F-Droid Twitter and Mastodon Accounts


#1

Today I made Twitter/Mastodon accounts for F-Droid: https://twitter.com/fdroidorg | https://mastodon.technology/@fdroidorg

Unsiprisingly the twitter one got mainly ignored because it’s not really announced anywhere. Suprisingly though the Mastodon account already has > 300 followers. :smiley:

I’d like to setup a synchonization bot, that you can post to one platform and it gets mirrored into the other. There are a bunch of options, I’ll post my progress here while investigating these.

The other thing is that I’d like to invite other contributors to join managing these accounts. Especially those of you speaking other languages. (There are a bunch of french replies on mastodon already :))

@contributors who wants to join?


#2

How do we can join? Do we need an account on Twitter and Mastadon and are then added to a group-like thing?
I think there are already people handling German, but I could handle Spanish although not being native. If there are some natives, it’s better to let them to that, though :stuck_out_tongue:


#3

On twitter there is some group thing i think, though i’m not sure how it works.

Otherwise just sharing the login will be fine I guess.


#4

Hello, just wanted to add a recommendation about syncing twitter and mastodon: https://crossposter.masto.donte.com.br

It is open-source / GPL-3, and the owner runs the server above, but it can obviously be selfhosted


#5

Just sent you the credentials to both accounts.

Would be glad if you joined in on the accounts (if you have the time,
it’s getting really surprisingly busy there, especially on mastodon). We
can then also introduce ourselfs as Persons behind the account and which
languages we each speak.


#6

So I just heared about this and was troubled enough to get on IRC and
raise my voice. Bubu asked me to reply to this thread as well, so here
I am. You can look up the original conversation via BotBot, see
https://botbot.me/freenode/fdroid-dev/2018-04-14/?msg=98983488&page=1

I have two main complaints here, a general one and one specificly
targeted at using Twitter. However, I will try to focus on the first
one. Twitter is a highly proprietary walled garden, locked behind TOS
and not unlikely to ban or betray its users. It’s unethical and
contrary to the FLOSS spirit to use (or to be used by) it. Especially
since doing so in fact an endorsement, regardless if you say otherwise
on your status page. If you are there for the people, people will be
there for you. It’s the network effect all over again. Please don’t go
that road.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. And in fact, wiser man
have already talked about that in-depth. I don’t try to duplicate what
was already said. For the general complaint just keep in mind: Twitter
is one of the worst possible solutions.

My general advice is: Try not to litter official F-Droid presences
around the web. This reminds me of comanies from the old days try to
be cool and do all this social media stuff at once, regardless if it
makes sense or not. Please really think about what you are going for
and where a presence is favorable. You don’t need to be everywhere,
but where it matters. Instead of spreading the community to multiple
different/distinct/unconnected places, you should provide a focus
point where to gather. Maintaining multiple presences is a workload
that needs people willing to do it: Maybe instead of expanding, try
to manage the requests that reach team@ email first? Anyway, even if
there are enough people that manage all presences, you still have a
lot of duplicated work – answering the same question on multiple
channels is just wasting resources. Even worse when things get not
“duplicated”: Information that might be relevant, will only be
discussed at one of those hubs. See, it is indeed debatable if forum,
mail and IRC are the right tools/places, but expanding this list is
in my experience a problem. (Just for the record: I think they worked
quite well for now).

So, the question that should be answered first is simple: What does
F-Droid want to do? What is the usecase?

From the discussion on IRC it wasn’t really clear what the point
was, but maybe it is just me being a social media newbie. However,
I think there are two target audiences: (A) People that know about
F-Droid like users and app devs. (B) People that dont know about
F-Droid.

Regardless of what their intentions are – offer help, ask questions,
join the community – A-type people will indeed find our website.
From there it is our job to guide them to the right resources and
contact information (and provide the manpower to answer questions).
The only thing about being “there” instead of “here” is to comfort
the lazyness. I experienced it a couple of times back when being
active: People where perfectly aware of F-Droid and where they would
find “help” or information. Instead they just decided to be lazy
and barf on Twitter or Reddit… and in fact, thats what they wanted,
they werent interested in a discussion or solution, they were in for
the drama. And now here is the point: Nobody stops you from going
there. Join the discussion on whatever platform you like, answer
questions, show them around. Devs are free to choose their social
platform, but what would be the benefit of having an official
representation of F-Droid there?

So let us move on to the type B. Again, I am not against people
(users and contributors alike) using their social channels to talk
about F-Droid, show people around and point them to the right
direction. In fact, you cannot stop discussion about F-Droid on
such platforms, it will happen anyway. Feel free to chip in. But
why do we need an official presence there? Is it only the difference
of using a hash versus an at-sign? If you want to talk to “new”
people, convince them, want “growth”, you will need a concept of
what you want to offer. Posting “new releases” and stuff is not
going to win people over that are not aware of F-Droid’s existence.

So again, what do we want to use Twitter and Co for? Can we have
some examples here?

Personal sidenote: I don’t think “growth” is or should be a goal for
F-Droid. F-Droid is a technical project, it’s goal is to build floss
apps from scratch and distribute them. We build the tools for this
and get going. Why and how are questions for the individual
contributor. E.g. I, myself, tried not only to package floss apps,
but try to talk to upstream and provide patches to them, because
I wanted more apps to be available. I signed up for services those
devs used (github, sourceforge, bitbucket…) to do this. I didn’t
use an “F-Droid” account. So if you want growth, if you want to talk
to devs or potential users on a social or development focused
platform, nobody is trying to stop you. In fact, I would even
encourage it: You sign up for unethical stuff to do good. You take a
bullet for the greater good… but please, let F-Droid itself be not
part of this.


#7

Hey @krt,

thank you a lot for sharing your thoughts! It is really appreciated!

I agree with your thoughts on official presentations and Twitter and can only :+1: for it.

On this one I agree with you, too. However, the conclusion of this might differ. Like you said, we already have GitLab, the forum, IRC and mail. Networks like GNUSocial, Mastadon and Twitter, however, are totally different to them.

I think there is indeed a difference between having an account or a hashtag. When posting a hashtag, someone might read it and maybe answer on it. With having an official presence on a network, people can be more sure they get an answer which will be some kind of verified and will therefore more likely ask questions.

I agree, growth should not be a primary goal for F-Droid. What, however, should be a goal in my opinion is connecting the floss community on Android, providing a hub where people can build and debate together on floss software. And thereby providing an alternative to proprietary solutions that are as of today all around us. But with this we are really in a root discussion about F-Droid. In my opinion it’s not enough to just build and offer the tools. If we can and want, we should also work on promoting the floss alternative.

You also talked about comfort. In my opinion we should make a step towards the users in this kind of aspect if it matters, if we want and if we can. It is cool to build nice stuff like F-Droid is one but we should also spend a tiny little amount of making it accessible to users. Saying on the website “If you want to ask us something, join on IRC”, we will likely use a great part of people having questions, because people have to invest work to install an app that supports it, configure it somehow, find the right channel, write the question, ignoring unrelated messages and all these things. The same is with the forum, people have to register themselves, confirm their account, find out how to post and turn off notifications for other topics.

Even I as a “long time” contributor of F-Droid don’t want to take the troubles to configure IRC just for F-Droid which is a little bit more complicated because I only have Internet a few times a day and therefore would have to either look on botbot.me for messages that have been arrived or set up some server software.

Therefore I really appreciate the work @Bubu is doing on linking together different solutions like Matrix Telegram with IRC and hope to be one day able to join the discussion by using the chat application I want to use - be it Riot, Telegram, some IRC client, Conversations, Gajim, Dino or what ever.

Write long, say short: in my opinion it indeed matters to be on some kind of open social network and with Mastodon supporting OStatus and ActivityPub, people are able to choose both their server and their client software and it is therefore the contrary of walled gardens. On Twitter, however, we don’t need and should not offer an official presence because F-Droid as a floss project should not support walled gardens. When users want to talk about it there, other users can answer them, but if they want to talk to F-Droid directly, they should use an open solution, please. Like GitLab, our forum, IRC, mail or OStatus/ActivityPub.


#8

In my opinion it’s not enough to just build and offer
the tools.

Well, it’s not enough, but I like to keep the project, the
“official” presence away from it. I myself was (and am)
quite vocal about FLOSS, but that’s me, personally, not any
organization or project or such. We shouldnt tell users what
to do, but tell them what we do, make an offer, nothing more.

The reason I am rather concerned here is me having quite some
negative experiences with projects that started to actively
try to convert and evangelize potential users. That leads
to (or has its roots in) religious zealotism (which is a bad
idea for technical discussion) or the “need of growth” because
you want to show “success” and relevancy for continued funding
(which is yet again a bad idea for technical discussions).

Saying on the website “If you want to ask us something,
join on IRC”, we will likely use a great part of people
having questions, because people have to invest work to
install an app that supports it, configure it somehow,
find the right channel, write the question, ignoring
unrelated messages and all these things. The same is
with the forum, people have to register themselves,
confirm their account, find out how to post and turn
off notifications for other topics.

How is that different then finding a mastodon server, registering
there, finding a client etc.? While there has been some improvements
to user interfacing and guiding, the only real difference is “where
most of the people are” and what you are comfortable with. In fact,
I think IRC is pretty much accessible because it is one of the last
media that does not require account creation (while channels like
lineageos do start to require this…). I do agree that IRC on mobile,
flakey internet connection is a pain in the ass without bouncer or
remote server – even I used riot when I wasnt at home. Given that
F-Droid is in fact targeted towards mobile usage, having an IRC might
not be the best choice, indeed. It was for me when developing, but it
is not for the average user.

As I said, I am not here to tell you guys how and what to use. I was
here to tell you what not to use (Twitter) and what to watch out for
(littering). If you made an informed consent that mastodon (or whatever)
is the way to go, that is fine with me. When I left F-Droid I already
talked about a new generation, new people with fresh ideas. I really
welcome that (even if I disagree on some subjects). So indeed…

Therefore I really appreciate the work @Bubu is doing on linking
together different solutions

… i really appreciate that work of Bubu. In fact, I am really proud
of all you guys keeping F-Droid prospering.


#9

Not that much time right now, I’ll try to answer to the general things not to individual text passages. Only

Maybe instead of expanding, try to manage the requests that reach team@ email first?

Well, we are trying to get Ciaran to update that list for at least 6 months now… :-/


I though about setting up these accounts because initially I wanted a low-friction way of informing users about fdroid related news. That means new versions released, new exiting apps that made it into the repo, and also service outages. We do have the website, the forum and IRC for that but each has their own downside for this use-case. IRC captures only a tiny fraction of our users, there are maximum 300 people in the channel of which probably at max 100 actually read are participating. And nobody reads the topic anyway it seems…

The forum is more a discussion place and less about posting “news”, it’s just not very well suited for that I find.

In theory the website News section would be a good fit, but it’s far from being low-friction. I need a laptop copy a bunch of markdown files in place, set a post date, write the post, run the website build process for 10 minutes, fix typos, repeat. finally format the post correctly for line-length git commit it, create a merge request, self-merge, wait for Hans or Peter(?) to tag a new website release and then wait 1-3 days for the normal f-droid build process to arrive at re-deploying the website. So it takes the better part of a week to get something out there.

Compare that to posting a toot (the mastodon tweet ;-)) from your phone in 30 s after you just noticed that we just published a new Fennec or whatever release.


Secondly it’s about interacting with the wider FOSS community. A lot of people never arrive here in our forum/irc/issue tracker for probably various reasons. We are at a major disadvantage there already for not using github (I’m very much in favor of not using that, mind you! But it means people are less likely to just drop by here. Even those that are in IRC sometimes don’t want to make a gitlab account.

I find it very important to not only do our thing here but also to explain it to as many people as possible in how our processes work, why some things are still broken, why some apps are not here and maybe never will be. These things are all reasearchable in gitlab or the irc history but I feel it’s worth the effort to reach out form our side and be reachable on for example mastodon as well to answer such question. And yes, I’ll likely just post links to gitlab issues there.

But I find that these things really help in making the project more transparent and in turn engage more of the community. And my hope here is that this in the long run helps to bring more contributors to f-droid.


Thirdly the twitter thing and reaching users that haven’t heard of f-droid before. I think that’s a bit separate from the rest and closely related.

I personally don’t find that using twitter to inform users of f-droid’s (and mastodon’s as a preferred platform) existence is endorsing the platform. But I also don’t find twitter necessarily evil, I mostly find it annoying because they make you jump through hoops to be able to use you account with the clients you want. Meh.

I think it’s a worthwhile cause to tell “normal” Android user of F-Droid and FOSS apps as an alternative to the google ecosystem. I also think the user experience is mostly quite superior and it’s far more secure and privacy respecting of course.

It’s not about the need for growth (except in people understanding and contributing to fdroid as noted above) but in presenting people with an alternative.

I think the comparison the religious zealotry is quite apt. The term open source/debian/gnu/etc. evanggelist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_evangelist) doesn’t exist without reason. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing.

I guess this doesn’t necessarily have to be through an official account though if the consensus here is that’s not a good idea.


I’d like to hear the thoughts form other core contributors to the twitter account, I guess these are out possible options?

  1. Continue running it in parallel with the mastodon account, including user enagement.
  2. Continue it as a mirror fed by the mastodon presence but don’t enage users or actively redirect them to mastodon
  3. Continue using an unofficial account still recognizable as related to fdorid but clearly marked as not endorsed by the project
  4. Just leave the account sitting there with a pinned tweet redirecting people to mastodon
  5. just delete anything and ignotre twitter altogether.

Doing 3. or not might be independent of the other choices.


#10

I agree that F-Droid should never endorse non free software, or even appear to endorse it. And I think its a good point that we shouldn’t make growth the goal of the project. We also need to acknowledge that F-Droid is still a pretty small project, so if we ignore the broader world of non-free software, it will remain a small, niche project that even people who care about free software do not know about. We also have to acknowledge walled gardens exist, and the vast majority of people on the internet these days only see those walled gardens. So if we don’t engage with them, we will in effect remain a walled garden as well.

