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Friendica timelines are compelling

There's something about the method that Friendica uses to generate timelines that I find really compelling, and that doesn't seem to be talked about much.

Friendica's timelines are "post" centred, with replies appearing as a tree attached to that post, in a similar way to Facebook. It's distinct from the more Twitter like method common on most of the #microfedi platforms, in which there is no real difference between a post and a reply.

The reason that I find this framework so compelling is that it means you always have context and full conversations in view. If someone you follow replies to someone else you follow, the whole post and all of the replies appear in your timeline again, with full context at a glance.

Similarly, when you're reading your timeline, everything is grouped together. Everyone in your timeline that replied to a post is there on that post with full context. And if you're not interested, it's trivial to just scroll past.

Compare this to Mastodon, Misskey etc and their forks, where you tend to only see one branch of a conversation, and often have the same conversation showing up in your timeline multiple times depending on who is involved.

It's an option for interacting with timelines that I'd love to see implemented in other FediVerse platforms!

#friendica #Fediverse #Fedivangelism

@Friendica @Fediverse
Agreed. Friendica is the best Fediverse (long-) post service, and for reading threads. Second best is Akkoma, which allows you to have a tree-view of threads, but also which shows you what a "I agree completely!" post is in relation to, as well as highlighting if there are replies to that post, and you then can select to "fold out" the thread, in which case it dashes off to fetch posts dynamically. Akkoma is the best among the short-post services.

Then there is of course Lemmy too, which has a pretty clear thread-with-replies structure. Could do with some touching up of the CSS of the threads to make them even more clear, and the concept of Lemmy is obviously different compared to the short/long-post services in that it sticks to posting a link/topic and the discussion around that.

The absolutely worst is Mastodon. It doesn't show threads at all, so one has to really like that "back" link, because they have to spend a lot of time with it. For every little "I agree!" post you have to dig in all the way to see what it is all about...if it has even bothered to collect all the replies, as the federation in Mastodon only covers instances you know. If you are reading a thread there could be several replies you simply don't see, and you will not get any dynamic updates unless you back all the way out and then go back in again.

Misskey/Calckey look nice. Sadly they have the same issue as Mastodon with not picking up all replies in a thread and the "Content might be missing, you might want to check out this post on the original instance" message on top of every post gets tired pretty quick.

It is a shame Mastodon users seem to think everyone else is using Mastodon, and that it is the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) of The Fediverse, when it literally is a goat. A big goat, admittedly, but still, big doesn't always mean best.


Andrei G reshared this.

If you open the ""source"" links for each your Akkoma reply, Seph's Friendica, and Ada's Mastadon, you get three different flavours of the same conversation. Absolute ridiculousness! @Ada I can relate to your last paragraph.

For the vast majority of #Mastodon users, Mastodon and #TheFediverse are one and the same. It was hard enough for them to comprehend that Mastodon isn't one website for everyone and everything, a monolithic service like the #birbsite. And they won't get #Pixelfed or #PeerTube into their heads until their timeline is being bombarded with posts from these; probably not even then.

It gets even worse with other microblogging or macroblogging services which, unlike #Plume or #WriteFreely, don't mimic classic blog platforms. It's too easy for the average Mastodon user to take them for Mastodon as well.

I'm on #Hubzilla. Something which, I guess, even the majority of #Friendica users has never heard of, even though it's the direct successor to Friendica, and both had the same creator. For typical Mastodon users, especially those who came in from #BirbSocial, it's just as incomprehensible as Friendica.

Generic example of a dialogue between a typical Mastodon user and me (look at my original post for more text formatting):

"Oh wow, how can you write such long toots?"

"I'm on Hubzilla."

"Oh cool, so their admins must have raised the limit."

"I'm not on Mastodon, I'm on Hubzilla."

"Still cool to have such a liberal instance."

"Listen. I'm not on Mastodon. I'm on #Hubzilla. An entirely different project than Mastodon which is also four years older than Mastodon. You can read my posts on Mastodon, but I am not on Mastodon."

"Buh... but... how..."

