Fediverse Foundation - let's get serious!

Fedi Foundation

The full name of fedi.foundation stands for Federated Diversity Foundation. The idea is to give body to the two slogans adopted by SocialHub:

  • United in Diversity
  • Social Networking Reimagined

I started the initiative because I became aware of the brittleness of the fediverse as a whole, and the lack of community collaboration to make fedi stronger and tap into its full potential. I wrote several articles on that, including in this forum: The Fediverse Saga: How Shall We Conquer Our Challenges?

Recently I came upon a great article and tooted an important quote from it:

“Any decentralized [ecosystem] requires a centralized substrate, and the more decentralized the approach is the more important it is that you can count on the underlying system.”

And I think this is vital. One of the objectives of Fedi Foundation is to create a bridge and a smooth road from any fedizen towards the deepest technical levels where the stuff is created on which we all stand. There’s this gap - frequently complained about by many people - of techbro’s being out of touch or vice versa. Community is vital, and we are all part of that, everyone technical or non-technical.

Right now federated app development is kind of this individualistic effort, where each app stands on its own. Their devs are enthusiastic about the app first and foremost, and then as afterthought broader federation is crammed in. That entails mostly adding Microblogging features. But that is so limited. It is by no means “Social Networking Reimagined”.

The Fedi Foundation in the About page proposes a tiered organization, where from fedizen to foundation there’s a kind of an ‘onboarding path’ that will allow people to become ‘community active’ on all the aspects that are important for fedi evolution.

Social Coding Initiative

This is a good time to mention another initiative that was started a couple days ago: SocialCoding Initiative. This is still in prep, but we intended to approach Fediverse Town too, before public announcement.

Social coding is a new paradigm of “united software development” that is dedicated to bridging the gap between technical and non-technical folks on the fediverse. We want to make it really easy to start Communities and Projects where anyone can participate in whatever way they want. This starts with Ideation, and we’ll focus on having IdeationHubs on the fedi.

social-coding-logo

BTW, The domain this will be on is: coding.social and I created a proposal to have this initiative under the fedi foundation umbrella.

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I have discussed in various different conglomerations of people, the idea and need for a foundation to bring things together. Those discussion where in the line of “we need a funded non-profit entity to allow people to really dedicate to the very time-consuming community chores that must be done, and for which no one wants to volunteer the time and effort this requires”.

The fedi foundation as it currently stands is not that. “Foundation” refers to ‘solid ground to stand on’, but it is a ramp-up to that.

Yes, that About page and the entire site is a Proposal for it to become part of SocialHub. But SocialHub in 2021 had a tough year, and - though there’s recent discussion activity - the SocialCG / SocialHub have crumbled as real community. There’s just a forum and a handful of dispersed fedi devs doing their own things upon which we all rely.

The website is an open one where people can publish their articles. That’s the idea. Other than that the 4 objectives are maybe abstract, but can be given clear and concrete follow-up. These are the main tracks of what we’ll do and that can break into many different activities, sub-projects, events, conference, whatever-one-wants:

  • We empower community
  • We foster cooperation
  • We facilitate healthy growth
  • We advocate our work

Note that audience right now is the SocialHub i.e. mostly techies as that’s where the biggest weaknesses of Fediverse Futures lie.

With a crumbled ‘substrate’ that underlies the fedi communities, and individual devs just doing their own thing, what we’ll get is a ‘spagettiverse’ where interoperability and app integrations become ever more complex. The fedi will become loose islands, not an archipelago of interconnected beauty. We are on a path to failure if this does not change.

Offtopic:
As I mentioned before, communication is a passion of mine; and just wanted to make an observation that this entire conversation is a great example of how even people coming from really different backgrounds and used to radically different work and communication styles, can still work together productively and achieve good results :slight_smile: Only requirement is that all the parties are willing to cooperate!

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So do I get this right that Fedi Foundation is not supposed to be a foundation that grants money to Fediverse projects and infrastructure?
Then I guess that’s where the Fediverse Foundation could come in and do just that.

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The intention is for fedi.foundation to mature in this direction. But on the fediverse such funded alternatives are an incredibly sensitive and delicate topic. So the idea was to gradually shift to a more solid organization structure as things go along. There should be full transparency to such effort and proper community governance plus democratic decision-making stuff. Anything other than that will immediately get lotsa criticism and folks hating on it, complaining about power, authority, abuse, capitalism and related subjects.

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And that’s what I was talking about, apparently each of us has a different viewpoint on many matters :wink: i. e. I personally believe that the funds part is actually a secondary concern for this potential foundation, because more important issue is that it should be an actual foundation, meaning being a legal entity.
I don’t think it is really important if we call it foundation, corporation, guild, team, collective or Federated Internationale, and neither if we focus the most on funding the developers, supporting the IT community or promoting the fedi idea and making transition easier for new people - as I’m sure we’ll do all of that to a degree - as long as we are a legally recognised entity that can represent, advocate and protect rights of both the developers and the users of every Fediverse involved project.
That’s also why, despite the fact that we have somewhat different priorities and views about things, I strongly believe that we should combine our efforts and skills to create one organisation - because with Fediverse Town standing for some part of the community and SocialHub representing some part of the developers, we might just have a shot at creating something really good.

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I agree. A legal entity needs to be the basis for it all.

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One does not go without the other. We had a discussion along these lines in the Humane Tech Community some years ago.

Once you found an entity, it means that some people are firmly committed and there’s money involved. You need to do tax administration, have an accountant, you MUST spend time on it so the voluntary nature disappears for those committed. There are costs involved and funding becomes essential.

Other than that I agree on all you said. But before we can get there, there needs to be solid plans in place and people that for sure are willing and able to take this commitment. What I witnessed in Humane Tech Community was that - while people were hammering on incorparation - they were not willing to commit in this way, meaning that I alone would have to take on the burden.

