Social app - thoughts on future development for this exciting application

Be Respectful in discussing the Social App

Here are my thoughts on the Social app, which have been on my mind since it was first released some years ago.
Please note this is not a flame thread. Do not respond to this thread to rehash your frustration. :see_no_evil:
Please do respond if you have other points to discuss and flesh out! :heart:

Why discuss?

I strongly support what Social might represent and want to give helpful thoughts and suggestions for future development… Social app does need a lot of development and the fediverse is a very rich environment which still lacks the sort of niche functionality Nextcloud offers.

Technically it is the federation itself (“fediverse”, currently built entirely around other, existing ActivityPub applications: Mastodon, Pleroma, PixelFed, Funkwhale, Hubzilla, Friendica, Peertube) which is actually providing these millions of users. Nextcloud has yet to truly join the platform with Social. See About the Federation below for details:

About the Federation

the-federation.info overview - 99 current projects spanning 15 protocols.

My question is… how will Social best serve it’s purpose in a way that truly benefits the fediverse alongside the Nextcloud platform?

Let’s dive into it…

Being Mastodon compatible in general

The user experience when on-boarding and using the Social app

I’m wondering a lot about this because currently the Social app (as of my most recent testing in the last alpha release) will automatically create an account. This is problematic, because accounts created are permanent, no different from using Twitter if it auto-generated an account for you based on your email address or similar… There is no way to ever remove any account you’ve created from the federation. With this in mind, I really hope an account creation wizard can be used instead of simply creating an account without user input.

Of course this app might break between major Nextcloud releases. I understand “it is what it is”, but I also wonder about the millions of people who already have existing federated accounts. Having a fediverse account is not so different from having your email account in addition to your Nextcloud. For the Nextcloud users who already are on the fediverse, I want to make another suggestion:

What if Nextcloud becomes easier to use socially, whether or not you are on the Social app or already on Mastodon?

All existing ActivityPub implementations I’ve encountered online support webhooks and notifications via RSS.

  • Improve Nextcloud support for webhooks app and RSS feeds as a means of sending notifications to Mastodon, Matrix, Discord, you name it.
  • This would work even without the need of a Social app account.
    • Webhooks app already supports Flows and a smattering of event types.
  • Improves the decentralized nature of sending notifications from Nextcloud to other services.

I wonder if this sort of development will be simpler to implement and maintain, plus serve as a nice addition to attempting feature parity with Mastodon itself (also a laudable goal). Nextcloud itself is very much a different beast from a normal social network… perhaps the greatest strength of Nextcloud is in allowing you to stay on task while sharing with others as needed. I have never seen this discussed in terms of the Social app itself, but a hope of mine for this sort of integration has always been to make it easier to share from within Nextcloud → Federated users while not actually needing to browse my timeline or messages.

Developing a Nextcloud approach to ActivityPub – for businesses and introverts

Eventually it would be awesome to be able to share to the Social app just as you would currently to Email, Twitter, Telegram.

  • Perhaps it could become possible to share to Mastodon / federation even without a Social account. This was previously possible for Gnu Social a few years back.

This idea is not a new one, but was rather implemented by Wordpress plugin developers back around 2017. Wordpress activitypub plugins are in the top 5 activitypub implementations deployed on the web!

Click here to see exactly what the wordpress activitypub plugin supports.
Implemented:

    profile pages (JSON representation)
    custom links
    functional inbox/outbox
    follow (accept follows)
    share posts
    receive comments/reactions

To implement:
    signature verification
    better WordPress integration
    better configuration possibilities
    threaded comments support

Reporting and Blocking in the world of the federation

This is another issue, which I’m very curious about because it is a known problem which will have to be addressed. Famously a huge percentage of the federation was blocked. This will be massively important as soon as Nextcloud becomes truly connected to other users.

If you read all of this, thank you!!! I hope it spurs some fruitful ideas and conversation over the years ahead. :heart:

5 Likes

I look forward to this. And hopefully there would be a single solution for use users. The Social App could be a Mastodon Server, and the Chat client could be based on Matrix.

1 Like

Chat you mentioned has nothing to do with ActivityPub. Talk app is based on xmpp afaik, so not Matrix. An extension app is developing matterbridge PHP support for bridging chats such as Matrix, but there is still much development on the original matterbridge end (particularly Matrix federated ghost user support is unresolved). Anyways, can be discussed in one of the other threads that are already on this forum in regards to Matrix or you can check out the Matrix element app for Nextcloud. :heart: