[UX] Remote subscription discoverability

Hi everyone, and thanks to the team and community behind PeerTube. This is already super awesome software, which can still be improved a bit!

When talking about the fediverse, it is often compared to e-mails. While this is especially obvious for Mastodon and Pleroma (you chose an instance and “join the fediverse” where you can interact with many people from many instances), this is a bit harder to get for the videverse (or the Peertubeverse if you will).

It is not obvious for a user that he can consider his PeerTube account the same as his email address. When creating an account on an instance, a user does not immediately know that he can subscribe to channels from remote instances. This is especially true because his instance’s admin needs to enable this feature. It seems most admins disable this feature.

There also is some confusing between follows at instance level and the follows at user level. As @Pouhiou already stated, some work with an actual designer would really help here!

Basically my feeling is that:

  • I feel I’m too bound to an instance if a create an account on that one, and cannot actually interact with the rest of the instances
  • There are too many instances with no clear topic, and none follows every instance I want so I’m led to think I will have to create accounts on several instances

If I can contribute to the redesign, my feedback is the following:

  • The emphasis should but put on user and channel federation, not instances federation
  • Instances should by default enable users to follow every PeerTube instances, even remote instances not followed by the user’s local instance.
  • If there is no technical constraint (e.g. protection from spam/DDoS?), it should allow users to follow even channels from those blocked by the administrator at the instance level, since following a channel is a sort of “opt-in” from a user
  • The discoverability could be enhanced either by
    • Setting up “placeholder searches” bellow the search box when it gets the focus, pre-filled with dummy channels with a different handle (e.g. I’m on framatube.org, it suggests following @mfmr@skeptikon.fr)
    • Replacing the “Upload video” button at the right of the search box by “Browse the fediverse”. Clicking on that button would lead to a sort of “advanced search” with a bit more details regarding how to follow channels on remote instances


We plan to create a public index of videos that every PeerTube instance could use in the future. So as a user, you would be able to search and find videos/channels that may not be available on your instance. That should fix your 2 issues :slight_smile:

Hi @Chocobozzz,

When talking about a public index, do you mean a built-in feature for every instance? Or is it a separate project such as peertube-index?

UX-wise, do you have ideas regarding how to help newcomers discover that index?

Thanks for your dedication on PeerTube!

I think it will be available when you use the search bar in your peertube instance (if the administrator enabled it). The public index will be on another domain, but the peertube instance will just make a GET request on it and then forward the results to the user.

Wouldn’t it introduce a form of centralization (hence a SPOF) with this architecture?

Is it significantly harder to build a decentralized index based on ActivityPub (à la Federated Timelines from Mastodon)?

Yes, but we can imagine admins can specify multiple fallback indexes in their configuration.

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