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How can I subscribe to a Lemmy community if my account is on a different Lemmy instance?

I recently migrated from Reddit to Lemmy. To avoid the hug-of-death as Reddit refugees pour into Lemmy, I chose a smaller instance. Unfortunately, there are not many communities on the Lemmy instance that I chose, and I'd like to subscribe to communities on other Lemmy instances.

My understanding of ActivityPub is that users on one instance can still interact with users on another instance. But I can't figure out how.

How can I subscribe to a community on a different instance from my account in Lemmy?

2 Answers 2

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There are three ways to find & subscribe to a remote Lemmy community from your local Lemmy instance:

  1. Search by URL
  2. Search by shorthand identifier
  3. Manually construct the URL

Example

For this answer, let's consider an example where:

  • You want to subscribe to https://lemmy.ml/c/cryptography
  • Your local instance is https://lemmy.ca

tl;dr

Search by URL

Probably the easiest way to find the remote Lemmy community from your Lemmy instance is to just copy & paste the URL of the remote community into your Lemmy instance.

https://lemmy.ml/c/cryptography 

First, login to your Lemmy account and click the "search" button on the top-right of the page.

Paste-in remote community's URL, and press the Search button.

Screenshot of the search page of the lemmy.ca instance with the search box highlighed Screenshot of the search page of the lemmy.ca instance with 'https://lemmy.ml/c/cryptography' typed-into the search box
Type the URL of the Lemmy Community into the search box to find it from your Lemmy instance You can find a “remote” Lemmy Community by searching for the community’s URL

Click the '[email protected]' link, and you'll be able to view "/c/cryptography" from within lemmy.ca.

You can now click the Subscribe button to subscribe to this remote subreddit community.

Search by shorthand identifier

Another way to search for the remote Lemmy community from your Lemmy instance is to use the shorthand identifier, which starts with a bang/exclamation point (!), followed-by the community's name, followed by the at-sign (@), followed by the domain of the instance where the community lives.

For /c/cryptography, the shorthand identifier is [email protected]

[email protected] 
Screenshot of the search page of the lemmy.ca instance with the search box highlighed Screenshot of the search page of the lemmy.ca instance with 'https://lemmy.ml/c/cryptography' typed-into the search box
Screenshot of the search page of the lemmy.ca instance with [email protected]' typed-into the search box You can find a “remote” Lemmy Community by searching for the community’s shorthand identifier

Click the [email protected] link, and you'll be able to view "/c/cryptography" from within lemmy.ca.

You can now click the Subscribe button to subscribe to this remote community.

Manually construct the URL

Finally, you can also just manually type the remote community's URL in your web browser's address bar.

To view 'https://lemmy.ml/c/cryptography' on 'lemmy.ca', the URL is https://lemmy.ca/c/[email protected]

https://lemmy.ca/c/[email protected]
Screenshot of Firefox with 'https://lemmy.ca/c/cryptography@lemmy.ml' typed into the address bar
You can view a "remote" Lemmy Community by manually typing it into the address bar of your web browser

When the page loads, you can click the Subscribe button.

Further Reading

For more information, see my Lemmy Migration Guide for reddit users

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You can search for other communities in the searchbar with the following format:

!<community>@<instance>

So, for example, you can search for [email protected]

This will take you to a local view of the external community and it will allow you to subscribe to it.

If the community that you want doesn't show up, it might be that your instance is not federated with the instance of the community you are interested in.

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