"The magic of the #Fediverse. It doesn't only connect Mastodon instances with one another, it also includes wholly different projects."

The same people may have had posts from #Pleroma, #Akkoma or #MissKey in their timelines without noticing, at least not if these posts were short enough.

Agreed on that too. I have a Hubzilla account too, though mostly for testing.

I do find it ironic that for a network which cares deeply and very actively about being inclusive, honoring and celebrating every hobby, sexual preference, skin color, pronoun, disability, eating habit, music taste, religion and ensuring no one should ever feel left out (all of which are great things btw), still every terminology proposal that relates to "The Fediverse" even in the slightest for most HAS to start with "Masto"-something, which excludes the free-thinking minority that uses any other Fediverse service than Mastodon.

Please note I don't equate "using a Fediverse service" with any of those examples above, most of which people are born in to and can't influence, when it comes to impact in real life and in society. All those things are obviously truly vastly more important.

I just find it ironic how quickly inclusion/exclusion becomes optional, and conformity becomes mandatory, even for those who pride themselves in being inclusive, open, and not bending to conformity.


Lorraine Lee doesn't like this.

@Jupiter Rowland @Ada In addition, Mastodon unfortunately only displays the content of other #Fediverse software in an incompleted and unattractive way. I have tried to illustrate this in this thread with posts from #Peertube #WriteFreely #Pixelfed #Funkwhale & #Mobilizon from the perspective of Mastodon #Calckey #Hubzilla & #Friendica:
Threads like this let me keep my Mastodon instance, because everyone not using Mastodon thinks, that they are using the superior platform. I find it exhausting, since it always comes down to pure envy. Why don't you want to understand, that 90% of all new Fediverse users in the last 12 months have been coming from the birdcage and Mastodon is the next thing to it in the Fediverse? Again, envy all the way. I am really sick of it and it doesn't help the Fediverse at all. You are doing more damage than even helping only your own cause. Maybe you should prioritize embracing these new users instead of trying to divide them from the beginning. Because that is what you are doing with posts like this. (written from a Mastodon instance with a 5000 character limit)
This entry was edited (3 months ago)

don't like this

Lorraine Lee reshared this.


I wasn't aware that you, apparently under gun point, are forced to read what I post. For that I am truly sorry. Ask your jailors to at least feed you a little as you seem delirious and you use the word envy a lot, a word you have obviously confused the meaning of.

@ada @fediverse
Oh, we stack up to insults now? Congrats to my first block in the Fediverse.
@defcon42/Mirko I think it is also a matter of taste as well as habit. I myself also find the microblogging view very confusing because the context is missing and the text tidbits all get shuffled through.

But for those who like it, Mastodon or other microblogging software is certainly a good choice.

It's just a pity that many of the services are not made known to the outside world outside the Fediverse. There are also many people who use or have used Facebook, Google+ and the like. But it is hardly known that there are alternatives in the Fediverse that go in this direction and have more or different functions.. @Ada
This entry was edited (3 months ago)
@defcon42/Mirko I think you might be misinterpreting the goals in posts like this.

I came to the Fediverse on Mastodon. I'm an admin on a Calckey, Friendica and Lemmy instance and maintain accounts on them all. I still have my original Mastodon account too, though I don't use it much anymore.

The reason I make posts like this is because it's the diversity that excites, it's the fediverse that excites me. It's the fact that it's open and expanding and people can find whatever experience they're looking for.

I want people to share my excitement about the future of the Fediverse, whether they're on Mastodon or another platform!
@Ada @defcon42/Mirko To me, it sounds more like some #Mastodon users, especially those who came in through the #TwitterMigration, actually can't stand there being something else in the #Fediverse than their beloved Mastodon. When they caught their first glimpse of the Fediverse beyond Mastodon, they reacted much like the people of Krikkit when they caught their first glimpse of the universe beyond Krikkit: "It has to go!"

They make themselves and each other believe that Mastodon is superior to any other Fediverse project in just about any regard imaginable while apparently completely refusing to learn about those other projects. They're supported in their belief by mass media only ever writing about Mastodon and the number of Mastodon users.

