One core difference between the fediverse and the AT Protocol seems to be that AT decouples many key building blocks – identity, moderation, ranking algorithms, even your own data to some degree – from your server. The fediverse, on the other hand, ties them all to your server and sees that as a desirable feature.

The fediverse says, choose a server that you identify with as an individual, with admins who moderate according to your values, and a local timeline that you like reading.

The AT Protocol, on the other hand says sure, choose all of those, but independently from your server, and keep those choices if/when you migrate to a new server.

Interestingly, I don’t think much of this is really driven by ActivityPub itself except identity. Third party AP moderation tools could easily be built, and probably have been. Same with clients that rank your feed with custom algorithms. This seems like more of a cultural difference, a difference of values and philosophy about how social networking should work.


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  1. @snarfed.org I don’t want server choice to matter as much as it does on activitypub. I think it matters only because when Mastodon et all was trying to find a home, they tried to compete with Discord more than “Social Media”That’s changing a bit. Local communities should adopt “local-only” channel a-la glitch (or groups) and people should feel part of a greater hole if you ask me.

  2. @snarfed.org From the AP side, moderation is a lot easier when you’re always tied to a server and a domain. It inherently throttles spam attacks due to the process of registering a domain name, and spinning up a server creates friction too, so bad actors find themselves separated from their intended victims.

  3. @snarfed.org Completely agree. The whole notion of Fediverse instances as tightly coupled bundles of identity, message storage, moderation, front-end UI, and community groups, has to go. And I agree that there’s nothing about AP that dictates that (even the identity part), it was just a set of arbitrary easy choices done by early implementations. And I think slowly, each of those aspects is getting specs/FEPs that allow separating and refactoring them out.

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