When introducing members to kbin/lemmy don't mention the fediverse!

I introduced kbin to someone today who asked what the fediverse was. I answered for them of course, but it made me realize that the concept is still technobabble for most people. The average joe probably doesn't care or notice that server A is really talking to server B. Just have them find out on their own and if a mass migration does need to happen from A to B, just make a standard announcement.

TLDR; most people's reactions to the word fediverse.

Hiker avatar

I don't agree. The term "Fediverse" must be mentioned at the very beginning of the introduction - the decentralized network must be understood as the basis of the whole. People have made the mistake for too long of selling Mastodon to people as the Fediverse - that's just wrong.

aroom avatar

and the fediverse is also about value of inclusivity. it goes beyond a technological ideal.

HeartyBeast avatar


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  • katalaree,



    No, but I do describe it as email and not just pretend that the only one that exists is gmail or hotmail. Just like when introducing email to someone we tell them that the provider they choose doesn’t matter because you can send mail to anyone with an email address, when introducing the fediverse to someone we should tell them that it doesn’t matter what specific instance they choose because you can see content from anyone with a fediverse account.

    tinwhiskers avatar

    I initially downvoted you because I disagree, but then changed my mind because it's still a valid opinion. Personally, I agree with OP. People are being scared off by confusion in trying to understand what the fediverse is. While I agree it's good to mention the fediverse and the distributed nature, it's often coming across as the main thing and I think it's counter-productive. People will come to understand it just fine if they can just be left to dive in without befuddling them. I think getting them on board is more important than it being in the fediverse.

    sab avatar

    I agree it's not important to introduce and/or explain the Fediverse at length, but the concept probably cannot be ignored completely either.

    People migrating from Reddit are faced with the choice between Lemmy and kbin, and a bunch of different servers. Telling them that "which one you choose doesn't matter that much, as they will all talk to each other anyway" is probably of some relevance.

    9Volt avatar

    Exactly my thoughts. Offer to provide people more information gradually (if they desire). I think the important part is getting people to first try out these options, because it’s much easier to learn about this at your own pace and by playing around with it, rather than listening to a minutes long explanation, even when it’s well intentioned.

    CynAq avatar

    Which one you choose does matter though, at least for the immediate user experience.

    I don't think decoupling the content distribution system from the immediate interface works in the favor of large scale adoption of the whole system.

    We can be honest by saying something like "the particular site you sign up for will look and feel different, and the people you first encounter will have a slightly different culture, but ultimately all of these sites can and do interact with each other's users and content. It's like choosing one of twitter or facebook as your main interface but being able to read and post on either one. It's a lot more complicated to talk about than it is to use it, really. You'll see when you try it".

    Most importantly, people can start somewhere, and if they don't like the first site they choose, they can register with another. We should be finding ways to tell people this isn't the end of the world if they feel the need to go to another site to use the same overall ecosystem.


    The differences among instances really do matter.

    If Stormfront opens an instance tomorrow, would you say it makes no difference because they will all talk to each other anyway? You shouldn't. The example of Mastodon shows they won't all talk to each other, often for very good reasons. Like "that instance is literally Stormfront." You can expect that instance to have Nazi moderation policies, to normalize Nazism and to engage in Nazi brigading.

    Imagine an average Redditor lands on one of the main Lemmy instances, where everyone (on penalty of excommunication) holds that Stalin Did Nothing Wrong, that Ukrainian culture and language should be exterminated and submerged in the Russian Empire, and so on. If that Redditor doesn't really understand that the instances are different in viewpoint and policy, they can reasonably conclude that the Fediverse is dominated by tankies. Meanwhile, despite their faults, Twitter and Reddit still exist and are not so clearly dominated by people who like to promote genocide. What does the average user think?

    sab avatar

    Absolutely - I'm coming from the assumption that they are given a list of reasonable instances (for example from the kbin front page or from recommendations).

