Automatic boosts instead of cross-posting?

As other new users, I’ve struggled a bit to wrap my head around the nature of cross-posting vs ActivityPub support, but I think I’ve got it now:
(I’ll use Mastodon as an example.)

Let’s say I write this post on

I like using Ulysses for writing my micro posts! I’ve made this simple shortcut, that I have on my lock screen and on my home screen, which creates a new sheet in my “Micro blog” group. Very neat!

If a Mastodon user follows, they’ll get the post straight to their feed (and since it’s under 300 characters, it won’t be butchered :wink:). And if they reply, users can see them.

But if I cross-post it to (or Tumblr or whatever), kinda copies and pastes the post to that service, without having a real connection to the “native” post. (With the advantages and disadvantages that entails!)

I have two small suggestions that I think would be neat here:

(I think the second one is more important - and doing that would also reduce the need for the first one.)

1) A small tweak to how links get cross-posted to Mastodon

That post from above would look like this cross-posted to Mastodon: :point_down:t2:

I like using Ulysses for writing my micro posts! I’ve made this simple shortcut, that I have on my lock screen and on my home screen, which creates a new sheet in my “Micro blog” group. Very neat!

Only the link to Ulysses gets shared - and at the bottom. While the link to the shortcut gets lost in translation.

I think I’d prefer it if instead put the links in parentheses behind where it was. Mastodon always counts all links as 23 characters, so calculating when a post is over 500 (and thus get truncated in the cross-post, just like today) would be relatively easy.

That would make it look like this: :point_down:t2:
(Notice that the long shortcut link gets truncated. :+1:t2:)

Not as good looking as the native post (because Mastodon respects the hyperlinks of those :+1:t2:) - but that brings me to the second idea:

2) Have an option to automatically boost instead of cross-posting

So, the idea is that, instead of having the Mastodon account “copy and pasting” the content of the post, it instead finds the native post (through the Fediverse username) and boosts it.

That would still publish the content to the followers of the Mastodon account, but keep the comments one place. And the feature would be even better, if it was possible to set a delay - say 1 hour.[1]

This option would especially be nice if the way native posts appear on the timeline would be improved, like I’ve discussed here. (I also think the 300 limit should be increased - but that’s another discussion. :stuck_out_tongue:)


  1. I’ve tried to see if something like Publer can do this for me, but I haven’t found any solutions. Does anyone know of any tools that could do this? ↩︎

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Thanks for the suggestions! Including the links in parenthesis is a good idea, and would solve this “only one link allowed” limitation that has been there for a while. When cross-posting was first added, it was a different world with Twitter only having 140 characters. The limitation makes a lot less sense now with Mastodon defaulting to 500, and most services allowing at least 300.

As for boosting your own post… That is a clever idea. Will have to think about that.


I like thew first suggestion and I love the automatic cross-posting suggestion!

A related concern: If a post is longer than 300 characters, it looks much better in the mastodon cross-post (in my case, than it does in the original ActivityPub post (in my case, One big reasons is that the Masto post can be up to 500 characters while the ActivityPub post is limited to 300 chars.

Just to make sure I understand: Do you mean that you love the “automatic cross-boosting suggestion”? :slightly_smiling_face:

Yeah, what’s annoying is that native posts looks best from 0-300 characters (because they support text formatting) - but native Mastodon posts looks best from 300-500 characters, because then the post gets truncated.

The obvious solution here, is for to be a bit more lenient with its character limits! Why not have it so that native posts always looks best? :innocent: (So increase the limit to at least 500 - but I know @manton doesn’t like the thought of that. But nice to hear you like the other suggestions, Manton. :sweat_smile:)

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I love both suggestions actually. But I particularly like the automatic cross boosting idea.

There have been times when I have done just that, manually. I switch off cross posting to Mastodon, and just boost everything after I post.

Two reasons why I’m not doing that now:

  • As previously discussed, Mastodon posts just look better when viewed from Mastodon than microblog activitypub posts do.
  • and boosting is one more thing to remember to do.

