PeerTube needs more cat videos

From time to time I make videos of some of my activities and I’d like to share them with friends and family. In the past I’ve put some on YouTube but nowadays I’d rather not log into any site owned by Google.

So I went looking for some other video hosting site or service to use. It seemed that most fell into one of two camps:

  • Free but with the same user information harvesting as Google.
  • Expensive.

Along the way I discovered PeerTube. It suited my immediate needs: I can create my own “instance” and put my videos on it. there is no need for setting up accounts for anyone that wants to see one of my videos, a simple link will do. And the interface is easy (YouTube like) for my target audience to navigate.

Job done.

But wait, there’s more. . .

As long as I am replacing YouTube for how I share videos maybe I should replace YouTube for the videos I watch. For me that is usually:

  • How to videos (storage ideas, how to repair something, etc.).
  • Product reviews.
  • Travel videos for places we are planning to visit.

Relatively popular genres that are non-controversial. In other words, I am looking for things like “cat videos”.

PeerTube is designed to be “federated”. That is my site can follow (list and play) the videos on other sites that I select and other sites can follow mine. If enough sites with enough content start following each other then the user of any one site can have a YouTube like experience and be able to find and view a large array of videos on diverse topics.

The fly in the ointment

The first issue is that, at present, the PeerTube demographic appears to be largely composed of two types:

  • Nerds who want to setup their own server “just because”(I fall in to this class).
  • Social and political outcasts who have been banned by any self respecting site. This group seems to be catered to by all the links to PeerTube with “censorship resistant” in the title.

I am not interested in assisting the outcasts reach a larger audience. I am interested in finding PeerTube instances that have family friendly (and copyright compliant) material that I’d personally would like to watch.

Finding family friendly PeerTube instances

There is an automatically generated lists of PeerTube instances. Another automatically generated list is maintained by Fediverse Network which indicates that as of today there are 333 instances with over 90,000 videos available through the PeerTube federation. But there is insufficient information in the list on each site for me to make a determination of whether I want my site to follow it or not.

I am looking for sites that avoid political and sexual content. And I’d prefer them in a language I understand. The only way I’ve found to evaluate the list is to click through to each instance and look at it.

  • First stop is the “about” page. If it is the default wording then that is a bad sign. It shows the instance administrator hasn’t fully thought about what they are doing. If it specifically mentions that “not suitable for work” (NSFW) content is banned that is good.
  • Then I note if new account registration if allowed. That can mean that a moderator should be on duty, etc. If there is open registration and no text exists about moderation in the “about” that is a bad sign.
  • And finally I look at the local content to get a feel for the type of videos being hosted and see if I want them to be available on my site.

In other words, I have having to spend a fairly large amount of time curating everything to create my own list of suitable peers.

I think that acceptance of PeerTube would be improved by better information on known instances. Add some columns to that automated list to show the policy on adding users, policy on NSFW content, predominate language(s), target audience, etc. If that list could be sorted or searched on those criteria it would greatly help a site administrator to decide who to follow.

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