Social Web Incubator CG

09 January 2021


bashrc, cjslep[m], cwebber, cwebber2, Grishka, humanetech, jarofgreen, nightpool[m], rhiaro, sandro, trwnh, 👌

Meeting minutes

<rhiaro> Hi all, we're having a Social CG meeting in 1 hour, in jitsi and here, about the Fediverse Enhancement Proposals https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/2021-01-09-socialcg-meeting-fep/1246

Just to be clear, https://meet.jit.si/ScatteredConsequencesActRegardless is the jitsi link, correct?

<rhiaro> nightpool[m]: yep!


<cwebber2> hello, joining

<cwebber2> one sec

<cjslep[m]> joining, 1 sec

I can do scribe!

Amy/Rhiaro as co-chair

cwebber2 (IRC): This group currently has 3 cochairs: myself, aaron perecki (sp?) and nightpool
… you may notice the socialcg has still been struggling with respect to organization, and I talked to amy, and amy has a lot of ideas and is very knowledgeable and involved with the way the W3C is structured
… so I talked to the three other co-chairs, and we all agreed

<cwebber2> PROPOSED: Make rhiaro / Amy Guy co-chair of the SocialCG

<cwebber2> +1

<rhiaro> +1 but I'm biased

+1 !

<jarofgreen> +1 (but i’m unsure about voting eligability)

<paul> +1

<Grishka> +1

<cwebber2> sandro: +1

Resolution: Make rhiaro / Amy Guy co-chair of the SocialCG

The Fediverse Enhancement Proposal process

cwebber: we're proceeding with pukkamustard here, CJ, are you okay with representing it?

cjslep: Yes, I talked to pukkamustard before the meeting and we're okay to go ahead

<rhiaro> https://git.activitypub.dev/ActivityPubDev/Fediverse-Enhancement-Proposals/src/branch/main/feps/fep-a4ed.md

cjslep: Going back to APConf last year, we had some BoF sessions where we wanted a lightweight way to discuss improvments to activitypub and communicate in a way that provides for cross-software or cross-developer communication
… it's really design to be a lightweight way, so i don't know if it could be considered a "standards" process, but the name was inspired by Python's PEP process or the XMPPEP(?) process
… I'm not very familiar with these processes, but I know there were some concerns raised due to the similarities wrt that process, but we wanted something that was much more lightweight then those processes generally are
… We just set up a Gitea instance at random, and we had one proposal from Claire (mastodon developer), and that seemed to work very well, and it engendered a really robust discussion within the community
… and we just wanted to open up the floor to feedback from members of the community

cwebber: I like it, it definitely doesn't have the full standardization process that say a w3c standard would, but it's not intended to, and I like how it provides for a way of creating new ideas that we can then take into a new WG charter or something similar

rhiaro (IRC): I agree, I read through it earlier, and I thought it was very good. It's lightweight, easy to read.
… one way we can connect it to the CG is when things come down to the final stage, they can be published as a community group report
… that way it gets a w3 URL and it makes it much easier to transition it into a W3 WG spec down the line if we want to
… Although we may want to make that optional, in case people don't want to join the CG

<cwebber2> https://www.w3.org/community/socialcg/

<Zakim> nightpool[m], you wanted to talk more about the mastodon side of Claire's proposal

<cwebber2> nightpool[m]: I wanted to give a bit more reflection of my experience of the process when I helped Claire go through it with the follower collection syncing proposal

<Grishka> btw if you need a second implementation of that FEP, I might try implementing it in Smithereen

<cwebber2> nightpool[m]: my understanding is we still haven't merged that code for a few reasons, one is open questions on our side, but to our side it feels like we haven't gone through the process. from that perspective I think we were hoping for more consensus than we got from the process, where it seems like it's more to reflect the processes of what one application is doing, which is valuable but maybe not what we're looking for in this

<cwebber2> specific case

<rhiaro> https://git.activitypub.dev/ActivityPubDev/Fediverse-Enhancement-Proposals/src/branch/main/feps/fep-a4ed.md nightpool[m]

<cwebber2> nightpool[m]: I guess the only other thing I have is... it's good for people to get their implementations in front of us so we can find more spaces of commonality... on the other hand if we rubber stamp everything that comes through as a lightweight process if we'll come to a point where everything does slightly different things in slightly different ways which might make it harder to converge on a future spec. not sure there's a good

<cwebber2> way to avoid that either

cjslep: I definitely agree with nightpool, and I understand how the FEP process can be disappointing in that regard
… because it wasn't designed to give that kind of feedback
… it was designed so you can push your things out and let you communicate about it without necessarily coming to a consensus

<rhiaro> +1 cjslep

cjslep: and the CG could look at a wide range of FEPs when starting a potential standardization proccess
… I don't have any good solutions either but i think it was intentional for it to be that way

cwebber: It strikes me that a lightweight process is useful even if it's not a full process
… because a lot of things are happening, and we don't even have them documented
… and that's a much worse solution then when lots of things are happening and we do have them documented
… To another end, I think this ties in to something else that we were talking aobut with the SocialCG. Now that we're using Jitsi, which supports video calls
… We've had problems with doing things regularly, and not having enough things to work on on a rigorous schedule, and not having enough meetings to cover the topics when not doing a rigorous schedule.

<Grishka> "here are groups in Smithereen, here's how they work…. oops they don't" :D

cwebber: We've talked about doing a more "show-and-tell" sort of process, where people come and present on what they're working on, and maybe it would be good to couple that with a FEP, so people come and present their projects and what they're working on
… alongside an FEP

cwebber2 (IRC): It might be useful to have a proposal at this time, let me type something out

<cwebber2> DRAFT PROPOSED: The SocialCG should support the FEP (Fediverse Enhancement Proposal) process as a way of documenting extensions to the fediverse and encourage bringing FEP proposals for discussion to the SocialCG.

<rhiaro> nightpool[m]: mastodon did in the end merge the follower sync proposal

cwebber2 (IRC): There are a couple of things not captured here, including governance for the FEP process, as well as "graduation" or anything that comes after the FEP process
… not sure whether we should be adding anything on top of that

cjslep: Wanted to highlight here that we currently have an "editor" role in the FEP process, which is curerntly me, pukkamustard (IRC), and lain_soykaf (IRC)

<cwebber2> PROPOSED: The SocialCG should support the FEP (Fediverse Enhancement Proposal) process as a way of documenting extensions to the fediverse and encourage bringing FEP proposals for discussion to the SocialCG.

<cwebber2> +1

<rhiaro> +1

<Grishka> +1

<paul> +1

<cjslep[m]> qq: am i allowed to vote?

<sandro> +1

<cjslep[m]> +1

+1 if we also widen the group of editors or change that process in some way to make it more clear what editors are doing

<rhiaro> rhiaro: it is good for socialcg to support the FEP process and encouarge overlap. We can think about governance and CG report graduation separately

Resolution: The SocialCG should support the FEP (Fediverse Enhancement Proposal) process as a way of documenting extensions to the fediverse and encourage bringing FEP proposals for discussion to the SocialCG.

Structure of W3C Social CG and official site

cwebber2 (IRC): woo! 2 proposals!
… Let's see if there's anything else on the waitlist we can knock out easily

<cwebber2> https://activitypub.rocks/news/overdue-site-updates.html

<Grishka> rhiaro: I had a similar problem, some email providers don't accept those emails for some reason

<Grishka> had this with APConf as well

The not existing official Test Suite and making the inofficial an official

cwebber2 (IRC): I think we've made good progress on the activitypub.rocks page this week, it's been updated with things people have been requesting and points to test.activityrocks.dev, which is cjslep's test suite instead of the broken test.activitypub.rocks
… round of applause to cjslep for making sure the fediverse has a working test suite!

Upcoming meeting schedule

<Zakim> rhiaro, you wanted to talk about upcoming meeting schedule

<rhiaro> https://socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/upcoming-socialcg-meetings/1257/5

rhiaro (IRC): I took the waitlist and turned it into a meeting schedule

rhiaro (IRC): I just arbitrarily assigned them days and times, alternating fridays and saturdays, so people can see if they can make the times for topics they're interested in

rhiaro (IRC): We've been alternating between Friday's and Saturday's to accommodate people who can't come due to work or due to the weekend, we can continue doing that for now and move topics around to accommodate people's availability.

cwebber2 (IRC): Since we've already gotten through the stuff on our agenda for the week, is there anything else we should work on for the rest of the meeting?

the incoming wave

rhiaro (IRC): Neither, I'd prefer to do a "any other business" section to open the floor to anything else that we haven't planned to address

sandro (IRC): If I understand correctly, over the last 2 days all major platforms have banned Trump and possibly some amount of his followers (possibly around 500k accounts removed?)
… They were thinking of moving to Parler, although it's banned from the app store and we don't know much about if they're going to be able to stay there, with it removed from the app store
… so I think the fediverse at some point is going to need to deal with them maybe coming here, and figuring with what comes next
… and there's some opportunity here for us, with expertise, to help the world manage that problem

<cwebber2> https://conf.tube/videos/watch/a5d5675e-3ccb-488b-8759-1dc0420e395f

cwebber2 (IRC): Sandro, you might not be privy to what's happened to gab over the last year, are you?
… They left the fediverse, and said f*%! activitypub, basically.
… I linked a video where that explains kind of what happened, where they made a big deal about leaving the fediverse

<Zakim> nightpool[m], you wanted to discuss the Policy group thing and to talk to gab

<rhiaro> nightpool[m]: the gab thing.. I was doing some research into this. they are still running a fork of mastodon, though they have rewritten the frontend

<rhiaro> ... and ripped out all of the federation

<rhiaro> ... and added features that have no federated equivalent

<rhiaro> ... that's not to say all of the alt right troll are gone from the fediverse

<rhiaro> ... some big names still run instances

<rhiaro> ... the vast majority moved off with gab. Still yet to see what's goign to happen there

<rhiaro> ... the fediverse itself is pretty good at circulating block requests but it doesn't say they could still develop their own alt right fediverse by connecting together

<rhiaro> ... is there something we can do about that? what is the next step?

