Hi all, as per my post a few days ago I've been discussing free speech platforms with a select number of people who reached out to me regarding a potential project that might "cure" the issues surrounding free speech on major platforms.
The idea that I have is simple. Rather than invent a dozen new technologies or invest in blockchain tech that sounds cool in theory (but nobody has been able to actually explain to me in a way that makes any fucking sense), I thought the best approach would be a hybrid/hydra approach.
This is what I think the biggest barriers are to a free speech platform:
Ownership and hosting of the platform should be distributed, which means supporters of a project must be numerous for success.
Difficulty in implementation. Blockchain sounds great but nobody knows how to use it, and very few are going to become experts in the field to launch their own part of the platform. Simplicity is key.
Difficulty in accessibility. If your project is dark-web or requires a new browser or app to access it, it's already off to a bad start. In order to combat censorship, we must not accept alternatives to the accepted world-wide-web. (If a tree falls in the forest and nobody's around to hear it). Assume that any requirement for a 3rd party app is doomed from the start (see gab's experience with google play and apple store).
Liability. Outside of being appetizing to advertisers, which I think is an overblown argument that doesn't hold as much merit as many would think, the big reason for the recent purge was the administration here either pushing a political agenda or attempting to mitigate future liability. A distributed nature of a website would minimize anybody's liability to the content they choose to host.
Moderation vs Censorship. Moderation must still be possible for individual communities to stay on topic, however the overarching concept should allow subverting censorship by letting anybody become a moderator of their own community if they choose.
Cost. A centralized platform is difficult to implement and expensive to run. A distributed platform is cheap. Owners of sub-communities will be allowed to sell their own advertising to cover costs or use something like bitcoin to collect donations.
A light-weight forum script no heavier than wordpress, and just as easy to install, that uses an open-id format that lets users seamlessly jump from property to property. Instead of subreddits we have sub-sites. Anybody with a hobby can launch their own. The script should have as little overhead as possible, letting smaller sites host on anything as simple as a cheap shared-hosting account on godaddy or the bigger subs to setup shop on a mildly priced VPS/Dedicated + domain.
A master site (or anybody who wants to implement it) uses the open standard to aggregate content that you subscribe to in one place, similar to reddit's front page. But none of that content is centrally hosted making the aggregation nothing but a viewer with no control or oversight on the content (aside from deciding who to subscribe to and who not to). If any major aggregation threatens censorship, a dozen new ones can pop up, or you can host your own private one. Or, you can visit each property individually as you do the normal internet.
If you don't like how one forum is being moderated, you can create your own. So while individual properties will still obviously offer a level of moderation, a larger free-speech approach is enabled by letting any community start with their own set of rules and no governing body can say no.
The legal liability for legal content is squarely on the shoulders of the mods who create their own properties.
We've investigated a few open source or existing ideas (such as hubzilla) so we're not sold on re-inventing the wheel. But if you have an interest in either the creative side of this project or the development side of this, please leave a note in the comments and I'll get you instructions to join the group discussing this.