I can't wait for #Mastodon and the #Fediverse at large to have #groups integrated and interoperable with each other.

It feels like we're getting close.

The ability for anyone to be able to easily create / admin a group, have it show up in searches as a group, and to block groups will do a great deal for helping people find their communities, find like minded people when they first join and provide support to minorities. Of course it provides moderation challenges, too, but is still a plus imo.

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@Blort

FWIW the protocol seems to embrace things like groups, specifically saying that an entity in the system doesn’t have to be an individual. So the underlying technology is already ready for groups.

I’d say the bigger issue is one of UI, how to display groups in a way that users will understand that they’re engaging with a group, and how to avoid things like the notorious accidental reply-all in email.

That’s a tricky problem to solve, so I hope it’s solved sooner rather than later, then clients can move forward implementing the functionality in a better way.

@volkris @Blort the problem with ActivityPub groups is that the spec has left out some very important details about how to join one, where/how to show its members, etc.

@mariusor

I think that might be regarded as a feature :)

Or, at least, it was left as a higher layer of the system, with AP just concerning itself with moving content around.

It’s the same as AP not specifying how one gets an account on Mastodon or how hashtags or display algorithms are to function.

On the up side, like I said above I haven’t seen a really good solution to the UI issues if integrating groups here, so at least AP didn’t standardize on a bad solution.

@Blort

In fact they didn't do a horrible job in those areas (Join/Group, Leave/Group and followers collections) - which have been completely ignored by most existing implementations.

The biggest failing was defining how to post a new topic or reply to a group. It's not like replying to a Twitter post at all - because your reply needs to go back to the group to be included in the group and keep the group view of the conversation intact - even if it's in a deep nested thread of the original topic. And usually one will need to be a member of the group to reply. Otherwise there's no point. A number of microblogs are still having trouble with this because the first thing they always do is try and make it work like Twitter. And that model doesn't really work very well with groups. Never has. The Facebook influenced side of the fediverse has always had groups, as they're more conversation based instead of being message based.

@mike I mean, yes you can combine activities and set a group as an object, but the way this is done is left as an exercise to the reader. There isn't a specification for response codes or side effects on success/failure. That's what I meant by "important details".

Yes, I can use my imagination to assemble the lego bricks the vocabulary provides into something that could maybe work, but more guidance could have been useful. :D

Agreed. And I'm not saying there is nothing missing because there certainly is. But joining a group isn't one of them. It's the only part of groups that the ActivityStreams specs covered. ActivityPub was completely silent on the subject if I recall. So we started with a dozen different incompatible implementations and slowly whittled that down to 2. Convergence is all happening - just at glacial speeds.
@mariusor Groups are not unknown in the Fediverse. On the contrary, it was part of it even before Mastodon came to run. At the time, Mastodon had decided against groups and in favour of hashtags. Therefore, there are references that have solved the challenges described. That should be the point of the essay.
@Blort @volkris

@feb I'm pretty sure we're talking about different things. I was referring to the Groups ActivityStreams vocabulary object, and how behaviour for them is not well specified. The reason why I brought it up is that the underlying implementation guides the high level concept of "groups as a way to aggregate things on the fediverse" that the initial comments were about.

@Blort @volkris

@mariusor @Blort @volkris
It may be that we are talking about different things. I just wanted to point out that complete group implementations exist on the basis of AP. For example, in Friendica, which has offered such group constructs since 2010.

It can be helpful to talk to such projects if you want to develop compatible solutions. The project has a lot of expertise in this area.

@feb do you have a link to what you’re referring to? Maybe a part of a w3c recommendation?

We might be talking about different things here.

@Blort @mariusor

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