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Re-inventing the federated wheel because you don't know that wheels exist

I keep seeing lots of people who are totally giddy about the #Fediverse, who are gushing over it, who want to promote it, who want it to spread.

And who want it to advance. To learn new abilities. To grow new features.

That's all fine and dandy.

But almost all of these people are still fully convinced that the Fediverse equals #Mastodon. And nothing else. At least not until Tumblr and P92 join the fray. Okay, maybe the #WordPress plug-in that's the talk of the town now that it has become official. Okay, maybe a few of them have also heard of #Pixelfed and/or #PeerTube because their makers are all over the Fediverse.

When these people are talking about the Fediverse, they mean Mastodon. And when they're thinking about the Fediverse, they're only thinking about Mastodon. Because that's all they know.

So these people want new cool features or even new cool use-cases in the Fediverse, stuff that Mastodon doesn't have. They want Mastodon to have it, or they want new projects to be launched that have these features.

If only they knew.

If only they knew that everything, literally everything they propose has already been done. Yes, in the Fediverse. In projects which are fully federated with Mastodon. Why don't they know? Because they've never heard of any of these projects, much less what they can do.
So they want "quote-tweets" in the Fediverse. Which means they want Mastodon to introduce them.

Tell you what: Mastodon is the only microblogging project in the Fediverse that doesn't have quotes. Not only will Eugen Rochko never introduce them, but all the other projects have them with Mastodon forks #GlitchSoc such as being the exception. #Pleroma has them. #Akkoma has them. #MissKey has them. #CalcKey has them. #FoundKey has them. #GoToSocial has them. The old heavyweights #Friendica and #Hubzilla have them, and so does Hubzilla's youngest decendant, the #Streams project. Et cetera.

You want "quote-tweets"? Switch to something that isn't Mastodon, and you've got "quote-tweets".
Or text formatting in posts like bold type, italics, underline, strikethrough, code blocks etc. Would be great if Mastodon had that, in spite of other people saying they don't want it.

Again: Pleroma already has it. Akkoma already has it. MissKey already has it. CalcKey already has it. FoundKey already hasit. GoToSocial already has it. Friendica already has it. Hubzilla already has it (look at this post at its source in a Web browser and weep). (streams) already has it. And so forth. This time, even Mastodon forks have it.

It has been done. It has been done many times. It has actually been done before Mastodon.
Next, long-form blog posting. We need something like #Medium in the Fediverse that isn't Medium itself. Mastodon's 500 characters are too few, and Twitter-like threads are inconvenient.

Except we already have that, too. #Plume and #WriteFreely are about as close to Medium as Mastodon is to Twitter, including clean and distraction-less layouts. Oh, and Hubzilla can do that, too.

By the way: Again, Mastodon is the only Fediverse project that can do microblogging that has a 500-character limit. Pleroma, Mastodon's oldest direct competitor, raised it to a default of 6,000. MissKey and its forks have 3,000 as a default. Friendica, Hubzilla and (streams) have character limits of "go ahead, drop your short story in one post in its entirety," so virtually none at all. And yes, Hubzilla has long-form writing on top of that.
Speaking of Hubzilla: Most recently, there has been the idea to uncouple one's online identity from a specific instance. Your online self should no longer be firmly tied to any one server exclusively. Now, this sounds so ambitious, it might just as well be science-fiction.

What if I told you that just this very thing already exists as well?

No, really. No, I'm not making this up. But you should know by now that I'm not.

Better yet: It was conceived as early as 2011. By the guy who launched Friendica in 2010. He invented a new principle named #NomadicIdentity and a new protocol named #Zot. In its early stages already, even with no technical implementation yet, Zot was more powerful than ActivityPub is today.

In 2012, Zot became reality as the basis of a Friendica fork which later became known as #RedMatrix and, upon its 1.0 stable release in late 2015, which is still prior to Mastodon's initial release, Hubzilla. Hubzilla is still being developed and improved, and it has a fledgling but growing "successor of a successor" named (streams) which offers nomadic identity, too.

Now, what does this nomadic identity even look like? Well, not only does it let you move your channel(s) around from instance to instance with ease and, unlike on Mastodon, with absolutely everything on it. No, it also lets you have your channel on multiple instances at once. Identical clones, automagically kept in sync in real-time, all with the same identity, the same content, the same connections.

Your identity is no longer strapped down to one instance. Not only that, but your channel, your posts, your content is no longer hosted on only one server. This means that if one instance with one of your clones goes down, you still have spares.
Okay, so how about community groups/forums? That'd be cool.

Well, for one, there's #Guppe. It's basically bolted on Mastodon, and in practice, it's centralised because there's only one instance. But it's impractical to use.

Besides, this is becoming a running gag here, Friendica, Hubzilla and (streams) have exactly this built-in and open for the rest of the Fediverse.

Better yet: There's also #Lemmy which amounts to a federated #Reddit or #HackerNews clone. So not only does Lemmy offer this, it specialises in it.

Hubzilla alone can provide Fediverse feature suggestions with "has been done" for years to come. Not to mention what else the Fediverse has to offer. Even if someone should want a free, non-commercial, decentralised, federated #GoodReads clone in the Fediverse, it has been done: #BookWyrm.
Funny how, in spite of the rising number of likes, many people seem to misunderstand what I've written.

Here's a short explanation.

People: We want bold type and italics and stuff in the Fediverse! And quote-tweets! And more than 500 characters! Please, #Mastodon, include it!

Me: Join #Akkoma (), and you've got your bold type and italics and quote-tweets and thousands of characters! And you can still talk to people on Mastodon! Easy as that.

