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open source social

Lemmy, the federated alternative of Reddit

I’ve got a confession to make. Since I left Google+ and Reddit two years ago I always missed the community approach of both social networks. Don’t get me wrong I love XMPP (or Movim, which is based on XMPP, in my case) and Mastodon. I love their ease of use and the possibilities to communicate without a large tech company preying on my data. I love the ease to set up a chatroom or a microblog in Movim. And I love that they are federated. However both on Movim and Mastodon it’s hard for me to have a structured conversation about one single topic (e.g. cycling or 3dprinting). It’s for that reason that lately I’ve spend time on Lemmy. Lemmy is easiest described as a federated Reddit alternative. This means that with Lemmy members can send text posts, links and images that can be up- or downvoted by other members. Lemmy already consists of a dozen instances and hundreds of communities. Communities (the equivalent of subreddits) are the cornerstones of Lemmy. Popular topics like Linux, open source and privacy already have their own community. If the community doesn’t exist the user can easily create one. Every post has to be posted in one of the communities. A huge advantage is that posts don’t get buried by hundreds of other posts in the timeline. As a consequences discussion threads are easy to follow.

I’m currently on lemmy.ml which appears to be the most general purpose and the largest server in terms of subscribers but you can run your own server if you want to. The number of users of Lemmy is currently growing rapidly but only time will tell what portion of users remain active.

The beauty is that Movim, Mastodon and Lemmy (and all other federated social networks) serve different purposes so I don’t have to choose. They can co-exist and enable people to optimize their online social needs.

NOTE: I wrote earlier about FLOSS tools to create a forum or a community. Lemmy is not only a great addition to this list it’s without a doubt the easiest way to set-up a (non-hosted) community from all the known FLOSS alternatives.