OC A small FAQ to hopefully help new users to kbin (updated June 11 17:00 GMT)

I wanted to post this here since I want to help as much as I can in my own way to people coming here for the first time. I hope it is useful and helpful! I tried to assume low knowledge with the Fediverse in my responses which I collected here from a different post and assembled into a single article.

I apologize if something like this already exists and duplicating efforts. I don't mean to add to the flood of information unnecessarily.

Edit: Federation from kbin.social back to my instance is intermittent and I don't get all the replies and content so I apologize for the delays in responding!

If you want to make sure you're seeing the latest edits, please click the title of this thread to see it on the originating instance.

Question: How do I recreate the "subreddit" experience here? or What's a Magazine in kbin?

Magazines are the kbin equivalent of a subreddit. They have two large categories of content, "threads" and "microblogs". Microblogs are “posts” while threads are articles, links, and media posts. Threads are what you see on the “front page” with posts showing up in the microblogging part of a matching magazine.

Question: What are kbin "Threads" and "Microblogs?"

When you open up kbin.social or any other kbin instance at the moment, you'll be taken to the "front page" or main page which will show a list of "threads" with the following:

  1. Up and down vote arrows to the left
  2. A title, then maybe a description or some other body.
  3. Under each entry will be the person who added it, how long ago and which magazine it was added to.
  4. There will be a comment count, boost count, and the "more" button for each of these you see on the main page.

Those are "threads" and will have one of the following types:

  • Article
  • Link
  • Photo
  • Video

They will not be of type "post."

A kbin "Post" will show in the microblogs section.

I used the term microblogs because that's the menu item you have to select from inside a magazine to view "posts."

When selecting a magazine via the "Magazines" menu item at the top of the front page (or some other location where the magazine link takes you to the magazine page), it shows a new "top bar" that consists of the following:

[Site name] /m/[magazine name] Threads Microblog People Magazines.

By default, when you open a magazine page, it will have the "Threads" menu item selected. It will look similar to the front page in that it will have a list of "threads" with the up and down vote buttons to the left, a title, and some content underneath depending on the type: article, link, photo, video.

If you click the Microblog menu item, it will show a much different screen with an empty text box at the top with the built-in editor, a selection box to the bottom right with the current magazine selected already and some other options.

Below the text box you will see options for changing the ordering of the content below. The content below this box are all "posts" that either originated on this instance, or else were federated in from other platforms like Mastodon, Calckey, etc.

From a user's perspective, this is the difference between a "Thread" and "Microblog" and is a distinction I believe doesn't exist in Lemmy. (I don't actually know though, since I've never actually used Lemmy)

Under the hood, the different types - article, link, photo, video, and post - use different Activity Pub types to distinguish them. I don't know exactly for all of them, but I know kbin articles are federated as type "Page" while Mastodon, for example, sends out posts as type "Note." A "Note" is then treated as type "Post" by kbin and will not show up in the "threads" view (that's the view with the upvote and downvote buttons to the left, the nice title and content in the middle and comment counts). To view "posts", you must look at the Microblog link for the Magazine that the content was created in, or routed into if it is a new post from an outside platform.

Question: Why would I want to use a "Post" versus a "Thread?"

The why is a bit subjective so I'll try to lay out the more "concrete" differences between creating a thread (of which article is just one type) and a post.


  1. Will federate to all your direct followers regardless of platform. If they are using a microblogging platform like Mastodon, this means it will show up in their home feeds just like any other post.
  2. Will not be seen on the "front page" by default since the default behavior is to have the "front page" show threads, not posts. A person can click the "Microblog" tab at the top to view all the posts instead, but that requires a click.
  3. Posts, unlike threads, will display the conversation without needing to click. You can compare by checking it out on kbin.social, but you'll notice that the threads on the front page will just have the opening title and a small description, but will not show the comments or replies to it. If you click on the microblogging tab, you'll see posts along with their replies automatically without need to click on them.
  4. Posts do not have subject lines. This means that typically on a platform like Mastodon, the post will show up without any content-warning masking the body.
  5. While threads are relatively widely supported on other platforms, posts are almost universal due to being a core part of the microblogging Fediverse.
  6. I don't know for sure, but I believe posts don't show up on Lemmy instances. Someone will have to correct me on that, though.
  7. Replying to the OP Post is more intuitive. To reply to a Post, you just have to click at the bottom of the OP's Post on the "reply" link. This is different in a Thread (if you're trying to reply to the OP and not a comment)


