Improving discovery?

The help document on “finding people to follow” states:

It’s not possible to search by topic or content. doesn’t support hashtags. While these policies prevent bad actors from finding people to harass, it does make it a bit harder for you to find people who share your interests. Here are some tips for finding new people to follow.

Is anything being done to improve this situation? I’m sorry, but as an academic the current workarounds, such as predefined categories, don’t cut it for me.

There is no way to build a community here around people interested in the same topics as me: Taiwan, Anthropology, Indigenous Issues, Language Rights, etc. None of these issues is listed in the pre-defined categories, and there is no way to find people writing about these issues unless I already know them.

I understand the concern about harassment, but it seems to me that it would be better to build tools directly focused on preventing harassment rather than preventing people from finding each other on this platform in the first place.

The end result of these policies is that I primarily use as a way to auto-post to other social media sites where I do have such communities.

This is not an easy problem, I know, but I just want to know whether or not there is some kind of plan in place to improve this? Thanks.


Thanks for the feedback. We have ideas to improve search, but I don’t think that will necessarily improve discovery by itself. is still small, so most importantly we need to grow and welcome those kind of communities you mentioned to the platform. I also think there is an opportunity to help people discover and follow users outside of, for example following blogs and Mastodon users.

How about allowing people to include keywords in their bios, and then make those searchable on an opt-in basis? So, for instance, I could include #anthropology in my bio and that would optionally add me to a discovery index for people looking for other people interested in anthropology (again, this would be optional and opt-in).


I think having bios indexed and searchable would be a nice feature for that reduces some of the potential risks here.



Let people add at the most 5 topics that interest them in their bio.

1 Like

This is probably not what you want, but does not block search engines from indexing. So you can just type a search phrase like anthropology in your favorite search engine to find conversations and profiles that mention anthropology.


Thanks for the reminder. I’ve been asking Manton to give us the option to block the search engines for our profile.

1 Like

I want that too.

But also, I’d very much like’s Search to improve so I can better find posts and people. IIRC, currently only searches posts that made it to the main Discovery section, which is pretty arbitrary and very limiting.

Any progress on this?

1 Like

These suggestions from @kerim are good. They should really improve the discovery and are opt-in. So control is in the user’s hands. Even I would love if these are implemented in some form.

1 Like

Sorry, not much progress on this yet. Although indirectly, we have been working for the last couple months to clean up spam accounts, which will open up some more options for discovery because we won’t have to worry as much about discovering fake users. Thanks for the reminder about this.


To me it feels weird that the possibility of harassment is the reason that a directory of users divided by interests is not implemented yet. What data or observations do we have that this would encourage harassment? Twitter doesn’t have it. Facebook and Instagram don’t have it.
Right now the absence of something to encourage discourse and community, like the original proposal here, is just hurting us.
It is true that is small but the existence of a directory and one that highlights users by categories of interest, no matter how “small” they would be, would only encourage collaboration, discovery, conversation, construction of shared interests, construction of community in fact.
It’s hard to “welcome” these kind of communities here if we don’t even offer these communities tools to actually find each other and aggregate.
Do we care that we’re small? Are we timid to show that we’re actually small? If we were, we wouldn’t be here I think.


I don’t know how this affected other users, but frustration with this led me to leave for Mastodon. Within a week on Mastodon I was able to build up a large community of people with shared interests in a way that I was never able to do in all the time I was on It really is too bad, as I really believed in the platform otherwise. At least people here can still follow me on Mastodon if they like, since it is all part of the Fediverse…


Something I have come to value on is the diversity of the people I follow. This is something that may not have occurred if I had a list of followers developed from search criteria. does things differently from other social networks, and that is okay.

1 Like

Also, isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay too. We need more, smaller, and opinionated social platforms, not one social platform to rule them all. We already know how those turn out, unwieldy and inherently anti-social because of size.

I’m relatively new to (about a week in), but I’m a long term Mastodon users. The lack of discovery is what I’m really struggling with. Things like hashtags are a great way to look up hobbies and interests.

For example, I’m into motorbikes and watches. On Mastodon I can easily find people who are also interested in these topics. On here, that’s nigh on impossible.

I agree with the comments that it’s ok to be different. Mastodon is different - no tracking, no algorithm, no corporate entity with competing agendas, no centralisation. But having a social network / community / whatever we want to call sites like with no real way of discovering users for fear of harassment is just crazy to me.

I’d like to understand how not having things like hashtags is combatting harassment? Profiles are public, as is the discover page AND search field. So as an unregistered, I kind find people very easily if I wanted to harass them. I fail to see how not implementing more mature discovery features is protecting users?

Feels like there’s an opportunity if improve significantly here. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Finding the right balance here has been difficult, and I know it’s frustrating that sometimes we may seem to go too far in the other direction with making it hard to find people.

Let me explain a little more about the lack of search and hashtags. I view it differently than someone randomly finding a user in Discover and harassing them for no reason. Search allows targeted harassment. For example, finding people who are discussing a certain political event and arguing with them. Or piggybacking on a hashtag search and inserting rants or replies because you know everyone searching for that hashtag will also see your post.

This is why we don’t have trends. It makes visibility into problematic users much less likely than on Twitter or even Mastodon.

As for the directory of users idea… Maybe it is time for that! We also need to expand our emoji topics (and probably beyond emoji).


Can not also piggyback on an emoji search?

Yes, but we have a mechanism for hiding posts in emoji pages. Because there are a limited number, it’s pretty easy to keep an eye on, compared to an infinite number of hashtags.

Makes sense. Thanks for the clarification.

Personally, I don’t think interest-based communities is the main focus of or should be. For one, we need scale for that (don’t think has > 10K active people). I consider as a close-knit community. Only when numbers explode will people need to find subgroups and they most likely congregate by certain interests. Personally, I like the smaller number of people with varied interests here.