When I first tested Hubzilla a year or so back, there were a couple of things I thought would improve the UX. Perhaps these things could be tried in the Disroot hub?
Firstly, it would be good to walk people through cloning their channel to another hub as part of the onboarding process. Nomadic Identity is one of the killer features of Hubzilla/ Zot, allowing users’ identity and data to be independent of hosts. I lost the first set of channels I set up when the hub I used went down and never came back, and it put me off trying Hubzilla again for ages. That would have been avoided if the app had told me I could clone them onto another hub, and at least offered to guide me through the process for each channel I set up.
The second idea is about posting styles. It might become less relevant once all the federated networks implement ActivityPub (except Diaspora who currently don’t plan to), but I think it’s worth being aware of. The two current federated super-networks (the OStatus fediverse and the Diaspora federation) have very different styles of posting.
- OStatus is for micro-blogging; short, public posts in plain text, using links to embed images, video etc.
- Diaspora (like Hubzilla) is more like federated social blogging (imagine if LiveJournal and Dreamwidth could federate with each other); they’re intended for longer posts, which can be public or private, contain multiple links, and media files can be shared as posts rather than just embedded.
Given this, I think it would be good if the Hubzilla UI supported (at least) 2 separate ways to create new posts. Both kinds of posts would be federated via Zot to all Hubzilla hubs, and any other software that implements Zot in the future:
- one would be for micro-blog posts: editing would be plain text only (no MarkDown), and only allow public messages, and it would federate posts via OStatus
- one for longer posts, private posts, and posts with multiple links: editing would allow MarkDown, posts could be public or private, and it would federate posts via Diaspora protocol
The third thing is about realtime chat. It would be amazing if I could use the same account I use on Hubzilla for realtime chat, with the same list of contacts available for chatting. Diaspora has done this by building in an XMPP client, and sharing the pod’s contact list as a roster on an XMPP server, just like gOgle did with the GMail address book and gOgle Talk. Pleroma is working on server-to-server chat using IRC.
I’m not sure what the best technical approach is. But if a user is using the same username on the same domain (eg Disroot.org) for email, social (micro-)blogging, and realtime chat, it makes sense that this is a unified identity. In that case, it makes sense to use the same contact list across all these services, rather than the user having to manually add the same people to an email address book, connect with them on Diaspora/ Hubzilla, and add them to a chat roster.
One other thing, it would great to be able to import accounts into Hubzilla from social instances running Diaspora, Mastodon etc. No idea how to do that, but I’m imagining some kind of script that implements just enough of the Nomadic Identity part of Zot on each of the other platforms, to allow the essential info to be imported into a hub. Just a thought.