13 Sep 2023 SocialWeb Data Portability Discussion

There will be a breakout discussion at TPAC 2023 about data portability between servers and platforms.

The event is hybrid so remote participation is possible.

14:30–15:30 Central European Summer Time


Are there specific implementations that are on the table for the discussion?

1 Like

Really good question!

I think there are three things we should be doing:

  1. Talking about the two (?) ways to achieve data portability on the Fediverse today (Mastodon move account, own domain)
  2. Talk about user stories for data portability – what is “your data”? How much do you need to move?
  3. Talk about solutions.

It should be pretty interesting!

1 Like

I favor a very simple ‘forwarding address’ approach that leans on existing federation features as a form of archiving:

Regarding the upcoming W3C meeting on data portability:

Evan Prodromou: "I think it's been mentioned before but I just wan…" - CoSocial

…I’m in favor of (mostly already supported) redirects as opposed to rewriting the ownership of legacy posts.

I think of my AP posts as physical letters being sent out en masse. Once sent, the address on that letter can’t be changed, but response letters send to my old address can be forwarded to my new one.

When I move to a new server, here’s my plan:

  1. Make account on new server

  2. While the new account has 0 followers, I re-announce (boost) every single original post on my legacy account via a scripted action.

  3. Then I migrate the actual account, moving my follow lists across.

The boosts act as a form of federated archiving in case the legacy server shuts down. I think all I’m missing is a kind of 301 redirect status that points my old posts to my new ones.

Re-generating large amounts of content is not only wasteful but also messy and redundant in light of pre-existing message threads of multiple participants that cannot possibly be accurately recreated anyhow.

I’m definitely in favor of robust data archiving so that I can keep static copies of my most timeless posts for posterity. But let the historical record show that I said what I said at the time when I said it on the account that I said it on, and that’s final. No need to rewrite history.