Hmm… I reckon our federation setup may take a bit of getting used to.

I just went through searching here for dozens of people I follow from elsewhere and only found @JayatiGhosh.

Then searched for @mikebithell even knowing his handle, but found nothing, presumably because it only searches my home instance?

Can we search across the whole federation, or are we supposed to go around doing our searches on each instance?

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@miblo He pops up for me instantly and I'm on the same instance as you

@MegaWolf Oh, interesting! Do you follow him and, if so, did he pop up when you weren't following him? And are you using the web client at, rather than an app (if one exists)?

Now that I follow him, I see Mike does show up for me.

Also, I've discovered we can search another instance by appending, e.g., but it seems that only works for usernames, not display names.

@miblo I do use the weba client and I am not following him

I just searched him after you had written that

But given that you mentioned him in the message / followed him now, he somehow got into the awareness of the instance

@MegaWolf Wow, cool! This actually sounds pretty fancy to me.

I mean, contextual awareness is something that'll probably need to be integral to the comms platform I plan to make, so it can figure out what to present to users, since it won't just be a traditional least–most recent timeline.

@miblo @mikebithell
I don't know either, still feeling my way around this and would appreciate advice

@JayatiGhosh I wonder if our lead dev @Gargron would mind helping us out here?

My searches do now extend beyond our Mastodon instance, but they don't seem to be able to find everything, e.g.

@miblo @JayatiGhosh @mikebithell You can search the federation if you use search terms on the search field. If you are looking for Twitter handles to follow on your stream, try
There are a few other solutions as well to identify your other twitter users of their #fediverse and #birdsite or #Twitter handles are identical

@arin_basu Ah, thank you! Personally, I won't use because its reposting of tweets to here probably doesn't really encourage folks to make the change I made and come to Mastodon? I'd rather lend my ear to folks who've made this change. Handy that it exists, though.

Also, cheers for the follow. Reciprocated!

@miblo totally agree with you, yet there are cases where Twitter messages from academics who post messages, articles and reminders can be useful, but unfortunately these people are yet not in #fediverse or they attempt to join and then get turned off by #Mastodon UI, because they are used to twitter. These are still important people to keep, and what I wrote was with a view to help these use cases. Otherwise, I have rejected Twitter and find no use of it as such.

@arin_basu Yeah, I'm with you. It's these people I'll sadly miss out on. Maybe I'll have a change of heart but, for now, I see it as one of those things where my personal sacrifice may hopefully end up being a long-term societal good, as little by little Mastodon and people's needs / expectations align, people join, and the network effect takes care of the rest.

@miblo True.
Many people get confused with the layered conversations of the #fediverse. If people are hung up or obsessed with UI and like #birdsite there is #halcyon UI rather than stock mastodon or #pinafore FTM. I find the nuanced conversations and follow patterns across sites within the #fediverse ecosystem fascinating. Webbed connected conversations at its best, I'd say. People who only like to put _their_ words out, shoot and scoot tend to get bored with the chatter generated here, :-).

@arin_basu Cool. Yeah, it does feel decent here. Maybe some of that's down to the smaller userbase with fewer trolls, making folks more confident in conversations (including disagreements) going fairly amicably? Some also to the federated ecosystem?

Technically, though, the conversational tools at our disposal are basically the same as any other microblogging platform, right? At least compared to the comms platform I plan to make:

@miblo Thanks Matt. Some nice natural language processing ideas there, :-), I use #Spacy a lot and curious to know more from you.
In terms of the peaceful environment of #fediverse I believe it is in part could be due to how people are segregated and instances federated/de-federated.
Whether these are well planned aspects of this medium or not, they lead to shaping a medium that can restore sanity in a crazy world.

@arin_basu Aww, cheers! Those ideas are informed by stuff that stuck with me from the corpus linguistics bit of my degree. Basically, academic prose, conversation, news and fiction contain distinct proportions of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. I guess messages will be mostly conversational, but wonder if different behaviours may push those proportions in different directions. Also, that analysis may be automated…

But I didn't know about Spacy! What do you use it for? I'm intrigued. 💡

@miblo If this interests you, you can search who in Twitter is already in Mastodon. But if you do not like that, my apologies. I have shared this resource with an intent to help, hope you will understand. Here is the resource:

@arin_basu Oh, thanks! Yeah, this seems great. Hopefully it'll do the trick. 🔍

@miblo @JayatiGhosh @mikebithell
Searches are across federated instances. I just confirmed. It might take sometime to replicate new user information federated across instances though.

@gopal Aha, cheers! Yeah, I now see people from other instances showing up in search results. Oddly, though, if I search "gopal" or "@gopal", you're not one of them!

By the way, I took the "15 results" screenshot after clicking "Load more". Below those 4 people are 11 hashtags.

@miblo hmm.. I have no idea.. with any other searches are you able to find people in this instance at all ( possibly a federation issue? same search on my instance gave 5 names, including mine.
we'll ask around..
@Gargron can you throw some light on how does the search work across federated instances? any rules?

@gopal @Gargron I am, yeah. Searching my own name "Matt" yielded some guys on And also, searching for you now finds you! 17 results. The original 15, plus you under "People" and my toot under "Posts".

Yeah, it'd be great to get @Gargron's insight on this. Maybe confirmation that "instance awareness" happens ( and how it works?

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