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ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
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Author Topic: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era  (Read 3082 times)

Freebieservers

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ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« on: July 04, 2015, 03:33:31 am »

Forums have been at the crux of how we share information and conduct discussions for over 2 decades now. From the beginning,its been a simple platform that allows basic functions : sharing text, sending PM’s and occasionally uploading media content. However, with the arrival of blockchain, one would expect the system to evolve. To somehow be able to transfer value on the blockchain, maybe login with a wallet id and engage in business and discussions while being able to access the wallet right through the forum. However, in spite of all the progress we’ve made in the crypto-sphere over the years, we are yet to see how the blockchain and forums can be brought together.

User experiences are dispersed across exchanges,wallets and a laundry list of services. Why is it that forums have to be so mundane when they can be redeveloped to bring together the best of both worlds ? Why is it that plugins have to be developed to be able to tip a user whose posts actually helped you ? Probably because no one attempted to combine the blockchain and a forum in an intuitive manner.

The way discussions are held in the community today is completely decentralized. Ideas are dispersed across skype chats, slack discussions and the deepweb. Who knows what kind of treasure trove is lost on a daily basis between the piles of chat logs. This also creates a system where people have to run through multiple systems to keep on with what’s going on in the industry. The new system will be a central home-base of sorts that allows users to keep a check on the progress of projects, and socialize at the same time.


ULTRA is our attempt to bring a change to that. We believe, it is possible to bring the blockchain and a forum together and create a sustainable business around it. We believe, it is about damn time, someone took a system that is over 2 decades old and made it appealing enough to the masses.


The key aspect to successfully combining multiple communities that in themselves are successful due to micro niches and other factors, is to integrate the features that draw the users without sacrificing the experience for something completely unique and foreign, to this end the data structure can not take place entirely on the blockchain, it will have to function much like a centralized forum system with chat logs and other functions being passed between database servers for failover, that being said - user information such as identity could be placed on the blockchain so even outside of the system, it can be accessed.

Privacy is an aspect that draws all users to congregate in more secure systems, to that end the goal of this system will be to make everything from chats, to personal information optional and stored in an encrypted manner such as that the administrators can not access it without permission from the user.  Private groups and direct messages will naturally never be stored, and integrated voice features will use an encrypted method.

Core features



Hybrid Logins

We believe it is time we combined user names with blockchain identities. The core login aspect would be made on the blockchain. In order to login to a system, a user will be made to login to his wallet, thereby giving him instant access to his funds in the system. The money will be stored on the blockchain, with the servers having zero access to funds. This would work as an open authorization on the blockchain.



Tipping

The function would allow users to tip those creating threads of valuable information, thereby creating incentive for users to post content with depth and quality. In the current model of the forum, connecting an external tipping service has become impossible due to outdated systems. We believe a tipping system can be connected right onto the forum, with the ability to see the statistics of amount tipped, received and other details right on the forum without need for external services.




Moderation techniques

Communities could be moderated by means of moderators that are voted into power in real time using the nxt vote feature. This could also be used to upvote and downvote threads in real time, thereby creating a user regulated system that allows for the propagation of information that appeals to the end user and  helps avoid spam of unnecessary services by miscreants. 




Social integration

The new forum will be targeted at the new stream of users that come searching about Nxt as some of the core projects explode. The concern is to make an intuitive interface for people to explore what nxt offers in an easy to access fashion. The idea is to make them feel accommodated as they come searching about us. While there will be traditional forms of login and a method to access the forum with the wallet , there will also be something along the lines of a “hybrid” login. This feature allows a user to combine the wallet id, with his social id.  The possibilities of what this could offer to the forum are countless. Imagine being able to tip directly to someone’s twitter account from the forum. Thereby ushering in a new age of virality to the community.


Current systems suffer from several key problems, such as the restriction of information due to lack of knowledge, for example a user may be too intimidated to pursue knowledge about NXT due to supernet being somewhat tough to access and understand. ULTRA is, among other things, an attempt to break down the intimidating barriers and large requirements of knowledge that come with using crypto-currency, while simultaneously allowing the advanced users to have a central location to connect and explore projects and niche communities that otherwise would be separated by an immense gulf of required understanding and expertise.

Other possible areas this system could expand to could include freelance and smart contract systems, to allow linking crypto developers together and let them start, crowdfund, manage and promote projects all in the same place. Current forums and chat systems make this process extremely impersonal, no one can decide on a contract or what project management suite to use, which svn or git service to use, the problems are endless when connecting professionals with entrepreneurs who need them.

It’s important to remember the reason users connect; information. To this end, one of the main goals of ULTRA will be to organize users into their respective niches, suggesting connections that allow them to expand their social horizon and explore opportunities they had not considered. the creation of groups, subgroups, teams, committees and all sorts of other groups should be allowed and enabled through the system to enhance a user's ability to congregate, explore and decide things together. 

