Lets talk about the protocol wars

Listening to the #mainstreaming of the 3 protocol mess, we have a building signal-to-noise issue. We need to push signal, so good to think before you share something that is likely more noise on this subject.


As a way out of this, I have been pushing bridges for a while as they are the lowest common denominator and can be built and implemented “permissionless” to allow people to cross #4opens protocols. “Permissionless” is important as the is no way you would get consensus to do this, without adding much more mess. Technically people codeing the protocols are bussey with tribalism to focus on cross protocol interop… or they would not be building a new protocol

The advantage of a bridge is you do not have to get the codebase to change their project - it’s just a relay that connects one protocol to another, “permissionless”. Nobody has to federate, they can unfederate from a relay if they don’t like it.

It’s a BAD, good tech solution, and likely the best we can do to mediate the current squealing mess our #fahernistas make.

All the projects are actually kinda good, they are mostly #4opens and #openweb native this is a BIG move away from the #dotcons so good - TICK

I find it less messy to talk about the “protocol wars” of #bluesky #Nostr #activertypub from a social understanding.

They all share #4opens #openweb tech, so this is a win.

Where they differ is in the “culture” they come from and push.

#bluesky comes from surveillance capitalism, it’s from the #dotcons and has meany of the same assumptions, just “better”.

#Nostr comes from the #encryptionists and #bitcoin bro crew and suffers from being from this mess.

#activertypub is #openweb native and comes from the #4opens traditions the whole software world is actually built on.


For us guys building on #activertpub, it’s important to keep focus that the #Fediverse was built on “trust” and will likely fail fast if we move to building it on “fear”

Of course, I understand that meany people will miss the point of this post. Activism, pushing needed change, this is why the #Fediverse exists… meany of our #mainstreaming people making mess are right it is NOT A SPACE FOR their “common sense” it’s a place for a grassroots #DIY culture - the mess we need to compost is people not seeing this.

They push their blinded views over this bridge. Mess and more mess, is not a good look in the era of #climatechaos real change is urgently needed

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Nostr is a diverse and innovative grassroots movement, bringing together a wide range of developers who share a passion for free and open-source software. This dynamic community is constantly growing and evolving.

With over a thousand contributors, Nostr’s software and protocols are being rapidly developed and improved, ensuring that any issues are addressed swiftly.

Rather than comparing Nostr to the ActivityPub, let’s focus on building bridges between the two to harness the strengths of both platforms for mutual benefit. This approach can foster collaboration and drive innovation, making the digital world a more inclusive and engaging space for all.


What you are saying is true also what am saying is true, please let’s try and focus on not adding to the mess on these subjects.

A quick search finds much #bitcoin bro mess nostrica 2023 - Google Suche on this path/part of the “protocol wars”

I understand you are one of the #Nostr developers melvincarvalho (Melvin Carvalho) · GitHub so are in a good place to talk about these cultural issues, I have nothing agenst the #openweb protocol - what I do want to highlight is the “cultures” of the different protocols as this is likely more (unspoken) important than the technical specifications for most people.


The “protocol wars” of new #openweb protocols, including #bluesky, #Nostr, and #activertypub, am suggesting that bridges between them are a good solution to the current issues. All of these protocols are #4opens and #openweb native, which is a positive development. However, the cultures of these protocols are different and this can create messiness in the discussions.

I advocate for a grassroots #DIY culture and urge people to focus on building bridges rather than adding to the mess.

We do need to try harder not to talk past each other, let’s try and focus.

Keep our #fedivers “tent” standing to bring more people in from the rain.

#UX is less of an issue in this #openweb reboot from the hundreds of #geekproblem projects that have failed over the last 20 years… so the #fedivers is doing MUCH better on this front.

Let’s work with this step, to take the next step, please try and avoid tripping over the tent pegs and bringing the thing down, so we are all left in the rain :wink:


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A bridge to nostr all ready works Introducing Mostr: a Fediverse Nostr bridge | Soapbox I have been using it for the last few weeks. to read and reply to nostr people, here is the process ActivityPub bridge Nostr relay bounty · GitHub

Now we need a #bluesky bridge and some publicity and howto working.

The data soup is coming, we might need to have some new work on moderation thinking, it’s all #4opens

Soapbox / Mostr · GitLab it’s interesting where these came from.

The fluffy spiky debate highlights the need for both sides to work together rather than fight in the normal progressive mess… this is the subject we talk about here.



Have a look at this:

Just look at the things being made. Scroll down. Click on “more”.

Does it look to you like there is any appetite for war? No. Because everyone is too busy making things.

Dont oppose something, you’ll only get bound to the negative energy. Bring something forth. Fediverse should join the spirit of building and make free software together.

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What is feeding this war over the last few weeks?

Good to be clear here, just about everyone is making shit up, let’s look at a few examples of this.

#noster relays have the same role as instances in the #fediverse, they just called it something else to be NEW.

#bluesky is a non federating centralized clone of #twitter, they launched early to stay relevant as the #ActivityPub based #fediverse was #mainstreaming, making them irrelevant. They have millions of dollars of funding to show outcomes and thus too big to fail. Easy to see that almost nothing that makes it different to #AP is implemented.

#fahernistas on all sides have spread mess and noise on these subjects. let’s focus, all of these protocols are trying to be #4opens and #openweb native.

Let’s bridge them and get on with rebooting the #openweb to give people space to step away from the #dotcons shit storm and help bring people together in the era of #climatechaos

Don’t be a prat on this, please.

How to think about this in a useful social way? For just about everyone using any of these protocols they will have overlapping experiences, with bridges, the different protocols will be “invisible” to normal people. Currently, a lot of the mess is theoretical from a technical perspective, it’s made up mess to be different and new. And what is missing is that the different people’s experience is down to the applications more than the actual protocols.

“United we stand, divided we fall”



Not in love with the individual who created Mostr (who is very much an anti-Trans activist) but if it is good code, good to know that.

In terms of ActivityPub Bridges, everyone is welcome to join and follow this Frendica-group of over 144 accounts discussing how to build exactly that:



This is not a helpful thing to say here. Even if it’s meant as friendly banter, it’s important that we ensure at all times we are kicking the ball, not the player :slight_smile:


The context is this video Extinction Rebellion, the-big-one: this was it - visionOntv in this context it’s relevant to the mess people have been pushing in the “protocol wars” for the last few weeks Urban Dictionary: prat

They have stopped now, so it is the time for a step back from the mess, for shovelling and composting. As, the bridges are being put into place and the signal-to-noise is being rebalanced, let’s not add more mess.

Taking quotes out of context and policing language is mess to compost, let’s focus please.


For a lot of #fashernistas in our spaces, things only matter if they come from #mainstreaming this is obviously crap blinded behaver – but it’s hard to communicate why, likely they can’t see us.

Well, more like they walk right past us looking the other way and takes the big bundle of bills from capitalism.

It’s a mess to be composted.

“It’s a mess to be composted,” a metaphor that the problem is deep and systemic, and requires a significant amount of effort and time to address. Composting involves breaking down organic matter into nutrient-rich soil, which can then be used to grow new plants. In this case, the metaphor implies that the current system of valuing mainstream sources over alternative perspectives needs to be broken down and transformed into something new and more sustainable.


UPDATE from the #openweb
My guess is no one actually discusses how it might be solved. One problem is figuring out a way to work with them, without them subsuming. Which apparently no “normal” people want to accept. And when they say they do, they don’t realize they actually still don’t.

“If other participants complain about the way you express your ideas, please make an effort to cater to them. You can find ways to express the same points while making others more comfortable. You are more likely to persuade others if you don’t arouse ire about secondary things.”

GNU Kind Communications Guidelines

Or, as you so wisely put it…

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Different protocols are usually created to address perceived weaknesses or missing features in existing ones. For example, Matrix was created to add features that XMPP lacked, like encrypted group chats, independence of group chats from servers, and integrated voice/ video conferencing in group chats. Similarly, BlueSky’s AT Protocol was created to provide features like full account portability, which AP lacks. Nostr has a different architecture from AP, and some devs claim it’s simpler to implement.

But I agree that these differences are more important to technologists than they are to most people using social networks, for whom the key questions are always; will anyone see my posts, who can I talk to here, and will I enjoy it.

Bridging between any two protocols is a good first step to pooling the ‘network effect’ of both networks. So long as the bridge doesn’t interfere with moderation practices on both sides of the bridge; I’ve seen Mastodon admins express concerns about the Nostr bridges because of this. Having apps support multiple protocols is another tactic, whether that’s server apps that can connect over multiple protocols (eg Friendica, Hubzilla), or user apps that can support different kinds of accounts.

