Finding the Buried Opt-In For Fediverse Search

I’m gesturing an appreciative hat tip to @clintlalonde for sharing this useful read in Mastodon

Well known tech writer Richard MacManus writes in the New Stack The State of the Open Web: 3 Takeaways Heading into 2024 – “Three open web trends for developers to consider as we head into the new year — including a social web renaissance and HTML web components.” The third trend is what’s passé, an exercise left to the reader of this post.

It was under the social web renaissance section on the rise of fediverse, where I spotted something of curious interest, noting on updated features on Mastodon to make the user experience less befuddling (including a new onboarding experience)

The key update in 4.2 was the improved search. For the first time, Mastodon users were able to search full-text posts across the network. There is a catch, however — the search index only includes users who have explicitly opted in. It’s unclear how many Mastodon users have made that adjustment to their settings so far, but because it’s opt-in it’s likely to be low. The only numbers I’ve seen are from a small instance called, which reported that as of Nov. 1, just over 3% of its users had opted in and over 12% of posts were now searchable.

Hmmm. I’ve been in Mastodon since 2016 and much more intensively since a few months ago I quietly logged out of Twitter (the platform I will only call Twitter) and I cannot even say for sure if I had opted in or even where that setting was.

I went digging into my Mastodon settings and could not find it. Maybe my instance was not updated? No. So I had to do some searching and found a most helpful guide from Fedi.Tips

It’s a setting quite deeply buried in your Edit Profile screen. I would have never even found it had I not gone looking.

Now I think its very positive that the default is to not have your account be searchable, but frankly, I’d be surprised if most people even know how to opt-in.

The red boxes here show the settings I changed (again, it’s not necessary for everyone to do this, only if you desire your posted ponderings to be found by others).

I’m curious to know how many other fediverse users here have actually even seen this screen.

And just as a small update, I just ran our scripts, and our Fediverse Directory of OEG Connect users is at 90. To be part of this, just edit your OEG Connect profile to include your full Fediverse username-- note that has to have two @ symbols in it:



Are you publicly searchable in the fediverse?

No idea what the ***** the fediverse is? The front page has a great stepping stone guide.

1 Like

Thanks for this - very handy, even for someone who runs multiple Mastodon servers!