Repost of something I put on Twitter, in response to a post about "Shuttering Google Reader Killed Blogging"

a repeat mistake: being excited about a decentralized system's success because a big player moves in, becoming reliant on it, not providing a better alternative, big player leaves, decentralized system dies from shock

see also xmpp and gtalk

hoping to do better...

"Providing a better alternative" also means more than just "make the UI nice and easy to use", though that's a critical step. What is required to become a participating node in the system? How hard is it to keep that software running?

And yes, before you point it out, I don't think ActivityPub is in a good place here. But I think we can do better (and if you look, you can tell how that's impacting my current research & development)

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Yeah. More than once I've wondered what we'd do if Google did to activitypub what they did to email/xmpp, ie launch a service that uses activitypub, but eventually extends it and starts closing out the decentralized players more and more. It's embrace, extend, extinguish all over again.

Getting and using an activitypub account has to be as easy as possible for average people, without relying on surveillance industry players if we don't want to go the same way eventually.

The timing would be just right with Google+ closed down. They've already made competitive products to Apple (Android, Chromebook etc). They've shown a desire to create their own Facebook, trying more than once already. Combine that with the rise of activitypub and the pattern just talked about and it wouldn't surprise me if they were basically waiting to see if it can grow large and stable enough to experiment with turning activitypub into Gpub, or whatever they decide to call it.

@stardot @Blort pre-emptively blocking the big players isn't what's going to save the fediverse from their wandering in and then out, IMO. If all your friends and family show up on the fediverse finally, but they're using the Big G, I think it'll be really tough for network effect reasons, to not connect. Most of the network ultimately will, especially because whole new parts of the network will spring up that do.

So what's the alternative?

The alternative that will work, but is hard to do, is real-world organizations that support their own members needs and also support their own technologies and vice-versa.

They may mostly be local. Like, the participants will know each other in real life.

They will want what works for them, and will not be seduced by big players, because the big players will only work for them when they make informed choices to allow that for tactical purposes.

A bit more to come.

@stardot @Blort

@bhaugen @stardot @Blort I agree with choosing not to work with the big players and ignoring them in favor of local, cooperative interactions. I actually think that's a different thing than trying to put up border walls.

@cwebber @bhaugen @stardot @Blort maybe this is just a daft point from a non-technical user, but i have often wondered why fedi/activity pub goes the open/public route (more twitter-like) rather than the fb closed model. is it easier, for ferder-able, or just what some devs were into? as in, google have oft been hella pissed at fb coz its closed. wdn't it make sense for a decent/community network space to be walled-garden in a way? (i hate walled-gardens, but maybe a kinda anti-one?) this wd also seem to match the fact that fedi etc are much more abt communities than they are abt broadcasting (power). or do ppl rly use fedi things for communicating with non-users?


@mousebot @bhaugen @stardot @Blort the activitypub spec isn't public-oriented, it's built around direct delivery though it does support public, but the way it's rolled out has been primarily by twitter-style applications so that's colored public impressions of what the protocol is

(can't say more than that, completely unrelated to any of this shitty stuff is happening over here right now and I'm putting out fires)

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@cwebber @mousebot @stardot @Blort

ActivityPub can totally be used for more private groups, like the Hometown fork.
And I and several other people use single-person pubs as well as participating in group pubs.

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