It seems like a lot of Mastodon requests/expectations are based on a flawed understanding of federation and the idea that a post exists as a shared object in a common database, so you can apply other states to it after publication.

It is not like that at all.

Federation is like email, right, and you can send email to different servers? Well, posts are like emails then. Or faxes. You aren't sharing the same object, you're sending a copy. You can't decide to "make it private" after it's sent.

@frankiesaxx Good point! But, if i understand well how Mastodon works, the email is only partly functional as an analogy, as, when you decide to delete your post, it is deleted everywhere. And, again if i'm not wrong, this behavior is difficult to reproduce with an email metaphor...
If one of you knows a clear explanation on how mastodon federation works (or how ActivityPub works), i'm interested. A growing audience is probably legitimately eager to understand it without learn how to admin it.

Follow

@crickxson
That "delete" happens because your server sending a request to other servers with a copy asking them to l delete their copy as well, the same way when you use software that supports remote email recalls.

Between Mastodon servers this interaction creates an illusion of deletion, but it doesn't mean the post no longer exists. Some fediverse software doesn't have this functionality. (Which is why delete/redraft is super annoying to ppl on those servers :)

@frankiesaxx Wow, i discover the remote email recalls feature! Thx! So yes, emails with this function are a good analogy (faxes probably not unless using an auto-burning feature!) - There is this good introduction kevq.uk/how-does-mastodon-work by @kev - But does anyone know more detailed ones? Or even a list of resources? If not, we can create one.

@frankiesaxx
The delete function is part of the specs. It's not our fault those ppl's instances have an incomplete implementation :blobwink:
@crickxson

@frankiesaxx @crickxson
Which makes me wonder, shouldn't instances "announce" themselves by providing a list of implemented features so that other instances can make an informed decision on whether to federate or not?

@frankiesaxx @crickxson
Also, shouldn't Mastodon be able to change the visibility of posts by sending a post-facto delete request to other instances? (But some restrictions would be needed to prevent abuse)

@rick_777
Yeah possibly, but I sometimes wonder if maybe it's really the best possible choice to try and put a cosmetic interface over hacks trying to emulate the strength of a centralized platform.

I know that's the only frame most people have, but maybe there are ideas that would play to the unique strengths of federation?

@crickxson

@frankiesaxx
But changing a visibility from public to unlisted would be a new feature. You delete a post but only on other instances. That would indeed be a new application of federation; and I think it would be useful.

How about adding a two or three minute timeout for federation, so if the user says "whoops I shouldn't have made that public", they have the choice to change the post's visibility? Like gmail's "undo send" feature.

@crickxson

@rick_777 something like that could also be used for a proper editing window, rather than a delete-redraft kludge @crickxson

@rick_777
That would be useful in a number of ways. Not necessarily just binary federation on/off but it could pop a notice to users "this server cannot delete posts; do you still want to send?" type stuff.

Of course deliberate bad actors could lie, like Mastodon apparently does with some error codes.

@crickxson

@frankiesaxx
Yes, of course. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to improve how good actors are supposed to behave, tho.
@crickxson

@crickxson @rick_777 @frankiesaxx

The main reason this hasn't happened imo is that Mastodon and Pleroma control the fediverse software space. GNUsocial doesn't respect many of Mastodon's privacy features.

Most people on blocklists aren't malicious actors -they're people that rub one the wrong way.

@rick_777
I suspect there will always be non-compliant software out there though ;)

What's your novel about?

@crickxson

@rick_777 @frankiesaxx @crickxson some of the apps haven't finished their implementations of #ActivityPub yet, and are still federating with Mastodon via #OStatus. I'm hopeful most of them will roll it out by the end of the year (or at the lastest mid-2019). In the meantime, the behaviour of the meta-federation of all the apps remains *very* complicated to explain to newbies ;) Email was probably the same in its first few years (#FidoNet between #BBS prior to the net etc)

@rick_777 @crickxson @frankiesaxx even in a pure mastodon network a delete won't necessarily delete your post everywhere. servers don't have any way to know which other servers their post reached, so they can't send delete activities to all of them.
Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon

One of the first Mastodon instances, there is no specific topic we're into, just enjoy your time!