Pre-introducing the "Join the Fediverse" wiki

joinfediverse.wiki

I’m not yet ready to introduce this to the general public, but I created a wiki for Fediverse noobs.
I started filling it with some information, but you’ll find a lot of dead links and almost empty pages.

I’d like some eyes to see if I’m going in the right direction with this and I’d love for some help writing about projects I’m not too familiar with and especially with comparing projects to well known Social Media platforms (e.g. what advantages does Pixelfed have over Instagram?).

I hope I’ll have the wiki presentable by newyears. :tada:

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Nice work, @paula!

I think most important would be to gather a group of noobs that are willing to read the pages and give you their perspective on it. It’s very, very easy for us folks in the know to explain too quickly, too technically or a different set of advantages that the average person is not interested in.

You could approach @lightone, as she held a session like that to gather feedback on Fediverse Party and basically came to the conclusion that for noobs an entirely new site was needed.

Other than that, this forum might be the wiki’s work area, where the proper storytelling is discussed. And then maybe launch an ongoing campaign on fedi for feedback gathering, especially from the non-technical folks around, and the newcomers.

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Oh, I just found this related thread on SocialHub… idk, maybe it is interesting:

https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/describing-fediverse-apps-in-ways-people-understand/1940

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This is really nice. Thanks for the effort you have put into it. I am currently preparing a fediverse page in Spanish but I think translating this wiki would be also make a great resource.

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True. I could for example ask my family and friends to read it and tell me if the understand it and if they think it could make people interested in the Fediverse.

We could definitely work together a bit, though I don’t speak Spanish.

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I am not a very experienced wiki editor. I have tried to find a way to create a page in Spanish in the wiki but did not find a way. I am not sure if you have to enable something to make the wiki multilingual. Could you please check?

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Yeah I tried to find out how that works too.
I think I have to download and install an extension, though I’m not exactly sure which one.
And currently whenever I try to add an extension the wiki goes blank. I asked in the MediaWiki support pages, but haven’t received a reply yet.

Create an: Advocacy & Storytelling Guide

In the companion topic on SocialHub Victor Venema raises the question if the wiki should have neutral tone, or can go full-on fedi advocacy.

This is a good question (and maybe addressed in a seaparate topic here). @paula responded that advocacy is a clear objective. Then the question is raised: How can we do that most effectively? And without being off-putting to the people we want to reach?

On Fedi Town we may have a strategy guide and storytelling best-practices to be used in our external advocacy. One that we crowdsource so it gets better over time, and something every fedizen can learn and benefit from.


Some examples of storytelling I use…

Many people in their advocacy say things like “Don’t use SocialMediaXYZ, they are pure evil”. Nice activism, but I think this is mostly ineffectual. This will just rub off from people who use these platforms day-to-day with their friends and family and who are in the grasp of network effects and FOMO. Convenience and (addictive engagement) features keep them there.

Other often heard arguments mention “privacy” and/or “surveillance capitalism”, things like that. These too are mostly taken for granted by the majority of people. They may increase their awareness and worries / anxiety of using the platform, but are still too abstract or too activistic. Most people aren’t activistic and also they can’t imagine the dystopic future they are enabling with their use. They don’t act.

A lot of more subtle hints can be used in storytelling. Ones that stick in the subconsciousness of people and slowly color their perception of the social media they use. I give just two examples I regularly use:

  • Advertising giants: Most people use Big Tech without thinking. They see their services almost as intrinsic part of the Web. Searching === Googling, Mailing === Gmailing, Vidcall === Zooming, Collab === Teams, Video === YouTube, etc. Instead of always refering to these platforms as “Big Tech”, which is not very useful, I turn them into Advertising Agencies, Ads & Marketing platforms. People hate ads. Commercial TV channels are unwatchable because of them (who watches a movie without recording it first so they can skip ads?), YouTube Ads are becoming just as annoying as cookie popup dialogs, your first search page on Google is filled with crap. People must realize that they are not on a social media platform, but on an advertisment platform.

