I suggest we create a new Standards category on this forum and move Fediverse Enhancement Proposals under it. My reasoning stems from the FEP process’s stated goal:
The goal of a FEP is to improve interoperability and well-being of diverse services, applications and communities that form the Fediverse.
While the Fediverse and ActivityPub are often associated, it’s good to think of them independently if interoperability and well-being are primary. AP could be used outside of the Fediverse but for maximum utility the definition of Fediverse in FEP should include software that doesn’t implement AP.
In addition, a top-level Standards category could:
provide a general space where other protocols could be discussed.
host sub-categories for the most common protocols
aid in the discussion of informal standards, or documentation about joint-implementations which may become FEPs
I agree that Fediverse encompasses multiple interoperable protocols, not just AS/AP. But I don’t know if our FEP process - from the perspective of SocialHub (which is focussed on AS/AP-based federated apps) - should fully encompass these other protocols, or rather limit in scope to the interfaces to other protocols. I.e. how to bridge to XMPP and Matrix, etc.
Elsewhere I said that I see 3 levels to what we focus on in terms of standardization. They correspond to 3 different processes in decreasing level of formalization:
Open standards track: Working towards AS/AP vNext and other core open standards to adopt.
FEP track: Formal enhancements. Formats and mechanisms required to ensure interoperability.
Vocab extension track: Application/domain-specific pattern library that one might choose to adopt from.
These processes might be fleshed out in more details, so it is clear how they work. Currently only in the FEP track we made strides to define how this works.
Forum structure might get a new top-level category with these three proces tracks as sub-categories. The existing top-level ActivityPub category remains untouched and is for all kinds of AP-related discussion. As soon as things are discussed here, related to standardization, it is continued in the new forum sections.
I also agree scope is an unknown and that it’s not clear what the boundaries should be. The domain name points to stopping at the interfaces but the subdomain of socialhub is more expansive. I propose this change because SocialHub is the best existing place to discuss federated apps.
FEP is similarly the best existing effort to create community-driven standards and appreciate @aschrijver your proposal of two additional sub-categories to a new top-level home.
I’m a bit challenged by this proposal. On the one hand, I agree with the statements about FEP, and about the scope of the SocialHub under ActivityPub. On the other hand, I think there are other places more fit to discuss beyond ActivityPub.
But if we manage to have Discourse federated, which should happen within the coming year, pending adequate funding for it, then it might make sense to extend the discussion to other similar forums.
In the interest of keeping the momentum around FEP and the interoperability of federated systems, I’d be happy to give it a chance and see what happens.
As for other categories in this forum, it would be useful to have @standards.hosts to keep things tidy. I assume @weex would be one of them. I’m not too keen on giving this responsibility to @aschrijver who showed signs of burnout recently and managed to avoid getting off, unless you make a clear statement about it. @fep.hosts might be useful as well, with @pukkamustard and @cjs so they can handle the changes themselves.
I’m a bit confused though about the overlap of these ‘tracks’ with the existing #activitypub focus.
I see that #activitypub covers the first part, and the second part would be a match for discussing, e.g., interop with XMPP or Matrix. Another interpretation would be that this OST would concern open discussions about ‘what if’, that could be formalized in other tracks, e.g., #activitypub or FEP.
→ Can we come up with a good definition of what this category would be for, and how it differs from #activitypub?
This one is straightforward: we simply move it from #activitypub to #standards.
This one confuses me because it seems to say that (linked-data) vocabularies is the focus, which seems to be more specific to #activitypub than other approaches like Matrix or XMPP.
→ Again, a clear definition of why this category should exists, what topic it covers and how it works in complementarity with the others might be useful.
Creating the Standards category
OK, so as a first step I propose to:
Create the necessary groups and task the ‘group owners’ to recruit interested people to moderate – please do not accumulate too many responsibilities! We want a lively team, not people smelling burn.
Create the Standards category
Move FEP there
Keep this topic open so we can discuss further steps.
“Burnout” is the wrong word with which I described it. “Frustration” is better, as I was wondering if these community efforts are worthwhile if there’s so little interest to participate from the community at large. They are quite time-consuming, and to make this community really fly would take significant effort. The idea of fedi.foundation was to help shape all this and possibly also find ways to fund community work, but it got zero response thus far.
Saying yes to steps 1-3 and to being in @standards.hosts and @fep.hosts if that’s not implied by standards.hosts. For step 4, I would propose to close this topic once it’s implemented. We can begin a new one for feedback/questions to keep this one compact and readable.
I would like to know these locations so that OT discussions and proposals can be directed there and perhaps relevant discussions there can be brought here.
About the different tracks, I’m for keeping it simple as in the original proposal but I like the idea that we may, through thoughtful categories, be able to address any standard scoped to “The Fediverse”
We can always “reply as new topic” from this one, or move the follow up conversation to a new topic: in both cases it achieves the same result as what you suggest, also providing context for the follow up conversation. This is what I love with Discourse that the conversation is so flexible. As others still did not respond, I will wait a bit before proceeding. Once the process has started we can think about closing this and splitting the conversation.
These vary a lot, depending on the history of each protocol and community.
For example, the XSF maintains a Mastodon account at XSF: XMPP Standards Foundation (@email@example.com) - Fosstodon but their main community vectors are Multi-User Conferences (MUC) using XMPP of course, and mailing-lists, as documented on their wiki ; the IndieWeb community prefers a combination of chat (via IRC, Matrix, and other proprietary means) and wiki: discuss - IndieWeb ; Hubzilla uses Zotlabs|Hubzilla - firstname.lastname@example.org ; OStatus community is, er, how to say that… Not here yet ; Diaspora* maintain their own Dicsourse forum ; the Matrix community prefers, you guessed it: Matrix, and also live video ; IPFS, SSB, Retroshare, Briar, Irde.st, and many other protocols and approaches to what we would call « The Fediverse » in a large acception use their own spaces, without mentioning each ActivityPub project having their own community space ; etc.