1. 26

Now that the rubber band has been removed from the claws of Lobsters, there’s been work to make the site easier to administrate without system access, as IIRC, make the site more modular to support non-Lobste.rs lobsters instances.

I like the lobste.rs usage model, its community, and its cultural norms. Sites like Barnacles and Write.Narwhal.Space seek to deliver all of this, but with a different scope such as boostrapping businesses or writing things. Perhaps these “sub-lobsters,” including Lobste.rs itself, could partner more closely in an effort to promote each other, develop the codebase further, and promote the creation of new sites with different scopes, but the familiar Lobste.rs function and personality. Maybe way down the road, some kind of federation?

I think the idea is worth talking about, especially now that @pushcx is in charge of both Lobste.rs and Barnacles.


  2. 22

    I’m kinda 👎 on this. I don’t think there’s a need to tightly couple the distinct sites.

    1. 9

      From what I see, the Lobsters site philosophy has always been against actively promoting the site and membership. This is mostly codified in the invite-only membership setup. In my opinion, trying to promote the site more heavily without changing that would be going at cross-purposes. It’s a legitimate question if we want the site to be more popular and better promoted, but if we choose to do that, let’s do it for real, and make signups open.

      For the record, I think the site and its community are fine the way they are, and aren’t in need of any changes to encourage growth and publicity.

      1. 2

        I respectful disagree. To my understanding the only raison d’être of invite only system is to prevent spamming and similar sybil attacks. Not to stay in a little word. At the opposite, the more a network is wide the useful it is.

        1. 3

          I would say that it has multiple effects. Being a simple way to prevent spam is certainly an effect. It’s also certainly an effect that it puts a large speed-bump ahead of participating here - you have to either know someone or spend some time hunting around to figure out how to get an invitation. I still get emails from a post I put on HN like 5 years ago offering to invite people here. Plus you know that if you get banned, you can’t just create a new account. I don’t know which effects were a bigger factor when it was initially created, but I think both have inevitably come to make up a part of the site’s culture.

          Regardless of why it was initially created, it is certainly true that if the intent is to grow the size of the site rapidly, then it needs to go, and is a much bigger impediment to rapid growth than lack of links to other sites on the same codebase. And if growing the site rapidly is not a goal or intention, then there’s no reason for this thread’s proposal of linking sites together somehow. That’s what I meant by going at cross-purposes - it seems weird, because the features serve contradictory goals. Better to decide what the goal is first, and at least make sure that all new features align with achieving that goal.

      2. 5

        I’m not sure what kind of integration each of the sites would include. I think it would be nice to see a list of other Lobsters-powered websites, perhaps more like a wiki page than anything managed by the admins. A little bit of federation would be cool to port/collate the user’s profile across instances, but that’s about as far as I’d expect such integration to go.

        1. 4

          Is this effectively like the stack overflow model with largely unrelated sites operating on the same code?

          1. 4

            Except Stackoverflow is private/closed source.

            I think it’d be interesting if we could see some type of federated integration model, where other Lobste.rs instances can chose to publish feeds that others can consume.

            Are there any interchange formats similar to RSS, but geared more towards news aggregation sites with up/down votes?

            1. 2

              Are there any interchange formats similar to RSS, but geared more towards news aggregation sites with up/down votes?

              Maybe Atom/PubSub can handle that kind of thing, I honestly don’t know though.

          2. 4

            A first step would be to make a list of the sites using the codebase, and this post might already be a comprehensive list. I think there’s a foreign language (German?) tech news site, but otherwise I’m not aware of any others. I’d be surprised if there were more than five currently active. I don’t know that any sister site has ever contributed back code besides me doing it with Barnacles.

            It’d be handy to be in touch with those site owners to be able to warn of any security issues that arise. Otherwise the areas of interest are so different that I can’t predict a lot of value they could be to each other, but these things always start with talking.

            1. 3

              I’ll further add to different areas of interest that they have different ways of validating people are trustworthy and will likely have different standards for behavior. Lobste.rs and Barnacl.es will likely be same with same admin but significant uptake of engine would be quite different. A person or sub-topic acceptable on one wouldn’t necessarily be acceptable on the other. Karma similarly meaningless due to different focuses.

              I don’t see a use for a webring or anything. Just maybe a “Who’s Using Lobsters App” site or something similar as evaryont suggested. I doubt we even need that right now where we regulars probably all know the three or so sites using it since they’re Lobsters who referenced them here.

              1. 3

                I’ve added a list of the sister sites to the wiki. Thanks, @xcombelle, for linking to Le Journal du Hacker.

                1. 2

                  There is a french site https://www.journalduhacker.net/ I would enjoy a common syndication of both sites ala reddit. In the current state of both sites if such syndication would happen, my ideal front page would have more english news than french ones as the qualities of english ones are overall better. Overall I spent a lot more time on reddit than in lobsters because there is more news and it goes beyond my pure technophile interests.

                2. 2

                  How would this work in practice? User 1 is invited to Lobsters and the account becomes available on the other instances but without posting permissions? would the postings of that account within the whole tank become visible?

                  1. 4

                    Personally, I would think just promoting each other in some header bar (but don’t make it a dickbar) to begin with.

                  2. 2

                    Lobsters could have a search for other lobster instances. That would be a super cool integration. Like subreddits but federated.

                    1. 1

                      It’d be interesting to see something like a mastadon-like interface where even though the instances are hosted separately and house their own communities, they can interact with each other.

                      1. 6

                        Isn’t one point of lobste.rs that you cannot interact unless invited?