I think most of us agree that the main problem which Lemmy has today is its lack of users. This is not for technical reasons, as we know it is quite stable and usable. The main cause is that the project is not widely known yet. In this post I will propose what we can do to change that.
First, lets clarify why we should promote Lemmy. Clearly there are many different reasons, and every person prioritizes them differently. So I will just give some common examples:
So how can we promote Lemmy?
I think one of the most effective thing we can do at this point is to post about Lemmy in other communities where we are active. This has the benefit that other people already trust us to some degree. Open source projects looking to setup a forum might also be a good target. When doing this, we should consider which aspects of the project would be most important to the target audience, and emphasize those.
Another option is to contact bloggers, video creators, podcasters or others, and suggest that they report about Lemmy. As above, it is important to adjust the message to the target audience. Because Lemmy is quite small, it is unlikely that major tech magazines or professional content creators would care about it. Instead we should focus on smaller creators. This will also lead to more sustainable growth, and give us some legitimacy in the eyes of bigger creators.
In both cases, we should avoid doing anything that might be perceived as spam. It is better to create one or two high-quality messages, which will give a good impression of the project, rather than a dozen generic ones that tarnish the reputation.
It is worth noting that some important features are still missing in Lemmy, particularly mod tools (we are going to implement them in the next ~12 months). There also aren’t many different instances yet.
When promoting Lemmy like this, please avoid linking to lemmy.ml directly. This instance is already too big relative to other instances, and it is not meant to be a “flagship instance” (What is lemmy.ml?). Instead you should try to find an appropriate instance on join-lemmy.org and link to it, or link to the joinlemmy site directly. You can also explicitly encourage the creation of new instances.
On a side note, it might be worth mentioning the many ways that people can contribute to Lemmy (again depending on the audience). There are the obvious ones, like writing code for lemmy and lemmy-ui, writing documentation or translating. There are also multiple interesting options to create new projects, such as:
By the way, Lemmy is not just a Reddit alternative, so there is no reason to limit the promotion to Reddit.
To help with these promotion efforts, @dessalines and I would be happy to give interviews via email (in English, German or Spanish). For that, they can get in touch by mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everything about Lemmy; bugs, gripes, praises, and advocacy.
For discussion about the lemmy.ml instance, go to !email@example.com.
I am very new to lemmy (joined lemmy.ml only yesterday) so my knowledge about the software and its community is very limited. I am member of a cooperative that runs a Mastodon instance. Some of our members are clubs which might need a discussion forum for their hobby horse. Installing a forum like discourse or flarum is quite easy – running Lemmy needs a lot more. I would think that it requires as much maintenance like Mastodon or Matrix. So we need good arguments to promote Lemmy.
I think a good way to promote Lemmy would be to outline the benefit of running an instance for the maintaining entity – be it a club, a political party or group, a company, a town or region, a school or any other institution. I think a small list of usecases and benefits for a couple of organisations could be a good start. Maybe we can start here?
I have never hosted any of the software you mention, so I cant compare the administration effort. But if you are using Docker, I would say its very little effort to install and run an instance, moreso if you use our Ansible playbook. What exactly makes you think that Lemmy is hard to run? Maybe you could setup a test instance and see for yourself?
Listing the benefits of Lemmy sounds very useful, I just dont really know what they are (and what to compare it to).
I always look at the instructions to install software from scratch. ;-)
Many organisations want to create a discussion forum for their members. This can be done with Lemmy as it is a forum with federation as add on. They can use local communites for their internal discussions and federated for for discussing things with the whole world. This is much better than having a forum only for members and only for internal use. The Glasgow instances shows what I mean.
Is it possible to restrict account on an instance to members of an organization eg. by using LDAP or invite only registration?
The instructions for installing from scratch are overly complicated, I plan to rewrite them soon. We are also doing some things which will reduce the number of steps needed for installing from scratch (distribution via crates.io, removing iframely).
At the moment you can enable/disable federation only for the whole instance, not per community. But we have an issue for that: https://github.com/LemmyNet/lemmy/issues/1576
Invite only instances are not supported yet, but are on our roadmap.
I would appreciate a straight forward installation documentation for non docker installs as I am eager to install Lemmy on a managed server.
This will prob sound lame but just lurk on reddit and constantly post to and about lemmy there. Reddit is where you will find a familiar audience of people used to this type of website, and reddit as a glut of users
You need right wing instances and less bias more tolerance for speech you dont like. Saidit.net is testing moving to lemmy, maybe encourage them.
I did do a video about Lemmy at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5axSUJj0bBY intended as a “what is it about if I’m considering it”
We can crowdfund actual advertisements/partnerships. I’d much rather see a Lemmy commercial than a NørdVPN or RAIÐ $hadovv Legendş commercial.
Do that first, though. We don’t want a flood of spammers and disappointed users because the mods/admins can’t do jack shit about it.
I am really against paid ads for Lemmy. If we receive that amount of donations, there are much better things to spend it on than giving it to youtube or other corporations. For example we could give the money to pay people who are contributing to Lemmy in different ways.
