Cassy Project Reboot?, 2021-06-02
"We obviously have problems, but we're working on solutions."
The ultimate goal: decentralized, fair, open, accountable, consistent, honest, management and social media systems.
This Cassandra Project is an effort to branch out this SaidIt community to other decentralized platforms. This post is about discovering what support people wish to pledge to this cause, for what results, immediate and long term goals - plus other ideas. The ultimate goal: get decentralized and make it as simple, stable, and secure as possible for everyone to participate at their level.
In this case, our problems are that we've sort of been on this for a couple months and still have nothing to show for it. I'll spare you the details (I don't even know them), and simply say I'm proposing I change my own personal course of action in hopes for real results to be a first seed in our decentralized federation branching out from SaidIt.
I often bitch about scraping by month to month, and thus far for over 2.5 years on SaidIt I've never asked for, nor accepted anyone's generous offers for a little or a lot. I wanted to have a worthy product to earn your support. I'm still not asking for your money - yet.
Today, I am asking for pledges. I want to know what resources we can muster together in order to figure out our options and best courses of action. You can share openly or private message me how you'd like to contribute sooner and/or later.
Cassy/Cassandra Project contributions will NOT be gifts for me (unless you expressly indicate you wish it).
The plan is for 100% transparent accounting in an open wiki. Even private contributions will be listed (ie. Anon #42). If ever your contribution is missing you should call it out. In addition to starting an online cooperative (including known-anons), I'm recruiting local Windsor Ontario people with real names and accountability for a local cooperative for this as well as my own projects.
In addition to monetary/crypto contributions we can discuss /s/AlternativeEconomics (a new sub). For example, you could send me things via snail mail or pay for something online that is delivered here. You may consider them permanent gifts or temporary loans if you want them back or are unsure. Only failing health, limited liberty, or similarly serious extenuating circumstances will prevent me from returning loans under whatever schedule and/or shipping arrangements we make.
In addition to those contributions I'm seeking motivated, focused, open, honest, technical support, expert council, and donations of time and energy. Some rewards may come later if/when we're successful, though it's unlikely it would be much for quite a while. We need capable I.T. admin type folks as this is all way beyond my wheelhouse. I'm just the non-anon who is willing to help start this off.
Pledges For What And Why?
Without the admin skills I'm not ideal for this but I'm also not anon, so I can still try and offer what I can. (I'm also problematic in that Canada's new C-10 law aims to control/censor our Internet.) Step by step I'll prove my value bit by bit so folks may chip in more in time if they see results and/or want/demand more stuff. Ideally, eventually it will have little to do with me and this decentralized community will take on a life of its own.
My dream wish list to start off our discussion:
- $750 refurbished Lenovo ThinkStation P500 from my local computer guy around the corner (SGSCompuWave)
- one strong-server for our forum(s) (Lenny, Diaspora, SaidItBackUp, phpBB, etc)
- second strong-server for other platforms (MediaWiki, PeerTube, Mastodon, web-scraping/archiving, VPN, etc)
- third strong Mint box for me (I can dream) instead of always having to fight this glitchy old thing
- more servers? to host more of your stuff
- servers for other volunteer co-hosts
- $60/month+ for a dedicated fiber line from my preferred indie local ISP of 25 years: https://MNSi.net
- $$$ for gear (harddrives, UPS, racks, big servers, drive bays, etc)
- $$$ for some local and/or online I.T. help and/or admins
- $$$ for code bounties to build custom code for our community
- $$$ for domain names (I already bought several and Optimus bought one (or more?) with similar names to hand over to folks who join and co-host our federation.)
Note: All your lousy old computers have the potential to be upcycled and used as "junior-servers" in our federation. Obviously bigger newer computers can be "strong-servers".
Feel free to give feedback, suggestions, things I missed, etc.
How much would you give?
Would it be regular, random, or a one time thing?
What would you expect for it?
What is your preferred method of contributing?
(email transfer, PayPal, BitCoin, Patreon, SubscribeStar, GoFundMe, etc?)
Q: Why not just rent some space in the cloud?
A: It's never much space, it's not 100% under our control, I don't trust them much less know them, and the goal is to decentralize, not all migrate to Amazon or wherever your host is renting from. (For a decade I used LaughingSquid.net but now even they are a pointless middleman renting servers from a giant corporation.)
Perhaps you think I'm going about all this in the wrong way.
Perhaps you think I should start an online shop to sell merchandise to raise funds so at least people get something tangible. The thought certainly has crossed my mind and I've already bought two ".shop" domains in preparation for this. I certainly aim to have a store eventually but I also know first hand it's a distraction from necessary focus and online stores are a whole other ball of confusion to contend with in almost every aspect. I understand that maybe it should be addressed sooner than later in order to capitalize on it, but in my experience with Café Press I know it's simply not worth the effort without big broad support. Furthermore, we'll need an entirely new bureaucracy system for fair and transparent rewards to artists, curators, and the fundraising management.
Perhaps you have other ideas to consider. Please let me know with feedback.
IMO, setting up the server and platforms up is top priority, as soon as possible. Once up, we can take as long as we like to test and tweak, mirror the SaidIt database and decentralize, and decorate - before, during, or after we invite folks to participate.
My simple top priorities remain the same for my second attempt to get this going:
- Make it all as simple as possible, make logs, make tutorials, and share. "If I can do it, anyone can."
- DIY steps via modular tutorials in chapters with estimated times for tasks allow folks to do it all in one go, step by step over several afternoons, or however it's most convenient. Hurdles encountered may find help in /s/Decentralize4Dummies and growing wiki documentation.
- Set up server.
- Set up MediaWiki to share online.
- Set up Lenny* to share online.
- Set up automated backups to share online.
- Draft on the projects wiki, evolve, and refine our projects' goals, plans, roadmaps, guides, rules, management, etc.
- Getting all these platforms functional, operating smoothly, interacting/mirroring the entire SaidIt history, and federating/decentralizing is more important than looking pretty or tweaking customization features.
- Eventually, invite more users when ready.
- Other stuff (tests, tweaks, GUI and design, bridges, custom code, roadmaps, wish lists, etc) and other platforms (PeerTube, Diaspora, Mastodon, web-scraping archive, store, crypto, VPN, IPFS, ZeroNet, TOR, torrent, I2P, etc) can come whenever.
* Perhaps in addition to a Reddit-like Lenny forum, a Facebook-like decentralized Diaspora forum, a non-decentralized PhpBB forum as Larry wants, and maybe even host another instance of SaidIt to backup/mirror the database via RSS, the API, and/or the SaidIt-NotABug-thing. It may be easier for us to bridge the platforms when they're all in one place, with access.
As co-hosts and/or as users, the more people who join the federation, the more our knowledge pool will grow.
Long Term Top Priorities
Besides the ultimate goal: decentralized, fair, open, accountable, consistent, honest, management and social media systems, my aim has never been to replace SaidIt through direct competition. If we can offer a superior experience (via fairness, freedom folks, and forum features) people will branch out and migrate naturally. Once we have a stronger decentralized truth-seeking community with better social management and stuff I don't see how we wouldn't organically grow.
I don't expect everyone to co-host their own instances. Not at all. But I'm guessing that quite a few might take on that critical leadership role - especially if it's easy and with support.
To include the most people's participation possible, we must find solutions to include anonymous participation - and/or we should develop many different anon-solutions to provide anon-individuals more options to actively contribute with open and calculated risks of different levels. Security is never perfect but we can do our best and offer options.
Also, to include the most people's participation possible, most gear, software, interfaces, and tutorials should feature 4 fundamental accessibility levels:
- Basic Beginner
- Advanced Users
While I don't want to start a huge server farm empire, I wouldn't object to providing some kind of other simple hands-off services for folks. I'm not an I.T. guy so either you'd have to do that yourself or help cooperatively co-manage the gear with whoever else uses it and/or my local guy(s) if/when I find one. (ie. Utility computing) My real hope is that I won't need to set up much gear here because many other folks will also be grid computing.
If instead of a single admin guy for a single box, the server(s) had internally protected containers and subsections (like sandboxes or partitions) for many folks to utilize without having to worry about someone corrupting or rebooting the entire system (ie. Multiseat configuration). And/or perhaps I could have some working together in a computer cluster.