Or if you don't like Akkoma, try #Pleroma ().
Or #MissKey ().
Or #CalcKey ().
Or #GoToSocial (
Or if you don't mind something bigger, #Friendica ().
Or if you don't mind a hard-to-handle feature monster, #Hubzilla (#^
And all of them let you stay in contact with your friends on Mastodon.

#MastodonIsNotTheFediverse. Nor is Mastodon the best the #Fediverse has to offer.
You gave us so many options that I dont know where to go to now! ๐Ÿ˜
same here, I just bookmarked the post so I can come back to it when I'm more used to all this. New universes take time to understand lol. I feel like a refugee that has also time traveled, it's so cool.
Mastodon is like a gateway drug and the fediverse is like... All the other drugs? Idk where I was going with this...
@Genders: โ™พ๏ธ, ๐ŸŸชโฌ›๐ŸŸฉ; Soni L. #ActivityPub. The language which (most of) the #Fediverse speaks.

It is how Mastodon instances talk to other Mastodon instances. And it is how, for example, Pleroma instances talk to Mastodon instances. Or to each other.
okay well, how many steps (and which) do you need to take to fav or boost this linked post?

and what if it were posted on something like IRC or email instead, how many/which steps would it take then?
@DaywalkingRedhead I've never really seen #PeerTube as a #TikTok replacement. Maybe the devs could say something about it (@PeerTube).

@EamonnMR I'm not quite sure what exactly you mean with "app".

If you mean whether users of different mobile apps for the #Fediverse can stay in contact with users with the mobile app named "Mastodon" that you install from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, that's the wrong question. But the answer is yes.

If you mean whether users of different projects (platforms, server apps etc.) in the Fediverse that aren't Mastodon can stay in contact with Mastodon users, then: Yes, they can. Each project I've mentioned is federated with Mastodon, i.e. they all connect to Mastodon, and their users can interact with Mastodon users.

That's the magic of the Fediverse. And that's the actual idea behind the Fediverse. After all, the Fediverse is not only Mastodon.

@{} They don't have to put up with all these features.

If they want cool new features, they may move to e.g. Akkoma or CalcKey or Friendica or whatever. If they don't, they can stay on good old Mastodon.

What they won't get, though, is a 100%, 1:1 Twitter clone, just without Elon Musk.

@Phoenix Thank you!

@Genders: โ™พ๏ธ, ๐ŸŸชโฌ›๐ŸŸฉ; Soni L. Do you mean me myself in my specific situation or "you" as in anyone with whichever app is the most popular on whichever hardware/OS platform is the most popular?

Do you mean which steps I personally would take using Hubzilla through Firefox on desktop GNU/Linux? Or which steps a beginner would have to take, e.g. using the official Mastodon app on an iPhone?

I could tell you the former, but it'd be of little use for most here. I can't tell you the latter because I don't have any practical experience with it.
yes, which steps you, personally, as a hubzilla user, would be forced to take by the various cross-interacting software (between the OS, the browser/desktop app, the window manager, the instance, and whatever else might be of relevance), to be able to interact with said post from your fedi account?
@Genders: โ™พ๏ธ, ๐ŸŸชโฌ›๐ŸŸฉ; Soni L. Since I don't have that post in my stream:

Step 1: Copy the URL.

Step 2: Click on the magnifying glass for search.

Step 3: Paste the URL into the search field.

Step 4: Hit Enter. The post should appear now.

Step 5: Do with it as I please. Share, like, reply, save in a folder, whatever.

Basically, interaction with any post is only one search away.
okay, so from something like IRC or email you have:

1. copy the URL
2. manually switch to the browser, then to the instance
3. click search
4. paste URL
5. finally, hit enter

whereas something like twitter it's just

1. click URL

do you see the problem? do you see why fedi is bleeding users?
@Kermode The different projects use different markup languages for formatting.

Some microblogging projects use Markdown, some HTML in addition. Friendica, Hubzilla and (streams) use an extended variant of BBcode.

ActivityPub turns everything into Rich Text afterwards.
I didn't know that! Thanks.
I use joplin for notes, so I know md to some extent. Joplin also has 'extended' the md, so... I don't really know how much I know is actually transferable. Like tables for example. No idea, but they're handy.
@Genders: โ™พ๏ธ, ๐ŸŸชโฌ›๐ŸŸฉ; Soni L. Well, if we were to put ease-of-use above everything else for everyone, we should shut down all projects that aren't Mastodon and then turn Mastodon into a 100%, 1:1 Twitter clone with the only exceptions being the name and the fact that Mastodon isn't owned by Elon Musk. Make both the project website and the only instance, make Mastodon one huge centralised monolithic silo owned by a Mastodon, Inc. in Palo Alto, CA (NASDAQ: MSDN).

Hubzilla wasn't launched in 2022 in a reaction to the launch of Mastodon which in turn was a reaction upon Musk's Twitter takeover. Mastodon was launched in 2016 with no mobile app. And Hubzilla had its 1.0 release in 2015, development began in 2012, and the target audience wasn't the tech-illiterate iPhone user, it was the Linux geek.

Mastodon wasn't built to be mainstream. Hubzilla was even less built to be mainstream.
@Genders: โ™พ๏ธ, ๐ŸŸชโฌ›๐ŸŸฉ; Soni L. It's basically the same as "If #Linux wants to take over the desktop, it'll have to become identical to #Windows, just free-of-charge and without malware. No more distros, one Linux for everyone, one desktop environment, one graphical toolkit, only one of each, whatever it is."