Another thing I use aims to depict Fediverse favourably, and highlights a ‘unique selling point’ that distinguishes fedi:

  • Traditional social media: You can talk about social media and how we must break their dominance and monopolies. They are these walled gardens that do anything to keep you captured. I start refering to them as “traditional”, so that in the minds of people it might stick that they are somehow ‘old-fashioned’, the old way of doing things. Now there’s opportunity to explain how Fediverse as a whole compares and ‘competes’ with traditional molochs. Fedi is innovative, it is The New Way, and it is exciting. Fedi is a world-wide social fabric where everyone can attach their part to, add their building block to make it richer and better.

Another example of storytelling would be “Anti-Social Media”, i.e. the realization that the word “social” in traditional social media is a meaningless, empty word that is only there to deceive us. That it could be so much better if we would literally design for Social / People / Human benefit as our first priority.

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I like your ideas. Based on your “traditional”, “anti-social” and “advertising” I just wrote a section on comparing the Fediverse to traditional Social Media:

https://joinfediverse.wiki/index.php?title=What_is_the_Fediverse%3F#How_does_it_compare_to_traditional_Social_Media%3F

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Nice! Some impressions on that section…

Traditional Social Media is neither social nor media. Meaning it’s not made for you, it’s made to exploit you and it’s full of misleading ads and fake news.
That is because the aim of traditional Social Media is to make a shit ton of money = capitalistic.
The aim of the Fediverse is to benefit the people = social.
The aim of traditional Social Media is to control and steer the users = totalitarian.
The aim of the Fediverse is to empower the users to control the Fediverse = anarchistic.

This can be the perfectly fine tone of voice you want to have on the Fediverse wiki. But you have to realize what audience this addresses and I think it is not the average traditional social media user. If that is intentional I think in the Advocacy Guide the target audience should be explained.

You will lose common people on the following words: “shit ton of money”, “capitalistc”, “totalitarian”, “anarchistic”. But they can be desired language use if you create the wiki to attract people who already have this terminology and worldview firmly in their belief system. Most people:

  • Don’t see the problems with capitalism as we do, or they see it as inevitable, the worldwide only system that has become the norm because it sorta kinda works.
  • Don’t see how social media control and steer in the first place, and then make the additional leap of thought of how this is totalitarian.
  • Don’t know what anarchism entails and have a really bad perception of its meaning (a Mad Max free-for-all crazy world where there are no rules).

It would be great if we got some Content Strategists on board to have a look at the best ways to approach this. I am also not one, but what I would do if I wanted to reach a broad audience is:

  • Gradually onboard people, where they can decide to delve “deeper into the rabbit hole”, but on sub-pages deeper down the wiki.
  • The Root Pages should be gentle and appealing and explain the nice things and improvements fedi can bring if they only switched to it from the toxic places they are on now. This focuses on behavioral aspects, daily life and habits, what true social can bring to it, and depict the vision of how this takes shape on the fedi.
  • After that a Root Page delves more concreetly (but non-technically!) in features and functionality. Maybe briefly in a how-it-works (though that may be on a sub-page too).
  • Then Root Page has a section that makes the contrast with traditional social media. This is an awareness section of problems. It elicits negative feelings and should come further down the page because of that. The excitement for fedi is key, and is promoted first. This section shouldn’t be overly long in text, but be bullet lists that refer to sub-pages.

Now all that will take time to get right, of course. For now, if I would have to rephrase that section it would look something like below, with a longer intro section, followed by a bullet list on Harms of Traditional Social Media and then contrasting things point for point by how fediverse handles things.

Fediverse vs. Traditional social media

Traditional social media

Traditional social media is neither social nor media. Instead they are advertising platforms that are not made for your benefit, but to benefit from you in any way, shape or form. Your favourite social platform is a marketing channel that exists to exploit you and extract as much money from you as possible via misleading ads. These advertisements are cleverly targeted by extracting information about your personality, your friends and family, and your emotions and feelings. Tons of personal data is used to glue your eyes to your screen, and maximize the time you spend online. Because then you see more ads. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, all social media platforms have many scientists working behind the scenes to make you addicted to their product. They want to change your habits in any way they can to ‘drive engagement’ as they call it. Even if this is very detrimental to your happiness and health. Because you don’t matter! Only the money speaks in this regard. In the eyes of Big Tech you are a “User”, a drug addict and their products are designer drugs.

