[ANN] GemThread: an experimental conversation server

Raph M. raph at raphm.com
Fri May 28 00:36:21 BST 2021

Hi, everyone.

I was reading carcosa.net's "Re: Comments and pingbacks" article [1],
and I ended up thinking about what sort of conversation pattern makes
sense in Gemini-space.

Gemini is decentralized (which is different from "federated", and I'm
happy about that), and this implies to me that a conversation pattern
that fits into Gemini-space should necessarily be decentralized.

Gemini is human-focused, which implies to me that building a complicated
network of automated pingback/webmention/trackback-like things might
also be a poor fit. "Overkill" is the word that comes to mind.

I wanted something decentralized, lightweight, and participatory. It
should require only a small amount of interaction from each person that
wants to use it. And it should be something that can be self-hosted, but
doesn't have to be.

After a bit of searching, I came across the GAMS specification [2]. I
liked the spec, but wondered if it might be possible to make an even
simpler conversation system.

So as an experiment, I made one. 

It is called "GemThread", and the current implementation is an SCGI
service designed to run under Molly Brown. Anyone _can_ run an instance
of it, but nobody _must_ run one.

The interaction pattern should feel relatively straightforward.

To create a new thread: 

* write your post and publish it on your own gemini server
* visit the gemthread service (see below)
* find the "Add a new thread" link (under "Quick Links")
* enter the gemini:// URL of your post
* if you'd like to, add the link to the thread to your original post to
* let people know that they can respond

To respond to a thread:

* write your reponse and publish it on your gemini server
* visit the gemthread servce
* click the "Add a response to this thread" link at the bottom of the
* thread that you want to respond to
* enter the gemini:// URL of your response post.

There are more details available in the help file, which is published at
the root of the gemthread service.

Comments, criticism, and feedback are all welcome. I set up a mailing
list for it at mailto://~raphm/gemthread@lists.sr.ht . 

It could be that this is a poor fit for Gemini, but I think it checks
off the boxes I had in my head. At the very least it's a stake in the
ground for us to find a way to build out a way to have conversations
without losing posts or having to monitor aggregators and hope we catch
all the responses. :)

The first instance of the service is here:

=> gemini://twistedcarrot.com/gemthread GemThread Service

The code is hosted at:

=> https://git.sr.ht/~raphm/gemthread

It is also mirrored at:

=> https://github.com/raphm/gemthread

Thank you for reading! 



=> gemini://carcosa.net/journal/20210421-comments-and-pingbacks.gmi [1]
Re: Comments and pingbacks
=> gemini://gemlog.lanterne.chilliet.eu/GAMS.en.gmi [2] GAMS: Gemini
Acentred Messaging System

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