The user-friendly word for "instance"
I'd like to open the discussion about the way we are communicating to non tech-savvy users about federated networks.
To describe a node of a federated network (e.g. on the Fediverse), we usually refer to interconnected "instances", which is probably the correct technical term.
But indeed, it might sound unusual for people that doesn't know about federation, that's why you chose the term "websites" (or "sites web" on the French version) instead of "instances", which might sound more familiar.
The usage of the "websites" term is bothering me though, because one important thing to prevent people from getting lost with the terms is consistency.
Which terms Fediverse services are using to refer to instances:
- sepiasearch.org uses websites.
- joinpeertube.org uses instances.
- joinmastodon.org uses communities.
- joinpixelfed.org uses instances.
- diasporafoundation.org uses pods.
- friendica.social uses servers.
- joinplu.me uses instances.
- gnusocial.network uses servers.
Well... That's how to lose a newcomer.
--- personal PoV starts here ---
I suggest sepiasearch.org uses the same term used on joinpeertube.org and (nearly) the majority of Fediverse services, which is "instances", and it also happens to be the technical term to refer to a federated node.
The concept of federation is different than the centralized model and needs appropriate words: we can say "the Facebook website" but not "the Mastodon website". Someone who does not know about federated protocols needs to learn, with basic terms, what is an instance and how does it basically work, somehow.
The "communities" word is appealing too, but not widespread. If we can't all agree on a single term to use when we're talking about the same thing, we'll lose people.
--- personal PoV ends here ---
Thanks for reading.
~ Neil for 42l