I think the best social media policy for F-Droid will be always dancing within all those tensions. I’m very happy that @Bubu has started this push to mastodon, twitter, etc. I’m also very happy that @krt is speaking strongly for sticking to free software. We need people like @krt to keep us focused on the real goals of F-Droid: bringing truly free software to Android. And we need people like @bubu to tread into dangerous proprietary waters to help bring people over to our side of the walls.

As for the specific question of whether to use Twitter and how, I think it is good to do as long as all the posts are available via free platforms, and the account is clearly marked as not endorsing Twitter, and that the account is “unofficial”. This is like Debian: https://twitter.com/debian. I do think it is important that the Twitter account does not engage too much on the platform, since that will most likely be proprietary. The Mastodon account shouldn’t feel like the secondary mirror.

I think its a bad idea to have zero F-Droid presence on the major platforms. I would love to be able to ignore Facebook, Google Play, Twitter, but I think that will harm F-Droid much more than help the cause of free software. The key reason is like we see on Google Play: if the F-Droid community does not represent itself on those platforms, other people will step in and pretend to represent us. If the majority of people only have access to fraudulent F-Droid, that will keep them away from F-Droid and free software.


#11

So that means going with mainly options 2. I guess? Is this a compromise that everyone can live with?

I’ve pinned this and update the account profile to reflect this.


#12

I just set up mastodon -> twitter sync using the hosted instance, seems to be working fine for the first toot.


#13

option 2 sounds good to me. I wanted to add one other thing to this thread: while I think it is OK to have this F-Droid presence on Twitter, that does not mean we should add other proprietary social media platforms. For example, Facebook is huge, but also so terrible on so many levels. Then there are always up and coming social media platforms. Like @krt said, we should not help increase their network effect.

Twitter I think is tolerable because it can easily serve as a mirror of the free platforms like Mastodon. And there is no free platform that has anything close to the reach of Twitter, let alone Facebook. I see this as very related to the donation platforms. F-Droid accepts donations via Paypal and bank transfer, even those require using proprietary software. There are many free bitcoin/etc options, but they are very niche.


#14

@Bubu

Compare that to posting a toot (the mastodon tweet ;-)) from your phone in 30 s after you just noticed that we just published a new Fennec or whatever release.

Really? Why? So non-fdroid users can download an APK and then keep it not-updated until the app breaks in some way? (eg. Conversations had this issue, people installing only to avoid to pay on Google Play store had issues when their old version stopped working correctly one year later, bringing the debugging burden on the dev)

Please don’t, stick only to F-Droid (client/infrastructure/whitelabel/server/status/repomaker/etc).

/PS: And never link directly to the app page but to the main page where the client can be downloaded. F-Droid users will just update in client anyway…

/LE: I for one, am rather overwhelmed by the number of channels, I can barely keep up with gitlab and maybe this forum, I did not bother to reach IRC (I’d need to setup a bouncer or gateway to XMPP or something?!) and in such, adding twitter and mastodon takes me even more out of reach, out of the loop. Also FOMO. :stuck_out_tongue:


#15

Yes, I only mention it when the release is available through F-Droid. Because people might have been waiting for it for a while and are happy to know when it’s finally available.

The app page is the only thing we can link to. It contains the changelog, which is mostly what people are interested in, I’d guess. Also if you click on it on your Phone it will just suggest you open it with F-Droid anyway. And in any case the page contains a big fat link to the F-Droid apk first before smaller direct download links.

I’d argue you are far more in the loop than regular f-droid users ;-). The mastodon account is mostly targetted at people not begin present in the issue trackers/forum.

But you should really come to the IRC channels :slight_smile: @mimi89999 has an IRC <–> xmpp bouncer/bridge setup, maybe you can use that?


#16

https://riot.im is a nice, easy way to use IRC, and its in F-Droid. But take note: you do have to opt out of the tracking :-/


#17

Keep this in mind too: https://github.com/vector-im/riot-android/issues/2172


#18

@Bubu First time I hear about that “IRC <–> xmpp bouncer/bridge”. So what XMPP channel would I need to join?


#20

Not a channel, you need to have an actual Bitboumi instance running somewhere (all the time).

Riot.im provides IRC gateways directly.


#22

As it goes, not I need my own Bitboumi instance – but there most be some instance available I can use. If someone runs such an instance, multiple users can use that. Then just enter the room, and (after a little while) it works (for me it took a few hours until finally messages came in). Both ways. I can see the messages posted to IRC, and I can reply to them (which then gets posted to IRC). Not sure how reliable that works (e.g. I didn’t see a single message on May 8th), but it works (other than the mail notifications from this forum here, where I got one on April 28th and then never again – but maybe that would require somebody explicitly mentioning me?).