Federated awareness

This is fresh on my mind, because I’ve been very annoyed in the last hour or so. It started when a user on identi.ca sent me a reply concerning a laptop.

Now, the first thing you should notice is that there is an emergent conversation occurring here, across the federated social web. It is a beautiful thing. And what you should take from this is that it is only getting better.

Anyhow, I ended up getting into an argument with this person, which I think happened because I don’t like the first impression I have of them, and that there is a language barrier (I honestly don’t think we understand what the other is saying [I want to be graceful here and take responsibility for my part in this, it is easy to blame them because English is not their primary language, but they are trying, and I honestly think that counts for a lot]). Five notices in and I realize that I am an adult on the internet, and I don’t feel strongly about this, nor am I trying to convince them of any points. Also, their posts were becoming more and more incoherent, so I figured I would just end it there:

Okay, listen, I don't know if there is a language barrier or what, but for some reason you come out of nowhere, make an odd suggestion and start arguing with me, so let's do the mature thing and mutually block each other. I implore you, join me in the freedom to block people you don't agree with, on the federated social web (and barring that, just don't reply, please). ^_^

Well, I continued to get replies, and it appears that there isn’t a way to block remote OStatus (or it may be that you can only block StatusNet users, not sure) users unless they are subscribed to an account on your instance (I presume this is because they are then an entry in the profiles table). I considered trying to get them to subscribe to me so I could block them, but as was obvious from argument happening in the first place, I was in a childish mindset. I made a post in the StatusNet forums, so hopefully I can get some more info there. As StatusNet and other projects that use OStatus to federate grow I am sure we will figure out how to squish these bugs.

The titular “awareness” comes from an experience that I hadn’t thought of, and that is the distribution of resources in federated services. As that person was messaging me, my tablet was vibrating and my server was using that many more resources. This isn’t a huge deal, obviously, but it made me think that while we have come a long way, we still have a ways to go before the different standard federation models are worked out. Also, the current state of remote replies could be used to abuse network services, so that obviously needs to get cleaned up soon.

I think that I can contribute to the federated social web movement with documentation and example cases. As far as I can tell, nearly none of the commandline scripts that come with StatusNet have an explanation, and while freelish.us is taking the demographic-of-people-bummed-by-delicio.us-closing by storm, it is really just a specific set of plugins and configuration. I think documenting these, and learning more about how federated social web apps (there are more than just StatusNet, of course) are being used along the way, is a task that I am well-suited for.

Besides, I would much rather write documentation than argue on the internet. :slight_smile: