On 2023/07/04, I posted a poll asking mastodon users about their awareness of the search which allows them to specify whether search engines should index their post. This setting, as of the time of this writing, is enabled by default on vanilla mastodon.
For posterity, the results were:
- 49% were aware of the of the setting and were opted out
- 17% were aware of the setting and had not opted out
- 14% were unaware of the setting, and wanted their posts indexed
- 19% were unaware of the setting, and did not want their posts indexed.
328 people voted in total. The poll received 39 boosts.
- 68% of mastodon users did not want their posts indexed. Having one's social media be hidden from search engines is the norm for facebook, but I believe that twitter, instagram, and reddit do allow search engine indexing.
- 49% is an extremely high non-default rate, perhaps reflective of the more privacy-minded, and also technical selections involved in joining mastodon in the first place.
- Of users that were unaware of the setting, 57% of users expected their posts indexed, which is less than the general population, but still a majority.
All these pieces together suggest that opting in to post indexing better matches people's expectations, and also that the average mastodon user (at this point in time) is fairly likely to choose non-default settings.
Some comments on the methodology
The fediverse (and mastodon) is a network, so these results reflect the attitudes of my place within the network. If you were to repeat this poll elsewhere, it's entirely possible you'd see completely different results. At 39 boosts, I imagine it probably got to some more disparate corners of the network, but it would still be an interesting experiment to repeat from a different starting point.