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@gun
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I was wondering the same thing. Do some people in the comments here really think it’s bad that fediverse instances are highly connected? Because actually, having more disconnected servers leads to more centralization. That’s the whole point of federation. With federation, small sites that otherwise wouldn’t have enough content to keep people interested can draw content from other sites, giving people more reason to stay. So it is imperative to have highly connected servers for decentralization to succeed.

I see instance memberships like passports. You could have multiple, but you ideally want just your home one for simplicity. Some passports are stronger than others because they let you travel to more places more conveniently, e.g. Japan and USA. So following this metaphor, lemmy.ml is the strongest passport. It federates with practically every other lemmy instance except a couple on the blocklist. Compare this to other instances that federate with only a couple instances. Who would want to join those? It would be like wanting to repatriate to Syria.

This was my experience when I made my account. I wanted to avoid lemmy.ml because I believe in distributing lemmy users across instances. But at the time all of the instances had so much weaker access in comparison. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I joined lemmy.ml like a lot of other people did. And the state of the lemmy network now is that 15k users are on lemmy.ml, and the other instances are in the dozens on average. I have ideas on how this can be addressed, but I think I’ve rambled enough for now.

@abbenm
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An advantage of federating is to accommodate servers with a variety of objectives, and maximizing content isn’t always the primary objective. Sometimes it’s to cultivate a good community that uses the tools in on the platform but not necessarily to have the widest reach of content, because creating places that moderate harassment and antagonization is sometimes the higher priority. Sometimes that, and not maximized access to content, is what draws people in. The major influxes of users to Mastodon at it’s start joined for exactly this reason.

I think the concern regarding centralization was always with respect to the network as a whole - all of Twitter is just on Twitter, all of Facebook is just on Facebook, neither are spread across servers. Having multiple servers that exist for their own purpose serves to support decentralization, and having one server that has all the stuff you want that doesn’t connect with other servers is not realistically going to create another Facebook situation in terms of centralization, at least not at any point in the near future. The closest we have to that right now is Mastodon.social having the lions share of Mastodon users (in the English speaking world that is), and federating with mastodon.social leads to effectively leads to being a clone of Madison.social. That isn’t necessarily bad, but some communities have the goal of cultivating unique voices and letting specific kinds of content rise to the top, and that all washes out to an average, lowest common denominator if they federate with the biggest servers. Rather than centralizing, it serves to create a diversity of unique offerings.

I’m also generally wary of arguments that everything needs to be connected because trolls frequently make that argument, hoping to pry open the platform for more harassment, and by design the fediverse is structured to be resilient against that. So it’s good to get people explicitly on the record about whether they think trolling is a problem, whether “free speech” on the internet is more important than moderation, and what they think the implications of their suggestion are on that issue, because it’s at the heart of federation, and sometimes these conversations are really just about creating a backdoor for trolling and normizaling policies that make trolling easy.

@gun
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Yeah, there will be instances that people run that have bigoted and harassful content and the like, and there are people who don’t want to see any of that and want to be on an instance that blocks that, that’s fine. But I don’t see a good reason why any two unproblematic instances should be disconnected.

I see your point about some instances wanting to cultivate their own ecosystem and not blend in to one monotony. But to keep things disconnected is like giving a lung transplant to someone with a cough. It’s an extreme solution to the problem that could be solved in other ways with fewer negative consequences.

That’s why local exists if you just want to view content from your home server. That’s why communities exist on lemmy. And there are easily other solutions that could be created. You could have different algorithms for filtering content. To block content from other instances for this issue is overkill. And it’s unfair to users. Will users be warned before joining an instance that they are not being provided a window into the fediverse but instead a segregated platform?

People have grown accustomed to having full and convenient access to everything. That’s why everyone joined the big platforms in the first place. You don’t want 12 different accounts to interact with your friends on various platforms. You want to keep it simple and powerful. And it’s confusing and annoying for new people when they see content linked somewhere else but they can’t find it from their own instance. I ran into this many times when I was new to the fediverse.

Of course every instance manager has a right to run theirs the way they see fit, if they really want to do it differently or not federate at all that is their right. But I think with a lot of instance managers it is not intentional. Managing their instance is maybe not the most important thing in their life, more of a hobby. So just like not all instances on lemmy.ml’s list always update to the latest version right away, they may not pay attention to the minutia of other small instances out there. And clearly they are not concerned with the problems you mentioned, otherwise they would not federate with lemmy.ml. So I think the solution is to give tools to make it easier for them to federate with lots of other servers, maybe automatically, for those who want it.

@zksmk
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I have ideas on how this can be addressed, but I think I’ve rambled enough for now.

Please do, even if it’s a very rough draft kind of an idea, I wanna hear.

@Ferk
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Personally, I feel like it makes more sense to just have each instance be its own server without hosting the other instances content and instead have the user identity/account able to access every single server that speaks the same protocol (something like OpenID to have a common user account across services). Then use standards so a common UI can be used client-side or for any particular server-to-server communication (much like how blogs can do backtracking between blog posts from different blogs and so, without them really having to federate). It would be more efficient while having the same end result but with a more free and open ecosystem, like the blogosphere used to be before it was shadowed by twitter & facebook.