This is the pitfall of community building: Everyone wants to do the fun parts, no one wants to do the chores. And it is a trap one easily falls into when being the facilitator, that as soon as you facilitate you become responsible yourself for the success of what you do, while others - true volunteers - can easily weasel out of their commitment. Often they just disappear, walk away, never heard of again.

Okay, so our first task at hand :rofl: Agree on some basic communication procedures!
Here’s my proposal:

Edit:
Okay, it wasn’t supposed to be a mini-RFC document, sorry about that :sweat_smile:

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(This is prep talk too)

Along with a private category a group can be created. Groups have a private message section if you enable that in settings, but a private category is also possible or a category that people only see after they reach certain trust level.

Note on SocialHub there are these constructs. You can see part of those in the About menu section.

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Yeah, that would be actually great, because right now I can’t create new topics in #vision:foundation

Hi all,

I am new to this discussion, both on SocialHub and on Fediverse.Town, and I think the idea of a foundation is really good and both initiatives should join efforts.

I think your ideas for a foundation are great and I fully support them. I would like to mention also some aspects I think a foundation should also focus on:

  • Promoting the use of fediverse apps by organizing not only web campaigns but local events, reaching to communities in real-life.

  • Provide legal advice to fedi projects: For creating their own legal structures wherever they are and for possible legal issues or attacks they receive from for-profit social network companies.

    Some recent examples

    • Mastodon’s code was recently taken by Trump Social, clearly violating the AGPLv3 license.
    • Twitter’s bluesky project that might be going in the direction of “federating” corporate social apps.

I think the fediverse will be under fire if it keeps growing, not only from the private sector but also from governments.

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Welcome @jorge :wave:

I am wholly with you on these points. Unlike others I see Bluesky as a threat, not an opportunity. We can’t handle such a corporate endorsement, and it will be the end of fediverse as-we-know-it. There’s discussion on Bluesky at SocialHub and people are monitoring what happens in that project.

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This sounds quite interesting. Currently i am working on Ecko as a developer and have started to dive deep on the whole fediverse ecosystem and would love to grow the whole community as a whole. If i can be of help and have some contributions needed, I could help accordingly on given time. If there are procedures to follow to join or pre requisites then i guess you could write it as a documentation or publish a site somewhere.

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The first thing that comes to my mind is that it would be great if there were a democratically-controlled source of funding for coders who want to work on improving the software available for fedi, both front and back end.

I wrote up a less-specific proposal for an organization like this some months ago: Software Uprising - Woozle Writes Code – perhaps bits of that will be useful here.

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Hey @Mansh05 and @woozalia #welcome to the forum!

So cool. I love Ecko and you’re the 3rd Ecko developer in town.

Well there is no foundation yet, so there is nothing to join. Well, there is a hidden forum category I can invite you to, if you want.

That. And also funds for infrastructure, meaning e.g. instance hosters, moderators and such.

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Lots of great ideas on the thread. However, to attract some people to the project, coming up with lists of concrete goals and requirements would be very helpful. What criteria do you need to meet to join the project? Can you just say you want to join or are there other requirements involved? What specific tasks do you need members or volunteers to work on?

aschrijver mentioned people might tend to volunteer to do the parts they like and avoid the chores. Everyone has different ideas of what they consider the fun parts. For me, that might be coding. However, there are some projects I want to code because they fill a need and some I’m not interested in because I’d never use the results. The trick is finding people who have a similar enough goal and are going to be working on it anyway. The hard part is getting people to agree on ways to accomplish a goal. It doesn’t help if two people want to write a program to do X and one is writing in Rust and another is coding it in C. You need enough in common that the different volunteer efforts can be coordinated or combined together in a way that provides added value instead of detracting or competing for resources.

Liked the comments about a social coding initiative. I haven’t felt comfortable with commercial sites to share software. I typically try to send my code fixes back upstream to the original projects. However, many projects aren’t interested in my modifications for various reasons such as not desiring to support yet another platform. (I do a lot of cross-platform application development.) That leaves me with tons of patches and modifications I maintain. I’ve tried sharing the patches with others via the web, but there doesn’t seem to be any interest in them. Would be nice to connect programmers with people who may be interested in using or beta testing their modifications, forks or customizations of software.

Would also be nice to use the Fediverse and the various Creative Commons, public domain and other Free multimedia resources to unite consumers/artists (similar to users/programmers) for other artistic purposes besides programming/code. Saw mention of using the Fediverse for game jams and shared worlds in another thread. A long time interest of mine is public domain fan fiction. It would be nice to have shared worlds to create multimedia for without having to worry about problems with copyright, drm, etc. Would love to get involved a shared world writing project. The Fediverse might be a great way to facilitate a project like that. Would be great to create interesting enough shared creative worlds that people would want to share stories, music and videos about it (and maybe even games). It would also encourage people to seek out Fediverse options to access that content.

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You are absolutely right, but please, remember that we started talking about it only this morning :sweat_smile:

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Do we have any folks round here that have non-profit administration experience? I think that is probably a set of skills that would do wonders for this project. I imagine with some experience in that area we would have a much smoother start. (I’m starting down the road of doing graduate work in the Social Work field, so I don’t have experience in this area yet, but it’s something I’m interested in).

More concretely, sounds like we should also be mindful of power structures as we talk about getting this off the ground. Once there is an official legal entity, how will decisions be made? Vote? Traditional heirarchy? Some other co-op design? I don’t think there’s any inherently good or bad thing to decide there, but I’m sure some are more suitable for this idea than others.

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@paula Sure please do, will be happy to contribute on discussions if possible before going full on development.

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