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Today I presented my paper On Cultivating The Installable Base at Participatory Design Conference ().

In it, I argue that existing F/LOSS alternatives (such as Mastodon) are important resources when it comes to participatory work with groups looking to organize their own digital infrastructure, as it allows them to practically start inquiring in the nature of those alternatives and start thinking from there. However, to even consider them for such a process, the quality of those alternatives needs to be sufficient. So if PD wants to bring about computational alternatives, improving the quality of existing F/LOSS applications in concrete and material ways should be an important research outcome.

Full paper here:
schedule.pdc2022.org/papers/fc

The consequences of not maintaining and improving that body of existing applications are beautifully illustrated by a paragraph in another paper in the conference: "Off-the-shelf digital tools as a resource to nurture the commons" by Mela Bettega, Raul Masu, Nicolai Brodersen Hansen and Maurizio Teli. There, the researchers are weighing Conversations () which is the ideal fit in theory, but fails in practice. In the end they end up suggesting Telegram.

Link to that paper:
schedule.pdc2022.org/papers/6e

@rra > It was necessary to either self-host [...] or pay [...]

Which is not true at all. There are many public chat providers out there and getting an XMPP address that works with Conversations is as easy as getting an email address.

@rra

I cannot read #PDF here but how do the authors propose to address the sustainability issue?

* Conversations (hosted): a straightforward subscription model. If you have critical mass, it's sustainable.

* Conversations (self hosted): a straightforward self provisioning model. Sustainable given sufficient commitment from the host master. Monetary cost is in the order of €100/year per 0-100 active users.

@rra There are plenty of places to get free jabber/XMPP address. Chatterboxtown.us is one. The shortcoming is in the perceived complexity of having the address and the app separate, but with that complexity comes the freedom to use any XMPP app on phone or computer simultaneously.
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