W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-fedsocweb@w3.org > May 2013

Re: Federation protocols

From: Michał 'rysiek' Woźniak <rysiek@fwioo.pl>
Date: Fri, 31 May 2013 16:28:02 +0200
To: public-fedsocweb@w3.org
Message-Id: <201305311628.04449.rysiek@fwioo.pl>
Hi there,

Dnia piątek, 31 maja 2013 o 16:09:27 Simon Tennant napisał(a):
> So it seems like the gist of feeling here is that we must create one open
> standard and then crush Facebook. I'll stand to the side of that vibe
> except to add that this will not happen. This is not a case of
> 1. create open standard
> 2. developers implement it/users leave facebook for an open standard
> 3. ???
> 4 profit!?!
> Not going to happen. Facebook is offering huge value to users already on
> their platform. We're the rounding error in terms of people that care about
> privacy, federation and distributed network design. There are very few
> success stories of open replacements replacing the closed incumbent by
> matching them feature for feature.
> Simply reinventing the posts, followers, wall model and writing up a
> protocol will not work.

No. That's why Diaspora introduced "aspects", which Google+ copied instantly. 
And we can make a lot of such privacy-enhancing innovation. Facebook can't.

> Instead, think about the tools and services and protocols that solve a real
> developer problem. We solve this by:
> 1. Why are developers going to the Facebook SDK pages to build their social
> products?
> 2. and what we can be doing to a) understand their needs b) offer an open,
> hopefully federated, alternative that solves their needs quicker, easier
> and in a more open way.
> 3. ???
> 4. (a higher chance of success).

Twitter changed their API rules lately, drawing ire from developers and 
killing off a lot of small companies by this simple move. There is huge value 
in decentralised, federated, standards-compliant services. It's not *only* 

It's both about the users AND developers.

And don't forget the public/administration sphere. There are valid arguments 
to be made against public administration using proprietary, walled social 
networks, but this argument falls flat, because there is no viable 

I am serious. I was able to get the Ministry of Administration and Digital 
Agenda here in Poland to have an Identica profile and publish something from 
time to time:
https://mac.gov.pl/ <- look at the bottom

Guess what. Pump.io is coming. Well, that worked well for a while.

> This could be things like federated media sharing or quick ways to add a
> social layer to their mobile app or game.

Great. Let's promote a single, well-defined protocol and this will be 

> Anyway, my point is that this idea that a one-size-fits-all protocol just
> doesn't work. We've tried it. Federating a bunch of social networks that
> aren't solving a real user need (beyond privacy) is an exercise in protocol
> masturbation rather than solving real problems and therefore have a chance
> of being adopted.
> I wish the world was otherwise. It's not and usually I find it easier to
> change my approach than try to make the entire world change for me.

Well, the same was said about MySpace several years ago. And before that, 
Geocities. Remember those? Users flock and change services from time to time. 
The time users move off of Facebook is drawing near and we really *should* 
have something to offer.

Otherwise in 5 years we will have nobody to blame but ourselves that the world 
is on the Yet Another Closed Walled Garden and we're the "rounding error", 
because we couldn't get our shit together and agree on a protocol.

"With friends like that, who needs enemies". -_-'

This is extremely frustrating. I am actually quite good at getting public 
officials to do The Right Thing as far as FLOSS/openness is concerned (hell, 
we're get government-funded libre educational resources this year, available 
in open standards![1][2]); but when there is no viable technical alternative 
because of the infighting in the FLOSS community, I can just grind my teeth 
and watch them go with TwitBook+.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xZ5jHqXoKk
[2] http://rys.io/en/84

Michał "rysiek" Woźniak

Fundacja Wolnego i Otwartego Oprogramowania

Received on Friday, 31 May 2013 14:28:52 UTC

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