Interoperability with other social networks

What about starting a stand alone loomio group that could be neutral territory for progressing this conversation?

Then you can invite reps from the different socnet communities and host a wider conversation about standards and interoperability.

A privacy extension for Ostatus shouldn’t really be that hard. At least for a scenario where the subscription server (the webapp) has the same rights as I as user. This would of course imply that you have to trust not only your contacts but also their podmins. But at least I have made my peace with that.

A tier 2 security can of course allways be built on top of the other for the tinfoilhats.

I see private messages and conversations as a fully parallel/seperate problem. We could use the jabber protocol for that or come up with a protocol that is similar to Ostatus. Maybe Omessages?

For private data storage there is allready Oauth, which is playing niceley with Ostatus i think.

Such a modularity would help to make to protocol more versatile as well as easier to implement.

Don’t we already have the federation working group - shouldn’t this really be there?

From everything I understand about OStatus, it’s great for building a Twitter clone, but it’s very limited for doing much else. Not to mention, as a protocol it has virtually no support for private posting. It doesn’t cover very many use cases, and IMO, it’d be better to build together on something younger and more suited to being influenced by third-party change. OStatus, conversely, is much older, and I think a lot of projects would be facing an uphill battle trying to get it to fit their use cases. By design, it only really applies to a StatusNet-like use case.

I know, that idea with SMTP was only an example and an enforcement to think of alternatives. But my experience within social networks is this: direct messages from one person to another person are an outdated form of communication. People are used to group-discussions like discussions on threads in facebook, that are real-time. If such postings can be private to a restricted but extendable audience a social network doesn’t need something like an email anymore. Your proposal for smtp is a nice idea, but a social network based on that would only be a subset of email and any real-email-user participating who is not clicking “reply” instead of “reply all” would totally destroy the flow of messages.

And now for something completely different: I really enjoy this discussion. Your ideas are all totally great and I thin we are heading into the right direction. I can’t wait to get to know the protocol, that is going to be the standard. If it’s Ostatus2, libertree, red or a revised tent, I don’t care. But I wanted to work on adapting a federated protocol for a platform (Stud.IP) that is highly used on universities in germany. I already have created the social network-gui-functions, people who tested it enjoyed the function and it works within one server. But I still need to do all the work for the federation. My first thought was to implement OStatus. But whatever protocol you will pick here, I am going to implement it for a large new userbase.

People have said a lot of things that I wanted to say in the first place.

The problem with Tent right now is that it isn’t open source. Maybe it will be one day, but that day may never come.

What I wanted to propose is to create an open standard, named, for example, Internet Social Contract, which would specify how data is structured, what kinds of various information can be exchanged between users and socnets, and it wouldn’t care about the actual implementation. Some socnets might use SMTP, others might use OStatus, etc.

I wanted to develop a standard that would be implementation - neutral, and then every socnet that conforms to Internet Social Contract would be compatible with every other socnet implementing it. We can, for example, exchange data in pure XML between networks and users, and then write hot pluggable code that will deal with the actual implementation.

It is important to note that the standard would be completely open and free, otherwise it defeats its purpose. I am willing to dedicate my time and resources for this, only if we agree that we all need an open standard for exchanging data between different socnets.

@petar i think what you are looking for is

The protocol has to be modular to allow a hirarchy of compelxity, so that not everyone has to implement everything in order to communicate with the network.

@Julian Yeah, this is something that I was talking about. However, I think it’s not as modular as it should be, though I’ve only taken a look for a few minutes.

Summed up my thoughts on Ostatus in this (longer) blogpost:

I think we should ask guys who have a big experience with communication on the web. We can talk to Mozilla, for example. They made a lot of standards, validated by the W3C. Maybe they already work on something like this ?

I find this on the W3C website :
This is the future…

The problem I see with these standards is that they are not truly decentralized. I mean, you still have centralied PuSH servers and the like, which is essentially not good. What if we made a standard that was truly decentralized, like DNS? I think that would be kind of cool.

Maybe we should make a wiki-page where we collect resources about protocols that are out there. Something like literature study on this topic.

Started a page here:

Right now its not more than a very incomplete list of links.

Directly relevant, from Daniel Siders of the Tent project.

“All the software we’ve released (tentd, TentStatus, and TentAdmin) are MIT licensed, so absolutely. We wanted the open and commercial people to be able to use it however they wanted.”

@Petar This means that Tent is indeed Open Source, and may actually provide some solid groundwork to build upon for federation.

The benefits we could gain include:

  1. Federation compatibility with Tent servers.
  2. Compatibility with existing Tent apps, both on the web and mobile.
  3. Two communities working on building a better standard while it’s still in the earlier stages of development. The insights both projects could give to one another could actually be quite valuable.
  4. Some inspiration on how to improve our handlers for incoming/outgoing posts.

Proposal discussion for restructuring for Tent compatibility here, feel free to chip in any insight, or make a counter-proposal discussion using a different protocol to build on top of.

This would be so important to have. Also, having a group of three to support whatever turns out to be the thing, would be good. E.g. if Diaspora, and Friendica would all introduce support at the same time, it would be an awesome symbolic act that the social nets besides the walled and profit driven FB and Twitter are willing to work on this together. It would be a huge argument to convince people to make the switch. But this is somewhere in the future. I like the shape this is taking so far.

Also tried to spark a discussion on, but the results are not that great yet I guess:

Thought it would be great to have them join the discussion. :3

I’m not sure where Kevin Kleinman and Sean Tilley get their desinformation from, but it’s definitely not the specification of or the reality of interconnectedness between various social platforms (namely StatusNet, Diaspora* and Friendica). is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist with a solution that is less flexible than the already well-established millions-of-implementations OStatus protocol.

If there is anything work for interoperability should focus on is what Petar Petrović touches upon and Julian Steinwachs very much speaks about and what I mentioned above: Ostatus.
Diaspora and StatusNet already talk very much with each other over Ostatus and exchanging private posts are only a standardisation away. (my favorite idea is to use GPG encryption, which fits in easily together and is well-established too) also forces requirements of specific API endpoints which are only applicable on HTTP and I have not seen any thoughts on interoperability with networks such as XMPP (which has already been experimented successfully with for OStatus).

Granted, OStatus may be great for a number of things, but many of the projects I’ve talked to about OStatus have said it’s just too limited in what it can do. For the most part, OStatus is relegated largely to microblogging, rather than a full-blown social app.

Tent, conversely, is centered around:

  1. Federation schema standardization.
  2. Decentralized app authentication.
  3. Control over what apps can see what data.
  4. Providing specifications and a framework to a number of use cases that aren’t just microblogging.

That being said, it’ll be interesting to see what’s going to be done with OStatus now that it’s a W3C project.