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Okay, it's time to tell new users a secret about Mastodon.

Mastodon is (whispers) part of a much bigger network 😮

Mastodon servers use an open standard called ActivityPub to talk to each other. That's how you interact with people on other Mastodon servers.

But, dozens of other federated networks also use ActivityPub, so (this is the good bit!) you can follow people on these other networks from your Mastodon account!

For example:

PixelFed (pixelfed.org) is a photo sharing network, here's a random example account @Iancylkowski

PeerTube (joinpeertube.org) is a video sharing network, with a p2p system that allows videos to go viral even on small servers, here's a random account @craftykat

BookWyrm (joinbookwyrm.com) is a social reading site, an open alternative to Amazon's Goodreads, here's a random account @mouse

Together, Mastodon and these other services form... The Fediverse :fediverse:

(whispers) Click on the link...

framatube.org/w/4294a720-f263-

The link you just clicked on leads to a video on PeerTube, on a server called framatube.org.

BUT... if you copy and paste the same address of the video into the search box in Mastodon, and search for that link within Mastodon, it will appear to you as a Mastodon post :blobwizard:

You'll then be able to watch it (of course), but also you'll be able to comment on the video by replying to the post within Mastodon, like the video by favouriting it, and follow its creator by following the account that posted it.

This is the Fediverse in action, totally different services interacting through a common open standard.

It can be hard to get your head round this at first, but it's incredibly useful and once you get used to it simply how things should be.

@feditips Some people struggle with this idea of multiple Mastodon servers, but to me, that's much more about how the internet is supposed to work and its great strength - the self healing network running multiple, interlinked systems. I didn't realise it extended beyond that to other services...huge potential to re-democratise the internet...

@feditips

Hi, one of the influx on new users here.

From a user interface point of view this is one thing it would be cool to iron out, if possible.

When I go to another server that's not my own, it would be nicer to just sign in there (using my existing account as a "single sign on" type thing) and being able to write my comment without having to come back to my own server first.

I know there are probably technical reasons for why that has not been implemented but I think it would be cool.

@benx @feditips I was going to ask effectively the same thing. If I want to use BookWyrm, I have to set up a new account there? It would be way better if you could log into all these services with just the one Fediverse account.

@confusedbunny @benx

It depends what you mean by "use".

You can follow and interact with these services from your Mastodon.

If you post a photo on Mastodon, it will be visible to people on PixelFed as if you had a PixelFed account.

If a PixelFed person posts a photo, it will be visible to people on Mastodon as if they had a Mastodon account.

There's not a huge difference there in functionality, so there's not really a need to have separate accounts.

In the case of BookWyrm, if you want to write a new book review yourself you would probably need to sign up on a BookWyrm server.

But if you just want to follow and comment on what BookWyrmers are posting, you can do that from Mastodon.

There's no central Fediverse account system because when you centralise stuff, it sooner or later gets bought out by Elon Musk type people.

@benx you can write comment on any Mastodon server/instance with your account.
The *public* toots you'll publish on your server (not like this one, wich has the "open lock" icon) will be visible on all the federated servers and on your server's local timeline.

@scaglio so I run into this issue most often when using the web client for my current server.

If I want to follow someone from another server, I have to...
1/ go to their profile on their server (a different domain URL in the web browser)
2/ click on follow
3/ a pop-up now appears asking for my user account details
4/ I give the details and can now follow

@scaglio

But from that point onward I want the other server to still recognise me as being logged in to their server but with my servers account.

Does that make sense?

@scaglio

When I click log in on the web client for someone elses web server it asks for email and password but not for my existing mastadon ID

@scaglio @feditips

From a technical point of view I could guess that this is not implemented for cross script attack reasons but I don't know for sure.

@benx @feditips I think it's just a choice "by design" of Mastodon/Fediverse, it's not about XSS or else.

@benx

I'm not completely sure what you mean by "going" to another server?

If you follow or interact with someone within Mastodon, you will see their posts in your timeline and you can interact with them there without going anywhere else. This is true whether the person is on Mastodon or some other Fediverse network.

If you can't find them on your server, you can put their address in the search box and it will make them appear. The same goes for posts (which is what I mentioned in the original post).

I might have misunderstood what you mean though?

@feditips

I think i have explained better here

No, i don't mean server, exactly. I mean a different instances web client, more precisely.

kolektiva.social/@benx/1082163

@benx

Ah, ok, I see!

Right, okay...

You don't have to go to their server and click follow.

It's much, much easier just to copy the URL of their profile into the search box on your server, click search and interact with it from within your own server.

It means no signing in, no extra work, it becomes just like any other person you see in the timeline.

Same goes for copying and pasting URLs of posts.

@feditips

Ok, yes. But still a little klunky i think.

A different solution would be instead of having to copy paste the url...
1/ you only have to click on a link to someone elses profile
2/ your web client recognises this is a link to another mastadon client
3/ and then the profile is automatically loaded in the your web client instead of switching to the other server's client.

@benx

Yeah, that would be nice! Maybe if there was a certain formatting in a Masto URL it could recognise it as a Masto server and launch a Mastodon app?

If you're on github, do you want to suggest it on the Mastodon github? I could do it if not.

@feditips @benx sounds like a new URI format for activitypub.Something like activitypub:bob@instance.domain

@corfiot @feditips

I was only thinking at the web client level itself, but this would be an even neater solution which could work for link on any website and then take you to your client of choice.

@benx @feditips This is already implemented, to the extent that it can be. The problem is that part 2 of your workflow is impossible. Browser's can't tell whether a URI is a link to an ActivityPub user or simply any other web page.

If you are already logged in to an AP service, and click "follow" on a Mastodon user profile, you have the option to "remote follow" with a few clicks, but you still need to say who YOU are on the Fediverse. It works like this: hughrundle.net/how-to-implemen

@benx

What you're suggesting would obviously be easier, but it's equivalent to saying "When I go to outlook dot com I should be able to log in with my gmail dot com account because they both use the IMAP protocol for sending and receiving email".

@feditips

@hugh @benx @feditips This is a bit of a limitation of web browsers. The mobile apps tend to have better UX imo because of this. You're not jumping from website to website, you're always in the app, just looking at different data. To make it clear if a link is to something activitypub, there could be special links in theory, similar to how you can have email links like "email:asdf@example.com". I'm sure someone has considered this but I have no idea where that discussion is at.

@powersource @benx @feditips I have a vague recollection of this being discussed somewhere. I guess for logging in with another server account we’re probably talking about OpenIDConnect or similar.

@benx @feditips

This is so true. Having to copy/paste into search boxes elsewhere when you're already on a profile is a big issue that hasn't been solved and one of the few things that I see as deeply flawed in the set up. If you click a name from your client where you're already logged in it should take you to the profile through the account you're logged in as, it's super weird that it doesn't.

@continuation @feditips

I've been noodling around since, and discovered that sometimes I am linked to a user's profile in my client (even if the explicit url is for a different server).

I need to investigate a bit more into how the current setup works.

@benx @feditips It seems to depend on factors I can't figure out. Sometimes even linked usernames in the web interface seem to take me to a different server, sometimes they take me to the profile of someone on a different server but within my own server interface.

@feditips @benx
> "This is true whether the person is on Mastodon or some other Fediverse network."

You probably mean other fediverse "server software" or "client". Mastodon is not a "fediverse network", not all mastodon instances are connected to eachother and not only mastodon instances can connect.
@FediTips
BUT... if you copy and paste the same address of the video into the search box in Mastodon, and search for that link within Mastodon, it will appear to you as a Mastodon post


Oh wow, that's cool! I didn't know that, and I'm not a new Fediversian (been around for some 3 years now). And even though I don't work on Mastodon but on Hubzilla, it works the same way. Neat!

