A community dedicated to fediverse news and discussion.
Fediverse is a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe”. It is a common, informal name for a federation of social network servers whose main purpose is microblogging, the sharing of short, public messages.
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I think BlueSky is the bigger threat, to be honest.
If the fediverse population ‘clumps’ into mastodon.social and mastodon.social sells out, people will still be on the protocol so they’ll be able to transfer out.
But if BlueSky succeeds at replacing twitter and filling up the niche, less dedicated fediverse users will switch to the livelier site. That will be a far more devastating blow to the fediverse.
That said, I think it’ll survive either or both. ActivityPub taking over twitter instead of BlueSky would be good for the open, anti-monopoly internet cause, but I think it’ll continue regardless. The core communities are established.
@Munrock @Berserkware it’s all about the $Money - a decentralized network (even a BlueSky) is going to have to work like Uber and find hundreds or thousands of people willing to be exploited so the owners can make money - users may think of excitement - owners think only of making money.
While it’s DEFINITELY not a bad idea to not put all eggs in one basket and prevent stuff from even happening in the first place, i think this person is worrying too much about the consequences. We do have a recent important precedent of a very public corporate takeover of a very popular free software service: The Freenode IRC takeover. After the nutcase effectively took over the network’s ownership, people just… left. They remade the service elsewhere (Libera.Chat) and everybody moved, making the takeover meaningless. So, if worst comes to worst i don’t think there’s gonna be a problem. Here’s the info on Wikipedia of the event and the exodus to Libera Chat
It’s not that simple. ActivityPub is at risk of centralization, just like email. There are no built-in protections against centralization or EEE (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish). Furthermore, Mastodon makes it difficult to migrate accounts, especially from an instance that is unreachable or just disabled the export function.
Unfortunately locking users into a platform is extremely valuable because they can be shown ads, used for data mining, manipulation (like Cambridge Analytica). ActivityPub is not automatically immune to all of this.
The comparison with IRC is not very meaningful: moving from one server to another is much easier because IRC users don’t lose followers, bookmarks, posts, etc.
The point is that IRC is normally used in a way that leaves more to the client. ActivityPub services usually expect that users put much more trust in the instances. It might be worth thinking about that.
How would a “built-in protection against centralization” even work?
IMHO, you can only provide tools. You can’t prevent people from being stupid and not using them. That’s also why by now, e.g. the EU tries to solve such problems through regulation.
The protocol could require “dual-homing” user accounts, where each account is automatically replicated on 2 different instances without need for hacks and workarounds. That would prevent users from losing their account if an instance is shut down, and also make it easy to migrate to a new instance without losing followers etc. The clients following your account always check for updates on both instances and if you move one of your accounts they update automatically.
(This would not create significant additional load on the network: your toots are already being replicated on all instances where you have followers.)
No, tools are rarely “neutral”. They encourage or discourage workflows and behaviors.
You paint a very rosy picture of the Freenode situation. As a result, many people moved to Discord (and to a lesser extend Matrix) and the significantly smaller libera.chat is still waaay to centralized as if people didn’t learn anything from this disaster.
Also in the case of Freenode/libera.chat basically all the admins also switched, meaning little institutional knowledge was lost. This is mostly because the person who took Freenode over was indeed such a nut-case. In a typical corporate takeover the staff is (at least for a while) retained, meaning they can’t just set up shop in a different place easily.
In addition, I’d reckon that at least part of this is due to the fact that IRC is somewhat centralized - to my knowledge (I only lived at the very tail end of the “popularity” of IRC) you couldn’t really be on one server and chat in a room that was on another server, right? Technically the protocol did have the capability for multiple servers to communicate (such as what would occur with netsplits), but you didn’t usually add someone’s server to the network as far as I understand (unless that is just a trend I missed out on).
[The rest of this probably deserves to be its own parent comment, but I’ll leave it as a reply here since it is partially relevant to the topic of IRC in this thread]
I’d think that at least systems like Mastodon, Matrix, and Lemmy have some resilience to this since they are very interoperable by their nature, but it’ll still need a ton of work done in order to get there.
The biggest problem is not the technological aspect of these applications / The Fediverse, but the onboarding and “human element” to them. I operate my own Matrix, Mastodon, and now Lemmy instances but out of the three I feel like Matrix was the only one where I was able to “see the world” so to speak without any extra steps. With Mastodon I had to subscribe to a relay in order to receive posts from other instances, and for Lemmy… well I’m still working that one out and trying to figure out how it works (I see new posts to the communities I’m subscribed to, and will see that it says there are three comments as an example… but they’re not visible?) - so I just don’t see how others are going to be able to avoid joining massive instances since you don’t have those issues there (or at least, to the same degree).
