What is a Pub?
I joined patchwork, but it seemed really empty. Then I found out the best thing to do would be to join a pub. Are these like servers? Or people? Or drinking clubs?
To best answer this question, we should first explain how Scuttlebutt is designed to work.
Scuttlebutt works through word of mouth among your friend groups...literally. With Scuttlebutt, You write things in your diary and then, the next time you are near a friend, share what you've written. This friend then shares your diary entry with all their friends and soon all the awesome things you wrote has spread across your social network. This "gossiping" is simple to do if you are physically near a friend, since Scuttlebutt works with just a local router. If you cannot be physically near, and want to connect over the internet, it could be tremendously hard to find a direct connection to your friend across the vastness of all possible connections. That is where pubs come in to help.
Pubs(named after real life pubs, or "public houses") are a peer you can follow that helps you catch up on the gossip and feed of your network. They act sort of as both bar and barfly, someone who never leaves the party and makes friends with everyone, and seems to always know the latest gossip. In (slightly) more technical terms, pubs are servers that have a static IP address, are always online, and always follow you back when you follow them (thus growing their network). In this way, they can act as a waypoint for you to find the location of your friends and catch up with them.
When you first get started on Scuttlebutt it can appear incredibly empty until you "join" a pub. You can find a list of pubs to join here. Though it is important to note that you aren't joining a server, you're more making a connection with a person that is also a place and is also neither. And metaphors are hard.
This concept of pubs is one of the densest and most complex with Scuttlebutt. You can read more about it here and here. Or just not worry about it too much right now and simply know: while pubs are not required to use scuttleverse they certainly make it simpler. Just like in real life, when you are new to the area, a pub is a great way to meet new friends.
- Answer compiled mostly from this thread. Shoutouts to @mixmix for the original answer: