Idea: Autofollow tags in user's profile

From using diaspora day to day the last couple of weeks one of the things I’ve noticed is that when I look at a hashtag often there a lots of people who have that tag in their profile, but no-one following it. A classic example is #diaspora

This means that when I make a public post using those tags, no-one outside of my contacts list will see it, when potentially lots of interested people could be seeing it.

So my suggestion is that when someone adds a hashtag to their profile (on signup or afterwards) it automatically signs them up to follow that tag. This way I think it will make Diaspora a lot more engaging for everyone.

I’m not sure if this is a dev task or a podmin task, but anyway that’s the idea.

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I agree that you should automatically follow tags you apply to yourself, but there are still some tricky scenarios to deal with, e.g.:

if I remove a tag from the Followed Tags page, is it also removed from my profile?

The simplest way would be to treat profile tags and followed tags the same way, with just one list, but possibly some people wouldn’t like that. Personally my preference would be to have a single list, but treat followed tags like aspects, so I can select/deselect to manipulate the stream I’m currently viewing, without changing the list.

I don’t think its a good idea to hard link what a user follows to their profile interest hashtags because they might want to be searchable by an interest but not follow that tag because for example it puts too much stuff in their feed. If its just auto-added based on their interests when they sign up they can have to option to unfollow it later but still leave it in their interests.

Ok here’s a classic example

What about just auto-following when user adds tags from registration wizard? That would make sense since the user really doesn’t usually know how to do things and this would bring some content to the users stream. Then the user can stop following the tags when he/she wants.

I don’t think we should auto-link profile and tags otherwise, doesn’t sound very user friendly.

@Jason yes that’s exactly what I meant, I think you put it better/shorter than I did :slight_smile:

oh, my sincerest apologies for overcomplicating this. Good news though, we already do that! =P =D that is, assuming you’re referring to the getting started page, which actually only adds followed tags, not profile tags.

Ok let me clear up what I meant
When a user signs up the basic details page they get includes a box to type in their interests, these interest tags should automatically be added to the tags the user follows

ok, unless I’m really misunderstanding something, that is exactly what happens already, at least on my local test pod.

I don’t think this is the way to go. Choosing a tag for yourself and choosing a tag to follow are two different things.

I think there is a bug on who is following the tag : I can’t believe that no one is following #diaspora.

Following by default the tag of your profile seems a good idea to me, if you can unfollow it if you want, of course.


When I joined diaspora I expected that when I filled in my profile with hash-tags that my account would automatically start following those tags. I was surprised to hear that it didn’t.

Personal Opinion:

As long as you have the option to stop following these tags I think it would boost engagement to automatically follow tags that you put in your user profile.

@Flaburgan I don’t think there’s a bug, I think that Jon’s user feedback explains why this has happened.

@Robin : David McMullin confirms that when you register, the tag which are put in “interests” are automatically followed. I don’t think that nobody put #diaspora here. There is a bug.

If you want a proof, I just start following Diaspora, and it is still written “follow by nobody”. Another thing, on diaspora, 490 persons are on the left side for the #diaspora hashtag, but in your link on, there is only 286 persons.

I don’t know what is caused by federation and what is only a display issue, but there is a problem.

Flaburgan, all pods don’t contain all persons - so different pods will have different results. This is not a bug - Diaspora* is decentralized and as such different pods contain different data.

But this is really a separate question from a single user usability where Jon nicely summed up imho the problem and the solution.

Ok so I just did a test sign up and in fact the section on signup where it says “tell us what your into” follows the tags but doesn’t add them to the user profile, so its actually opposite to what I thought, but I still think what you type in that box should be added to both fields.

So in relation to me getting results of no people following a tag that lots of people have in their profiles, I’m not really sure what’s going on there.

Here are some other examples:
#permaculture shows 12 people and no followers

#cycling shows 32 people and 31 followers

I’m not sure I’d be happy with ‘auto-follow’ unless this is done explicitly, i.e. the person knows this is going to happen, and it’s not done in the background.

I think I’d be happier with adding a field to the profile ‘tags you want to follow’, and there could be a tick-box under the profile ‘about me’ tags saying ‘follow these tags’ as well. This way it is the choice of each person what they follow. I don’t think it’s a good idea to automatically subscribe people to tags, just to populate those tags.

The user base is still quite light at the moment - and that’s how it should be, at this stage of development - which means of course that there won’t be huge amounts of users following and posting to tags. Personally I think it would be better to leave things as they are for now, and once the software is ready and the network is properly launched, then lots more people will join and be more active, and at that time the tags will come to life. I think trying to engineer more activity on the network at this development/testing stage would be a mistake, especially if it involves e.g. subscribing people to things without their knowledge or express permission.

The stream is almost empty when you subscribe, follow 5 tags by default is not a size problem, especially if you can unfollow easily.

folks, there are two issues here :

  1. some tag pages do not display the correct number of people following, I have suggested we re-open to deal with this. This is a clear bug, and IMO should be dealt with on github.

  2. autofollowing tags : the user registration process (the getting started page) already adds tags to a user’s followed tags (not to their profile tags), unless people want something more aggressive to happen (some automatic transfer of tags from a user’s profile tags to their followed tags perhaps), I suggest we close this discussion.