However, mass media only write about Mastodon because they simply don't know a thing about the rest of the Fediverse, and they didn't know a thing about Mastodon until the #TwitterTakeover had actually happened, and the second wave of former #birbsite users had come flooding into Mastodon in such numbers that it was impossible to ignore even for those who act as if #FLOSS doesn't exist.

As for the numbers of Mastodon users, they're so high because I guess more than 90% of all Mastodon users still don't know that the Fediverse is not only Mastodon, because they have never heard of anything else in the Fediverse. Mastodon was pretty much the only Fediverse project advertised on #BirbSocial when this was still possible.

There are various reasons why Mastodon users don't spread across the Fediverse in masses. None of it is because Mastodon is superior to everything else because, truth be told, it isn't. I'll come to this later. One reason is, again, that the vast majority of them still don't know anything else. Another one is because it was hard enough to get used to Mastodon after years of using #Twitter, and they don't want to get used to yet another platform. And another one is that it's hard to move from Mastodon to something else and take your account or at least your connections with you.

Another reason may be because people don't need anything beyond microblogging, and that's what Mastodon does. Now, sorry for all those of you who fight tooth and claw to defend Mastodon against the competition, but #Akkoma does microblogging, too. With extra features beyond Mastodon, some of which Mastodon users have been pestering Eugen Rochko to include in Mastodon for ages (e.g. "quote retweet"). All while being more lightweight and requiring fewer server resources than Mastodon. Oh, and it federates with Mastodon.

Other Fediverse projects aren't even competition for Mastodon because they specialise in something else. @Pixelfed specialises in posting pictures, much like #Instagram. @PeerTube specialises in video upload and streaming, not too dissimilarly from #YouTube. #Plume and #WriteFreely specialise in distraction-free traditional blogging, much like #Medium. #Lemmy specialises in groups and posting and discussing news, much like #Reddit or #HackerNews. You can't claim that Mastodon is better at each of these things than these platforms.

And then there are the jacks-of-all-trades which are usually filed under either "macroblogging" or "like #Facebook ". They weren't launched to have something that goes beyond Mastodon because their history reaches far back before Mastodon. Mastodon was launched in 2016 (and not 2022 like many believe). #Friendica was launched in early 2010, even before the crowdfunding campaign for the development of #Diaspora started. And in that early stage, Friendica, then still named #Mistpark, was vastly more powerful than Diaspora* ever got and also vastly more powerful than Mastodon 13 years later.

#Hubzilla, created by the same man as Friendica, is the most extreme one of them all. For starters, it eliminates the need for multiple accounts by having multiple independent channels with separate identities on the same account. Each channel can have multiple profiles like on Friendica so you can present your channel differently to individual contacts or groups of them and differently again to the general public.

It can do micro- and macroblogging with 50,000 or more characters and just about everything that can be done with #BBcode (italics, bold type, underline, lists with bullet points or numbers, quotes, code blocks), and you can embed as many pictures as you want in your posts where you want them instead of them automatically being attached to the end of the post.

Group handling in Hubzilla is much easier than list handling in Mastodon. You never have to type the name of a contact to find them. You can edit contacts and add them to groups or remove them, and you can edit groups and add or remove contacts, all with a few mouse clicks. And while Mastodon shows a maximum of four lists on the main page, Hubzilla will give you easy access to all your groups.

On top of that, you can have
  • very fine-grained access rights control with pre-definable contact roles
  • forums (just like Friendica, Hubzilla has #Guppe built in)
  • more elegant macroblogging with articles which, in addition to BBcode, support #Markdown
  • simple webpages (or not so simple if you're the admin of a hub, and you can expand it further)
  • wikis (I'm not even kidding)
  • a public calendar
  • a virtually unlimited number of private calendars with #CalDAV connection
  • a virtually unlimited number of address books with #CardDAV connection
  • a file server with #WebDAV connection with its own access rights management which also ties in with the Photos and optional Gallery app (Mastodon drops your pictures somewhere, Hubzilla lets you upload them to your personal cloud space where you can access them whenever you want)

All with one run-of-the-mill Hubzilla account. And once per channel, separately.

