#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.

@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.

@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 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 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?

@weex Same idea, different orientation, have a look at this:


That is last week's "Georgette Heyer Read-Along" ... you might not care about the topic, but have a look at the layout.

@weex While that can be done for some conversations, I don't think it's an option in the general case.

@ColinTheMathmo Nice! That's awesome. Seeing that with all the content instantly overwhelms me but I'll have to spend more time with it. Not being able to zoom out to less than 25% in Chrome is killing me but I get the picture! If there's a way to attach a small png (I guess 2% zoom) to the bot's reply I think it would really help sell it.

@weex The system already creates a PNG, although I need to adjust it, because with really big conversations it overwhelms my tools. I'll see if I can find one ... stand by ...

(PS: I'm going to be sporadic soon, I have other commitments this evening)

@ColinTheMathmo No worries, thanks for the heads up, this is all very interesting even if I'm not clear about the most valuable problem to apply it to.

@ColinTheMathmo Ahh yes, aspect ratios aren't always so kind. I'll have to think more about problems this can help with. I'm getting into some moderation work around web of trust and perhaps it can help to see the effects of moderation on large fediverse conversations. Will keep you posted.

@weex Ironically, I'm having trouble following the discussion, but I've put it in my WispWeaver for attention later. I am interested ... thanks.

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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.