Ultimately, we need to remember that the fediverse is not a protocol, it’s a social network (and a social movement). AP has served us well, as did OStatus and Diaspora before it (and OpenMicroBlogging before that). But it may be that as devs build bridges between the existing protocols, we end up wanting to define a new protocol that works for more of the implementers. Just as we did with AP for OStatus and Diaspora networks.


Yep, the was a real nasty mess going on for a week in our online spaces, this is the subject of this thread.

As we generally agree, we need to do better. People do need to behave less like prats on meany subjects, it’s interesting that when pushed back on bad behaver people sometimes stop, composting is messy organic dirt, this thread is a useful example of this.

As you say, signal-to-noise - I like the composting metaphor, digging shit into the spoil to enrich it for new growth.

Think the key word is “perceived”, this is a long #geekproblem history here, much of this history is unpleasant and destructive with no idea of the damage it does. In the #mainstreaming, you can see the last 20 years of the #dotcons the is also a counter tech mess, and it is a mess to match this.

This is the core issue and the mess this thread talks about, the “problem” in the #geekproblem

The end paragraph is an example of postmodernist thinking, the is no such thing as reality, where actually the is. An example of this is #Diaspora and its place in the list, worth thinking about and composting http://hamishcampbell.com/?s=Diaspora

Looking like the nastiness of the last few weeks of the “protocol wars” is burning out for now - this mess will come back - we will need to help dampening it down and mediating for better outcomes. Let’s be humane not cats :wink:

Composting and shovels come to mind.

I don’t think there needs to be a war between protocols. Because this isn’t about profit or shareholders, making numbers go up is not really the important thing. What we are looking for is good methods to be social online. Experimentation with protocols has always been ok, as evidenced by the numerous RFCs.

I’ve looked at nostr and also the Bluesky architecture, and what I see there are different expressions of politics in code. They’re not my politics, but they’re somebody’s. In the nostr model there is no real incentive to run a relay, so that will become centralised, and the Bluesky architecture also looks designed to be centralised. Of course they will claim that it isn’t, because blockchains and such, but functionally there will be bottlenecks and a few wealthy people controlling those, as usual.


A new update from bluesky:

The app is still closed source though :frowning:

It is also centralized via big graph services

And did:plc identity – their own words: “we don’t want it to stick around. We’re actively hoping to replace it with something less centralized”


I think #bluesky from a technical point of view is worthwhile. From a social and the real hard work of standards building, the is much not to like.

But in the end it is a “permissionless space” and we don’t get to decide, even though we have unhelpful spats of metaphorical stone throwing to mediate from our side.

Am interested in how #blueky is a #mainstreaming copy of the ten-year-old #OMN project, every time they post something I see our grassroots project. so it’s entertaining and kinda informing, hopefully.
The is a logic to #openweb tech, and after all these years am encouraged to see this logic played out in a #4opens project.

ON the downside, it’s the #encryptionsts and survalence capitalists pushing this logic - same with the bridge to #Nostr it’s the right wing who push tech.

We have an opening with #Activertypub for a progressive left push - let’s try not to mess this up, play nice, bridge and link. Shovel compost when needed.

boat sinking

Even if Bluesky gets big, the ActivityPub fediverse doesn’t need to “win”, it only needs to be sustainable like the previous OStatus incarnation.

With the blockchain stuff there is always usually a rug pull at the end of it anyway. If Bluesky is being managed by a for profit company (I don’t know if it is) then that would be inevitable.

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Neither BlueSky nor AT Protocol involve any blockchain tech AFAIK.

Nostr has Zaps, which are a blockchain-based payment system, but these are an add-on, not a part of the core protocol.

As I understand it, DIDs are mostly based on blockchain, with the web version being a temporary stand-in effectively equivalent to https.

DIDs are URIs that resolve to JSON objects containing cryptographic keys and related information. The core spec doesn’t suggest that implementers should use blockchains, and this technology is only briefly mentioned on several occasions. However, many registered implementations are based on blockchains. There are two reasons for that:

  1. Companies used this opportunity to promote their products. I think many of those products may no longer exist but they still pollute the namespace.
  2. Blockchain (a distributed database with a consensus algorithm), enables key rotation without centralized authority. I won’t go into the details here, but support for key rotation is probably one of the reasons why DID spec exists, and naturally people considered blockchain as a possible solution to this problem.

As far as I know, did:plc currently relies on centralized authority and they don’t use a blockchain. But they are “hoping to replace it with something less centralized”, so we may see something similar to blockchain in the future (probably under other name, like append-only log).


Looks like the protocol wars are back on!

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