Linux never wanted to take over the desktop.
so the linux geek should be forced to put up with that crap because demanding better of your tools is too much to ask for?

is it really made for the linux geek, or for the C89 evangelist? because even the modern linux geek uses rust nowadays, complete with borrow checker. but the C89 evangelist will claim turning on -Wall is against the spirit of C. why *not* demand better of mastodon and hubzilla, too?
@Genders: โ™พ๏ธ, ๐ŸŸชโฌ›๐ŸŸฉ; Soni L. The Linux geek has different priorities than the tech-illiterate iPhone user. It's all about security, data/privacy protection and efficiency and about definitely not being bullshat by anyone. The latter is one of the reasons why Linux geeks distrust non-free, closed-source software. Efficiency is why Linux geeks have drifted away from the 2000s' easier-to-use KDE and GNOME to nowadays' i3wm. Many only know GUIs from Firefox anymore. "The modern Linux geek" generally doesn't use mice, touchpads or other pointing devices anymore.

And the former two points are why Linux geeks distrust big, corporate centralised silos. Friendica was built to have a powerful social network platform like Facebook, but free-as-in-free-license, open-source, non-commercial, non-corporate, decentralised and federated. In fact, federated with everything and then some. Still, Friendica's target audience weren't those who used the Facebook app on their iPhones while neither knowing nor caring what happened in the background.

And Hubzilla was made because even Friendica didn't provide enough resilience with its decentralisation yet. Even more than in Friendica's case, the target audience did not include tech-illiterate Joe Average. Hubzilla has always been for people who either know what they're doing or are willing to learn.

The Fediverse was made by tech geeks for tech geeks. Mastodon was launched in 2016 when nobody could even expect Elon Musk to buy out Twitter. When nobody would have expected a mass-exodus of Joe Averages with neither knowledge nor interest in tech from Twitter to Mastodon. And when Friendica and Hubzilla adopted ActivityPub, nobody had in mind if and how these Joe Averages could understand that, although they're on Mastodon, they'd certainly interact with people on entirely different services. And it didn't matter. Other things mattered a whole lot more.

If tech geeks had always put the focus 100% on ease-of-use and neglected everything else, we literally wouldn't have any free, open-source software nowadays because all the commercial software is easier to use. Eugen Rochko wouldn't have created Mastodon because the Twitter mobile app was easier to use than Mastodon would have been in a Web browser. Mike Macgirvin wouldn't have created Friendica, Red Matrix/Hubzilla, Osada, Zap, Misty, Roadhouse and (streams) because the Facebook mobile app was easier to use than either of them in a Web browser.

Linux and XMPP should have taught the Linux geeks that average computer users can't handle having to choose. And yet, Laconica/StatusNet/GNU social became decentral. As did Friendica. As did Diaspora*. As did Mastodon and everything else that uses ActivityPub. As, by the way, did Matrix.

And why?

Because their creators wanted to create online services that don't end up entirely in one hand. A hand that could possibly misuse its own power. They actually wanted to encourage people to run their own private instances. They wanted people to own their own data. Of course, first and foremost, they had people in mind who were fully capable of setting up a LAMP stack on a headless server and maintaining it through ssh. Having to choose between a one-click solution for tech-illiterate dummies and security, they picked the latter.

Also, they, just like their target audience, like to get their hands dirty on techy stuff. They want control. Control over everything that happens. They want to know how stuff works, and they want control over how that stuff works. They want things to happen the way they want it, not the way some developer or even some corporation wants it.

They hate black boxes. They hate closed-source software. They hate it when they have to push a button, and then some magic that's none of their business happens somewhere in the background, well-hidden from them. They don't trust such crap.

They want to KNOW what happens. First-hand, if need be. And, if need be, they want to have an influence on what happens and why it happens. They want to be able to disrupt it if something bad happens. They want to be able to fix it if it's broken. They want to be able to manipulate it until it acts the way they need it to act.

This, by the way, is largely why Hubzilla's UX is as complicated as it is: It isn't made for people seeking the simplicity of WhatsApp. It's made for geeks who want to assume full control over everything their channel can do. People who distrust autopilots, assistants and obfuscated algorithms.

The reason why Hubzilla is both decentralised and nomadic is because it was made by people who prefer security over maximum ease-of-use for people who prefer security over maximum ease-of-use. For people who have seen too much snake oil and security-through-obscurity bullshit in their lives. For people who want to know and be able to verify why exactly something is as secure as it's claimed to be.

However, this entire philosophy and everything that came from it clashes hard with the demands and expectations of 10,000,000 tech-illiterates who have come over from Twitter, initially expecting a 100% Twitter clone, and many of whom now demand their 100% Twitter clone at all costs. Also because they neither know nor care what the costs would be.

If you simplify the Fediverse by forcing everything that isn't Mastodon to shut down in order to no longer confuse tech-illiterates with people who claim they aren't on Mastodon although they seem to be, the Fediverse will lose a whole lot of power and versatility. Of course, the tech-illiterates won't care, they want the Fediverse to be an as-easy-as-possible Twitter clone.

If you simplify the Fediverse further by axing all mobile apps except for one official app that's non-free and closed-source in order not to break its own license by its mere presence in the Apple App Store, you subject all its users to not only potential spying, privacy breaches and all kinds of private data going where at least some of us don't want it to go. Again, tech-illiterates won't care as long as the app is easy to use.

If you simplify the Fediverse even further by turning it all into one big, centralised, monolithic data silo operated by the same company that also develops everything, just so that people don't have to put up with having to choose an instance (or learning what instances are), you take "somewhere else to go" away from people. And it'd become possible for one individual to take over the whole Fediverse. With nowhere else to go, people will have to leave the Fediverse as a whole, and their only alternatives would be other corporate silos.

