Tue 27 Aug 2013 1:36PM

diaspora* - the next 12 months

G goob Public Seen by 179

Big congratulations and thanks to everyone who's been part of the way diaspora* has grown as a community-run project over the past 12 months.

I thought now would be a good time to start discussing where we feel the project, the software and the network should be in 12 months' time, and how we might set about getting there.

Look forward to reading everyone's thoughts on this, the exciting next step in the journey.


Faldrian Tue 27 Aug 2013 1:50PM

If the federation works like a charm, my main wish for the software is to have a working and function-complete API and to be able to connect "Clients" to a Pod without giving the account-password to the Client (like Twitter does).

This way we can have Desktop-Clients that integrate with the OS, mobile Clients that can be used to easily share photos from mobile phones and also Bots and statistic-software, that connects via API to the account. All the things that made me like Twitter should be possible with Diaspora, too - so it will be (in my Opinion) the best of all social Networks. :)

Another big thing is the "reshare" function. I don't like to scroll over 5 reshares of the same post made right at the same time.
There could be a "fulltext-quote"-reshare with option to comment on the post, or a "just reshare"-function that will reshare the post like twitter does with tweets. That way you will se a post only one time in your stream, even if it's reshared multiple times by people that are in your stream.


diasp_eu Tue 27 Aug 2013 3:43PM

Thanks to all contributors for version - thinking about the future federation must be rock solid :-)


Jason Robinson Tue 27 Aug 2013 7:04PM

API is defo needed within the next 12 months - sooner better :) Also another huge thing we need is proper export of data - we are promising users data ownership yet offer currently less complete data export than Facebook. Not good.

Chat? Optional imho, but important.

Something I would love D* to push towards would be a direct competitor to Tumblr. Lots of blogs are hosted on Tumblr and D* could do that so much better. And it's so much closer to doing that than outdoing Facebook or Twitter - who are difficult to compete with.

We have almost everything Tumblr has. To run a blog people would really only need two things;

  • Possibility to customize the tags filtered by default on their profile. For example, if I run a blog, I could tag my blog posts with #blog and have only those by default immediately seen on my profile. This way I could combine my social account AND have a clean blog.
  • Allow anonymous commenting to the blog posts. This should of course be opt-in per user. Should these be federated? Possibly.

IMHO diaspora* could make the killer blogging engine due to the powerful social features and post formatting.


Shmerl Tue 27 Aug 2013 8:29PM

To compete with Tumblr D* should implement more comprehensive control over the posting. I.e. markdown is not enough by any means. One needs to be able to use HTML/CSS to a good extent. Blogger service allows that. Creating an HTML WYSIWYG editor for that in addition to raw HTML/CSS would be an extra bonus to compete with.

I've always viewed Diaspora not as some FB+Twitter clone which encourages single sentence status updates and brain dead reshares, but as a platform to post something meaningful. Giving more control over the formatting for posting helps that lot.


Flaburgan Wed 28 Aug 2013 8:50AM


  • Improve the federation.
  • Do what we can to accelerate the decentralization of the network

For that second point, registration on joindiaspora and diasp.org are now closed, but we can do better, in term of communication but also in term of make the installation easier and the software lighter (make an smooth image for raspberry pi would be awesome).

Big features needed:

  • chat
  • account migration

Improvements needed:

  • Smoother and auto refresh stream and notifications
  • Mention in comment
  • Factorization of reshares

If we deal correctly with all these points, we are golden.


Nick Wed 28 Aug 2013 12:53PM

  • priority: add support for groups and events.
    Groups are hampered by issues by federation, but I would suggest we implement them anyway and restrict them to members of the same pod. This would make diaspora a viable channel of communication for organisations, who could setup pods for their own members, and thus grow the network. (discussion here: https://www.loomio.org/discussions/4547)

  • subscribe to rss feeds (possibly as an aspect)? done soon this would help us build on the google reader closure exodus.