  1. This will federate to your direct followers as well, but see below.
  2. Have a subject line and a body. This means on non-kbin/lemmy instances, it is likely that any content that is federated to them (Mastodon, etc) will show with a content warning and masked body.
  3. Will potentially show on the front page by default.
  4. Can show and embed media which can be displayed by default depending on an individual user's settings.
  5. Depending on the type, will federate in unexpected ways. Links, for example, that have a description can show on Mastodon without the description (I believe) and thus makes for unexpected behavior on non-kbin platforms.
  6. Threads will give you the option to add Badges to the content when you create it. I don't know when that will be fully implemented, but I suspect it will be a way for Magazine subscribers to "customize" the presentation of their thread depending on which badge(s) are applied.
  7. Replying to the OP's initial content can be more troublesome. For a thread that has a lot of comments on it, in order to add a comment, you have to scroll to the bottom of all comments (or all the comments on the first page of comments) to see the comment box. Replying to an existing comment on a thread is easy as the comment has a "reply" link at the bottom of the comment, but for a thread, the "add a comment" box is below all the current comments.

These are just the differences that I can think of off the top of my head. Also, if I'm wrong on any of these, I hope someone corrects me.

Question: What is the difference between an "up vote" and "boost?"

Boost is a feature of most Fediverse platforms including kbin, Mastodon, Calckey, Pixelfed, etc.

A boost is the Fediverse term for a “retweet”. What does that mean specifically?

It means that all of your followers will be sent the content you boost with the information that you “boosted” it. How this actually looks will depend on what platform your followers are using but on a microblogging platform like Mastodon or Calckey, the content/post will show up in their main timeline with other posts but with a small indication above it saying “so-and-so boosted this”.

Why is this different than an upvote?

Upvotes in kbin are what most other Fediverse platforms call “likes/favorites/stars/etc”. When you upvote something, to your followers, they typically do not know anything nor do they receive any notification. The post/content you upvote will typically not show in their home/main timeline and may not necessarily let them receive a copy of the content you’re upvoting.

It’s a bit of an oversimplification to say upvotes don’t share the content with your followers, but if you want to make sure your followers receive and can see the content, you want to boost it. That way they can see the content and also be shown new content that they might not otherwise have known about. They can also boost it again to have the content federate(be sent) to their followers as well. For sharing content widely across the Fediverse, boosting is the built-in tool for that.

You can upvote and boost the same content as well.

Added questions:

Question(s): What happens if you you follow a kbin user from Mastodon? Do you see just their "posts" or also their replies to threads? Do you see when they post an article? Can a kbin user follow a Mastodon user?

Yes to all of these. The author of any content on kbin is the user account, and thus following the kbin user account directly will federate all their content to their direct followers on other platforms. This applies to any content the user creates, but see notes above about some possibly weird behavior depending on the thread type.

A Kbin user can follow accounts across the Fediverse, too. There is no "home" feed for a Kbin user to look at all the accounts they follow across the Fediverse, but the incoming content can trigger notifications if configured to do so. Clicking on the notification will then show you which magazine the incoming post was routed to.

Question: How do hashtags interact between kbin and other Fediverse microblogging platforms(Calckey, Mastodon, etc)?

It depends on a few factors as best I can tell.

  1. If the content was created outside kbin and federated in from a non-kbin instance (Calckey, Mastodon, etc) the microblog post will be routed to a magazine. Magazines can be configured to “listen” for certain hashtags by the owner. If an incoming post has the hashtag, that post will be added to that magazine’s microblog section. If a magazine doesn’t match the hashtag, the post will be added to the magazine called “random” that each kbin instance has as a “catch-all” for incoming content that doesn’t fit elsewhere.

Note: There is still much I don’t know about the exact logic used to route these posts to magazines. “How does it decide where to add the post to when there are multiple hashtags which each match separate magazines?” for example.

  1. If the content is created on kbin and sent to followers from kbin, it behaves more or less like any other post with hashtags.

Question: What happens if you follow a kbin magazine from a different microblogging platform(Mastodon, Calckey, etc)

Actually from what I can tell, not much. Unlike gup.pe, or chirp social, magazine accounts don’t boost all the content that gets created in the Magazine. The magazine accounts always shows as zero posts and replies for me when viewing post counts from a microblogging platform (Calckey, Mastodon, etc). This means that new threads and posts to a magazine won't show up in your non-kbin home feed unless you happen to be following the individual user's account who created the content on kbin.

June 11 2023 17:00 GMT update

Question: How do I find and subscribe to Lemmy Communities?

I'll be the first to admit I don't know much about Lemmy. I've never used it so I've only picked up a few things here and there.

What I can say is that I don't have issues searching for and seeing communities on the lemmy instance beehaw.org. I just tested with a new community from beehaw.org and it showed up for me as expected.

I changed the leading ! into a @ in my testing above.

What I can speculate on is the following:

  1. Lemmy has the ability to "allow-list" instances and restrict which instances are allowed to federate with it. If the lemmy instance in question has this enabled, I can guess that it wouldn't allow federation from kbin.social. This is speculation however.

  2. Kbin doesn't support authorized fetch yet. It might not be at play here but I can't really tell.

  3. If that community in question doesn't show up on that instance's list of communities, I suspect it is because that community is marked NSFW and hidden unless you are logged into that instance and have an account.

  4. It might be a combination of these.

  5. There might be customizations on certain Lemmy instances that might be understood by Lemmy, but not other platforms, but this is also speculation since I don't know.

Question: Why is there a "Post" type that behaves differently than "Threads"?

This is based on my exploration of the platform, not because I have any deep insight into the design.

Microblogs are where federated content from other non-kbin and non-lemmy platforms are displayed. I suspect this is because most of this is Mastodon/Calckey/Microblog content. It's the "Twitter-model" versus the Reddit model which is based around all content being a part of a subreddit. So much of this content isn't clearly geared towards a specific "magazine(subreddit)" and thus is routed into the "random" magazine unless it's routed elsewhere based on (hash)tags.

It would be like taking a raw stream of Twitter content and feeding it into reddit posts into the appropriate subreddits.

From what I understand, Lemmy takes the approach of just ignoring such incoming content that doesn't tag a lemmy community explicity. Kbin does decide to include such content and display it as "microblogs."

** Why does this apply to incoming content that does tag specific magazines? **

I will say I'm not the developer so this is based on my exploring kbin and knowledge of other fediverse platforms.

I think this was a developer design and UI choice. When creating a thread on kbin, there is an expectation that the content will be "ranked" and the content will change its visibility to other users based on voting. Threads can "go viral" on kbin/lemmy without ever being boosted or even leaving that instance.

Gaining visibility of a microblog post on platforms like Mastodon and Calckey is very different. On other platforms, likes(upvotes on kbin) don't increase the visibility of a post. Boosting does. The more boosts content gets, the more people will potentially see it. It's why I suspect upvotes on kbin tried to match the microblog model initially with an upvote being a "boost" instead of a "like/favorite."

Even if someone tags a kbin magazine/lemmy community from Mastodon for example, it's still a "microblog" UI from Mastodon or Calckey, etc. Downvotes don't exist in the Activity Pub standard and a big part of the "kbin/lemmy/reddit" experience is the changing of visibility and reach of content based on upvotes. A post coming in from Mastodon could have a thousand upvotes, but the original poster's post will never show up in more places because of that.

I'm simplifying things a bit of course, but this is taking the example of all subscribers to a magazine interacting with the magazine from within kbin or lemmy only and there is externally sourced content tagging the magazine.

I apologize if I sound a bit rough or condescending. If I do, it's due to my lack of good editing skills, and not my intent at all.

I'm just a user like everyone else here, so I apologize for any errors and will correct any errors.

Thank you and I hope it helps answers some questions!

dragfyre ,
@dragfyre@kbin.social avatar

A little note from the OP, who is having some trouble updating and replying to this post due to federation issues:

  • Reply
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  • jdp23 ,
    @jdp23@kbin.social avatar

    thanks for forwarding!

    dragfyre ,
    @dragfyre@kbin.social avatar

    No problem!

    aegisgfx877 ,
    @aegisgfx877@kbin.social avatar

    I have a dumb question no one seems to have addressed yet, if I make an account here on kbin, does that mean I automatically have that same account on all lemmy instances? Is that what is meant by 'federated'?

    I think having to make a different account for all instances of lemmy (there are a lot) seems like an incredibly time investment. But so far I have seen no evidence that my account here works at all with lemmy.

    dragfyre ,
    @dragfyre@kbin.social avatar

    It doesn't - your account only works on your home instance, but you can follow users on other instances.

    speck ,

    To add to this, the only time you might need to create another account is to join in instance which has defederated from the others. As one example, currently you would need to separately join beehaw.org

    wnose ,

    My question is how is kbin's magazines moderated? r/canada got hijacked by the altright and a subreddit /r/onguardforthee sprang up in response.

    speck ,

    They're moderated by whoever created them. I imagine if they permit something that is sufficiently egregious the instance creators/owners might delete the magazine? In the meantime, a user can block any particular magazine.

    afa a magazine being take over. A similar process as with r/Canada and r/onguardforthee would happen: a new community could be formed. It could even the same name, just on another instance (e.g. canada@kbin.social vs canada@lemmy.ml)

    adrian ,
    @adrian@kbin.social avatar

    Thanks for the write-up. I've been using Mastodon quite a bit the last few months, and I'm curious about how kbin interoperates with that with from a user perspective.