Despite those problems, now that I think of it, I think I will go back to boosting rather than cross posting.

Also: You did a great job presenting your suggestions. I particularly appreciated the mockups!

And I like Ulysses as a authoring client too. I just recently started using U for that purpose, and I like it a lot.

One nitpick on your suggestions: when automatically posting from to Tumblr, the posts are formatted perfectly on the Tumblr side. As far as I can see, they are character for character, identical on both platforms. Which I like.

Thanks for your kind words! 🫶🏻

As mentioned, this wouldn’t be a problem if started to truncate from 500 characters instead of 300. Hopefully that’s a change that’ll come! :crossed_fingers:t2:

Yeah, it’s fantastic! And the shortcut I shared makes it very easy to use it for micro posts as well. :slightly_smiling_face: I also want to make a share sheet shortcut, that I want to use on links, text or images. And then it does this:

  1. Create a new sheet in my “micro blog” group in Ulysses.
  2. Open that sheet (so far it’s the same as the one I shared above).
  3. Paste the link/text/image in the sheet.

This’ll remove even more friction from making micro posts when I stumble upon something interesting or good. :blush: I could write and post the post there and then, or do it later.

Yeah, I noticed that Tumblr (and Bluesky) cross-posts with hyperlinks turn out perfectly. :+1:t2:
So if I can nitpick back: I never meant to suggest changes to Tumblr cross-posting! :sweat_smile:

One thing I haven’t tried regarding Tumblr, is cross-posting posts that will truncate (so with a title and/or over 300 characters). Have you tried that? How do they turn out?

Mastodon is a special case when it comes to cross-posting/boosting, due to the ActivityPub support.[1] So that’s why other platforms usually needs to be discussed rather separately - as Tumblr/Bluesky/Etc. users can’t follow the MB account/see the native MB content directly anyway!

So, the reasons why I think increasing MB’s limit to 500 and allowing automatic boosts to Mastodon is a good idea [2], isn’t necessarily relevant when discussing non-AP platforms. Those reasons are:

  • Native MB posts with ≤500 characters would be the best of both worlds: Mastodon’s length, but with text formatting and hyperlinks - also viewable within Mastodon (and Firefish etc.).[3]
  • You’d also get rid of the awkward thing were native MB looks best on Mastodon et al. from 0-300, but worse from 301-500. MB posts would always look best. :ok_hand:t2:
  • That, together with automatic boosting, would make it easier to keep conversations about a post in one place. Another thing that’s neat, is that if someone replies to my Mastodon boost, by default they @ mention both my MB and Mastodon user - so I can easily reply to them with the account I want! [4]

  1. And we’ll see what happens if Threads/Tumblr get AP support, and if the bridges to Bluesky gets fleshed out. ↩︎

  2. Also from a business standpoint. ↩︎

  3. From a business standpoint, I think this would make it easier for more Mastodon users to move to becoming paying MB customers, as they only gain features, and don’t gain and lose features. ↩︎

  4. Another business point here, is that I think this could lead to more of the Mastodon followers following the MB account, as opposed to just the Mastodon account. This could lead to more people thinking “Perhaps I don’t need the Mastodon account :thinking:”, and thus lessening the churn rate. ↩︎

There are a few different ideas in this discussion, and I think we can address them separately. The first thing I’d like to do is change our ActivityPub support so that if a post is between 300 and 600 characters, it does not truncate it for Mastodon. It will still be inconsistent because’s truncation is different, but it’ll look better for Mastodon users, so it’s a step in the right direction. (I say 600 instead of 500 because when using a block quote in the limit is doubled to 600. I think Mastodon will be fine with that.)

I’m working on this today. I’ll also be tweaking the HTML we send via ActivityPub so that it looks better in apps like Ivory that ignore styling.

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Oh, sounds exciting!

(Edit: Gosh, I’m such a nerd… I really meant this. :stuck_out_tongue::point_up_2:t2:)

Let me check if I’ve understood correctly:

Does this mean that native posts between 300 and 600 characters won’t be truncated?

So if I write something with 400 characters on MB, it will (still) get truncated on that timeline, but Mastodon followers will get a version that’s not truncated? (And the same if I boost the post from my Mastodon account?)

Yeah, 600 sounds like a good idea! Both due to the quote limit, and perhaps it could give some leeway regarding URLS as well? (I don’t get all the technicalities. :smiling_face:)

You’ve got it right. It’s not a complete solution but hopefully it gets us a little bit closer.

I think some things are always going to be a little weird between platforms. For example, if Bluesky is bridged with Mastodon and, Bluesky also has a 300-character limit. And Threads has a 500-character limit but a URL takes up its full length, not the 23 characters that Mastodon uses. So we’ll just do the best we can to support these differences without losing our minds. :slightly_smiling_face:

As far as I know, cross-posting to Tumblr shares the full text and images of all posts, including untitled posts that are longer than 300 characters.

@manton I’m very glad to hear that you’re working on changing the ActivityPub length from 300 to 600 characters.

This discussion has caused me to disconnect my Mastodon account from, and instead manually boost my posts to Mastodon.

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Haha, yeah - cross-posting and Interoperability will always be a little messy! :sweat_smile:

But improving what “transmits” to Activitypub, is probably one of the more worthwhile endeavours - so I’m glad you’re looking into that!

And better URL support for Mastodon cross-posting is a nice bonus :ok_hand:t2: - even though I think I’ll do like @MitchWagner, and boost instead (while I wait and hope for an automatic option down the line. :smiling_face:)

I hope you’re happy with that.

Possibly useful tip: I configured the Ice Cubes mysastodon client on my phone to send me a notification every time I update my feed. Then when I get the notification, I pull the phone out of my pocket and tap the notification, which opens my account in Ice Cubes. I tap the boost button, and I’m done. Takes just a couple of seconds.

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Just fyi. Lots of folks disable boosts on Mastodon. So it’s possible folks will miss things.

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Just posted to my blog and thought I’d share a couple of screenshots regarding improving the formatting as displayed on the timeline and Mastodon as well. There should be a line break after co-exist.


I’m going to go back to cross-posting to, rather than boosting from that account.

Looks like Manton is planning to extend ActivityPub text to 500-600 words any day now. And he’s also considering implementing automatic boosts. (Please correct me if I’m wroing, @manton). Once he implements either or both those changes, I’ll reconsider my decision.

For now, boosting every post from to is too fussy. It’s one more step that I might forget.

I seem to go back and forth on this one every few months.


Also, following up on earlier conversation (including @Denny 's post above): For posts longer than 300 characters, cross-posts look much, much better than ActivityPub posts.


CleanShot 2024-02-19 at 08.39.18

Same post on ActivityPub:

CleanShot 2024-02-19 at 08.39.30

The opposite is true for posts that are 300 characters or under containing a link or blockquote—for those, the ActivityPub version looks better than the cross-posted version.

I’d love to see the cross-posts, ActivityPub posts, timeline and BlueSky posts truncated at paragraph or sentence breaks, rather than in the middle of a word, as they are now. I suspect that might not be difficult to code?

I tried your strategy of boosting, but I’m disappointed with the results. I used to cross-post the photos I posted on Glass to my main (professional) Mastodon account. I switched to cross-posting it on Pixelfed which I used to then boost on my Mastodon account. I used to get likes, boosts, and other engagement in the original method but almost nothing (can even say never) by the second method.

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Yup— many many many people block boosts.


I think a lot of this is client and server specific. ActivityPub actually supports HTML content that Mastodon doesn’t let you make directly, and depending on your server and client, that HTML may be stripped or respected. That’s why ActivityPub posts that are followed can have things like inline links, bold, and italics, but Mastodon created-posts have no way to make that happen.

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It seems like we’re 95% of the way to post-once-read-anywhere and the car is stuck in traffic. It’s frustrating to those of us who lack the coding skills to build what we want!

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