Patchwork and more: innovating with Mastodon


Convener: Michael Foster, Saskia Welch

Notes-taker(s): (several)

Participants who chose to record their names here (22 total):

Slides used for conversation prompts: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1lR9magwhe9I6ufTaTVlIt1XnVAEmXUmO_JTcCbxiAZw/edit?usp=sharing


Question: How much of this demo can be shared? Anything unless said otherwise.

Question: is this joinpatchwork site live? No, not yet

Newsmast chose Mastodon early on, backing it, had a Ruby on Rails team already for a natural alignment.

Using a fork of Mastodon in order to add features. A “patchwork” of patches. Patchwork was a lighter weight fork during the recent big spam wave. https://www.newsmastfoundation.org/blog-reimagining-the-fediverse/

Coming from background of WordPress plug-ins. Mastodon does not have a way of doing this today. You have to fork to add features.

Features: fight spam, share content moderation, display federation choices, add local features, stay in touch with server users filters applied at the server level

  • Content moderation:

    • content filters

    • live blocklist

  • Local features:

    • custom theme

    • search opt out

    • local only posts

    • long mosts and markdown

    • local quote posts

  • federation: Bluesky, Threads

  • user management

    • guest accounts

    • newsletters

    • analytics

Guest accounts

  • Being able to be a participate on a server without having to create an account on the instance. Log in w/ your mastodon credentials and participate in NewsMast server / feeds

Onboard emails

  • Mastodon now has these upstream to some degree (4.3.0)

Question: Do these need to be patches to Mastodon, or can they be done somewhere else? Such as using third-party APIs or other backend services

  • One challenge is that there is no way today to modify UI without forking.
  • One possible way of doing this is webhook-based plug-in system that could add buttons that called a third-party backend service. Would allow adding more integrated functionality without having to go into the core of Mastodon.

Question: Can you partner with IFTAS and share your filters?

  • Yes, we’re very much hoping to - Also working with other server admins to go beyond English language filters

How communities are made:

  • originally designed as like sections of a newspaper!

  • pulls in hashtags, plus community filters to keep content together

  • plus highlighting key people who talk about the topic

  • Highly curated

  • using a network of volunteers active in communities as well

Question: how will Patchwork expose these additional capabilities?

  • A: a variant of the Mastodon API, need to document it more

To try out NewsMast: https://newsmast.org/sign-up/

IFTAS systems are scalable to support additional classifications to allow for additional filtering & labelling. Also working on a broader regemin of vocabulary based around agreed terms of harm.

Idea: Annotation type in ActivityPub, similar to Bluesky labelers.

Bluesky / Threads federating

Patchwork allows for servers to advertise their federation policy re: Threads & Bluesky

For user-level hashtag filtering, there is this open mastodon issue that could do with a sponsor: https://github.com/mastodon/mastodon/issues/27990 — the current custom filters for text match hashtags in the URLs as well.

For instances talking more, there is https://github.com/mastodon/mastodon/issues/27562

Question: Any thoughts on Fedisser for server reputation?

Organizations self-publishing using ActivityPub: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Msmq_vgm1ggLEeR9fEjPWEPLmJbw3WuIB2fBwAstrRs/edit#gid=0