Last Week in Fediverse – ep 55


The major news of the week is that Bluesky drops the invite codes, and that it turns out to be massively popular in Japan. The network grew from just over 3 million to some 4.7 million accounts this week. For more information, you can find my article below.

The news

Last week, some 20 people got together on the OFFDEM conference in Brussels to talk about events and the fediverse. It connected the different projects that work on events in the fediverse together; with Mobilizon, and the Event Federation project, as well as other people in the space. The meeting got a considerable amount of mutual understanding; explaining the difference between federation and interoperability, the value of using ActivityPub, and a common ground for what makes an ‘event’. Seeing different projects come together for a mutual understanding and working together is great to see, and hopefully other parts of the fediverse can do something similar as well.

Mastodon recently had a major security vulnerability, and Mastodon CTO Renaud Chapot reports that 90% of active users was part of a server that had adopted the patch to fix the vulnerability within 48 hours. Part of the reason for this quick uptake seems to be a very large banner that was added in a recent patch, which warned server admins of the problem. Now Pixelfed has another major vulnerability as well, and hopefully the patch can reach similar levels of uptake speed as well.

WriteFreely has a new update, which allows people to subscribe to your blog via email. In the current version admins will have to connect an email service for this to work, currently only mailgun is support. This feature will get expanded upon in later updates.
The ActivityPub integration also has gotten some more features, and you can now see who is following your blog.

Two projects switched ownership this week: Takahe has a new developer, after the current developer said a few months ago that he could not continue working on the project.

Firefish now has new ownership as well, as the previous lead developer Kainoa handed it over to another contributor to the project, Naskya. Naskya was not informed of this decision beforehand. They pushed out a new release a few days later. In a comment on the situation, Naskya said that ‘we decided to continue this project; although we may struggle to manage the project, especially at the beginning, and we foresee a slow development due to the leaving of core maintainers’.

The fediverse project Streams is working on Conversation Containers. One aspect of how most projects currently implement ActivityPub is that if you create a post, there is little to no control over the replies. In this post, Streams developer Mike Macgirvin lays out what a ‘constrained’ conversation model would look like, and introduces an accompanying Fediverse Enhancement Proposal (FEP) to go with it.

Wired has an interview with a product manager at Meta about Threads, saying that Threads expects that “general users may be able to access the new features in a couple of months”. Threads also says that federation will be opt-in. Wired also notes in the article that there are still big questions that are unanswered: Threads is not clear about how they will handle differences in content moderation (for example around nudity), nor is it clear why exactly Meta wants to implement federation at all.

Some large tech publications had articles about the fediverse and the new wave of open social networks more broadly. David Pierce of The Verge wrote an explainer for the fediverse. TechCrunch reflects on a year of drastic changes in the world of the large platforms, and how that is impacting a new generation of social networks. Sarah Perez at TechCrunch takes a closer look at a variety of different apps that are sprouting up on the new social networks.

The Links

  • Phanpy is working on a ‘catch-up’ timeline, allowing you to see the posts since your last visit, sorted by date, like count, replies or boosts. There is no indication yet if/when this feature will be released, but reponses show there’s great demand for such a feature.
  • Commune is an open social community platform that’s build on top of Matrix. In a new blog post, Commune explains what they are and how it works, as well as their roadmap.
  • A three part blog series guide on implementing ActivityPub into a static site.
  • PieFed explains how their priorities and values led to a design that uses a lot less bandwidth.
  • An overview of active journalist accounts on the fediverse by Martin Holland.
  • Nootti is a new iOS app that allows you to crosspost to Mastodon, Bluesky and Nostr.
  • The January update for Funkwhale, where most of their current work is on more API support and technical work on the back-end of their current desktop app.
  • A look at the UX and UI changes coming to Mastodon 4.3.

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