Requesting clarity on transferring followers

This discussion and follow-up questions are about transferring followers back and forth between a account and Mastodon, and what happens when we do.

Just to clear this up first, I understand that each blog has its owner ActivityPub endpoint that can be subscribed to by itself, which is not the same as cross-posting. I also know we can change the address of our blog and Mastodon-compatible username. My question isn’t really related to any of this, directly.

Where things get really confusing for me (because this isn’t well-documented) is how transferring of followers works.

I’ve waffled back and forth between wanting all of my followers on Mastodon or, so I’ve transferred followers back and forth a couple of times. However, commenting behavior on my posts from others has made this area really muddy for me.

For example, recently I transferred my followers to Mastodon. However, if I post an update to and have it cross-posted to Mastodon, I will get people commenting inside of as well as on Mastodon, from users in both cases.

Meaning my cross-post will have responding, and then I’ll have other users responding from the timeline, too. I’m trying to understand why this happens so I can better manage the whole thing.

My questions:

  1. Are only the people who have set up ActivityPub on the ones who are transferred to Mastodon? Or do all blogs have ActivityPub now?
  2. Are my posts now showing up twice in the Timeline to people who are subscribed to me, one from my blog post and again from my Mastodon account showing up in the Timeline?
  3. What happens to new followers over at after the transfer of users to Mastodon has already occured? Is the transfer a point-in-time thing or persistently updated, like a redirect on Mastodon?
  4. If someone unfollows me after I’ve transferred them to Mastodon, do they also unfollow my account.
  5. Should I disable posting to the timeline if I have transferred my followers to my Mastodon account?

The part that is really weird to me is that I recently had a bunch of responses to a post on It was also cross-posted to Mastodon, where my followers should be subscribed, but all the discussion was on Sure, they could have seen someone’s response in the public timeline and responded to that. But how did anyone see my post to begin with on if it wasn’t in discover?

Sorry for all the questions, but I think this is still a very gray area in the documentation. Thanks in advance for any clarity you’re able to provide.

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Transferring users is still a pretty new feature and it can be confusing. I’ll try my best to answer your questions here:

  1. Yes, only accounts on who have ActivityPub enabled will follow on Mastodon when transferred. We enabled ActivityPub it for everyone earlier this year, but someone could still opt out by disabling it again. Those accounts would keep following your old account.
  2. No, when a follower is transferred, they should only see your Mastodon posts, unless they go out of their way to re-follow your account. Then they’d be following both, but that seems rare.
  3. New followers in after the transfer will only follow your account. Transferring is a point-in-time thing. It’s possible that we need to improve this to not allow following migrated accounts, or somehow warn the user.
  4. No, because as part of the transfer they should have already unfollowed your account. Account migration is essentially “follow new user / unfollow old user”.
  5. I don’t have good advice here because it depends what you want to do. I think possible improvements to #3 above would make this more obvious for new followers.

Hope this helps. I think we have more work to do to make this seamless, or at least easier.

@manton Very helpful, thank you!

Thanks for asking. All this technology geek stuff is as transparent as cement.

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