As you should be aware of if you want to take place in this discussion, diaspora never had or has a fixed, well defined protocol. Because of that, stuff is sometimes broken and writing actual documentation is impossible. In the past, other networks started implementing our protocol by basically reverse engineering our stuff. While this is fine, we obviously are not able to support this in any way. In fact, our wiki page about the protocols used clearly states
Implementers of this protocol should be advised, though, that Diaspora is in Alpha, and as such, this document is not authoritative, and may lag behind the reference implementation
This is a pretty clear disclaimer. Because of that, no core member of the project ever stated the communication with other networks is a thing we support and that we can/will assure this stuff does not break. In fact, I am not even aware of any of the third party networks devs (except Michael Vogel for some debugging) ever talked to members of the core team to discuss about best practices here.
In our ongoing endeavor to move parts of the federation code inside the new gem, some changes to the protocol have to be made. At the moment, all changes were made to get closer to the originating standards like Salmon to ensure even more compatibility in the future. Even though those changes have been made, we (as in Benjamin, Jonne and myself) ensured that no older diaspora pods communication breaks. The newer 0.5.0.0 releases are much closer to the originating standards but still compatible with very old diaspora releases.
Third party networks have implemented old diaspora federation parts in the past, but they have done a pretty bad job at it. The stuff Friendica sent in never was even close to match the stuff diaspora sends, but it has worked with some hacks on both sides.
This discussion is getting kinda funny here because you are talking about a "diaspora protocol" as if this is something that even exists. diaspora never had a fixed protocol and even the third party networks never did the same we did. So apparently, not even third party implementers were interested in keeping the same standards. Also, at this state, I would like to point out that YOU, Jason, even liked our plans which we are realizing at the moment three years ago. The first discussions about moving the federation inside a separate module were started 2 years ago and even some code was written by Florian. Think about that for a second. I consider three years a pretty good time.
Yes, there were changes made in the new Gem which is actually already included in the diaspora core. You even commented on some of Benjamins pull request and never raised issues and now you act like you never had the chance to participate. I am a bit confused now.
All changes made to the current gem are made in consideration of keeping old diaspora instances alive and at the moment, no one actively involved in those steps has plans on removing said compatibility, because that would be pretty much stupid. In addition, every third party network implementing exactly those old implementations on old pods will still work fine.
If someone added dirty hacks (that were never used by us) to their protocol and now it breaks? Well. Too bad. We keep our old stuff but we are not able to support hacks made by everyone. This would be pretty insane.
Next, the term "stakeholders" which actually drives me insane. Maybe you should read the definition first. We are the development team of diaspora and this is our project. The diaspora users are the stakeholders and not some third party projects developers who are not involved in our development. This is not the W3C and this is not the W3C Social WG. If you want to create a protocol that can be used with all systems, you have to take everyones needs into account and that cannot and will never be done by a single project. You are part of the Social WG and you should know that.
I am a bit angry right now. What you are just trying to do is basically blocking our work on a more stable federation inside the diaspora network and bringing our stuff back to already defined and widely used standards. We have discussed about the importance of the federation in the past and you were on the same side and now you're basically saying we should not be able to make changes without asking everyone on this planet.
So, just to summarize: We (as in the people who have actively participated in the development of the federation modules in the past) will continue to move the stuff into an own gem while keeping compatibility with old diaspora pods. Some time in the future (and this is going to take quite some time), we will gradually deprecate old federation implementations, thus forcing administrators of old diaspora pods to update. This will be done after a long pre-announcement, but again, we are not even close to think about that.
I would like to add something personal. Right now, we are moving from a pretty crappy implementation to a well-defined and well-developed ecosystem. If we decide to move to just another randomized implementation because this is what the community decides, fine, but then the project has to progress without my support, I fear.