Not all replies are visible (web interface)

I’m logged into mastodon.online and viewing the status of one of my followers. The web inteface link is https://mastodon.online/web/statuses/104372267508246341 (I guess this won’t work unless you are logged into mastodon.online and can view @forteller@octodon.social’s statuses)
That page shows 0 replies.

If one opens the status in its “canonical” link - forteller: "Did you know that the EU has created their own li…" - Octodon - then 2 replies (and in total 4 more messages in the whole thread tree).

This difference is a bit unnerving, that the whole conversation is invisible when I’m viewing from my instance. Is there a good explanation for this particular case?

My understanding (which is shoddy because I haven’t read up on enough ActivityPub stuff and hence could be very essentially wrong) is that when you view the toot on your instance you are seeing your instances view of the toot, so it can only show you replies from the toots it knows about in the fediverse - so if you see a toot from alice@remote.server and there are replies to that from bob@remote.server then you won’t see them if no one from your server follows bob@remote.server because they won’t have reached your local mastodon instance.

However when you go to view the remote toot directly (on octodon.social) then you see octodon.social’s view of the toot - which includes all replies because replying to a toot will make your instance send a notification to the originating instance.

It’s a PITA I agree and I kind of wish there was a way to say “When I view a toot please request the first 50 replies and have a button to fetch more” or something that would cause your instance to somehow ask the remote instance for replies and context to be forwarded to it (for all I know this is in the works but it hasn’t happened yet) - essentially if I see something that looks interesting I’ll often quickly view the web-version on the remote server before replying to be sure I’m not repeating someone else.

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