    What happens if you you follow a kbin user from Mastodon? Do you see just their "posts" or also their replies to threads? Do you see when they post an article? Can a kbin user follow a Mastodon user?

    How do hashtags interact between the two systems?

    What happens if you follow a kbin magazine from Mastodon? I noticed that they appear with a "Group" tag on Mastodon if searching for that "user".

    (Edit: I could navigate to this post from Mastodon and reply to it, but it didn't show up here yet. But maybe that's due to the temporarily broken federation.)

    happyborg , (edited )

    Is there a place to ask for help?

    Also for feedback (other than github)?


    P.S. Sorry to reply to the comment rather than the OP but I've just signed up and can reply to a comment but don't see a way to reply to the OP. Where should that link be? I'm running Brave on mobile.

    P.P.S. I've been a moderator on Reddit since 2014 and will not be any longer so very keen to see Kbin or Lemmy step in.

    adrian ,
    @adrian@kbin.social avatar

    No worries. If you scroll to the very bottom there another text field to add a new comment, which then adds a new top-level thread to this post.

    There's also an FAQ here: https://kilioa.org/m/kbinMeta@kbin.social/t/266

    Kata1yst ,
    @Kata1yst@kbin.social avatar


    They have two large categories of content, "threads" and "microblogs". Threads are any content not a “post” while threads are articles, links, and media posts.

    To clarify, I think one of these examples given for "threads" is meant to be "microblogs"

    Excellent guide, thank you for contributing!

    cutitdown ,

    I personally really want a way to just view all microblogs and threads in a singular feed. Just display the microblogs the same as threads, I reckon -- like self/text posts on Reddit.

    DuckCake ,
    @DuckCake@kbin.social avatar

    This would really simplify things, I agree.

    _noncomposmentis ,

    I would like to save this thread to reference later. What is the kbin equivalent of saving a post on reddit?

    speck ,

    afaik there isn't one. Maybe it's incoming? sh.itjust.works has both save and collapse functionality. So it is possible. There are also starting to be some apps floating around out. Jerboan (Jerboa?) is one of them. They might have the ability to save stuff.

    Yoscooter ,
    Yoscooter ,
    Yoscooter ,
    yesdogishere ,

    horrible HORRIBLE explanation. what is this shit. you are using terms to define terms which are the same terms you are trying to define. what a colossal shitshow. pls go back to prep school and ask to be booted out of kinder. pathetic.

    jeanofthedead ,
    @jeanofthedead@kbin.social avatar

    Is there a way to only view posts from Magazines that you subscribe to? So far, I've just been blocking Magazines that I don't want to see on my Threads page.

    indigojasper ,
    @indigojasper@kbin.social avatar

    How do I report a user?

    Madnessx9 ,

    Thanks for this, even with this explanation this is far to complicated of a platform to go mainstream IMO. Feels like Linux vs windows

    Hello_there , (edited )

    For onboarding: needs a wiki with linked faqs and answers. E.g., how to go read posts on a sub/magazine you're subscribed to. It took me a bit to find that under my account
    Or: why do nsfw pictures require a hover to see and why can you turn that off?

    Pegatron ,
    @Pegatron@kbin.social avatar

    This seems like as good a place to ask as any: how can I quickly find replies to my comments in threads? The equivalent of the reddit inbox, basically?

    dannekrose OP Admin ,
    dannekrose avatar

    I'll be the first to admit that I actually wasn't much of a Reddit user. What I do is turn on my notifications and then check for new comments in the notification menu. I'm not sure that will get you exactly what you want, but hopefully it will be a start.

    If you haven't, notification settings are in the Settings menu you can see when you click on your user name in the top bar. It's in the first tab, General at the bottom.

    gauffke ,

    Thank you so much for this! Very useful. I’m taking the opportunity to share a question I have:

    I didn’t get any response but maybe my post itself wasn’t posted at the right place or the right format? Could a response to such a question be beneficial to other users via your FAQ?


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