What are Original Pages in Mastodon and the Fediverse?

Every account and post on the Fediverse has an original version of itself on the server it comes from called an “original page”. This page shows the latest and most complete version of a profile or post. As well as letting you see an up-to-date version of itself, original pages can be really useful for many other purposes too.

Finding a profile or post’s original page

On Mastodon, here’s how you can see these “original pages”:

  1. Log in through your server’s website
  2. Go to a profile or post and click on ⋯ or ︙
  3. Select “open original page”, which will open the original page in a new browser tab

Once the page is open, the original page’s web address will be visible in the browser’s address bar at the top.

Checking if a blank profile really is blank

If no one on your server has interacted with a profile before, it may appear blank. You can open the profile’s original page to check if it really is blank.

Browsing a profile’s followers and follows lists

Sometimes a profile’s follows and followers may not be visible to your server, or it may be incomplete. If you go to the original page and click on the follows and follower lists there, you will see their complete versions. (However, note that some people deliberately keep their follows and followers lists hidden for privacy reasons.)

Using original page addresses to interact with posts and profiles

If there’s a profile or post that you can’t find by searching on your server, you can use original pages to force your server to notice people and posts it hadn’t noticed before, including pages from other types of Fediverse server. Just copy and paste the original page’s address into the search box on Mastodon, and it will make that post or profile appear within your own server, where you will be able to interact with it directly.

The process is cross-platform and works for any Fediverse server type. For example if you know the web address of a PeerTube video or Pixelfed photo, you can paste it into the search box on Mastodon and the video or photo will appear within Mastodon. You will then be able to interact with it as if it was a Mastodon post.

This process works in a very similar way to account addresses.

Sharing Fediverse content using original page addresses

Original pages are also useful if you want to share a profile or post with people outside the Fediverse, as you don’t have to be logged in to see them. Just give people the original page’s web address and it will open in any browser.

You can copy a link to an original page directly to your clipboard by going to a post, clicking ⋯ and then “Copy link to post”. This link goes to the post’s original page.

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