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Dscuss - a P2P network for public discussions

The moderators are dead! Long live the moderators!

Abstract

Traditional systems for public discussion (like Internet forums) do not provide equal rights to all users. Owners of the resource and moderators always possess extended rights. Sometimes these rights can be abused, which eventually can split the community of the resource and lead to its degeneration. As a solution to this problem we present Dscuss. It’s a peer-to-peer network for public discussions, which provides equal rights to all members of the community.

The idea of the project

The purpose of Dscuss is quite similar to the Internet forums, but there is one fundamental difference -- social equality of all members involved (i.e no owners, no moderators, etc). See Classification for details.

This leads to the following key features, which will be provided by Dscuss:

  • Decentralization. All the information will be stored on the users' machines.
  • Personal moderation. Every user will be able to manage her own copy of data and may share her management operations (edit message, remove message, ban user and so on) with others, who would like to accept them.

Besides that, Dscuss is designed to provide the following features:

  • Data authenticity
  • Data integrity
  • Data availability
  • SPAM resistance
  • Flood resistance

Dscuss is not intended to provide anonymity. However, this can probably be achieved using anonymizers like Tor

Documentation

All the documentation is available here: http://vminko.org/dscuss/.

API

API description generated by godoc is available here.

Progress of development

The version 0.2 is under development. The following features are planned for this version:

  • Relay servers (improved connectivity).
  • SPAM resistance (improved security).
  • Message text formatting.

The current stable version is 0.1. It has the following new features:

  • Database synchronization with other peers.
  • Web interface.
  • Improved connectivity (bootstrapping via DHT).
  • Improved security (flood resistance).

Features implemented in the proof-of-concept version:

  • Command-line interface.
  • Basic security based on ECDSA.
  • Persistent storage for entities.
  • Basic networking (TCP only).
  • Registration (via proof-of-work).
  • Bootstrapping (via list of rendezvous nodes).
  • Peer handshaking.
  • Publishing a message.
  • Listing a category.
  • Subscription to categories (via editing a text file).
  • Threading (replying to messages).
  • Operations on messages and users.

Dependencies

Dscuss is written in Go and currently has the following dependencies:

Initially Dscuss was supposed to be built on top of the GNUnet framework, but later it was considered not suitable for the purposes of Dscuss.

How to get the source code

The source code is available under GPL3.

To fetch the latest source code from the main git repository, run the following command:

git clone git://vminko.org/dscuss

GitHub contains the backup Dscuss repository: github.com/vminko/dscuss.

If you want to get the version 0.1 (which is more or less stable):

git reset --hard v0.1

You can use the web interface to browse the source code online.

Similar projects

Osiris -- a freeware program for creating decentralized web portals.

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Dscuss is a P2P network for public discussions.

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