@feditips Thanks for this coming from a 2D Twitter it will take a bit to get my head around a 3D Mastodon universe.😂

peertube shows me something terrible 

@feditips this isn’t your doing but I was so shocked… I went to peertube and it gave me one of the basic instances to view and I chose the option to blur videos. Well, let’s just say I saw something unblurred that I didn’t expect. It didn’t offend me but it was like, “Okay this isn’t YouTube like at all and I wish I kinda would have known lol.”

peertube shows me something terrible 

@ultramagnus_tcv

Really sorry to hear that 😞

Do you know which server you were on when you saw this?

I can send a message to the admin asking them to block that video, it's possible it was federated from another server.

peertube shows me something terrible 

@feditips it’s okay. I found it humorous more than anything. I went to the instances list which is evidently random. I don’t recall the name so when I tried to retrace my steps I couldn’t find the video or the instance.

peertube shows me something terrible 

@ultramagnus_tcv

Okay. Let me know if it happens again.

It's possible something slipped through they hadn't moderated (yet).

By the way, I have a separate account @FediVideos that only recommends videos from PeerTube servers with responsible moderation, so you're very unlikely to see anything upsetting there.

@feditips Thanks for the rapid response. I use MeWe and Flicker, so this is a culture shock. I am just gonna play around a bit and see what I can uncover

@feditips should I be able to search for this link in my mastodon instance and comment on it: bookwyrm.social/book/97056 ? I get "Could not find anything ..."

@feditips
Many idea how I can comment on PeerTube Videos from a Pleroma server?

@aliceice

I'm not sure, but it should be similar to the post you just replied to?

@feditips Unfortunately searching for the link does not result in a Video but just some garbage.

@aliceice

You'd have to talk to the developers about that then.

@feditips
I just want to take a moment to appreciate you for the time and effort you put into making these posts. Its important for us to educate new users about the fediverse and how it works, and you do that in a way that's easy enough for any normal person to understand, I like the way you explain and introduce people to these ideas. And you've been doing that consistently since as long as I can remember, thank you for that :blobcatheart:

@futureisfoss

Awwww... thank you! 😭

I hope people find these posts useful!

@feditips Wow!
The more I learn, the more I feel like I'm starting to realize how vastly more connected and organic the fediverse is, and i'm loving it.

Posts that are mutually accessible between platforms of different specialties. Linked content sharing between servers so data doesn't have to be duplicated again and again. Not just the lack of effort to keep you locked down to just one platform, but actively encouraging new variety and connected communities.
☺️ 🤩

@aaly

Yes, indeed!

Also, because the Fediverse shares a userbase, it isn't about competition. When one platform's userbase increases, it also increases the audience for all the others.

Even tiny and experimental platforms can work on the Fediverse because their posts can be seen from the larger platforms, they don't need a lot of users in order to have a lot of reach. So, this can encourage experiments and innovation too, in a way that walled gardens don't.

@feditips For me as a new user this is kinda mind-blowing and I love it!

@feditips@mstdn.social time to mention mastodons competition too maybe you know

@NewNewDoug

Not that I know of.

But, that seems to be the number one non-book question about BookWyrm. Definitely demand for something like that!

@feditips Owncast, a self-hosted streaming platform, (very) recently also became part of the Fediverse!

owncast.online
@owncast

@hackbyte

Not enough characters, want to keep things simple for new users so I just mentioned a few.

There are something like 20-30 projects using ActivityPub! 😁

@feditips @Iancylkowski @craftykat @mouse

That is so cool! the only thing I don't like is the thing being called Fediverse... seriously, anything attached to the word verse raises my eyebrow so much it leaves my face

@quiji If it makes it any better, fediverse was around way before metaverse. I hate anything metaverse and cringe at hearing companies try to push it.

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A general-purpose Mastodon server with a 1000 character limit.