    Among a curated list of servers, it's probably best to join one without assigning too much importance to it, and rather change instance later should you be unhappy. But of course, some instances should not be considered, and some might prefer to join an instance with stricter/more lenient moderation right off the bat.

    Fatalchemist avatar

    I think what scares people off is looking for an explanation and seeing 15 page documents or 30 minute videos explaining it.

    "Fediverse lets different sites talk to each other. It's like if Facebook could follow people on Twitter and subscribe to subreddits so now your Facebook page has Facebook posts, reddit Twitter posts, and reddit posts all in one, if you want. If you join a site on the fediverse, you can communicate with any other site on the fediverse easily." 3 sentences gets the job done for what's needed.

    One they're in kbin or whatever, they can learn the site. "oh a magazine is like a subreddit or like channels in a discord server" or whatever they're used to.

    I wish that's how it was explained to me. I'm not massively into technology but it interests me casually so I was able to put up with the long explanations because it felt interesting to me. But it really could be boiled down so much more for newbies.


    That is the best explanation I've seen so far. I've seen it also explained as a city/neighborhood/house analogy which helped but I love yours.

    eamus_catuli_ avatar

    This is a great analogy. I also like the comparison to emails - doesn’t matter if you’re on Yahoo or Gmail or AOL (we’re still out here!), you can communicate with each other seamlessly, though your user experiences (email features, layouts, etc) may differ.

    vitaminwater247 avatar

    i just wish we can keep the terminologies consistent, even calling magazines as subs/subreddits.
    people don't want to learn another set of terminology when all they want to just to refer to that thing they want to point to.
    i don't even like the word "boost". just give me up and down arrows and it'll be good enough.

    jon avatar

    The issue is that for your average Joe Schmoe, decentralization isn't really a selling point. For a lot of people, a computer is a magic box they use to visit websites, and how anything works under the hood is irrelevant. Whether it's one server or a federation of servers doesn't matter.

    I saw a lot of people bail on Mastodon before even signing up because this concept of "instances" confused them. What server do I join? Can I talk to X of I'm not on X's server? Do I need an account on each server I want to follow? This concept of multiple instances of a platform doesn't exist outside of the fediverse. Kbin just pointing you to the default instance is probably the best thing it could do for widespread adoption.

    I don't think it's fair to expect someone looking to join a new knitting community to learn about client/server relationships and federated social platforms. Point them to the main instance and give them a high level overview about the fediverse if they ask. The resources are here if they want to learn more.

    ZenMorph avatar

    The onboarding process, prior to selecting a server, could be streamlined. It's common fair to ask new users to identify some of their topics of interest. Server admins could provide a list of tags/topics that are associated with their community. The new user would then see a list of communities ordered by strongest matches to their interests. Just a thought.


    I love this idea! Anything (within reason) to reduce decision paralysis is a great thing, and I think this would help a lot with that.

    WeaponizedPoultry avatar

    As long as it's optional. I absolutely despise sites trying to decide what I want to see based on a few vague interests. I know that works for most people, but I can't be the only one who would have a negative impression of that being the only onboarding option.


    As an alternative the UI could hide the fediverse-related technicality while showing basically all the magazines from all the kbin instances. When new users create an account, all the kbin instances should allow creation for any other instance. Just allow redirecting or something. There should be an advanced info button to show each kbin instance's policies. They won't matter for the average Joe.


    You can't show anyone anything "from all [blank] instances", though. There's no centralized server that they all phone home to. There's no mechanism for them to learn about each other except through user exploration.


    So there’s no way to see non-kbin content without going and subscribing to another instances magazines?


    Bingo. Someone on the site has to follow remote content in order for the site to receive it. So long as one person is subscribed, it will land here, and become searchable via regular search.

    New Fediverse sites pop up every day. They don't register with any kind of central authority, and, indeed, if no one on those sites subscribes to remote users or groups, and no one off-site subscribes to local users or groups, the site is in effect unfederated.

    eamus_catuli_ avatar

    Ooh I did not realize this but it makes sense.

