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ActivityPub and WebSub went to REC this week and the work of the Social Web WG in general has been getting a lot of attention, including AP making it to the top of hackernews. There are lots of good comments, but of course it's the negative ones that stick around when you release your babies into the harsh wilds of the Web for the last time.

There was a lot of conflict inside the SocialWG, and a lot of compromise. The comments that irk me the most are the ones that suggest we made decisions on a whim without thinking about things at length, or ignored prior art.

Sure we standardised multiple ways of doing similar things, but the decision to do that came only after much wailing and gnashing of teeth* and faced with the prospect of not standardising anything at all in this space. Or alternatively one- to two-thirds of the group meeting with suspicious accidents in lieu of consensus. It wasn't for funsies. We weren't trolling implementors. We were just trying to cope.

Anyway, what reassures me in the end is that, as we could never make everyone happy, at least we've somehow succeeded in making nobody at all happy.

The art of consensus™.

* and over a year of work, dozens of telecons and several face-to-face meetings around the world often at participants' own expense, and not a little yelling.

🏷 standards websub social web protocols socialwg activitypub w3c