i’m struggling with the twitter “reply thread” style of posting. someone shares/boosts an interesting post and i have to hunt for the server to get the full story. that doesn’t seem very “federated”.

many instances aren’t limited to the expected 140 characters or whatever the cap is these days. in fact activitypub, the specification, doesn’t set a limit on post size at all. longer posts are possible, will travel as a complete thought, and are probably more accessible, generally.

@toddsundsted
Looks like your selfhosting/single instance?
I had worried about this myself (setup a self-hosted instance a few days ago) but I'm finding it no issue getting full threads.
I'm not sure if it's my app (fedilab) or the fact I have signed up to a fair few relays to kick-start my feed/Federation.

@truxnell interesting! i had not considered client support. i run a custom single user activitypub server. it looks like the server side approach is to just fetch the replies collection for a post.

@toddsundsted
I'm running a single rebased/soapbox instance. For under 72hrs so take my thoughts with a grain of salt!

For us not singing into a big instance getting other servers aware of us has some importance, so I'm taking the approach of interacting with people to encourage Federation, which I think is a big help (also helps you find/build up a network of interests)
Relays definitely help to populate my federated feed to browse and find stuff, but I also find it useful to browse other instances when I can and boost/post across multiple instances with my interests.

I've already found it pretty comfortable even just in a few days, but it is a bit wierd to start when there's just nothing going on.

@truxnell i had the advantage of being on mastodon.social way back, and then running my own single user instance for a while, so i don’t remember starting out anymore. 😀 i do often wonder what the experience of joining is like for others.

how do you use the relays?

Oh yeah that would change things a bit. Starting out for me was a experiment, and a single instance is just empty when you start. You have no local, federated, hashtags, nothing. You have to go out and find servers to find conversations & interact, and that starts getting a little more activity on server. Then once you get follows/boosts etc the server stars filling up a bit.
As for relays, they are a bit hacky/cobbled together - i found lists online/suggestions on Discord, and used the Pleroma commands to add them `pleroma_ctl relay follow xxx.tld/actor`
Relays get you a firehose from the servers it relays, and some of them may even follow you back. If you follow them you get all their posts, and if they follow you back they will get all your posts.
I dont think relays is for everyone, but it feels to me like it helps you get started federating until your instance is well known.

@truxnell thanks! discovery is something i think about quite a bit, realizing that most people join "social networks" for community, connection, social interaction, but being committed to a decentralized fediverse, not merely smaller versions of twitter, or whatever.

maybe we need to discuss and standardize the idea of a fully federated community, not tied to any specific instance.

I also had some fun getting my domain webfinger redirected - im hosting mine on a subdomain but wanted @truxnell@voltaicforge not @truxnell. I used cloudflare redirects to do it but made a mistake and didnt pick it up until friends alerted me lol.

@toddsundsted Mastodon's default character limit is 500, and most instances don't bother changing it. Pleroma's limit is 5,000.

Having accounts on both systems, and having been on the Fediverse for 4 years, I feel 1,000 would strike a balance. A high percentage of my posts are below 500, but for the occasional occurrence where I need more to elaborate my thoughts, 1,000 is generally enough.

@normandc I would agree. even 500 is a decent amount of room to express a thought. activitypub defines both a note and an article, as well, but i’m not aware of any server that makes use of the distinction. i kind of keep hoping for more writing, and fewer sound bites!

@toddsundsted would it be easier if every post had a quick link back to the original server?

@evan every post should have a link back to the original, but I still want to read, and reply, on my instance. (i realize that ktistec doesn't yet do this, however!)

i've been thinking about how to deal with this. it seems like fetching a post's reply collection is the way to pull replies over to your instance, either when a post is received, or maybe when it's first read. that seemed practical until i discovered that the "reply thread" style of posting is often a reply to the original, then a single reply to the reply, then a single reply to that reply (in other words it's a linked list of posts) which would require recursively fetching replies—just to get the author's end to end story (and not to get any actual replies to it). 😠

@toddsundsted I’ve noticed this a bit, but not 100% of the time. Do you think you think this is worse on a single user server?

There are only a couple dozen on mine, but I’ve been assuming that because we have more people interacting with accounts on other servers, their posts are more likely to already be here.

@AndrewO to see a full thread, all of the replies have to be in the server’s database. activitypub does specify how to forward replies in some circumstances so that thread participants can see replies to a post even if they are on different servers. however, outside of this, and maybe servers optimistically fetching some replies to incoming posts, i don’t think full threads are passed between servers. so there are going to be cases where posts are shared but replies are missing. i'm going to do a survey to see what practices servers currently implement to deal with this.

@toddsundsted @AndrewO I've been seeing what you're mentioning on my self-hosted single-user Pleroma instance and it drives me nuts. I have to go read a post directly from the author's instance to be able to see all replies. They won't show on my server.

@normandc @AndrewO i'd guess it's more noticeable on single-user instances. the more users on an instance, the more replies between users on that instance (which will show up without federation because they share a database).

fwiw, for the case that i was thinking of at the top of this thread, the fix is just to leave twitter habits behind—reply threads are unnecessary. when someone shares/boosts a post, i get the entire thing!

@toddsundsted oh and none of the replies get sent out via federation?

@evan the activitypub specification provides guidance on how to handle ghost replies, but if someone, for example, shares the first post in a thread, servers won't necessary forward the associated replies. thinking about it, it might be nice if they did...

@toddsundsted it seems like the limitation stems from Mastodon’s still fairly short limit. It is happy to federate longer posts but won’t let you make them.