You don’t have to give it to YouTube. You can give it to a content creator who uploads on YouTube. Sure, the content will be on YouTube and they may add additional ads, although I think content creators have an option to block ads.
Thx for making this post, and you’re right that we could definitely focus on doing interviews: that was one of the things that made mastodon blow up in its early stages.
Besides the things you mentioned, the only other thing I can think of that would help adoption, is more / better mobile apps. Lemmur and Remmel need more development, but I’m convinced that one of the reasons for the popularity of a lot of social media platforms, is having a good mobile app ecosystem.
Yeah, mobile apps are definitely something that should be invested on. Lemmur uses Flutter and so it runs really badly on my devices (I haven’t had a single Flutter app run well) and the UI is a bit meh. I’d love to have a Slide-like application for Lemmy :)
Same. My dream would be to have a lemmy android app using jetpack and kotlin. I’d like to do this myself but I have too many other priorities, and I’d have to learn jetpack.
Yup yup, that would be great! I’ve used Kotlin quite a lot but never in Android, but there’s always a time to learn stuff. If someone were to kickstart it and maintain it I’d probably contribute :P
What’s the state of federation at the moment, also with mastodon, pixelfed, whatever? Where can I read about it?
Lemmy instances federate with each other very well, and next up is federating with Pleroma, who we’re working with to get a few of the activitypub incompatibilities worked out.
Also remember that the focus of lemmy is following communities ( reddit / forum model ), while the focus of masto / pixelfed is following users ( twitter model ), so this makes things a bit more difficult.
As far I was told, Alex Glaeson is a big current backend developer in Pleroma.
For the general information, this person is involved in https://spinster.xyz instance known in the general Fedi for having a full-pass for TERFs in the community.
A big example would be from https://marykatefain.com/, which is his partner and also a big participant in the community as showed in https://spinster.xyz/about.
Other example is in his own blog https://blog.alexgleason.me/trans/.
Descriptions of moderators should also be checked.
Also, in words of Lanodan, a main developer too, he is the only one writing real code in the backend currently:
What are the use cases for federating with Mastodon or Pleroma? I suppose you would not want to see any thread from there in Lemmy, but I am not sure about the other way either. Browsing communities and even threads from Mastodon/Pleroma seems difficult, and ordering by votes (or even showing votes) won’t work, leading to problems.
Is the only use case replying in Lemmy threads from Mastodon/Pleroma, to skip creating an account? (and maybe having favorites/boosts count as upvotes?) This would require copying the link to a specific reply to your client to reply there, which doesn’t seem to me like something people would want to do regularly…
Ideally someone from masto or pleroma could comment on posts, and get replies. But yes for now that’s really the only benefit, not having to create an account.
Let me ask one more thing I don’t understand: If Lemmy conforms to the ActivityPub standard, isn’t it a given that other Fediverse apps can interact? Maybe things look weird in the respective UI, but at least something should work out of the box?
You can think of activitypub as a vocabulary, but not all services build sentences the same way. The sentences they don’t understand, they reject.
Everyone who uses reddit should leave a signature in every single post or comment you make on reddit which says something along the line “Lemmy is the new Reddit” with a link to Lemmy itself. The signature may have to be placed all the time manually but that will spread the word.
Is Lemmy stable now? Or is it still alpha/beta software?
Its not 1.0 yet, which means there are still rather frequent breaking changes. Other than that it is quite stable.
No offence intended, but i am not sure that hypothesis is correct, even if it’s working kind of well there are other open source reddit alternatives, it needs to be better then them to really get a lot of users.
Do you have any thoughts on addons? something like friendica addons? I think a big part of what made firefox get so much users were the extensions (that allowed hobbyist developers unleash their creativity).
On a more practical note, People can always vote and try to write great persuasive content on alternativeto and slant.co
I disagree, Lemmy is not simply another foss Reddit alternative, it can be many more things with different frontends. Plus federation really sets us apart from any similar projects. And no worries, there is nothing offensive about having disagreements in a discussion.
Lemmy addons would be interesting, but i have no idea how that could be implemented.
Some of these alternatives are also no slackers, e.g. minds and steemit ability to reward with cryptocurrency seems interesting (i haven’t dug into it yet, but having the ability to reward financially writers seems useful), tildes can also show new comments since you last visited, has an “exemplary” tag for showing high quality content and also the ability to tag submission and treat them like some subreddit (view a RSS feed, show highest voted this week/month etc).
To get a significant amount of users, the sum of lemmy attractive qualities need to be higher then the same sum for other social media platforms (even just for a particular subset of people like programmers or people with a preference for FOSS).
On the technical side Veloren is a rust project that added support for modding using wasm, I think some IPC mechanism is also OK, the ideal would be something like firefox or chrome addon store with reviews but just linking to third party code on joinlemmy or even lemmy itself (like lemmy-lite) could help encourage the start of a community (or even just a github list, something like nix awesome).
That sounds like zero sum thinking, as if there was a fixed pool of users which Reddit, Lemmy, Steemit, Tildes etc compete for. I dont think thats true at all, there are probably many users on these “Reddit alternatives” who would never use Reddit, for one reason or another. Similarly, someone who wants a platform with integrated cryptocurrency wont like Lemmy, and attracting them is not our goal.
