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Discussion on: Project Benatar: Fending Off Data Black Holes

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Wes Souza

Love the POSSE adherence.

To me, federation is key (and the reason email is so popular). Is there such a thing for spreading content semi-automatically?

I'd expect either HTML or Markdown as a basis, and wonder how that would play with embeds and custom tags.

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Ben Halpern Author

Yeah, this is why off-the-shelf tooling might need to be built on. We took a loose standard (markdown) and built our own custom integrations (using liquid syntax), which is similar to other implementations so not entirely off-standard but still its own thing. The embeds are also fairly tightly tied to their own data and context, (like the authenticated GitHub API for example).

So there are some questions to be figured out. I think our parsers will have to spit out different versions of posts for different contexts (our embeds already don't play wonderfully with RSS readers so we could probably already be doing this to be honest), but ultimately I think we have the tools to build a lot of good shared spaces where reading config can be ported but control of the various shared spaces is federated.

Ultimately, enabling a lot of "medium-sized" web experiences to work effectively with the small things is a more fruitful path than dreaming of a web where everything is a tiny website. Medium-sized platforms and ecosystems strike me as the goldilox zone where you can put a lot of work into custom community-centric experiences without becoming overly powerful.

I think there was an era on the web where interest-based forums had a bigger and better role. I think the form-factor itself loses out to the more flexible social media idea and that has contributed to the downfall of these forums, but if we could return to some of what made those feel so intimate and awesome, we're in a good place.

(I think I went in a major tangent to reply, as I'm one to do sometimes) πŸ˜„