Solid Groups App

Hi,

I started developing an App to create groups in Solid. The main idea is to have something like Facebook groups on the distributed Web. The groups should allow people with common interests to find each other.

A Demo installation can be found here:

https://solid-groups.solid.community/

But it can’t do anything yet, I am primarily working on being able to set up a group initially. The goal is, that anyone can just click a button to deploy the App on her own Pod or a group Pod and the app will then set up a group on that Pod. So app and data will reside on the same pod and groups can spread arround the Web.

The source code is on GitLab: https://gitlab.com/angelo-v/solid-groups

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What do you think of the following models using activity streams for join requests / proposals sent to group inbox?

Someone asks to join a group:

@prefix :      <#> .
@prefix as:    <https://www.w3.org/ns/activitystreams#> .
@prefix c:     </profile/card#> .
@prefix group: </groups/main#> .

:it
    a as:Offer ;
    as:actor c:me ;
    as:object :join ;
    as:summary "Angelo asks to join the group" ;
    as:target group:we .

:join
    as:actor c:me ;
    as:object group:we ;
    as:summary "Angelo joins group" ;
    as:type as:Join .

Someone proposes to add someone else to a group:

@prefix :      <#> .
@prefix as:    <https://www.w3.org/ns/activitystreams#> .
@prefix c:     </profile/card#> .
@prefix jane:     <https://jane.example/profile/card#> .
@prefix group: </groups/main#> .

:it
    a as:Offer ;
    as:actor c:me ;
    as:object :join ;
    as:summary "Angelo suggests, that Jane joins the group" ;
    as:target group:we .

:join
    as:actor jane:me ;
    as:object group:we ;
    as:summary "Jane joins group" ;
    as:type as:Join .
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Just a heads up: Tomorrow is the ActivityPub SocialCG meetup, and both Groups (in AP) and AP vs. Solid are agenda items. See:

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Nice!
For more formal groups, I’m thinking you might have something like

:how
a as:Question ;
as:actor c:me ;
as:object :join ;
as:summary “Angelo asks how to join the group?” ;
as:target group:we .

:apply
a as:Announce ;
as:actor group:we ;
as:object :application ;
as:summary “Group says here is the application” ;
as:target c:me .

:application
a as:Object ;
as:generator group:we ;
as:audience c:me ;
as:attachment: </groups/main#application> ;
as:summary “Application to join group” .

This would allow to discover how to join groups? Interesting. But several steps ahead of what I am trying to achieve right now.

But could be interesting to discover wheter a group is open to join for everybody or one needs to send a join request

Then substitute (?)

:apply
a as:Announce ;
as:actor group:we ;
as:object <groups/main#openAnnouncement> ;
as:summary "This group is open to anyone” ;
as:target c:me .

You are able to log in now, and request to join the group. Please give it a try at

https://solid-groups.solid.community/

The inbox is openly readable for now, so you can check your request data at:

https://solid-groups.solid.community/groups/inbox/567d00a0-54d2-4977-a0aa-6b8999941bc5/

Any feedback welcome!

3 Likes

Nice I was just asking myself for followers on Agora https://github.com/scenaristeur/agora if I had to ask for request like Instagram or allow automatic followers as Twitter… :+1::blush:

Hello everybody, thanks for testing so far. I implemented join acceptance and you should have a such in your inbox.

A list of group members will soon be added to Solid Groups App, until then the list can be seen at https://solid-groups.solid.community/groups/main#we

Group members are allowed to read the following document, I hope this gives some incentive for more people to test and join :slight_smile: :

https://solid-groups.solid.community/private/welcome.html

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Group members are now shown on the group homepage

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What’s very interesting to me in this discussion is that both Solid and fediverse are investigating how to implement Groups (see Groups implementation on SocialHub) and both based on ActivityStreams for that. This is a great opportunity to combine Solid vs. ActivityPub and, at least, stay as compatible as possible to each other.

How cool would it be if the Solid Groups App would be fediverse-compliant, integrated with the federated web, and showing Solid goodness to the AP audience over there?

The discussion on SocialHub was started by @ngerakines creator of Tavern, a minimalistic Mastodon-compliant AP server implemented in Go. Rather than creating formal descriptions the fediverse recently adopted the practice to have FEDERATION.md documents that describe server-to-server federated communication. Tavern has one too, that describes Group messaging.

@aveltens what I find unintuitive is the Offer{Join} semantics. To me that says “I, Angelo offer to join the group” . I see Offer more in terms of “I offer this Product or Service”. Also the Join in this case refers to an activity that has not happened yet, hence it is not a real activity. Creation of the Join should be left to the group after it happened, hence making it a real activity.

Some highlights of SocialHub discussion and FEDERATION.md (highly recommended reads):

  • As per ActivityStreams spec a Group is an Actor-type (in ActivityPub this means it has its own ldp:inbox)
  • As such the Group is the single-source-of-truth of group membership
  • Joining a Group entails sending a Follow activity to its inbox, which is responded with either Accept or Reject
    • This can be automatic Accept for public groups, or a pending operation for private groups, manual approval.
    • A Reject includes the reason for rejection e.g. “Private group, invitation only”.
  • The Group notifies its members (including the new member) about membership change with a Join{Person} message.
  • An Undo{Follow} to the Group triggers a Leave membership change message from the group.
  • An Invite{Person} to both Group and Person from an existing member means that a subsequent Follow to that group from the person is automatically accepted.
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Hey @aschrijver, this is very valuable feedback. Thanks for keeping such a close eye to the relation between ActivityPub and Solid.

I am not committed to the Offer{Join} semantics. I did not find a formal specification of group management in the Activity Streams Recommendation, but wanted to start somehow and get a working prototype. Offer is used in a friend-request example, so I thought it might fit in for join requests as well.

If now the AS community is working on that part of the spec as well, this is really great and I will dive deeper into it to get on common grounds.

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Cool! Note that on SocialHub @yvolk creator of AndStatus fediverse client software also makes a very valid remark:

And thinking further I see that both “Follow a Group” and “Join a Group” activities really make sense in terms of ActivityPub, but they have different meaning:

  • Join a Group - an intent to receive all activities sent to that Group by members of the Group.
  • Follow a Group - an intent to receive all activities sent by the Group i.e. by the Group as an Actor. This is similar to following a Server’s admin.

The discussion did not follow up from there. I think if I would implement Groups, I would make this distinction.

Also note the word “activities”. In Tavern FEDERATION.md this is currently limited to discussion messages (toots) with Create{Note} and Announce{Note}. In my implementation this would be a much more broader Create{Object} (with restrictions to what Object can be, of course). After all groups would be involved in all kinds of activities :slight_smile:

PS: Thanks for pointing to this section in the spec… the semantics are very much open to interpretation, so choosing common approaches is a valuable undertaking.

1 Like

Solid Groups App sounds like just the thing to make a group of ontology curators. Unfortunately there is not yet an ontology hub to curate :slight_smile: