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prologic
Members
(11-10-2020, 08:36 AM)vain Wrote: I have ignored twtxt in the past, but now I'm hooked.

As for twtxt.net, I think it's a great initiative. I won't use it myself because I always prefer self-hosting, but lowering the bar for non-tech people is a good thing in my book.

(Just make sure to retain full compatibility with self-hosted twtxt files, now and in the future. At the moment, this works fine. If, at some point, it became kind of mandatory to use twtxt.net, because important features $a, $b, and $c don't really work with self-hosting, then you'll probably be facing the wrath of some angry nerds. :-))

Hello! 👋 (again!)

Couple of things:

- We fully intend to keep to the original `twtxt.txt` spec.
- We have however extended it slightly (we plan to document this)
- The goal is to always remain compatible. We're pretty much feature-complete at this stage.

In terms of your comment on self-hosting; actually twtxt.net is just one of a few pods today, and the idea is to self-host it! There is for example https://twt.u53.us/ that someone that goes by @etux spun up :)

https://twtxt.net/ just happens to be my pod, the first one (inoggral if you will). There is also a hosting service we provide (again for convenience of non-tech folks).

Ultimately I feel like we would be very successful if two things were to happen:

- A sufficient number of ordinary folks paid for a hosted pod. We intend t make this as inexpensive as possible. e.g: $1.99/month -- This helps us continue development, maintenance, etc
- An equal no. (or more) pods from folks like @etux and maybe you? :D

I've blogged about the why's and how's of our project at https://twtxt.net/blogs/prologic which you're welcome to have a read of! You're even welcome to comment on them (just include the hash in your Twt's subject if you do so from your own client since I follow you!)
jkl
Long time nixers
(11-10-2020, 09:26 AM)prologic Wrote: - We fully intend to keep to the original `twtxt.txt` spec.
- We have however extended it slightly (we plan to document this)

And by extension, you mean that people using your twtxt format cannot move to any other twtxt client without losing anything - so it’s (at least partially) some kind of vendor lock-in here?

Because that’s exactly what a small community does not need.
prologic
Members
Oh is that what happened! I was wondering where my Post/Reply went, but I didn't notice I bumped this thread over to a new page! 😂
prologic
Members
(11-10-2020, 10:39 AM)jkl Wrote:
(11-10-2020, 09:26 AM)prologic Wrote: - We fully intend to keep to the original `twtxt.txt` spec.
- We have however extended it slightly (we plan to document this)

And by extension, you mean that people using your twtxt format cannot move to any other twtxt client without losing anything - so it’s (at least partially) some kind of vendor lock-in here?

Because that’s exactly what a small community does not need.

No. Quite the opposite.

Not sure why you assumed "ill intent" here? 😁

But its fully compatible both ways!
prologic
Members
(11-10-2020, 06:19 PM)prologic Wrote:
(11-10-2020, 10:39 AM)jkl Wrote:
(11-10-2020, 09:26 AM)prologic Wrote: - We fully intend to keep to the original `twtxt.txt` spec.
- We have however extended it slightly (we plan to document this)

And by extension, you mean that people using your twtxt format cannot move to any other twtxt client without losing anything - so it’s (at least partially) some kind of vendor lock-in here?

Because that’s exactly what a small community does not need.

No. Quite the opposite.

Not sure why you assumed "ill intent" here? 😁

But its fully compatible both ways!

In fact vain can maybe vouch for this since he is presently writing his own client, has an external feed some of us over at twtxt.net are already interacting with and now has his avatar displayed nicely :D
jkl
Long time nixers
As I already stated above, I wrote my own twtxt client as well, so I am entitled to criticize your attempt as well. ;-)

- Now if you “extend” twtxt “a little”, how can you do that without losing full compatibility with other clients? Please elaborate.
prologic
Members
(12-10-2020, 02:32 AM)jkl Wrote: As I already stated above, I wrote my own twtxt client as well, so I am entitled to criticize your attempt as well. ;-)

- Now if you “extend” twtxt “a little”, how can you do that without losing full compatibility with other clients? Please elaborate.

Because we haven't extended the twtxt.txt spec/format in any way that would break other clients :D

Here's a short list of what we've done:

- Added discovery of external feeds' Avatar by looking for /avatar.png (or similar) at te root of where you host your twtxt.txt
- Added the convention of a Twt Subject. e.g: You reply with: @foo @bar @baz (that thing) ...

We at twtxt.net (and other pods) take advantage of this convention to group Twts together into "Conversations" If you go create an account (even just to experience what it's like...) you'll see what I mean :D

Open to criticisms of course! But let's be constructive eh? :)
jkl
Long time nixers
(12-10-2020, 03:01 AM)prologic Wrote: - Added discovery of external feeds' Avatar by looking for /avatar.png (or similar) at te root of where you host your twtxt.txt

Agreed: irrelevant to most twtxt clients.

(12-10-2020, 03:01 AM)prologic Wrote: - Added the convention of a Twt Subject. e.g: You reply with: @foo @bar @baz (that thing) ...

Subject? Like, hashtags?
prologic
Members
(12-10-2020, 04:01 AM)jkl Wrote: Subject? Like, hashtags?

I'd really encourage you to come see for yourself. It works both ways. The basic idea is that we can use the convention of (<subject here>) that comes first as a way to group posts together.

The way we do this at twtxt.net is by a client-feature that adds a blake2b hash as the subject when you reply.
vain
Long time nixers
(11-10-2020, 09:26 AM)prologic Wrote: - An equal no. (or more) pods from folks like @etux and maybe you? :D

I might not be the best candidate for this job. :) See, I do sysadmin stuff for a living, so I have to deal with large and complex deployments/software all the time. I don’t want to do that in my free time as well. Especially not on my public server that faces The Internet. Its web server doesn’t run any kind of server-side code, it only serves static files. So, be it StatusNet/GNU Social, Mastodon, or twtxt.net’s pod software (even if it’s much, much simpler than something like Mastodon), it’s unlikely that I’ll run it in the near future.

From my very narrow POV, the appeal of twtxt is that you don’t have to set it up (on your server). I can host the file and be done with it. If I don’t touch it for a year, it doesn’t matter: A text file won’t have bugs and security issues, no maintenance required. I absolutely love this.

So, yeah, I can post a few “status updates” or “micro blog posts” every now and then, but without the burden of maintenance or proprietary centralized services. For actual conversations, I prefer IRC or forums anyway.

As for twtxt.net: Let’s do a little thought experiment. Let’s imagine all Twitter users would migrate to twtxt.net. They would still get most of the standard Twitter features (threads, push notifications, even a mobile app soon?), aside from private messages. I speculate there would not be a lot of change for them, would there? But crazy weirdos like me would still be able to participate as well. I could follow these users and even actively send messages to twtxt.net users. (I mean, you noticed that I was following you, even though I never contacted you out-of-band. I just assume that this auto-detection works for all users, not just the admin.)

I like that vision. It’s not that much different from stuff like Mastodon, except of course that it’s easier to participate. There is a ton of options to host a little text file under a fixed URL. It could result in a much larger degree of decentralization. (I remember having read a lot of “which Mastodon instance should I join?” posts lately. Well, if it were easier to host your own …)

It all collapses once twtxt.net decides to remove compatibility for external stuff. I mean, Twitter once had RSS feeds, too. :) Not implying ill-intent, but it happened so often, I’m getting paranoid.

Well, whatever. Just speculation and phantasy. Twitter has so much power, it’s not going to happen anyway. For me, it’s a neat toy that I’ll keep.
z3bra
Grey Hair Nixers
Totally agree with vain here ! The text file approach is the key feature here, as it's fairly easy to enter the party, even when starting from scratch.

I setup myself a file over gopher, and I made some tools available on the community gopher hole for other people to join the party ! You can read about it on the gopher news (HTTP proxy).

My own journal is available here: gopher://g.nixers.net/0/~z3bra/twtxt.txt. I hope most people using it have clients supporting gopher ! Otherwise, that would be the occasion to "upgrade" all these clients ;)
zge
Long time nixers
(08-10-2020, 07:13 PM)prologic Wrote:
(08-10-2020, 07:01 PM)jkl Wrote:
(08-10-2020, 06:11 PM)prologic Wrote: it should not be limited to just "Hackers"

See, here's the interesting issue:
Why not?

I'd argue that the whole internet was better before everyone was able to join. There are more than enough alternatives for non-hackers.

Why not? Why should everyday ordinary folk not have access to a social media that doesn't profit from their data? Hmm well because I believe everyone is entitled to their opinions, everyone should be able to freely share and express their ideas and engage in meaningful discussions. Otherwise what is the point? Why should the only place where this can happen is either large-tech giant (and authoritarians) that profit from the data you willingly or unwillingly hand over that is then used to sell advertising to you? Why should the only other place folks can go to have this kind of "freedoms" (as in beer) are either a) too complex to use, understand or even setup or b) relegated to a "special elite group"

Just my $0.02 :D

Sure we can keep the cool factor that Twtxt was designed as a "twtxt is a decentralised, minimalist microblogging service for hackers" (1st hit on Google), but why should there also not be a Twt.social for everyone else (that just so happens to use the same underlying spec)?

