I do wonder if our collective disregard for Twitter/FB has limited our thoughts around message display on the Fediverse.

I wouldn't mind an algorithm sorting my display, so long as:

a) I could understand it
b) I could control it
c) I could disable it

I do this with my email all the time through "sort". I sort by date, by sender, by thread, I search by topic, etc.

I'd have no problem if *my own* AP instance learned about me and sorted based on criteria it thought I'd like.

@emacsen also, the ability to have different views distinct from the "newsfeed", say posts grouped by account with the count of new posts by each.

ActivityPub, Fediverse, Sorting 


I think there is a very narrow view on how people use social media, formed by micro-blogging power users.

Chronological timelines demand a lot of time spent in the app to see whats going on in your communities. Or they rely on excessive boosting which can make the experience repetitive for others.

ActivityPub, Fediverse, Sorting 


Other forms of sorting could bring new ways of interacting with the fediverse and can help overcome the necessity to be online all the time.

FOMO and the stress it brings with it are not only individual or social things, there are structural reasons we brought over form commercial social media - ironically by rejecting some of their designs, the sorting specifically...

@emacsen you mean user manageable scoring system and labeling? That actually sounds cool. Combine this with following tags and you can have very nice feed


Yes, though you don't need that much human intervention to manually score. Your software could notice how often you engage with an account, how frequently/infrequently it posts, words or tags it uses or other factors without human intervention.

@pettter @stampirl

The discussion was whether or not one had to manually score or interact with a scoring system. I am arguing we can do much of what the big companies do without their problems, but I also made as a condition that the user controls the system and can disable it.

Basically I don't think engagement is a bad metric. Also remember that engagement on FB/Twitter is global engagement, not necessarily personal.

@emacsen @pettter if you have engagement scoring and user scoring and user have the ability to turn of any component, you get best of both worlds. Engagement scoring is good for new comers, helps in finding there spot in the fedi world, while user scoring is better for people being a long time on platform. You can even add weight to both scores and use them at the same time. My only problem with engagement system is the same as with SEO, after some time bad actors can leverage that to promote there things

@emacsen @pettter @stampirl I think it would be a good idea to avoid timeline algorithms, even if they're under user control. Considered at scale, even individually controlled timelines could have considerable biasing effects. People who get attention because they get attention, etc. Positive feedbacks depending upon particular configurations of individual timeline settings, which could then be gamed.

There is always going to be some tension with this, because if more folks on fedi is what you want then engagement metrics and addictive features are exactly what will draw people in and produce "influencers". But going too far with that will also have bad effects.

In Epicyon for low frequency posters I added a "notify when this person posts" checkbox.


I am not making a concrete proposal here, I just think that we as a community may be throwing away the baby with the bath water. Timelines are more fair than invisible black box algorithms for sure, but we can certainly try other things too!

@emacsen I think one of the most powerful features of a federated network with a common underlying protocol is would could have many variants of the instance or client experience from which we can choose and experiment with variants on filtering/ranking/sorting/aggregating systems and find those which people actually find useful. Something we can't do on the proprietary options as the back end is closed so we can't experiment with different front ends.


But this would mean rather twitter than FB cause in FB you won't ever be able to control anything (see screenshot)

@emacsen The problem with straight-up reverse chronological for me is that some people post WAY more than others and so my timeline can end up like 50% That One Person. TBH I'd like an auxiliary view that shows me everyone's most-recent post first, and then everyone's second-most-recent, and so on.

Problem with that of course is that the further back you scroll, the more wildly time jumps around between posts. :)

@emacsen (so you'd need to have the Taking Turns To Talk Timeline clearly labelled as such, probably with the requirement to see a post in its temporal context before replying)


You could certainly handle that in many ways. One of them would be to display posts by one person within a sequence: "emacsen made two posts" and then you click to expand

Or you could post the one(s) that have topics you care about, or the most Likes or replies.

OR you could actually emphasize the posts that come from people who have the least posts and least replies.

@emacsen I'm not sure if "learning" is the right word here. Options to change sort order or maybe something like inverse lists (show me everything except those high-volume accounts that I added to this list) would be nice. Neither of which needs machine learning.
It's also kind of sad that Fediverse instances have no usable access to history, even if everything is in the database. (I know it's a defense mechanism, weak as it is.)

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