Hashtags on the Fediverse and Hachyderm

How to use hashtags on the Fediverse, including reserved hashtags.

Hashtags are useful ways of connecting with other users. When users follow hashtags they can see posts that might otherwise be buried in the fire hose of their local and/or federated timelines.

If you looking for some popular hashtags to follow, please scroll down to the Popular Hashtags section at the bottom. Note that some of the popular hashtags are reserved. To understand what that means, please read the Don’t misuse reserved hashtags section.

Hashtag Etiquette

How to have good hashtag etiquette on Hachyderm and the Fediverse:

Use common hashtags

Just like living languages, hashtags change. Cultural reference to a meaning or phrase may shift over time, may increase or decrease in usage, or may just be an inline joke in the post. Noting which hashtags are commonly associated with post topics, either specific or broad, and using them can help others who are either opting in or out of the type of content you are posting. (See filtering content on our mental health doc). As a quick example, someone looking to connect with other fountain pen users might follow hashtags like pen, ink, or FountainPen. Likewise, someone who needs to filter out food and/or drink related content for any reason, might filter out hashtags like food, drink, DiningOut, and so forth.

Use an alternating case pattern for your hashtags

You should always use an alternating case pattern, like PascalCase or camelCase, for your hashtags so that screen readers can read them properly. (Please see our Accessible Posts doc.) Changing the case will not change the posts that are attributed to the tag. This means whether someone is filtering in or out a specific tag, the same posts will be displayed or hidden.

If you are using a hashtag and a non-cased option is offered to autocomplete, please complete with the correct casing. This is because Mastodon will offer the most common tag or tags associated with what you are writing. The more users manually type the cased version, the sooner the cased tag is offered for autocomplete. That said, one of the big reasons that we do not moderate for tag casing is because of this feature: users will frequently not catch that their tags have been overwritten while composing their post.

For completely new tags the tag is stored with the case you compose it with. This is when you should take additional care: the next person who types the tag after you will be presented to autocomplete the version you have typed (as the only one that exists).

Don’t overuse hashtags

It’s reader discretion for how many tags are “too much”. One or two will likely be fine, and having every word be a separate hashtag is a chore to read. As a loose rule, around five tags every two paragraphs should be a reasonable “upper bound”.

We do not, in general, moderate hashtag volume in a post. That said, posts with a high number of hashtags may be reported and moderated as spam.

Don’t misuse reserved hashtags

What to know about reserved hashtags:

  • Can only be used for their stated purpose.
  • Can be restricted across the Fediverse or instance-specific.
  • Misuse of reserved hashtags may warrant moderator action, this will be on a case-by-case basis.

This means that these reserved hashtags cannot be used the same as general purpose hashtags. For example, you can include #cats and #caturday on any cat-relevant post you wish. You cannot use #FediBlock for any other reason than to notify other instance admins of a malicious instance or user.

Fediverse reserved hashtags

In order for hashtags to be considered reserved in the Fediverse context, they must be shown to be:

  • Used across the Fediverse
  • Extremely limited or narrow in scope

Due to the ever-changing nature of hashtags, we will not track and moderate all Fediverse reserved hashtags, only an extremely limited subset of them. That said, if someone has notified you that you’ve misused a hashtag that is intended for a specific use, please remove it from your post whether it is on this list or not.

The following are the reserved hashtags that we will moderate for misuse. In every case, misuse is “any use of the hashtag other than how it specified below”.

  • FediBlock
    • Should only be used for updating the Fediverse about users and/or instance domains that need to be suspended via the instance admin tools or for directly responding to a thread/discussion about a reported user or instance.
    • This tag is followed by instance admins across the Fediverse and as such is not limited to Hachyderm or even Mastodon instances in general.
    • Existing posts using the hashtag can be used as a guide for what details to include in your post.
      • As a general rule, you’ll want to include the user or domain, the reason why, and screenshots to substantiate. The use of screenshots may vary, though, depending on the nature of the content being reported.
  • FediHire
    • Should only be used for job posting and job seeking.
    • This tag is followed by both those posting and applying for jobs across the Fediverse.
    • Existing posts using the hashtag can be used as a guide for what details to include in your posts.

Hachyderm reserved hashtags

Similar to the Fediverse reserved hashtags, the following are reserved on Hachyderm.

  • HachyBots
    • This tag is required for all bot posts on Hachyderm to allow users to easily opt in or out of bot content.
    • Use of this hashtag for any other purpose will warrant moderator action.

General use hashtags

General use hashtags are “normal use”. This means you have broader discretion over how/when/where you use them. The general rule here is “have fun, don’t be confusing”.

If you notice that there are topic areas that you post about relatively frequently, it is a good idea to become familiar with the hashtags in that space. This is so that people filtering out content can do so more effectively.

If you’re new to Hachyderm and/or the Fediverse, here are some high traffic hashtags you may want to look at, grouped roughly by topic. Note that general and reserved hashtags are both listed below.