Join the discussion on the Fediverse with #FediLibrary.

About Our Mission

ActivityPub.dev is a grassroots effort to be a digital library of public community discussions about the ActivityPub protocol. It hopes to inform people that are new to the Fediverse and wish to learn more about the cultural, technical, or other contexts by which the community has developed. It also hopes to be useful to those already familiar with the protocol or the community, so it can be a resource for those with the power to change individual software or draft the next version of ActivityPub.

This site's strategy for categorization is a simple one: it is an attempt to facilitate long-form discussions from problem to solution. Some people may be better suited for identifying problems, others for providing a unique viewpoint in analyzing the status quo, others for maintaining a sense of social community, and others with impacting technical change. The categorization strategy is intended to prevent exhaustion of community members who would otherwise be severely burdened getting their voice out.

What The Library Is Not

Succintly, this library does not represent an authoritative, decision-making body.

While the library aims to be a resource for those who are making changes to ActivityPub, this site is not the place for that kind of decision-making. By encouraging discussions that directly connect community-identified problems to technical experiments, it is the hope that those who do have the power to draft future versions of ActivityPub refer to this digital library.

What is ActivityPub?

ActivityPub is the underlying protocol for Fediverse applications such as Mastodon, Funkwhale, Pleroma, WriteFreely, PeerTube, and many many others. When the specification was first published on 23 January 2018, it acknowledged major areas in need of further technical improvement. For example, two such major areas identified are privacy and security concerns, but many other problems go beyond these pre-identified topics.

What is the Problem?

In the years since the specification was released, addressing these two problems has come about in an ad-hoc way that rewards software for simply moving first with a lot of users. Also during these years, non-technical community members have spent a good deal of time and energy identifying problems with the status quo. At rare times, the community has successfully connected with developers to enact change. However, most feedback has fallen on deaf ears or has nowhere to be acted upon, which is a failure that reflects on the community as a whole.

Part of this failure stems from the lack of organization: There is neither a single person nor group that has the power to force any other dev to change their ActivityPub software. For software engineers in the community, there has been no compelling reason to document and organize potential changes to the ActivityPub protocol -- it could all go to waste as peer developers shrug off proposed changes. For non-technical members of the community, there is no way to act upon identified problems nor an avenue for uplifting voices.

How Does a Community Library Help?

We can create a digital library whose mission caters to documenting a discussion that directly links Fediverse community members right up to those with the power to enact change to software or specifications.

Even better, the community can help identify the kinds of problems that technology cannot solve

Still, this only partially solves the problem. The library can capture high-quality discussions, but it will take further work outside of this site to actually act upon and demonstrate change. To capture the discussions, it documents four categories of literature:

  • Problem Identification, not necessarily technical in nature, with the Fediverse.
  • Analyses that break down problems. These breakdowns may identify opportunities for technological improvements, but more importantly they can identify which parts of problems are not solved by technology.
  • Experiments from developers or other members of the community that want to try addressing a concrete idea provided in an analysis.
  • Objections made by community members in response to a problem, an analysis, an experiment, or other objections.

Hopefully this will capture a discussion that directly links Fediverse community members to those able to enact change.

Site Operation

This site is operated by @cj@mastodon.technology.

Governance / Oversight

This library's governance is currently very small: only @cj@mastodon.technology is running things. That is probably because this is so new! If you are interested in helping, please reach out!

Almost anyone is welcome to participate. Having a technical background isn't a requirement. Those who advance racist, homophobic, transphobic, or genocidal ideologies are barred from participating.

Short-Names

All accepted submissions are given a short acronym. This acts as an easy way to refer to existing submissions with ease. We use short-names to make sure the community has a quick way to refer to our content when discussing it in public to save on character count, and short-names can also be used in the submission process.

Short-names also helps with spreading knowledge by word-of-mouth, so that intrigued readers can discover the library from their friends using these otherwise-odd short names.