Mastodon monoculture problem

@rysiek posted this very interesting article addressing the confusion people and the media often make between Mastodon, the largest ActivityPub software in terms of usage, and the Fediverse, and the consequences it bears for all of us Fedizens.

A better way

I want to be clear I am not arguing here for freezing Mastodon development and never implementing any new features. I also agree that the signup process needs to be better and more streamlined than it had been before, and that plenty of UI/UX changes need be implemented. But all this can and should be done in a way that improves resilience of the Fediverse, instead of undermining it.

He then proceeds to propose concrete actions towards broader changes that can be taken to change course and improve our general community well-being.

I think that one simple, concrete step we could take here at the SocialHub is to reach out to, and invite our fellows from and other pioneer Fedizens to participate in the conversation as a first-class citizen. We did not reach out to projects so far, because we were focusing on attracting people on their own initiative. But it’s now time to look up and around, and take that step to become more hospitable.

What do you think of this, and @rysiek’s proposals?


I’ve always said that any proposal for AP, Fediverse, etc needs to have buy-in from the developers of the biggest fediverse players (e.g. Mastodon, Pixelfed, Peertube, etc) in order for it to gain traction. Without getting buy-in from the very people who are already implementing AP with great success, proposals around anything in the Fediverse will just sit and never get implemented.

That said, I’m very much in favor of getting those developers involved and made “first-class citizens” with fediverse proposals. :+1:

There’s multiple ways to get buy-in:

  1. For any proposal try to get consent of the big players, and if you don’t get it the proposal is a no-go.

  2. Forge ahead with standardization, turning proposals into specs that make sense for the general dev ecosystem to adhere to. And as more projects do, they implicitly provide ever stronger incentives for big players to fall in line with those or become the odd one out.

  3. The sweet spot between 1) and 2) I guess :smile:

If 2) happens insufficiently, then 1) is the only path left and new players will ‘follow the leader’ in post-facto interoperability.

1 Like

I’d go with 1. In fact, getting consensus from at least a minimum number of big players should be baked into the FEP process, imo.

It would be similar to the W3C process for browsers. Every proposal needs consensus from all major browsers before a proposal can become an official spec.

Just to add to the list of people to invite: Mastodon App Developers. That’s one of the groups that was also addressed in @rysiek 's proposal as having a todo (change default instance).

Second, I think a good step would be to make the topics of SocialHub clearer, e.g. continue along the lines of Adding a Moderation channel to the forum and Should we have a testing category .

Maybe, one should also consider an “Apps” category and a “first time federation developer” one. No strong opinions from my side on it though.

Another category that I was sometimes wondering if we should have is json-ld…

Good topic titles requires active moderation, but would help forum content discovery.

+1 for JSON-LD category. The other’s I have no opinion on. Or, maybe wonder it that’ll work (fill up with useful content).

I guess I do not understand what “App” means. The Software category has some useful tags: server, client and library — which are a bit underused.

Maybe an “App” is an extension to some specific software? @nightpool I suppose you get the vocabulary and could reach out to Mastodon App developers?

I think that #first-time-fedidev could be a tag.

I was using it in the sense of “something available in an app store (apple, google play)”. Something like tusky.

Oh, a client then. That is true Tusky’s developers do not seem to attend this place. I use it. They would be most welcome.

My thinking on this is that the rest of the Fediverse needs to do better don’t try and hold back mastodon, try and push forward, mastodon is going to do exactly what they want to do, the is little any of us can do to change this path, they are increasingly in a world of Favourite - Wikipedia anyone who does not toady will be pushed away, so it’s a long ago irrelevant fight.

We need to focus on not making a complete mess of “our” openweb reboot, this is challenge we can focues on :slight_smile:

Now what’s the plan, cats?

Am I mistaken, or did the Mastodon team provide the first and only admin of the SocialHub besides me? I’d like that this us-them silliness cease at once: Mastodon is part of the Fediverse, its developers are part of this community, and I bet they are as eager as anyone else to make the decentralized social web a common success.

There is an issue with the monoculture problem, but I do not think, nor does @rysiek from what I gather from the OP, that people are not willing to address it.

1 Like