Flipboard has begun testing ActivityPub federation of user accounts

Mike McCue - Hello Fediverse. I'm posting this tonight from my federated Flipboard profile! We're now testing our integration starting with my account. You can follow me here to see all the stories I'm curating about things like startups, photography and of course, the . Curious to hear your thoughts on how this is working. We’ll incorporate your feedback as we make more progress on federating Flipboard. Stay tuned for lots more soon.

pewgar_seemsimandroid,

okay you can exist

Fitik,

For those wanting to follow them from kbin their profile is @mike

livus,
livus avatar

Thanks, that didn't work for me. Try @mike

Fitik,

Doesn't work with me because you haven't specified the instance

livus,
livus avatar

@Fitik I think you and I are having the same problem with each other's link?

Your link took me to an empty profile on kbin, did mine take you to one on fedia.io?

What I typed was @mike@flipboard.com

Fitik,

In Fediverse you need not only to specify username but issuance as well, like in email

Like @ username @ instance, for example @ mike @ flipboard.com or @ Fitik @ fedia.io

livus,
livus avatar

@Fitik yes, but I did. There is something about kbin commenting that must strip it out again so that if you are on another instance it doesn't link right. I had the same problem with your link that you have for mine.

I typed @mike@flipboard.com

At mike at flipboard dot com

Gamers_Mate,

That gave me a 404 error. Though this worked for me.
Edit nvm Livus beat me to it.

livus,
livus avatar

@Gamers_Mate that works for me too but it's because we're both on kbin.social specifically.

Ghostalmedia,
@Ghostalmedia@lemmy.world avatar

So, how do I get their content in Lemmy?

Gamers_Mate,

I found this works on lemmy world for finding their profile.
It seems kbin has an @ for the name as well as the site while lemmy just has an @for the site they are from.

Microw,

I can see their profile, but no option to follow them

thegiddystitcher,
@thegiddystitcher@lemm.ee avatar

It’s because they’re a user, not a community. Lemmy doesn’t let us follow users (at least not yet).

Microw,

Hm, so what does this mean for federating his “posts” to Lemmy/my instance?

thegiddystitcher,
@thegiddystitcher@lemm.ee avatar

It means as far as I’m aware, that ain’t happening. You’d have to follow from something that supports following users (Mastodon is the obvious, but does Kbin do this? 🤷‍♀️)

Falst,

I don’t know how I’d feel about following users from Lemmy TBH. It’d feel like trying to compete with Mastodon or other microblogging platforms and I’m not sure we need it in this space.

I’d find it interesting to have a unique identity for services in the fediverse instead.

maegul,
@maegul@lemmy.ml avatar

Well, if they’re doing what many other places are doing, which is implementing with a focus on mastodon, then you won’t be able to. Same thing happened with the Wordpress plugin recently, AFAIK.

The issue is that mastodon does users and lemmy does groups (ie communities). From that I could tell, the wordpress plugin for ActivityPub implemented their federation as a user. This way, it’ll work more or less “naturally” on mastodon. Already you can see an issue with this IMO, as any given blog is not necessarily a single user: often a blog hosts content from multiple users, in which case federating as a group could make more sense.

My bet is that flipboard are doing the same, even though it makes even less sense for a news aggregator to not have an ActivityPub feed that is organised around a group. Of course I could be completely wrong about this. But the force to optimise for mastodon, which doesn’t do groups well at all, is very real and so I’d be willing to bet I’m right.

Either way, the point still stands that mastodon’s size is distorting what the fediverse looks like toward its idiosyncrasies. Which makes a lot of sense for those looking to plug in to the fediverse such as flipboard, but by the same token raises rather significant concerns about the quality and propriety of mastodon’s stewardship and influence over the fediverse.

Beyond all of that though is the question for lemmy and users here as to whether they’d be interested in being able to follow users more or less like a microblog? Kbin is trying something along those lines. Facebook (and friendica on the fediverse) have had a mix of user and group driven structures for a long time now.

My personal take is that lemmy’s general reddit-like design could create a rather interesting platform if it were to allow user’s to create their own personal “communities” which could be subscribed to like any other. The idea being to not lean into the microblogging idea (where the character limit here is something like 50,000 anyway, so “micro” is inapplicable) but instead to lean into the idea of a blogosphere in which people’s personal communities would become places for posting longer form content with the purpose of starting conversations.

