WOW. Yeah I've been on mastadon for like only five days now but I'm already flabbergasted at the world that should have been...

Like literally how did we all agree to just NOT have interoperable social networks??? Looking at the activity pub docs makes it clear how ridiculously easy that would have been. You want my content? Just GET my outbox. Want to send me something? Just POST to my inbox. The server can be anything you want, just format your messages in this (VERY INTUITIVE!) way. It's so simple it's STUPID.

I'm very new to all of this, so I'll admit that there's a lot I don't know, but what is painfully obvious right now is how, yet again, the tendrils of Capitalism have fundamentally altered the STRUCTURE of the Internet to make it less open, less empowering and generally WORSE for most users. However, what's also becoming clear is that it does not have to be that way, and being here is in some small way, bringing about that better possible future.

@zebark Timespent and user retention, the battle cry of For Profit Social Media!

Doesn't benefit *Us if our users can just take their followings anywhere! Also we don't want their *Content driving Ad Revenue on other places!

@zebark It does require some effort to get the good content here, though.

For example, being mindful about post privacy settings (specially the difference between public and unlisted), posting content to local timelines, etc.

That's one thing that might lead people to one-big-tent, automated SNS-es: it is much easier to just let the content come down your gullet over there.

@caranha so true. This is admittedly the third time I’ve tried mastadon but the first time it’s really sticking precisely because of that reason.

@zebark I hope everyone realizes that decentralized is the future of the web imo

@stulinden @zebark decentralized was the past, and original vision, of the web. And the Internet as well. The whole point of the thing was decentralization.

Federation was an obvious outgrowth (email, Usenet, IRC etc. were federated at various levels before the web even existed)

The centralized walled gardens are the creation of people trying to force fit new paradigms into ways they're used to thinking about "sevice" and profit. They've always been an aberration; people are just rediscovering it

@calcifer @stulinden @zebark a helpful textual commentary on how the current centralized status quo came about can be found in Thomas More's Utopia

@zebark twitter can re-enable RSS at any time without spinning up the whole bluesky circus.
they demand their silo.

@zebark Remember when Facebook and Google Hangouts used to have XMPP? Yeah...

@EricZhang456 @zebark and then Google continued to speak a modified XMPP dialect, so that other people could still see people as online there, but messages got silently dropped

@stephanmaus @zebark it basically talks about how its overly complicated and undocumented... but I didn't see any critiques of perf or otherwise. Something i miss?

Also, would love to look into how the community can help improve that.

It's a critique of a monopoly, if I get it right. The monopoly of #Mastodon. So it would be great to encourage people to use other clients.

@stephanmaus ah, I think I get that. Clients, which, by nature, could improve the ActivityPub spec for all (rather than just Mastodon)?

Thanks to Elon Musk, we have now found our way to independence 😉🦋

You read my mind. All this closed garden crap makes things only good for the big tech companies. If we want to connect to anybody we have to ask which service do you use? And here's the list of my accounts at Tw**, Fa**, You**, Whats** and what have you. If we had gone a Activity Pub similar route back in the hayday of social media all we would pass on were the address of our inbox that might even be similar to our email address. Would've made things so easy going. But no, let's sell our personal profiles for profit

@zebark The rot first started to set in with the Instant Messenger silos. Since then it's become normalized for new net services to launch as privately-owned platforms, rather than common protocols.

@zebark unrelated question, still pretty new 'round here. Is the post character limit set by instance? Cause this post looks like way more than 500 characters.

@zebark that's interesting. I didn't realize that, but I suppose that makes sense. Now I'm curious how crazy some instances get with the character count, considering this is supposed to be a "micro-blogging" platform, if they can just change the character count all Willy Nilly. I guess I don't see many that appear to be longer than the default of 500 though in my federated feed.

@Finner @zebark it's not "supposed to be" a microblogging platform. It's meant to be a social platform. Microblogging is just the default behavior of a few of the more popular server packages (like Mastodon itself).

@calcifer @zebark yeah I've been aware of mastodon for a while now, but only recently learned of the activity pub backend that's used by many other platforms. Now I'm curious about a lot of the other platforms, I know about pixelfed now. Guess I'll have to go do some reading.

@zebark yes. lack of interop was never a *technical* decision, it was always a *business* decision.

@zebark you managed to express this better than I could have, and I've been here for 5 years.

There is only one federated platform that has so far resisted being turned into a private service by some company, and that's email. That said, they're still trying.

For this reason I don't actually think that the fediverse will ever be able to take over, but at the same time, I don't think it has to. I certainly get all the satisfaction I need from it right now, even though a lot of people with whom is like to communicate is on other platforms. I'm OK with that personally. If I needed to, I could open one of those sites. That hasn't happened yet however

@zebark Pretty much. Alas, ActivityPub was only stable when finalized by W3 in 2018,

@zebark I think capitalism and open source is a great connection and can work well. I'm almost sure that socialism wouldn't make more things open, rather controlled and limited by the state.

Despite the fact, fediverse idea is great, and i would love to see more people here, although i feel like it still needs some development :)

Have fun my friend!

@zebark All true. but in fairness, ActivityPub was only published and stable in 2018. Twitter happened a decade earlier. And the visibility issue is going to be a challenge here, once any of these instances gets really larger. It's my lay understanding that just the database issues will radically change with millions of instance users, vs thousands. Assuming that's all solvable, it's absolutely a better model to start from going forward.

@shoq @zebark only half true, because it's not like ActivityPub sprung up fully formed like that. Its origins trace through and StatusNet back to in 2008

@DrMcCoy @zebark Yes, but Twitter was well formed (enough) by 2008-09 with a big app ecosystem already evolving. It was way too late to rethink their architecture. Status net was considered a science project by most (at that point) and without WC3 validation of the AP system, it would be a hard sell to the investors in that early phase. Either way, they missed that boat and it sailed without them. BUt this is exacty what @jack presumably wanted to rectify with his "@bluesky" project.


On commercial networks we were never the customer we are the product. (Lippmann said that about newspapers about 100 years ago!)

@zebark So at the beginning of Mastodon there actually were a few sites that had cross platform integration. Some of them still exist. Pleroma is technically not Mastodon, though they do functionally the same thing, and allows you to "follow" blogs from the fediverse and see the posts, but replies don't do anything/don't show up to the blog poster.

@zebark It's a fundamental problem where, for it to work, both devs need to enable and maintain it. Capitalism plays a role, but honestly I think it's just such a pain to implement (Activity pub is very confusing to develop for from what I've heard) that there's not been a lot of incentive to do it.

@Sandrockcstm Totally. It's really easy to get on here and cry "down with capitalism, open source is so easy and good and right!" but the reality is much more complicated.

@Sandrockcstm @zebark ActivityPub is a bit odd, but it's easier to develop for it than for SMTP: and yet there's no shortage of SMTP-supporting software

As the libraries mature, it'll get easier. It used to be hard to develop for the web too, but tools and frameworks keep making it easier

@zebark I think one of the 'how did it take so long for people to realize this?' is just the crazy amount of work that's gone into Mastodon to bring it to where it is now. hasn't always been this smooth, and of course, there's the network effect.

@zebark I dunno, we've kinda just... let it happen, man.

We had the chance to turn the tide even before Facebook, had we convinced Brad Fitzpatrick to develop his Livejournal (which even had its code open-sourced) to federate between individual installations.

The blueprint for Web's centralization was drawn not by Facebook or Twitter, but Livejournal.

@zebark that is Elon's plan, a pre 1992 internet, was great back then...

@zebark it's really a bit deceptive. First of all AP itself is based on json-LD and activitystreams vocabularity, which is a much bigger spec. Second, fedi software will not survive in a wild equipped with just this. You need at least webfinger and signatures. Then one most often one needs to adapt to how Mastodon is encoding things.
It literally took years to come up with something that works somehow but hey, if nerds could do it, corps definitely could.


Some companies got greedy, and in other cases, some users became complacent. Web2 was seen as a way to onboard those who were not for the complicated origins of the web, but just wanted it to work. Companies like GAFAM took advantage of this in their own unique ways.

There are some who maintain that normies shouldn't be within looking distance of a machine because their demands weaken the concepts that make systems reliable and secure to begin with. The solution is to educate them, and not exclude them.

There's no such thing as a stupid question. Even if so, then it should be really easy for seasoned users to answer that they can RT a bookmarked status every time the question is asked.

I've been on Fedi for a while, but the best way to get a technical rapport on all of this is to get comfortable enough to run your own instance. I'd wait a little while and try out the experience by signing up with instances running different FEs to see which feature set works best.

I think users who get disillusioned with Masto could easily migrate to Glitch-Soc or Koyu without too many changes to their experience. Of course, your instance already runs Glitch.


I recommended this documentary the other day about the origins of the free/open source software movements.

In the early days of computer programming the idea of having passwords was even thought of as being extreme.

@zebark things worked a while that way. Every google-account and Facebook account talked xmpp for messages. I used to chat with friends on Facebook over xmpp.
But as soon as they went "big enough" or the alternatives gained traction they changed it proprietarily or shut it off altogether.

It's an old tactic:

So even if big tech would embrace it - they would soon extend it and then make it not interoperable and silo their users in.
Also See html5 vs. XHTML

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