The folks who make Ghost, the wonderful open-source publishing software that runs this site, and my comic site recently put up a form asking how folks would like them to implement one of their most requested features: ActivityPub support/integration with the fediverse.

It turns out I had a lot of ideas. This is a lot more complex than I first thought, but still full of very exciting possibilities.

It's complicated, nerdy stuff. So if you're not into Ghost, or the fediverse, it might not be for you. But I make a complicated nerdy comic for a living, son some of you might be interested anyway.

NOTE: I wrote this just focusing on my own needs. I'm sure other folks would want different things. I wonder if Ghost will summarize the results of the form.


I would love it if each author on a ghost site would have their own Fediverse account, and each new post of theirs would have the option of federating in two different ways: as a configurable synopsis or in full. (With practical exceptions listed below)

Most importantly to me as a long-form cartoonist, I hope a federated post would have the ability to contain an unlimited number of images in its body so comics longer than a handful of pages could at last federate.

This account should be followable, with any responses to these fediverse posts federating back to the original web article as comments, providing the settings in your Ghost settings allow for that.

You would also have several per-post federation options. (described below)


Ideally, there would be a setting under settings>fediverse card where you could set the default way a post federates, choosing between two federation format options:

  • ENTIRE POST: Including as many elements of the full body of the post as possible or…
  • SYNOPSIS: Federating a simplified version that contains a few user-configurable options.

Selecting the “synopsis” option would give you an editable field to customize what parts of a post were included in the federated post, and what order they would appear in. For example, giving you an editable text field letting you rearrange handlebars such as ‘{{title}} {{synopsis}} {{url}}’. So someone could, for example, leave out the title or synopsis or include some additional text like “NEW BLOG POST”.

Here you could also set standard Mastodon visibility settings, like the following.

  • Public (Visible for all)
  • Unlisted (Visible for all, but opted-out of discovery features)
  • Followers-only (Visible for followers only)

If a post is set to federate with a SYNOPSIS, the featured image of that post could be included as an ActivityPub "attachment". If a post is set to federate as the ENTIRE POST the featured image would be included in the body of the post at the top.


In addition, “new post>post settings> fediverse card” would show you a preview of how your post might look on Mastodon and Threads with an option to switch the current post from your default federation format to the other.

So if, for example, your site default settings were set to federate the entire body of every post, but you had written a post that included a lot of content that didn’t render well on the Fediverse, you could switch just this post to render as a synopsis instead. Or vice versa, if you normally publish synopsis posts but want the full body of this post to federate, you could toggle that on in the post settings.


Similarly to how Facebook cards work in Ghost now, if you have a post set to federate as a summary, and you go to post>post settings> fediverse card you would see a preview of how the post might look on the Fediverse, as well as an editable text field, pre-populated with the summary for that post as configured in settings>fediverse card.

Here you could also add a content warning, and change just this post's visibility from your blog's default settings.

Similarly to how Ghost currently has a “public preview / only visible to members” card that can be added to a post, there would be a new card that allowed you to indicate how much of a post should federate followed by a link back to the original article.


I imagine several cards that can be added to a post in Ghost couldn’t render the same way in a federated post. I don't know how the Activity Pub spec works, but I would guess some cards couldn't even render as well as they do in an RSS feed or email.

For example, this mailing list sign-up card for example with a form for the user to put in an email address likely wouldn’t work.

I assume many of these cards would be omitted in the federated version of a post, but there are a few things I would like to still render, even if they need to be formatted differently on the Fediverse.

Buttons and bookmarks would ideally just become links.

would become

Read my comic.


Incredible Doom
The series Vanity Fair called “one of the best of the year” returns with Volume 3, introducing new characters and stories about finding connections in the wilds of the early web.

Would become:

Incredible Doom

Galleries would become a vertical scroll of images stacked one on top of the other. Embed audio and video would either turn into text links (ideally) or just be omitted entirely if they can’t be reliably displayed on other platforms.


Members-only posts would have their public preview section federated in full with a link back to the original article. 


Ghost's settings under access>commenting currently include options for who can display comments:

  • Members
  • Paid members only
  • Nobody

I suggest adding a checkbox next to this dropdown to incorporate Fediverse comments. This would allow any reply to a federated post to appear as a comment on the blog. Ideally, these would be kept separate from member comments to clarify whether someone needs to become a member of your site to respond to a specific comment or log on to their fediverse account.


The existing Ghost comment system sends an email to the site admin when a comment is made, which isn't ideal for moderating fediverse responses. A dedicated page in Ghost for all comments would allow for better moderation. This should include options to block specific Fediverse accounts or domains from commenting. If a Fediverse comment is removed, there should be an indicator in the comment thread, while other comments remain visible. (I think, I'm just guessing on this.)


Here are my suggestions for a streamlined version 1 of Ghost's Fediverse integration. Again, this isn't trying to predict what everyone would or should want. I'm just thinking for myself here.

Essential features (for me)

  • Federation of entire posts with images, enabling full articles to be accessible directly on the Fediverse.
  • The capability to share numerous images within a single post.
  • A manageable way to be notified of replies without overwhelming your email inbox.

Features you might delay

  • Federation of replies as comments on Ghost posts, eliminating the need for extensive moderation tools.
  • Varied visibility settings for federated posts; default to all posts being public.
  • The ability to add content warnings to posts.

Thank you for considering these ideas. I'm excited about the potential integration of Ghost with the Fediverse, which I've been hoping for for years.

By far, the hardest challenge for a long-form cartoonist like me making a living online is the ability to get my work directly in front of folks in the places where they regularly go. Comic strips have always fit into social media posts. 20 pages of comics have not. Ghost integrating with the fediverse could provide a way to make this possible which would be a lifesaver for me. 

Want to chat about this stuff? I'm on Mastodon and Bluesky.