Because developing resilient alternatives is out of question. Because they wouldn't be easy enough to use.
1100 words of mythology, misrepresentation and bullshit. congratulations, my dude, congratulations.
@Jupiter Rowland @Genders: โ™พ๏ธ, ๐ŸŸชโฌ›๐ŸŸฉ; Soni L. I'm one of those "tech illiterate iPhone users" and I've been struggling for weeks trying to make this fediverse work for me. Overall, I LOVE my Mastodon experience so far. I'm a refugee from fb, who misses the old LiveJournal, as the only reason for social media for me is keeping in touch with my people.

But some of them are even less tech savvy than I am, and while I'd love to pry them away from Zuck and Musk and the rest of the parasites, I can't make a solid effort at that until I can explain HOW to use the various parts of the fediverse and make it work for what we need it to do.

Our needs are simple, but that doesn't mean we should be abandoned to the corporate hells of Meta and Google. There's going to be an influx of refugees, coming in waves. At least some of them will, like me, be willing to take a few extra steps, as long as we can make it work without having to try to cudgel our non-tech-geek brains and still fail to learn programming.

Your initial post is hugely helpful, and I thank you. I am trying to learn as much about the fediverse as possible, as anything that offers a useable alternative to the corporate overlords is a Good Thing. The disdain in your subsequent posts is... disappointing, but whatever. You've got your thing. Thanks for the help, anyway.

Content warning: tl;dr: All that cool new stuff you want in the Fediverse already exists in the Fediverse, right outside of Mastodon

Content warning: tl;dr: All that cool new stuff you want in the Fediverse already exists in the Fediverse, right outside of Mastodon

@basisbit There may be a few who were given the choice between multiple projects (e.g. Mastodon vs Akkoma vs Friendica etc.) right away, also being told that they'd have the exact same people to connect to, regardless of what they choose, and who chose what appeared as the closest to Twitter.

But for each of them, you have thousands upon thousands who were only told about Mastodon, who were told that Mastodon is the Fediverse, either on Twitter or by mass-media. Including thousands to whom was sold as "Twitter without Musk" because nothing more fit into 280 characters.

It's them I'm talking about.
See me second comment which I wrote a few hours ago as answer to my first comment ๐Ÿ˜’
@basisbit I've already seen it before replying. And I think my previous answer already covers it.

Yes, a few people were shown the whole Fediverse before joining. Out of all projects, they picked Mastodon because it seemed the most simple and the closest to Twitter to them.

Others were shown the whole Fediverse before joining, and they picked something that isn't Mastodon because they found Mastodon to be too lacking.

Most were only shown Mastodon, usually only one instance. They didn't get to choose because they didn't know they had a choice, much less what their choices would have been.

Some of the latter actually don't want there to be anything else than Mastodon. They want the Fediverse to be as simple as possible. Multiple Mastodon instances are already too complicated. Multiple different projects in the Fediverse, each with multiple instances, now, that really goes too far. Everything that isn't Mastodon has to go, also because everything that isn't Mastodon is too complicated all in itself.

Content warning: tl;dr: All that cool new stuff you want in the Fediverse already exists in the Fediverse, right outside of Mastodon

@Rocky Carr Good to know it takes only one afternoon to read my stuff.

Also explains my number of followers...

Content warning: tl;dr: All that cool new stuff you want in the Fediverse already exists in the Fediverse, right outside of Mastodon

This entry was edited (6 months ago)

Content warning: tl;dr: All that cool new stuff you want in the Fediverse already exists in the Fediverse, right outside of Mastodon

  • click url
  • unable to favorite tweet due to being permanently banned by the single twitter instance in existence.

Content warning: re: tl;dr: All that cool new stuff you want in the Fediverse already exists in the Fediverse, right outside of Mastodon

But that is BAD, VERY BAD! So the Fediverse is split into a myriad platforms -- and hence communities -- with incompatible features.

That may be great for the computer nerds who will join a dozen platforms just to revel in the features. It is terrible for those who only want a platform to communicate with other people...

#Fediverse #FediverseFragmentation
This entry was edited (6 months ago)

Mark doesn't like this.

Nope, you got it wrong. Hint: count the number of characters in the toot you just replied toโ€”it's well over 500, because it didn't originate on a Mastodon server! It's a federated system, so every client can read stuff posted on any other server that supports ActivityPub. (Imagine you could read Twitter tweets on your Facebook page. Only more so.) If all you want to do is to toot, that's fineโ€”everyone else can see you just fine.
But what happens when a message with fancy formatting/threading/etc is read by someone from a server that does not support such features?
The message gets transmitted to the client, whose reader is then responsible for displaying/formatting that message (or not, if it lacks the capability). This isn't new. It's how the internet worked 20 years ago, before all these gigantic corporate silos took over. (I shouldn't need to explain this to you, should I โ€ฆ? Graceful degradation of capabilities isn't an new requirement โ€ฆ)
This entry was edited (6 months ago)
But that is my point. Email and Usenet had a standard message format (ascii text, unfortunately, because that was before Unicode). Every valid server was supposed to issue only compliant messages and properly display any compliant message. This does not seem to be the case in the Fediverse, is it?
Think back to the early web, when a browser like Mosaic didn't support just http: but also ftp: gopher: nntp: and other protocols. The message formatting was implicit in the protocol used. And worse: different browsers implemented different versions of HTML.
Hm... IIRC, email and WWW were fairly standardized and interoperable until the internet was opened to the public, and Microsoft imposed its "enhancements" on both, ignoring the standards.

Ftp, nntp, gopher were not variants of http, but separate protocols with their own standards. This does not seem to be the case with all the variants of "Fediverse", is it?
Nope, it's the opposite way around: an interoperable protocol carrying different content types, as opposed to different protocols mostly carrying simple text with optional markup (at least in the early days).
FTP, NNTP, and Email were intended for very different types of contents and usage patterns.

