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What do we need most, to create a decentralized network?

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Larry Sanger
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Let's talk about priorities. What do we need most, to create a decentralized network (in terms of software, tools, architecture, etc.)?

I am going to write a blog post about this, but I would like your input. Here are some ideas:

  • Stand-alone apps (such as WordPress plugins) that allow people to both write for, and read, the content of a decentralized network.
  • Identity standards.
  • Data standards, i.e., standards for the content of social media microposts, images, videos, "likes," etc.
  • Agreement upon what components the data standards should support.
  • Aggregators.
  • Intelligent designs for network architecture.
  • Actual built and demonstrated network architecture.
  • Agreement among CEOs (executives) and developers at work on alternative social media, video, etc., apps.
  • PR/promotion of the idea.

As you can see, this is a complex task. What's the highest priority? What should we fund and develop first? Where should we push people?

By the way, please feel free to start your own topics.

51 Replies
AirFiero
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I am just a regular Joe with no big voice, but I’ve what I’ve been saying to anyone who will listen is that folks like us need a “parallel society” including banks, online payment systems, web site, social media platforms and so on. A complete top down parallel society. Otherwise, we will be cut off from the ability to live and communicate.

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community_man
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@airfiero I agree with this assessment: The train wreck began when a minority took away the ability for everyday average people right to decide where the money was spent and who it was distributed to got tricked into a centralized system of money creation and distribution, to be followed by a centralized system of taking care of the needs of our communities.  Finally unfortunately, finishing the job of the free distribution of information was never really finished and a prototype made for scientists and researchers (client/server) became the norm and fell into the hands of oligarchs dominating the world today.  

Larry and and other leaders are now finishing the work that began and once the peer to peer platform becomes mainstream these oligarchs and their systems will become irrelevant and redundant.   Nothing can stop the will of the sovereignty of the people by the people for the people and even though the oligarchs keep stealing and using our genius and creativity, they still can not keep up and will not keep up with the coming decentralization of information, money, governance, and prosperity.  

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ydt
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I think the first things we need to handle is hosting and payment processing.

* hosting modeled on Digital Ocean and eventually AWS 

* DNS purchasing like namecheap/godaddy 

* easy payment like PayPal which should support as man currencies as possible plus crypto 

* code repo like Gitlab/Github

If we had those four things we'd have a great foundation to build on. However, it would also be very expensive 

P.S. I work in web development/devops and would love to help anyway I can with this

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seriouscoderone
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@ydt With a Block Chain technology, we can have distributed "hosting". Everyone can run servers and if it is combined with Crypto they will be compensated.

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Psxploring
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I believe starting can done in a balanced channelizing of overall effort in three main directions:

  • People having understanding of distributed architecture can start draft/mulling on few intelligent designs (It will help us in deciding/uncovering other needs like new standards/protocols).
  • Most important one: PR of idea should go on multiple platforms (can and will help in funding and team building part).
  • As the above of two steps start returning some input. Should gather a team of members from all departments of tech (as in frontend and backend) to start on a prototype.
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BladeMcCool
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my vision for this is a standalone html/javascript web page that anyone can copy to their computer. after loading the page a creator would add their private key which is effectively their identity. the page would then go off to a small custom server, or possibly even use something like ipns to locate the 'latest' content id of social media created by the creator. each latest piece of content could include new follows of other creator profiles, as well as a link to previous content. the software running in the browser can spider all the content to bring together your feed of posts from the people you follow and present the timeline to interact with. i wouldnt mind spending the time proving out whether this could work or not, i'm just having some mental blocks right now related to my day job which is draining my developer mojo. excuses excuses i know. i should come back with a prototype and stop wagging my fingers at this keyboard.

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Larry Sanger
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@blademccool Yes! Why can't it just be a JavaScript app, maybe just a browser plugin, that you use to connect to a front-end layer to a BitTorrent network?

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Elros
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@admin that’s almost exactly it. What we’re developing is censorship-resistant content distribution protocol over IPFS (not Bittorrent) for p2p with Tor baked into it for privacy/security that’ll be the backend to numerous/various user end facing clients.

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leon
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@elros developer here, this sounds a lot like what was tried with eth-tweet

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AirFiero
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@elrost This is fascinating stuff!

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BladeMcCool
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@elros looking forward to trying it out. would ones identity be an rsa pubkey or something like that? is it a dag on top of ipfs? how are you resolving the tip of the social graphs? i couldnt get ipns to work properly in the browser alone when i was playing around with js-ipfs

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tinkertwain
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@admin A backend content sharing network could be built leveraging bittorrent. It can have the following features:

1. Publish content (Text, Image, Video). Which would get published in some sort of distributed index. We need to design a database which can be distributed to millions of users.

2. Subscribe to an author of content using the index. Once you subscribe, you get content from the author and also become a seed for other subscribers for the said author

3. Subscribers would get feed for all the subscribed authors in newswire type feed.

All the above would be open API, so frontends could be developed for various platforms.

To make sure author's content is not tempered with, a mechanism similar to DKIM for email can be implemented wherein each published item is signed and publickey is published.

Hope the above make sense.

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CMHensley
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@tinkertwain This is by and far a brilliant way to allow for freedom with a built in level of protection for the users written word\Works. I wait to see this unfold.

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BladeMcCool
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@admin I have built a proof of concept prototype for the ideas described above. It does work, but it is rudimentary at this stage.

Github: https://github.com/BladeMcCool/IPFS-Social-Graph

Tech demo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DjmmvUvuxE

Some issues I ran into with just being a pure JS page are that IPNS updates published via the js-ipfs library in-browser did not seem to be resolvable by other IPFS nodes on the network. It seems that for now, I will need to rely on a small server to publish IPNS info in some form on behalf of clients, either armed with their private keys (dangerous) or by delegating, which has its own issues. Since it was going to need a server for now, I decided to have all the IPFS communication handled by the server for now and just do message signing in the browser, but the RSA key that is used for the signing is generated in the browser.

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 Anonymous
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@blademccool This aligns with my thoughts as well, focusing on create frontend apps/extensions/local js that the user controls and can pull and push content from multiple protocols (Mastodon/ActivityPub, RSS, etc.) Let the user fetch content from where they want, and developers can then create multiple ways to filter/sort/view the content.

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seriouscoderone
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@blademccool  I think we need to break up Crawlers/Curators of content into their own services. Perhaps opening up a new market for "Social Media Curators" 

It is almost a conflict of interest to be the platform and the curator of the content as well. You should either Provide/Host the data, or Use the data in a service, but not both.

Individuals or companies should be able to design to a Social Media protocol to make ML models (or anything else to curate content) and provide capabilities for users. 

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BladeMcCool
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i really do feel like Matthias Beyer lays it out pretty well with this article:

https://beyermatthias.de/blog/2018/02/25/blueprint-of-a-distributed-social-network-on-ipfs---and-its-problems-2/

I just had some issues with ipns in the browser being able to create and update an entry that another instance in a different browser could resolve. But the actual content, posted and got a cid for via js-ipfs, i was able to load that cid in another browser right away. So resolving the tip of the graph seems like the challenge to me and i am toying with ideas for a tiny server that anyone could run to do that, something that would be easy to spin up on a tiny vps instance with a docker image and super simple config of one approved public key to allow social graph tip updates of the person who owns it and anyone else they feel like adding to the approved list of creators that can update through that server. 

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jccbsl
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A week ago I might have argued with you.  Now, I think you are spot on!

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janet singer
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Is the idea to create a new social network or to be a meta-level structure on top of all other social networks so people can find and follow as networks emerge/are censored? If the latter, one can bootstrap off the other communities and not worry about getting everyone to select and invest their effort one “Twitter/FB substitute”

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Tim
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@janet-singer I'm in the camp promoting the latter, FWIW.

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Killface
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In terms of the non-technical and more philosophical, there needs to be a user ownership protocol - call it the "Internet Ownership Protocol (IOP)" or "Digital Sovereignty" - where users own their data in the strictest sense. 

I haven't hammered out the details but one of the systemic issues of the internet is the dominant business model of 'collect as much user data now and aggregate and sell later'. It has helped facilitate the rise of the surveillance state 

Maybe I'm wrong but improved micropayment economics suggest the possibility of 3rd party "data brokers" as-a-service where users by default own their data unless they opt-in what data they want collected by these brokers who later aggregate, sort, and sell to larger firms who rely on the ubiquitous ad-based business model that exists today (Google, FB, etc.).

Users receive payment for the sale of their data and if they choose to turn off the spigot, then the mining and payments stop as well.

Think of the early commodities traders but now the commodity is user data.

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 Anonymous
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@joe-diffy

The data ownership element is an integral missing piece to the future puzzle. It is how these current institutions have been able to amass their power and wealth, I like your analogy of a valve/spigot in this regard. You are on to an interesting premise, as it would be a much different framework if people could broker their data or at least have transparent options in regards to who is receiving the data and metadata from their online transactions. 

Our current systems opt for us giving this valuable information away for free (or I should say, access to their platform), in which they monetize. I wonder what options we could come up with that would give the user more control of their interactions and data, and if they consent to the transfer - what does that look like? Very interesting points.

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mukuljainx
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Agreement on the standard is very important things should start from here only. The tech and architecture should be driven by the standards!

 

A rough idea honestly hasn't given many thoughts but this what I have in my mind, it scattered!

Open-source(tech-wise UI only) forum for discussion without any censorship but light moderation (no abusive posts/comments). This many can easily contribute to it and improve it regularly. Backend (DB, server, and other stuff) must be private and well secured, now I am not very good at the backend part but together with other devs, we can figure it out, best way to use amazon service they will take care of the security part. A dedicated team will be needed for all of it.

Anyone will be able to most but we have to have verify internet celebs as they have a mass audience we can also allow other users to vote for a verified account but there will be spam and we have to handle, there will spam in everything from voting to comments we can only filter it up to certain level only.

The forum/app main page should be dedicated to short articles, why Twitter is famous (one of read less, tweet from anywhere and the reach). There are already many apps which claims to be non-partial out there, does the world need another one? like Gab, the Indian version of Twitter, FB

 

 

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