ActivityPub Conference 2020

October 09, 2020 | Adrian PohlFelix Ostrowski

From 2-5 October the ActivityPub conference happened online where people using the ActivityPub protocol came together to discuss topics all around federated networks and the respective web standards. For presentations, a flipped classroom approach was chosen where talks would be uploaded before the conference and the live part would be Q&A sessions for each talk. On Sunday, there was an additional round of lightning talks and some birds of a feather (bof) sessions where – quite similar to a barcamp session – people interested in a topic could propose a session and meet with likeminded people.

The programme with links to the recordings and forum can be viewed at https://conf.activitypub.rocks/#live.

On Friday, we had a session about SkoHub. Here is our previously recorded video:

With regard to creating and maintaining controlled vocabularies and assigning topics, (at least some) people who develop applications for the Fediverse have quite some interest in building on experiences and approaches from the library world. What we learned from our Q&A session is to better prepare next time as there most certainly will be some people who haven’t fully watched the recording or where some time has passed since watching it: Next time we would have some slides ready to recap the basic concepts and some links to point to exemplary implementations and further information.

Here are some projects that are dealing with categories, taxonomies in the Fediverse:

  • CommonsPub – which builds on experiences from MoodleNet – is working on ”[f]ederated taxonomies for topic-based search and discovery across instances.”
  • The CommonsPub-based HAHA Academy is experimenting with collaboratively created and maintained “taxonomy of all human knowledge”.
  • LearnAwesome.org helps people in managing and finding learning material online in very different formats. It supports following certain topics.
  • The “Rebooting Indymedia” project wants to use topic-based channels to create moderation workflows for building independent news sites from decentrally published content.
  • In a related effort by Trolli Schmittlauch, the problem is addressed how to create a comprehensive hashtag search & subscription in a federated social network. See this paper for details.

In a birds of a feather session about “Topics” and Services we can subscribe to some of the people working on tags, controlled vocabularies etc. came together and had a fruitful exchange, sorting out the different problems and which approaches exist to address them. We are looking forward to further working on SkoHub and discussing common approaches to assigning or following controlled topics in the fediverse.


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