Pretty much in the title. Maybe you wouldn’t even use it, but would like to simply see it exist for the sake of having a federated alternative.

For me, it’d be the following:

  • LinkedIn
  • Meetup
  • Tiktok

I am on the first two, but would prefer a federated alternative. I’m not on Tiktok, but would like to see a federated alternative.

I’ll admit these might not be a good idea. But as a thought experiment, I’d be curious about the community weigh in on what you all think this might look like.

Resol van Lemmy
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Flickr

Because Instagram sucks, and Pixelfed isn’t really that amazing of a social media service despite having some great photography to gawk at.

I’d also like an alternative to Vimeo since not that many design agencies post their cool stuff on YouTube or even PeerTube (and I’m basically addicted to television branding).

I can’t get browsing by hashtags to work on pixelfed itself. Only shows like 3 results.

Resol van Lemmy
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I hope it can get better sooner than later

I’d LOVE to see a fediverse and updated version of Livejournal. Private blogging is an insanely good way to make lifelong friends.

Can I choose ‘none’ as an answer?

Aside from being a difficult concept for non-tech people to grasp, the problem with the fediverse is that it’s an absolute nightmare to moderate. Nothing is stopping bad actors from creating their own instance and flooding others with illegal content. Lemmy World and Lemmy.ml have already had incidents where communities have been targeted and flooded with CSAM.

Social media platforms that I do have problems with can’t see a good fediverse alternative for these reasons, plus a few others.

YouTube as one such example: the problem is that video hosting costs a lot of money.

SSJ2Marx [he/him]
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I’m not sure if you would classify this as a “social media platform”, but imagine a federated MMO. Each server could specify its own rules for things like XP and drops, allow or disallow mods among its playerbase, or even have custom items and quests - but in certain areas (ie “in town”) all of this stuff would be disabled so that players from multiple different servers could all interact. You could choose a server based on whether you like a high pop or a low pop experience, temporarily try other servers out by partying up with someone from it, major guilds could run their own servers with their own events and stuff, and so on. Admins would want to defederate from poorly-moderated servers, servers with cheaters or with mods/rules that they think disrupt the experience they’re after, or whatever other reason.

A yt alternative that worked for content creators to be able to live off it.

How? I’m not sure.

Fediverse patreon, seems reasonnable, but they’d have to swallow using monero

cum
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PHP styled forums and Boorus would be cool. I know some PHP forums have recently added activitypub support, but it’s still pretty recent and doesn’t have much of a userbase.

Also a video platform like YouTube in a way. There’s still a lot of issues to solve with that though, like storage and monetization. PeerTube just isn’t going to cut it. Realistically if this were to ever happen, it’d have to be YouTube themselves to add activitypub support themselves and let people connect to them.

Some kind of marketplace like eBay.

Having bought and sold there the rules are quite arbitrary, and their cryptic algorhitm is a nuisance to buyers (you clicked by accident on a stove? You’re gonna see a ton of stoves in the recommended for a while!) and periodically harms sellers (if you don’t post daily and basically make it your day job, good luck making money!)

a federated alternative, with different instances for various interests and categories, meta-categories even and so on. Maybe regional instances like we have on here, one for the EU (quite convenient to ship and receive packages from inside of it, no customs wasting time and money) one for North America, one for East Asia, etc. With one being able to purchase from all of them.

Federation would also ensure that rules are properly enforced without abuses or other malpractices like eBay does (did you know eBay shipped a pig head to somebody who publicly criticized them?) since those instances would naturally be avoided and new ones would be made. It would also prevent excessive fees, as the fediverse is generally not a for-profit endeavor, and still, there will always be the option to shop around from other instances.

VRChat

None, just bring back forums ffs kitty-cri

I’m on two. You can literally spin one up for probably $30/mo if memory serves (for a fancy Discourse server on Digital Ocean), then just invite people.

E: actually price looks to be between $5 and $12 dollars depending on your needs, and how much work you’re willing to put in

gradyp
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some still exist. with social media dying, I’ve been frequenting my old haunts more and more. do you have stairs in your house by any chance?

No more “alternatives” please. That formula has failed over and over again. We want software that can do what proprietary platforms do not pursue because it’s not profitable. Online spaces to build meaningful connections, have interesting conversations with like-minded people, discover new things, be free from trolls and toxicity, possibly without the guilt of polluting the hell out of this planet with hardware and excessive electricity consumption.

