#Fediverse does this happen often to you too?

You found a great post, commented to it, only to find out later that a broad discussion was triggered ... but not on the thread branch you commented on.

So if you didn't bump into it coincidentally you'd be totally unaware of that.

I'd like a Watch Post feature that sends me notification of all activity on the thread.

See also: fediverse.town/t/what-features

Would you like to have a Watch feature?

@humanetech I'd like a thread to be *a single thread* instead of the multi-branch mess it is now.

@tinyrabbit I can see why you would want that, & I'm sure I'm not going to say anything you haven't thought of already, but my thinking is this.

Suppose there's already a single thread, not too long, easy to read perhaps 10 or 20 toots. But one of the toots in the middle is something to which I'd like to reply. The existing system allows me to do that, whereas having a single thread would force me to tag my comment on the end, even though I'm replying to something further up.

CC: @humanetech

@tinyrabbit My wish is to be able to reply to multiple toots, thus drawing a sprawling conversation back together. Then, additionally, have the ability to render the discussions as graphs, like this:


I've written a discussion system that lets you do that. It's currently find for small numbers of users, and extremely helpful, but pig-ugly, and very parochial.

CC: @humanetech

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech To me this sort of discussion tree looks quite horrible 😆 I can't imagine the effort it takes to follow that discussion in all its branches, or how frustrated I would be to see virtually the same discussion taking place along a number of different paths. To me it looks like a great way to *socialize*, but a horribly inefficient way to *discuss*.

@tinyrabbit @ColinTheMathmo

> To me it looks like a great way to *socialize*, but a horribly inefficient way to *discuss*.

If you refer to #fediverse ( #pleroma, #mastodon et al) then I fully agree with you here. And it is very frustrating to see how much good information is lost in unobserved branches that immediately sink into history to be forgotten about.

@humanetech @ColinTheMathmo It's in the nature of social media to have low information density and short cycles, though. It's an ephemeral medium (and I don't really think we should hold on to posts forever).

I've never understood why people try to use facebook (even facebook groups) or twitter for serious discussions. Each to their own, I guess, but it doesn't work well for me.


@tinyrabbit @humanetech @ColinTheMathmo I've also observed the low density, the short cycles, and regularly consider the purpose of a conversation.

If it's for long-term policy discussions I definitely want that in a discussion forum, mailing list or issue tracker where it should exist for a decade or more. Mastodon I haven't decided about. It's in our power to retain discussions forever but it's not a norm and it's much harder to resolve retention policy on any piece of content than when dealing even with a corporation.

The poll however is about knowing where the action is so valuation comes down to how efficient the fedi should be about drawing attention to the best content (however each user defines best). I'd like it to be efficient without being game-able.

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@weex @tinyrabbit @ColinTheMathmo

It is a bit of an issue with microblogging. I've sent numerous "Attention [this and that], contribute to the discussion [here]" with a link to a forum, or lemmy. But hardly anyone does that really. You get good discussion.. as toots, not where you want to have them.

Ppl have an interest to participate, but the external location just adds too much friction. So I end up putting a link to the toot in the forum post. But then people on the forum don't read that.

@humanetech What I've done in the past is to have the discussion spread over several platforms, but then aggregate it "by hand" into DiscDAG. Sometimes people have migrated and had the discussion there directly, others have continued tooting, tweeting, and posting elsewhere, and I've continued to add those under their name to the DiscDAG discussion.That has resulted in a really useful resource.

It's been work for me, but I've been slowly automating it to reduce the work.

CC: @weex @tinyrabbit

@ColinTheMathmo @weex @tinyrabbit

Yeah, that might help, but still.. a lot of work and discipline required.

If #fediverse had a true #forum software that could also federate with #microblogging apps, things might improve.

@ColinTheMathmo @weex @tinyrabbit

Note that I created a #discourse topic a while ago to keep the hope alive that they'll someday add federation support.

They were planning to, and got @NGIZero funding, but dropped their plans later on. Federation could be added as a plugin.

If anyone wants to increase the chance for this to happen, then add Likes to topic posts and preferable add a comment, so it is bumped to the top of the topic list once more..


@humanetech I've tried reading that, but there's just far too much that I'm not familiar with. It's not written with me in mind as an audience, there are lots and lots of terms being used that clearly mean something to you, but which I'm constantly having to try to deduce their meanings from context.

Being in a Forum Format there are no places where I can comment, or ask for clarification, or otherwise get involved ... I just have nowhere to start.

CC: @weex @tinyrabbit @NGIZero

@ColinTheMathmo @weex @tinyrabbit @NGIZero

My 2nd comment is more of a summary:

1. People have too many accounts on too many platforms. That's why they don't participate in a new space.. yet another account --> in a federation they might have a single account everywhere.

2. Communities are siloed, dispersed. You may not know they exist, and many community address similar, overlapping topics --> federated communities could share content ubiquitously, creating content hierarchies smartly.

@humanetech Different people want different things and think in different ways. For example, @tinyrabbit thinks the "One True Way" for discussions is the purely linear forum (PLF), but I think the "One True Way" for discussions is the "Branch and Converge" DiGraph.

I can't cope with the PLF, but I appreciate that others will prefer that.

I have ideas, but not the skillz.

CC: @weex

@humanetech I appreciate that you have reasons for suggesting that, but it's yet another platform (YAP), and the mere idea of trying to become familiar on YAP just makes me feel tired all over.

I'm backing off and asking: What are you/we trying to achieve?

There's already large amounts of discussion out there, spread over multiple platforms with varying levels of visibility and accessibility. I can't help but feel that there's got to be a better way to make progress.

CC: @tinyrabbit @weex

@ColinTheMathmo @tinyrabbit @weex

In this case Lemmy is also a (rather new) federated platform. They just released a new version and will be extending the federation support. Interoperability with Mastodon, Pleroma and other microblogging apps is something that is likely to be added in some way or other.

Lemmy is also an example where stuff comes together. The communities you see on the server, may exist in entirely different servers, yet still can you interact with them, be a member and chat

@humanetech I'm happy to accept that it is all that, but I can't visualise the implications of, and opportunities afforded by, all you've said.

It just feels like yet more uncontrolled chaos.

I freely admit that I haven't given it a "fair go", it's just that I'm overwhelmed by "Platform Fatigue", and everything feels very samey.

I wonder if it's the discussion platform equivalent of the "Blub Paradox". I can't see the power because I've been using less powerful things.

CC: @tinyrabbit @weex

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech @tinyrabbit

I must inquire about the CC:. Is that a feature of some software you're using? Seems one way to solve this kind of thing but like an cc'based email list, it can get a bit verbose and lacks any unsub feature. 😉

@weex I'm doing that by hand. When I hit "Reply" here, several IDs are inserted at the head of the toot, even though I'm actually replying to you. So I leave your name at the top, and move the others mentioned to the bottom, preceded by the CC to make it clear that I'm replying to you, although others have previously been involved.

CC: @humanetech @tinyrabbit

@ColinTheMathmo @weex @tinyrabbit

Using CC is nice for clarification, but not needed. The implicit rules are:

- When the mentions are at the top I reply explicitly to the first one

- When there's one at the top and the others below, then these are CC'ed

I sometimes use CC myself, but then to 'drag' some new person into the discussion, i.e. to make them aware of interesting stuff.

@humanetech It might not be necessary, but I find the existing convention of having all the IDs at the top is something that's constantly nagging at me, sucking attention, and creating work. It's like a stone in my shoe ... I can walk with it, but it's a constant low-level annoyance.

But I can't make other people work in a way that's convenient for me, so I just have to put up with it.

CC: @weex @tinyrabbit

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech @tinyrabbit

Good to know.

My concern was that I was being automatically CC'd on branches of the tree which were not descendants of my reply.

@weex You can check on the chart, but in short, no, I'm just rearranging what's already there, and I'm not dragging you in to a conversation to which you were not already a party.

CC: @humanetech @tinyrabbit

@humanetech Trying to make sense of this ... basically it's still just "chatting", but the elements/atoms/toots can be on different platforms.

So that makes it sound like it's just another Mastodon (sort of thing).

I'm sure I must be missing the point.

CC: @tinyrabbit @weex

@ColinTheMathmo @tinyrabbit @weex

Well, my account exists on lemmy.ml but I am member of the Bugs community on sopuli.xyz

I found that community via my own UI and can participate with it from there, without hopping to another server. As communities are added across the fediverse they all become available to me if lemmy.ml federates with them.

@humanetech I don't really understand that, but it's been a long day, all these things are not familiar to me, I'm having to work really hard to try to visualise anything people are talking about, and I'm flagging.

Probably I've just run out of capacity.

CC: @tinyrabbit @weex

@ColinTheMathmo don't worry. It is a lot to take in, and I am in the same place as you on many other subjects :D

@humanetech I'm neither worried nor concerned, I'm just trying to let you know that you're not communicating effectively with me because you are (quite reasonably) assuming so much that others are probably familiar with, but which are novel to me and requiring constant work for Every. Single. Word.

@humanetech A thought, for good or bad ... individuals writing long form essays in a PLF (purely linear forum) doesn't feel like a good way to have a discussion that makes progress towards consensus as to what would be a useful platform.

I apologise if this is coming across as being negative ... I'm trying to work out how to make progress.

CC: @tinyrabbit @weex

@ColinTheMathmo @tinyrabbit @weex

It is an interesting idea for navigation, but idk.. it is yet another completely different paradigm, and it is hard to keep an overview of the tread or skim ahead to a branch that may have the most interesting information one is looking for.

