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”.

  • 66 Posts
Joined 1Y ago
Cake day: Apr 06, 2021


Posting from Lemmy and federating to Mastodon used to work fine. And then commenting on that from Mastodon also worked. I am not sure now, as there have been some issues likely due to changes in the latest Mastodon release. I sent a comment from Mastodon that should also appear in this thread (namely this one).

Do you mean shut down on the Twitter side? I can imagine that twitter applies rate-limiting and intervenes if it is only one-way traffic.

The Delightful ActivityPub Developer Resources list has a number of utilities. There’s one mastodon-backup, but I dunno if its usable. If you come across more utils that aren’t on this list, then an issue or PR would be most appreciated.

Not really on topic, but:

SocialHub: The community of people evolving the fediverse technical ecosystem and (ideally) the open standards that are fedi’s foundation.

Yes, this is a very good point. I haven’t heard of cases like this yet, but it is something that’s just waiting to happen. I am all for trusting people, being trust-first in a society that promotes distrust before trust. But in this case consequences of doing so can be dire, and it is quite a risk you take. Besides for the purposes trolling, someone could also silently monetize collected data by selling it to shady harvesting companies.

Currently various research is underway for going towards a peer-to-peer fediverse. Well actually a hybrid decentralization with a combination of p2p and federated services. In those p2p clients you don’t need to self-host a server, just install an app.

Other than that currently we have to go from reputation of the admins. If they have a proven track record and many people vouching for their trustworthiness, then we can be reasonably confident in choosing their instance.

Nice introduction by Per Axbom who also just rejoined the Fediverse…


Nice, and I mostly agree with it. I also translated that ‘fedi speak’ about “ruling class” to market dynamics in my reply. Basically the forces of hypercapitalism taking, first a foothold, and then control. I am very much in favor of de-emphasizing the role of money in our society, but at the same time don’t reject the notion that we have an economy where money is a natural part, a necessary tool, to make it work at scale. I am not against forms of monetization in the free software community, but they should be oriented towards establishing sustainable business and have a different set of values that are safeguarded in this new environment. By extension I see that for the future of the fediverse too. But it is tricky, of course. Solving the decades old stuggle of FOSS and ‘tragedy of the commons’ basically. Though some people have negative outlooks of how that struggle is progressing (with the log4j security event, for instance) I feel a very positive vibe emerging. There are a lot initiatives moving into the proper direction. And many of those can be found on the fediverse.

PS. @dessalines@lemmy.ml that issue you mentioned with masto dot social federation, is that also why this branch of the thread doesn’t show up when looking from masto UI, while others do appear?

This strategy can be said to be a form of “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” and can certainly happen to the fediverse. Even without the “Extinguish” part we might be in trouble. In this Lemmy post we are discussing corporates taking control.

When it comes to funding I also think that we need more of that to happen beyond the individual app level as contributions to - what I call - ‘substrate formation’, i.e. the people, processes and specs on which all apps rely. Focus on the health of the ecosystem as a whole. If we look at grants that are available, for instance, all of them offer funding for very specific research, often resulting in apps being built.

But afterwards these apps start to bring their own extensions and variations to the specs to the ecosystem and have to spend a metric ton of time to figure out how to integrate well enough with the next app. This happens haphazardly as I mentioned above. In order to have the specs and ‘official’ extensions be properly documented and to get them broadly adopted a whole lot of community effort and collaboration needs to take place. And this isn’t happening. The work that this involves is too much to ask of sole individual volunteers, plus they are the boring and unthankful chores.

Though how this is best set up is another matter altogether. We don’t want a committee or a NGO or other formal structure with authority. Our organization where this collaboration takes place needs to take the fediverse culture and grassroots nature into account.

Yes, it can. I’ve posted a lot about that over time. There’s a kind of complacency that “we’ve made it” but in reality the fediverse is incredibly fragile. Now I advocate mostly on the development / technology side of things. The fediverse with its 3-5 million fedizens is supported on software side by 100-200 active developers. The average project has a single developer. Mastodon has 2 maintainers. That is an incredibly tiny base. One small corporate jumping on the hype train basically. I sometimes say that fediverse manages to be interesting… for exploitation. But not strong to withstand a corporate onslaught.

Things get worse when we look at the evolution of the (technical) ecosystem as a whole. After the open interoperability standards became final, they didn’t evolve any further. Extensions were made mostly on individual app level and not made readilly accessible to others. New app developers have a very hard time onboarding and integrating with other apps involves reverse-engineering from code bases on an app-by-app basis. Overall interoperability deteriorates over time, if there’s not more collaborative attention for fedi’s ecosystem evolution.

