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How you could build a search that the fediverse would welcome

Anil Dash – “Mastodon and the fediverse are clearly taking off, bringing in millions of new users, and also organically inspiring a wave of technical innovation that dwarfs all of the efforts that the bribes and empty promises of the Web3 crypto bubble couldn’t touch. I’m even enjoying having settled into a relatively permanent new fediverse address at @[email protected], on Medium’s new Mastodon instance, which (along with Mozilla’s similar upcoming instance) should do a lot to legitimize the nascent open system. It’s all great to see, though of course there are huge challenges that come along with this growth, and most of them (as always, with social media) are largely about people and culture, not technology. Nothing exemplifies these opportunities and challenges better than search. Search has long been the killer app of the web, since the days of Yahoo and AltaVista on to the long reign of Google’s dominance, to today’s web where SEO is dying and TikTok is (inexplicably, to text-lovers like me) increasingly on the rise. In that complex environment, the intentional absence of substantial search features in the fediverse, especially in the flagship Mastodon experience that defines the nascent fediverse for so many new users, seems inexplicable. But search is also a signifier to those who pioneered and established the current era of the fediverse, symbolizing the extractive and exploitative hypergrowth systems that often ruined the positivity and promise of the human web. Here’s one of the most popular posts I’d ever shared on my first Mastodon account. I think it resonated so much because it articulates one of the key unspoken values of the fediverse…”

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