It is a tough problem. A very smart UX designer may come up with a great way of navigating such trees. Maybe in a split window, where you also have a flattened discussion.

@humanetech Did you switch out of neighbourhood mode and then scroll around?

I do largely agree, but using neighbourhood mode and controlling your selection lets you navigate around and close down things you don't care about.

It's pig-ugly and needs to be rendered "properly" ... but I've been finding it absolutely the best place to have larger discussions.

As you say, yet another platform to learn how to use.

OTOH, not just another glossy rendering of existing ideas.

CC: @tinyrabbit @weex

@ColinTheMathmo @tinyrabbit @weex

The 'ugliness' doesn't bother me, I'm looking at the concept and see how it can be attractive. Yet still a clever UX may be the deciding factor to feasability to a larger audience here.

In the past I've been daydreaming about a Prezi-like UI where you have a top-level view of a complex application on an unlimited canvas, and can quickly pan & zoom to specific parts.

For graphviz discussion could be similar w/ mindmap-like with 'topic' for zoomed-out branches

@humanetech So if you'd said that in DiscDAG I could have replied separately to each of you thoughts. Here I can't.

Yes, it's likely that a "swish" UI would be necessary for wider adoption.

The existing system can be used in a pseudo-Prezi-like UI by using the neighbourhood mode.

The difference between this and "MindMaps" is the ability to have a reply to multiple nodes, thus tying threads together (when appropriate).

CC: @tinyrabbit @weex

@ColinTheMathmo @tinyrabbit @weex

For me to really consume the information in the tree (other than scanning for branches I missed) it would have to either dynamically reorganize when I focus on a branch, or I'd need a flattened view. Otherwise it is just too much visual clutter for me to focus on the words.

I wonder how neurodivergent people perceive the tree format. I could imagine it would be even more overwhelming, esp. with neighborhood mode off.

@humanetech That's why it needs a "proper UI" ... currently using Neighbourhood Mode and including/excluding nodes lets you navigate around without being distracted by things other than the branch you're currently looking at.

CC: @tinyrabbit @weex

@humanetech @tinyrabbit @weex

OK, it's 21:45 here and I need to prepare for a 22:30 meeting. I'm updating the discussion chart as we go so I can distill it later:


@humanetech Just as an experiment, here's a version of the chart with the nodes arranged linearly with time:


I think it's harder to follow, but still easier than a PLF for a large discussion with several sub-threads.

I won't update that except as an experiment.

Into my meeting. Ciao for now.

CC: @tinyrabbit @weex


This was really interesting to study and wanted to share some impresions.

1) The tree was bigger than I would have ever known from stock Mastodon.
2) The best way I've read nested discussions is on Reddit so that would be an awesome form to map to.
3) Using time makes me want to see this as a replay animation with satisfying popping noises on each message.
4) I'd love to be able to navigate something like this by keyboard.

Really great work. I'm going to go through my history and find a conversation to map!

@weex Thank you.

(1) That's common, and partly why I made this;

(2) I never use Reddit, but the tech behind this is simple;

(3) That would be lovely! Alas, I am unskilled in these things;

(4) So would I, but I refer you to my answer to point 3. But yes, I would also like that.

Thank you again, and good luck! let me know. Maybe, eventually, these sorts of visualisations will become readily available.

@weex BTW, the version that's time-sequenced is not that hard to produce ... do you think it's more accessible? More usable? Simply different? Better in some way? Worse in some way?

Let me know, I'd appreciate a different/additional viewpoint.

@ColinTheMathmo The main challenge for me was navigation. Not wanting to get too niche I kept it to Chrome and Firefox for the SVG. Then I thought about layout and came to the reddit comment. Some kind of tiling could also be interesting if you want it to look fresh, be more compact, and maybe fit in with Masto's UI.

Unless there are some external events to reference I don't really need so much resolution on the time dimension.

External events 🤔 are an interesting tie in tho. I've noticed a lot of social media revolves around some single figure. What if each post of that figure's thread formed a trunk for the tree and you could visualize (graphically not content) how discussion grew on each post. I'm a big fan of dataviz so imagine some beautiful artwork could come out of the post graph.

@weex Navigation is certainly an issue, but I haven't seen any better way to represent and then navigate a large, complex discussion. I can see how to make this better, but I don't have the skillz.

I can't visualise your suggestion, it's creating no picture in my head. Can you quickly sketch something and upload a photo of it?

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Ecko / c4.social

Creating magic through evolution of the Fediverse. Running Ecko, a community-driven fork of Mastodon managed using the Collective Code Construction Contract (C4) by the Magic Stone Community. C4 is a protocol for asynchronous, non-blocking, distributed, problem-focused software development.