#ActivityPub supports Groups. I'm wondering if anyone has developed something like a mailing list for AP yet?

I want to have a technical group ala a mailing list.

Anyone know of anything like this yet?


> #ActivityPub supports Groups. I’m wondering if anyone has developed something like a mailing list for AP yet?

Yes, they do. I would rather say, they developed exactly a mailing list, which just like the original does not require any special support from the protocol: you just CC it — and a bot behind it reposts the message to all the list subscribers.

Here it is: @rf — managed by @drequivalent.

> I want to have a technical group ala a mailing list.

May I try to dissuade you from doing it? Do not divide the community, let this #fediverse, so far as those who created it, decided to make it an illustration to #XKCD927 [1], remain a place for posting anime girls, and leave technical talks where they belong to: in full-fledged #mailinglists / #newsgroups.

[1] https://xkcd.com/927/

No. We need proper groups. Not on Mastodon, but in Fediverse. Ideally, a separate engine that only does groups. No need to implement it in Mastodon or Pleroma. Keep things separated.

I once tried to inspire some folks to make it (because I don't have time to do it myself because work and also I gotta sleep sometime) but the project has gone dead I don't care who does it at this point.
@emacsen @rf


I know this discussion is old now, but ...

I agree with @drequivalent that we need proper groups in the . But ...

> No need to implement it in Mastodon or Pleroma. Keep things separated.

They need to be able to at least follow and reply. Groups can benefit from specialized UI, like what offers for videos, or for music. But would those projects be better if you couldn't follow channels or comment on videos from microblog accounts?
@z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

> They need to be able to at least follow and reply.

Well yes, you silly cookie.
Else, what would they be for.

I just mean those should be actors hosted by a separate engine, that's all.

@drequivalent @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

The nature of the protocol is that servers should not need to implement a feature locally to interact with it remotely. A service that only implements person actors can still follow and otherwise interact with groups and other actor types on remotes, at least on the protocol level. (Whether the front end stays out of the way is another issue)
@drequivalent @z @hirojin @Melezh

@yaaps sure, but I read the post by @drequivalent as saying that Mastodon and Pleroma ought not to support the groups feature. Perhaps that was a misread on my part, and the actual intend of that post was that the microblogs ought not to add complex UI for threaded group discussions (beyond improving what they already have perhaps).
@z @hirojin @Melezh

@drequivalent there are already a number of projects working on specialized UI for navigating groups and threaded conversations, federated over AP. The Reddit-a-likes like @prismo , ( @LemmyDev ), Littr.me ( @mariusor ), , ( @datatitian ), , and . Friendica and Hubzilla also have groups that could be federated over AP, although I don't think they are yet.

@z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

@liaizon @strypey @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @mariusor @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh @grishka

Yeah, there are going to be full-blown groups with at least walls and forums, just like there are in VK. Events will be a specialized kind of group. I'm thinking about how to best represent that in AP, seems like making it a Group with an Event in attachments is the best way.

@grishka @strypey @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @mariusor @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh @grishka

have you thought about how membership in your groups will work with accounts outside of your platform? Like will I (as a user on a mastodon instance) be able to join a smithereen group from this account?

@liaizon @strypey @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @mariusor @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh @grishka

This is an interesting question. Using the Join activity to join groups makes sense and that's what the spec suggests. I'll probably also be accepting Follow for compatibility purposes. But what happens after you do join it... How would you post there for example? There are going to be way too many concepts and actions unknown to Mastodon and other microblogging software.

@grishka so what happens if I am following a user who posts in a group from here? will I not see their group posts? If I do see their group posts I will be able to comment on them. so what happens to those comments? do they not show up back into the original group?

@liaizon no, you'll only see their group posts if you're a member of that group regardless of whether you follow them. In AP, group posts won't be addressed to anyone's followers, they'll be addressed to group members. If it's an open group, you'll be able to open that post on Mastodon and comment on it (or boost it, or like it for that matter), the comment will of course appear in the group.

@liaizon and that's something VK doesn't have. You could post as the group itself, but I won't be making this – I want communication to be equal. Members' posts don't appear in anyone's feeds.

I'm also thinking about a "which posts you see in your feed" setting, like "all members/friends only/none". This is to suit groups with funny pictures and such. This will be applied locally on your instance.

@liaizon the setting will be per-group if I do decide to add it

@grishka excited to see the progress on this! I hope you post about it as your going I think its super important to have all these platforms try to figure out how to have different features that work together.