And as if that wasn't enough, Hubzilla introduced the #Zot protocol and with it a concept named #NomadicIdentity.

Mastodon and Friendica let you have multiple accounts, even on separate instances. They also support migration from one account to another, and unlike Mastodon, Friendica lets you take all your content with you. Hubzilla (and #Streams, the successor of its slimmed-down successor, still created by the same guy) goes even further: Not only can you easily move from one hub to another, you can have channels on multiple hubs and automatically keep them fully in sync! If one hub goes down, it doesn't matter because you've got everything on all your other accounts.

Last but not least, both Friendica and Hubzilla federate with almost everything that moves, even far beyond the #ActivityPub Fediverse. This could be Diaspora*, this could be #GNUsocial, this could be #Wordpress blogs with or without the ActivityPub add-on, this could be RSS feeds (and they both generate feeds themselves, so this is bidirectional, too), this could even be Twitter until the API is shuttered. Friendica even used to federate with Facebook until Facebook put rocks in the way; this is the only connector that Hubzilla didn't take over.

The obvious downside is that for someone who just came in from the #birdcage, all this is utter overkill. In fact, people who are used to Mastodon may find Friendica borderline unusuable due to its many features. And Hubzilla is so infamous for its own clumsy UI capitulating before its sheer power that even Friendica users find it hard to use, fresh converts from Twitter to Mastodon even more so.

Some design decisions may be hard to understand for outsiders. Converts from other Fediverse projects to Hubzilla regularly fail at something as seemingly similar as connecting to users on other ActivityPub-based projects until you tell them that ActivityPub is an optional app on Hubzilla that has to be activated first because Hubzilla concentrates on Zot with its Nomadic Identity.

Also, just because these projects offer so much power, that doesn't mean that everyone needs it. If you do, it can be convenient to have it all under one login. But if all you're looking for is a bit of microblogging and online socialising, you don't need to drag a CMS and a full-blown cloud server with all bells and whistles along with you that just clutter up the UI. In that case, projects like Mastodon and Akkoma win because they're more approachable.

And while Friendica, Hubzilla & Co. can do threaded discussions and even have something like forums, Lemmy can do this more elegantly because it specialises in it. While you can use Hubzilla's private calendar feature for event planning, it's easier to do the same with #Mobilizon which, again, specialises in it. Or you can host podcasts on Friendica, Hubzilla & Co, but you can host them better on #Funkwhale and even better on #Castopod.

Wanting the Fediverse to be only Mastodon hinders development, namely the development of new projects within the Fediverse that may be able to do all-new things that we haven't seen in the Fediverse yet. Things that, sorry to say again, you'll never be able to do with Mastodon.

P.S.: For extra kicks, don't just read this on Mastodon. Open my original post; there you can see what Hubzilla is capable of, and what Mastodon strips away.

Ada reshared this.

Thanks guys.Having joined essentially as part of the #TwitterMigration in early Nov, I do want to say cut us some slack 🙂 and that some of us *do* grasp the potential of the #Fediverse and take to it like a "duck to water" 🦆 ... but still it takes time to expand one's social network worldview from a very locked-down Twitter micro-blogging/chat view, to a whole new #Fediverse dynamic? It's a journey, and #Tumblr moving onto the #Activitypub may be a huge sign of things to come

Keep promoting the opportunitites e.g.
@ada has got me interested in moving onto CalcKey in future, and I'm looking for an additional platform for an occasional longer piece. Perhaps Medium (with add-ins) or perhaps #Friendlica or ... or ... choices?😎

Mass/mainstream media struggle to even conceive of a non-commercial/non-advertising revenue driven platform *at all* so tbh even #Mastodon sends their minds in a headspin eg. this kind of article?

Keep up the good work!
This entry was edited (1 month ago)
@Natasha Jay Longer piece, hm...

If you can live without comments, you may take a look at #WriteFreely. Or if you can live with on-and-off developer activity and the recurring feeling that the project will be abandoned, try #Plume which does have comments and a built-in image hoster for your convenience. Both use Markdown, by the way.