Flaburgan Wed 28 Aug 2013 1:08PM

restrict them to members of the same pod

Disagree here. This would be another reason to go where the others are when we try to split the big pods.


goob Wed 28 Aug 2013 1:15PM

I'd like to focus on the 'bigger picture' rather than talk about individual features.

The things to aim for over the next year (although perhaps not all of them will be completely achievable in this time) are:

  1. Start to move the network from being 'centralised' on a few very large pods to a more even distribution of many more small pods.
  2. Get diaspora talking with other networks and apps.

1. increase number of pods

I think what we need to do is make the setting up and running of a pod far easier and a more desirable thing to do, and encourage people to set up their own pod, either for their own use or as an open pod.

To do this, I think we'll need to achieve the following:

  • make installation and maintenance far easier for the non-technical user (I suggest creating a GUI for both installation and maintenance).
  • also have really clear information about what is needed to run a pod (I suggest a guide to prospective podmins on the project site)
  • improve federation to the point where the experience on a single-user pod is practically the same (if not completely the same) as on a very large pod (no more 'empty stream syndrome')
  • enable full account migration, so people can move pod at will, and encourage people to try the smaller pods or to set up their own
  • encourage people to have a go at running a pod, perhaps with a pledge that if you want to try, we'll have people who will help and support you every step of the way (we'll need volunteers for this)

2. get diaspora talking to other networks and apps

  • discuss with other decentralised networks what will be needed to develop a shared protocol
  • create an API!

I think these areas need to be made priorities for development. I appreciate that they are more complex and harder to solve than coding a specific feature, for example, and so developers might not be immediately attracted to them, but I think this is where our new ability to raise money can come in: we could fund dedicated working groups to solve each of these areas: federation, API, packaging, migration and so on.


Maciek Łoziński Wed 28 Aug 2013 2:42PM

I think a wiki page should be created to summarize the discussion, and to prioritize things. It should also be reflected by milestones in GitHub's bugtracker. Or is it too obvious? ;-)


aj Thu 29 Aug 2013 1:00PM

the Debian installation package, and an account "merge" functionality


StarBlessed Thu 29 Aug 2013 11:29PM

Diaspora is awesome! Just to get that out of the way ;)

But here is my opinion (for what its worth).

  1. API - Requirement.
    Without any means of developing 3rd party apps for mobile and desktop, D* functionality is very limited. G+; Twitter; Fakebook... All simple to use, and easily navigable via a mobile platform.

  2. Chat - Requirement.
    Inter Pod connectivity (read federation) is great, but communication is all important. Without the ability to instantly message/chat/voice/video, D* is akin to a microblogging platform. Its social, don't get me wrong, but other platforms are streaming ahead. D* is lagging, both developmentally and user uptake.

  3. Ease of use - Requirement.
    While I understand the decision to use markdown in posts, it is hampering the abilities of new users. To most n00b's, Markdown is akin to programming. It looks like gobbledy gook to those who don't understand it. Also, it seems that the standard mantra is "Read the tutorials". That seems a little counter productive. It forces people to learn something foreign to them. While it makes D* a little more heavy, I personally would like to see something like a cut down version of TinyMCE implemented. It will cut down the learning curve by upwards of 70% (guestimate).

  4. Pod Themes - Would be nice.
    Running a pod is great, but being able to give your pod the "Personal Touch" would be nice. Nothing too fancy, but changing the colour schemes and swapping icons here and there would give each pod a distinct "Flavour" just like Linux.

  5. User Selectable Themes - Would be nice.
    Being able to personalize your experience is fun. It makes your account, truly your own. But I think limiting it to your profile page would be best, so as not to interfere with the rest of D*.