Example? I’m skeptical there’s anything that both appeals to a reasonably large audience and isn’t monetisable. I’m very skeptical you can do it with less toxicity and computation somehow.

Edit: I suppose dating sites might count. They’re very much not optimised for actually finding good partners at this point, because gamified swipe dating keeps people hooked. Computation and toxicity are still pretty intractable.

@chobeat@lemmy.ml
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to a reasonably large audience

That’s a measure of success that makes sense only in a for-profit, growth-oriented environment. Software just has to be sustainable and “bigger” doesn’t necessarily imply "more sustainable.

That said, what is now possible with social media is extremely restricted and our idea of what a social media is is constrained by profit motives. Social media could be much more, connect humans for collaboration and exchange instead of data extraction. We are so used to the little crumbs of positive experiences on social media that we normalized it.

Bonfire, for example, if we want to stick to the fediverse, is trying to challenge this narrative and push the boundaries of what a social media is supposed to do.

Another space would be non-siloed notion-like tools.

Anothe entire can of worms would be to go beyond the “dictatorship of the app” and start building software and UX around flexibility and customizability for the average user, rather than keeping this a privilege for tools targeting power users. Flexibility in UX means harder trackability and less CTR, so most end-user “apps” avoid that.

Okay, sure, you could make an ultra-niche Fediverse app that has integration with a digital toothbrush or something, I’ll give you that. If three people can productively use it I’m not sure that counts as a form of social media, though. I’d use a descriptor more like “add-on service”. The “social” part means you need a certain number of bodies involved.

What’s the deal with Bonfire? As far as I can tell it’s microblogging with an emphasis on customisability.

Open source endpoints are great. I’m a big fan.

Edit: Oh hey! They have a blog post about that. So basically, it’s another framework on top of ActivityPub. I like the sound of that. From their GitHub they currently integrate microblogging and some weird thing that I can only describe as socially distributed accounting.

they are also doing a whole flavor just for research-oriented social media, geared towards the OpenScience community and the academia in general. It will launch soon.

Then they have a whole set of collaboration tools and groupware, that now kinda incorporates the basic features of Trello and GitHub, but on top of a social media with granular permission systems. There the use cases are many more, but it’s also much more general-purpose than the research flavor. I think the end-game would be to have a platform that acts as a middleware and connect social life, gift-based collaboration, work and consumption in a single open platforms.

I also wrote an article envisioning a federated notion-like tool built on top of Bonfire, that clearly would allow to structure knowledge and implement no-code software on top of Bonfire, but clearly this would require a disproportionate effort for what the project is at the moment: https://fossil-milk-962.notion.site/Fractal-Software-for-Fractal-Futures-71e515597d6b424c994cae74f3341521?pvs=4

That’s actually really neat! I’m going to have to play around with Notion so I can tell what you’re talking about.

A dating website! Okcupid, POF, hinge, bumble, etc. All no longer even try to match people. Just pay for nothing.

This is the answer I was looking for. Dating sites hardly exist at this point; they’ve all been converted to human swipe slot machines.

that’s a great idea!

Boorus ought to be halfway there. They’re content-centric and high-bandwidth, they tend to have a theme, and they live or die by worthwhile tagging. But they’re not a feed, the way most federated platforms have been. They are not social media in any sense. They’re image hosts, minus any the incentive to create attention-sucking antipatterns.

Maybe with a more unified user experience - and ideally some P2P elements to make hosting cheaper and sturdier - we could fucking finally have a place that just hosts drawings. We’re a quarter of the way into the twenty-first century and it is absurd that every gallery site has some arbitrary limits on what content is too weird.

Tumblr used to be the exception, until Apple destroyed them. Bastards.

I Cast Fist
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I thought it was Yahoo that destroyed Tumblr, back when they bought it and banned porn

Five years apart.

kristina [she/her]
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federated linkedin would be baller and would take so much pain out of the job application process, and i never even thought of that before. yeah, of course its still ran by filthy capitalists, but it would save a ton of time for job applications

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I don’t think the fediverse needs more platform alternatives.

What I really think we need is a way for people to use one fediverse account to log into different interfaces, so people can try out a new app / interface without starting a new account. Many apps can do this, but web apps generally cannot, they’re generally tied to an instance.

That’s not technically possible.

You could have one instance offer more than one platform, though, and you can already use multiple frontends with whatever instance you’re on. Kbin, which you’re on, actually tries to do the Swiss army knife thing IIRC.

