Nice things about PieFed:

  • Written in a common programming language that many developers understand and which has a bright future ahead of it. Python, of course! This will enable more contributions from a wider range of people than if it was made with Erlang, Ruby, Rust or PHP, for example.
  • Constructed in a simple and straightforward manner that new contributors can come to grips with quickly. No fancy algorithms, special design patterns, fragile build process, or front-end framework. Just Flask with sprinklings of vanilla JS and htmx.
  • Keep third party dependencies to an absolute minimum, to make server administration easier. Python + database (PostgreSQL) and you’re good to go! Redis optional.
  • Consume few resources, to make it cheap to run. Many examples of federated software are bloated Rube Goldberg machines that require hefty servers and serious server administration skills, making money a constant problem. PieFed instances will be small and nimble.
  • Emphasise trust, safety and happiness, drawing inspiration from the Mastodon Covenant.
  • Built to last using tried and true technology that will still work decades from now.

Bad things about PieFed:

  • It is early days. PieFed.social has been running for a short time and there are still teething issues to sort out. Documentation is minimal.

There are two other options for reddit-style federated forums, Lemmy and Kbin (recently forked to Mbin, which shows some promise). Having used them both extensively I came away unsatisfied, for a variety of reasons. It is unlikely that their trajectory will change in future, either. However we all owe those projects a huge debt for the path they forged and the kernel of the community they started. Without their initial experiments we would not have their shoulders to stand on.

Differences between Lemmy and PieFed

  • Comments with -10 score are collapsed by default.
  • Communities are organized into topics. See https://piefed.social/topics.
  • Image-heavy communities can have a tiled/masonry view, like https://piefed.social/c/pics@lemmy.world
  • People who get downvoted a lot end up with a ‘low reputation’ indicator next to their name. You’ll know it when you see it.
  • Hide all posts based on keyword filters.
  • Keyboard shortcuts.
  • Upvotes in meme communities do not add to reputation.
  • Better UI design (somewhat subjective!)
  • Improved hotness ranking algorithm (subjective)

Why “PieFed”?

Python + Federation. Get it?

Oh ho ho.