So how does this whole thing work exactly? I made an account here on beehaw, but then when I view other lemmy instances, I see some of the same posts that are here on beehaw.

For example, I commented on this thread: https://beehaw.org/comment/121048

And then I get a reply from this site instead, where I can’t comment because I need to log in, but it doesn’t allow me to? https://lemmy.ca/comment/190838

Wildly confused.

@pancakefriday
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I’m guessing that the reply you’re referring to, is from a person that has their account on lemmy.ca, and because of this, you were provided the link to their home instance. Of course this sort of thing is unintuitive, because now you’re on a different website that looks the same, but suddenly you’re not logged in anymore. People who don’t read too much into the details of Lemmy are now just confused why they are seemingly logged out and can’t log in anymore. On the other hand, you also want to reply to that comment still, so you’d have to manually find the comment in your home instance instead (or type the URL with your instances prefix).

Lemmy is still in its early stages, I’m sure there’ll be a lot of quality of life fixes soon, pretty sure they are flooded with bug reports and feature requests right now.

Satouru
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So, Lemmy (and by extension Beehaw) can be federated. (Although the instance admins can make a non-federated instance, but it’s not really relevant in this case.)

This means that there’s actually multiple Lemmy “worlds” living next to each other, and they can interact between each other. You can post in your world, and people from other worlds can come, read what you wrote and leave a comment.

Think of it like email, as it’s a great example to explain federated and decentralized software:

  • You have a GMail account,
  • You receive mails from other people on GMail: no problem there, it’s something internal to the service, you can read and reply to the mail,
  • You receive a mail from someone using a Microsoft Mail account (live.com, or whatever)… no problems there either, you will receive the mail, be able to read it and reply to it,
  • But, if you want to reply to it… you’re not going to sign in to live.com, right? You’re going to use your mail.google.com account to do so.

Lemmy works the same. You received a comment from someone on lemmy.ca, which is pretty cool, right? If you want to reply, you’ll have to do it through your beehaw.org account - because that’s where your “identity” lives. Beehaw certifies your identity, and your device can use this certification to reply to that person on Lemmy Canada - but this means that you still need to go through Beehaw to reply to the Lemmy Canada person.

And if you follow the link to your thread on beehaw.org, you’ll also be able to see that person’s comment… and be able to reply to it! To summarize it: you don’t need to have an account on other instances to interact with people on other instances. Just like you don’t need to have an account on Hotmail to interact with people there if you have a Gmail. You just login to your Gmail and do it from there. That’s federation/decentralization.

Hope that helped - the web has worked with centralized services for almost two decades now, which can make things confusing. But decentralization is really not that bad once you get the gist of it. And it’s a much more elegant technical solution as well.

@ug01x@lemmy.world
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Based on my experiments, being new to this as well, it feels like each site offers the ability to create credentials, but gives you access, via their particular interface to the whole network of lemmy sites that are sharing with one another. I’m on via lemmy.world and using the Jerboa app, so I think If you can find the post on beehaw again you should be able to comment from there.

In googling around a bit I found someone made a nice analogy to email where everyone can be on different sites, but still communicate between them.

Another thing I learned from this is that apparently not all sites are necessarily connected, but that feels like it defeats the purpose.

On the point of servers not being connected - by default an instance will federate with all other instances. Admins have the ability to add a whitelist (only connect to these instances) or blacklist (connect to everything except these).

There are some unsavoury instances out there that don’t mesh with the Beehaw philosophy so they’re blocked.

The nice thing is you can run your own instance and federate with everyone if you don’t like the idea of blocking instances. You might find others will block you if they don’t agree with your content but that’s their choice.

IntrovertedEO
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Here is a link to thread that provides some basic instructions: https://lemmy.ml/post/1160417

@anthoniix@beehaw.org
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Some servers can choose not to interact with other servers. For example a lot of the bigger instances on mastodon block the nasty far right servers.

@goat@beehaw.org
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So to respond to your comment, I have to click on the “Show context” button to open up Beehaw’s interface.

If I click on “Show Context”, it takes me to lemmy.world where I can’t respond because I need to comment. Is it bad if I’ve tried logging in to other instances with my credentials?

@Ozymati@lemmy.nz
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I’m using Jerboa and I just tapped the little text icon and now I’m replying. Maybe it’s an instance setting?

IntrovertedEO
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No, it isn’t bad - it just won’t work. Instead you need to copy the link provided in the sidebar of the community telling you to log in (it starts with a ! for Lemmy communities), click on Communities at the top of the page, paste the ! link into the search bar, and press “Enter.” That should bring up the community icon with a “Follow” underneath. Click “Follow” and you are in - you can comment on threads for that community!

@ug01x@lemmy.world
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Good tip. I’ll have to try this.

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