@grishka so private groups will be #Smithereen members only but open ones will potentially allow interaction with the rest of the fediverse

@liaizon this depends on your definition of a "private group". VK has "closed" and "private" groups. You can request to join the closed kind and group admins approve or reject your request. This maps well onto the existing Follow+Accept paradigm. Private ones basically don't exist unless you're invited. I'm not sure I'm going to have this type, I already feel how it's going to be a PITA to balance between privacy and interoperability. Here's what both kinds look like.

There's a lot of prior art (and cruft) in email distribution lists. ActivityPub doesn't define group or organization actors functionally or semantically, but I think the heavy, feature rich, implementations that mimic Mailman will come when the community starts talking about organizations and that groups will mostly be lightweight like @GuppeGroups

There's no necessity for implementations to be uniform, however, and Mastodon compatibility (while nice for Mastodon users) isn't a necessity for being part of the fediverse

To succeed as its own thing (rather than as a collection of software that is like some other social network, but federated), we'll need to break the habit of using microblogging to drive traffic to content that we host. New services need to use progressive enhancement to share content over ActivityPub that displays in clients with best effort, because failing to do so will continue to reinforce publisher centered content distribution patterns that lead to capture by capital
@liaizon @strypey @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @mariusor @datatitian @z @hirojin @Melezh

@yaaps @grishka @guppegroups @liaizon @strypey @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @mariusor @datatitian @z @hirojin @Melezh On your last paragraph: valuable, long-lived, "slow" content is organized as chapters, articles or documents arranged in blogs, books etc. This is unrelated to centralized publishing and capital accumulation. Micro-blogging can be used for conversations and comments about “slow” content. Latter can be progressively presented in ActivityPub clients using previews and ogp meta.

Either the recipients cover the costs of storage and distribution or the publisher does. If the publisher does, then they need to recover their costs. There's no way that does not result in the vast majority of content serving the interests of capital with the bulk of the remainder uncritically reflecting privilege as a consequence of relying on donor funding to scale

> How would you post there?

One way is following the group would join it, and an @mention of the group name would serve as an OP. Otherwise, I see it as similar to the interaction between a microblog account and a blog (or Wordpress with ), an OP to a forum is like the blog post, to which the microblog user can reply, replies are then posts that can be replied to, and so on.
@liaizon @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @mariusor @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

@strypey @grishka @liaizon @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

ActivityPub doesn't really know about Mentions in the way you're suggesting. They are a convenience on the part of Mastodon to populate the To field of a regular Activity. If your interface would support proper addressing (similar to a chat/email client) there would be no confusion.

sure, but we're talking about how a user of Mastodon would interact with a groups platform, without adding its own group-specific UI, yes? As long as Masto populates the To field of a regular Activity somehow, it doesn't matter to any other server how it does it, correct?
@grishka @liaizon @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

@strypey @grishka @liaizon @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh in your scenario I don't feel like the mastodon user would get any benefit of the "group". The only way for him to participate is to send messages to the group, and receive the ones which have him mentioned. That's something Mastodon has already. :)

> The only way for him to participate is to send messages to the group, and receive the ones which have him mentioned.

My understanding of AP implementation is extremely limited but I presume that the group server would know who the members of a group are, and send them posts address to the group (either into their timeline or as notifications) whether they are @mentioned or not.

@grishka @liaizon @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

As a user I can see a benefit of:

1) being able to address a group by @mentioning one address, instead of a huge block like this:

@mariusor @grishka @liaizon @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

2) groups being persistent, topic-based, and people being able to opt-in and opt-out of membership, without having to send "untag me" memes, or muting every branch of the thread they end up mentioned in.

@strypey @grishka @liaizon @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

Group addressing management is not specified in the activitypub protocol. So it will be at the latitude of the implementing service to decide in which way to do it.

In littr.me I'm not using groups per-se, but the whole service corresponds to a group as seen in this discussion, and it's main inbox is the sharedInbox of all it's members.


@strypey @grishka @liaizon @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

However I don't know how this would work for an actor that has joined multiple groups, maybe the sharedInbox property can be an array of the Inboxes IRI's of each of the groups. I don't think that this is specifically forbidden by the spec.


@strypey @grishka @liaizon @drequivalent @prismo @LemmyDev @datatitian @z @hirojin @yaaps @Melezh

Nevermind, the spec actually considers sharedInbox to be an OrderedCollection, which intrinsically supports the use case I described above[1]:

sharedInbox endpoints SHOULD also be publicly readable OrderedCollection objects containing objects addressed to the Public special collection.

[1] w3.org/TR/activitypub/#sharedI

@grishka have you published any source code for yet? Is there a homepage? I'd like to add it to the AP watchlist for fediverse.party

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