@Gargron Instead of using Relays to make federation "better" for smaller nodes, have you ever considered delivering public items to all nodes known to the origin node, and bootstrapping the list of known nodes by some means?
@Gargron (note that my question is kinda ignorant, as I could have researched your past ideas myself. But sometimes, starting a conversation is easier. Sorry. ;))
Just my private Mastodon instance. Move along.