Who hosts the object, author or access control authority?

I’m going to summarize a big discussion we’ve had in ForgeFed into one short question, and I hope I can get insights and feedback from AP community :slight_smile: we really really need some help with this to make progress!

If Alice posts an article on the Fediverse, the typical situation is that Alice hosts it. Alice also has the access to delete the article, to edit it, to decide who has read access, maybe even give more people access to edit her article. Maybe at some point she wants to disable further comments. And so on. This works out nicely because Alice is both the author (she created the original article) and the authority of access control (she decides who can read, who can edit, whether new comments get listed, and so on).

Imagine a different scenario: Alice is a journalist. She writes an article, and sends it to BobNewspaper (who’s an actor on a different server) for publishing. At this point, the managers at BobNewspaper take control. They may allow Alice to make further edits to her article, but they may also decide her work is done. They may make their own edits. They may give Cindy edit access so that she can proofread the article. So Alice is the original author BUT BobNewspaper is the entity now in authority to manage further access to the article.

In that case, where should the article be hosted, on which instance on the Fediverse? On Alice’s instance (since she’s the original author) or on BobNewspaper’s instance (since they’re the authority of access control once Alice sends them what she wrote)?

(Consider we want to preserve the proof that Alice is the original author and her ability to have her writing available even if BobNewspaper later rejects or heavily edits her words, and at the same time allow BobNewspaper to enforce access control rules e.g. via OCAPs and to be sure they’re in power to have the final word on the newspaper article’s content at all times)

We’ve had a long peaceful debate about this, here (it’s a long read, I’m not asking you to read that thing, just linking in case you’re curious / have time).

It’s very tempting for me to say what I personally think about this, but I’m trying to avoid that and have a neutral starting point :slight_smile:

Feedback and thoughts on this would be so precious to us!!

Well, I think in this case the post would be on BobNewspaper’s instance anyway if they commissionned Alice, unless they want to Announce/Copy an already existant article, and I guess there could be multiple actors. (but so far I don’t think there is support for that in the fediverse, pleroma would need some refactor for this in the internal representation and Mastodon API). But in the end the hoster is the one which is the authority, they would be without ActivityPub anyway.

Weird part is the data linking and semantics, but this would be the same on a typical newspaper/blog/… (specially as IIRC RSS/Atom might allow only one author).

This is actually an interesting issue too. The way Mastodon is designed this isn’t really possible. I want to be able to limit comments in Smithereen as well as make it such that the post owner could delete any comments on their posts.

Thanks for the comments everyone, here and on IRC. I hope we get consensus on supporting both options :slight_smile: Anyone interested, in this post scroll down to “Technical points to resolve”, feedback there would be valuable :slight_smile: