I write articles and interview people about the Fediverse and decentralized technologies. In my spare time, I play lots of video games. I also like to make pixel art, music, and games.

  • 41 Posts
Joined 8 months ago
Cake day: November 30th, 2023


  • I wrote a counter-point to this a while back: https://wedistribute.org/2024/05/forking-mastodon/

    I’m not saying “don’t do it”, but realize that the amount of commitment required to make a hard fork even moderately successful is vast.

    It’s telling that the biggest project in the space is barely able to pay more than a handful of people to work on it, and it still develops at a snail’s pace. Notably, those are the people who deeply understand the system and its internals. While it’s not impossible, you have to be realistic about how much further a group can get when they don’t have the insight or technical chops required to take development further.

  • They kind of fucked up everything in approaching this by not talking to the community and collecting feedback, making dumb assumptions in how the integration was supposed to work, leaking private posts, running everything through their AI system, and neglecting to represent the remote content as having came from anywhere else.

    The other thing is that Maven’s whole concept is training an AI over and over again on the platform’s posts. Ostensibly, this could mean that a lot of Fediverse content ended up in the training data.

  • Honestly? I’m loving it. The biggest improvement for me was getting rid of those awful PIT menus that were ugly and sometimes hard to use. The new system is way more usable, and I’m tweaking the mappings on my controller to see what feels the most usable.

    The improvement to EVA is also phenomenally good. You move a bit faster, there’s more precision, and traversal between EVA and ship is much smoother. As a salvager that gets in and out to scavenge cargo holds, this is a big deal to me.

    The character customizer is also really fun to use, and feels pretty intuitive to use. There’s still work to be done in explaining what all of these vertices do, but I think the customization is a lot more flexible.

    Some pretty nasty bugs emerged in 3.23 and 3.23.1, but it seems like the team is making pretty good progress on improvements? So, there’s that.

  • I can’t tell whether this is serious or sarcastic 😅

    As far as the “global square” part of the equation is concerned: yeah, you’re right! A firehose of public statuses requires indexing to work, as a basic foundational premise.

    However, there’s nothing preventing someone from standing up a PDS, opting out of the firehose / big graph service, and instead leaning on federation between individual PDSes. I’m not saying it would necessarily be a common use-case, but it’s definitely not impossible.

  • It’s a different approach with different ideas. It uses open protocols, focuses on data and account portability, and incorporates peer-to-peer concepts in its architecture. The vision behind Bluesky is to build a global square with these concepts.

    I definitely wish they would’ve extended ActivityPub and collaborated on the wider network, but I kind of understand wanting to start from scratch and not get involved with the cultural debt Mastodon brought to the network.

  • Misskey is a little bit odd, in the sense that there’s constantly new forks in various stages of development. New forks emerge just as quickly as old ones die off.

    It may be that the frontend and backend both being written in one language helps make the system easier to hack on. I can’t say for sure. What’s weird is that some of these forks go in really odd directions, like rewriting the whole backend in a different programming language.

    The other thing is that, despite their proliferation, the effort is somewhat fragmented into all of these little projects. I’m not sure how viable any of these forks are in the long term.

  • Thank you for these insights!

    Yeah, aside from developer muscle, an effort like this requires deep knowledge of the existing system. Or, failing that, a commitment to learning it.

    It’s also not something that can be done as a side project, if it hopes to compete with the main project to the point of replacing it. Something like that requires an ungodly amount of effort and dedication. Someone would have to commit years of their life to solely working on that.

  • It’s an interesting and frustrating problem. I think there are three potential ways forward, but they’re both flawed:

    1. Quasi-Centralization: a project like Mastodon or a vetted Non-Profit entity operates a high-concurrency server whose sole purpose is to cache link metadata and Images. Servers initially pull preview data from that, instead of the direct page.

    2. We find a way to do this in some zero-trust peer-to-peer way, where multiple servers compare their copies of the same data. Whatever doesn’t match ends up not being used.

    3. Servers cache link metadata and previews locally with a minimal amount of requests; any boost or reshare only reflects a proxied local preview of that link. Instead of doing this on a per-view or per-user basis, it’s simply per-instance.

    I honestly think the third option might be the least destructive, even if it’s not as efficient as it could be.

  • Yeah, I don’t have a complete answer here. I think that Terms of Service requiring standards of behavior are quite reasonable - people in Congress, for example, are required to conduct themselves to a certain standard or be ejected. Same goes for courtrooms.

    There may be a “minimum threshold” for content or communities that are blocked, on the basis of materials provided (hate speech, harassment campaigns, doxxing, CSAM), but I’ll readily admit that this is conjecture.