Here are some of the major Harms of Traditional Social Media and how they affect you personally:

  • Harm 1: Summary description of the harm and its effects.
  • Harm 2: Summary description of the harm and its effects.

The Fediverse

[Contrasting description to the above]

As you can see this puts a totally different light on what “being social” truly means. Real social will bring us:

Some other remarks:

  • I do not capitalize ‘social media’. The traditional stuff does not deserve captitalization, and social media is a common, universal term that has nothing distinguising to it that warrants capitalisation.
  • You mentioned “fake news” in your comparison. But that is a weak argument in itself, and requires further elaboration. In principle there’s nothing different on fedi that would prohibit the spread of fake news. But we have some social and cultural dynamics that may be better able to point it out and mitigate it. E.g. more critical thinking taking place among fedizens.

Content Strategy Guide

So from the above I am thinking a guide on content strategy and one that will list page template structures etc. may come in very handy too.


Update: I asked some more attention to this thread. Hopefully we can attract some more skilled writers / content creators to the initiative.

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I did some asking and research and there are 3 ways to do it, but they are all way beyond my skill level.
So I found a 4th way and tried it with German for now:
I installed another mediawiki installation at https://de.joinfediverse.wiki and translated the main page.
And then I added links. Unfortunately this way all links have to be added manually. There is no automatic “this page in other languages” detection.
I’ll create another Wiki for Spanish. You’ll have to create a new account there.

@makarygo should I create another wiki for Polish too?

PS: Oh, what should the names of the Wikis be?
In German there is no short word for “Join” so I called it the German version of “The Fediverse Wiki”.

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I think one of the perspectives that is important to highlight as we advocate for the Fedi are the ways in which it enables us to fight and disrupt power dynamics. To me, one of the biggest selling points of Fedi platforms is the fact that it can give marginalized and oppressed communities much greater technological power over their spaces. Which can empower oppressed communities in some fundamental ways that might be effective for shifting societal trends and fighting injustice.

e.g. Running our own social media means no longer do Black community members have to be subject to racist advertising, removing that source of microaggression from their lives.

I think this topic is most appropriate for sub-pages in some way, because it’s a bigger picture thing and more suitable to discuss with folk interested in community building and organizing, rather than individuals.

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I want to give a take on a section of the landing page…

What is the Fediverse?

You all know about social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and maybe you use them yourself. The Fediverse is about being social too, but it is much different than the apps you are familiar with today. To know what the Fediverse is you can imagine a huge online universe. Still there is lotsa empty space, but there is a vibrant potential energy. This universe is made for humans, and a place where anyone can interact and socialize. It is where people can be truly themself, and do the things they love. Where folks from all around the world participate, collaborate, create, and form friendships with one another, real social bonds.

And the beauty is that it is also the people who build this universe together. Not these traditional social media molochs. There are no corporations on the Fediverse. We are driven by humans and value humanity. Yes, we fill this Fediverse of ours with ever more of the social fabric that binds us closer together. We call ourselves fedizens and foster a unique culture where people are equal and appreciated. We abhor the toxicity and oppression we find elsewhere on the Web and are dedicated to do things differently and much better now we The People and The Commons, are in charge. We’ll bring delight to the Web again. Our mission is to truly Reimagine Social Networking.

In contrast to traditional platforms that try to capture and exploit you, the Fediverse is built on open technology standards. This means that anyone can create new building blocks and integrate them with what what was already built before. New free and open software with exciting features are integrated all the time, to the benefit of all. Instead of being locked into commercial advertising platforms - which is what current social media really are - the Fediverse thus becomes an ever larger social playground. An expanding universe.

The Big Tech monopolies and oligopolies that now dominate the internet have enormous negative impact on our health and well-being, and to our entire society at large. The harms of technology and in particular those of the toxic social media channels we have today are rapidly unraveling the fabric of our society, and they are even eroding democracy itself. If you want to make a stand and fight against this vicious downward spiral that we are in, there is only one small thing that you must do: Simply Join Us on the Fediverse and help build bright stars and living space!

We fedizens are United In Diversity. Together we are strong, and we will be stronger still. We are people. We are you. And we love humanity. Come to our universe, share our hope and dreams, our realistic optimism and the joy of being free to be who we want to be, and build what we want to see. Social. Done right this time!

