What is Lemmy and how to join?
🔖 1 ➜ Basics
❓ What is Lemmy?
- One great way to understand Lemmy is to check out this simple infographic (author: @firstname.lastname@example.org)
- But if you want it in text form:
Lemmy is a link aggregator, in many ways similar to Reddit, but with one key difference - there is no one central authority controlling Lemmy. The code is open source, and more importantly, there are hundreds of Lemmy instances which are all independently run. Even though instances are independent, they are all part of the Lemmy network, and thus, users of one instance can participate in communities of other instances.
❓ What is an instance?
Lemmy instances are servers which run the Lemmy software. https://lemmy.world is one instance, but there are also many others.
There can be several key differences in instances:
Some instances are small and run out of home servers, some instances are large and run on commercial hardware (lemmy.world is one of the latter). Each instance can define their own set of rules. Instances can decide whether downvotes are enabled for their users. Some instances may choose to limit community creation to admins only (lemmy.world allows all users to create communities). Some instances have a tight focus, others are general-purpose (lemmy.world is the latter!).
If you ever find yourself unhappy with your instance, you are always free to create an account on another one and continue using Lemmy. Unlike centralized platforms, you always have another place to go!
⚠️ Lemmy does not currently support migrating users or communities from one instance to another. Until such a feature is implemented, your post history will remain on your old account when you create a new one on another instance.
❓ How to choose an instance?
It might seem daunting at first, because the instance owner is responsible for… well, maintaining the instance, and most people end up on lemmy.world because of this, but I discourage you from doing so. There’s plenty of instances just as good as lemmy.world that you should try instead. We should strive for decentralization, for better performance and resilience of the network.
You can pick one that fits your interests (e.g. Linux specific, art specific), or just a generic one. Start at https://join-lemmy.org, click “Join” to visit various site homepages to see which one seems alright for you. If size matters check out this page to see the servers in order of popularity. Keep in mind that smaller servers are still be able to post and comment on other servers, and are much less of a strain on hosting resources provided entirely by people in the Lemmy community.
❓ What are the differences between instances?
- The main difference between instances is the content that you see on “Local view”. You will find more local posts on popular general-purpose instances; more topic-related posts on special interest instances.
- How often the server for your instance goes down expectedly or unexpectedly will be a key difference. If the server your account is on goes down, you cannot log in or make posts/comments, but you can still view cached versions of your favourite communities from other servers. Servers with large upticks in users might go down a bit more often when a surge of new users join Lemmy. Servers also can hide posts and comments coming from specific servers, moderate differently, and have a different sign up process.
❓ What is federation? (Are instances connected?)
Federation means Lemmy is using a protocol (Activitypub) which makes it possible for all Lemmy instances to interact, so yes they are connected.
- You can search and view communities on remote instances from 99% of all instances (unless they are blocked for spam/etc).
- You can create posts in remote communities
- You can respond to remote posts
- You will be notified (if you wish) of comments on your remote posts
Please note that an instance only starts indexing an instance/remote-community once it has been interacted with by a user of your local instance, this is fine and will be unnoticed on a bigger instance.
❓ Can I use the account I created on X instance and join any instance with it?
- No, and there is no need to. You can only use the account you created on your main instance, but you will still be able to view content from other instances. TLDR: Content is federated to other servers, users/accounts are not.
❓ Where do I find communities to follow?
You have several options!
- The best option to find active and bigger communities is https://lemmyverse.net/communities - bonus tip, if you set your home instance on this website, then all community links will lead to your home instance!
- You can check for ads for interesting communities in !email@example.com
- You can browse (or even search for keywords) at https://browse.feddit.de - You can also search for a community by it’s link, e.g. !Netherlands@lemmy.nl. Even if the server hasn’t ever seen that community, it will look it up remotely. Sometimes it takes some time for it to fetch the info (and displays ‘No results’ meanwhile…) so just be patient and search a second time after a few seconds.
❓ Where can I find mobile clients?
This megathread on lemmy world is great for exactly that: https://lemmy.world/post/465785
🔖 2 ➜ Platform questions: Lemmy / Kbin / etc
❓ Why can’t I see any/many posts and comments on an active thread on Lemmy?
- Check your Language settings. Select English, Undetermined and your native language(s) using Ctrl+Click in the webui.
❓ Where are the “Hot” and Important posts on Lemmy?
- Whichever instance you decide with, you can use the All page from the home of your instance, sort by Active, Top 6/12 hours, New, Hot. Just keep in mind again, if your instance has few “discovered” communities you won’t see much outside your own instance. Subscribe to major, active communities that you might be interested in then you can look in your “Subscribed” page as your feed for buzzing posts.
❓ What happens if the server my account is on goes down or nukes itself?
- The good news is that your profile posts and stuff you wrote that synced with other federated servers is saved.
- The bad news is that you can’t access your account to delete them. Please be careful with what you share on the internet, this should be common sense as even content on Reddit/any other social media can be archived anyway (This used to be common sense).
❓ How to create a community on Lemmy?
- First, make sure the community doesn’t already exist. Use search at the top right in the web interface.
- If you’re sure it doesn’t exist yet, go to the homepage and click ‘Create a Community’.
- Once you are there fill out these prompts:
- Name: should be all lowercase letters. This will be the /c/ (if it is too long it may fail to be created)
- Display name: As to be expected, this will be the displayed name.
- You can upload an icon and banner image. Looks pretty.
- The sidebar should contain things like description, rules, links etc. You can use Markdown (yay!)
- If the community will contain mainly NSFW content, check the NSFW mark (Helps people that do not want to see NSFW content on their feeds). NSFW is allowed as long as it doesn’t break the rules of your home intance.
- If you only want moderators to be able to post on your new instance, check that checkbox.
- Select any language you want people to be able to post in. Apparently you shouldn’t de-select ‘Undetermined’. Some apps use ‘Undetermined’ as default language.
🔖 3 ➜ Fediverse
❓ How are the different fediverse apps connected?
If this sounds too complicated don’t worry, you don’t need to know these concepts early on. To understand all of this you need to know what the fediverse is and learn about its applications.
- Thanks to the ActivityPub protocol other apps can contribute to discussions, however keep in mind it’s not 1-to-1 and doesn’t necessarily work both ways. A mastodon user can follow communities (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), a user (e.g. email@example.com), reply to posts and comments, (Edit) and can create posts using a specially formatted toot. Kbin threads work both ways with Lemmy, but Microblogs (unique feature on Kbin) doesn’t show up on Lemmy.
🔖 4 ➜ Other resources that may answer your questions.
Credit to @firstname.lastname@example.org
⭐ db0’s New User Guide - link
- A guide for new users on Lemmy made by head mod of r/piracy.
Michael Altfield’s Guide - link
- A guide on finding Lemmy Communities (Lemmy version of Subreddits).
Fedi tips - link
- A comprehensive guide for Fediverse and Mastodon. Useful for Lemmy aswell.
Join the Fediverse - link
- A very extensive Fediverse Wiki that is very helpful for anything fedi related.