Sure why not? Don’t you imagine that if multiple millions left Facebook for managed hosting that the cost of $5/month would potentially drop to $1/month or less via competition?
I’m continually astounded by Matthias Pfefferle’s (or I might alternately tag: @email@example.com) excellent work with the ActivityPub plugin for WordPress! It’s simply brilliant that my IndieWeb powered WordPress website can act much like a standalone version of Mastodon and reasonably federate with other platforms that use the ActivityPub protocol.
You can follow me at @firstname.lastname@example.org and apparently read my 8,000+ posts via Mastodon and other platforms.
While the plugin doesn’t support everything (yet) and doesn’t compete with Mastodon, Friendi.ca, or GNU.social, it extends WordPress with some reasonably solid fediverse features. I can’t wait to see how it continues to grow and add additional functionality.
Have I mentioned that I can also be followed via Mastodon directly through my personal website @chrisaldrich that acts roughly like a freestanding instance?
I’m still working out some bugs, but it’s not as horrible as I would have thought.
I don’t think that whatis seeing is an anti-IndieWeb thing. It is something we’ve seen before from a handful of instances and will assuredly see again.
The other example of this behavior I’ve seen was when Greg McVerry, a college professor and member of the IndieWeb community, tried to join a Mastodon instance that was specific to researchers and professors in higher education. Sadly he found out, like Joe, that syndicating content from other locations was not acceptable there. As I recall, they also required an automatic content warning on almost everything posted to that particular instance which seemed an additional travesty to me. I think he ultimately joined mastodon.social and found he didn’t have any similar issues there and anyone who wanted to follow him from any other instances still could. I’m sure he can provide some additional details and may have posted about it sometime in the summer of 2018 when it happened.
The tough part is that each instance, though federated among many others, can have its own terms of service and set up. Some instances can be and certainly are run by their own tyrannical administrators, and I suppose that it’s their right since they’re paying for the server and the overhead. The solution is to do some research into some instances and find one that isn’t going to ban you for what would otherwise seem like average use to most. I’ve found mastodon.social to be relatively simple in its terms and its massive size also tends to cover up a lot of edge cases, so you’re unlikely to run into the same problems there. (It is also run by the creator of Mastodon, who has generally been IndieWeb friendly.)
The issue Joe has run into also points out a flaw of the overall Fediverse in that just like each real-world country can have its own laws and there is a broader general international law, the international laws aren’t as well codified or respected by each individual country. When you’re operating in someone else’s country, you’re bound to follow their local laws and even customs. Fortunately if you don’t like them there are lots of other places to live. And this is one of the bigger, mostly unseen, benefits of the IndieWeb: if you have your own website, you can create your own rules/laws and do as you please without necessarily relying as heavily on the rules of others.
I’ll note that some in the IndieWeb (Aaron Parecki, Ryan Barrett, Mathias Pfefferle, Jacky Alcine, et al.) have been playing around with or thinking about adding the ActivityPub protocols so that their own websites act as stand-alone members of the Fediverse. Since I know Joe has recently moved to WordPress, I’ll mention that there are two separate projects to help WordPress sites federate:
* ActivityPub plugin for WordPress from Mathias Pfefferle
* Bridgy Fed from Ryan Barrett
Naturally neither of these (yet) supports all of the protocols so some functionality one would find on Mastodon won’t necessarily work, but I suspect that over time that they eventually will. It’s been a while since I tried out BridgyFed, but I’ve had the ActivityPub plugin set up for a bit and have noticed a lot of recent work by Mathias Pfefferle to use it for himself. I still have to tweak around with some of my settings, but so far it provides some relatively useful results. The best part is that I don’t need to syndicate content to Mastodon, but users there can subscribe to me at @email@example.com, for example, instead of @firstname.lastname@example.org. The results and functionality aren’t perfect yet, but with some work we’ll get there I think.
Good luck finding (or creating) an instance that works for you!
I actually kind of understand this—only because I think Mastodon is at odds with the Indieweb.
Testing out some ActivityPub settings on my personal website.
2018 war ein durchwachsenes Jahr!
Mein privates „Ich“ hat letztes Jahr sehr viel Raum eingenommen und auch beruflich hat sich viel verändert.
Das heißt ich hatte generell wenig Zeit für mein online „Ich“ und wenn ich doch etwas Zeit hatte, war das Ergebnis meistens eher frustrierend.
My German is atrocious, but it’s well worth stumbling through to see what Matthias is up to lately, particularly with regard to his work on the IndieWeb.
I’ll have to revisit some of his work on OStatus and ActivityPub with respect to WordPress. It would be nice to be able to follow @email@example.com on Mastodon wouldn’t it?
Thanks, as always Pfefferle, for keeping the web open!
Doug, the sound of this is interesting, but it seems to be a lot harder than it might need to be, not to mention the pitfalls of being assigned emojis one wouldn’t want representing them in addition or the centralized nature of the provisioning source.
It also sounds very much like Kevin Marks’ Distributed Verification scheme using the rel=”me” attribute on web pages for which he built a chrome browser extension to actually implement it. Kevin also recently reported that Mastodon now actually supports this verification scheme in one of their most recent updates which should be used by instances that are regularly updating. The benefit is that this scheme already exists, is relatively well supported, there are parsers available for it, and it’s actually working on the open web. It’s also truly distributed in that it doesn’t rely on any central provisioning authorities that require ongoing maintenance or which could provide a monopoly on such a service.
