ActivityPub Implementation for Discourse

#1

Description of work

With thousands of Discourse instances on the Web, it became difficult to participate meaningfully in more than a handful of them. One usually sticks to a few so as to avoid spreading oneself too thin. There are a few things that can be invented to mitigate this fact: for example, discoverability of instances and users, or federation of categories and topics.

This is a proposal to research such possibilities and come up with interesting solutions in a cooperative manner – although each one of you may apply independently (and please do apply), only by working together in the open can we bring something that will benefit the whole community.

I will not apply myself because I am engaged in the NGI0 consortium as a mentor for those of you who would like to make this happen. In the eventuality that some team gets formed, we can form a different consortium and apply for more funding elsewhere, for similar upcoming topics where Discourse can play a role. The NGI0 cascading funding will mark a path towards Europe’s “Next Generation Internet”, setting course for EU’s long term policy towards the Internet, and there is a will to make a place there for free software and grassroots projects… If we can grab the opportunity now. (This discussion will likely move to a different instance if its catches up.)

Timeline

The idea is to use EU funding to support this research and the consequent development. The NGI0 consortium has an open call until February 1st, 2019. This is very short notice, but it’s only a two-pager proposal, and such calls will be open every two months for the next three years. What I’m willing to do here is bring together people interested in pursuing this research on a cooperative basis: this is not a simple issue that can be tackled easily, it requires coordination between instances and with the Discourse team as well. See https://nlnet.nl/discovery for more information about the calls and the process.

Budget

This must be taken care of by some entity that has ties with Europe, so I will put the prices in EURO. Individuals can apply. The budget for the first call should aim at a low range, starting at €5,000. A successful project can apply several times for 5 to 50K over the three year period to consolidate its success, up to a total of €200,000 per organization.

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Federation support for Discourse
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