    A dumb follow-up then if I may… if I don’t see a particular magazine I’m looking for (so it either doesn’t exist or no one from this site has subscribed to it yet), how do I search other instances to see if it exists anywhere else?


    If you're staying here, this won't be an actual problem going forward, for the most part. There are enough people here to make sure everything except the most niche remote groups are being followed, given a little bit of time.

    But as an academic exercise, the easiest way is to use the search bar on another big server. Lemmy.world, Lemmy.one, Lemmy.ml, or beehaw.org should do. Once you've found something that's out there that you want syncing here, copy the originating URL (found via the Fediverse's rainbow network icon on Lemmy-based sites, or the "copy link to Fediverse" option under "more" on kbin-based sites) and then paste that into kbin.social's searchbar.

    Searching for direct URLs is seemingly how all Fediverse sites allow users to pull in remotely hosted content (its the same process on Mastodon, Misskey, Friendica, PixelFed, and Hubzilla, I believe). Once it's been pulled in, you can subscribe and keep the content flowing.

    eamus_catuli_ avatar

    Thanks for the primer! Added bonus, I now understand the function of “copy link to fediverse”. Much obliged.

    fuocoebenzina avatar

    I don't think it's fair to expect someone looking to join a new knitting community to learn about client/server relationships and federated social platforms.

    This is the situation with the communities I'm most interested in - it's a big psychological barrier to entry, if you're not particularly tech-minded. I've been trying to spread the word, but I don't think I can put it simply enough (and I've been putting it really simply, because honestly I don't completely understand it all myself yet).

    I'm here because it was easy to sign up, it's friendly and reasonably intuitive, and it seems like a place where you can learn by doing. I just jumped in without thinking too much about it, and it's working out pretty well so far. I just wish more people understood that they could do the same thing...

    QHC avatar

    I'm not too worried about the learning curve. I can remember when explaining Reddit to my friends ended in a blank stare. I also encountered plenty of people on Reddit, even recently, who were only there for a specific sub and had no real awareness of the larger Reddit system/community.

    The same thing can happen with the Fediverse. Communities on specific instances will gain critical mass and attract people from outside the Fediverse, who will sign up and engage with what they think of as just another website.

    TraceLines avatar

    This concept of multiple instances of a platform doesn't exist outside of the fediverse.

    This is not 100% true.

    A good comparison might be World of Warcraft. While not the best example, a player does not have to be in the same instance/server as their friend in order to join in each other's content/dungeons. This is a fairly new feature of WoW ( and not feature-complete compared to full federation ). It could stand in as a starting point for the conversation.


    most people have not played WoW or any MMO

    TraceLines avatar

    Yeah, that's fair, but it's an inroad that shares a conceptual thread or two; no conversation is going to go the same for everyone, so options and metaphors are great. :D

    QHC avatar

    Most people haven't used Twitter or Reddit, either.

    wr4th4 avatar

    i'll be honest: the last time I played WoW, if you wanted to play with your friends you had to roll on the same shard lol.


    this is not that simple. If a user joins an instance that has only a few users they will get disappointed because it will look empty and non-active. They need to understand that they can still join communities from another instances where they can find more users and activity and they can still interact with them


    I still don't understand how to do this part


    It's been turned off temporarily here on kbin.social to help keep the servers running, should be back soon though


    it already works, partially. You can go to search and try pasting "asklemmy@lemmy.ml" . You need only the community name, if you paste the whole URL it is not working. Then, if you click on the community name's, you are transferred to https://kbin.social/m/asklemmy@lemmy.ml which is essentially the content from that community, but "inside" your current instance. The problem now is that this content is stuck in 2 days ago, when the issue with cloudflare started. When fixed, content will start being updated

    @ComicSads @ChimpanzeeThat @Kichae @CMLVI

    Kichae, (edited )

    Is that content being updated, though? Or was that community simply imported before syncing was off, and is now stale?