It sounds cynical, but I cannot recall a single example where this worked out well. I would like to belive in it too, from a humanist standpoint, that everyones potential can be realized with the help of technology, but as any community that becomes more popular without any barriers for entry, appears to degenerate into a pop-cultural stew of mediocracy that's just straining to relive, again and again. The most recent case is probably mastodon, that betrayed it's own ideals by promoting itself as "Twitter with better regulation", and thereby luring those kind of people who would cut off federation to not betray their ideological party line.
mcol
Nixers
I read through lots of the twtxt github pages and discussion here and I think I am pretty sold to the idea. The difference in terms of actual usage does seem similar to many platforms -- with the main difference being the "pull" rather than "push" approach to updates -- but there is a huuuuge difference on the admin side.

(16-10-2020, 05:29 AM)vain Wrote: From my very narrow POV, the appeal of twtxt is that you don’t have to set it up (on your server). I can host the file and be done with it. If I don’t touch it for a year, it doesn’t matter: A text file won’t have bugs and security issues, no maintenance required. I absolutely love this.
This is a super important point. I would never consider self-hosting mastodon, it's way too complicated. But this, absolutely. What I have noticed from mastodon (I use it a lot) is that anybody who wants to self-host will instead use pleroma which is more manageable, but it is still a big dynamic ActivityPub thing so I suppose there is a spectrum of these similar tools.

What I would love to see is people to somehow integrate twtxt into other things such as blog posts. For instance, one could post a twtxt message about something they've written, and then others could reply to that message, and that twtxt thread could be displayed under the blog post itself, thereby facilitating interest and perhaps more discussion in future visitors.
mcol
Nixers
I would love to see a relay between mastodon (or more generally ActivityPub, I guess?) and twtxt. I don't want both a mastodon account and a twtxt instance, but I want to self host, and I want to self-host twtxt, but I want mastodon's community. I suppose I will have to see if that is even doable and stick it on my projects list!
mcol
Nixers
A guy I was just chatting to on mastodon about twtxt linked me these, which appear to be quite good for finding people:

http://twtxt.xyz/
https://webring.xxiivv.com/#twtxt/
vain
Long time nixers
(20-10-2020, 01:53 PM)mcol Wrote: good for finding people

They are certainly good to get you started. Once the network of twtxt users grows, central directories will probably lose meaning (what do you do with thousands of random names?). Instead, keep an eye on your web server log files: Unless turned off, clients will use a specialized user agent to identify themselves. That way, you’ll notice which people are following you. I retrieve a list of user agents regularly to see what’s going on. https://twtxt.readthedocs.io/en/latest/u...ility.html

This also works for prologic’s twtxt.net now (https://github.com/jointwt/twtxt/issues/244): While they only retrieve your twtxt.txt file *once* even if several users on a pod are following you, they now announce the list of those users in the user agent. So I now get to see something like this:
Code:
"twtxt/0.1.0@92c3b3a (Pod: twtxt.net Followers: alice bob charlie denise eva Support: https://twtxt.net/support)"
If it’s more than 5 users, you get a special secret link with short lifetime where you can retrieve the complete list.
mcol
Nixers
Huh, that's pretty clever... perhaps a bit hacky, but if it works, it works! I do wonder what implications that approach might have for people who are able to upload files for web access but are unable to access server logs.
prx*
Members
I also really like the idea. It makes me think to RSS/ATOM feeds actually, to share very short ideas.
Because I mostly read such news with a feed reader ([sfeed](https://codemadness.org/git/sfeed)), I wrote a little script to convert twtxt files to ATOM feed.
jkl
Long time nixers
Sounds like a privacy breach though.
vain
Long time nixers
(21-10-2020, 07:42 PM)mcol Wrote: perhaps a bit hacky
It certainly is hacky. And it doesn’t work over Gopher, which bothers me a bit (that’s why I decided to make the HTTP feed my “main” feed instead of the Gopher one).

(23-10-2020, 04:47 PM)prx* Wrote: It makes me think to RSS/ATOM feeds actually
That’s the big question here: Why not build the entire thing on top of RSS/Atom? A lot of tools and workflows already exist for that.

I like to think that it’s just a bit more fun to play with a file format which is much simpler than RSS/Atom. It’s easier to write clients for twtxt feeds. But is it bad for overall adoption? (Does “adoption” even matter here? It’s probably just a toy for nerds anyway, eh?)

(24-10-2020, 02:02 AM)jkl Wrote: Sounds like a privacy breach though.
Care to elaborate?
jkl
Long time nixers
The anonymity advantage of twtxt is sacrificed with that.