Internationalizing the Fediverse

Yesterday, a request was made to like a post from an account with unicode in the username. As Terence Eden notes in Internationalise The Fediverse

Mastodon (the largest ActivityPub service) doesn’t allow Unicode usernames and has resisted efforts to change.

So, I tried with Irwin on and the code threw an exception when I tried to interact with the account

(URI::InvalidURIError) "URI must be ascii only \"\\u4F60\\u597D\""

This is not an acceptable uri to pass to URI.parse(). In this case, I found some help from a stackoverflow post and fixed the code so I could interact with the account and like the post.

From the comments in Terence’s blog post, I saw Allowed characters in preferredUsername has also been identified as an issue with webfinger.