    This is why some knowledge about how things work is important. Accessing https://kbin.social/m/asklemmy@lemmy.ml does not access the remote community. It accesses a local mirror of the remote community, which is updated when the remote group forwards content along.

    If k-soc isn't accepting those content updates, it's not actually engaging with remote users and new content, and it's not se ding along local content addressed to the remote group.

    It's interacting with a ghost.


    Is that content being updated, though?

    did you read my comment till the end?

    CMLVI avatar

    I think the question is when cloudflare is no longer needed, will interaction with the content be "live" vs only when instances send/receive data. It's a reasonable question, no need to be impatient. A lot of people are learning right now.


    without having read the activity pub protocol, what I understand is that it is "push" instead of "pull". And this is the reason that it is not updated now, because other instances are trying to "push" their updates but cloudflare blocks them because it is one server making constantly connections. If it was "pull" then cloudflare doesn't have any reason to block it.

    CMLVI avatar

    That makes sense; so that brings me to a question I have about federation. Is it two-way? It would seem so if it's push, as the sending instance would need to want to push to the receiver.

    For example, say a large instance with big communities has emerged, and a smaller instance with a, let's say difficult population, wants data from the larger. Could the smaller one sub to the larger one and not be able to interact with it? Or do both instances need to agree to federate and all the bits that come with it?

    assbutt avatar

    Expecting someone to read your comments before responding to them is not "being impatient." It is not a reasonable question when that question was answered in the very comment to which they are replying.


    I didn't.

    I didn't have to.

    Did you read my comment for understanding?


    If a new thread is made in asklemmy@lemmy.ml via kbin.social while the connection is broken, will the new thread ultimately populate for viewers of asklemmy@lemmy.ml when the connection is restored?

    I'm envisioning two threads of the same name/subject posted by different users in different instances. Parallel discussions that happen in silos. When the walls are torn down, will those discussions be side by side in the timeline or will all the 'new' outdated content incoming from kbin.social overtake the current content?

    CMLVI avatar

    To my understanding, they won't "join". However, the idea is that if you want the large group discussion, you'd follow the "magazine" on the large instance and you'd receive that content. If you want the smaller, more nuanced discussion, you'd find an instance or platform that suits what you want and then see it there. The benefit is that you don't need an account on 10 platforms to join in; you are receiving content from multiple places here, and able to respond and interact here regardless of location.

    You will get repeats if you follow multiple of the same "subjects" on different instances and platforms, and the discussion won't merge.


    If a new thread is made in asklemmy@lemmy.ml via kbin.social while the connection is broken, will the new thread ultimately populate for viewers of asklemmy@lemmy.ml when the connection is restored?

    No. This is what the "Boost" button is for. It basically re-sends whatever you're boosting.

    This is important for other reasons, too. In order for a given site to receive content from a remote instance, someone on that site needs to subscribe to the content source. Once they subscribe, the back catalogue of content is not sent. Only future posts and comments are.

    Boosting content re-sends it to the group, and will push it out to newer subscribers.

    assbutt avatar

    Is that content being updated, though? Or was that community simply imported before syncing was off, and is now stale?

    Bruh. That's what they just said in the comment that you didn't read.

    The problem now is that this content is stuck in 2 days ago, when the issue with cloudflare started. When fixed, content will start being updated


    Once it's working again, you find what you're looking for on its originating site, copy the URL, and then paste it into the local search bar. That will cause your local site to fetch the content from the remote site.

    You can than subscribe/follow who-or whatever the original person/group was in order to continue to get content from them.

    fuocoebenzina avatar

    Thanks! I was wondering why that didn't seem to work when I tried it, but if it's not switched on yet then that makes sense

    CMLVI avatar

    This is why I'm recommending also making a fedia.io account. It's still a kbin instance, but you can explore the federated side and see how it comes together into a unified experience. When everything cools down, then decide which instance is for you

    QHC avatar

    On top of intentionally connecting specific external communities to the instance you are using, communities from other instances will show up as search results. For example, I am a big Star Trek fan, so I go to the search and enter "star trek", which shows me both a local community here on kbin.social and reveals there's a dedicated instance at startrek.website which has more content.

