I am @humanetech at Mastodon, #FOSS and #Fediverse advocate, mod at SocialHub, and facilitator of Humane Tech Community.
I help fight tech harms and “Promote Solutions that Improve Wellbeing, Freedom and Society”.
Indeed. “Sense of community” is an aspect where additional socio-technical support native to the Fediverse can be quite helpful. We have the basics now. There’s work to add Groups support, but community is more than just groups. It has intricate and meaningful relationships between many other groups and people. Just like in real life.
Apart from that The Pavilion cooperative has announced they work on a Discourse forum plugin for the Fediverse. And also I got word from the Flarum maintainer that they have plans to add support (but there’s been silence after that).
Update: Here’s a thread on Flarum’s ongoing work: https://discuss.flarum.org/d/31943-federation-extension
Ah, that is due to the particular app that is being used, called Bovine. @firstname.lastname@example.org (also not directly browser-accessible) wrote:
🚨🚨🚨 DON’T! This suggestion leads to Spaghetti Architecture.
First, Client to Server specifies how to one client talks to one server. This change is about one Client (in a browser) talking to a lot of servers, breaking the Servers talk to Servers, a Client talks to the Server it’s a client of, pattern.
Second, this change allows clients (in browsers) to circumvent blocking. If you block a server domain, you don’t want the clients to fallback to getting the information directly from you.
So please, do not implement this change; and if you have this type of CORS header set, consider removing them.
Top-level toot: https://social.oberhauser.space/@obale/110058041568721745
For readers the follow-up to the same toot is relevant as well. First reply is “Don’t do this”.
With Gitea Ltd sudden incorporation, the soft fork of Gitea launched as Forgejo (which is what Codeberg now runs on) most of the forge federation efforts have shifted in that direction, as it offers the highest guarantees of remaining to the public benefit. Gitea has received a NLnet grant to add federation support, but it is unknown to what extent they are actively working towards implementing its goals. Those interested to learn more can join the Forge Federation general chatroom on Matrix.
Yes, I think people should skip to the “We have to keep going” section of the article to put the previous text in better context.
Ah, I mentioned I was approached re:Flarum in November `22. Haven’t heard back since, incl. my recent DM to Daniël. For me Discourse federation is most valuable, as I am on N forums. For SocialHub we’ve been encouraging federation for a long time, so really happy this is getting started indeed.
I agree. There is a lot of information out there from which we can take. But with the particular “grassroots culture and dynamics” I was referring to something that (a quick browsing through) the resources you provided do not address. It has to do with the organic nature, an archarchist and post-(hyper)capitalism streak on the Fediverse (though The Muskening brought change to the culture), and a general weakness I perceive in the FOSS movement as a whole. I am sorry, but I don’t have time to explain now… my notes on some major challenges for Fediverse hold clues for this. They are all social in nature and factors that influence this governance. FOSS Foundations as mentioned may work to an extent, esp. when having paid staff in place to do the chores, but they aren’t good solutions and most ultimately become flawed.
Technically it is an organization, but I agree with you that that would be nice to have. The tricky part is getting this “good governance model” such that it still fits the grassroots culture and dynamics and won’t result is something perceived as too authoritative and where particular experts have too dominant voices (though in some cases that works, in most it eventually does not). The tricky bit is also in finding people willing to do all the prep work and chores to arrange all that.
I have happy news in that regard. We have migrated the watchlists to the Delightful Project on Codeberg. And they are rendered on the Delightful Club website.
SocialHub has an association with the W3C Social Web Incubator Community Group (SWICG). The SWICG is a continuation of the Working Group that standardized ActivityPub as a W3C Recommendation. So technically this organization exists.
In practice it is really hard to organize in an all-volunteer grassroots movement, and many people for various reasons don’t like to participate in such organization. “Herding cats” is a term that is used. Being grassroots has pros (resilience) and cons (stalled evolution). Personally I have come to think that decentralized development of the Fediverse probably works best when it is split into different domains (e.g. Microblogging, Podcasting, etc.) as long as there’s also a community working on the core common denominator in the protocol. That is currently the SocialHub and Fediverse Enhancement Proposal process.
SocialHub is a developer community where Fediverse app developers try to evolve the ecosystem and open standards, make their applications interoperate better. For instance the Lemmy developers discussed how to improve federation with other projects.
SSPL is source-available, and not open source. There was lotsa discussion about the SSPL license, which was created by MongoDB, and it is a complex matter with all kinds of judicial angles. In summary it mainly benefits Mongo most of all, whose ‘open source passion’ is marketing-speak mostly. I forgot a lot of ins and outs, but just dug up a random find about downsides (2 parts) and impact.
A pity (for me) is the SSPL licensing, probably chosen because of the use of MongoDB. When using an alternative (maybe FerretDB) it could be Apache 2.0, which was the originally intented I heard (and still mentioned on the website).
What kind of attention, you ask? Well, read here… https://mastodon.social/@atomicpoet/109742115695898174 … the billionaire VC kind of attention.
And someone might write the article: “Of course the Fediverse is threatened by the attention of the attention economy”. Don’t overly focus on whether Mastodon has attention-grabbing engagement features or not. It is an app, folks, just one app on the Fediverse. If you look around you already see how corporate interests are encroaching our space, testing the waters. And they won’t always be single endpoints that you simple defederate with a single block action. Think of cloudflare for instance. Some corporate takeover and EEE scenario’s were recently discussed on HN.
The Hacker News thread to this article is more interesting: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33543379
I bumped into A better moderation system is possible for the social web, by Erin Alexis Owen one of the draft authors of ActivityPump in 2014, which has some interesting observations.
On fedi the #FediBlock process has become kinda popular, but it has its issues. From the article on the topic of blocklists specifically:
The trust one must place in the creator of a blocklist is enormous, because the most dangerous failure mode isn’t that it doesn’t block who it says it does, but that it blocks who it says it doesn’t and they just disappear.
I’m not going to say that you should not implement shared blocklist functionality, but I would say that you should be very careful when doing so. Features I’d consider vitally important to mitigate harms:
- The implementation should track the source of any blocks; and any published reason should also be copied
- Blocklists should be subscription based - i.e. you should be subscribing to a feed of blocks, not doing a onetime import
- They should handle unblocking too - its vitally important for a healthy environment that people can correct their mistakes
- Ideally, there would be an option to queue up blocks for manual review before applying them
That said, shared blocklists will always be a whack-a-mole scenario.
Posted a toot to them, where I dropped a link to Christine Webber’s OcapPub: Towards networks of consent that goes into similar direction wrt current moderation practices.
A whole set of projects around Fediblock is emerging. This github repo tracks projects: https://github.com/ineffyble/mastodon-block-tools
I read your post “The future is disruptive, and I can’t wait!”. And while I share your enthusiasm for the opportunities and potential of the Fediverse - I have been advocating them for years - I do not share the optimism expressed by the people on this thread as to the role of current Fedi culture and Free Software movement, if corporate interest comes. But I fully expected these kinds of answers.
Some time ago I had written notes on the related major fedi challenge of Complacency and intertia. Where the mere fact that we have decentralized technology gives people somehow the idea “We have arrived. We have won”. There’s the enthusiasm of the Early Web on the Fediverse now. The web that nowadays we call the “Corporate Web”. A hyperlinked, decentralized web of information. Thwarted by hypercapitalism. There’s nothing at all that protects fedi from going the same direction. All the years up to now FOSS movement have been in control. But we haven’t managed to organize a strong “technology substrate” that gives much hope of holding our position with corporate interest coming.
Indeed. I recently started using the term “personal social networking” where fediverse allows people to tailor their own social graph such that it delivers the most value to them. It is more human-scale. A huge public square like Twitter where people are all shouting for attention from their soapbox and trying to influence groups visiting the square is nice and all, if that’s your thing. In real life most people don’t do that kind of thing. They aren’t hanging around with 2,000 ‘friends’ visiting bars in the weekend.
Give me a personal social network with human relationships that are below Dunbar’s Number, and then give me access to a separate knowledge network to find information I am interested in. Hey, that last bit is the web we already have. I personally do not need advanced search in all the things that 9 million fedizens have said the past couple of years, same as I do not audio record and transcribe my daily life, interviewing my friends at a birthday party.
I do not know the exact nature of the changes in 4.x but imho it’s all about preferences. If someone wants this shield, they should use it. And there’s a whole lot of fedizens who do not benefit if someone scrapes the fedi and makes it deeply searchable.
As I see it there’s two extremes in microblogging: Public-square microblogging a la Birdsite, and personal social networking microblogging in your friends network. A Hometown server where people only use local-only toots is an example of the latter. Both are perfectly valid use cases.
I don’t know if AndStatus fully supports C2S as the issue about it is still open. This issue is likely also the most detailed info you’ll find on implementing C2S: https://github.com/andstatus/andstatus/issues/499
I agree. And the hegemony is getting stronger by the day. The announcement in The Guardian about Mozilla for instance has this headline: “Firefox and Tumblr join rush to support Mastodon social network”. Not Fediverse, but “The Mastodon Social Network”. And I continue to see new fedizens tooting elightened thoughs that there’s more than Mastodon, yet still getting it wrong (e.g. “There are more social networks than Mastodon on the Fediverse, like Pleroma”).
Potential of Fediverse is for the creation of a single interoperable “social fabric”. I wrote about this in Let’s Reimagine Social. How the Fediverse can enable a Peopleverse, which also entails de-emphasizing the role of individual apps, which are like siloes. App-free Computing is possible.
I have been moderator of SocialHub for a couple of years. Mastodon contributors only sporadically interact in that dev community. I cannot blame them for that. They naturally care most about their own FOSS project, and furthermore that is a Microblogging app, so why care about different app types? The major challenges of maintaining open standards in a grassroots movement are all social in nature (though they may have partially social-technical solutions) and tackling how FOSS projects can be incentivized to collaborate beyond their own direct project boundary.
Btw, for anyone interested in a good overview of fedi projects, I co-maintain the 3 fedi-related delightful lists.
See also: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34012307 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=34011581 which just landed on the front page. I hope they’ll find some good discussion.
There are a couple share project listed on https://delightful.club/delightful-activitypub-development/
I found this article to be interesting. Dealing mostly with the lessons to be learned from the very bad way in which all this was handled: http://www.databasesoup.com/2022/12/lessons-from-raspberry-pi-in-how-not-to.html
SocialHub is also the place to discuss Fediverse Enhancement Proposals.
Also check out Bonfire who’ll also support Circles. Their social microblogging parts is only a foundation of many different functionalities to be built on top.
GoToSocial also supports local-only posting. And it is much, much lighter-weight to run than a full-blown Mastodon instance.
PS. Note that Christine Webber does not see a future in the Fediverse as it currently is. And I tend to agree, albeit maybe for different reasons.
Pavilion had early plans to create a plugin, and applied for a NLnet grant. When that wasn’t accepted they put their plans in the freezer. It is only recently, after The Muskening™ that they picked up on it again.
See this post on the Discourse Meta forum about the plans.