another thing i want to work on is creating an economic network inside the fediverse.

by this, i don’t mean something like bitcoin or some other method of value exchange, but instead solving a more fundamental problem.

the fediverse is largely comprised of people who have small businesses (like bespoke commissions, etsy stores, small companies, etc.), but we don’t have any way of discovering who can sell or provide what you’re looking for.

i want to try to find solutions to this problem — keeping $ flowing inside the fediverse, from participant to participant, helps indirectly to fund fediverse development: if there’s more $ flowing inside the fediverse, then there’s more opportunity for that $ to make it into the hands of the people building the network. also, keeping the $ inside the fediverse helps to more directly benefit fediverse participants in general. it’s a good situation for everyone.

keeping more of the $$$ inside the fediverse is a very early step toward building a self-reliant fediverse, which contributes to the eventual death of the nation-state.


@kaniini I love this idea. There aren't a lot of things I won't do to make this happen.

@kaniini I think you’re right about the essential problem being discovery. Do you have any ideas towards it so far? The first thing that comes to mind for me is the ability to list products/services you offer on a sub-page of your profile, using some kind of semi-standardized categorizations to make searching not suck.

The main discovery feature would be the ability to browse/drill-down/search offerings in different scopes: people you follow, people your friends follow, your whole instance, or everyone you’ve got federated contact with. You’d pick a scope and use a combination of categorization/tagging plus search strings to find what you’re looking for.

The other thing would be the ability to mention people’s services with a particular notation—maybe something like These would federate back to @someone’s instance just like mentions normally do, and would be viewable when looking at someone’s service offering.

@seylerius i don't have much ideas, right now i am thinking about how the extend AS2 and AP/Litepub to accomplish discovery of tangible items and services. addressing and UX concerns are also a problem.

@kaniini yeah i discovered someone who signed up for my instance who sells these really cool bespoke tarot cards and a lot of their content is showing of their cards and its like, you know, i know we're all anti-advertising here but this actually rules and i would consider some kind of sponsorship deal more out of "i think this is neat and want to keep shit in the community" than actually needing money or anything (well, i need those tarot cards)

@anna @kaniini I also need those cards, I don’t even know what they look like, but I need those cards.

Instagram commerce is a pretty big deal and feels kinda like a proof of concept here. I buy shit from individual sellers all the time, and those are the people I wanna support.

@ElectricAsherah @kaniini yeah here alone there's a bunch of people who do art and commissions and all kinds of cool stuff, id love to have a way to do a directory of that

@anna @kaniini what if there was something like the art-focused instances where instead it was broader, arts and crafts focused, self-promoting etc. totally ok?

@kaniini hecko

@kaniini oh man if I had any technology skills or spare cash I'd spin up a dedicated shops instance. probably call it something like

@kaniini Have you seen the ValueFlows folks? They're working on an AS2 extension.

@kaniini did somebody say death of the nation-state?? Where do I sign up bra

Fr tho seems like a dedicated merchant instance would be the easiest first step. Everyone is a merchant, just put product on your profile. Some sort of tag system would be handy too.

Like an instance for people who have homemade stuff and services to sell, maybe a rule that they must be self-employed / have no employees so that one can know they're supporting an individual
Do wonder how one might reasonably this sort of thing when considering international stuff & how riddiks shipping costs can get. One instance for each continent maybe? Idk.
@anna @kaniini

@certifiedperson @anna @kaniini As someone who lives overseas but whose roots are in North America, I have developed ways to support artists around the world and eventually get my stuff without paying tooooooooo much in shipping! I think we'd just need to get a space for that off the ground in the first place!

@kaniini @seylerius Hmm, would this be a classified ads type thing (eg: Craigslist, OfferUp, LetGo, Kijiji) or something else?

@ElectricAsherah @anna @kaniini There is, of course, the hashtag which was made for self-propelled by creative people.

But there are certainly more skills and services available here than just creative ones.

Also I don't know how to avoid the "taking in each other's washing" effect of a bunch of really skint people buying each other's stuff while not making rent, particularly for those of us with very niche skills.

@artsyhonker @anna @kaniini Not all of us are skint?

