Last Week in Fediverse – ep 76People asking ‘Letterboxd

Last Week in Fediverse – ep 76

People asking ‘Letterboxd but on ActivityPub’ has been a bit of a meme, but it turns out, a fully functional platform that does this and much more, already exists! Also two updates for Mastodon that pushes the platform in a direction of better supporting journalism, and a first version of Ghost is now active on the fediverse.


The main story this week needs some introduction, as it involves a platform that seems to be virtually unknown in the English-speaking side of the fediverse, even though it has been around for a while, and actively being used in the Chinese-speaking side of the fediverse. NeoDB is an platform that allows people to ‘manage and explore collections, reviews, and ratings for various cultural products, including books, movies, music, podcasts, games and boardgames’. It is a huge scope, and NeoDB has a large amount of integrations with other products.

NeoDB has had a full fediverse integration for a while, with reviews federating out, and comments/likes federating inwards to the platform, as well as the ability to sign up for NeoDB with an existing fediverse account. All of this is not news in itself, but worth mentioning, both for context as well as a suggestion for people to check it out.

What is news about NeoDB is that their English documentation site was published last month, which should help significantly with discoverability of the platform, which so far has mainly been used by a Chinese audience. The second part of the news is that this week, NeoDB shipped Bluesky and Threads integration, allowing you to log in with your Bluesky or Threads account. Furthermore, the developers are publicly pondering if they should be ‘dual-stack’, meaning that they fully integrate with both ActivityPub and atproto. The direction of the larger social web seems to be trending in the direction of platforms that span multiple protocols, with NeoDB being another example.

The News

Mastodon has made two updates this week that helps highlight journalism on the fediverse. The first update is that underneath some links that are shared on Mastodon, “the author byline can be clicked to open the author’s associated fediverse account”. Mastodon says that this highlights writers and journalists that are active on the fediverse, and makes it easier than ever to follow them and keep up with their future work”. The feature is rolling out slowly: only a few publications are included, and other publications can manually opt-in. It is currently also still only visible on, and currently requires admin approval. Mastodon CEO Eugen Rochko says that wants to “avoid the risk of malicious sites framing users as their authors, but we intend to build out a self-serve system to manage which sites you can be featured from very soon.” While the feature is only visible on Mastodon so far, it works with other fediverse accounts: I linked my federated WordPress account to this blog, for example. Already apps are starting to implement this feature, such as Pachli.

The second feature update for Mastodon is that articles which appear in the trending News tab, allow you to see what people are writing about that article. This respects privacy settings, so not all posts will be visible. Both Phanpy and IceCubes already implemented the feature into their clients as well.

Ghost has taken two major steps in their work for implementing ActivityPub. They have made the repository for their work on ActivityPub available as open source, under the MIT license. Secondly, Ghost’s own newsletter about their fediverse integration has become the ‘first federated Ghost instance on the internet’, and you can follow @index via your own fediverse account.

Interoperability between different types of platforms on the fediverse can be quite unreliable, but the link-aggregator side of the fediverse is seeing some improvements recently: Mbin has added PeerTube support, after PieFed also did so a few weeks ago. Furthermore, Lemmy has made it easier to follow communities from the microblogging platforms in their recent 0.19.4 update: All posts (not comments) made on Lemmy get added a hashtag based on the community name. So if you want to follow the asklemmy community from your Mastodon account for example, you can simply follow the hashtag #asklemmy.

Pixelfed and Loops developer Dansup says that Loops, an platform for short-form videos that is currently in development, will first come to the Pixelfed app, and that only later it will become a separate app.

Casey Newton interviewed Adam Mosseri on Threads’ first anniversary, and posted his answer on Threads work on fediverse integration. Mosseri says that is not driving a lot of growth (by my own estimates it seems likely that like less than 10k people have turned on fediverse sharing), and that it “is proving very difficult just to do the basics, particularly from a compliance and a privacy perspective”.

Newsmast has released their ‘Amplifier‘ feature, which gives you more control over your timeline. With it, you can select to see if you want posts, reposts or comments in your timeline. It also allows you to shift your timeline to a different ‘timezone’, for example 12 hours back. You can see what that looks like with a short video here.

Shreyan Jain published an in-depth article about atproto and Nostr. It’s a long read, well-researched and places the protocols in a larger historical context. If you want to understand how these protocols work and how they compare to each other, I can definitely recommend the article. It seems to me we are far from the end of innovation and change in the space of decentralised social networking protocols, making it worthwhile to learn and build upon other protocol’s choices.

The Links

  • Last Month in Bluesky – June 2024.
  • Mastodon has expanded their core engineering team, and consists now of three people.
  • Newsletter software Buttondown confirms that ActivityPub support is scheduled for their Q3 roadmap.
  • Ghost recently funded Fedify, and Fedify developer Hong Minhee wrote some more details about the development process and funding.
  • The first release candidate for PeerTube 6.2 adds automatic video transcription based on Whisper, auto-tags on video, as well as a comment moderation system page.
  • A web app to search and explore your own Mastodon bookmarks.
  • Newsmast’s Michael Foster writes about how to reach the potential of the fediverse with storytelling.
  • ActivityPods published ‘a guide to create your first social app with ActivityPods 2.0′.
  • A weekly overview of the fediverse software updates.
  • Kookie is a new Misskey fork that focuses on the Brazilian community.

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading!

#activitypub #asklemmy #fediverse