Hey Cody, thanks for taking the time to read my review and offering insight of your own experience. I’d like to follow up on each of your points:
- Marketing: This is arguably one of the weakest points for the project, and although some effort is being made to better promote the platform, it is not enough. That being said, it is known somewhat organically within the Diaspora/Friendica/Mastodon spaces, though I probably speak the most about it. Anyway, it’s a problem the Hubzilla community is acutely aware of.
- Availability of Free Servers: This is admittedly a tricky one; you either have to self-host, or find someone that’s running a community instance. The only really good index we have of those hubs are on The Federation’s page for Hubzilla. That being said, there’s a starter hub at start.hubzilla.org, and you can always clone your channel to migrate somewhere else later on.
- UI Complexity: This has actually gotten a lot better over time, but it’s definitely my motivation of why I am a theme designer for the platform. There are some plugins for a better onboarding experience; honestly someone should just rewrite it and make it simpler. Maybe that’s something I’ll focus on in the future as far as hobby development is concerned.
- It doesn’t work: This experience can be a little clunky in places, and there can be a misalignment of expectations behind how you think something should work, and how it actually works. It sounds like your problem in particular is tied to channel permissions, and you were trying to view conversation threads whose root authors a) weren’t your contacts and b) didn’t have their visibility settings set to Public.
I’m sorry to hear that this prevented you from exploring the platform further. I’d welcome you to try it again sometime in the future; it’s constantly improving and I’ve found at least a dozen things that I really like about it personally.