I wish Micro.blog made “consuming” it’s next priority

As a Mastodon user, I’m thirsting hard for (among other things) Micro.blog’s amazing tools for producing/posting content. But what has kept me from paying for more than one month, is that it’s so much worse as a way to consume Fediverse content.

And the main reason for this, is:

The aversion to likes and boosts.

Is there a technical reason behind not supporting this, or “only” principles?

Personally I really like the way likes work on Mastodon: It doesn’t affect the reach, so it’s just a quick high five across the web. As a consumer, I like being able to dish out these little high fives. (And I also don’t mind getting them, as I have very few followers - so just knowing someone saw what I posted can also be nice.)

I’m 100 % on-board with the Micro.blog ethos of not wanting to show things like follower and likes counts! But not wanting to support giving and/or receiving likes because it’s a “slippery slope” to something you don’t want, is a bad argument. Just don’t do the thing you don’t want…

But the lack of boosts is even worse…

Many of the accounts I follow boosts tons of great stuff, and it’s an awesome way of finding new people to following. Micro.blog not even showing these boosts, is baffling to me.

This brings back to the first question: Are there any technical reasons behind this?
And, am I the only one who feels this way? Is there something I’m just not getting?

Argh, it’s so frustrating - because I feel like “Boost and likes are right there! If they just implement it, I’d love the service so much!” :sweat_smile:


I’ve loaded in the people I follow to Micro.blog, and try to give it a chance every few months. And I’m more than happy to pay $5/month for good social media. But as I consume more than I produce, it’s just so much poorer… :confused: But I still long for the production features of Micro.blog!

(And no, I don’t want to consume on Mastodon and produce on Micro.blog.)

Edit: Needless to say, I don’t say these stuff has to be for everybody - and should of course be possible to turn off. For instance, many Mastodon clients has options to turn off boosts. Also, I’m just as annoyed at Mastodon for not supporting text formatting. :sweat_smile:

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Glass.photo has something like private Likes. When someone likes my photo, they can “Appreciate” it and only I see that. It’s not public. And I really like that. But I am not worried about seeing how many people appreciate someone else’s post. I prefer that, in fact.

I left social media so I don’t get caught up in comparing myself to others. It’s my problem, but one reason I like micro.blog a lot.

If I was to make a request for myself, it would be for something like Appreciations on glass.photo.

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Thanks y’all. Glass has an interesting approach here. It sounds like it has worked well for them.

Another thing I wanted to mention: for a long time we’ve wanted to experiment more with emoji reactions, like sending quick :+1: or :heart:. So that might be part of the solution too. Those would likely be public, though, unlike Glass appreciations.

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I’m always thinking that things like appreciation, likes, reactions, and follower count should be made available privately to the blog/content owner. Making them public should be an opt-in decision, if at all possible. But in no way the hosting service should take advantage of this via an algorithm to do something else (algo timeline to increase engagement). My three cents.

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Oh, yeah that sounds like a good approach!
I likened sending a like to “a virtual high five” - but if someone shares some hardship they’re going through, a high five might not be what’s most appropriate. :sweat_smile:

How would it be to map that to ActivityPub and likes?

So that if you, on Micro.blog, gave “any type of emoji” that would register as a like, and if you received a like via ActivityPub it would register as “one of the emojis”?

(And what are your thoughts on boosts? Or have you shared it somewhere else here I can read? I didn’t find anything while searching.)

Re @aeryn and @numericcitizen: Personally I’m neutral on it being public or not - but the way Mr. Citizen lays it out seems reasonable. :+1:t2:

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Let’s see @manton reactions and comments to this.

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Personally, I would not enjoy emoji reactions. When Facebook brought that in, it became even more weird. Other platforms followed, and to me, it’s yucky. Receiving a :joy: for example can be so loaded and interpreted in more than one way.

For me. A simple Like, heart, thumb up, appreciation is fine, and fairly neutral. It doesn’t have to mean anything more. And if someone wants to say more they can use words as a comment. If I had the option, I would prefer it was private to me and not surfaced on the timeline, or my blog.

My individual perspective: I’m using the micro.blog timeline less and less. If I want to follow someone, I use RSS or Mastodon for that. Lack of likes and boosts are a big part of the problem.

And yes definitely boosts are part of the stream. Not letting us see boosts is like removing all the vowels from a post.

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Some kind of reactions might be fine, but please, no boosts. Assuming I’m correct that those are the Mastodon retweets. A main reason I used Tweetbot was that you could suppress retweets.

They just clutter the timeline so much!

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I guess I’m in the minority in that I don’t see the need for likes or boosts. If something means something to me, I comment and possibly share. I don’t miss the frictionless gestures because it renders them mostly meaningless to me. I get the argument, they’re just features that are no longer for me.

I’m with @clorgie and guess I always have been. Even private likes set expectations in pursuit of those likes. E.g., a person ‘liked’ 9 of my 10 posts. I may fixate on why that person didn’t like that one post. Also, people may or may not ‘like’ a post for several reasons one of which may be they simply didn’t see it because they were busy IRL. ‘Likes’ also bring with the baggage of reciprocal likes (let’s like each other or I liked 10 of your posts but you only like 8 of mine, what gives?)

As someone who worked closely with renowned psychologists, we used such manipulations to test behavior all the time hence perhaps I’m more skeptical of them.

