Developer Case Study: Project Decorum
During the course of 2016, MaidSafe have been privy to a number of projects that are building on top of the SAFE Network. One such project is Decorum.
What is it?
Project Decorum is currently a research-led project, run by Harmen Klink, a computer science undergraduate at the HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht in the Netherlands. He wants to build a social media platform, which gives the user greater control of his or her data and therefore enhanced privacy — rather than today’s model which is centralised around a few service providers.
Project Decorum is currently a proof-of-concept, which Harmen has designed in order to drive a successful crowdsale, which raised over €400,000. He is aiming to use this investment to further develop the application, aspiring to create a hybrid of the best features of existing major applications, such as Facebook, Reddit and Twitter.
How does it work?
The core protocol of Project Decorum is a substitute for the missing central coordinator, because the SAFE Network has been designed on the principle of a “serverless” architecture. It consists of a set of rules that describe where and how conversational data should be uploaded to the SAFE Network. These rules predict where the replies to a particular message on the SAFE Network might end up, no matter where the original is located. This means that all applications and SAFE websites that use this protocol will be compatible with each other, making communication simpler.
On the data level all information is visible and the protocol will organise conversations in a tree structure, where every node of the tree represents a message from a user. Replies to earlier messages will create new branches. This tree structure lends itself well to be represented in a “threaded” format, which is done by many well-known forums and comment plugins. Users will build a user interface to decide what data they see and can create a new root to start a new tree for a new conversation. This can be used to create a forum, a comment section on a blog, a group chatbox, and so on.
In Project Decorum users will own their data and everyone is their own moderator through the use of personal ignore lists. In principle, particular posts or users can be put on such an ignore list. It is also possible to subscribe to one or more ignore lists run by other people. This allows for dedicated and widely accepted moderators to naturally rise up in their respective communities. Active people with sound judgement will be subscribed to as moderators by groups. These people can also collaborate to form a moderator team, and possibly accept donations or even charge for their moderation services. Multiple teams with different rules can be active in the same community if there is demand.
Why is Project Decorum working with MaidSafe?
Harmen chose the SAFE Network for his project for several reasons. He believes the privacy and security of the platform should be the pre-requisite for any Internet application. Furthermore the decentralised model offers great scalability and he has found it hard to overload the system. Additionally, SAFEcoin is a great feature, because of the way it is integrated into the network and offers instant rewards. This will help to sustain engagement with the platform, as social payments are an important feature increasingly expected by users. It also offers developers the flexibility to expand tokenisation of other assets to create a crypto-currency to represent all kinds of assets.
What’s next for Project Decorum?
The next steps for Project Decorum include working on designs to make them more tangible and figuring out the business model. As APIs for the SAFE Network become available and more stable Harmen will continue development on the protocol. MaidSafe hope that features such as the automatic reward mechanism for participants will enable Harmen to further develop the usage model for Project Decorum.
Harmen Klink, Founder, Project Decorum
“I believe having access to multiple identities is an important benefit of the SAFE Network, because it reflects the varied identities and roles we play in our personal and work lives. The network of identities forms a web of trust that can be used to distinguish legitimate users from abusive bots. When a real name is coupled to an identity, the strength of the web of trust is also used to show others the likelihood that those two truly belong together. This protects users from becoming victims from impersonification and identity theft.”