Search in Mastodon is surprisingly bad, and what's more I'm not even sure people want to fix it.

This goes for searching anything: people, posts, servers.

If I could I'd help fix this. I wonder if I can.

@flancian yeah im not sure how masto search even works, but inituitively it seems like a worthy cause?

@flancian From memory I recall that there are anti-abuse reasons as to why search is limited, at least on posts and people.

I can't remember the full details, but I recall something like the aim being to avoid searching on a topic and abusing those who have discussed the topic. It's worth researching.

I thought I recalled that you can do full search on your own posts, though.

That said, personally I don't think of streams as something to search. That's gardens for me.

@neil I can't tell you how much I miss having actual search in Mastodon after having used it on Twitter extensively.

For me the hard division between streams and gardens feels arbitrary. Streams contain utterances that might be useful or relevant at a later time, and often are in my experience.

About abuse: this looks like a good reason to opt-out, a la robots.txt; a less than good reason to hamper the whole ecosystem with no working search.

@flancian Agree about avoiding a hard division, for sure. After posting I was thinking about that. You can have a garden built entirely out of stream, in a sense - there's some lovely gardens out there that are simply densely woven Twitter threads.

I like to have some conception of ephemeral vs long-lived though. Some things I don't wish to persist, even if public at the time.

@flancian On anti-abuse, I think it should take higher precedence over most everything else - it's a keystone of any alternative network IMO. So if it was in conflict with search, I would choose it over search.

That said, it's probably a false assumption that there's a conflict - I'm sure we can figure out how to have good versions of both.

I'd probably err on the side of making anything that opens one to abuse be opt-in, not opt-out, though.

@flancian Out of interest what do you tend to use search for on Twitter?

@flancian This is the thing I was thinking of re: search in terms of a design choice:

"Admins may optionally install full-text search. Mastodon’s full-text search allows logged-in users to find results from their own toots, their favourites, their bookmarks and their mentions. It deliberately does not allow searching for arbitrary strings in the entire database, in order to reduce the risk of abuse by people searching for controversial terms to find people to dogpile."

@neil in general, I take a perhaps classic position here: if you don't want something that is open to GET (without auth) to be searchable online, you have to do extra work and opt out.

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