don't want to pingback"

No more responses needed, RIP webmentions, I'll pass

@gargron you know, the very fact that a potential feature is "voted upon" and takes user input into consideration even at all is something I super appreciate about Mastodon

@a_breakin_glass @ratbaby @gargron @weirdoslam
honestly? consensus building is more important than majority vote. 45% of ppl have a problem with it. Why not explore those problems first before a yes?

@mirzaba @Gargron @ratbaby THANK U!!!
and the funniest thing is that @a_breakin_glass considers himself an egoist 😂

@ratbaby @Gargron This is another reason I am begining to really like mastodon.

@Gargron I vote for "no" on webmention implementation, let's give this task to 😎

@Gargron That's something that could be done externally by users (i.e. clients could do it as part of posting, or a headless client could monitor your stream and send webmentions as it sees them). So yeah, I think that's a good decision. 👍

@Gargron would be nice if you would hashtag platform polls - easier to pickup from the stream. Like #voteMastodon #mastoPoll #mastocracy - pick one ☑

Thanks for letting users decide.

@Gargron what kind of poll gets announced and then is ended after 7 hours? That doesn’t seem like the most effective way to get user feedback. Maybe wait at least a weekend for it to get passed around a bit.

@wakest @Gargron Eugen, why did you say "I'll pass" after only three hours? lol - poll still open, currently at 54% Yes...

@Gargron how about receiving webmentions on mastodon instances? They could show up in the notifications column.

@Gargron webmentions which way? Outbound from Mastodon? That feels like it's adding an implicit @-mention to the toot (except to a non-mastodon entity). Maybe there's some way of borrowing that syntax to make it clear and selectable? @https:blah in content sends pingback, bare links in content and references elsewhere in activitypub entries do not?

But then nobody would remember to do them... Are webmentions then a thing that only makes sense if applied nonconsensually?

@Gargron Pingbacks I remember as the main entry gate to be spammed. So that risk should be handeled somehow.

@kai @Gargron

I cite @nhoizey in his blog post :

« Trackbacks and pingbacks failed mostly because of SPAM, and IndieWeb is taking this seriously for Webmention’s future, with intense work on Vouch, an anti-spam extension to Webmention. Let’s hope it gets implemented soon everywhere. »

@nhoizey @Gargron @kai
Here is what we can read about #Vouch on #IndieWeb site :

“This is a Living Specification yet mature enough to encourage implementations and feedback.”

@Gargron WHY are people asking for webmentions?

@Gargron Cannot answer this as a yes/no question.

The idea makes sense but it’s a no-go for me to alert any website I link to without any option to avoid it.

Maybe I should remind you that (at least in my country) there already are websites/companies trying to forbid linking to their website… (so far I think justice told them «nope», but they keep trying to control what they shouldn’t)

If it was opt-in I think I would use it whenever I react on something.


my take on this: webmention is the right tool for the job

what I question is whether we should be doing the job. say there is a website that has illegal content on it, and we are discussing the legality of that content. sending a pingback might not be what we want to do, as we might not want to be associated with the content itself

@kaniini @Gargron It should be a seperate discussion for outgoing and incoming Webmentions tho. I saw talk about incoming ones earlier today...

@raucao @Gargron

At least in Pleroma, incoming webmention are not possible due to the way Pleroma applications work.

Dunno about Mastodon, but nothing interesting for me on incoming ones

@kaniini @Gargron Maybe an 'enable pingbacks' (either blanket, or for individual links detected) option on composing toots, with a default value saved in your preferences? Risks overcomplicating the UI though.

@Gargron I voted no because I'm worried that it might cause people to leak info that they don't intend to. You could make it opt in but then only a few people would use it.

@Gargron I wouldn't recommend it maybe because of the change in server loads that kinda of thing would affect. Plus I think the blog version died because no one liked blocks of link backs and it stopped helping seo.

@Gargron ... and that makes them a good and nice way to raise awareness of Mastodon as a platform. We should do that.