[Members] For the interoperability of the Web's giants: an open letter - La Quadrature Du Net

Dave Cridland dave at cridland.net
Mon Jun 29 10:33:07 UTC 2020

While I'm fully in favour of interoperability (and, indeed, I believe my
actions over the past couple of decades have demonstrated how much I
believe in and support open standards), this letter actually calls for
legislative action to - in particular - coerce Facebook, Twitter, et al
into supporting ActivityPub.

I'm always a little nervous about:

a) Solving technical problems by legislative action: If the only way we can
get traction toward our goals is by having Governments force the issue,
then that doesn't feel like success. I believe that interoperability is not
a goal in itself, it provides actual useful benefits to both end users and
service operators, and if those benefits are seen as insufficient to
persuade either of those beneficiaries, then we should either describe them
better or improve the technology. Less stick, more carrot. A related point
would be what this law would actually say? What would count as a Social
network for the purposes of the "ActivityPub Act 2020"?

b) Making the XMPP Standards Foundation a political organisation: Calling
for a change in government policy is a political campaign - there is, I
think, no argument there. Political campaigning groups have different
regulations and tax implications in different countries, and I'm personally
more comfortable with a politically neutral organisation anyway.

I should make it clear that (a) is something I would expect many reasonable
people to disagree with - I think there are many cases where
legislative intervention is the most appropriate way of changing market
pressures to gain a result that would otherwise not occur, I'm just not
convinced this is one of them.

In any case, if a bunch of people wanted to put together a political
campaigning organisation, I would absolutely not argue against it, and
(depending on the choices made) I might even join it. But turning the XSF
into one seems like a potentially risky development.

On Sat, 27 Jun 2020 at 11:09, Maxime Buquet <pep at bouah.net> wrote:

> Hi members,
> https://www.laquadrature.net/en/2019/06/14/for-the-interoperability-of-the-webs-giants-an-open-letter-from-70-organisations/
> I invite you to read this article.
> I strongly think the XSF should encourage movements like this one,
> promoting values we stand for (interoperability, in this case). As I am
> adding an agenda item for board to discuss, I'm interested in knowing
> what you think (and would also be good feedback for board I assume).
> Happy Hacking,
> --
> Maxime “pep” Buquet
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