Matrix Extensible User Profiles — How Do We Get There?
More and more I find myself using the fediverse (based on ActivityPub) alongside Matrix, and the two protocols complement each other nicely in some ways. In other ways their differences seem needless and jarring, only getting in the way. I'd like to be able to offer my contacts the free choice of which protocol to use, depending on what kind of communication they intend (public-ish versus private or group-ish), without everything else being different — especially the user identifier/addressing but also many lesser issues such as the existence of user profiles.
I have long remained hopeful we'd get use profiles eventually. Conceptually it's not a big deal. So where are we now and where are we going?
As a matrix user, I want to be able to advertise information about myself, including some semi-well-known kinds of preferences/facts about myself (languages, various contact details, pronouns, ...), free-form text (maybe with mark-up), maybe an additional picture, URLs, etc.
As a matrix user, I want to be able to quickly find and view any public profile of another user. Preferably also their not-public profile if I already established a relationship with them or was given permission.
As a client author, I want to be able to provide profile creation/editing of the logged-in user, and profile look-up/display of other users, in ways compatible with other clients.
As a matrix fan, I want matrix to support user profiles at least on par with comparable systems (e.g. Mastodon). Some compatibility in the profile data capabilities and content format would be especially nice to have, so that I can build social web systems that span across protocols.
I had been thinking there would have been enough demand from client makers to make this happen by now. Unfortunately, despite being on the wish list for nine years now, with sporadic contributions from many people interested, it's still stalled.
On the Spec Side
State of the spec. These seem to be the main issues:
- Thoughts on profile rooms #401
- WIPish: MSC1769: Extensible profiles as rooms #1769
- Extensible Profiles. (SPEC-93) #3795
Many more specific issues are linked to those.
Technical hurdles: one main blocker:
Can anyone comment from the spec perspective, design or implementation?
Client Design or Support
So, where do we go next? I'm interested to know if there's any working proof of concept in a client? I even created a profile room for myself manually a year ago, following one of the specs, hoping maybe some client would eventually see it.
Can anyone summarise from a client-app perspective?
(Maybe in the
#matrix-design:matrix.org room. I'm raising the issue there.)
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