  6. Blogging - Would be nice.
    Blogging is a great outlet for people. Having a user selectable "Public"/"Private" blog in place of the current activity view on a user profile would really be great. I know I would use it as an outlet for when i have news. :)


Marek Marecki Sat 31 Aug 2013 8:16PM


  1. You can already access majority of D* functionality via API-like stuff. And I know what I'm saying.

  2. Chat would be nice to have but I don't think it's priority. Direct messages will do for a while.

  3. NO. Stop it NOW. Don't oversimplify/dumbify things just to please new users. Using Markdown is not a necessity but it's useful for more advanced users. BTW, what's wrong with little bit of learning/RT(F)T attitude? I think it's good to point people to resources with which they can educate themselves.

  4. Pod themes? Why not user themes? (ProTip: look for Stylish Firefox addon).

  5. You create your custom style. People see you D* page and see it styled. You see everything styled.

  6. What's wrong with aspects? If you want limited/public/private functionality create Aspect called Private and add nobody to it.


StarBlessed Sat 31 Aug 2013 8:31PM


  1. Really. API-Like stuff. You might want to dig a little deeper. Look at most of the discussions on here. Almost half of them come back to the API.

  2. I imagine your a programmer. Messages will do for us, but for new users, chat is a requirement.

  3. I disagree wholeheartedly. If you want markdown, have it, but whats wrong with combining the two? Make it user selectible via the profile. My grandmother will never learn markdown, but has some small experience with Office, therefore TinyMCE or similar will be fine.

  4. Stylish relies on the end user installing, and knowing how to use it. Not only that, but it also relies on FireFox and derivatives. What about the majority who are still using Chrome and IE?


Marek Marecki Sat 31 Aug 2013 9:50PM


  1. I know they do. And I agree that a good API is a must-have. (API-like hacks are not as good as a real solution so point for you).

  2. Yes I am. OK, but haven't I said that DM will do for a while? I didn't negate the importance of chat. I just don't think it's the most important feature we need.

  3. Point for you. Maybe make the markup language selectable for individual posts instead? In JSON it could be like {"markup": "markdown"/"tinymce"} or something like this to enable clients to easily detect what they have to parse. I think we can find some common ground here.

  4. It was just a suggestion. I put it like this: basic styling (background image/color, font colors etc.) can be done via web UI. This is for users like Average Joe. More experienced users would have the option to upload custom CSS stylesheet to pod and style every element. What do you think about it?

I suppose you agree with me on points 5. and 6 (you made no comments about them). Does Private aspect solves the issue you had in mind?


StarBlessed Sat 31 Aug 2013 10:06PM


I think the issue of themes is kinda moot. These are things that would be NICE to have, more than a major requirement.

As for your final point about private aspects :
Yes, again, its fine. It would do the job. But its not about "doing the job". Its about being intuative, and providing means of communication for the end user. Some people post blogs, others use twitter. Some post in pictures like Tumblr.
Im not saying we should be everything to everyone, but a blog functionality within the public profile view would be adventageous. Otherwise its just another view of the main stream. Im thinking of giving another means of "personalising" the way your data is shown to your 'followers'. If that makes sense.


Marek Marecki Sun 1 Sep 2013 1:30PM


Do you have any vision how this should be done? Maybe have another top bar tab? It would then be "Stream", "My Activity" and "Blog". And should the blog-posts be separated from normal activity-posts?


goob Sun 1 Sep 2013 1:36PM

I think it would be a good idea to have discussions of specific features on separate threads, and keep this one for discussion of where we believe diaspora* should be headed over the next 12 months. Otherwise this thread will get bogged down in details and its purpose will be lost. Would that be all right with you?


Roger Braun Tue 3 Sep 2013 6:28PM

I guess the most important things are the ones that make new users say "Well, that's worse than Facebook".

For me and my friends, the most important missing features are automatic updating of the stream and chat. Good mobile apps would also be great.


Jason Robinson Wed 4 Sep 2013 6:45AM

Automatic push to stream would be nice. Just not regular pull from client but some kind of push system, for example http://socket.io/ type of thing. Don't need to send the stream itself as a push, just enough to tell the client when to pull.


Justin Moore Sat 14 Sep 2013 12:47PM


  1. Pod Migration
  2. Installation Packages
  3. ???
  4. Profit

Jason Robinson Sat 14 Sep 2013 4:23PM

Just replaced our old ajax pull at work with a separate Node.js relay server. It's so awesome. Instant push of notifications to connected clients and they have to make no effort at all. Node.js rocks :) Will try to make a copy of this idea as a proposal in the wiki later..


Maciek Łoziński Sat 14 Sep 2013 9:34PM

From what I've noticed, top development priorities are:
1. fixing federation
2. pod migration
3. api


Justin Moore Sat 14 Sep 2013 11:20PM

@macieklozinski Sounds about right to me. I suppose most people are happy on the pods they currently use so maybe migration can be second. Those three points are spot on if you ask me.


faust twi Fri 20 Sep 2013 4:25PM

Justin Moore, are you kidding? two biggest pods have real trouble with tags. i would like to migrate but i don't want to create 3rd account.


goob Fri 20 Sep 2013 5:50PM

Well, I assume Justin Moore's point 4: 'Profit' was a joke...


Flaburgan Fri 20 Sep 2013 10:29PM

@goob, absolutely not, I think this is really important. Profit is probably not the good term, but I think having no business model is one reason of the diaspora inc fail. After the crowdfunding, they didn't think about How to make money with diaspora (at least, I'm not aware if they did). Result? July 2011, no more money. And shortly after, no more development. So profitable is maybe not the word, but if we have real hopes in diaspora*, we surely have to think about earn money to pay developers.


goob Sat 21 Sep 2013 10:09AM

As Diaspora has just been properly established as a not-for-profit project, I'd say it's not a good term. A means of getting an income stream in order to pay for development and other resources, well that is something very different!


Flaburgan Sat 21 Sep 2013 10:14PM

I think it's just about words, the idea is clear for everyone :)


Anish Sheela Sun 22 Sep 2013 4:07PM

I would like to think of how mozilla does it, or wikipedia does it.


Flaburgan Sun 22 Sep 2013 10:06PM

Well, mozilla has one big contract with Google being the default search engine in Firefox. It's 300 millions dollars per year. And wikipedia ask for donation every year in december.


Maciek Łoziński Thu 26 Sep 2013 9:06AM

I'm a free software purist. I think paying developers is not always a good option. Like Canonical & Ubuntu, I don't like the path they are going. Community-driven voluntary projects are my favourite, although they also have their problems (eg. how to attract developers). Firefox is open source, but I doubt there are many people who actually follow what's going on in it's code. Where money appears, there used to appear corporate matters and politics.


Brad Koehn Wed 13 Nov 2013 10:38PM

I have a fairly solid idea for federating tagged public posts to all pods with at least one user listening to the tag; it requires some centralization a la pubsubhubbub but slightly more involved. Still, since it's public information federating it somewhere shouldn't be a problem. It's also backward-compatible with code.

Sadly while I'm a very experienced developer I know almost nothing about ruby, so I'd need to work with somebody to get the implementation going.


Jason Robinson Thu 14 Nov 2013 7:42AM

@bradkoehn could you check my suggestion on the issue and give your version here: https://www.loomio.org/discussions/7963

This is a feature that if not done correctly it will kill diaspora* - the network just doesn't function at the moment.


Elm Wed 20 Nov 2013 3:48PM

As I see it, priority are :
1- Pod migration
2- Federation / tag federation
3- Groups


smdm Wed 19 Feb 2014 7:42PM

@jasonrobinson , @flaburgan, @starblessed I'd appreciate your opinions on: http://decentralizedmodel.wordpress.com - it's a concept how we could create content in a decentralized way via WordPress and generate revenue from that. We only need the social features, where Diaspora would be really useful.
It should be definitely integrated to the content-platforms IMHO


StarBlessed Wed 19 Feb 2014 8:31PM

@svetlinad Its a good concept. I like it. I'm wondering whether it could be implemented in such a way that pods could use it directly? There could be revenue sharing between both pod host and user. Like 10% to the pod, and 90% to the user. It would help maintain the pods...
Does this model require Wordpress at all? It seems it could be applied to other environments as well.


smdm Thu 20 Feb 2014 1:27PM

Hi @starblessed , thanks a lot.
We could use any content platform, and WordPress has the advantage to be the platform where you could scale anything, so it's more universal.
Despite the cost on WordPress is the minimal one to scale, it's not so minimal. It includes usually
- money for hosting
- research time for good hosting
- framework (Thesis/Genesis)
- plugins
- maintenance time for the content infrastructure(plugins, updates etc)
- design improvements
- security framework
- optimization costs

The free themes and free plugins are not an option, they demand more time/money that the paid ones.
So, the infrastructure costs are big.

Also, we need social plugins like Personal Directory, Wish Lists(derivative of the personal directory), and Causes plugin, where to link all our supported brands, with affiliate links, all needs and problems we have, and all causes we want to support. Also, we need advanced social profiles.
I think it's needed all the development to be paid/revenue shared, so consistency and high quality would be achieved.


goob Thu 20 Feb 2014 5:58PM

I think this proposal needs a separate discussion, because it looks to me like a real change of policy direction for Diaspora.


smdm Thu 20 Feb 2014 7:39PM

@goob I won't mind using free plugins, but my practice shows they cost more expences due to:
- instabilities
- lack of support
- lack of upgrades or discontinuing

While the paid plugins/themes are consistent and cost less, since you pay once and don't bother any more.

Also, I tried 1.5 years ago to switch to Linux. I tried Ubuntu 11.10 and it totally made me crazy. It always screwed the sound after every single update(I don't know why..). I had to spend for troubleshooting unplanned time from my schedule, which costs...as much as one new machine with installed licensed Win8. I was almost ready to switch to WinXP and to abandon Ubuntu, when I 13.10 was released and I decided to give it a try(12.10 and 12.4 were with bad references). My question is - why Ubuntu didn't take $100-200 of my money, and from 10 000 people like me(possibly from even more) and make the system working smoothly, without losing me $500 of my time?

We should propose some smart revenue-generation model which will fit to our ideology of opennes.


goob Thu 20 Feb 2014 8:21PM

I think you mentioned me by mistake, because your reply doesn't relate to my comment.

We should propose some smart revenue-generation model which will fit to our ideology of opennes.

Why? We haven't even agreed that we want a revenue-generation model yet. All discussion so far has been about donations, not generating revenue, and revenue-generation from within the Diaspora app has been rejected in the past.

By the way, do you have any connection to this Wordpress model? You are pushing it pretty hard. Do you stand to benefit from it if Diaspora were to join it?

As I say, if you want to continue with this proposal it really needs you to start a new thread for it, because it would be a major change in policy.


smdm Thu 20 Feb 2014 9:21PM

Maybe the discussion expanded too much. I won't mind moving in to another tread, but I think diaspora should target this question soon.

I'm a content creator, who wants:
- free software for content creation
- decentralized management and social features
- social features upon request, for the described things above
- the quality to be on the level of the paid software, so security, optimization and performance vulnerabilities.

I'm not related to WordPress, it's just the leanest platform, with 60+mln users and hude community, which we could use.
I'm writing in the diaspora forum for first time and posting here + https://www.loomio.org/d/m9jIHRzh/funding-and-the-diaspora-project?utm_campaign=notifications&utm_medium=email&utm_source=new_discussion_created I just wanted to propagate idea we could use and unite for to extend the platform functionally


smdm Thu 20 Feb 2014 9:23PM

by 'free' I always mean licensed with the licenses of FSF, not free as a price. I don't believe the quality could be free as a price.


[deactivated account] Fri 21 Feb 2014 6:16PM

In me opinion:
1. API
2. Reconstruct templates and allow use own templates
3. Pod manager for admins (Admins area) - better defined in API no need of visual template, this can be in future
4. Add there new idea about information about pods (json information file)

In last point i'm interresed to built this change and recostruct the podupti.me page. Can I do this job?


[deactivated account] Fri 21 Feb 2014 6:17PM

  1. I forget one point "Login with D*" button :)

Juan Santiago Sat 22 Feb 2014 4:07PM

sorry about my english

I think API is the main priority, without API, D * is not totally free, it is extremely necessary for developed desktop, mobile web applications , also skins, also to interact with other free networks.

It would be good to improve the search system, combined search to find labels and user-label combining this enormus facilitate the organization of content, and the use of diaspora as a blog.

It seems an excellent idea to add to D * xmpp chat, but I recognize the difficulties to achieve, I think it is not a priority.


[deactivated account] Sun 9 Mar 2014 9:59AM

Yes, Api should be priority.
I have plan develop mobile app before, but without API is it suicide.


Bugsbane Sun 9 Mar 2014 8:20PM

  1. Federation - This is the foundation that everything else is built on. Until we have this, we don’t have a functioning distributed social network. COuld Pump.io be part of this future, making federation about more than just Diaspora pods (Friendica, MediaGoblin,Tent etc). We may not be able to take down Facebook alone, but maybe together...

  2. Account migration - We promised it, and until it’s available and reliable, we will continue to run an expensive to host, fairly centralized service as it’s lack stops people trying and moving away from larger pods to newer pods. We’re also getting an increasing number of dead accounts where someone moves to a new pod and leaves their old account active.

  3. Chat - Users expect it. If it isn’t here and they try us, we’ve lost them.

  4. Api - Once federation and account migration make us ready for more users, and chat provides the main basic feature most of them seem to expect, a full API will allow larger platforms (eg Hootsuite, IM clients etc) to integrate D* and bring a much larger userbase.

5 Packages and liasing with providers of one click installers - Increase the number of pods to handle the extra load of point 3&4.


diasp_eu Wed 12 Mar 2014 7:33AM

The "the next 12 months" discussion started 7 months ago. Now 7 month later, what's the status quo?

API: https://github.com/diaspora/diaspora/pull/4554

We should split the big topics like federation, chat and account migration into smaller work packages.


goob Fri 26 Dec 2014 12:01PM

I thought, with the end of the year coming up, it would be a good time to bump this thread and think about what we would wish, ideally, the project to achieve over the next 12 months.


Camil Fri 26 Dec 2014 12:30PM

  1. Api - Once federation and account migration make us ready for more users, and chat provides the main basic feature most of them seem to expect, a full API will allow larger platforms (eg Hootsuite, IM clients etc) to integrate D* and bring a much larger userbase.

  2. The implementation of four basic features : a. #events (friendica already has it); b. #groups (we need to get organized better and compete with other social networks, and the implementation of this feature is primordial); c. auto-refresh of content ( @augier is working on this, please check THIS THREAD ); d. editing of posts and comments;

  3. Figuring out a way of collecting funds and distributing them to programmers and/or promoters who are willing to assist diaspora* into growing bigger and stronger via diasporafoundation or something else;

  4. Changing the look and feel of podupti.me, as well as the look and feel of pods registration / sign in page (with surveys and other cool features, see THIS THREAD

  5. It is a given fact that D* competes with facebook and other social networks. Whether we like it or not, diaspora* is an alternative social network. It seems normal to place ourselves in the context of concurrence, and be aware that facebook or google plus might borrow/ steal/ improve themselves by benefiting from our giving open source community. Legal aspects should be taken into account regarding this issue.


[deactivated account] Fri 26 Dec 2014 8:56PM

@camil : Please stop saying I'm working on something I'm not really working on. I just proposed a technology that could possibly solve the problem and I said I'd like to make a test when I have the time. That's all ;)


Camil Fri 26 Dec 2014 9:16PM

Alright, alright, you're just working on testing a new technology ;)


[deactivated account] Sat 27 Dec 2014 1:22PM

Ah... You're obstinate, uh ? >.<