(Suffice to say that I come from broke artists, these are my people, but for the last five years or so I’ve been in an EXTREMELY fortunate position with work—and I do try to give a lot of my pleasure spending to small businesses, individual craftspeople, etc.)

I can’t be the only one with money to put *into* such a system.

@ElectricAsherah @anna @kaniini No, not all of us are skint, but I'm trying to be realistic.

I'm not currently skint, because I have a spouse who supports me. When he retires (he's older than me) we need to switch roles, and composing is my work, so that's going to be interesting.

I'm not trying to hate on skint people. I am asking myself a lot of questions about sustainability, though. I want to know how we get from here to there; I worry it won't happen if we aren't intentional about it.

@ElectricAsherah @anna @kaniini And building some kind of fediverse-wide market that's an alternative to current systems is... well, that's very intentional.

So, how do we make sure it doesn't replicate the existing problems?

@kaniini We help to grow co-operative businesses. One of our support platforms is social.geno on mastodon to build up acommunity of co-operatives (Genossenschaften). We suggest you install this business group on mastodon an we will support you in growning that platform.

@artsyhonker @anna @kaniini Yeah—I agree that these are good questions. And definitely no hate on people without money for whatever reason—ideally the goal would be to make life MORE livable for people without.

@ElectricAsherah @anna @kaniini There may be no good answer to this question that doesn't start "build it and see what happens" and that's fine, too. I wouldn't be using e.g. Patreon if it didn't offer me a better deal than trad publishing could.

I also get that most creative people have portfolio careers and always have; the "gig economy" took its name from something musicians are very, very familiar with. So, maybe it doesn't have to fully solve everything.

@kaniini @seylerius FYI the discovery problem is one that @cac is interested in as well. There needs to be a way for servers to discover what extensions their peers support, as well as a way servers (not just individual accounts) can discover one another. Maybe some sort of .well-known extension for a root Application AS object, for ex, or something else.

@kaniini What about starting with a simple low-tech solution like a common hashtag?! That could drive demand and supply before building a specific AP extension or something more complex.

@kaniini You should look at GNU Taler:
They have special HTTP headers which allows paying for things via their browser plugin, without requiring JS. The tricky bit is setting up an exchange for it. Plus federating balances between exchanges would be nontrivial. But on the plus side: not a cryptocurrency, anonymous payments (on the customer side at least)


GNU Taler is a method of value exchange. Please reread my entire post.

@cj @kaniini @seylerius Thanks for the ping.

A few of the discovery things mentioned above remind me of a big PhD thesis I skimmed a while back ("Towards decentralised recommender systems", Cai-Nicolas Ziegler, 2005) that looked at categorisation/tagging across the network via tree-based taxonomies, and then used some trust network to calculate stuff, iirc. V. heavy reading, but interesting.

@cj @kaniini @seylerius

A bit more down-to-earth: I think there's more to it than those different scopes of people. You want to buy things off people you trust; this might be people you follow (sometimes), ... but also people who have done a lot of business with many people before without complaints can be trusted to some extent.
EBay and Etsy's seller ratings are pretty useful, all things considered.

@cj @kaniini @seylerius

A trust network isn't a bad approach to this: I follow user A, user A follows user B, user B has a good selling history. User B should be reasonably trustable in my eyes. I think this is a more fluid way to find sellers than explicit scoping, especially if you highlight why B is trustable (say directly: "you have a link through A").

IMHO in general actions across the fediverse should be treated more smartly than a binary "local content"/"foreign content" filter.

@cac @seylerius @cj this stuff is very interesting, we should talk more in a couple of weeks. right now I'm trying to get 1.0 out the door, but anything we can do to help keep $ flowing inside the fediverse is interesting to me

@kaniini @cj @seylerius Sure thing. The project sounds interesting; keep me in the loop, & best of luck with 1.0

@cac @cj @kaniini @seylerius This sounds a WEE bit like in the IndieWeb world; about determining if you can trust this incoming person and on what reasoning one should.

@aaronpk might have a bit more info about this / thoughts.

@jalcine @cac @cj @aaronpk @seylerius

yeah there's a lot of indieweb concepts I want to pull into this too. I think the W3C didn't try hard enough to bring them into AP, there's a lot of great ideas to solve things there

@jalcine Thanks for the link! This looks great, will read it in detail sometime over the next few days.