Navigating Grassroots Evolution in Tech Communities: Challenges and Paths Forward

The landscape of technological evolution often traverses a spectrum between grassroots innovation and mainstream integration. Within this spectrum lies #Socialhub, a space that was born as a grassroots alternative—a bastion of the activertypub reboot’s integrity within its original framework. This trajectory from its inception in #activertypub delineates a distinctive approach in the technological realm.

The emergence of the #openweb reboot unfolded serendipitously during the #WC3 proceedings. In an atypical scenario where mainstream stakeholders were absent, the reins of definition were firmly grasped by an alternative cohort, paving an advantageous, albeit less conventional, path for the #openweb community’s progression.

Initially, Socialhub thrived as a nurturing ground for a vibrant community, exemplified by the impactful outreach endeavors to the EU within the Fediverse. However, recent years have introduced complexities. The influx of people lacking a ‘native’ #openweb perspective has precipitated a divergence from the community’s original focus, largely due to the significant influence of Twitter immigrants and Fediverse expansion. This shift presents both challenges and opportunities, marking a departure from the initial vision towards a less intricate and diverse community.

Notably, a pronounced shift towards the technical aspects has eclipsed the attention to its social dimensions, critical for a functional alt, with a reduction in the core social-oriented crew and an influx of technically inclined new members. This transition mirrors the WC3 process reboot, necessitating a delicate respectful balance of responsibilities between the two facets.

The delineation between a community-driven space and a platform steered by a specific technical viewpoint and agenda has become increasingly visible. This deviation from the original ethos poses challenges, signalling a transition from happenstance to intentionality, necessitating a more democratic approach to reconcile these shifts.

Grassroots initiatives inherently embody a level of messiness that distinguishes their authenticity. Constructive feedback and improvement strategies are pivotal in the “native” FEP process, while the underlying ideas in this are commendable, the outcomes remain questionable, requiring refinement in the process. Volatile yet essential debates to fortify the FEP’s legitimacy, particularly in the unspoken political sphere. Proposals for procedural enhancements aimed at bolstering legitimacy within the FEP necessitate a non-technical, social explanation of proposed changes and their wider implications.

The absence of broader social context and buy-in inhibits legitimacy, necessitating a proactive approach by the community to elucidate and democratize these processes. Currently entrenched as ‘black boxes’, both the FEP and the W3C demand transparency and community involvement to garner support and avoid being ignored sidelined by #mainstreaming dev.

Without proactive measures rooted in activism and learning from historical effective activism, this cycle of ignorance towards these processes will persist. Therein lies the importance of integrating wider social buy-in, understanding the social implications of technical changes, and engaging in transparent, #4opens processes—key tenets for the evolution and legitimacy of tech communities like Socialhub in the digital age.


To note for people who are not familer with this way of looking at the world, the ansear to the question is always more alt grassroots vs less mainstreaming, of course this is always a balance so best not to get into a #ragecircle on this mess making.

#Socialhub originated as a grassroots alternative space specifically designed to maintain the integrity of the activertypub reboot within its inherent framework. Initially stemming from #activertypub itself, this forum embarked on this trajectory.

The emergence of the current #openweb reboot was more serendipitous than deliberate. Amidst the #WC3 proceedings, the absence of the typical mainstream participants allowed our alternative cohort to drive and solidify the definition through this “native” #4opens technological pathway an uncommon yet advantageous route for our community to follow.

Socialhub fostered a genuine and thriving community. The pinnacle of this community’s strength was witnessed during the outreach efforts to the EU within the Fediverse. However, recent years have brought challenges; the influx of individuals without a “native” #openweb view has led to a divergence from our initial focus, primarily due to the significant impact of Twitter immigrants and the expansion of the Fediverse. This is good and bad, we have moved a long way from where we started, and have to make the best of this more messy community.

Over the last year we have had a (strong dogmatic) shift to the tech side of activertypub working and away from the social side that is needed for making a working #openweb reboot. In the forum we have had a reduction of the core crew, and an influx of the tech focused new members, this is likely a mirror in the expansion and the rebooting of the WC3 process and the two have have a balancing act of responsibility.

“To use the forum, you must agree to these terms with Petites Singularités, the company that runs the forum.” This has become more visible and the owner has a point of view and agenda, this is actually not a space for/by “community” in the sense it was originally sold… shifting from “serendipitous to deliberate” the solution to this shift/issue is likely not easy and involves democracy in some form.

Grassroots is always messy, that’s how you can judge if its grassroots or NOT 🙂

Let’s try some constructive comments on this to improve the fep process.

What we have here is a classic activism 3 steps forward 3 steps back process, this is a recurring issue.

The ideas behind this are good, the outcome is questionable, and the process still needs work.

There is a current undeclared fight in the FEP → W3C email list, that is likely unresolvable which is a fine example of the fluffy spiky debate, the only good outcome from my prospective and likely socialhub is making the fep more Legitimacy (political) this is a post with ideas for process to help that happen.

To be a valid fep they should have a non-technical (social) explanation on why it’s needed and what are the social implications of this purely technical change.

As we are NOT only talking about technical points here, most are based on social ideas and have social outcomes for social networking. We need this wider buy in to make this process legitimate.

This process is simple and can be started by the original poster, then carried on by the wider community to build buy in and legitimacy.

Currently, both the fep and the W3C are too much black boxes to have any path to build buy in, thus are being ignored defacto.

This will likely continue without some basic activism as outlined above, the is much to learn from this long history of affective activism.

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