Webinar with the European Commission and AP Community

I’m sorry for my recent absence, but it was unavoidable. This thread is very long and so is difficult to follow, so I may have missed something.

But here are my .02 euros of (hopefully) constructive criticism, based on over 25 years working with Commission IT & Comms people.

“Introduce ActivityPub to the European Commission (esp. [DG DIGIT]…”

Why on earth DIGIT? I guess it depends on what you are hoping to achieve, but the only funding DIGIT issues is via calls for tender for inhouse EC IT services, which isn’t applicable here.

"From the EC/EU side at least 60 participants can be expected… [including]:

- Interested European and national administration including the European Commission, European Data Protection Supervisor, European Parliament (names to be confirmed)

- Policy makers notably in relation to platforms, the Digital Service Act and Digital Market Act (names to be confirmed)"

Are any names confirmed? I can help with:

  • DG CNECT policymakers
  • social media teams from various DGs

The ideal is for a DG of the Commission to organise it, and invite their peers.

re: the composition and programme, I strongly suggest:

  • including MEPs
  • not going to them seeking funding. They get this every day! Get them familiar with the platforms first. That means getting EC social teams posting on the Fediverse.
  • focusing on the Why, and pointing out the dissonance between today’s EC policy and today’s EC social media activity
  • dialling back the technical content - you will lose 90% of your audience within 10 minutes with the current programme, which is too IT-focused

I am happy to help with the presentation and organisation.


Hey Mathew,

Full ack !
Will answer your DM soon.

re. including MEPs, I approached and informed those most important to me like
Dr. Patrick Breyer or Alexandra Geese but also MdBs like Anke Domscheit-Berg who described the idea of an EU funded fediverse recently in the german parliament …

Always trying to approach the Commission on “all available channels”,
sorry if my advocating for more NGI 0 capacity was to much :wink:

Also agree, we should tell visions and stories instead of the IT-focused content, would also be happy to help.

And agree, we should maybe wait until usable and ActivityPub-conformant tools come up for the EU itself and there are a few MEPs crossposting their short news already, so the EC social teams would be a good first approach.

Appreciate your comment!

Love the input of both of you, @mathewlowry and @Sebastian

This is a point I’ve also been making. Especially since much of the audience has very strategic focus, and others are involved with regulation which also needs some high-level takes on where we’re heading in the future and on what principles and values, etc.

Also, as Mathew says, the TL;DR-ness of the thread is a bit of an issue. We can mitigate by ensuring that the preparation pad contains the summary of all important stuff addressed here.

I’d be really happy to help out, both with the presentation and with getting people to it. Both require a better picture of who is currently attending from where, so if someone can give a status update?

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Good to get an outcome from this:

  1. #activertypub as a cross-platform standard for #dotcons who operate in EU

  2. funding to further this - we would need democratic structures in the #fedivers style to make this real rather than a Eurocratic/power politics dead-end structures.

  3. Is the path with a good outcome - I have been involved in a number of groups/projects that have received Eurocratic money and the outcome has always been sub optional not to say a compleat disaster. I have seen no/little thinking to mediate this outcome.

So on balance good to do this BUT we do need not to go down unrealistic paths.

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No name, but the intended audience has been rephrased, on request of the EC contact:

“Representatives of European Institutions (EC’s DG CNECT, DG DIGIT, JRC, DG COMM, EDPS…) as well as national administrations”

On the ActivityPub side we have all the people you would expect. :wink:

@hamishcampbell , I know what you mean about Eurocrat funding! I honestly think the structures don’t exist to handle that yet. The best outcome we could aim for first IMHO would be to get the EU Institutions’ social media teams to commit to publishing their content to Fediverse servers - possibly their own, after they’ve dipped their toes. That way it becomes, within the Institutions, a ‘business pull’ request from the tech users (comms teams) rather than a ‘technology push’ from DIGIT, with policy support from the policy wonks.

@how , can you share with me the EC contact, or at least the DG? I ask because I don’t want to muddy the waters by asking someone you’re already in contact with - it might make us look like a loose, decentralised group of geeks (anathema to most EC types).


We’re in contact with Jean-Luc Dorel who is the NGI Zero consortium point of contact within the EC.

Since 2017 I’ve been proposing to work with a “flexible consortium” gathering like-minded actors susceptible to respond to specific calls pooling a subset of the alliance. We tried it a couple of times and this is how petites singularités ended up with the NGI0 consortium and with NGI POINTER funding for DREAM. We’re about to look into reactivating the original PUBLIC stakeholders for the Horizon Europe program. Those were introduced in the original PUBLIC SMILE proposal introduced at FOSDEM 2018.[1]

  1. Note that the original public-infrastructure.eu domain was abandoned in favor of public.cat. ↩︎

Hi Mathew, Joost here from NLnet, we coordinate the NGI Zero program. Thanks for your critique, very helpful. The idea for DG DIGIT came from Jean-Luc, our project officer at DG CNECT. He is also inviting other EC-departments and representatives as @how explained and I would expect him to be open for more specific suggestions, if you feel this helps to reach exactly the right people. Do you have such contacts or should I ask Jean-Luc?

I agree, perhaps you could make some suggestions to the current presentation (link here again: ActivityPub for Administrations - HedgeDoc).

We have not had a discusern of who are the “stakeholders” in the fedivers

  1. Instances, admins and users

  2. the standards crew

  3. the coders, codebases etc.

All of this current conversation is from the last two (the 1% ) and we are missing the actual fedivers the first one (the 99%) this is a normal issue that we need to address.

We need to give concrete USE examples and stories in the presentation and reduce the technical to basics.

The fedivers is 99.9% not the coders and the standards crew - how do we represent these people in this presentation?


OK looking at this HedgeDoc - Collaborative markdown notes

  • Maybe we need 3 people who are running/moderating instances to talk about their expirence and how the tools work for them.

  • Maybe we need a nice “user” to tell their story of moving off the #dotcons

  • A NGO that gets something from the fedivers maybe #XR or something softer more mainstream?

  • grassroots activism a story.

  • a marginalized group?

If we can get some tech talk in the context of these presentations that would be a bonus.


1/3 instances/mods
1/3 users
1/3 code/standards

Of course, they all have to touch on the standard and the codeing as much as possible.

Would make a better presentation, I can take on a small role :wink:

The current focus of this webinar is to showcase the ActivityPub protocols and NGI0-funded ActivityPub implementations to the EU and national administrations, and to establish a link between the ActivityPub community and the EU for longer term work.

I think your proposal @hamishcampbell makes more sense here at the SocialHub to diversify the discourse on ActivityPub beyond just implementors and protocol designers. #fediversity is such a place where instance admins, community managers, and users can voice their experience and concerns. Indeed it would be useful to have a more diverse crowd participating here to bring other perspectives to the table.

@j8ter given the short amount of time, I think we should avoid mentioning ZOT or OStatus except in the historic overview since it’s not directly linked to ActivityPub itself, and would require another mental jump for newcomers to AP. Both Hubzilla and GNU social developers should really focus on their ActivityPub implementations for the time being. There’s already a lot to cover and I expect the cognitive load will be intense enough for the audience, not to widen the spectrum too much. We’ll get other opportunities to communicate on the larger Fediverse.


Am trying to shift the focus so that the story is more “interesting” and “representative” ActivityPub in the EU sense is a movement as much as a standard - standards by themselves have little/no value. If the story comes from the standard it is easy to ignore, and it will be ignored. A movement, with a bit of jingoism (the ActivityPub speck is maybe largely a European thing?) is an easer story to tell/hear.

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I like BBB and vote for that

Hello @j8ter ! I confirm that it’s ok for Friday at 15h00 CET - as @aschrijver noticed, I used FR as in France instead of CET. Is this a good moment to discuss on our agenda also some planning of where we are with the preparations and who is doing / could do what in the following days, for the event? If yes, I would propose that:

  • We make an intro :slight_smile:
  • We discuss briefly about the planning of the event and who is handling what, at least to the extent of the information available to the participants from the call. I am not aiming to make a list with all the tasks we need to get done and who is handling them, it’s just to get an overview of where we are and what we still have to do. If we wish for a more organized planning, we could do that as well, but I am not sure it’s the scope of the call - @all feel free to let me / the community know if you feel it would be the case.
  • We go together briefly on the main topics of the slides and see what they were meant to express. Since the entire current content does not belong to me, it’s important to make sure we have a common understanding. Big thanks to @how for making it available! :+1:
  • We give each our feedback in turn regarding what is missing / what we would add / anything we wish to mention.
  • Free discussion about our feedback and our ideas.

I will gather all this feedback and consider it further for a final version. Does this sound ok?

If it’s just Joost and myself, I am +1 to have just a free discussion and this agenda is proposed only for the purposes of managing a meeting with more participants, since that could get tricky and it’s important to make sure everyone is heard / given equal opportunities to express their ideas.

Thank you for all your involvement so far!


Hey Cristina, I had told everybody in the redaktor team. Unfortunately the atmosphere is not so good at the moment. I just hope, the “Eurocrats” will not damage our ecosystem.

Do we have links for organizing meetings :slight_smile:

Well, that depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you want to talk about standards and protocols, then you’re looking for what @hamishcampbell calls “audience 2. the standards crew”. Which is fine, as standards are obviously vital, but I don’t have much to contribute there.

If, on the other hand, you want to push ActivityPub forward, then as Hamish said we need to create a movement. We’ve all probably seen promising standards that never got traction because those who developed them weren’t capable of articulating the Why? to the other 99%. No movement was created and the standards stayed in their technical ghetto.

As it seems the planned series of webinars is project-based and targets audience 2 ("The current focus of this webinar is to showcase the ActivityPub protocols and NGI0-funded ActivityPub implementations to the EU and national administrations, and to establish a link between the ActivityPub community and the EU for longer term work" - @how ), I won’t get my powder wet by inviting the people I had in mind. We’ll only get one chance, so when you want to get a movement started I’ll be happy to help.

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Of course, I did not even think of this yet. Was/is this an activitypub.rocks-dedicated BBB-instance? It might make sense to use this, if we can handle 60+ attendees. @how if we only have live presentations (no pre-recordings) would you rather have only a BBB-room or also streaming the presentations from elsewhere (a live streaming PeerTube-instance)? I would say for the sake of simplicity, stick to BBB, but then we would not show off the current capabilities of PeerTube.