I’m of course talking about giving users a choice regarding if they want boosts or not. I don’t think you should be forced to live with my preference, and I shouldn’t be forced to live with yours.

On most Mastodon apps you can choose if you want to see boosts in your timeline or not, and you can also turn it off for specific profiles. (I don’t need to say why that’s sometimes useful.) :point_down:t2:

https://phanpy.social/ even has a neat “boost carousel”, where they collect up boosts and gives them separately. :point_down:t2:

I totally get that some people don’t want boosts - and you should be able to have it your way. But the people I follow boosts lots of good stuff - and I don’t want to move over to Micro.blog and lose all of that.

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Interesting to see so many different perspectives on microblogging!

There are some people I follow on microblogging sites in particular because they do a great job of finding and boosting interesting posts.

First, love Phanpy for the way it handles boosts. It has nailed down the way web apps & the timeline view should look. Second, Micro.blog was set up way back in 2017 with certain principles in mind - no likes, retweets/boosts, and not even follower/following counts. You don’t even know who is following you (no, I am not financially or otherwise involved in Micro.blog).

It’s an interesting and different “social network” that tbh, attracted me to it. I can always create a Mastodon account and do everything you say it does so well. But once a platform offers a choice, it has to live with the actions that come with that choice. On Micro.blog, those actions are comments. If you like a post, let the author know even if it’s an emoji that adds a bit of friction than a simple tap. You follow people based on the replies you see they make on other posts. Peruse the Discover Feed. I find plenty of people that way.

Manton is being explicit about that choice and perhaps losing many potential subscribers. Unless he decides he wants to grow his business exponentially, it’s his decision to make. I use Micro.blog to curb my tempations for the usual social media engagement metric because like it or not, it changes your behavior (I was part of the team that studied this in academic research). I have a Mastodon account where I cross-post (most of) my Micro.blog posts and see people like/boost/reply.

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I agree. My preference is no likes or reactions. But if it’s coming then I prefer that to be private. If Micro.blog started to take on more of the social media look, feel, and function I would most likely move on.

I understand that things grow and change but I like the way Micro.blog currently feels and would support anything that doesn’t undermine that.

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I’m not asking for “social media engagement metrics” - I specifically said I’m perfectly fine with numbers being hidden. I just want to be able to see the content the people I follow “post”. :man_shrugging:t2:

As mentioned in the OP, the main reason I want to be able to use Micro.blog for microblogging, is the writing tools. But when using social media like this, reading, replying and writing original posts are intertwined. I don’t think I should have to use Mastodon just to be able to see people’s boosts or be able to know if someone from Firefish liked what I posted (which they think I received).

Or perhaps reading stuff on Mastodon, and finding something I’d like to reply to - but since I want to write on Micro.blog, I have to use the share sheet or something to open the link from Mastodon in Micro.blog…

But after reading this discussion, I have some concrete suggestions (which should be evaluated individually):

(I wanted to have them work well for those who prefer Micro.blog the way it is now, and also have them adhering to the principles the platform is made upon.)

Suggestion A: Private and voluntary “appreciations” - without metrics

In user settings:

:radio_button: Know when someone appreciates one of your posts.
:radio_button: Automatically appreciate posts you bookmark.

Some details:

  • I think the first should be on by default, but the second off.
  • IMO, more emojis aren’t needed, and is not part of the suggestion - but it’s obviously possible.
  • Have likes from other ActivityPub services “translate” to appreciations - and the other way around. If there are more emojis, just have all of them translate into a like, and have likes from ActivityPub map to the default one.
  • Simply add a heart symbol or something under posts. And it can ofc. be named whatever.
  • Maybe (if possible) have the heart not be there if it senses that a Micro.blog user doesn’t have appreciations turned on. (Or just send the click into the void. :man_shrugging:t2: Also, the Fediverse doesn’t need to know either way.)

Suggestion B: User controlled inbound boosts

In user settings:

:radio_button: By default, see posts boosted by people you follow.

On other people’s profiles:

:radio_button: See/Don’t see posts boosted by Name.

Some details

  • I’m not suggesting Micro.blog add the ability to boost posts - but I think user should be able to choose whether to see boosts done by the people they follow.
  • It should also be possible to turn in on/off for individual accounts (whether you have the global option on or off).
  • In time, something like what Phanpy does would be neat - but not needed in an MVP.

This is, of course, 100 % @manton’s call (I can only vote with my feet and wallet, and try to contribute ideas). But I truly belive those changes would make Micro.blog a substantially better place to consume, for those who want these things, while not messing things up for those who prefer it the way it is. It would also make Micro.blog play more nicely with the rest of the Fediverse.

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This is kind of tangential, but definitely related to “consuming fediverse” content-- some accounts I follow post polls, which micro.blog silently omits. It’d be cool if polls worked, or at least include some indicator that part of the post couldn’t be displayed on micro.blog.

Example, on mastodon

same post on micro.blog:

https://micro.blog/akien@mastodon.gamedev.place/30597630

Ah, I see - so you think Micro.blog (at least) should let us know there’s a poll there?

at least that, yeah

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Yeah, it’s a bit like how Mastodon took very long to even show formatting from other services… :upside_down_face:

Like, I get[1] that Mastodon don’t want to support formatting - but try not to break communication coming from other places. :stuck_out_tongue:


  1. Well, not really. ↩︎