Terminology : use 'server' instead of 'pod'

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This is something that appeared to me while trying to explain what diaspora* is to people not related to computer science at all : they just don't understand the concept of 'pod' while they can pretty well handle the concept of 'server'.

Though I agree that in people's mind, a server is a big machine placed in a warehouse, and it doesn't fit well with the aspect of 'social network you can install at home' aspect of diaspora*, they often manage better the concept of 1 server = 1 site.

This makes more easy to explain that you subscribe on a site, like any other social network and this is not an application to install on your computer.

'Pod' is not a word they often meet or actually even know. Thus, I often have to explain that, in fact, diaspora* is a software that you install on a server, etc... I always eventually fall on the concept of server.

So, I think it would be easier for newbees if we explained using 'server' instead of 'pod'. What is your opinion ?


[deactivated account] Sun 15 Feb 2015 1:17PM

I'd prefer either 'server' or 'site'.

I have to agree, a 'pod' is a complete new concept to anyone who has ever used the internet.


Faldrian Sun 15 Feb 2015 1:20PM

Technically ... a "server" is a hardware thingy you put on the internet somewhere. While it is often also the serving part of a diaspora instance, there might be multiple servers for one pod...

Pod refers more to the network aspect... you could also call it "node", as every diaspora pod is a node in the federated mesh of pods which are in total "diaspora".


goob Sun 15 Feb 2015 1:28PM

'Pod' comes from the dandelion analogy (the literal meaning of the word 'diaspora' being 'the spreading of seeds'): an individual account is called a 'seed' (although very few people use that term now) and a 'pod' is the thing which contains a seeds. Give them that analogy and they should be able to grasp it. I suppose you could call the entire Diaspora ecosystem a 'field' in which seeds can float between pods....

I would oppose changing the terminology from 'seed' and 'pod'. They are part of a good, clear analogy which I think makes it easier to understand, while also being part of a distinctive identity (the dandelion clock) for Diaspora. Many non-technical internet users have trouble, in my experience, in understanding what a server is. Better a non-technical analogy than technical terms.

Of course, you can call things in Diaspora whatever you like when you're communicating with people.


[deactivated account] Sun 15 Feb 2015 3:34PM

@fabianrbz : I know what a server is. I'm just being pragmatic. People just don't understand 'pod' when they easily get 'server'.

@goob : same. I know this is a reference, but have to make the understanding more easy. Look just the number of lines you had to explain me the reference. Do you really believe that it is interresting or relevant to the people that just search an alternative to Facebook ?
That is just passing us off a bunch og mystic nerds :/


goob Sun 15 Feb 2015 4:08PM

I disagree with every aspect of your argument. And I didn't 'have to' a lot of lines to explain the concept: I did that out of respect for you.

I don't think there's any point me contributing any further to this thread.


[deactivated account] Sun 15 Feb 2015 6:53PM

Grmf... I just sometimes have the impression to piss in a violin...


Jason Robinson Sun 22 Feb 2015 8:46AM

I do agree with @augier about the "pod" vs "server". I found myself talking about "servers" at FOSDEM mostly. For people who didn't know what a pod is I tried not to mention it, or made sure to mention a pod means a server :P

The other word I like is "instance" or "node". Especially when talking about diaspora* pods in a larger context, ie in the federated web, the word pod cannot be used. A more generic word is needed to. I like "node", it also matches with the NodeInfo metainfo schema that @jhass has drafted.

But of course, internally, projects can call their nodes what they want, for example pods. Pod IS a nice, warm, word, and is established within the project :) Externally, it doesn't necessarely make sense, I will at least explain to someone what diaspora* is next time also using more familiar concepts :)


[deactivated account] Sun 22 Feb 2015 8:52AM

Pod always makes me think to iPod >.<