Making the Mention subtype more useful

Currently, Mention is defined like so in AS2-Vocab:

A specialized Link that represents an @mention.

This is not a useful definition. If anything, the @mention microsyntax should denote a Mention and not the other way around. I propose that Mention should be redefined functionally and semantically to make its usage more clear.

A “mention” to me is a generic concept, a “special type of link” aka a subtype of Link, that can be tracked. See mention - IndieWeb for more, and consider the Webmention spec as inspiration or prior art, as opposed to solely using the Twitter definition of a “mention” or the @mention microsyntax. In either case, the notifying aspect seems more central to the true definition of what a “mention” is, moreso than how it is invoked (via microsyntax or via some other mechanism). Therefore, Mention should be redefined in such terms, if that is indeed its purpose.

Implementation-wise, we have the following points of contention:

  • does a Mention always refers to an actor, and more specifically a user/account/profile? can you mention a post? can you mention an arbitrary resource?
  • does the name of a Mention start with an @? does it contain the domain component?
    • do any implementations expect a specific format for the name of a Mention?
  • Mastodon and some other implementations following Mastodon tend to use mentions for addressing instead of purely relying on the addressing properties to/cc/audience. should this be discouraged? encouraged? neutral?
  • does a Mention send a Webmention, or does it act similarly in any way?
    • should such “mentions” be kept track of? should this tracking happen specifically in a mentions special collection, or in a more general tags special collection?

Some projects link the webfinger address in the post and some the displayName. I always use the latter. That’s why we call it a ‘displayName’. We use the displayName everywhere that names are being displayed.

It’s especially important for nomadic identity, because you have one displayName and any number of linked usernames on different sites. You’ve got one identity and one name.

Using the username or webfinger address is probably a preference of platforms that count characters in a post and don’t support nomadic id.

Since this is a religious preference, we re-write all mentions either to local convention, or your own preference. We transmit the webfinger version over ActivityPub and the displayName over Nomad and Zot6 - because Mastodon folks get real cranky if you do something different than they do. But in your stream, you only ever see the presentation you have chosen. Ideally every project needs to do this, just because it’s such a religious preference.

I have equally contentious opinions about using mentions as a poor man’s comment notification trigger. We have actual comment notifications for that - and being conversational platforms, we don’t need the mention to put the comment into context. Our posts are displayed in their threaded conversation context and the visible mentions to trigger Mastodon comment notifications are superfluous and distracting.

We don’t include the ‘@’ in the HTML linked name. Some projects do. We’ll accept either.

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