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Page history last edited by Chris Messina 16 years ago


Note: This work is now being realized in the DiSo Project.


A number of WordPress plugins could be used to create a DistributedSocialNetwork.


Inspiration from BoingBoing's new social features and Simon Willison's OpenID features including "Your Comments" and "Your Watchlist".


Baseline featureset


  • permissions set using whitelists for groups and individuals, as represented by universal identifiers (like OpenIDs or remote accounts)
  • site-to-site messaging
  • generic activity stream callbacks (like Facebook's Beacon, but that never talks to a third party unless you want it to)
  • identity consolidation and federation (hcard subscriptions, profile aggregation)
  • universal add-friend API and friends-list portability (add any URL as a friend; or follow or become a fan of a URL; use portable blocklists to filter undesired content; access your friends list on any site without revealing them to the remote site)
  • more?


Distributed work


Perhaps just as important as the design and featureset, it's also critical that, over time, and as the concept gets increasingly fleshed out, we keep an eye to the need for distributed and parallel work, providing opportunities for others to get involved, participate or implement DiSo concepts and practices without necessarily needing to join the mainline project.


This is critical both to the longterm viability of the project and to the adaptability of the main concepts in multiple varied contexts. It's not enough to just consider the blogging model of the world, and so we must also consider new and explored contexts, where having "social primitives" as part of one's toolbox enable whole new kinds of interactions and services.


As such, while DiSo should aim to build a reference implementation to demonstrate the value of a distributed social networking experience, we should also endeavor to quickly and articulately extract the core building blocks of the DiSo model so that others, whatever they may be working on, can join in as well.


User interface conventions


One important element of success for existing social networks is consistency. Since most people probably don't spend as much time as us geeks social networking, a clean, efficient and straight-forward interface is essential to helping people grok the purpose and interaction model of a distributed social network, where the way things can wrong (or right!) will differ greatly from a top-down controlled, silo network.


To this end, the project should endeavor to establish and document user interface conventions that MUST be adhered to in order to be "DiSo-compatible". This is no small undertaking for a distributed, open source project, but again, it is necessary in order to ensure that end users unfamiliar with DiSo or with the concept of distributed social networking have a pleasant and positive experience, and furthermore that we don't needlessly invent or over-design features where good solutions already exist in the wild and appear to be well understood by typical social network users.


WordPress Plugins


The majority of these plugins are concepts that could be built as plugins for the wp-openid plugin.






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