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It’s entirely technically possible. Apps already use third party identity providers all the time, you just need federated apps to support OAuth both for signing in on the client and as a backend identity provider, and standardize how federated apps return user info that would be common to any federated app (usernames, saved / liked posts, subscribed feeds, stuff common to the ActivityPub spec).

You could use the same credentials to open a new account on another instance, sure, I guess. You still have to create another user on the new platform with their own ActivityPub inbox and so on.

I guess to a non-technical user that might seem like the same thing, but then again so would your home instance allowing you to view other platforms. The second one would be way cleaner and easier on instance maintainers.

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You can log into a pixelfed app on android with a mastodon account. Why can’t you log into a pixelfed web frontend with a mastodon account? What law of physics makes that impossible?

Uhh, let’s see…

After a search, it seems like they actually just copy the settings from your Mastodon account. It’s still a separate account. I’ll keep checking in case I missed something.

It doesn’t even sound like they securely bring over the password, which presents a little bit of a phishing threat if people are re-entering their Mastodon password into third party apps like this one.

Edit: Yup, here’s a video/gif. I’d do a federated link but I’m not sure Lemmy supports that yet.

You could totally copy someone else’s Mastodon this way, so that’s fun.

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alright, well that’s not great, but my point is more that we could update the protocol to allow this to be done securely and conveniently.

It would still be a separate account, but yes, seamless migration to a new instance could be a thing. There’s scripts for it already. OPs suggestion that you can just move between instances with the same account isn’t how the fediverse works.

If you just want to been on Pixelfed and Mastodon, your instance giving access to both would be the cleanest, best way.

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OPs suggestion that you can just move between instances with the same account isn’t how the fediverse works.

I’m OP.

I’m not sure why you’re speaking in the present tense about a suggestion I am making for the future.

Ah, sorry. Didn’t notice, there’s a few people talking to me.

Yes, it’s not a thing that could work. If you had some centralised way to handle accounts it wouldn’t be federated anymore. It would be another (semi-)walled garden or some kind of blockchain-ish thing, but either way it wouldn’t be ActivityPub-complient.

@makeasnek@lemmy.ml
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This requires having an identity that is separate from an instance. This is what nostr does and why I prefer it over mastodon. It also means if your mastodon or lemmy instance closes up shop, you don’t lose your post history, DMs, followers, etc.

danhakimi
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couldn’t your instance just serve your identity to other instances?

@makeasnek@lemmy.ml
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If you are talking about something like openauth (where you sign into some random website using your Google account) yes, but your base identity is still tied to Google. So if Google goes down, you lose your google account, and you also lose your account at every other website you logged in to using your google account.

If you are meaning transfer your account from google to say office365, this is possible but there’s a few problems:

  • If your instance shuts down without doing this, you lose everything
  • How does your instance choose which instance to transfer it to? What if users don’t like that choice?
  • Transferring means sharing your login credentials with the new instance.
  • Your “username” that you share and post online for people to follow you has changed. It’s no longer user@instance but user@newinstance. Some kind of a redirect could be setup I suppose.

Some of these problems are solvable with some changes to the AP code. Some of them are not, at least not without a rewrite of the entire AP structure. Nostr sidesteps all these issues by simply not having your username tied to an instance in the first place.

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If you are talking about something like openauth (where you sign into some random website using your Google account) yes, but your base identity is still tied to Google. So if Google goes down, you lose your google account, and you also lose your account at every other website you logged in to using your google account.

Yeah, essentially that. The back-up plan in case your instance goes down is a separate issue, my main plan is just that users shouldn’t need a new account for each fediverse application they want to try, considering one account is already able to make any kind of post.

@makeasnek@lemmy.ml
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A lot of the ideas presented on this thread are less applications for federation and more applications for blockchain of some kind. For example, wikipedia or uber eats replacement. Before you blindly downvote me for this suggestion, let me explain why.

In federation, you have servers which talk to each other. Users own their own accounts and there are multiple repositories of information. Lemmy is a repository of links and comments, each lemmy instance has its own repository. Mastodon is a repository of tweets, replies, and DMs. This works great. Everybody makes their own repository of information, and users can subscribe to any repository they like. They can also, via federation, access other repositories and “pull” or “push” data to them. That last sentence is the magic of federation you don’t get on platforms like Facebook. ActivityPub and federated platforms solve this problem of provider lock-in, at least partially.

