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Shouko's Blog

ZeroMe: shouko@kaffie.bit
You may have to visit KaffieID and my hub first or you may be unable to follow my ZeroMe account:
(你可能需要在访问我的 ZeroMe 账户之前先访问一次 KaffieID 和我的 Hub 才行:)
id.kaffie.bit
hub.shouko.bit
ZeroMe 2: shouko@zeroid.bit

This is my personal blog. I am an undergraduate Chinese student and is currently learning Japanese. Anime and programming are my favorite.

这里是我的个人博客。我是中国的一名本科学生,目前正在学习日语。动漫和软件开发什么的最喜欢了 ^_^

こんにちは、ここは私のブログです。アニメとプログラムが結構好き。


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21 hours ago · 2 min read ·
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Announcing Shouko's Hub - and what's wrong with ZeroMe

on Oct 30, 2017 · 4 min read

Firstly, I would like to announce a ZeroMe Hub created by me: hub.shouko.bit. You can seed it and (optionally) join it if you like. This hub provides high quota for content once approved by me (you can contact me by ZeroMail or ZeroVerse's mail to shouko@zeroid.bit).

What's wrong with ZeroMe?

As a (fairly) new user on ZeroNet, I happily started off by joining ZeroMe. It was fun and exciting to experiment with decentralized things which is exactly what Internet is supposed to be. After a while I realized that this site is a merger site (which was not implemented the last time I tried ZeroNet) which includes a lot of sub-sites called hubs and I have to follow one's hub to receive the updates from the person. Therefore I found Get All Hub to add all the hubs provided by maintainer of this site.

However, when the messages from these hubs are comming in, I noticed something that I didn't expect ZeroMe to be.


Incomplete federation

What I mean by incomplete federation is that the hubs of ZeroMe are not quite federated. It is true that posts will be merged on your home timeline if you follow more than one hubs, and you can, sometimes, interact with users on other hubs. However, you can never:

  1. Appear on the new users list with IDs other than zeroid.bit and zeroverse.bit
  2. Comment on a user's post who belong to a hub that do not accept your ID provider
  3. Accept a user's comment who use an ID provdier that is not accepted by your hub

These are severe enough to drive users away from, at least, ZeroMe. The first point is almost fatal: why I must use the selected ID providers in order to appear on everyone's list? (Note: this limitation is set by ZeroMe's user registry) Where is the decentralization promised by ZeroNet the thing itself? (Please, appreciate that the registry also accepts ZeroVerse, otherwise there will be no way to appear on the list of users without leaking your IP address)

Being unable to comment on others make it not as social as one could expect. The thing social itself is almost just about interpersonal interaction. We are not going to be lonely islands that talk without receiving things. It is undeniable that we have the freedom to choose the hubs that we ourselves prefer, but this may make you unreachable by others, which removes a lot of the goodness to have a decentralized set of hubs.

Limits

Limits are the limits set by the hubs. At the time of writing, SunHub has a quota of only 48k for users, and this is true for many other hubs that are cloned from SunHub. This may seem a lot for blog comments or something similar to it, but definitely not enough for social platforms. For me myself, I used up 30k out of the 48k limit set by SunHub and this is the only hub shown on first registration. This became an important part of the reason why I set up Shouko's Hub.

Since it is for now impossible to switch or join additional hubs after first registration, the limit imposes a huge shortcoming on this platform. As is described before, it will be not very practical to set up a new and better hub in order to increase the possible quota set on one account -- that is to say, you have to depend on the maintainers of popular hubs to assign you more quota out of their hubs. Moreover, comments of a post is stored on the hub of the owner of the post, rather than on your own hub. This is also the reason why you could not comment on one's posts if his hub does not accept your ID. This implies that you could run out of limit on any of the existing hubs if you are actively interacting with users on ZeroMe. You will have to contact a bunch of hub maintainers in order to increase your limit on every possible hub if you are running out of limit. This, to me, seems like kind of design flaw and I do not really appreciate such strange limitation.

The "unlimited hubs" are not a good solution either. Besides the limitation described above, since anyone can join these hubs, malicious users can just replicate themselves a lot and start bombing these unlimited hubs to quickly grow the size to make it completely impossible to synchronize and download these sites. Banning users after being bombed is too late -- your hub is already failing.

Centralization

As a result, most of the users tend to join the largest hubs in order to reach as many people as possible. Most of the users will be under the control of the maintainers of the most popular hubs.

I recalled the last time when I decided to give up on ZeroNet. At that time, there was an issue on ZeroNet's repository discussing how merger sites (what ZeroMe is based on) could be implemented. I do really appreciate that the contributors did take decentralization into consideration most of the time, but not for this final ZeroMe "product". I thought that a hub is going to be a collection of similar or familiar people that can be set up easily, interact with others easily and this is what I thought a decentralized social platform should be. From this point of view, even Mastodon is better since it at least guarantees that users different instances can interact just as if they are in a same, huge Fediverse. (but it's not decentralized from the user's perspective.)

That is, basically, what I believe is wrong with ZeroMe.