To me, federation between private servers the way mastodon does it only makes sense for private communication like XMPP or Matrix… but the minute you are publicly posting content in the internet it makes no sense to have servers mirror the content from others just so people can access that content from one server in the next… if redundancy was the point then it would make more sense a P2P model, if a common UI/account was the point then separating those as independent servers would make more sense. The current structure binds each user account to one instance, the content being public forces the instances to list which other instances they allow, and this makes it so you might end up having to create multiple accounts in different servers if you wanted to access instances that do not want to federate, and at that point it’s not much different from centralized services. It restricts what instances the user can access (based on which instance they are registered with) and places extra responsibility and bandwidth/storage requirements on the instances themselves.

@gun
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I think I would have better insight if I had the experience from running an instance myself. I may do that one day, but right now I don’t have the means. But I still have some thoughts.

I think the best thing would be to make it easier for instance managers to connect with other instances. maybe have tools that would allow this to happen automatically. So if you connect with lemmy.ml, you also connect with all of the instances on their allow list. I don’t know the details of how things currently work well enough to give a clear picture.

Second, hexbear needs to figure out how to merge federation changes. I heard they are working on this, which I am excited to hear. It’s currently the most active lemmy instance, but completely separate from the fediverse.

I also think it would be good to have data of people’s entry point into the fediverse. Do they start at join-lemmy.org? Some other instance list? For join-lemmy.org, I think it would help if lemmy.ml and other big instances were not at the top of the list and instead smaller instances were ranked based on some other metric. (Like invidious has this “health” metric. not sure how it works) There is no shortage of instances as I’ve seen a lot of new ones lately, which is really encouraging. So I think the focus should be making sure these smaller instances offer a good experience to users and people find them and join.

Also very important, Lemmy needs a feature like mastodon to migrate your account to another instance. So people on big instances could migrate to smaller ones.

Most peertube instances are pretty bad right now, so if one instance decides to follow everything else, that instance would be full of trash.

Also, as with a regular webpage, it doesnt make sense to link your instance to every other instance. Sure, by doing so, you increase the likelihood that there is some relevant content on your site, but it also becomes a cespool.

Rather, it makes more sense to be mindful about the instances you follow. Follow only those who are related to the content for your site. Your site should be thematic and have a vision. Follow the sites who shates a similar vision.

Ravn
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To find videos across several instances there is this (as official as it gets) search engine: https://sepiasearch.org/

@ajr
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@ericbuijs
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I’ve recently tried to use peertube and I think it could improve a lot if it showed all the content in all instances.

The policy of different PeerTube instances differs greatly therefore a lot of admins decide to federate with a limited number of instances. This also has an advantage. I’m on the LinuxRocks instances and it only federates with tech oriented instances. This keeps the instance clean of a lot of unwanted content. BTW: A user can still add interesting channels to it’s PeerTube account that show up for the user only.

poVoq
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Those mostly sound like anti-features to me, i.e. the typical dark patterns used by Youtube to feed you a never ending stream of advertisement.

@ajr
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overflow
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Because that’s the point of federation that each instance has it’s own unique selling point

@Copio
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I honestly was confused on what I’m supposed to do when I was at peertube, the videos are so fragmentated in topics, so I just went Odysee instead.

@X51
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I’m more concerned that deleted content lingers on remote instances after it is deleted.

Because right now, the Fediverse isn’t actually about connecting people, it’s about building walls around communities. People want to have their own space without dealing with trolls and content they don’t want to see and/or share. I’d say this is the price to pay for freedom. It shouldn’t be like this, but it is as of right now.

@marmulak
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It’s because it’s decentralized. It sounds like you’re looking for a centralized platform

Sagar Acharya
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Communication across different server doesn’t mean centralized. Without communication, there would be a million servers with 5 people on each server.

@abbenm
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Which would be awesome. A fediverse that depends on all servers being the same is effectively centralized. A fediverse where there are freestanding reasons for joining any of a million different servers is a fediverse where dependence on outside servers is minimized, which is a good thing.

You want enough content to keep things interested but don’t necessarily need the logic of any and all instances to be that they must depend on access to a server other than the one that operate on in order to be worthy of use.

@Ferk
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If you want to minimize dependence from outside servers then it’d be best to centralize, not federate. If you want a million servers with 5 people on each you need dependence with the outside servers you want content from, unless you are exclusively interested in the content those 4 other people post in your one server.

Your subscription to a community from an outside server will always depend on the outside server providing the content from that community. And you have to also depend on your server having connection with that outside server.

You necessarly need every server to depend on all outside servers you want to participate in. Either that or you’ll need to have one account in each of those servers you are interested in, which wouldn’t be that different to the end user from having each of those servers be centralized.

Vegafjord eo
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A million small instances > a few big instances

Sagar Acharya
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A million CONNECTED small instances > a few big instances

@ajr
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@ajr
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A community dedicated to fediverse news and discussion.

Fediverse is a portmanteau of “federation” and “universe”. It is a common, informal name for a federation of social network servers whose main purpose is microblogging, the sharing of short, public messages.

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