Essentially, anything that's labelled something with *blogging and that isn't Mastodon can do longer pieces. #Hubzilla even has an "articles" app just for that which comes with the side-effect that mobile Mastodon apps will always open links to articles in a Web browser and show them like they're supposed to look. But you always have some distraction around the text whereas WriteFreely and Plume are at least as plain and clean as Medium.
@defcon42 (Mirko) :fediverse: Yes, certainly there is a large target audience for whom #Mastodon is the appropriate choice. Those who like microblogging with the essential functions and like the way it is displayed are well served with it.
But for months now there are calls from (new?) Mastodon users complaining and wining about what Mastodon can't do and demanding that the developers should finally implement it immediately (quoted posts, groups, chats, more poll options, more list functions, etc.).
All the functions, which are then so painfully missed, are possible with almost all other text-oriented #Fediverse softwares, partly even with Mastodon-Forks or even with another instance, which e.g. increases the character limit (there are also public ones).
Who points out that there are already some alternatives and that they can try them, often gets aggressive reactions (not from you @defcon42 (Mirko) :fediverse: : Who is satisfied with Mastodon, that's good. But from those who explicitly want something else, but don't want to hear that (exactly) that already exists)?
What exactly the background of these reactions is, I do not know. Possibly it plays a role that through the media coverage the expectation was created that people here may join a Twitter only without Musk, that they can consume passively? And that then overload occurs when it is seen that there are many more possibilities? That the Fediverse is not equal to Mastodon, but that it is much much more @Ada
This entry was edited (1 month ago)

Mark reshared this.

@Ada #Epcyon claims to have this, I'll prolly be finding out in the next month or so. I think #akkoma might too, that or #calkey
Calckey doesn't. Calckey has a beautiful interface and threading, but it's not post/reply centred in the same way Friendica is.
@Ada @Ada Gotcha. With all the forks there are, it's hard to keep track of what they add, and then there's all the little pieces like #Epcyon and #micropub
Just something as simple as the little Link to source button(?) on each post that Friendica has would be quite welcome in any of the other interfaces. But maybe one that links to the full thread or at least shows the original post.
@eshep What I really crave is for it all to be available without having to click on anything, without relying on the back button or popups.

I mean, those features would be nice too, but I don't think they'd reshape the timeline browsing experience in quite the same way
This entry was edited (3 months ago)
That's the main feature, i use friendica.
I had a Twitter-Account for years... never used, because i always missed the context...
That's why i used facebook before the fediverse... because i need context and space to make short or even very long ansers... in one posting.
That's also, why i use friendica.... looooooong answers... and images inside the text.
indeed. i moved from mastodon to friendica partly because of the timeline.

"The Mastodon->Friendica migration path won't pull your followers with you"

Just as a side-note comment, that is a design choice of the protocol I think.

None of the migrations let you bring your followers, only those you yourself follow. This is to prevent unhappiness in case an account gets taken over and you all of sudden find yourself following someone you really don't wish to follow etc.

Instead a notification goes out to your followers that you indeed have moved, and if people have their settings like I have mine I actually have chosen to auto-re-follow people who have migrated to a new home (perhaps only a setting in Akkoma when I come to think of it, I can't recall I've seen that in other services).

Anyways, the choice to follow a new account should be a deliberate and manual one, according to the Fediverse rules, which I think is quite sensible.

@ada @fediverse
Nope! It's a generalist instance
@Ada That is exactly what I think every time I use e.g. #Tusky or another #mastodon focussed app: "Where does this post come from, where is the #context?
Usually because you follow the author... and now it is also possible to follow hashtags.


Yes, this is where Friendica truly shines. I actually had a screenshot of exactly how it looks like in Friendica if one of my contacts re-shares/re-toots one post. In the attached screenshot that action is by the green arrow (far down). Friendica then pulls in the thread of posts that belong together, and show them as a clustered thread in the regular flow (note that my setting for that is ”Latest Activity”, so one can chose a different view if one were to prefer that).

@ada @fediverse
Screenshot of thread as presented in the ”main feed” of the view, without having to ”click in” to see the entire thread.