Currently, there’s no easy way to do something with a public post on an instance where you don’t have an account.
- Mastodon and Pleroma open a popup where you have to input your username@domain, get redirected to your instance, and do with the post whatever you intended to do (it just opens the post, but now on your instance). Not very streamlined and a little bit confusing.
- Some software just doesn’t do anything for this. For example, if I want to remotely follow a Pixelfed user from Mastodon, I have to copy the URL of their profile, paste it into the search field on my instance, and click the follow button. If I try liking a Pixelfed post, it redirects me to log in on that instance, not very helpful.
- Some software doesn’t support even that. I still have no idea how to remotely follow things on Funkwhale.
Overall, interacting with a post or a user you were sent a link to isn’t easy. Neither is sharing something from an arbitrary website (there are no “share to fediverse” buttons in existence for all I know).
I suggest that we come up with a universal protocol for remote interactions on the web that would require as little user intervention as possible. Technologically, there’s no better fit than custom URL protocol handlers. It works in all modern browsers except Safari (iOS users suffer anyway by not being able to install apps that aren’t signed by Apple). It would go as follows:
- You log in to your instance.
- Your instance suggests itself as a handler for the scheme
- Whenever you want to interact with something on another instance, you would click a link that points to something like
- Your web browser will redirect you to your instance, essentially skipping Mastodon’s “enter your username@domain”.
- You confirm the action on your instance.
- Your instance takes the action, in what amounts to just two clicks and zero text inputs.
The general URL format would be
web+social:<action>?<parameters>. Actions are all the things you could do with that object:
web+social:share?text=... for all those share buttons on non-social websites.
What do you all think about this?