How to Use Totentanz

Welcome to the club! Totentanz is a modern twist on an old idea - the Internet Forum. Unless you’re a crusty old internaut like myself, you may be wondering how to get around in this weird place. I can understand that, so this post is a little introduction on how to get acclimated to this new space.

I’d also like to make this a living document, so if you have questions on things I didn’t cover here or maybe have ideas on what else needs to be included, please drop a comment on this and I’ll try to get it integrated into the topic so that it’ll help out the next person.

First Things First

Totentanz is running on FOSS software called Discourse (, and could be described as a “community in a box”. This means that, as yet, Totentanz is not federated with any of the other OBEYTHESYSTEM instances. However, there are some plugins and tools in development right now that will allow us to federate in the future if we so choose. But for now, this community is a separate space from all the other instances in the fediverse. To post and interact here, you’ll need a separate account on this server.

That being said, there is a plugin installed on Totentanz that will post alerts for new articles in our Discord and Matrix chat instances. You won’t be able to interact with them there, but at least folks will know when anybody makes a new post to Totentanz! (If you’re interested in joining the Discord server or Matrix chat, please see the “About” page on the Mastodon instance.)

Categories, Sub-Categories, and Tags… Oh My!

Since this is first and foremost a community with long-form content or discussions in mind, you can assign general categories, more specific sub-categories, and tags to help you refine (what we hope will be) the massive influx of topics down to just the things you want to see. Maybe a better way to think of them is like this: categories are filters, and tags are search terms to help others find your posts more easily (think fediverse hashtags).

Every category and subcategory has a description of what the category is about. When creating a topic, clicking the category dropdown will show you the list of all available categories and sub categories with a short description of what they are all about. Additionally, every category should have a post by @Raven in there somewhere with a title like “About the … category” that gives you some cyberpunk-flavored color-text about what content should go in that category, so look for those topics!

Let me break it down a little more like this:

  • Categories: The top level categories are general categorizations of the content of the post. The main top-level categories (I think there are 8 of them) will usually have sub-categories underneath them that categorize the content even further to help keep similar posts together.
  • Sub-Categories: Sub-categories are meant to separate out some of the larger categories into more manageable chunks. For example, the “Cyberware” category could encompass a lot of different things, and so there are “Hardware” and “Software” sub-categories under the parent “Cyberware” category.
    • When looking at a post on Totentanz, in the upper right hand corner of the post card, you will see colored dots and the name of the most granular category shown. For example, for a post that is categorized as “Cyberware > Hardware”, you will see two dots and “Hardware” in the upper right hand corner of the post card.
  • Tags: Tags can be thought of as hashtags, and are things that can be entered on the search bar to find posts with those tags. This topic, for example, has “faq” and “howto” tags. You could enter these terms into the search bar, and this post (and any others tagged with those tags) should show up in the results. You can use existing tags, or create new ones on the fly if you need to!

Okay, So How Do I Post?

It’s pretty simple:

  1. Click the “+ New Topic” button. This will open up the posting UI that can be resized, and will also show you a markdown preview on the right side of the pane. Full Markdown is supported in posts!
  2. Enter a topic title
  3. Choose the Category/SubCategory that best describes the overall content of what you want to discuss in your post
  4. Enter any tags that you’d like to add to help others find your topic in searches
  5. Organize your thoughts and compose your post!
  6. When you’re done, click the “+ Create Topic” button

So Why Should I Use Totentanz?

Good question, chummer! How does this grab ya?

  • You have long-form thoughts and want the space to get it all out
  • You are hoping to get some good back-and-forth discussions going in threaded form without interruptions of other posts like in a timeline
  • Totentanz is a “community in a box”, so there’s a chat interface enabled as well - you can post real-time chat messages to everybody, or specific users in case you want to move conversations into a more private setting.
  • If you’re into gamification interfaces, there’s a lot of badges and doodads to earn by participating and being nice.

How do I create new tags? I want a food tag, but it doesn’t exist yet and when I want to enter it into the field it doesn’t accept a new thing

Hmmm, maybe it’s something that I can create due to my moderator status. I’ll look into that for you. In the meantime, what would you like the tag to be? Let me know and I’ll create it/them for you.

It seems like tag creation is tied to a specific member level - In the interim, I have created the following tags that you can use (let me know if you need more):


1 Like

Good news! I’ve made some configuration changes to allow every user from basic on up to create tags. You should be able to create any tags you need for your posts (limited to 5 tags per topic). Please let me know if you’re still experiencing any issues with creating tags.