i wonder if it would be a good idea or a bad idea for mastodon to adopt a way to view popular hashtags

pros: better discovery
cons: going down the same road twitter did

actually it's kind of interesting to think of mastodon as a twitter do-over, because it would probably behoove us all to consider what mistakes twitter did and how we can avoid them.

we're obviously past the age of posting toots via sms, so let's start with hashtags.

* aug 2007: hashtags proposed by users as irc-channel metaphor
* july 2009: twitter starts hyperlinking hashtags
* 2010: twitter starts tracking "trending topics"

but of course the mistakes that twitter did were to attempt to apply an algorithm to trends, meaning words and phrases could trend, and some hashtags could be filtered out or censored.

i think we're also past the point of external media hosting on twitpic/yfrog/etc, since internal media hosting has become far more widespread. so the next thing is to look at replying and boosting statuses. starting with replies, because boosting is a bit more involved in analysis.

* nov 2006: @ reply first used
* may 2007: @replies adopted by twitter

not much to say here. i guess i'd note that it makes a service more conversation than status-oriented, but that's about it? conversation is good


now, about boosts...

* apr 2007: "ReTweet" first used
* jan 2008: "RT @user" first used
* nov 2009: twitter adds retweet button

so far so good. no need to clog up feeds with multiples of the same stuff. now here's the problem:

* ~2009: people add comments to manual RTs
* apr 2015: twitter adds quote tweets

the biggest problems with quotes? they break context, and they lead to dogpiling. mastodon hasn't adopted quote toots, and probably never should.

just about the last thing to add at this point is twitter's attempt to transition from a conversational platform to a curated content provider, especially since 2015. that's bad.

@trwnh @user they are indeed dogpile. But they are more useful sometimes than breaking the context into status = comment.

@trwnh >>they break context

And that I think was what made them so anxiety-inducing too. I only ever had issues with spam bots, but the existence of quote tweets, the trouble they caused, and the discovery that they don't consistently appear in the quotee's mentions was a big contributing factor to my feeling that I couldn't speak freely anymore on Twitter (and that led me to feeling that I didn't want to use it anymore).

@dartigen they show up in notifications, but they're not technically mentions. to be accurate, they're really just the same as any other smart preview that twitter shows for news sites based on metadata. it probably made sense to twitter, but they should have at LEAST made them act as replies too?

for the most part, it's a terrible ux to have to click through multiple quote tweets in a chain, you can't track the convo at all beyond prev/current tweet... and most didn't need to be publicly aired

@dartigen it's really easy to take something out of context if you, yknow, *can't see the context*.

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