Edit: Details about crowdfund/sale are completely outdated
The aim of ‘Project Decorum’ (from DECentralised fORUM) is the realization of two products intended for usage on the SAFE Network:
- A protocol for decentralised, serverless, persistent conversations
- A decentralised forum that implements this protocol
In short, the protocol describes a way to store and find related messages on the SAFE Network without requiring some central hub to either connect the participants or to receive and store the messages in one location.
The protocol can be used to create conversations in any form, such as a comment section on a blog, a discussion forum, or simply one-on-one conversations (though SAFE’s native messaging may be more suitable for that). Because the protocol is decentralised, participants don’t have to give up ownership of their messages and can use any of their SAFE identities. This way conversations can be as censorship resistant and as strongly anonymous as the SAFE Network itself!
The above does not mean that moderation of conversations is impossible. Every user is able to add particular identities or messages to their ignore lists, and these lists may be made public so other users can subscribe to them. In a way, everyone is their own moderator and can at the same time choose others to be their moderator as well. Active participants with sound judgement (according to the values of their community) are likely to emerge as popular moderators (i.e. having lots of subscribers to their lists).
At the same time, the owner of an app or SAFE website that implements this protocol can opt for centralised moderation as well. The owner could hardcode in a number of default moderators without a button to turn them off, or even by default hide messages that do not have shared ownership with a default moderator. Such measures could then only be bypassed by using a different implementation (app/website) of the protocol to view these messages, one that doesn’t have these rules implemented.
The Decentralised Forum
Along with the protocol, I’m developing an implementation of it as well in the form of a decentralised forum. It will not use any centralised moderation as described above, and is meant to be a general SAFE forum where everyone will be welcome.
Users will be able to create new categories (like subreddits) themselves, and the main page will act like a configurable portal. This portal may contain your favourite categories or topics, and possibly suggested categories or topics as well, based on activity of people’s whose messages you “liked” or who you’re “following” or “tipped” in the past. Like everything else, this will solely be computed client-side to maximise your privacy.
Note that the name of this forum will not be ‘Decorum’, that is just the code name for this project. I have a cooler and easier name that I won’t disclose until I reserved it in SAFE’s DNS system.
The Road Ahead
The coming weeks I will work on expanding this proof of concept’s functionality and making it presentable. At the same time I will work on proper documentation of the protocol. I plan to create a more expansive topic in the near future, to show pictures or perhaps a video of the forum-in-progress and to explain the protocol in more detail.
Everything will become open source when the decentralised forum is launched, perhaps earlier. I’ll try to provide a proper implementation for comment sections on blogs as well, I imagine plenty of you will be interested in that!
I have this idea to reward anyone currently registered on this forum with a special title/badge/icon to their username of choice on the decentralised forum if they make a donation (no matter how small) in MAID or BTC to support development of ‘Project Decorum’. The special title is meant as a small “thank you” for supporting this project with whatever you think it is worth and what you can afford. I don’t feel comfortable with kickstarter-style tiered rewards to shake as much as possible from you guys, hence no minimum donation level. If donations turn out to be fairly substantial, I’ll try to think of ways to use it to expand the scope of this project.
Aside from donations, I don’t have a monetization plan for this project (and I’m fine with that). One of the curious consequences of the decentralised aspect of the protocol is that the data (i.e. conversations) are completely independent from websites/apps. Users from many different apps/websites that implement the protocol could in theory all take part in the same conversation. As such there’ll likely be a lot of competition on the app/website level, which functions only as a user interface to the decentralised conversations. This means that putting ads on the forum website or bothering the user in any other way is likely suicidal. Despite being first, it is not at all guaranteed that my website will stay the most popular user interface to the decentralised conversations.
Help from any talented UI designers would be welcome as well! Let me know if this is something you want to get involved in.
Also, feel free to provide suggestions for the special title reward, I’m sure we can think of something cooler than “Pre-launch Supporter” or something like that!