This fediverse is not great when you need to establish a single repository of information that everybody in the network uses and is in sync for all users. Because it has no mechanism to arrive at consensus as to what should go into that authoritative repository. Even if all participants can be relied to act honorably (something the internet rarely provides), there will be disagreements about what should go into that repository. Edits may come in at different times, how do we resolve which edit goes “first”? Because it may make the second edit irrelevant, etc. Federation can’t solve this problem. ActivityPub can’t solve it and Nostr can’t solve it. But…

This is the exact problem blockchains solve: how can you establish a centralized repository of information (ledger) and administer it in a decentralized, P2P way where you can’t trust all participants to honestly participate? You cannot develop P2P systems which maintain a centralized repository of information without blockchain because no other P2P system has been able to solve this problem. There is no other mechanism of arriving at consensus and prevent sybil attacks.

Wikipedia? Centralized repository of information. Uber eats? Centralized repository of foods available, drivers, customers, and orders. eBay? same. And by the very nature of blockchains, they can also have an economic layer built into them which provides a means of exchange among participants. Useful for an eBay replacement, maybe less useful for a wikipedia replacement. Those means of exchange (“tokens”) can be used not just for transfer of funds, but also for things like building/scoring user reputation and incentivizing specific behaviors, especially if you want to incentivize behavior that is contrary to a user’s normal economic interest, such as providing a subsidy for restaurants on Uber who use more expensive, but more sustainable food packaging.

The non-P2P solution is to trust the administration of this centralized repository to a trusted authority. We trust wikipedia to administer articles and decide what ultimately goes in them. That system works fine for wikipedia, I’m not convinced we need a decentralized version.

There are many blockchains with various technical attributes which may work better or worse for solving these problems. They may use proof-of-work, proof-of-stake, etc. Some are more decentralized than others and have features like censorship resistance, privacy, smart contract, etc. But they solve this exact problem.

I Cast Fist
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Isn’t the point of blockchain that it’s immutable? What about people who want to delete their own stuff? Or even mods or admins that have to delete stuff for legal reasons?

Deleting anything from the internet is theorically impossible, it shouldn’t a mandatory requirement for anything.

Instead you publish a deletion request that politely asks everyone to pretend it doesn’t exist

I Cast Fist
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Whether it’s impossible is up for debate. Deleting your data from any social media or google-like platform is pretty much impossible. Deleting your old blogger that hasn’t been archived in any manner, perfectly doable.

There’s also the blatantly illegal stuff that is removed from the wider net whenever it’s found, like child abuse stuff. Imagine that kind of thing being available “forever” in a blockchain.

I meant in the sense that if someone got a copy while it was up, then it’s not really gone. Even if the statists try to exterminate all copies, they will probably fail.

After all, even the pirate bay is still reachable in the clearnet. There is stilln a long way to go before they can really stamp out thoughtcrime.

@makeasnek@lemmy.ml
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Immutability is not bad, there are some situations you want immutability. For example, to secure voting systems, you may want to be able to write on the chain that “precinct 156 reported votes x/y/z in this quantity” so that if anybody comes along and tampers with those numbers later on, you can point to the chain and say “no see, actually, these are the real original numbers that the precinct published”. The precinct could lie about their numbers of course and publish bad numbers to the chain, blockchain doesn’t protect against that (unless the votes themselves are recorded on the chain by the individual voter), but the blockchain protects against those numbers changing in the future or another party incorrectly claiming they are a/b/c when they are actually x/y/z. That’s a situation where immutability helps. Same with financial transactions. If you sent somebody money, you want a record of that (a receipt) if they later claim you never sent it to them. Examples of records which have a high degree of immutability that people use in everyday life are: court records, census data, house deeds, etc.

Blockchains usually have some degree of immutability but from a technical perspective they don’t necessarily have to. If we’re talking about data storage, you don’t have to store the data itself on the chain, the chain data can just “point to” off-chain data which you can take down or modify at will.

An example of a scenario where this could work is: you have a blockchain for coordinating the sharing of medical information between different parties. You, as a user, have an account on this blockchain. The only data stored on chain is a list of parties and who you have authorized to receive your medical data along with a pointer to a file storage system like Amazon AWS which contains your medical data in encrypted format. You can add or revoke authorization at any time by changing how that data is encrypted. Whoever you gave authorization to prior may have made a copy of the data at that point in time, but you can block them from accessing new data you put out. When Amazon AWS gets a request to transfer a copy of your data to a new party, they can check the blockchain to see if that party is authorized to receive it.

The benefit of such a system would be that:

  • Your medical records are yours and stored in your own data storage system over which you have complete control.
  • You can choose to share it with parties like insurance providers or researchers who need large medical data sets to comb through.
  • You could set this control at a very granular level or grant access to all your data.
  • Your data becomes portable between insurance providers and your insurance provider can’t make your life difficult by refusing to export data to your new one.
I Cast Fist
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That’s useful for “real life” data, so to speak, stuff that should be immutable, save for a few occasions, like correcting errors; but my question was geared towards internet content. Taking your example of Wikipedia, if the service suffers from a wave of trolls, as it exists today, it can roll back the changes. With a blockchain? That’s significantly harder, especially if useful edits happened in the meantime.

There’s also this problem:

you don’t have to store the data itself on the chain, the chain data can just “point to” off-chain data which you can take down or modify at will.

Supposing this Wiki doesn’t store any of the content, then the endpoints become the targets, which beats the whole purpose of the blockchain resilience/immutability. An endpoint that can’t be reached is useless, one that has been compromised is even worse. You can trust the blockchain, but not the endpoint. And if the endpoint is where the “real stuff” is at anyway, why even bother with a blockchain?

@makeasnek@lemmy.ml
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Taking your example of Wikipedia, if the service suffers from a wave of trolls, as it exists today, it can roll back the changes. With a blockchain? That’s significantly harder, especially if useful edits happened in the meantime.

I’m not convinced we need a Wikipedia that runs on blockchain, but for the sake of it being an interesting question, I’ll answer it. Firstly, having a revision history is not bad. If you go to any wikipedia page, you can see most of the edits made, even those made by trolls, and the moderation decisions around those edits. This is good for transparency. When a user visits wikipedia, they see the “authoritative version” of that page, but the revision history is available to them if they want to read it. So with blockchain, you can roll back changes by changing which set of data is the “authoritative version” and you can have revision history, they are both important features.

There are a few types of data that are so harmful we can’t have them, even in the revision history. For this kind of problem, we reduce immutability (as referenced before by using pointers instead of storing data on-chain), or we can prevent that data from being put into the chain in the first place. An example of a way to do this is to require that every new block (every revision to a wikipedia page) be approved by a set of users who have reputation >x. Maybe that means a moderator has to sign off, or 10 regular users with at least one approved edit, you can set the threshold however you like and assign reputation however you’d like. As a user’s reputation is recorded on the blockchain, any node can easily verify their reputation amount.

Supposing this Wiki doesn’t store any of the content, then the endpoints become the targets, which beats the whole purpose of the blockchain resilience/immutability. An endpoint that can’t be reached is useless, one that has been compromised is even worse. You can trust the blockchain, but not the endpoint. And if the endpoint is where the “real stuff” is at anyway, why even bother with a blockchain?

The purpose of the blockchain in this wikipedia example is to:

  • Establish a single authoritative version of wikipedia that the entire globe can see and submit edits to (unlike a federated version where you have multiple versions of wikipedia hosted different places). This is “single authoritative copy administered by people you can’t trust to be good actors” is the essential problem blockchain solves.
  • Censorship resistance or resistance to “attackers” may not be an important thing for a wikipedia clone. Resistance to attack depends on your threat model, who the attackers are, what kind of resources they have, how you can resist those attacks, etc. Right now, Wikipedia is a single centralized entity and has done quite a good job at resisting attacks aimed to force them to make editorial decisions they don’t want to (mostly because of their reliance on the protections provided by the US legal system. If that system collapsed for some reason, their attack resistance might drop significantly). So if we clone wikipedia and make it decentralized, I think one could increase that security, but I’m not convinced that’s needed in the first place.
  • It doesn’t matter if the data is ultimately stored at some endpoint, the blockchain is less about storage of data and more about arranging the data in order and establishing a single authoritative copy. It’s the medium through with users administer the data.
  • “You can’t trust the endpoint”, this is true but maybe not in a way that matters. It’s true that the endpoint can send you bad information, but you can verify if the information is good or bad based on a cryptographic hash from the blockchain. Endpoints can have a reputational score on-chain and if they aren’t doing their job properly, they can cease being used as an endpoint at all. There could be multiple endpoints for any given piece of data for redundancy and to protect against a scenario where an end point, maliciously or not, becomes unreliable. Also, there are decentralized data storage options out there with varying degrees of usefulness for this application: torrents, IPFS, Filecoin, jstor, etc.
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