Lemmy is unique because it is the only federated link aggregator/forum, and I’m sure that more people would be interested if only they knew about it. You just cant “sum up attractive qualities”, because every person (or group of people) values various features differently.
Edit: I’m reading the veloren issue now, implementing that seems like a huge feature. It would need a lot of careful planning, and some devs that are actually interested to write specific extensions.
The fact that they don’t use it does not mean they didn’t consider it, they could have just thought it was a bad platform or just does not fit their preferences . It is a bit of a simplification but some specific user will do some sort of pros vs cons calculation to decide if to use it. So adding features or qualities that are valued by a large chunk of the “target population” (which could be defined as just high quality commentators) should bring in more users. Maybe a survey or some UX study of a sample of the target population could be useful, I think i read somewhere GNOME did that and was pretty surprised with the result (one part of the UI was completley undiscovered by users and not used at all)
It’s not like it is completely unknown, it is listed as the top alternative to reddit on slant and alternativeto . iirc liberapay said they got most of there traffic from alternativeto and they are growing to this day, while lemmy seems to have reached some kind of plateau (at least as measured by 6 month active user count)
If we are talking about Lemmy, then the vast majority of potential users probably just never heard of it, especially as its a very new project. But if you have any ideas how to improve the UX of Lemmy (including surveys or whatever), please do tell.
Liberapay and Lemmy are fundamentally different projects, and people join them for different reasons. Donating to a project is something that only needs one person (or two, donor and recipient). But people will only join a discussion forum if their community goes there, or they find a new community they like.
Besides extensions, writing a custom frontend would also give a lot of flexibility. In fact you can probably do the exact same things that way.
You could try and do some outreach , going to the subreddit redditalternatives and asking about new features, Or do some UX study , basically you find someone who you think could be the target audience, sit him in front of the software (or the website where he starts his exposure ) and tell him your testing the software and not him, and see how he manages. I have a few ideas for improvements, they have pros and cons and might not be worth it, but for now getting the report functionality working seems like the most important issue, but besides that I have said it before and i still think the user story around following a discussion is too bad, on reddit you can “subscribe” to a post to get new comments (which does not seem to work great but is better then nothing), on lemmy you can’t do that.
Maybe they are that different, it will be interesting to see if there are any stats that support this hypothesis, what are the statistics for new signups? what is the “retention rate” (do these users sign up and then leave).
Browser extension are also good (You can look at RES for inspiration, it’s great for power users which are the users that can really make a difference in the adoption of software i think), but people need to find out about them to use them, which could be difficult because some developers would be against putting them in the play store (which could provide exposure).
It won’t grow so much, since it’s only for leftist media and has hard coded regexp filters
That’s only one instance, lemmy.ml. As per the post, this is not what they are trying to promote.
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What regexp filters are there?
Slurs like the n word
Slurs like the n word
It is an important topic for sure.
What many successful projects had in common is a sort of go to market strategy, that is based on defining of an initial group of users (that already use a product) that could be replicated many times. For ex facebook and colleges, snapchat and schools, slack and startups etc.
As for proposal to share an info about lemmy to different social platforms or contact influencers, I doubt it could work well. Of course there is an example of mastodon, that became popular bc of mass coverage by world top tech media in 2016, but I really don’t know a reason for that and how to replicate such buzz.
In my eyes, more natural way to promote lemmy is to replicate audience that have already demonstrated an interest in lemmy. For ex we can see a lot of leftists here, so we just can go country by country, city by city and invite local leftists to create their own instance and invite their crowd. Or if you consider leftists as typical community with shared interests, we can try to get in touch with other communities (community by community) from fishers to ham radio fans and still invite them to launch their own instance.
How about opening onion services of lemmy to get users from Tor network?
That would definitely be great, but I think something that may be problematic is the fact that one needs JS to use Lemmy, since many who use Tor are not really fond of JS. (at least I think it needs JS, since I tried deactivating JS on an instance and it told me it needs JS for actions)
Hey, don’t frighten me so. How can I enjoy lemmy from now? :D
Pardon me. I obviously meant Tor browser and I am aware that «Tor» and «Tor browser» are two different things. I devoured the word «Browser» for the same reason some people say «Photo» rather than «Photograph», but in this case, it had the disadvantage of adding ambiguity, context needing to be taken into account to discern the real meaning.
How do other fediverse services work over onion addresses?
Federation could still go over clearnet, while it only serves the frontend via tor.
We can add onion addresses for any lemmy instance while it runs with its clearnet address. Onion services won’t impede the other fediverse services in theory.
Yes it would be interesting to if there was a Lemmy instance available over onion service. But there is no reason why we devs should be the ones to set that up.
Also decentralised means all of Lemmy cannot go 503 or get DDoSed at the same time, if it is worked out properly. Can that be done? Also a report function and a server down tracker.
A list of technical requirements can be made that adhere to Lemmy’s proper working, and that could work as official list of servers that one can choose to join with, and also can be tracked to see server health status.
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