Whereas the "different content types" of the Fediverse seem to be all fuzzily intended to carry the same high-level type of content, "mastodon-like posts/messages" -- but don't seem to have firm standards and don't seem to be fully interoperable. That is, the standardization of the protocol is only at the bit transfer level, not at the semantic/usage level. Isn't that so?
You missed out Gopher, WWW, and HyperG, all of which were more or less designed for the same content (hyperlinked text) but used radically different protocols and different/no markup.

The internet has never been standardized the way you seem to think the fediverse should be standardized.
I barely used gopher or hyperG before they died out, so I cannot comment on them. But HTTP, like FTP, was meant for a service very different from email. And it WAS well-standardized enough in the beginning.

Whereas - pardon for insisting -- the many variants of "Fediverse" described by the original poster seem to be creating a much worse situation, in which the (ostensibly) same high-level function is being implemented in dozens of *incompatible* formats. >>
It strikes me as weird that we're able to have this discussion on a number of different federated ActivityPub servers, using a growing variety of front-ends, and still there are people complaining that it's not working as well as it should, because reasons.

I still don't know what I'm supposed to make of fact that some people don't know the difference between Mastodon and Hubzilla. Well if it comes to that, they don't need to know. It all works just fine anyway, as long as you can grasp that users are identified by at username at instance instead of at username.
Are we indeed able to dicuss Fediverse-wide? Or just among those who use a particular prootcol (ActivityPub?)?

And even within the latter, there seem to be obvious problems. I don't see any markups in other people's messages (e.g. cant tell block quotes from the sender's own text). And I am limited to 500 byte posts, so I cannot quote 1000 chars from a post that someone else sent me.
@Jorge Stolfi



I can see, read answer, quote also diaspora.

And my postings does not have any limitations...

Yes... the problem is on your site. On mastodons site.

Should we do now some kind of inclusion and make the same limitations, to interact with your platform seamless?

I choosed friendica, because the limitations from mastodon felt very bad and doesn't fit my needs...
I never used twitter, because this char-size-limitation drives me crazy.
@Jupiter Rowland @Charlie Stross @bitnik

Mark reshared this.

@Jorge Stolfi @Jupiter Rowland @Charlie Stross

out of curiosity, what do you see if I use italic or bold text on my platform?

or even a block quote (which I'm sure is not supported by mastodon)
Does your message above have any such markups? I don't see any -- just plain text, with no italics or bold.
@Jorge Stolfi @Jupiter Rowland @Charlie Stross

that's what I expected: I don't know whether it's my platform (friendica) that sends stuff that knows that the target can read (plain unicode text) or mastodon that specifically ignores the bbcode (yeah, friendica uses bbcode for markup, for historical reasons I believe).
ActivityPub supports markup and the Frendica BBCode gets translated and passed along. It's Mastodon that doesn't support it and throws it away on their end.
Seems so. Unfortunately, I entered the Fediverse through the Mastodon door...
@Elena ``of Valhalla'' @Jorge Stolfi @Charlie Stross It's the latter. Mastodon strips out everything that isn't [url][/url].

That is, technically speaking, Mastodon strips out the Rich Text formatting which Friendica's ActivityPub connector generates out of Friendica's BBcode.
I get the italics, bold, and block quotes, too. If somebody isn't getting that, and it's important enough to them, they can easily migrate to an instance that will provide the markup. I actually did that myself a couple of weeks ago, but for reasons unrelated to the capabilities of the social media server. My old account was on a Mastodon instance called, and my new account is running Akkoma, a hard fork of Pleroma.

Despite running a completely different implementation, Akkoma was capable of migrating my Mastodon followers, followed, and other settings over. My old posts couldn't be migrated, but I find this limitation acceptable. I can understand why some may be wary of migrating.
This entry was edited (5 months ago)
Perusing the description in this link, it seems to me that ActivityPub is a standard protocol for the exchange of FILES, leaving their interpretation entirely to users; rather than a protocol for exchange of MESSAGES (including blogposts, articles, etc) -- that is, textual/visual/auditory artifacts, possibly with embedded or attached files. Is this correct.? >>
In this regard (apart from interaction model), ActivityPub is more like old FTP, rather than SMTP+MIME, NNTP, the WWW, and the "social networks".

That is, AP does not try to ensure that a message sent by a user from a compliant server can be read faithfully (apart from non-semantic layout and looks) by recipients in every other server. Because the sender may use a message format that the receiver can't properly handle.

Is this correct?
I'm not an implementer, but it's my understanding that the recipient can tell the sender what it can handle, while the sender may include a source attribute containing the original content, as well as the transformed content that complies with the recipient's stated requirements.

I think somebody above referred to the notion of degrading gracefully, and that's certainly possible using such mechanisms.
Yes, but that is still not good. Within ActivityPub, one cannot write a *message* that, a priori, is known to be correctly readable by any of the intended recipients -- unless it is a short (< 500 bytes) text in plain ascii, with no italics, boldface, or other markup, and no embedded images... >>

#Fediverse #ActivityPub #FediverseFragmentation
>> For the ActivityPub network to be a better alternative to social networks, or even to WWW, the ActivityPub standard should specify a *message* format -- such as HTML 3.0 -- that is rich enough for modern expectations (embedded images and hyperlinks, tables, etc.), but that every compliant implementation is required to handle and display properly, on any minimally powerful platform.

#Fediverse #ActivityPub
@Jorge Stolfi

This is exactly what i mean.