The potential of the Fediverse is much bigger than what we have now. Currently Microblogging dominates. But there are so many different app types that have social aspects that could lend themselves to be federated. If that would happen and integrations between different app types become more seamless and deeper, a real “social fabric” would appear that walled garden corporates would find hard to compete with. In that situation the fediverse as a whole will start generating its own network effects. If have - for me personally - defined a vision of the Peopleverse for the fedi future, which is more social-oriented, than the current tech-oriented fediverse. Fediverse (technical) --> Peopleverse (social).

Of course after a corporate takeover there will always be a niche where the ‘old fedi’ can still be found, just like on the corporate web you can still find delightful personal blogs, bulletin boards. But it won’t be the same, and it will likely be harder to find. If Twitter would embrace ActivityPub - what many fedizens hope for - then fediverse will be sorely disrupted, I am afraid.

PS. I wrote more on this in Fediverse Futures community, and recently took some notes on fixing the technology adoption lifecycle and having a shared technology vision.

Well, if you spread out that number then it is also about 1 person per project. Mastodon has 2 maintainers (didn’t check but they likely have some active contributors as well and a community that shares some of the burden too).

What advocates need to do is to focus on building a solid foundation within the Fediverse

Agreed. Utterly important and at the same time the Achilles Heel of the Fediverse. I am advocating on the developer side of this, and recently created a poll about how many people are developing the fedi, upon which millions of fedizens rely. That number is likely little more than a hundred persons, working mostly individually and alone. That is shockingly few. And it gets worse if looking at the evolution of the (technical) ecosystem, where there’s hardly any collaboration at all. The open standards have stalled from their recommendation status onwards, and only progress since was mostly app-specific plus what devs gleaned from each other’s codebases. On the dev side my conclusion is that the technology adoption lifecycle is broken and that we need to fix it by focusing on the unique dynamics that exist in our grassroots community of fedizens. Some of those are likely (and hopefully) to be addressed in the Social Coding Movement, but that hasn’t officially launched yet.

I like to look at the potential of the Fediverse in terms of what the open interoperability standards (notably ActivityStreams and ActivityPub) and their Linked Data extensibility could bring. Then it helps to think in terms of ‘business domains’ i.e. particular areas of expertise that software is targeted to.

The many fediverse apps out there really are fundamentally compatible. The primary difference is UX and not so much how a post could be interacted with

Right now the Fediverse is mostly offering features in a Microblogging domain. There’s so much focus on this that we come to think of ‘adding federation support’ as adding timelines, comments, boosts, likes, etc. But with Linked Data there is no restriction as to what application types - i.e. apps targeting different business domains - we could potentially integrate with.

although more complex operations can be done with e.g. forgefed

Forgefed is a good example of this. Although in terms of ‘business domains’ it is not sliced optimally, imho. What forgefed tries to do is create a common denominator for Code Forges to interoperate. But code forges aren’t a domain (or rather it is an application domain, not a business domain). You won’t find a Code Forge Manager as a domain expert. A code forge is just a tool to help with Software Development, and this is the top-level domain. A breakdown into sub-domain may give you Revision Control, Quality Assurance, Project Management, etc.

Consider Github. It has established a dominant position in the developer landscape. 1,000’s of companies and FOSS projects deliver stuff that builds upon Github API’s, trying to add some additional value. With open standard domain-specific extensions all that will be democratized. And there would be possibilities to mix, match, reuse that do not exist now. Take Project Boards for instance. Github and Trello… they mostly overlap in their feature set. You choose one or the other. But were they federated based on the same vocabulary definitions, they might use the exact same data to render their UX. Now a Trello user can seamlessly interact with a Github user from their project board.

Note that in the case of ForgeFed I am a proponent to broaden this initiative into defining, what I call, the Free Software Development Lifecycle or FSDL.

Were the Fediverse to evolve along a domain-driven approach to creating interoperable extensions then a lot of power would be unleashed, that now is still dormant. I feel that here is the “unique selling point” that will allow Fediverse to start competing against the proprietary walled gardens that are all around us. If the ecosystem evolved like this, then more and more it will create its own network effects across a wide variety of different fields.

This is just some random example of where fedi could be going towards. But there’s a long way to go before we can get there. We have to tackle some real challenges first.

That might be better. I try to avoid because so many people think that fediverse === mastodon, though.

Yeah, I was actually thinking that while writing, ha ha. But I also didn’t want to say its on Mastodon either, as it is not just them. So fedi timelines then 🤔

Indeed. I am following that, but not boosting very often too, for the same reason of not being a real presence.

It would be very nice if they had a cross-poster from Fediverse to Twitter, instead of vice versa. It would be a one-time investment in setting it up and learning how to use it, and then no further time investment related to what they are already doing right now.

Very good talk by Aaron Wolf of Snowdrift that places FOSS in a broader perspective…


Who campaigns with me along these lines, and helps set ourselves apart from metaverses and other such shallow zuckercrap?..