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Humane Tech Now

#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?

Anonymous poll

Poll

Yes, it would be valuable
59
85.5%
No, there's no need
8
11.6%
It's complicated, because ...
1
1.4%
I suggest something even better, namely ...
1
1.4%
69 people voted.
Voting ended 3 September at 14:23.
Humane Tech Now

Calling @Chartodon

  Chartodon

@humanetech

Your chart is ready, and can be found here:

solipsys.co.uk/Chartodon/10686

Things may have changed since I started compiling that, and some things may have been inaccessible.

The chart will eventually be deleted, so if you'd like to keep it, make sure you download a copy.

  Humane Tech Now

@ColinTheMathmo I always have to remember "What was the bot name again that allows me to get a diagram of this chart?".

That's due to my bad memory (had to do multiple searches in my #mastodon history), but also a general issue of knowing what bots are available to invoke at any one time.

I will add to the #FediverseTown forum topic mentioned above a possible feature to address this.

@Chartodon

  Humane Tech Now

@ColinTheMathmo

PS. I created this comment that addresses finding #Fediverse #Bots based on an allowlist under my or the instance's control.

fediverse.town/t/what-features

  ColinTheMathmo

@humanetech I've explicitly created a "Thing" that let's me put random snippets into it with as many "tags" as I can think of at the time. I can then iteratively search it to find stuff previously inserted. At first my usage was sporadic, but it's starting to become more consistent, so when I stumble across things I insert them, and subsequently can find them.

It's not a Zettelkasten, but to say so is giving you information.

  ColinTheMathmo

@humanetech I wonder if having a shared version of this might be useful, perhaps federated, perhaps linked only by "friends" (or other metric). I wouldn't trust just anyone to put items into my "Thing", but I would like to have trusted friends put things in, and in return, be able to access their snippet repositories.

Hmm.

  Jens Finkhäuser ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech Wouldn't a shared version just be a wiki?

  Jens Finkhäuser ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech I mean, I used to run a moinmo.in instance for that purpose. It didn't stay, because text files were easier and good enough for my purpose.

  ColinTheMathmo

* s/let's/lets/

vibi

@humanetech@mastodon.social It is already a feature on Misskey!
I have to say it has been proven useful a couple of times.
For example when someone posts a technical question and you would like to know the answer too, whenever someone answers, then you can Watch that post and you'll stay updated on it.

lostinlight

@humanetech We need both: an extra button to "watch a post", even without having to interact with it once. And an option to "mute a post". Sometimes the people I follow embark on long and very specific discussions between one another, which I see in my timeline. Obviously I don't wish to mute the people I follow, so being able to mute certain threads would be handy.

varx - social alt

@humanetech Recursive subscribe/unsubscribe from any node in the tree, really.

  Humane Tech Now

@varx you mean implementation-wise, where my Watch action results in a list of subscriptions (recursively derived) listening for replies to each entry?

Apparently both #Friendica and #Misskey already have Watch feature, so stuff can be derived from there.

An extension might be and indicator about who is watching, just like Github issues have too (though invisible watchers are probably best, privacy-wise).

  varx - social alt

@humanetech I don't know what the implementation would look like, or whether ActivityPub would make it prohibitively difficult.

But the feature I *want* is "let me know of any new replies under X" with the ability to say "oh wait, except for the subthreads under node Y".

  ColinTheMathmo

@varx As a stop-gap measure, @Chartodon could be adapted to do that. Or something similar.

(thinks ...)

@Chartodon could take "start" and "cut" nodes, and generate the appropriate subgraph.

CC: @humanetech

  ColinTheMathmo

@varx Other systems I've written send email notifications on a schedule ... I could possibly do the same.

Again, it would be a stop-gap measure, but it's possible. Someone could then see how it works and write it "properly".

CC: @humanetech

  Humane Tech Now

@varx makes sense. It is a bit same as asking "Pls, untag me".

#Zap has an implementation that might make the easily possible (or already done). See: socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/

  varx - social alt

@humanetech Yeah, the existence of "please untag me" is just a perfect illustration of some of the flaws with Twitter-style conversations. The snowballing of mentions is a hack to plaster over the lack of thread-following.

Dick Smiths Fair Go Supporters

@humanetech
Its a worthy question, thanks for bringing this up HT.

Tracking toots may overburben servers. It might be best to only send a digest after a relatively long period of inactivity, ie. allow people to communicate naturally without telling watchers about it and after triple the average amount of time between messages has passed traffic the server presents that conversation in a collasped form to viewer for expansion.

1/2

  Humane Tech Now

@dsfgs yes indeed.

Mike of #Zap also responded with a best-practice way of dealing with this, that Zap has implemented. I created a #SocialHub topic for that. See:

socialhub.activitypub.rocks/t/

tinyrabbit

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

  Humane Tech Now

@tinyrabbit I can imagine. But it might impact how conversation takes place.

People going off-topic multiple times, and others responding to that may be just as messy.

In Discourse forum topics for instance you often hear "please stay on topic", or a moderator forks some comments in a new topic.

Fedizens might be less inclined to interact, or would not to explicitly watch/unwatch thread comments to get the desired view of the discussion.