RandomVideos,

So by destroying twitter and moving people to mastodon, elon musk is ruining the fediverse

Now his plan makes sense

/s

Draconic_NEO,
@Draconic_NEO@lemmy.world avatar

Could easily be fixed if they allowed User based federation the same way Kbin and Friendica do. Probably won’t happen though unless Desilantis and Nutomic pull their head out of their ass or the community gets fed up with them like people did with Kbin and created a community driven fork (like Mbin but for Lemmy) that implements what the community works on democratically.

maegul,
@maegul@lemmy.ml avatar

I’ve asked the devs about it before. They completely saw the potential value in it but admitted that it would be a lot of work and so isn’t a priority at the moment.

From what I’ve gathered, working with ActivityPub is a pain in the ass. Doing so with a statically/strongly typed programming language seems to only add to the pain so going with Rust may be substantially slowing them down compared to those working in Ruby and PhP (as Mastodon and kbin do). So I believe them that it would be a lot of work.

As for kbin, I’m not sure how they got user based federation going but IME I’ve always found it to be a bit weird and concluded that it is mostly sucking up microblog content to fill up the magazines (which is a cool idea in itself). I’ve spoken to the kbin dev about it and they it is working properly if you know which page to go to but it still didn’t seem quite right to me. So though I could be wrong I’m not sure kbin has proper microblogging or user based federation just yet.

With friendica, well that’s a product of Mike Macgirvin who is basically the fediverse’s old unsung hero that appears to be making better things but without any interest in pushing their popularity … point being that it’s no surprise that friendica (or Hubzilla or Streams, his other works) has something the rest of the fediverse should.

A lemmy fork has been spoken about for a while but I’ve not seen anyone willing and able take the idea seriously. Not sure it would change the core devs approach though, they seem pretty happy doing what they want to do.

The thing with forks, or at least unfriendly/hard forks, is that they probably damage the fediverse more than help it. By my estimate the first line on the fediverse’s tombstone will be “failed to cooperate well”. I suspect there’s way too much of a “hacker … I’ll do it my own way with blackjack and hookers” culture and less of a “lets build together” culture, where the former tickles personal needs and gripes and itches while the latter requires making compromises for the greater good. IE: If someone is capable of developing user based federation on top of lemmy then they should probably think about how they can pull that into the mainline code base before starting their own prideful fork. Just my two cents.

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

Neat! I have to admit I've never heard of Flipboard (I'm not known for my broad experience in social media). From the summary I read just now it sounds like Flipboard is a kind of news aggregator? If so, that's right up the alley of sites like Lemmy and Kbin instances. So a good match for federating here.

Carter,

I only know Flipboard as bloatware on a Samsung phone.

Chozo,
Chozo avatar

It's basically an RSS reader (with a bunch of curated feeds) with a nice interface. I've used it off and on and found it to be no better or worse than a lot of other mainstream news readers.

Excrubulent,
@Excrubulent@slrpnk.net avatar

I never actually considered the idea that established websites implementing activitypub to join the fediverse would be an important part of its growth. This is fascinating!

I’ve been talking for a while about how the fediverse might dethrone youtube - which is maybe the biggest challenge it faces - to become the default form that people use to consume content, but I’ve only ever thought about it in terms of collapse and replacement. I don’t see youtube implementing activitypub any time soon, but maybe if more sites fo it and it becomes a key selling point that might start to tip the balance more.

Phanatik,

I'm interested to see a Fediverse implementation of a YouTube alternative. Being able to link a Microblog on Kbin to a Mastodon post and a Community post on a YT alt would be HUGE.

Chozo,
Chozo avatar

You should look into PeerTube.

magikmw,

Does Peertube implement ActivityPub?

Chozo,
Chozo avatar

Yep, PeerTube instances are all part of the Fediverse.

magikmw,

Orly. Hm, may try to setup some kind of support/mirror instance. I don’t have a lot of space but could be helpful maybe.

