Introducing Firefish!

A short story about the history of Firefish

Sun Mar 26


Greetings, earthlings! Firefish has already been in development for almost a year, but with the launch of our official website we thought it was fitting to properly re-introduce the project, and describe the current state of things.

So, what is Firefish?

It’s a fun, new, open way to experience social media. Instead of having all your data belonging to one company, with Firefish anyone can join a federated community (or start their own!) and join the Fediverse – which means that you will be able to communicate with millions of users already using platforms compatible with the ActivityPub protocol, like Mastodon, Pixelfed, Akkoma, Friendica, Peertube etc – including, of course, Firefish. This is the reason we believe that an account on Firefish could very well be the last social media account you’ll ever need!

Your server’s administrators are responsible for moderation and for keeping your local community safe, and of course as a user you get tools to block/mute or report anyone possibly harassing you. But the Fediverse is in general a much safer and friendlier space than most mainstream social media, because moderation is handled by real people caring about their communities, instead of bots or overworked employees.

Essentially, this is social media created by those who use it. Firefish is an open source micro/macroblogging platform that we wanna make sure is enjoyable and fun. We pay extra attention to the design and user friendliness of the interface; we want Firefish to be a pleasant experience! We have emoji reactions, quotes, multi-answer polls – features that we believe make communication better for users, and we want to continue in that direction. We care a lot about privacy, accessibility, and for Firefish to work as smoothly as possible with other Fediverse platforms.

Another significant aspect of our approach in Firefish is that we do not want it to be necessarily “just” a client to join the Fediverse, in the sense of a direct replacement for centralized social media, mimicking what they’ve been doing. You can use it this way, of course, but let’s not forget that the Fediverse is what it is also because of federated communities. So we want to provide the tools to build online communities, without undermining them in favor of the wider network. Before social media, independent online communities and forums used to bloom – and we think that part of the magic of the Fediverse is that it combines a global network with independent communities. You can have your distinct Firefish community, with its own rules and moderation, but still use your account as a regular social media account, connecting with users from any server - thanks to federation! We think that’s priceless, and we want to celebrate and promote both federated communities and the wider, decentralized Fediverse – because they make each other great and unique.

Firefish’s development started in 2022 as a soft fork of Misskey (to which we’ll be forever grateful!), and it was initially a personal project of ThatOneCalculator, or Kainoa Kanter. In late 2022 more users started noticing Firefish, getting interested and actively involved, and we are happy to say that we have now naturally evolved into more of a community-driven project. We are no longer based on Misskey’s latest releases, as at some point it became obvious that we had different visions, so we decided to continue as a standalone project. Since then we have added our own unique features, like account migration, a new layout to view posts and browse threads, and we are currently in the process of implementing Mastodon API compatibility and post editing – with many more changes and improvements planned for the future!

Firefish is built by people (and furries!) from all over the world, who recognize themselves as LGBTQ+ or allies – an important aspect of the project, as we want to make clear that racists, sexists, fascists, transphobes etc are not welcome. We are trying to build a non-toxic, welcoming, inclusive community, a safe space for everyone to co-exist and work together as smoothly as possible. Let’s respect each other and help them be themselves - it’s not that hard!

We think that Firefish is a great platform for everyday use, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get even better. There are bugs to iron out, features that could be improved, new features to be added. Firefish is under heavy development and we are trying to improve it on all fronts. And help is always welcome – our community at Codeberg is the heart and soul of the project, and anyone can participate: By reporting bugs, making suggestions, discussing new ideas, translating in other languages on our weblate or by submitting code, in coordination with our core team. Or even by just using Firefish and spreading the word! If you like it, let people know there is a free and fun alternative to mainstream, corporate social media.

These few words only begin to describe what Firefish is – but we hope it gave you enough of an idea to understand what we’re doing, and to pique your interest. As we said, Firefish is an evolving project; this first blog entry tried to give a short description of its current state. We’ll be posting more updates as soon as we have them, to keep you in the loop. We’re very excited to see what the future brings for this project! We hope you’ll stick with us and want to be part of it, that you’ll get to love Firefish and the Fediverse as much as we do. Let’s reshape how we interact online, reclaim our data, rediscover communication under better, more humane terms.

We’re taking social media back. Come join us!

#Firefish #JoinTheFediverse