Basically any IRC client supports connecting to multiple servers simultaneously, so joining channels on multiple servers was never an issue. Also originally the “network” in IRC implied open federation just like you are describing, but over spam and moderation issues it evolved into a allow-list federation and ultimately incompatible s2s protocols. I sometimes wish people on the Fediverse would learn a bit more about the history of federated systems like IRC to avoid falling into the same traps 😅
As for your hidden comment number: there is currently a bug in Lemmy that shows message edits as new comments in the UI.
Ah, I see! I guess you truly do learn something new every day - I appreciate it!
I hope that we one day return to a world where everything is open and has less walled gardens, as it truly does pain me to know all of the capabilities we could have that are just intentionally always locked away 😮💨
Dang TIL what happened to Freenode :/
It was definitely weird, the Wiki entry skips on some of the weirdest manic parts of it, like the dude claiming to be the “Crown Prince of Korea” and more weirdness, very much felt like a whole manic episode triggered this
I would argue almost all people don’t care what instance they are in as long as it’s “normal” and reliable (won’t go away).
mastodon is also under the AGPL which makes it very hard to build “abusiveness” into the platform.
We got better problems to solve.
federation is the weapon you don’t need to use, because corporations fear you will use it.
I feel for the mastodon devs a little. People scream ‘onboardings too difficult, why make me pick a server!!!’ and when it gets changed to promote a single server (with a secondary button to choose your own) everyone loses their minds.
There are plenty of issues beyond this. Discoverablilty, identity blah blah. I’m more concerned that 6 months after twit explodes, not much has happened with those, or that another fedi app hasn’t taken the crown. Lots to the apps and interfaces only work on mastodon, not a ap standard.
Maybe it would take a **-funded startup using activity pub to get things sorted.
@_ed @Berserkware They could have chosen a different wording though: instead of choose your own server they should have better said choose a different server and add a small ℹ️ button with a small pop-up explaining the fact that Mastodon works differently than other social media networks and in what way (briefly). By saying your own it implies that the user should already own a server (hence your own) instead of letting them know that they have a choice.
Both the sympathy and alarmism make sense because the real issue isn’t what mastodon has done (so far) it’s that they are so dominant that a single mastodon instance isn’t far from being half the fediverse.
It’s not really mastodon’s fault, though they could be better at promoting alternatives given their size. But there is something out of balance at the moment, and mindfully addressing it is important future health.
Just talking about what a healthy fediverse means and looks like and what actions can be taken to ensure it is valuable.
Personally, truly nomadic identity feels like an obvious necessity for me. I’m not sure I can say the feed diverse is actually cool or interesting, as opposed to a collection of some interesting open source software, until some form of nomadic identity is essentially required to be considered part of the fediverse.
mstdn.social concentration is looking similar to matrix.org, so, what about Matrix then?
They aren’t worried about matrix because ever since Musk bought Twitter people have suddenly started caring about mastodon and activitypub. Not that I agree with the toot but the assumption is that corporate actors can use this scenario and mastodon to jumpstart their twitter alternative or something like that. Because of this mastodon has been getting a lot of attention. People don’t care about matrix yet.
@ksynwa I think Matrix has more users (~64 million) than the Fediverse (~13 million).
Wow I didn’t know that. Thanks.
Matrix also has incredible moderation abilities if you configure proper bots, and is very Discord like with guilds, plus no 8 MB media upload limit nonsense. But there is bloat as well compared to XMPP.
@ksynwa I think it’s just because so much of the open source community really went for it after one of the biggest IRC chats fell apart. Matrix was there at the right time to pick up the pieces AND the audience that gravitated towards it were exactly the techy types that most commonly latch on to Federated stuff in the first place.
I feel like matrix isnt nearly as centralized
The official website Joinmastodon is proprietary. I don’t like Eugen Rochko. I made a pull request and submitted an issue, but I was completely ignored. They also use proprietary software for translations.
“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good” Nobody’s forcing you to use the “official” join mastodon site - it’s not a keystone of the fediverse. And not to be dismissive, but you made a PR and someone didn’t follow up with you? Nobody owes you anything in life, including a response to a PR. People get busy or just don’t even want to respond for no reason at all - learn to deal with it in a graceful way.
FediTips might be more alarmist than most, but I agree with them. The concentration of activity on Mastodon.social is dangerous.
IMO the solution is to streamline signing up to different servers (or, and far better, implement nomadic identity!), not to continue to beef up Mastodon.social’s infrastructure and draw more and more users there…
Is nomadic identity technically possible?
@V4uban @anji Yes, Hubzilla has it.
Couldn’t you just download a file containing your follow and ban list and upload that to a new account?
You could, but that just moves the people you follow. Your followers would still follow the old account. Mastodon has a migration option which forces users to unfollow the old account and follow the new account. But nomadic identity would really free users from their username being tied to a particular server.
@V4uban @anji Hubzilla has had nomadic identity for ages