Diaspora is a Secret - Ideas for "onboarding"

(Note: I didn’t see the “Getting Involved” post before I wrote this. I read through it quickly, but choose to post this anyway. The mention of Mozilla makes me wonder if there isn’t an entity, foundation, association somewhere that could help with resource problems of both funds and coders.)

Recently I’ve been harping on the fact that if people want a feature like edit, they need to understand that resources aren’t available without some kind of action, such as bounties. The edit bounty has gone from $250 to over double that in the past weeks. I know some people are against it post edit. I am for it, but can live without it. I put some money into that bounty and another I don’t even remember. Anyway, here is something I posted on Pluspora or Diasp.org or both:

Diaspora is a secret

I listened to TWiG last night and heard Mike Elgin mention Pluspora as a place some Gplus refugees are going, which is true. Elgin was very big on plus for a long time and he was one of the few journalists, aside from @Steven Vaughan-Nichols, who posted much. What is strange is that Mastodon was mentioned, but Diaspora was not. Even Laconi.ca/Status.net got mentioned. Also MeWe, a corporate silo got a mention. Diaspora must be the best kept 8-year-old secret in social networks.

What do we have to do to attract more positive, creative people to the network?

More development would be nice, but that requires resources, and I won’t harp on that again here.
If you like Diaspora, it would be good to give that a thought? How to spread the word? Share your experience in blogs, podcasts, conversations of any kind, where appropriate.

That’s all I got.

#diaspora #outreach

I don’t know what more I can do, and it’s frustrating because Diaspora has the characteristics that were mentioned, yet maybe because it isn’t new, it gets no play publicly anywhere. Part of this may be social network fatigue. Facebook in the news, Google+ shutting down, Instagram influencers and ads ruining that experience for some people, Twitter…

Anyone have any ideas?


Hi, I recently listened to the changelog podcast and they mentioned the Foss program from Mozilla, I think we could apply it never hurts to try https://changelog.com/podcast/338

What do you think?


Couldn’t agree more, try, try and try. I honestly don’t know that world myself, but maybe I can ask friends who do a lot of OSS work.
How cool would it be to find a sympathetic relationship with funding? VERY cool, I think.

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I cheer your initiative. However, when I see discussions like this I think: WTF???
Someone is offering a load of experience in community management and subsequently is drowned in foulmouthing and protectionism of the current staff.
Unless the diaspora* project is actually willing to advance, IMO it’s of no use to try pulling a dead horse.
Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love the project and use it on a daily basis. I also run my own pod and will continue to do so. But if someone is offering help, it think a more positive approach c/should take place.

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From what I can tell based on our current financial situation (we have money not being spent on anything), it is save to assume that money does not help, at all. Money only would help if we’d had an active contributor with project experience who is willing to take money in exchange of working full-time - which is not the case.

As I mentioned in the thread linked earlier, diaspora* is lacking effective “public relations” (for the lack of a better word). There is no need to identify that again, because we know that for years. :slight_smile:

I also don’t expect onboarding to be an issue, because those who actually try diaspora* usually have a good time, and some of them stick around, regardless of “missing features”. The biggest issue is getting people interested in giving diaspora (or any other alternative social network) a try int he first place. Even though we’ve seen many privacy scandals and other shocking headlines in the past, lots of people still have absolutely no interest in actually migrating away.

Personally, I don’t think that’s because alternative social networks lack some features or are harder to use (both of which are true, fwiw); moving away from Facebook and Twitter is asking people to leave their network behind, not just a piece of software. This is, obviously, a chicken-and-egg problem, as the network will never be on a platform, unless someone starts moving.

The obvious solution - to build bridges between “old” and “new” platforms is no longer working, as the API guidelines of large platforms effectively prohibit that. So at the end of the day, for users, this is not “leaving a network that’s ridden by privacy issues”, it’s “leaving a network of people I know”.

We can pick on technical details, missing features, poor UX decisions, bug bounties, and anything else all day long, but that doesn’t matter if people don’t even get to a point where they could spot these issues.

I’ve mentioned this a couple of times: But the issue we should be solving is a social issue, not a technical one. Unfortunately, nobody came up with an idea on how to do that, yet.

Why does a dev have to work full time? It could be feature-based or whatever she/he wants to do. How is it decided what money is spent on? There’s a growing bounty on post edit. I thought it would reach some level where someone might take it on. Otherwise, what happens to bounty money? If money isn’t a problem, then I guess it’s the number of capable devs that are familiar with the base and have time in exchange for money.

Well, they don’t, but that would push the project forward. Maybe “full-time” was the wrong phrasing, so let me rephrase that: We don’t have a core contributor who is willing to commit themselves to work a fixed amount of time in exchange for a fixed amount of money, either part-time, or full-time. :slight_smile:

If we have something that the project thinks spending money is worth it, we do that based on a “community-consensus and no core veto” base. As an example, we have been using project money to buy signs and posters for conferences in the past.

Oh, bounty money is not handled by the project team at all. Bounty money is send from bountysource directly to the developer who resolves an issue. :slight_smile:

This is a fairly accurate statement. But obviously, a project is not 100% engineering, there are other parts as well.

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Thanks, I appreciate knowing those details.

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Myself I see two problems here.

First: there is just not enough marketing. People don’t talk about it often enough and in the right places (hint: these are places we want to migrate people from). When someone drops Facebook it is great except if we just disappear from there our influence on those who still stays becomes almost nil. People talk about Diaspora on Diaspora. And sometimes on geeky resources.

Second: most people are scared of all these new terms. They are used to just login and use the network. They don’t really want to learn about mysterious “pods”, “aspects”, “federation” or choose between 10-something projects and 200-something servers. We really need to get this in short and human-readable form. Which probably means dropping all these techy details right where they belong - under the hood.

Just look at Pluspora: in my opinion they were successful exactly because they addressed these two issues. They promoted in their communities. They provided single entry point and told everyone - go here, it will be fun. They attracted almost 12000 users in six months.

Now what can be done about it all. In my opinion the first step would be creating some promotion materials. These materials should offer short, punchy and easily understandable messages. Basically what the main project page says but about five times shorter and with zero technicality. It should pass “grandmother test” - someone who doesn’t even understand computers well shouldn’t be really confused.

Maybe the overall message should be broken into few smaller ones. Right now Diaspora (and other federated networks) don’t offer it. It is either ads with no message at all (e.g. all these Diaspora GIFs and graphics) or wall of text peppered with new concepts. To make things even worse these new concepts are often shown in competing light - e.g. Diaspora vs. Friendica vs. Mastodon and what are intricate but life-changing differences between them.

After we have this we should think about actual promotion. This most likely will require to go into enemy territory - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I see tweets in my Diaspora stream all the time - why not do the opposite in controlled and collective fashion? But first we need some soft place for new users to land.

Hopefully the new website for Diaspora project will address some of that but I doubt it will be enough. We as users will have to pitch in.


Sounds correct to me, wish I knew how to help.

how bad would it be to pay influencers to promote diaspora?
I mean, if we want creatives to come, why not pay them to? By supporting the work of cartoonists, musicians… Won’t their followers follow?
Ideally, later on advertisers could advertise on pods, and pods be able to choose which advertisers they accept money from. That would be huge.