    Over time, I'm expecting that niche topics will (for better or worse) gravitate to specific instances, but that content will then be duplicated throughout the whole Fediverse. There's a lot of duplication right now because things are new and not totally connected, not to mention technical challenges for scaling up, but that will improve over time.

    snappy_ranger, (edited )

    Here's what would I say when introducing Kbin to someone:

    "...So Kbin is a lot like Reddit; you can pretty much upvote and downvote stuff, you can post stuff that you wanna post, you can follow people, you can save posts by simply 'boosting'. But here's the deal: you can also access posts from other sites like Kbin, and you can write microblogs! With what's going in Reddit, I think it's safe to say that Kbin is here to stay."


    Being a developer makes me think of "federation" mostly as an 'implementation detail' that doesn't matter - to me, currently, and especially to people just looking for a Reddit replacement. The important part is "what does it do and why do I care", not the internal workings for their own sake. Those can sometimes be interesting to technical people (currently probably overrepresented here), but most people will zone out if confronted with technical info unprompted.

    A good way to explain it to people might just be reddit (or whatever comparison), except without a 'single point of failure' - if they go down or go rogue, or go full [redacted], then people can still communicate and work around it.

    An example is IRC for those old enough. It isn't usually relevant to many users that it's a connected network, and that the specific address you connect(ed?) to might have been any particular server on it. Mostly the "decentralization" only matters to end users when it glitches out.

    mfz avatar

    First rule of fediverse: Don’t talk about the fediverse.


    I apologize in advance if this has been said. But I think we should tell people about the platforms first then the fediverse. I would like to see a quick, high level video explaining platforms for each use case and then the fediverse. I think the video should be almost “corporate” style with animation, not a person with a webcam talking about everything(not trying to be rude). After that there might be a need to do the same with each platform based on use case but only for those that want to learn more. We need to remember that people want easy. You have to do that with design and easily digestible information. Most people want to use the product and not take a college course to understand how to use it.

    missingno avatar

    You make it sound like we need to be sneaky and hide what kbin really is. That's not it either, you just have to not overwhelm people with a complicated infodump. Keep the explanation short and sweet. It's a network of many servers that no one CEO can control, but any server you go to can access anything.


    I've been in computers for 35 years, and every description I've read of the fediverse has been so poorly written I couldn't understand it. The way I look at it, if a typical person will struggle to sign up / understand a product, I shouldn't bother with it because it won't catch on. I'm here now because the signup process is finally streamlined (although it was full of ux problems)

    Bloonface avatar

    In my view the issue with explanations of the Fediverse in general is that they all seem to rely on people either already having a rough understanding of what a server is and how that relates to them. If you don't have those priors then the concept will simply not register.

    Frankly a lot of people had trouble understanding subreddits, let alone client-server architectures for online services. They just saw Reddit as "an app", or Twitter as "an app". The stuff behind that is essentially magic to them, but is also abstracted away so it's not their problem. The fediverse seems to make that their problem in a very confrontational way, not helped by a) some people insisting that prior knowledge of how fedi works is necessary for participation and b) the fact that unlike email (the most popular metaphor) communication between instances is neither fully automatic nor often transparent to the end user.

    To be blunt, it's nerd shit. Nerds like it but to everyone else, it's just nerd shit. Most people don't want nerd shit getting in the way of their online time.

    The best way to explain the Fediverse, to my mind, is to not. Anyone who's interested will find out about it, anyone who's not can just use it. I don't need to understand the mechanics of a hybrid drivetrain, lithium ion batteries and combustion engines to drive my car. I just press the "Start" button and drive it.

    Lells avatar

    I think understanding how federation works would eliminate a lot of the "Which network should I be on" questions, though. Because a lot of people seem to be confused about that. If I'M understanding it correctly, it doesn't matter really which aggregator you use, because with federation you actually have access to the content in all of them.