Note that I did not mention federation and instances and all that jazz. This introductory section can be followed with a more formal description and explanation of these concepts. I think this non-technical intro highlights the differentiation of our approach and our re-interpretation of Social, which are the core facets on which the Fediverse stands out from the Old Way of doing things.

Note: The description above aligns well to 🌏 Sci-Fi Labs Federated Worldbuilding

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I think that is a bit too long for the landing page and also I find it hard to understand as it’s quite abstract.
If I put myself in someone’s shoes, who has never heard about the Fediverse before I personally don’t think I’d really get a sense of what the Fediverse is.

Don’t get me wrong. I like the text, I’m just not sure where to put it, but I definitely wouldn’t put it on the landing page.

This is really cool. It almost sounds like a manifesto. A code of conduct fedizens should follow.

Yes, I was thinking that as I was writing. Though on Wikipedia you also have longer sections. At the top of the page is the brief summary then. But I wrote a toot and also added to that: “I wrote a prose-like introduction […] Do you like or hate it? Want more serious tone? Less lofty vision?”

When you say “hard to understand and quite abstract” do you refer to the universe analogy? If I would scrap in the text, make it shorter and snappier would that be of help? Or are you thinking about completely different lines?

What I wanted to avoid was the all-too-serious and grave tone I usually see in fedi definitions along with explanation of things that don’t matter to the average user of FB that considers a switch (like federation and instances, which is are technical concepts).

The universe anology is really cool, but I wouldn’t put it on the beginning, before even explicitely saying that the Fediverse is a social media network.

Some notes:

&

sounds a bit too techy for me.

a bit too abstract.

PS: To me the text sounds a bit like a marketing text. But for a wiki the length : information ratio is a bit off.

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Those few words are easily left out, and also the text can be broken into multiple subsections:

  • What is the Fediverse?
  • Why is is better than current social media?
  • How is it built and who builds it?

Or something like that.

An advocacy text, yes :wink:

FWIW This was just my take, and I don’t have any preference or urging for it to be included anywhere. It was fun writing it :hugs:

It would probably be best to actually ask a few people who never heard of the Fediverse before if they feel such an advocacy text draws them closer to wanting to join the Fediverse or if they rather have a little more information on what the Fediverse actually is.

E.g. personally if you’d explain Bonfire to me in such an advocacy text I don’t think I’d be more likely to join than if you gave me the hard facts (including benefits and cool features of course).
Just mentioning Bonfire, because I’ve heard the name, but nothing more.

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It is a pity that so few people responded to our calls for feedback on the fedi thus far. I mean the writers, storytellers and such.

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I actually really like the text, maybe not for the wiki homepage, but it’s a great start for, let’s call it, our ideological manifesto :blush: And if we’re serious about creating some sort of structure/movement/foundation it’s really, really important to have a good manifesto.

I think tho that it’s not really… Encyclopedical. It’s moving and good, but I noticed immediately that in the first line it asks a question (What is the Fediverse), and later doesn’t really answer it in the next 5 paragraphs :sweat_smile:

Wiki is a construct that has some predefined shape, and part of it is it’s technicality and structure.

Title
What is Fediverse?"
Short summary
Fediverse (federation and universe) is a network of connected web publishing services (also called nodes or instances). While instances are independent of one another and hosted on separate servers, they do ‘talk’ with each other, exchanging various data, very much like regular emails, which is called federation. While they are mostly used as free and independent social media, there are also fediverse enabled services for file hosting, event management, wikis, book sharing and even software development.
Long main article
<Sorry, I’m in a hurry :stuck_out_tongue: >

Of course on our main page we can, and we even should put some less formal text, but maybe rather in a form of introduction to the wiki itself, not full philosophical manifesto of our group :stuck_out_tongue:
I’d see it rather like this:

Welcome to JoinFediverse.wiki !

It’s an encyclopedia dedicated to all things Fediverse! Fedi-what? Fediverse! It’s that cool alternative social media system, that’s independent of global corporations and giving you full control over your data and media. Sounds cool? Check out What actually is fediverse and our other User guides!
Also you can find more information about:

Or just take a look at our FAQ.
If you get lost or need some help, feel free to ask our friendly community at :houses:Fediverse Town Forum .

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