<rhiaro> ... right now gab is gone and they are advocating to other alt right friends that not to use activitypub

<rhiaro> sandro: it's great symbolically that they dont' want to use mastodon code because mastodon isn't their kind of people

<rhiaro> ... they can't just use gab cos they ripped otu federation so that will slow them down. but nothing there that stops them from using AP or some other codebase for making a facist fediverse

<rhiaro> cwebber2: I have been a vocal skeptic that the allow/deny list approach is going to work long term

cwebber2 (IRC): As a note, I have been a vocal skeptic that the allow/denylist approach will work long term
… but I think what surprised me over the last year was how well it did work to dissuade gab

<rhiaro> ... what surprised me over the last year is how well it did manage to work to at least disuade gab

cjslep: One thing I saw consistently from voices on the fediverse, including playvicious.social, was calls for improvement for tooling for handling these kind of cases
… one thing I think may help personally is having more interoperability with moderated actions, possibly arrived at with a FEP like process

sandro (IRC): Yeah, I've been on the "we need better moderator" tooling thread for a long time, but i'm realizing it might not have a lot of benefits here when you're talking about 8 million people
… and maybe there's something we can do with software licensing.

<Grishka> privacy settings!

cwebber2 (IRC): I would disagree with going down the software licensing route, but I think that if there's something we can do here to make sure users who don't want to be exposed to these type of things aren't exposed to them, i think that's a big goal here
… because historically, we've had private nazi forums for as long as we've had the internet, and a lot of this organizing has happened literally behind closed doors
… and a lot of the storming the capital planning happened on open forums
… so I think we need to acknowledge our limits and scope this to what we're practically able to achieve.
… since we cannot prevent other people from using protocols to communicate

Grishka (IRC): privacy settings on Interaction is something that can help solve this
… for example, if you set up "only ___ can reply to my post" or "I only see notifications from people I follow"
… you can protect yourself from some of these types of content

<cwebber2> https://gitlab.com/spritely/ocappub/blob/master/README.org

cwebber2 (IRC): I will note that OCapPub addresses some of these interaction concerns, but it's not tested or implemented yet
… I suggest we spread some of these discussions out over the next several meetings, since I don't think we have a solution here but this conversation isn't going away
… I don't think it's going away in the following way: this organizing happened in public, and it's already leading to calls for banning end-to-end encryption

<rhiaro> (and on the other side of this: something something filter bubbles are bad)

<Grishka> services like Facebook do the opposite btw — they make it nigh impossible to guard yourself from content outside of your circles

Policy Group

<rhiaro> nightpool[m]: I've been following the forum discussions about the policy group but did not get a great sense for what it's role was or the kind of goal of the committee

<rhiaro> I've put that on the meeting schedule for next Friday too

cwebber2 (IRC): we've had a few informal socialcg meetings about it, as well as a few meetings with policy groups from the EU about it
… And discussions about the proposed EU interoperability law, which doesn't say much yet except for the word "gatekeepers" repeated over and over throughout the document
… and the concern was around organizations adopting the protocol and then closing it off, like we saw with Google and Facebook and XMPP
… and then we moved to discussions about how legislatures aren't aware that non-centralized approaches exist
… and how to make sure that the legislation doesn't harm decentralized approaches and make sure that regulators are aware that these alternatives exist

<Grishka> Facebook would do to AP what Gmail did to SMTP

<Grishka> *if* Facebook chooses AP

<cwebber2> nightpool[m]: that makes a lot of sense... I guess I'm wondering from the technical land of what this group is good at and has an expertise in, what's the best way for us to approach it that's not necessarily presenting ourselves as a policy or political body which I don't think we have the setup or expertise or chops to be. but I think there's a lot of good goals here and we should do our best to make sure that we're providing the

<cwebber2> technical options while deferring to other voices in the fediverse who may be better set up to provide the political options

<cwebber2> rhiaro: I agree nightpool with what you said. I haven't been super closely following the recent policy stuff, but what I think would be good would be to have people who are very well qualified and active in brussels etc to report back here (and we had some of those here)

cwebber2 (IRC): I would like to note as Amy mentioned that we did have some of those people here, and that was the goal as of the place we left it last time, and that most of the people in the Policy group are connected to these kind of issues, and
… it's a different composition then the people who show up to this group

<rhiaro> RRSAgent make logs public

cwebber2 (IRC): and that will be the topic of our meeting next time! next Friday

rhiaro (IRC)++


<Loqi> cjslep has 1 karma over the last year


<Loqi> rhiaro has 3 karma in this channel over the last year (6 in all channels)

Summary of resolutions

  1. Make rhiaro / Amy Guy co-chair of the SocialCG
  2. The SocialCG should support the FEP (Fediverse Enhancement Proposal) process as a way of documenting extensions to the fediverse and encourage bringing FEP proposals for discussion to the SocialCG.
Minutes manually created (not a transcript), formatted by scribe.perl version 127 (Wed Dec 30 17:39:58 2020 UTC).


Succeeded: s/stnadardization/standardization

Succeeded: s/a lot of the storming the capital planning happened in closed fora/a lot of the storming the capital planning happened on open forums/

Maybe present: cjslep