Once past the primary development phase, a mobile application will need to be made, and a heavy campaign should be made to bring other crypto communities onto ULTRA - there should be no reason why the majority of the features can not be used with other blockchains, though some clearly will not work, NXT should always be the central blockchain we use for storing data and secure information. Ideally, a user could come in and manage their bitcoin wallet, tip with bitcoins and earn bitcoins for posting on a forum or participating in a group chat, all because they chose the option bitcoin instead of NXT.

ULTRA should look to expand its offerings on every front and partner with every possible technology driven market niche, things like allowing users to pay for a lyft car with their ULTRA wallet or sign a contract with the ULTRA app should be not only possible but easily integrated into our daily world once adoption is mainstream, the possibilities for ULTRA as both an identity verification system and payment processor are endless because of the trustless environment.

As development expands, ULTRA could be made to take over the roles of many market, advertising, social and business functions to allow a central location for people to meet and discuss, not just about one currency or one niche, but all of them in any array of subject - we envision a system that has the power of facebook with the privacy you have always dreamed of and the powerful features from every system you have ever used, ULTRA aims the first place you look for all the important information that makes your world go round.
Other possible features:


Portfolio management

Users could have their account listing and their portfolio displayed in real time. Users could also look up at the portfolio held by other members of the community in real time, adding more transparency to the ecosystem.


Asset Exchange


We believe it is time we quit with the asset exchange  listing on external sites or wallets. Why not have asset listings and transactions made right within the forum ? If asset listings could be made right from the forum then the need for an external login would be removed thereby adding to the user experience. Think of what secureae offers right within the forum itself.


DB Decentralization

Given the high amount of downtime faced by services like BCT it becomes incredibly important for users to be able to access the forum in a secure fashion even if one or two fo the servers goes down. By basing the service on the cloud and using dns failover and db synchronization techniques a high level of uptime could be maintained. while the server will still be in a central location, security will be managed by cloud services and failover can ensure that users never truly see the system down.




Just some of the things, I think we should evolve into.
Am happy getting this dev’ed through a fund raiser or something.
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NxtSwe

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2015, 08:57:44 am »

Sounds very interesting. Time consuming to develop, but interesting.
Do you think such thing could be developed on NXT blockchain or do you need other features.
In a different dimension I'd have more time available and be able to help out, because it sounds like fun!
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Freebieservers

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2015, 09:04:07 am »

Sounds very interesting. Time consuming to develop, but interesting.
Do you think such thing could be developed on NXT blockchain or do you need other features.
In a different dimension I'd have more time available and be able to help out, because it sounds like fun!

All features mentioned can be developed and deployed in  a months time with the right resources.
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TwinWinNerD

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2015, 09:09:00 am »

Complete overkill. Forums in the current form are perfect for what they are needed. Bloating them with not-needed features doesn't make sense. The tip integrations will never be used (we had one for half a year already....) and hybrid logins can be implemented in the current forum too.

I know the point is to shift things from slack to here, but that won't work with this...

Waste of time, energy and money

Damelon

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2015, 09:11:10 am »

I have no problem with giving this a go, provided we keep these forums up during development, which is also a hybrid approach. :)

I don't know if you have ever looked into https://joindiaspora.com/, but that project shows that this is not a simple task, so please be careful.
Diaspora also thought to rather quickly replace FB, and it never really got off the ground due to not understanding how online communities outside their niche work.

Some things that I would like to be considered (from both a user and an admin (with 20 years of experience in online communities) standpoint) is:

- safety: intergrating wallets is fine as long as it doesn't create an unsafe situation for either funds or identities
- usability: forums are easy to understand for nearly anyone. Please don't create a UI that is only understandable for the under 30s.
- social interaction: I disagree people only come to forums for information. They start out that way, and then quickly form relationships, where information often is secondary. A forum is just that: a forum or agora like in Rome or Greece. A place to talk, interact and share. It should take into account that part.

And I know this is kicking a beehive, but consider that most people are absolute shit at self-restraint. I have only to look at bitcointalk, reddit and some other unmoderated place to see that a completely user driven forum is just an opportunity for bastards to take over. Even subreddits are moderated in some way. Upvoting and downvoting is not enough to keep a place clean.
You can disregard the above if you wish, but I feel the need to put that in, because I patently do not believe (again: both from basic psychology and experience) that an unmoderated forum is going to work.

That said, willing to talk and help out if needed as long as the approach is hybrid.
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SwissAlps

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2015, 09:15:41 am »

DB Decentralization

Given the high amount of downtime faced by services like BCT it becomes incredibly important for users to be able to access the forum in a secure fashion even if one or two fo the servers goes down. By basing the service on the cloud and using dns failover and db synchronization techniques a high level of uptime could be maintained. while the server will still be in a central location, security will be managed by cloud services and failover can ensure that users never truly see the system down.
+1

Yes, it would be very nice to use the blockchain directly and avoid single point of failure...

I have always wondered what would happen if nxtforum.org is suddenly unavailable, how do we meet then  ?
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crimi

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2015, 10:00:21 am »

wait for theymos(bitcointalk) he will soon start a complete forum software revolution.  :D
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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2015, 10:47:31 am »

Yes, it would be very nice to use the blockchain directly and avoid single point of failure...

I have always wondered what would happen if nxtforum.org is suddenly unavailable, how do we meet then  ?

While  the idea is a good one, please don't start a try to stuff every and all things into the blockchain. It's funny to have all that p2p-currencies, instant messagers, softwaredistribution schenes like torrent etc. but  for communications  the still use centralised Forums. It's even funnier  in the light of the fact that newsgroups as a distributed solution are  there since 1980 or so.

So maybe it's possible to extend the client's functionality with a 'list of services' oder 'directory of services' function to make avaiable  which Nxt based services are offered. The only part that the traditional Nxt software offers is 'login' and 'message' or 'content' authetication. Of course the storage/data representation would be something more actual than the 1980ish email format.
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ThomasVeil

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2015, 11:07:28 am »

Depends really on the forum - when talking about flowers this would be overkill, but Bitcointalk would fare much better in such a system. With proper encryption for PMs, more decentralized moderating and better archiving, and proper ID's via blockchains.
Replacing Bitcointalk would be a great goal - really necessary by now.

The tip integrations will never be used (we had one for half a year already....)

It never was really practical. The old version we had didn't really show why one got a tip and from whom(though some people added messages ), which makes it a bit pointless. If it's a one-click solution ala Bitcoinpauling, then I would heavily use it.

Quote
Waste of time, energy and money

Might be - really depends on how it works. If it's not that much work to do a first version, it might be worth a try. The barrier might be high though, because a lot of functionality is expected.
CfB was talking about creating a decentralized forum before. Maybe check up with him.
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Freebieservers

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2015, 12:07:58 pm »

Depends really on the forum - when talking about flowers this would be overkill, but Bitcointalk would fare much better in such a system. With proper encryption for PMs, more decentralized moderating and better archiving, and proper ID's via blockchains.
Replacing Bitcointalk would be a great goal - really necessary by now.

The tip integrations will never be used (we had one for half a year already....)

It never was really practical. The old version we had didn't really show why one got a tip and from whom(though some people added messages ), which makes it a bit pointless. If it's a one-click solution ala Bitcoinpauling, then I would heavily use it.

Quote
Waste of time, energy and money

Might be - really depends on how it works. If it's not that much work to do a first version, it might be worth a try. The barrier might be high though, because a lot of functionality is expected.
CfB was talking about creating a decentralized forum before. Maybe check up with him.

Thanks for the heads up, will get in touch with him.
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Tosch110

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2015, 02:03:55 pm »

Maybe it would make more sense, instead of working around the forum and making fixes here and there until nothing really works anymore, to build a platform around the forum (In a Blog style or so...). So you can go to the platform with your username and have a chat, tipping service, same reputational details and whatelse Nxt Offers.
You could put more details like an "official Nxt Account" into your Account, this would make a bunch of things easier...?

Nxtblg

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2015, 04:02:44 pm »

I was thinking along the same lines, but my own vague thoughts centred around an experimental forum where posts are on the blockchain and served up by a template client.
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Windjc

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2015, 09:48:39 pm »

Complete overkill. Forums in the current form are perfect for what they are needed. Bloating them with not-needed features doesn't make sense. The tip integrations will never be used (we had one for half a year already....) and hybrid logins can be implemented in the current forum too.

I know the point is to shift things from slack to here, but that won't work with this...

Waste of time, energy and money

By FAR the biggest problem with this forum is that for any non-crypto and even many crypto knowledgeable people, the information, heading and organization of the material on this forum is a grand cluster ****.   

Nothing is easy to navigate or understand. And that is a major failure in my opinion.
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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2015, 01:02:30 am »

Something halfway between slack and forum software might be pretty cool.

You start threads where members can write in real time, but the threads can close once they are completed then they are archived for later reference.
That way you have the realtime conversations like slack, but the chats are freely available for anyone to view and older chats are easy to refer to like a forum.
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Brangdon

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Re: ULTRA : Re-Designing the forum for the blockchain era
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2015, 02:27:35 pm »

The tip integrations will never be used (we had one for half a year already....)
I went to the trouble of registering for it, and then for some reason they changed the system and I needed to set it all up again before I could use it. I didn't bother, until just now. I found it fairly complicated. To send my first tip I needed a NxtTips account and password, a new Nxt account number and public key, a PIN, and a cookie. Now it is set up I might use it more.

If it were better integrated it would be better. Being able to include a message helps, but I don't see any way of listing all the Tips I've received. (I have received a few over the months, but they are all from diverse accounts and for diverse amounts.)
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