    You don't have access to the ones which refuse to federate (for example, because they will only federate with instances that accept the same Code of Conduct).

    vaguerant avatar

    I think there's some merit to just not using the word Fediverse, at least for people who are completely unfamiliar with the idea. I've explained it before as "You can sign up to any server, but they all share the same content." It's technically not exactly accurate, but it doesn't introduce any words or concepts that people haven't heard of before, and allows people to intuit for themselves that the servers (instances) are separate but connected. If they ask what the purpose of that is, you can start getting into decentralization, but just "different servers, same content" is a good start.

    emzzy, (edited )

    I wholeheartedly agree. While the fediverse and ActivityPub are interesting and important concepts, especially for having a deeper understanding of what services like Kbin, Lemmy, Mastodon, and Peertube can really do, it's mostly backend, really. People may approach the aforementioned services from all walks of life, all levels of tech literacy, and all levels of interest in FOSS and/or decentralization. But one thing that most, if not everyone will be approaching these services for, is for something that they can use to connect with other people. In the case of Kbin and Lemmy, through a format of a social news aggregator/forum. That will almost always be at the forefront, and I think that's the most important part of the first impressions for these services.

    If you're introducing a new car to someone that's just looking for something that can get them to work without breaking down, how much details of the internals should you really have to divulge before that person can drive it for themselves? Sure, it's great to have a better understanding of how your car works, but especially considering how common cars are today, driving this car shouldn't be too unintuitive. And if it is, be it due to our approach or the presentation of the 'vehicle' at hand, I think it's worth building off of the feedback to make using it more intuitive next time.

    I don't think it hurts to mention what distinguishes Kbin/Lemmy/Mastodon from the services people are used to, but I don't think it should be the focus. Rather, I think that upfront, they should primarily be explained up to as much of a point that it would impact the individual person's day-to-day usage of the specific implementation at hand.

    aroom avatar

    I don't really agree with this because the fediverse is not only interconnected by a technology (ActivityPub) but also by some shared values, like inclusivity and kindness to each other.

    so for me it's important to agree to embrace those values if you want to be part of it. it's not just a replacement for other platforms. users that experienced the twitter migration know what I'm talking about.

    if an instance becomes toxic, il will simply be de-federated and continue to live on its on , on a secular island (a good example of this is thruth.social, who is not accessible from mastodon.social for obvious reasons). I really don't want this to happen to here.

    so please let's keep what was on reddit on reddit and build something new here.


    While I agree that it's important for people to have an understanding of the values that the fediverse are founded upon, as well as associated etiquette, I still don't think that the fediverse itself needs that much of an explanation for people to reach that understanding. Though platforms may provide tools that can be used for malice, a tool is only ever as good or bad as the intent of the person using them. I don't think someone necessarily has to understand the technical aspects of the fediverse to know how to treat others. Maybe to put things in better perspective, like how much of a communal aspect there is to the efforts that maintain this network, but I think most people will get to that understanding on their own regardless if it's truly in their intent. Inclusivity and kindness aren't concepts that are unique to the fediverse, but human concepts that people learn, and unfortunately unlearn over entire lifetimes. And above all, I believe the best way to teach and convey values to one another will also always be the most intuitive: by example.

    aroom avatar

    I think that it's important for users to know where they are.

    and I think that it's critical to fight technological illiteracy, raise awareness about how it works, who's developing it, who's paying for it. it doesn't need to be complex, but the main concept need to be explained, and thus let users be actors of their digital life.

    in my opinion it's important to take any opportunity to do so.

    the online courses from the totem project about digital security and privacy are very well done and easy to follow, if anyone is interested:


    I agree with your sentiment: tech illiteracy is very common. As we become more and more reliant on technology and the internet, it becomes increasingly important that we deepen our understanding of the tools at hand, as well as the rights and responsibilities that come with them. That said, everyone learns things at their own pace, in their own ways, and for their own reasons. I don't think we should discourage people from joining by setting an impression that an understanding of the concept of the fediverse needs to be had right off the bat. I think that's rigid, and dare I say it runs the risk of creating a feeling of exclusivity in-and-of itself. There's more to implementations like Kbin, Mastodon, and Lemmy than just the fediverse. And if people start with learning those aspects, I think that's completely fine. As humans, we're very curious beings, so I think people will eventually learn more regardless.

