Re: AS2/AP tasks for a chartered social web working group

On Fri, Sep 15, 2023 at 9:46 AM Evan Prodromou <> wrote:

> I love the ActivityPub API. I think it’s a real gem and it lets us support
> lots more social interactions than just microblogging.

Definitely understood! I'm not opposed to it. I just see all the clear need
for standards work on the parts of the fediverse that *are* widely adopted
and used - AS2, S2S, HTTP Sigs, WebFinger, etc. - so I worry about the
opportunity cost of spending any time and effort on a languishing C2S

Another way to phrase it would be, C2S has plenty of features and
functionality, but S2S took off and C2S didn't, so it doesn't seem like new
enhancements or functionality would necessarily spur adoption. If we do
spend more time on C2S, are there other things that might be more

> I’ve already created a couple of FEPs for enhancing it — having access to
> pending follows/followers, blocklists, etc. I have a few more in draft
> format, like doing some fine-grained feeds (home timeline, notifications,
> etc.), lists, and an OAuth 2.0 profile as mentioned. I think there’s a lot
> of innovation still to be done here.
> I would be firmly opposed to deprecating it.
> Evan
> On Sep 15, 2023, at 11:57 AM, Ryan Barrett <> wrote:
> Hell yes! Thanks for the explainer, this all makes sense and sounds good
> to me. I'll especially +1 the HTTP Sigs work.
> Maybe also consider something about C2S? Specifically, S2S adoption has
> obviously grown massively in the fediverse, but C2S hasn't. What's the
> conclusion and path forward? Double down on it somehow? Keep it but don't
> spend much effort on it? Find a path to sunsetting it?
> On Fri, Sep 15, 2023 at 7:53 AM Evan Prodromou <>
> wrote:
>> One of the topics that came up at last week’s TPAC was the possibility of
>> having a new iteration of the Social Web Working Group.
>> For those unfamiliar with the structure of the W3C: working groups are
>> necessary for making normative versions of standards documents. Many areas
>> of interest at W3C have standing working groups that just stay around
>> indefinitely working on particular topics. The Social Web Working Group, by
>> comparison, had 3 deliverables (social data standard, social API, social
>> federation protocol) and a fixed time frame.
>> In order to create this working group, the W3C would have to make a list
>> of tasks for the group, and would need to put that list in front of the W3C
>> members. Then, the members vote on it, and if they agree, a new working
>> group would be born.
>> W3C staff asked if we, the SocialCG, wanted to suggest a list of tasks
>> for that charter. They don’t have to use that list verbatim, but my guess
>> is that they wouldn’t edit it much.
>> I’d like to suggest that we keep the scope of the WG limited to
>> maintenance of the existing recommendations. Other work that we’ve been
>> discussing, like the extension policy, testing, data portability, and other
>> topics should stay as part of the CG.
>> I also think we could and should commit to a) strict backwards
>> compatibility and b) hewing closely to current practices. I would call any
>> new specs “1.1” or “2.1” to show that these are iterative, compatible
>> changes.
>> Here would be the two main things I think we could do with a WG:
>>    - Incorporate editorial fixes from the ERRATA, like fixing incorrect
>>    examples. Many people read the recs and never see the errata, so getting
>>    those documents updated would really help them a lot. We might b
>>    - Eliminate some of our "AirBud
>>    <>" issues, where the
>>    documents refer to standard practices in social networking, but we did not
>>    specify clearly in the specification itself. For example: the collection of
>>    followers should be unique. An actor should have only one followers
>>    collection. These would need to be carefully done to avoid making changes
>>    that aren't backwards compatible, but I think for a lot of them there's
>>    clear consensus in the implementations, and we'd just need to document them.
>> Here are a couple of things I think we could do that would be a stretch:
>>    - An OAuth 2.0 profile for ActivityPub API. We left authentication
>>    out of the original spec, and I think it’s made it harder for implementers.
>>    That said, I think this should probably be a FEP first before being part of
>>    the spec.
>>    - Document the use of HTTP Signatures. This might be the only place
>>    I’d suggest an upgrade; the AP world mostly uses an old draft of HTTP
>>    Signatures that is not compatible with the current versions. It would be
>>    nice to figure out an upgrade path for this and make it easier for
>>    developers to move forward.
>> We’d need to make sure that it was clear that any auth stuff is only a
>> mapping, and that you could use other auth types if you want and can get
>> interoperability.
>> I think we could help the ActivityPub implementer community with new
>> versions of the specs.
>> I hope this helps with the discussion.
>> Evan
> --


Received on Friday, 15 September 2023 18:01:07 UTC