Episode 2

Special guest Chris Trottier (atomicpoet)

From our studios in Sydney Australia you are listening to ACROSS THE FEDIVERSE a weekly podcast covering the latest news, updates, developments and stories from every corner of the open, free, distributed web thingie we call the fediverse! Welcome to our 2nd episode for Wednesday 28th December, I’m your host Jared

Thank you all who gave feedback since the first episode; I’ll endevour to slow it down a bit this week and as promised we’ll be deeper diving on things.. plus there’s a treat lined up after the news, earlier today I sat down with atomicpoet - Chris Trottier to chat about the GreatApe project, how companies can best adopt federation and his thoughts on the future of the fediverse. I also won’t continually say “link in the show notes” this episode, the links are there for anything that’s mentioned!

The biggest news this holiday week has been the one that broke right as we went to air last week, we’ll take a deeper dive into that story and the characters involved - first a few messages and the headlines!

We want your help

Just like the eco-system we cover, this news depends on federation - federating YOUR stories in this case! We now have a Lemmy community, you can find it at links.artemai.art, if you want to contribute stories or surface links to the Across the Fediverse community this is the place to do it! https://links.artemai.art/c/acrossthefediverse

The official primary source of this podcast is our funkwhale instance, which you can follow from anywhere on the fedivse by searching for @acrossthefediverse@tunes.artemai.art - our show notes are published on at https://blog.artemai.art/~/acrossthefediverse or you can follow my mastodon at @jared@social.artemai.art - please introduce yourself if you do!

Huge shout out to ARTemAI a pet project of mine where all our fediverse infrastructure is hosted; if your a creative, musician, band or artist and want fediverse hosting for your own domains or using ours, get in touch today at @artemai@social.artemai.art or diretly with me at @jared@social.artemai.art.

We’ve all in fediverse and open source here for the podcast with our show notes hosted on plume, our audio hosted on funkwhale, our scripts are compiled on the NextCloud collective app and our media files are shared between studio & edit using nextcloud and finally the recording editing and transcoding of audio is done with audacity.

If you’re new to the fediverse you can find great starting resources at fedi.tips.

In news this week…

Christmas day saw the Matrix team release their ‘holiday update’; and what a year it has been for them too; the number of matrix accounts across the network has doubled in size to an estimated 80 million users, Reddit, Discourse, Thunderbird and Teamspeak all have announced various levels of Matrix support and a range of governments from Ukraine to Germany to the European Parliament themselves are running Matrix instances; but as they go on to say very little of this has resulted in funding the project in any sustainable way.

Element is now unable to fund the entirety of the Matrix Foundation on behalf of everyone else - and has had to lay off some of the folks working on the core team as a result. This is a huge loss for the ongoing development of the matrix project and our best wishes go out to those who’ve been laid off. Of course you can help prevent this kind of thing happening by finanically supporting open source organisations especially if your organisation profits from the use of an open source project.

Source: https://matrix.org/blog/2022/12/25/the-matrix-holiday-update-2022

Washington Post adds rel=“me”

The Washington post has added rel=“me” linking support to it’s masthead website for verification of their staff fediverse accounts, however as of 22nd December, Washington Post engineering director, Jeremy Bowers stated on a HackerNews thread that they are still evaluating the what it would mean for us to run an instance of their own.

Other smaller publications have of course already taken this lead, most notably Financial Times Alphaville have an existing instance at alphaville.club; whilst journa.host has been providing a mast-head independent mastodon instance for jouranlists for some time.

How journalists operate and work on the fediverse has for some time been a hot topic of debate, and I look forward to hopefully interviewing some who’ve made the migration in a future episode - if you’re a journalist who’s willing to be interviewed about your mastodon journey - get in touch with me!

Source: HackerNews, Online Quotes from Jeremy Bowers.

In other media related news Vox Media’s Technology publication The Verge have made moves as well to formalise their mastodon prescence, while not commiting to verifying their journalists or standing up their own instance - they haven’t ruled it out either, instead they have published a list of where to find a range of their staff which they’ll keep updated.

Verge Staff List: https://www.theverge.com/23519135/mastodon-verge-staff-where-to-find

Mastodon Trademark Updates

In an update to the Trademark policy published on JoinMastodon.org on the 21st of December some significant changes have been made to the use of the Mastodon Trademarks.

In summary the major changes mean that instance admins may not use the word Mastodon in instance names without written permission from the trademark holder, and for users they must not begin their usernames with a Mastodon trademark or suggest any official affiliation with Mastodon also without written permission of the trademark holder, Mastodon GmbH.

Source: https://mastodon.au/@mb/109585553349703901, https://joinmastodon.org/trademark
Submitted via our Lemmy Community, thanks Ada!

The EFF on Fediverse and Content

The EFF - the Electronic Frontiers Foundation released their advisory for fediverse admins on December 20th; Entitled User Generated Content and Fediverse - A Legal Primer.

This is an essential read for all instance admins regardless of their jurisdiction; for any instance administrators out there who want to bring themselves up to speed on some of the legal implications of hosting social content, it’s a great starting point - however I also recommend getting independent advice from someone with knowledge of your local laws.

Source: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/12/user-generated-content-and-fediverse-legal-primer

In app news

The #Mammoth beta continues with the latest updates fixing some long-standing annoyances, including behaviour surrounding pull-to-refresh, link management, and the post composer. Stay tuned for more information on this mastodon app as the beta unfolds.

Source: https://mastodon.social/@JPEGuin/109552371007996126

Last week we mentioned the upcoming pixelfed native Apple app going into TestFlight Beta; and that’s been progressing rapidly, new builds dropped on December 21st with In-app registrations, in-built feature tour and improved onboarding and loads more bugfixes.

Source: https://mastodon.social/@pixelfed/109550468442910058
Testflight Beta: https://pixelfed.org/go/testflight-ios-beta

In Mastodon browser-extension news; a new “Share to Mastodon” browser extension from Corbin Davennport is now available in the Chrome Web Store! It add’s one click link and tab sharing to Mastodon either through the action button, keyboard shortcut or right click menu.. this will soon be available for other browsers with approval pending in the Edge store.

Get the extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/share-to-mastodon/bibnjflclpdmbbcncejifemmbggkcjde
Source: https://toot.community/@corbin/109546667279342663

While on the subject of desktop Mastodon extensions; if you haven’t already take a look at Graze - an extension that removes those pesky steps when interacting with remote instances allowing you to follow, favourite and interact more easily with your home instance… available for Chromium, Edge, Brave, Vivaldi. Safari and as of yesterday - Firefox!

In a Mastodon post Jared Zimmerman the creator of Graze outlined some plans for 2023 including support for non-english Mastodon instances, post selected image/highlighted text to mastodon and remote replies, mentions and plenty more, and we’re looking forward to talking to Jared about these ideas in an upcoming episode, so stay tuned for that - if there’s any questions you’d like to ask him post them in our Lemmy!

FAQ https://faqabout.me/iam/graze
Source https://social.jaredzimmerman.com/@jaredzimmerman/109508218077954510

Just as we dropped episode 1 last week an interesting story had to break, so we’re covering that first this week in finance news. (wasn’t expecting to say that)…

The Social Coop Limited (Social Coop) an entity closely associated with Mask Network have purcahsed the large, predominately Japanese language mastodon instance, Pawoo, which hosts 797,000 users and 67.8M statuses. The official press release states that control and management of the mastodon instance will be transferred to to Social Coop Limited effective immediately on December 21st.

Before we start diving into the story there’s a clarification to make to avoid any confusion. This Social Coop Limited mentioned in this story has nothing to do with the organisation Social.Coop who also operate a mastodon instance and other community hosting projects in a legitamately managed co-operative manner and fundraise using the OpenCollective platform - we’re hoping to have one of their team as a guest on a future episode to talk more about their activites - so stay tuned for that - back to the story. Social.Coop have reportedly requested that The Social Coop cease using that name, however no action to avoid confusion between the organisations has been taken by Mask or The Social Coop Limited to remedy this situation.

Pawoo was founded in 2017, with Tokyo based comoany Russell Co. Ltd taking over operations on December 2, 2019. Pawoo touts itself as a place to enjoy creative activity and unfettered communication leading to it’s inclusion in many recommended deferation blocking lists.

The Mask team additionally are resposible for two of the most active instances of Mastodon, mstdn.jp with 301,000 users and mastodon.cloud with 234,000 users. The Mask team also built the first official app for Mastodon when they collaborated with the Mastodon core builder team and new york city based design firm Lickability.

What is Mask Network? Apart from their activities operating Fediverse intances - the Mask Network state they bring privacy and benefits from Web3 to social media like Facebook & Twitter - with an open-sourced browser extension. Their website states one of their goals is seemless integration of crypto-trading with social, which explains that the Mask group has raised US$50 million according to PRNewsWire from private and institutional backers to further its vision.

Under the hood though Mask Networks is a Venture Capital firm based in Singapore, who’s corporate profile states they specialise in Social Media, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies; The Social Coop Limited, is registered in the Cayman Islands and is another company chaired by Mask’s cheif exective, Suji Yan’s group of companies which also include Dimension and Sujitech LLC.

Suji was born and raised in China, Suji stated in a July 2022 interview with Coinbase that he made his money by getting in early with Bitcoin and Etherium and dropped out of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2017 to secure Venture Capital for crypto projects.

Now with known control of instances with a total of around 1.4 million users of the estimated 8.5 million mastodon users, questions must be asked about the centralisation of the the fediverse, and control of the network, noting of course that many parts of the fediverse are completely unaffected by this story, having long defederated from all the instances mentioned, particularly pawoo.

Suji Yan was contacted for comment, however as of the time of recording has not responded. Suji if you’re listening, we’d love to hear from you to discuss this further.

Source: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/mask-network-acquires-pawoo-net-070000858.html
Source: http://www.russel.co.jp/releases_20221221.html

Response from Suji Yan after we produced this episode can be found at (https://blog.artemai.art/~/acrossthefediverse/Update%20on%20Mask%20Networks)

Mastinator chat with Boyter

Interview Transcript at (https://blog.artemai.art/~/acrossthefediverse/Transcript:%20Interview%20with%20Boyter%20about%20Mastinator)

Sponsor Read

This podcast sponsor is your instance whichever one that happens to be; and particularly your instance admins and moderators! Without them the fediverse doesn’t function. Support them however you can if that’s donating towards infrastructure costs, sending them enough for a coffee or just sending them a message of appreciation please show your admins so love; they’re putting in time and money for you to enjoy the fediverse, including this podcast so support them and show them some love today!


Chris Trottier @atomicpoet@mastodon.social

Interview Trasnscript at (https://blog.artemai.art/~/acrossthefediverse/Transcript:%20Interview%20with%20atomicpoet%20(Chris%20Trottier))


Hosted & Produced by Jared Quinn
@jared@social.artemai.art (matrix: @jared:im.artemai.art)

Additional research & community moderation Ada Shovelace @ada@blahaj.zone Fedi hosting provided by ARTemAI

Official Across the Fediverse:

Audio - @acrossthefediverse@tunes.artemai.art https://tunes.artemai.art/channels/acrossthefediverse/

Text - @acrossthefediverse@blog.artemai.art https://blog.artemai.art/~/acrossthefediverse

Stories contributed from our lemmy community at @acrossthefediverse@links.artemai.art https://links.artemai.art/c/acrossthefediverse

Theme Song (Intro & Outro) - Breaking News - by Humans Win and Lance Conrad. Background Loop - Background (loop) by Aliaksei Yukhnevich. Emotional Piano Loop - Creative Commons. Creator Unknown.

“Across the Fediverse” Logo & cover design by Jared Quinn (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Logo utilises the proposed Fediverse logo (public domain)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.