What does the ">>" mean... Quoting from a website? It was my first intention, because ">" or ">>" are common quotingmarks in Email or XMPP and even the old usenet.

I looked in the AP-Specs for finding your quotation... no... it was just a custom handling for "now read in the next comment"... stuttering mastodon-like.

It is bullshit, this kind of character-limitation.
It is a bad idea, removing markdown or bb-code without any hint for the user, that here is missing something.

And if some mastodonis really want to strip this off... it should be only stripped off in the client. Configureable. The same as in Email with HTML too.

Really, i tend to block all this users, who are not willing to use practicable software for their needs in fediverse.

What does "practicable for their needs" mean for me?
If you have to say often more than 500 Chars: Don't use an Instance with Character Limitation.
@Elena ``of Valhalla'' @Jupiter Rowland @Charlie Stross @bitnik
Sorry. I have been using ">>" to indicate continuation in threads. A habit I carried over from the birdโŒซโŒซโŒซโŒซdogecoin site. My mastodon instance limits posts to 500 bytes.

Would "๐Ÿงตโ€>" be the proper way here?
@Jorge Stolfi
Use an instance with much more than 500 Chars...
They are existing.

There are forked Mastodons outside, which can and have configures max character-size up to 5000 or more chars.
There are pleroma-Instances outside, which hast default 3000 or 5000 Chars i think. And many admins have set up the limit much higher.
There are forks of pleroma, with more allowed characters.
There is Friendica out in the Fediverse, which has NO limit.
There is hubzilla, zot, misskey... they all have more or no limit for characters in postings...

You can try them all. You are as connected to the fediverse, as with your actual mastodon-instance... don't be afraid to test other instances or even other software than mastodon...

And if you find an instance or software, wich fits your needs better... just move your followers and followings to this new instance. There are Howtos and Scripts for exactly this: moving your account to another instance.
@Elena ``of Valhalla'' @Jupiter Rowland @Charlie Stross @bitnik

I wish someone had warned me of that 4 months ago, when I joined through Oh well.

But the problem is not what kind of text **I** can read and write. It is **lack of interoperability**. It is the fact that, no matter in which server I am hosted, I cannot be sure that everyone who gets my posts will be able to read them correctly -- unless I write only 500 chars of plain ascii.
@Jorge Stolfi, did you not look into any other instances before choosing What made you decide that it was the right place for you? Maybe using the most limiting implementation is the correct choice for that goal. Public audience webpages should probably only be written in plaintext without images as well ensuring everyone is able to read them.
@eshep I guess that @Jorge Stolfi was a) told that #Mastodon is the #Fediverse and b) given as the URL to go to instead of

So whoever guided him to Mastodon either didn't know better themselves or wanted to make it as easy for newcomers as possible, short-cutting the instance selection process by directing them immediately to one instance and not even telling them that such a thing as instances exist.

It happened on Twitter all the time, also because there's only so much you can explain in 280 characters. That's why you have people who joined in November during the #TwitterMigration, who didn't find out about instances and Mastodon's decentral nature until February, and who didn't find out that there's more to the Fediverse than only Mastodon until March.

They were guided by tweets such as
go to mastodon its literally twitter without musk

or in this case
go to mastodon its literally twitter without musk
@Jupiter Rowland, to be fair, Mastadon is about as twitter as AP gets. :D It almost feels like the twitteriness of mastodon is there intentionally to give people who've been directed to it as an alternative a bad taste for it so they either head back or persist in their dislike of that system.

It really burns my ass when I see posts like those. People pushing things they know nothing about. It's really quite sad how few people understand the "federation" part of FediVerse.
Indeed I had never heard of the Fediverse or Mastodon when I decided to leave Twitter. Some contacts who did that suggested I move to mastodon. How could I choose between instances before joining them? ๐Ÿงตโ€>
๐Ÿงตโ€> Wepages HAVE a basic standard (HTML 3.0, or the equivalent subset of HTML 5.0) that includes bold, italic, images, section headers, tables, lists, etc. By writing my web posts using that subset, I am sure that they can be read in practically every graphics browser, on mostly any platform. The looks may be different, but the semantic contents will get through. ๐Ÿงตโ€>
๐Ÿงตโ€> It seems that for the Fediverse, maybe even for Mastodon, the only message format that can be read by everybody is 500 chars plain Unicode without any markup. Plus maybe one poll and a few images -- but only at the end of the post and with fixed size.

I will probably move to some other instance soon. However, the above constraint applies *no matter where I have my account.* That is the problem...
Say you do move to an instance where you're able to read/write >5000 char/post yet you choose to restrict your posts to a size compatible with instances that have made a choice to not be able to read more than say 500 char/post. Are you not then encouraging that restriction to remain as it is? Why not create your posts in full and educate your readers who have that issue as to why they're not able to read it? That would at least be an active effort in promoting a correction to the problem. Simply complaining that others have what you want does nothing to help anyone.
@eshep That's what I do. And it's always the same.

"How can you possibly write more than 500 characters in a toot?"

I'm on Hubzilla.

"Oh, is that a special Mastodon instance with a higher character limit?"

No, it's a different, fully separate Fediverse project that not only is not Mastodon, but that's four years older than Mastodon with next to no character limit and features that exceed your wildest dreams. #^

[beat] "You're not on Mastodon?"


"But how can I read your posts then if you aren't on Mastodon?"

Because Hubzilla, like many other projects that aren't Mastodon, connects to Mastodon. The Fediverse is not only Mastodon. There are many many other projects out there. All of them can talk to Mastodon, and Mastodon can talk to all of them.

@Jorge Stolfi

You can definitely read my postings from friendica, which are much longer than 500chars.