ContentConsumer9999,

Can you actually PeerTube from other ? As a Kbin user, I can see both Lemmy threads and Mastodon microblogs and I know Mastodon users can tag Lemmy (and maybe also Kbin) magazines to make threads there. Is there a way to interact with PeerTube like that?

thegiddystitcher,
@thegiddystitcher@lemm.ee avatar

Short answer: yes. But as with most things the exact mechanism depends on where you’re at.

For example most people following my PeerTube account are on Mastodon. Those people see my videos straight in their Mastodon feed and can comment and favourite and boost as normal. Comments and favourites show up on the PeerTube side pretty flawlessly. The videos also show up in a hashtag search from Mastodon servers where I have a follower. Everything just works, it’s great for discoverability.

On Lemmy, you can subscribe to a PeerTube channel (not a whole account, as far as I’m aware), but it doesn’t seem to work as smoothly. For example here’s my channel viewed through my Lemmy instance, lemm.ee. It shows up as a community in my subscriptions list, and new videos show up both in subscriptions feed and in All.

HOWEVER, as you can see there, new videos just sort of stopped federating a month ago. If we view it through lemmy.world instead, there are more recent videos but again not all of them, and some older videos are showing up with more recent dates.

Neither Lemmy server seem to be pulling in comments, just the videos themselves. I’ve not tested whether comments left here actually make it back to PeerTube.

So TLDR there probably is a way to view them on Kbin as well, I’m not sure what the exact mechanism to search for them would be but do bear in mind federation might not be super slick. If you’re on Mastodon though, that’s great for sticking all your PT subs into a list and having it all just right there.

ContentConsumer9999,

Well, after messing around a little, Kbin seems to be able to do both. I can your PeerTube or to your . Interestingly, PeerTube seems to allow you to create multiple channels under a username which is kinda similar to Kbin's or Mastodon's .

nix,
@nix@merv.news avatar

Does kbin add # to words randomly? Confused on why those words have them

ContentConsumer9999,

Oh, I just use on my posts to make them easily . So someone looking to see what people are saying about collections can search "" and find my post.

nix,
@nix@merv.news avatar

Who’s going to search for or though? Seems like it would make much more sense to only # keywords relevant to the topic of the thread?

ContentConsumer9999,

I try to use hashtags for topics specific to my comment and not already covered by the thread, the comment(s) I'm replying to or the magazine in general since people know they can look under that thread to find more of that topic anyways. Now admittedly, I may not be that consistent with this and might make some tags that fall a bit outside the topic but that's at least my goal. I wasn't using Twitter that much before my Reddit migration and I first started using hashtags with Kbin so I'm not sure how exactly they should be used.

thegiddystitcher,
@thegiddystitcher@lemm.ee avatar

Yeah the account vs channel thing was confusing as a new creator signing up there. On Mastodon you can follow either, but the videos are always posted by the account first and then just boosted by the channel.

Following an account means you’re automatically subbed to all the person’s channels so most prefer to do that anyway, whereas obviously following just a channel is just that channel. This has the vaguely amusing side effect of making channel sub counts absolutely tiny, even if the account has a lot of followers.

I kind of get the impression accounts were supposed to be analogous to YT channels, and channels to YT playlists. But then there’s playlists too so honestly it’s a bit of a mess. If any future PeerTube creators are reading this just make sure your account name is the actual brand! Don’t make the same mistake I did lol.

ContentConsumer9999,

Actually, I'm quite fond of this - formation. It lets people have different channels for different content. Like how some YouTubers have a main channel and a second channel with low quality videos or how some streamers have a VODs channel.

thegiddystitcher,
@thegiddystitcher@lemm.ee avatar

Yeah it works fine, once you know that’s how it works. But I expect a lot of creators would be like me and assume the account name is just the account name, and videos will show as published by the channel name. So more of a PSA that everything gets published by your account and to be aware of that when setting things up :D

burkybang,
@burkybang@lemmy.world avatar

I added a test comment here, so you can know what happens if someone comments from Lemmy.

lemmy.world/comment/5798346

thegiddystitcher,
@thegiddystitcher@lemm.ee avatar

Thanks! It doesn’t seem to have shown up on the PeerTube side sadly (neither in my notifications nor on the video itself). But let’s see if it makes its way over there given enough time :)

otter,

Exciting!

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