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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.

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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 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?

@Gargron Isn't this something a user should be able to decide themselves?

I'd like for mastodon to have this feature, but I wouldn't want to force everyone to leak data like that.


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