Opened 3 years ago

Last modified 2 years ago

#14297 new Feature/Enhancement Request

replace GNU Social and develop stronger social media strategy

Reported by: Clayton Dewey Owned by:
Priority: Medium Component: Tech
Keywords: Cc: Jamie McClelland, Steve Revilak
Sensitive: no


Hi MayFirst team!

More and more folks I know are joining or wanting to join the Fediverse. Mastodon is the most user friendly platform out there at the moment. I'm curious if y'all would be interested in setting up an instance. There are some other instances out there that would be good homes to the people I know, but nothing that's a perfect fit. A MayFirst-run instance could be a nice space, especially for our members and could be a good way to bring other new folks in.

Is there interest/capacity for this initiative?

Also, if this would be better to posted on let me know and I can move it there.


Change History (17)

comment:1 Changed 3 years ago by JaimeV

Cc: Jamie McClelland Steve Revilak added

So first of all copying jamie and srevilak who have looked at this stuff before.

The first questions that come to my mind:

  • Do we have the human resources to support it?

We are struggling with growing pains and resource contention and have a lot of infrastructure changes in the works at the moment to deal with that. It certainly seems like it would be easier to offer this kind of service after those changes are made.

  • Can we integrate mastodon with our current authentication system? Can we integrate it with the authentication system we are thinking about moving to in the future, probably ldap?

See also ticket #13901 for another member asking about Pleroma.

comment:2 Changed 3 years ago by Jamie McClelland

This support tracker is the best place to post a question like this.

I'll also point out that we have a GNU Social instance up and running at It's not integrated with our login system unforutnately.

I've been watching the mastadon community grow and also have grown jealous of the nice UI. However, reading up on pleroma, particularly the interview with the author in which she describes the amount of resources needed to run mastadon, makes me nervous.

I think my opinions can be summed up with:

  • I would rather not run two social network instances and we are already running and maintaining GNU Social
  • I'm concerned about resource usage with running mastadon
  • I'm not quite satisfied with GNU social's user interface and it does not seem to be keeping up with the newer tools out there, so pending Steve's feedback, I'm open to replacement. It would be nice to have some kind of analsyis of who is currently using Gnu Social and how much they are using it to evaluate how disruptive a change would be (I'm not sure our user base even exceeds the single digits, but would be good to confirm)
  • I'm impressed with Pleroma and have had my eye on this ticket about ldap integration given our current direction towards ldap.

comment:3 Changed 3 years ago by Steve Revilak

Our GNUSocial instance can use OpenID for login, but we don't require it (IIRC, we wanted users to have the ability to join social, even if they didn't have an MF/PL user account). So, there's currently a mix of OpenID and `local' login accounts.

GNUSocial doesn't appear to have much active development these days. I only see four commits in 2018. This seems like a good motivation to consider something else.

I have to admit to not using gnusocial in a couple of months. Partially because I was unhappy with the way they handled post deletions. And partially because I just have less interest in social media these days.

Based on Jamie's post, I think Pleroma is worth looking at. It seem to be less resource intensive and have fewer moving parts than Mastodon.

comment:4 Changed 3 years ago by Clayton Dewey

Priority: MediumLow

Interesting points being made. I definitely respect wanting to go with an easier to maintain, lower-resource intensive tool like Pleroma. On the other hand, Mastodon is more user-friendly and seems to be improving at a quicker pace than Pleroma.

For now though, it seems like something this ambitious should wait until other MF initiatives are complete.

In the meantime, polling the membership might be worthwhile do gauge interest and assess which tool (Pleroma, Mastodon, etc.) would be the best fit. No need to rush on this though so I'm going to lower the priority.

comment:5 Changed 3 years ago by Jamie McClelland

Priority: LowMedium
Summary: A MayFirst Mastodon instance?replace GNU Social and develop stronger social media strategy

I'd like to keep this alive and re-direct the focus.

I spoke with Steve (current maintainer of gnu social) at our tech congress in NY on saturday and we both seem to agree that continuing our support of GNU Social is not great use of our time, given the minimal investment in the upstream development of it.

So, at this point, I think we want to retire GNU Social.

Now, the questioin is:

  • Don't launch a replacement service, instead wait and see what emerges
  • Replace with Mastadon
  • Replace with pleroma
  • Replace with something else.

I hate to leave such an important issue hanging with no alternative, so I am keen to think through the pro's and con's of mastadon, pleroma and others (if there are any other contenders).

it's true, we may not get around to implementing something for a while (given the focus on the infrastructure re-org), but that just means now is a good time to discuss and try to come to a decision :).

comment:6 Changed 3 years ago by JaimeV

Also a an interesting new development, NextCloud is also now throwing its hat into the social networking fediverse mix.

comment:7 Changed 3 years ago by JaimeV

And here are the relevant links to the new NextCloud app called "Social" which is meant to be compatible with the ActivityPub standard which in theory should allow communication with Mastodon and other apps that now follow that standard.

comment:8 Changed 3 years ago by Jamie McClelland

Wow, didn't see that coming. nextcloud is a great third option to throw into the mix and consider.


  • Easy for mf/pl users to adopt if they are already using nextcloud
  • Easy for admins to implement - just a new app


  • Harder for admins to maintain: if social requires a lot of server resources it will complete with the main nextcloud functionality and will be harder to separate

I think a lot is riding on which of these three options is going to get the most love in the coming years. Mastadon is the best bet of the three due to its current level of popularity. pleroma is a real wild card and probably will get the least attention of the three. And nextcloud will probably get a lot of attention in the near term and then I predict it will either take off or it will get dropped like a rock depending on whether it gets the critical mass of users that the developers expect.

comment:9 Changed 3 years ago by Steve Revilak

A bit of information about

Gnusocial posts from local users, since June 1st, 2018:

mysql> select count(*) from notice n inner join user u on n.profile_id = where n.created >= '2018-06-01 00:00:00';
| count(*) |
|     1403 |
1 row in set (0.30 sec)

The number of distinct users making posts during that period

mysql> select count(distinct from notice n inner join user u on n.profile_id = where n.created >= '2018-06-01 00:00:00';
| count(distinct |
|                   13 |
1 row in set (0.01 sec)

comment:10 Changed 3 years ago by Steve Revilak

Request for comment, via

(Like all of my other posts, its existence will be subject to a 60-day retention policy)

comment:11 Changed 3 years ago by Jamie McClelland

Thanks Steve!

comment:12 Changed 3 years ago by updater

Sensitive: set

Changed to sensitive as part of leadership decision to make all tickets sensitive.

comment:13 Changed 3 years ago by Steve Revilak

Re-running a few queries noted above:

MariaDB [social_gnusocial]> select count(*) from notice n inner join user u on n.profile_id = where n.created >= '2019-06-01 00:00:00';
| count(*) |
|      160 |

MariaDB [social_gnusocial]> select count(distinct from notice n inner join user u on n.profile_id = where n.created >= '2019-06-01 00:00:00';
| count(distinct |
|                    4 |

Since June 1st, we've only had four distinct users posting via gnusocial.

comment:14 Changed 3 years ago by JaimeV

That should make it easy to contact them and notify of any changes.

comment:15 Changed 3 years ago by Jamie McClelland

It looks like pleroma has merged ldap support. W00t! We still don't have our users in ldap at May First but that is part of the plan.

comment:16 Changed 3 years ago by Jamie McClelland

In #14829 we are moving forward with shutting down (gnu social)

comment:17 Changed 2 years ago by Jamie McClelland

Sensitive: unset

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