A Mean Girls meme reading "get in losers, we're skeeting in hellthread"

Hellthread / Hellrope (Bluesky)

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Updated May 02, 2023 at 11:22AM EDT by Don.

Added May 01, 2023 at 05:30AM EDT by Aidan Walker.

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Hellthread, also known as Hellrope, refers to a bug or feature in the social networking part of the decentralized protocol Bluesky. The social, frontend part of Bluesky, which resembles Twitter, allows users to reply to skeets made by other users and assemble threads made of many replies from many different people. The hellthread is a reply thread that notifies every single user on it anytime that someone posts anyplace along the thread. At the beginning of its history, it was impossible to mute hellthread notifications.


Early references to the bug that generates hellthreads on Bluesky were purportedly made in the early spring of 2023, as the developers behind the app and early users encountered issues with the beta.

On April 28th, 2023, Bluesky user Kylie Robison purportedly made the first hellthread on the platform in a since-deleted skeet that devolved into many users trolling and supposedly breaking the app.[7] The post recapping this event (shown below), received roughly 85 likes and seven reposts in 48 hours.[8]

Kylie Robison - 2d @kylierobison.bsky.social *** nothing like starting what People Are Now Calling a "Hellthread" by saying "hey where did all my invites go" and the shitposter you invited replying "sorry yeah that was me i threatened to storm the capitol" then 2 hours later a friend messages you "hey uh, buddy, you broke the app"

Then, in the last week of April 2023 as the invite-only beta testing opened up to the so-called "terminally online subcluster" (as represented on the April 28th network graph below) and a number of prominent Twitter personalities began posting, a larger and intentionally created hellthread emerged.[4]

kynwebbskypécia Software Engineering Subcluster. mafresh bakyatzybsky social kentodoods.com 13.gg only.bakyteam engineeringbao.baky spanielleteong.com kumail.sky social Wesbos.baky socie wangmjane sky.social ashleywille beky.social lackitup baby brandon dimet.com vickyba mic leakin.com tayorlorer 9 tamarie.baky.social Search for a Handle cesty bal eluck deeplates.com mysky social tp.baky.social enklippenstein.bsky social jack.bsky social despletes.com.neoplates.com.deeptates.com.deep juglper.bsky sobial Users Represented Connections Represented 13,186 80,784 nypkp.bsky social maz.baky so Terminally.. Online Subcluster(?) interactions Represented 146,314 serahm 2nd Neighbors

On April 30th, the user known as Juniper (who on Twitter was famously responsible for the spread of Goblin Mode) claimed to have watched the hellthread begin in their replies the day before (shown below). Early descriptions of "hellthread" also used the term "hellrope" as part of an in-platform attempt to establish a Bluesky-specific lingo (replacing "thread" with "rope").[3]

Prise Prze june @junlper.bsky.social. 5h i call it hellthread becuase my notifications have been completely unusable for 3 days since the beginning of hellthread spawned off of a reply of mine lol Q1 170 10 june @junlper.bsky.social. 5h so far day 3 in the hell thread i've seen nudes, a game of tic tac toe, love being found, what can't the hellthread do Q11 271 65

One particularly prominent feature of hellthread was berduck.bsky.social, an account that represented a duck writing in baby voice that used artificial intelligence to reply to any user's skeet with a question, stimulating more replies and conversation. Berduck inspired much discussion (seen below). Many who found the hellthread interesting advocated for Bluesky to keep it going.[5]

O Put eliza Jay needs to ban the duck Q3 170 ♡5 @femiurge.bsky.social-1d Clauber Oliveira & @cl.... 1d What did the duck do? Q5 170 ♡ 3 eliza @femiurge.bsky.social. 1d It knows what it did Q3 170 Q4 ♡ 11 PARKER ain't no way i'm in another hellthread 170 @intrusive... · 1d . ♡ 12 Matt @orangecatmatt.bsk.... 5m I genuinely, sincerely believe the hellthread has been good for the community. ❤0 170 Moonlits @moonlit.bsky.s.... 5m beings absolutely like aspects of hellthreading, the real question might be what parts of it they want changed ❤ 0 170 Q2 ♡ 4 nori @nori.gay . 6m i LOVE THE HELLTHREAD PLEASE LET IT STAY MOTHER PLEEEAAAAASE 170 ♡2

Over the weekend of April 29-30th, 2023, as the hellthread expanded and roped in more and more users, Bluesky staff told users that it could not be fixed until Paul Frazzle, the person responsible for that aspect of the code, came into work on Monday, May 1st. Jay Graber and the team allowed the hellthread to flourish until at least the start of the work week.[1]

Jay @jay.bsky.team -13m paul gets back to work on monday, maybe he can finally fix the hellthread. i built this codebase once, looked at it, and never tried again. react native across 3 platforms is not something i can make a quick lil fix for. Q6 170 ❤ 27 Gage Lara @gagelara.art · 8m Ngl I'm gonna miss it when it's gone. Gotta enjoy it while it lasts 170 Q1 8 that crashed the app a few times, i wonder if this hellthread will trigger that bug again 22 178 156 illumi @illumi.bsky.social. 6h Can we try and find out? 271 19 ●●● ... x Jay @jay.bsky.team - 6h it's paul's job to fix it and not mine, so why not it'll give some "maximum call stack exceeded" error. react native 12 175 119


As more posters joined into the hellthread, specific sub-threads emerged, and the thread continually branched off into ever-more specific posting niches. A user who joined the hellthread by replying to a skeet or being tagged in one would not be able to see "uprope" skeets, meaning those made before they joined hellthread. Further, a user could also not see elements of hellthread that took place in diverging branches, however, there was no clear method of seeing how many branches or hellthrealds really existed.

The hellthread then purportedly broke the app for Bluesky, as well as the notifications function, and generated, according to some, the vast majority of posts over the weekend of April 29-30th.[6]


Hellthread featured a wide variety of conversations, content types and sub-groups. Many used hellthread to post explicit pictures, including but not limited to nudes and Goatse. Others brought Discourse into hellthread, discussing Elon Musks' acquisition of Twitter and other topics. Conversations about animals, TV and other aspects of culture were also widespread.[2] However, perhaps the most frequent topic of conversation in the hellthread was hellthread itself (seen below).

illumi. 4h @illumi.bsky.social "sir, a second brazilian has joined the hellthread" PRE MA 6 reposts 38 likes Matt @orangecatmatt.bsk... · 1d we have such sights to show you dylan ❤ O 170 ♡2 Lou @loustella.io. 1d who needs algorithms and feeds when you have The Thread Q3 17 3 ❤ 33 Kobayashi Saru @kobay.... 1d Wheeeee 170 ♡ 3 Matt @orangecatmatt.bsk... 1d genuinely reminds me of the 00s old forum days ❤ O 170

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External References

[1] Bluesky – jay.bsky.team

[2] Bluesky – illumi.bsky.social

[3] Bluesky – juniper.bsky.social

[4] life.cherch.org – Eric

[5] Bluesky – demiurge.bsky.social

[6] Twitter – @broderick

[7] Bluesky – ichthyos

[8] Bluesky – kylierobison

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