Fediverse needs: Finding existing contacts

:musical_note: …back with a brand new edition… :musical_note:

One of the issues with joining any socially-aware network is not knowing anyone. Here I’d like to focus on a sub-problem which is that of locating accounts of people you already know from real life, forums or other social networks. By this I don’t mean enumerating every account all your peeps have. Simply being able to find existing friends and family so that the Fediverse becomes an immediately viable alternative to traditional platforms. A few accounts for many would make this a solved issue because with that reward, a little more investment will bring more connections over time.

So first, is this the right problem? Maybe it’s the case that being able to find interesting people is enough. Maybe it’s just not feeling lonely while staring into the abyss of a public timeline that’s a problem. Second, is this worth solving? I can’t imagine how it isn’t. If you imagine someone’s social sphere as a graph, doesn’t it provide more value if more of that graph can be accessed/enjoyed through the Fediverse?

Edit: if you want to talk solutions, I would recommend reading this ActivityPub thread

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It’s an interesting thought.

Well, the problem with such a thing is in my Opinion Privacy. We are still in a decentralized environment with different people on different servers and so on. In my opinion, it is a huge risk to quite literally shout out into the internet the contacts of your phone (or similar ways of finding them)

PS: It’s 4 am I am tired but just saw this thread. :sweat_smile:

Yeah, I don’t think anyone wants that. A good solution would maintain privacy but here I just wanted to refine and prove out the problem.

As an example of decentralized system Email is often mentioned. But there’s no real discovery services for email addresses. They are handed to you personally, or they are published explicitly (i.e. public). In the real world, in business, people exchange visitor cards in 1-to-1 interaction and you add them to your personal ‘rolodex’. Sometimes in a conference or expo event people drop their cards in a bowl to get more info about something… a bit of bulk automation of card exchange.

Privacy is not an issue if people want to be found. But I wonder what it does to the “Social” aspects. Maybe real interaction before following is best.

Note that there’s Trunk for the Fediverse that allows your account to be subscribed to as “I am interested in TopicXYZ”. This site is not integrated with fedi itself, so I had to do a search in masto UI to find the link. It could be tighter integrated… here’s the code.

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Maybe we need to make the trunk site easier to find, perhaps a link to this from more places / instances for example on the home page.

A friendly header for this could be

Don’t know anyone with similar interests, have a look at

Paul

Best way would be for Trunk to become an integratable service to the fediverse that can be invoked from fedi apps.

Linking from more places is something that would be valuable for many fedi-related websites and other initiatives. Half my fedi-advocacy consists of over and over in an endless loop pointing fedizens to resources that ideally they should know about already, like SocialHub, the ActivityPub watchlists, this forum, etcetera.

I drafted the fedi.foundation to be one top-level site from where to drilldown to all of these resources. And there are other sites that do this to. Notably the new Fediverse Wiki by @paula and Fediverse Party and a couple others.

On SocialHub I also suggested adding a top-level dropdown menu for this purpose (which might be added to this forum as well):

Forum Menu

Forum menu

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I think that would be a good idea, that way Trunk becomes a single (or one of just a few) sources of finding contacts, clearly over time this can grow in to several specific services, right now it is difficult to find people also interested in a topic and harder still to find people who engage.

If these servers can be federated then it makes the combined services very powerful search tool I would guess.

Trunk is one solution, have too many solutions confuses people.

Paul

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The fedi with it’s massive lurker projects! Trunk would be a great centerpiece in a new thread… Fediverse needs: Making new friends

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