I'm not keen on troll-anon chaos so I aim to have a self-regulating community (as I've outlined fair forums before). Initially, the wiki will get loaded with (evolving) articles, lists, rules, roadmaps, etc. as the forum's technical kinks are worked out, along with the organization of subs and other systems - all tested by only a few folks. Until the grand opening we may all sign up and contribute to the wiki's rules and guides on how we'd like our community to be best self-moderated. None of my instances will ever be open to random-anons, though other co-hosts may with their own instances. I/We don't have time or resources for whack-a-troll, but I'll always appreciate those who filter STABs (shlls, trolls, and bots) for our community. I prefer to let users prove themselves on SaidIt or elsewhere to become known-anons who earn an invitation (and/or I'll provide a way to request an invite until it gets abused).
In my opinion, ideally there should be no censorship (besides illegal content) but there should be a filtration system, much like the "block" feature but much better and with notifications so that every user can participate in creating metatag label clouds about each other, like my MetaVote™ idea that can be use for inputting much more than just opinions and topical metadata for much deeper content analysis. (It's a shame that the technocracy has powerful analytical tools and information yet we don't.)
Unfortunately we don't have an instance of Lenny running yet (Lenny is Lemmy without SJW censorship) so I haven't even checked out the features of that forum yet, much less know how we can hack it into a better system, yet I'm willing to pitch...
First Proposed Code Bounty
Since my dream forum filter with or without MetaVote™ may be very complicated to code I'd like to start with a much simpler block-like-filter system with a single variable and a dozen tag-label options. Not only should every user have their tag-label visible they should also indicate what block-filter they are using so that folks don't waste their time replying to someone who filters them.
The sooner a something like this is in place the sooner we won't need to be invite only and we won't need censorship. If Lenny has an individual block feature then I think this site-wide filter should run parallel to it, not be a modified replacement of it.
- site and instance owner(s)
- moderating trusted-team
- active non-partisan users
- centrist users
- right-leaning users
- left-leaning users
- alt-right users
- far-left users
- rare users and lurkers
- banned asstrolls (their filtered content remains uncensored on the record)
Without MetaVote™ driving any algorithms automatically, who would determine and change the labels? The trusted-team would. For the most part it would simply be hands off, however it seems fair that folks could lobby to have their tag-labels change as their activity evolves. It also seems like a good idea that each community may define their own qualitative and quantitative tag-label system, lead by the trusted-team.
Since I currently don't have the funds for a code bounty, nor do I know how much time or effort this would take this is just an initial proposal. Perhaps my idea needs an overhaul or there is something else much more important. Let us all know how to improve this and if you think this is even worth pursuing - or if you have other ideas, good, bad, ugly, or profound.
Ideally soon we'll have the wiki back up and accessible so that we can all develop the road map, wish lists, code bounties, etc. and cooperatively choose our top priorities to focus on moving forward to resist all tyranny.
Sys Admins Needed
Whether you want to be admin lead for an entire server with several partitioned platforms, be admin lead on a single platform, develop bridges between platforms, develop archival backup systems, code new features, or something else entirely - please step forward.
Regardless if you volunteer freely or very rationally wish to be rewarded eventually for your work, it makes sense that you should keep logs of all your time, efforts, projects, etc. and maintain some open communication and road maps of your intentions. Life is dangerous and unpredictable, especially since lockdown, so on the chance you get hit by a vaccine bus or something we will need to pick up where you left off to continue the resistance.
Obviously volunteers earn stakes in our online worker cooperative, not only a meritocracy but also a do-ocracy. Talk is a starting point, organizing and planning helps, but getting effective results is the ultimate goal.
So far no one has made any promises and I don't begrudge anyone on that front. I appreciate that it's all voluntary too, much like our community interaction. I think it's understandable that I'm annoyed at the lack of communication. The apathy is contagious but I'm also trying to find or figure out a way forward. If this second reboot doesn't lift off, I'm ready to fuck it all, retreat and just do some writing and/or animation without all the resources or community in place and continue doing more with my local folks which I've been doing lately.
Importantly, I think, I aim to relocate the private distributed Session chat conversation back to SaidIt, where IMO it always belonged. This is not mutiny, this is evolution.
I still have great hopes for this community. Let's make this happen.
Your feedback is critical.
The resistance evolution starts now on SaidIt.net.
Many projects coming soon
Much feedback wanted
Many positions available
Prepare to do something
Watch this space