Reimagining the Fediverse

Reimagining the Fediverse

Newsmast Version III

One app, two servers, combined.

That’s the latest release from Newsmast, out now on the App Store and Google Play, with desktop and PWA versions to follow soon.

In a breakthrough for the Fediverse (hat tip to Mammoth for leading the way with Smart Lists) we’re seamlessly integrating content from your home server with Newsmast’s hand-curated communities, hosted on our customised Mastodon server, There’s no scraping or content aggregation – the communities are populated by posts from Newsmast users or via federation, moderated by the Oliphant Tier 0 blocklist, filters, mutes and our human team. 

Users can interact seamlessly across the two servers: like, repost, reply, follow, bookmark, add to lists. Most importantly, they can post to communities and followers, together or separately, with the appropriate hashtags added automatically.

Users on big servers get a new, curated way of looking at the content in their home server’s Federated timeline, and users on small instances get all that extra content without the need for relays.

If you’re enjoying your current Mastodon app, you can still get the best of Newsmast. You can already follow our Community Feeds, and later this week we’re opening up our API to all developers, so hopefully we can deliver the same experience on whichever app you use.

Introducing the Fediverse plug-in server with extra timelines

This latest release offers a shift in Fediverse architecture with a lot of potential: the plug-in server.

We start with a standard Mastodon instance and add global filters, which can be tailored by server. So where we filter out NSFW, you could allow no bots, only bots, just posts with images, or let everything through.

Next, Newsmast takes the federated or local timeline and organises it into hand-curated topical timelines, which we call Communities. These topics are completely customisable. We’ve chosen global topics, but they could be types of photography, or local news, sport and politics. Whatever works best with the content.

Once the plug-in server is set up, content comes in via federation, using a mix of follows and relays as on most servers. And while you move around and engage with all this content, your identity, posts and interactions remain with your main account throughout.

Going forward, you could swap out the Newsmast server with other specialist, newly built plug-in servers, organised and curated in different ways – for example just art, bots, or data – ideally running on any Fediverse platform. Innovative or useful new servers don’t then need to get people to open new accounts – everyone can access and interact with them as a plug-in from their existing accounts.

Or you could supplement your primary Fediverse / Mastodon account with well established topical or local/national servers working as plug-ins with extra timelines. Bringing you the best of both worlds – specialist and local content alongside your main account, without the need to switch accounts, directing new traffic to smaller servers along the way. 

Turning the debate on instances as nodes or communities on its head, Newsmast offers both.

It’s taken a lot of work to get here, and it feels like quite a big step. We hope you like it!