    To be completely honest, I don't think anyone who uses the internet knows the entire ins-and-outs of it. Practically everyone who uses it could always find something new to learn about how the internet came to be in the first place, as well as how it became what it is today. Similar to the fediverse, it showed much promise for new possibilities at the time, but it was very niche, both in its userbase and its usecase. Many people had a difficult time wrapping their heads around the concept. Over time, many people used it for different uses that weren't conceived prior. Some of these experiences were bad, but some of them were great. And overall, it was this experimentation that, over time, resulted in the internet we have today.

    Now it's such a commodity that most people have taken it for granted. Because of this, a lot of people don't even bother to understand the internet any further than need be due to how complex it has become, how pervasive it is in our society and day-to-day interactions, and how near-proportionately accessible it has become. Even despite that lack of understanding, so many people have used the internet to do absolutely incredible things that wouldn't have happened otherwise, and still are right now. People are still very much the actors of their digital lives, and changing the world in ways that we may not be able to imagine. It's hard to imagine what the internet, or the rest of the world for that matter, would look like now if it was always used as it was initially intended to be.

    I think it's important to be forthcoming about information related to the fediverse, but I also think it's important to allow people to come to their own understanding in their own time. By encouraging this, people who use the fediverse will also learn a lot in turn. I think that's key to adoption, innovation, improvement, and one of the aforementioned key values of the fediverse: inclusiveness. We can all learn something from each other, but among other things, it's going to take time. And the time that's going to take for anyone, will look different for everyone.

    Also, I haven't heard of the Totem Project before. I'll be checking it out!

    EDIT: Great to know that longer comments are also truncated on Kbin! Wasn't expecting to find out like this, though. 😂

    Bloonface avatar

    I don't really agree with this because the fediverse is not only interconnected by a technology (ActivityPub) but also by some shared values, like inclusivity and kindness to each other.

    That's kind of overegging the pudding. There's nothing intrinsically "nice" about fedi, quite a lot that isn't, and this feels like a promise that will be very rapidly seen as hollow lies the moment someone has a negative interaction, as well they might.


    It's what every underdog social network says when it doesn't have the network effect yet. BlueSky, for example.


    I saw someone yesterday who described it to be sort of like email. You can sign up for whatever email service you want and still send and receive email from people who have other email services. I don't think that's a perfect analogy because, for example, you don't have to go "subscribe" to other email services to receive them, but it does help explain the gist of a decentralized platform for someone who literally just wants a site to read stuff while they poop.

    Then you can expand on HOW to engage with the wider fediverse if they're interested.

    Bloonface avatar

    Everyone has used the "email" metaphor since the Mastodon migration back in 2022 and it still sounds overcomplicated, because frankly from the point of view of someone used to a single service on a single website, it is.

    It really is better to ignore the whole federation stuff entirely while you're getting people on board.


    I mean, you can ignore it until they ask about it. Then I feel like the email analogy is a decent entry point "answer" for someone who doesn't really care but saw mention of it.

    Otome-chan avatar

    That might've been my post you saw lol. And yeah, not quite the perfect analogy but it's close enough lol.


    I really don't agree that comparing it to email is helpful. That's how it was initially explained to me, and it just made me even more confused about how it all works. Sure it might be technically accurate because they're both protocol based, but I don't think it makes the federated model easier to understand. The far simpler version of "a bunch of websites that can share content" was a way better introduction, and all most people really need to understand. From there you can start to understand how they share content, but I really don't think that's needed, at least for now.

    starlinguk avatar

    The email explanation isn't very easy to understand at all, which is what a lot of nerds fail to understand. I don't see why the de diverse has to be mentioned at all. Literally everything runs on multiple servers.

    effingjoe avatar

    For kbin it doesn't matter yet. But eventually there is going to be a kbin app, and that app is almost certainly going to prompt the user for a server, and that's what caused so much confusion with Mastodon when Twitter started its death spiral.

    I like (and have used) the email analogy because everyone has an email and no one considered picking an email provider based on where their friends were. They picked it for personal reasons, maybe it was convenient or they liked the features and layout, etc. That, I feel, is a good analogy for how people should decide on a server-- or even a client, like kbin vs lemmy.

    However it gets done, it needs to get across that all these servers and clients can interact; they're not being siloed in when they make their choice.

    Kichae, (edited )

    Everything runs on multiple servers, but the Fediverse is not multiple servers. It's multiple websites.

    It's not load balancing across nodes behind a single entry point. It's content mirroring across thousands of independently operated sites.

    It isn't actually that complex, but it's different from what people are used to. And people can handwave away the importance of those differences, but if you choose to ignore that they exist, things just "don't work".

    Take discovery, for instance. "Why can't I find [group]" can't really be answered without some understanding of the federated nature of this space. Search always searches locally, and if a group hasn't been imported yet, it's not local. It'll never show up via search. Things can be tweaked so all groups on another site are imported when any of them are, but that does nothing for discovering groups or users on sites that don't yet have any contact with your local instance.

    Importing all groups at first contact also isn't the same as subscribing them them. It would be a waste of space and bandwidth to remain synced with remote communities that no local users are following or interacting with. If users are informed about why those groups aren't updating, then they can check to see if the groups are active by visiting the remote site m first, and then subscribe with confidence thst content will flow. But if we just pretend none of this matters, then they'll just be read as stagnant.

    If you don't understand how any of it works, quite a few thingshere just appear broken because if the expectations people have developed from using centralized services.

    It's just more complicated here. And that's ok.

    Hiker avatar

    We are obviously assuming different things: You think that there are only uneducated people out there. I assume that there are many interested people who would like to be fully informed.

    CosmicApe avatar

    Sure, there are definitely people who are going to want to know how everything works. But the community won't grow and evolve if there's too steep of a learning curve for the average internet user to just to join in

    Hiker avatar

    And why does the community need to grow? That has never been the main goal of the to be focused on. Quality over quantity.


    Because otherwise we don't have the community. Especially for most of the already-small communities we can't repopulate them if we only have 10 people even interested in the topic on this platform.

    Hiker avatar

    I don't see it in such black and white terms. People should be served with the important and correct information right from the start. We are in the and I don't see the point of repeating the same mistakes that were made with Mastodon.


    Wouldn't that just make the 'bubble' we currently find ourselves in even more extreme and isolate new users?

    Bloonface avatar

    Yes, but apparently it's not enough to actually get people using this Fediverse thing, they also have to be completely sold on all of its technical and ideological underpinnings and you need to make sure they are right at the point where they might be willing to try it.

    I mean, who wants users if they unbellyfeel fediverse?

    Bloonface avatar

    You are repeating the same mistakes that were made with Mastodon if you bamboozle people with a bunch of shit they frankly don't care about when you try and sell them on a replacement for a site they already use.



    To bamboozle them would be to lie about the nature of the space to sell them on a replacement for a site they already use.


    Because for this to work long term we need adoption. Protocols only work if there is large adoption, which means making all this comprehensible to more than just the tech nerds that are really into it. Plus isn't the whole idea to get everyone to start using these open protocols so we can make the internet a more open place? It defeats the point if we essentially just make this in to a niche silo too.

    Also, I think "fediverse" is really bad branding. It makes this whole thing feel too close to those crypto-scammers.

    Hiker avatar

    No, it's not. If you look "a little bit" closer then you will understand what a decentralised network is and the the "fediverse" - combination of "federated universe" - quite clear.

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