What you not can see, are all images in a posting which are more than 4 (or 5?).

You can also not see richtext. Which is removed from postings, if you see them in mastodon...

So... if you look for a friendica-instance, you can see ALL. :)
Even users and postings from Diaspora (another part of the fediverse, wich is not really connected... except via friendica).

Here, you have a small picture of some fediverse-services

every platform is described and you have a list of instances, where you can try to register an account. Just to get a feeling for the service.

If you like a service... just stay there. THEN you can move your followers and followings from your actual instance to the new one.
Ask then, if you found your instance.

In the fediverse are Mastodon-like service as you see in pleroma, akkoma, misskey... they all act a bit like twitter. Microblogging.

Then there are services a little bit like faceboot. I use friendica. But there ist also hubzilla, zot and so on.

Then you have a service like youtube or vimeo. It is called peertube. You can upload and watch videos... almost the same as in youtube.

And there ist funkwhale and castopod, which are a little bit like soundcloud or so... specialised for audio-files.

If you want a feeling a little bit like instagram... use pixelfed.

Or if you like reddit... then have a look for lemmy.

And the beauty of the fediverse is: They all can interact together as you are used to interact only from twitter to twiter...

Just think about you can follow a youtube-channel from twitter... get new videos in you twitter-timeline, comment and like the video from twitter... without account on youtube...

In fediverse you can!

@Elena ``of Valhalla'' @Jupiter Rowland @eshep @Charlie Stross
Thanks for the patient advice!

Here on I cannot read your long messages directly on the timeline. Only the first 500 chars show. I must click on the post and then it is displayed whole in a separate sub-window. Still without markup etc.

๐Ÿงตโ€> But I must dispute "They all can interact together as you are used to interact only from twitter to twiter..." Again, even if I move to friendica, but want my posts to be correctly readable by anyone on the Fediverse, I must still stick to the small Mastodon format...

That is worse than what I had on Usenet or email, 35 years ago.. โ˜น๏ธ

Any chance that Mastodon and the other instances can agree to support a common HTML-3 like message format?
@Jorge Stolfi
There is no need for limitating yourself...

People on Mastodon complained about long postings, and so the developer choosed this kind of workaround to show long messages.
And yes... richtext is stripped off... on mastodon.

But i don't care about. If people want to stick on a system, which is worse than usenet... (you are right), then it is their decision...

If i post more than 4 images, i write a rant for mastodonis... "sorry, you choose software, which let you only see 4 images. this posting contains X images" or something else.

I do not often use richtext. sometimes i use unorderd lists... and then... yeah... friendica-people ca see them... mastodonis not.

i stopped thinking for other people. But i give rants and hints to try others than they use now.

i know, many people thought, friendica is a bit too oldish and complicated. And i'm sure, it is about the image-upload. Which is really old and bad.

And so i decided a few weeks ago to improve the image-upload to a modern way of doing. drag&drop and copy&paste is now possible. and i'm sure, this is a killer-feature for friendicas usability.

If you find an instance which is on 2023.03-rc, you can try it. It works very nice and you can create postings with images inside the text...

and yes... mastodonis see them only as attachments. but many other users see them, where they should be.

This is not some kind of ableism or discrimination of not so fit people... it's a kind of competition about good fediverse-software.

If you create an account somewhere, and you don't like the instance or the software... just delete it, and use this account again.

Many people here are hopping between instances and services in the fediverse.

I have also more than this profile. This is my main-profile, but i have on other instances profiles too. I host myself pleroma as well, and lemmy and mobilizon and peertube... no one will complain about multiple profiles... that is, what fediverse is.
@Jorge Stolfi
I can't tell you exactly how it works as I'm relatively new here, documentation seems sparse, and I'm unwilling to dig through source code to find out, but my understanding is ActivityPub absolutely supports passing along whatever kind of markup you could possibly want.

The common practice implemented for most of the Fediverse seems to be to translate whatever local markup is being used (eg BBCode on Frendica) into Markdown (I think?) to pass formatting along to other parts of the Fediverse which seems to be well supported by basically everything except Mastodon. It's a choice by the Mastodon devs alone not to adhere to the established convention and turn that back into whatever markup format is needed on their end.

@๐—๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ผ๐—ฏ :๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ: ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น โœ…
@Jorge Stolfi @eshep @Elena ``of Valhalla'' @๐—๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ผ๐—ฏ :๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ: ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น โœ… @Charlie Stross Nope.

People on which may be the most vanilla of Mastodon instances can read 6,000-character rants written by me with no problems, with nothing cut off.

And everyone on Pleroma, Akkoma, MissKey, CalcKey, FoundKey, GoToSocial, Friendica, Hubzilla, (streams), certain Mastodon forks, the last remaining Redmatrix/Osada/Zap/Misty/Roadhouse instance etc. etc., pretty much everywhere that isn't vanilla Mastodon, can see each other's posts with rich-text formatting all right. It's just vanilla Mastodon that's left out.

The compatibility issues we have mostly come from Mastodon flat-out refusing to cooperate with other projects and, as it seems, deliberately staying incompatible to make everything that isn't Mastodon look bad to Mastodon users. How good can e.g. Friendica be if posts coming from there look so weird on Mastodon?

Mastodon can get away with it for two reasons. One, 99.99% of all new arrivals in the Fediverse land on Mastodon and "know" that the Fediverse is only Mastodon. Once they learn about other Fediverse projects, they believe that these were all created after Mastodon, after the Twitter Migration even, and that they're Mastodon add-ons.

Two, the ActivityPub standard can be stretched to kingdom come. It leaves a lot of things undefined. And this is unlikely to change because nobody is there to maintain and develop ActivityPub anymore. Nothing that Mastodon does goes against the ActivityPub standard.

