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Re: [Social-discuss] "GNU social" sucks.

From: Adam Moore
Subject: Re: [Social-discuss] "GNU social" sucks.
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2015 11:24:04 -0800
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On 2015-01-11 03:59, Mikael Nordfeldth wrote:

Honestly, I doubt developers hesitate to patch things because of the
project's name. I agree end users might care what their service is
called. But then again, we have _many_ users who don't use "GNU
social" but use "Quitter" instead (still fully interoperable).

Oh, I'm sure you're right; developers probably couldn't care less what the software was named. It could just as well be named Cthulu's Third Nipple, or Tantric Rectifier, or whatever. But where users and the media (you can never forget the media) are concerned, naming is important.

Right now, the website greets visitors with the following message:

"GNU social is the largest decentralized social network on the web."

...Is it?

My understanding is that GNU social is a piece of software which implements the OStatus protocol stack, and it is inter-operable with any other software which also implements OStatus, such as, which is not built atop the StatusNet codebase. If "GNU social" is "the largest decentralized social network on the web", and can participate in that network, then is part of GNU social? I mean, we know this is a source of confusion for new users; if you watched the public timeline on after they had that huge influx of disgruntled Twitter users a couple of months ago, you saw a lot of notices/conversations from people who didn't know what the difference between Quitter, GNU social, StatusNet, &c., was.

"Herds" might not float your boat, but there *is* a branding/terminology problem. GNU social is certainly the predominant OStatus implementation right now, but we don't call the World Wide Web "Apache" simply because it's the predominant HTTP server, do we? The World Wide Web is the name of the HTTP network, USENET is the name of the NNTP network, email (delightfully generic) is the name of the SMTP network, and so-on. Is GNU social the name of the OStatus network?

"Fediverse" is what people on the network tend to call, it, although I think that name sucks, too. How, exactly, are GNU social/OStatus instances any more "federated" than any other network of servers which use the same protocols? Is there a charter that I forgot to sign when I started running my home instance? Is there some legislative assembly that I've been absent from?

So, I'm going to retract my original proposal that GNU social should change its name. You're right: devs don't care what the software's called, and users are going to be using instances that are not necessarily branded as GNU social servers. But, I do think it's important that some kind of consensus is arrived at for the name of the network, and that the verbiage on GNU social sites be changed to reflect the relationship between GNU social and the network which it facilitates.

"GNU social is a HORD server; the HORD is the largest decentralized social media network on the web."

Or something like that. I just made-up HORD. (H)ordes of (O)Status (R)elay (D)aemons. There's my suggestion for the network name. I know, I know -- y'all are thinking, "man, how does he come up with all of these amazing ideas?". I eat a lot of vegetables. That must be it.

Adam Moore/LÆMEUR (@SDF) <address@hidden>

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