Introducing Mastodon Tags Explorer project


#1

Hello everyone!

First - a tiny intro. I meet Mastodon not so long ago (like 2 months or so) and instantly felt in love with that idea and realisation. However, i can still be considered as a total noob in this whole thing so please forgive me if i broke some non-written rule or anything like that. Anyway, i decided to run my own mastodon instance dedicated to niche i’m a member of (hcxp.co) and basically i’m trying to convince as much people i can to check out and use the great initiative Mastodon is.

However, one thing bothered me from the very beginning - discoverability. As a person interested in specific topics, i was not able to look for them (or related hashtags) across all the Mastodon universe. The only way to find interesting people and instances was to browse the list of instances and choose one based on it’s public timeline and description - which is not always authoritative. I’m not sure if such lack of discovery mechanisms is on purpose or not - that’s why i asked for forgiveness in the first paragraph of this post in case i broke some rule.

Anyway - i decided to build a tool called Mastodon Tags Explorer. It listens for public timelines toots of some bigger Mastodon instances and indexes tags used on them. based on gathered data, it generates a reports for each tag, instance etc.

The project is still very young and probably lacks a lot but i’m very open to any suggestions or ideas. In first day of it’s life, i was able to finally find what i was looking for in Mastodon universe (which was kind of impossible before) so i can assume it works pretty good :slight_smile:

Feel free to reply here or write me at @mb@hcxp.co


I am new. i dont knew how i can start
#2

I love this. :smiley:

My first thought was that it’d be cool if we could see more hashtags in the list without having to scroll. On my monitor I only see three at a time, and each box takes up a lot of space:

Also I think it could be cool if they were numbered - like, the top hashtag is 1, the second is 2, etc. I can survive comfortably without this but it saves some brainpower!

And then here:

It could be fun if it said how many toots in the hashtag came from each instance. If you’re looking for an instance to join, it’d be useful to know if all the instances post the hashtag about the same amount or if one instance is very clearly using the hashtag a lot more than the others.

At first I was confused that I had to click through to see toots from each instance - I was expecting to see the toots on the #bot page, not links to instances. It does kinda make sense that it links to the instance’s actual own hashtag timeline though! I can adjust.

Anyway, all in all I think this is great and really useful, and I can see myself using it a lot! :slight_smile: So thank you very much for your hard work on this! I’ve added a link to it in my “FAQs” post on Mastodon so hopefully that will get a few more users in there.


#3

@Cassolotl thank you so much for the feedback!

Initially i was thinking abut making it look like a regular tag cloud where you see all the tags on the screen. But the problem is such cloud is not easy to scan for human eye plus i need to include more info about each tag - currently it’s only a number of toots and instances but i want to include a “trending score +/-” and most popular language(s) - so the space is gonna be filled.

Other thing i could do is a switch for user to change how the list looks and it’s totally doable but there are definitely tasks with higher priority right now. Will add it to the backlog tho :slight_smile:

That’s definitely a good idea! I should implement it soon

I totally agree and was planning to implement it as well.

The challenge here is that i’m not storing contents of the toots on my side, i’m just storing their IDs, language and tags, nothing more. On the other hand, i could use mastodon api to display these toots on MTE instead of opening instance stream in a separate window. I need to think about it!

Huge thanks for this! It indeed got me a a lot of new users so thank you for this in return!


Few words about the current general goal and current difficulties:

  1. Right now, the trending algorithm sucks hard - it definitely favour tags used on bigger instances, even if these tags usage is not changing much and is constant in time. It would be great to find some SQL magician who could help us with that in here. If there is such person somewhere, the current algorithm SQL is available here: mastodon-tags-explorer/trending_tags_v04.sql at master · mbajur/mastodon-tags-explorer · GitHub - please help spread the word!

  2. My second goal would be to focus a bit on languages usage across the instances and tags. I would really like to see more details about tag languages, which languages are most popular on which instance - stuff like that.

Anyway, this project is open-sourced and i’m gonna keep it’s backlog on github issues (empty right now but i’m gonna move all suggestions @Cassolotl posted there. I also encourage you all to post your’s here or there.

Thank you!


#4

I’m glad to hear that my posting the link was helpful! :slight_smile: And thank you for responding to all of the things. Exciting stuff!