Thus, everything that isn't Mastodon has to put up with Mastodon's shenanigans and build itself against them, even if it's older than Mastodon and requires a plug-in to understand ActivityPub like Friendica and Hubzilla, or become fully incompatible in the long run. Or at the very least, its instances will be Fediblocked by Mastodon instances because "some weird shit" is coming from them due to increasing incompatibility.
@Jorge Stolfi @eshep @Elena ``of Valhalla'' @๐—๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ผ๐—ฏ :๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ: ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น โœ… @Charlie Stross For example, instead of pointing you straight at one instance, someone could have pointed you here (for Mastodon only):

Now, choosing a project rather than an instance of one set project is more difficult without knowing anything about any of them other that they're probably not owned by Elon Musk.
I'm no longer on Mastodon, but when I used sometimes a longer post would show up. I think it was split up into 500-character chunks somehow. You're right about the interoperability problem.

But the upside is that we can just move to a different server and take our followers with us. I'm sorry if people think that's irrelevant, but it's a really good selling point for me. The degree to which I can communicate with people is in my own hands.
@Jorge Stolfi, why do you continue to use Mastadon when it clearly doesn't meet your requirements? As everyone has been pointing out, there are many other ways to interact with the Fediverse that have the features you seem to want. Stop torturing yourself with Mastadon; investigate your options and move to an instance which has similar ideals to your own. Then you can be happy with the Fediverse and help to educate others on what you've experienced.
@Elena ``of Valhalla'' I see it as intended. None of the occasional problems between Friendica and Hubzilla in sight.
#Email has supported different content-types since at least 1992 ( with no guarantee any given client supports any given content-type, none of this is new.

#Usenet & #Fidonet also had ways prior to #MIME, such as via extension headers (with flaws that MIME addressed).
This entry was edited (6 months ago)
I was referring to email before the internet went public (first used it in 1979). But even after that, the basic message format and the MIME extensions were tightly defined by half a dozen RFC documents published between 1992 and 2008. >>

#Fediverse #FediverseFragmentation
Before MIME there were other more haphazard & often non-standard solutions that also had partial support in various clients.

Even with a good standard, there's no guarantee anyone implements all of it (nevermind when there's no standard and just a few informal agreements between specific projects).
This entry was edited (6 months ago)
But MIME and its earlier hacks (uuencode etc) were not really the same kind of problem. Those solutions were providing an additional service (file exchange) by protocols that ran on top of standard email protocol, rather than as alternatives or variants of it.
I think that multi-part content-types as embedded protocols rather than built-ins is more the consequence of a technical implementation choice (in the standards) than something fundamentally different in a logical sense.

The normative spec also explicitly acknowledges the lack of an expectation for full support of everything other instances might support (
ActivityPub is that standard. Just because the client you're using doesn't bother to make use of some of that standard, doesn't mean there's not one. If the email client you choose to use only displays in plain text with no formatting, does that mean there is something wrong with the standards for email message formatting? NO, you're just choosing to not use all the features you prefer.

There is a bit difference.

As far as i know, if you share/boost a message with rich-text or multiple images in it with mastodon, it is also stripped for your followers.

More images than 4 are removed too...

So i tell you a story in 10 images, parted with headlines and so on (no subject!) Your followers from friendica do not get this, because mastodon removes it...

It's not only "my client does not show it", it's s case of "my server modifies the raw-message"

And THAT is the bad story about mastodon.

@Jupiter Rowland @Charlie Stross @Jorge Stolfi
huh? I thought boosting didn't transmit the content, but sent a reference to the content, and an identifyer of who posted the reference.
People on platforms capable of displaying the original content, should not be effected by your platforms ability to interpret that content.

Content warning: tl;dr: All that cool new stuff you want in the Fediverse already exists in the Fediverse, right outside of Mastodon

Content warning: tl;dr: All that cool new stuff you want in the Fediverse already exists in the Fediverse, right outside of Mastodon

Content warning: tl;dr: All that cool new stuff you want in the Fediverse already exists in the Fediverse, right outside of Mastodon

I encourage you to leave the Fediverse filter bubble every now and then. IMHO it can be useful to look further outside the box: Remember - the conventional media - newspapers, letters on paper, radio, TV, ah yes - and personal communication - they still exist. Maybe it makes sense in some communication scenarios to simply fall back on the old proven means of communication instead of encapsulating yourself in the Fediverse bubble? Instead of burning time and programming capacities in attempts to teach the many platforms certain features, e.g. "quote-tweets".
I suggest, instead of presuming, and fellow humans who develop Mastodon, to assume
The compatibility issues we have mostly come from Mastodon flat-out refusing to cooperate with other projects and, as it seems, deliberately staying incompatible to make everything that isn't Mastodon look bad to Mastodon users.

Then, in the next step, to waste infinite time in discussions about technical details, simply to try to reach through some channel the people who develop Mastodon and try to clarify whether the thesis, whether the assumption
... as it seems, deliberately staying incompatible to make everything that isn't Mastodon look bad to Mastodon users.

is correct.

Do we agree - the compatibility problems are not caused by technical issues, but by human ones? It does suggest that there is a better chance of solving these compatibility problems on a human level, rather than spending time in discussions that go round and round in circles of "Which technical features of a particular platform are better".

Once they learn about other Fediverse projects, they believe that these were all created after Mastodon, after the Twitter Migration even, and that they're Mastodon add-ons.

Do we agree - the age of a protocol, a platform, a standard - whether this is ActivityPub, Hubzilla or any other platform, is no proof that this platform is better than a younger platform - e.g. Mastodon?

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