  Humane Tech Now

@tinyrabbit

There's one particular things that would be quite helpful in having a single thread..

Right now very often people tend to respond to a sub-branch without having read the other sub-branches, bringing up points already discussed.

On this thread for instance I already pasted the same link to #SocialHub about 3 times.

  ColinTheMathmo

@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

  ColinTheMathmo

@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:

solipsys.co.uk/Chartodon/10686

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

  tinyrabbit

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech I guess this all comes back to how one likes to discuss things online. Fediverse is only functional for shorter discussions, imho. I prefer forums for longer discussions, and in forums I prefer flat views rather than threaded views.

  ColinTheMathmo

@tinyrabbit In what way do you see this discussion as different from how it would happen in a forum? To me, this is a forum ... in what way is it not?

What do you mean by "A Forum"?

CC: @humanetech

  tinyrabbit

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech On a typical forum platform you have a thread-starting post, and then every other post is visible for every other poster. In this discussion I really only see our little break-out thread. If I want to see the whole thing it takes effort. This interface isn't centered around discussions; it's centered around individual posts.

  tinyrabbit

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech And by "forum" I mean typical forum software like phpBB, XenForo, and similar.

  ColinTheMathmo

@tinyrabbit Right, so in what you're calling a "forum" you see literally a linear collection of posts, each being a comment in the thread. So if I want to reply to some comment further up the (single) thread, I somehow need to make that clear, and it's not in the structure.

That's a trade-off, and I can see why it's a "Good Thing(tm)" in some contexts. I find that limitation extremely frustrating in more complex discussions.

Equally, ...

(1/2)

CC: @humanetech

  ColinTheMathmo

@tinyrabbit ... I find the inability of platforms to provide a sensible and usable rendering of the more complex discussions *also* to be enormously frustrating. The platform I wrote as an experiment feels much more usable, but (a) it's pig-ugly, and (b) it's really not ready for a wider audience.

If I had more 'net programming skillz then I think it would be the way to go, but I have neither the skillz nor the time.

CC: @humanetech

  tinyrabbit

@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*.

  ColinTheMathmo

@tinyrabbit That discussion tree would benefit from navigation tools, and I have those, and that makes it a real pleasure. Open some branches, close off others, hide nodes that don't really contribute, and you end up with the "Real Content" distilled.

As I say, I don't have the skillz to make those tools more widely available, but the chart, when displayed on a decent size screen, can be scrolled around,and the many threads can easily be followed.

Takes a little practice.

CC: @humanetech

  tinyrabbit

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech I imagine it could look and work similar to a thread-based forum platform (like UBB.threads for example). And the age-old battle between threaded view or flat view in forums has no objective winner, only different preferences 😄

  Humane Tech Now

@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.

  tinyrabbit

@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.

  ColinTheMathmo

@tinyrabbit This is why I create the charts. I started using the original C2 wiki shortly after it was invented, and the original idea was to have free-flowing, free wheeling "Discussion Mode" pages which, over time, got distilled down into "Document Mode" pages that captured the information in a form appropriate for future reference. It worked beautifully, until it got too big, and was invaded by people who refused to be enculturated. So it died.

To me ...

CC: @humanetech

  ColinTheMathmo

@tinyrabbit ...I see many discussions and exchanges on "Social Media" that have really, *really* useful information scattered in the social exchanges, and I want to capture that knowledge for my future reference. So I've developed tools to help me do that.

Charting discussions here is a part of that. Serious discussions don't belong on FB, Twitter, or here, but they don't really belong in "forums" either, because again, the actual information is lost amongst the "discussion".

CC: @humanetech

  tinyrabbit

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech I've had similar thoughts to your "Discussion Mode" wiki; my idea was to have a forum platform where some users have the role Curator. After a certain time of inactivity in a thread the Curators would be notified of it, and if they deemed the topic/conclusions/posts to be worth the effort they could mark posts in the thread for archival. It would then remove all other posts, change all the usernames in the thread to Anonymous, and set the thread as read-only.

1/2

  tinyrabbit

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech Of course more advanced export features could be added in order to transform fruitful and informative discussions into persistent information.

2/2

  ColinTheMathmo

@tinyrabbit In the original C2 wiki that's what happened, but there were no "admins" or "advanced users". That was fine in a small community, but it's abundantly clear that wider access needs to be controlled. Heavily.

People don't like to be censored, though, and don't like their words to be changed, and their "contributions" to be discarded, so there are problems.

And now people say: "But we have wikipedia ... why bother?"

But yes, to all you've said.

CC: @humanetech

  ColinTheMathmo

@tinyrabbit With a little effort in the reading, @Chartodon is doing quite well with this widely branching discussion:

solipsys.co.uk/Chartodon/10686

As I say, I have tools to collapse nodes and branches, and may eventually distill the conversation, but even so, I'm finding it useful.

CC: @humanetech

  tinyrabbit

@ColinTheMathmo @humanetech Also: your tool is probably a great help if the goal is to curate and archive information when a discussion has run its course. I can really see the benefit of using it there.

hmm_sh*t :verified:

@humanetech honestly threading should be revamped as a whole imo

this sounds like a nice feature regardless

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