June 2020 update
Published on June 5, 2020 by Andre Staltz

A social network off the grid

Dear backers,

Donations can change the world. I am extremely honored that many of you choose to donate to Manyverse, and it makes my day when I see new backers joining! But this week has been pretty intense for people of color in the United States and elsewhere, so I would like to invite you to use your donation powers in solidarity to George Floyd and the Black people in USA. Donate to organizations that focus on changing the incarceration system and/or fight for civil rights. I already donated some, following the example of others who took the lead.

The month of May was substantial for Manyverse, we got a lot of news for you! Apart from the 112 backers, and the 56 hours of development work (39 hours funded), the new version 0.2006.5 of Manyverse is packed with features and fixes:

  • 🎉 Localization to Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese-BR, Dutch
  • 🎉 New design for summarized threads in the feed
  • 🎉 Feature: allow replying to follow/block events
  • 🎉 Feature: new emoji picker with 7 preset reactions
  • 🎉 Feature: reply in nested threads
  • ☑ Crash fix: 0.2005.5 from F-Droid was crashing for everyone
  • ☑ Bug fix: temporarily unresponsive when reopening app
  • 🔷 (Android) Indicate F-Droid or Dat Installer in the version name
  • Read more in the changelog for version v0.2006.5

Last time, I teased that Localization would be ready, and now thanks to the first wave of volunteers, we have translated 100% of the app to 5 languages! There are also 5 other languages partially translated.

If you want to help out translating, we have a guide document instructing how to use the translation platform Crowdin. I'm grateful that Crowdin gave a free account to our FOSS project! The platform is actually quite easy to use, because it provides automatic computer translations, that you often just need to confirm or tweak. If you find any mistakes in one of the translations, feel free to contribute. The translation files are meant to be constantly evolving. If a language is missing from the list, open a GitLab issue and we'll try to add it.

In the last newsletter I also mentioned that David Gómez and I began redesigning the public feed. It involved figuring out a lot of corner cases, but the work is now done. As a result, this will feel like an entirely new Manyverse experience! The main changes are: short and summarized thread cards, and forked threads are not displayed on the public feed.

This makes the scrolling experience easier to digest, because you can get a quick glance of the public conversations going on, without having to read all those conversations yet. If you want more details about the thread, you can open the Thread screen, which is also redesigned to allow nested replies.

In the Thread screen, you'll now see a counter of replies for each reply. If you click on one of those counters, it will open a new Thread screen for that subthread. Previously, on Manyverse and Patchwork, all subthreads (also known as forked threads) were shown on the public feed. So if a thread happened to have many subthreads, the public feed would get crowded with that conversation. These new changes significantly reduce the amount of information to digest, by hiding all subthreads under the original thread.

The buttons and overall layout on each message also look different, thanks to Dave Gómez's new designs. One change you might notice is we replaced the Like button with an "Add Reaction" button showing a smiley face. Clicking it will open the new emoji reaction picker, which is quicker to use. We realized that showing all the emojis often gave people a decision paralysis, so we're showing a preset of 7 common reactions, and a button to choose any other emoji.

Another change to the feeds is that the public feed will hide follow events, but shows block and unblock events (unless you disabled it in the Settings) with the possibility to reply to block events. This is useful in the Scuttlebutt community when people want to signal to others the reason why they blocked, which often informs and recommends that block to be propagated.

The changelog has other tiny features mentioned, as well as a performance improvement. That said, many of you reported last month a crash that was happening in the F-Droid variant of Manyverse. We received over 100 reports of this crash, because it turned out to be happening to every F-Droid installation of Manyverse from version 0.2005.5 onwards. Thank you for those who reported it, we heard you loud and clear. The fix was rather simple but took a while to process in F-Droid servers, and should be published soon. Version 0.2005.31 is essentially the same as 0.2005.5 but fixes F-Droid installations. Hopefully version 0.2006.5 with the new features should be in F-Droid soon too.

Hope you enjoy the new version, and thanks for being part of this!

— @andrestaltz