Shouko's Hub

As a conclusion, it is almost meaningless to have one's own hub. However I'm still going to give it a try. Shouko's Hub will be a hub maintained by me and I will assign higher quota to people that I can confirm real and not spammers. This will be the hub in my imagination -- a technical guy in a group sets up a hub to serve the others, and everyone with such ability can do it on his / her own without any restriction on how the content can be spreaded. I totally believe that the limitations described above are just design flaws and could be corrected some time in the future, thus they would no more be barriers preventing user from freely choosing their beloved hubs. Therefore, more hubs are always beneficial to a decentralized community -- if you are capable to do so, please also set up your own hub and ask us to seed it for you.

8 Comments:

user_name1 day ago
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geeklesson Oct 30, 2017
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binchan2: and not everyone want to be indexed, Google is good, Google is evil...)

All the data is open for everyone in ZeroNet, so a global index is just a matter of time and money. If you have enough of them, you are Google and Facebook of ZeroNet. For that reason, I think every person should stay abreast and have access to the Index-Made-By-Good-Guys. There can be private Index-Made-By-Bad-Guys as well, and they could know many things about you, which you do not expect anyone knows. Maybe, for example, you post some deannonization info about yourself a couple of years ago, and today you eventually wrote a post against the government from the same ID. So they already are going after you. It is better to know exactly, what kind of digital fingerprints you left somewhere.

shoukoon Oct 30, 2017
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geekless: I doubt if we need a social networking site at all. User's activity is signed with his/her certificate on any site, so we .....

That's what I thought when I first saw the proposal of ZeroMe. That just seems too unnecessary.

binchan2on Oct 30, 2017
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geekless: I doubt if we need a social networking site at all.
... The only thing that should be centralized is a "global zeronet crawler"

Agree. ZeroHello is somehow a very nice social network homepage. A global zeronet crawler will be awesome.
Still not all people use crawler and search engine to discover things (and not everyone want to be indexed, Google is good, Google is evil...), we need various solutions to improve discoverability and keep the community active and sustainable. But maybe a very successful (and not decentralized) zite can also make ZeroNet die, e.g. because of Facebook the Internet is dying.

geeklesson Oct 30, 2017
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I doubt if we need a social networking site at all. User's activity is signed with his/her certificate on any site, so we can just collect the data and represent "Activity stream" for each user. That stream potentially is much more effective than a profile in a partucular social network. Zeronet is a global social network by itself, so do we actually need one more "facebook" inside of it?

If you follow a stream, you can see that a person wrote a post in a blog, liked or commented a post, edited a wiki page and so on. So you can go to that specific site (blog, wiki etc) and see the details.

No overflowing hubs are needed with this approach. Every site manages its data by itself. And if you consider some site is too big, you can just refuse visiting that site.

The only thing that should be centralized is a "global zeronet crawler", that indexes pages and tells you on which sites which users can be found. But it is just an indexer, and it has no unique data. So if don't trust some indexer, you can use another one or run your own instance.

binchan2on Oct 30, 2017
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And in my experience there are really not many active users on ZeroMe that reach 48k. I never ask Nofish to extend my limit and it's auto-extended... I can just say: senpai is looking at me XD
Maybe Nofish or some moderators (but there is no moderator in the content.json...) have created a script to detect who is reaching limit and manually (or with an algorithm to distinguish spammer and normal user and automatically) add limit for the user.

binchan2on Oct 30, 2017
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why I must use the selected ID providers in order to appear on everyone's list? (Note: this limitation is set by ZeroMe's user registry) Where is the decentralization promised by ZeroNet the thing itself?

Limiting ID is to avoid spamming, there are already more than 10,000 users (and files...) in the site, if accepts KaffieID, it can be disaster.

For me myself, I used up 30k out of the 48k limit set by SunHub and this is the only hub shown on first registration.

Even setting hub limit to 48k, one hub is still very quick to reach 10M limit, which then makes the hub slow to load and sync. ZeroMe has been pulished for about one year, and there are already 6 hubs. Nofish said he would write a plan for it.
He also plans to implement archive function, so when a site is too big, old files will be automatically archived as optional file and can be loaded to view old posts.

Besides the limitation described above, since anyone can join these hubs, malicious users can just replicate themselves a lot and start bombing these unlimited hubs to quickly grow the size to make it completely impossible to synchronize and download these sites.

Quite some designs is for avoiding spamming, that's unfortunate in reality, though there may be some better solution. Also I agree that ZeroMe is not quite federated, Therefore it's not the destination for making a perfect decentralized social network :)

geeklesson Oct 30, 2017
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polar: And more important wrong is: if you have multi profile at multi hub (such as create profile twice), your profiles will disordered.

This is what happened to me today. I followed some link and got to ZeroMeReloaded. The site said I had no profile (although I actually have), so I created it in the Orange Hub. The usual "Hello ZeroMe!" post appeared. I tried to delete that post and noticed that my older posts were deleted instead. I decided to check out what would happen if I press "Delete" several more times, so I got all my posts removed, LOL. Ironically, "Hello ZeroMe!" is stiil there and I have no way to delete it.

polaron Oct 30, 2017
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ZeroMe is designed to reduce the presence sense of hubs, this cause more problem.
And more important wrong is: if you have multi profile at multi hub (such as create profile twice), your profiles will disordered.

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