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... https://www.w3.org/TR/activitypub/#Overview
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.
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
Activity Pub seems to have some problems. Interesting text: https://keinpfusch.net/why-the-fediverse-is-stuck/
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)?
@zebark I don't think the internet got less empowering and less open in absolute terms. It's just that supported by big money the walled gardens grew faster than the open net but nevertheless the latter grew too. To someone that only ever hanged out in the open parts of the net, the development actually looks very positive and promising.
@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.
@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 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.
@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 write.as 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.
@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 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.
@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: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend,_and_extinguish
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
A general-purpose Mastodon server with a 1000 character limit.