I decided to explore the Mastodon social network after a great deal of suggestions and gentle prodding from many people. That’s Mastodon the software, not the very fine metal band. In this post I’ll share my experiences of getting to know the thing.
I joined Mastodon about two years ago this week. I’d written a bit about it as well as bookmarked several interesting early articles that help to explain it, what it is, and what it does, which can be found here and scrolling back a few pages: https://boffosocko.com/tag/mastodon/
While Mastodon is working to remedy some of the issues that large corporate and advertising supported social sites like Facebook and Twitter have, one ought to be careful jumping into just any instance as there is little, if any, guarantee that the instance you choose will still be around tomorrow.
indieweb movement. ❧
November 28, 2018 at 08:02PM
What was that about crowdfunding instances? How much of an instance’s conversation was visible to the outside? How much of this is Google-spidered? What are those anti-abuse tools? Why can’t governments “completely block” Mastodon (as a whole, or just instances?)? Can one join more than a single instance? ❧
Managing an instance can come with a lot of work and maintenance, so some instances are crowdfunded to help defray the costs of full time management of a particular instance.
Anti-abuse tools give users the ability to better block people as well as instances have the ability to block incoming messages from entire instances. Thus an instance that serves as a haven for Nazis could be completely blocked by one or more other instances which prevent their users from seeing any content from all users on an instance that is a “bad actor.” One of the common anti-abuse tools is the CW or content warning functionality, which some instances mandate, which can be used to hide spoilers or controversial content. (As an example, some instances require content warnings on political related posts.)
Governments could block instances based on their IP addresses, but would have to do some work to block all instances (primarily by knowing where they all are).
One can join as many instances as they’d like, but it would likely become confusing after a while. Ideally one should be able to join just one instance and be able to follow or be followed by anyone from any other instance. Some communities have particular sets of rules they expect their users to abide by. Some may be centered on particular topics of discussion as well. Some instances are individually run and have only one user.
November 28, 2018 at 08:11PM
Is stability a problem in the Fediverse? ❧
Stability is typically an issue based on who is running the instance and what sort of server they’re doing it on. Is it fast or slow? Does it have 3 people or 300,000? Naturally the larger the instance, the more resources it requires. Some instances have popped up and shut themselves down because the maintainer was doing it as a hobby and just got tired of it. Often there isn’t much information about who is running the server and how long it may or may not be around or how well it’s maintained.
November 28, 2018 at 08:16PM
No other options presented themselves on the page ❧
This website has some reasonable set up for helping one determine an appropriate instance:
November 28, 2018 at 08:19PM
other routes in. ❧
http://www.unmung.com/mastoview will show content from random instances to give one an idea about the content within a particular instance before joining.
Most instances will have some general information about themselves. Usually the more thought out they are, the more likely they will be around for a while. Here’s an example of the instance maintained by the creator of the original platform, which is also one of the largest and most popular instances out there: https://mastodon.social/about/more
November 28, 2018 at 08:24PM
Any pointers or experiences to share? ❧
There are a couple of WordPress plugins for Mastodon that allow you to syndicate your content from your own website into your instance. You might find that somewhat useful.
The IndieWeb wiki has some generally useful information as well as some criticisms and related articles which might be helpful: https://indieweb.org/Mastodon
Mastodon runs on the Activity Pub specification for sending messages back and forth. As a result some people are looking into having their personal websites support these protocols so that people on Mastodon (or other parts of the Fediverse) can subscribe to one’s primary website. If you can do this then you don’t necessarily need “yet another social platform” for interacting with those online. The two biggest of these efforts within the WordPress community are Fed Bridgy and the Activity Pub plugin
November 28, 2018 at 08:50PM
Micro.blog now has 3 distinct styles of usernames to make the platform more compatible with other services: Micro.blog usernames, e.g. @you. These are simple usernames for @-mentioning someone else in the Micro.blog community. Mastodon usernames, e.g. @firstname.lastname@example.org. When you search Micro.blog ...
There have been many articles written in the last month about the role of social networks. Some even reach the obvious conclusion: that the top social networks are too big. This interview on Slate was fairly representative, covering monopolies and centralized power. But these articles always stop sh...
For some time, we have been considering how we could open up compatibility between Micro.blog and Mastodon. Any feature that could be disruptive needs to be approached carefully. In this post I want to talk about how Micro.blog supports Mastodon, why I think it’s useful, and anticipate some questi...
There’s some awesome new functionality in micro.blog now. It looks like it’s still got some work to come, but, ideally, this is how most websites will work in the near future.
(Mind you, since you can self-host Mastodon, you should really verify links yourself instead of relying on a cosmetic feature as I could have just faked that via a bit of CSS.) ;)
The Twitter-like platform Gab has been forced offline, as their payment providers, hosting provider and domain provider all told them their business was no longer welcome. The platform is home to people with extremist views claiming their freedom of speech is under threat. At issue is of course wher...
I think this is a false dilemma, Bernd.
I’d say that it would be great if those extremists would see using a distributed tool like Mastodon as the only remaining viable platform for them. It would not suppress their speech. But it woud deny them any amplification, which they now enjoy by being very visible on mainstream platforms, giving them the illusion they are indeed mainstream. It will be much easier to convince, if at all needed, instance moderators to not federate with instances of those guys, reducing them ever more to their own bubble. They can spew hate amongst themselves for eternity, but without amplification it won’t thrive. Jotted down some thoughts on this earlier in “What does Gab’s demise mean for federation?“