A Vision of Condenser as The Uber Decentralized Social Application

in hive-136578 •  2 months ago 


I know where this all started. The name Steemit.com sort of gives it away. Steemit.com and therefore Condenser was originally created to be essentially a Crypto Reddit. The big spoiler comment of this post is that we're so far past that and I think it's time to start thinking and planning bigger. With measured steps of course, but the ultimate goal in my mind is condenser and therefore Hive being the backbone of all decentralized social activity on the internet.

I think this is a lofty but possible goal and I think we should settle for nothing less than that.

A quick aside about my personal motivations.

I personally feel like a ton of the worlds problems stem from the fact that too much power is in the hands of too few people. I think using technology to empower regular people is a worthwhile pursuit and something worth working for, fighting for, nurturing, and protecting.

Just as I think ultimately money and value is too important to be controlled by a few random humans, I also feel that in this day and age, digital social interaction is also too important to be controlled by a few random humans. We all use social applications for fun. For sharing memes or funny videos, for sharing our ideas, or snapshots of our lives, but we also use these tools to find out what's going on in the world, to listen to the voices of the otherwise voiceless, to speak truth to power and to express ourselves as free human beings that should have some inalienable rights.

What we're building today may very well be the foundation of the "Free Internet". What we just went through may be a historical turning point in the beginning of something that changes the world. If Steem were a private company, with proprietary assets, we'd have been screwed. What we did here wasn't just a social achievement by our community, it was a technological proof of concept that this system can withstand attacks that maybe few other system could.

Anyway, that's where I'm coming from. That's a peek into my values and why I'm doing everything I'm doing. It all comes down to those goals at the end of the day.

Back to Condenser. We have these behemoth social applications that have billions of users that the whole world is addicted to. They make insane amounts of money selling people's data to advertisers. Truth is most people don't care about that because they find the applications fun/useful and their data being sold typically doesn't negatively influence their life in any way that they can really perceive...yet.

In the past four years what I've seen is that all of those applications can work on Hive. Tweaks need to be made, especially to the frontend and I think in general in how people are looking at all this, but it CAN work. So my vision of Condenser in its final form looks something like this...

If you think of a mall, that is Condenser, and each Community in Condenser is like a store in the mall.

The role of the mall is to showcase the most popular stores and to help get you to the store you want to get to and make that journey as pleasant as possible. Each store within the mall is totally unique and once you cross that threshold from the general in-between area of the mall into the store. You're in that store's world. How it's designed, how it's decorated is up to the store owner(within reason).

Also, just because a store is in a mall, that doesn't mean that's the only place that store lives. That store can also own its own buildings, be in several malls, be wherever it thinks it can be that will be beneficial to the store.


Alright let's jump out of the metaphor and get a bit more plain. I think Condenser should be modular in a way operating on three levels. The base(Mall) that functions primarily to show you generically "good" and popular stuff, then facilitate you getting to the very specific thing you want.

Then I think there is the Community layer that I think should be HIGHLY customizable. In it's visible appearance and in its primary use case. For example...

  • If your community is primarily just a place where you and your friends hang out and chat, you should be able to specify that the landing page is your public group chat (powered by OpenSeed of course 😉)
  • If you've got an art Community like OnChainArt you should be able to showcase that art in a variety of ways.
  • If you have a Community all about sharing video content, when someone lands on your community page, you should be able to lay that out to only see videos, and the view and experience should be able to be optimized for that. Basically, we can have it all. Why settle for just one experience?

Our brand can be to be brandless, therefore being able to fit the brand at the communities level.

The third and final layer is the Community Module layer. These would be features that you can turn on or off depending on what your community is and what it does. For example...

  • A digital marketplace
  • Ad space buying and selling
  • Different flavors of chat
  • Other Stuff

This gets back to what I and a lot of other community members have been saying for a long time that Hive(it's weird injecting Hive when I'd normally say Steem) should aim for an experience similar to Wordpress where we have lots of modules and widgets that we can use to customize the experience to whatever suites the communities needs.

I know that what I'm describing is thousands of development hours, but as I mentioned I think it should be a long term goal, to ultimately get all this stuff out and slick and opensource. I think this is our path to world domination.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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Modular is good. I like modular. I like Drupal style modular over Wordpress style modular where you have super generic modules that can be clipped together to make specific sites with little overlap between modules (no point having a hundred thousand modules where one really good one will do, and maybe submodules if people are desperate to have a highly specific player or something, unless Wordpress has changed since I last looked as it has been a very long time XD).

I'm not familiar with Drupal, but I think I would rather have something more akin to Wordpress. Reason being I don't think there will ever be such a thing as "really good" that is applicable to everyone. Also, if we build a more Wordpress like system we can create an internal market around it.
Imagine being able to buy a "Community Skin" and having the flexibility to change it whenever you want.
It would give people something to spend their Hive on and the more things people can actually spend Hive on, the closer we get to a real economy vs earn tokens to earn more tokens.

Prefer the devil you know to the angel you don't? ;D

Theoretically there's no real difference in how Drupal and Wordpress operate, they're both base things, and you add in modules/plugins to make the site do what you want and buy/make a theme to go on top right? Is that roughly how we see condenser working as well? Just so we're in the same sector of the universe?

I (perhaps foolishly) assumed the above so was focusing more on module management/development, and tldr I like how Drupal handle things more than what I remember of Wordpress is all, reasons below otherwise skip to next comment :)

What I remember of Wordpress was that trying to find plugins was a nightmarish mess, and there were a billion plugins that did the same thing. So for example if you decided you wanted to build a video sharing site, after you got your Wordpress installed you then had to try to work out which one of the thousands of available plugins would a) work best for you and b) not be malware. I'm assuming stuff has changed by now because it's been over a decade a decade since I last used it (fek I'm old).

With Drupal, they prefer people collaborate on one brilliant module than have several half-arse ones littering the place, so if there was a module that already did a thing that you wanted and you were writing one, you had to explain why your module was different enough from the existing one to be included and why it couldn't exist as a submodule of the existing one. So back to our hypothetical video sharing site, what you would do in this case is find and install the video module and any submodules/recommended modules (players and whatnot) that augment it. That's not to say that you couldn't just build your own thing out anyway and make it available, if the cms recognises something as a module it will use it, it just wouldn't be on the Drupal main site where most people go look.

Drupal also has a security advisory which I highly valued (modules have a red shield if they haven't been checked, yellow if there's a problem and green if it's been checked and found all right, doesn't stop you from using it if you want, it's there for informational purposes) but I don't know how practical that would be for here and either way that's a much further down the line thing (as I don't recall the security advisory being a thing til Drupal 6 or 7, though that's also when I subbed to that mailing list so it's entirely possible it existed at some point beforehand).

Only vaguely related, video is also a nightmarish pain XD

Ahh, okay I get it, and it’s been a really long time since I’ve used Wordpress as well, but yea, there’s a million of everything. Considering where we are right now, having too many options seems like a wonderful and dreamy problem to have haha. But yea I could see both working. So a Drupal like thing for the main hive.blog site, but Wordpress madness on individual Community sites, ie sites that are not hive.blog and only house a single community. Sort of how tribes work now.
That might actually be a better idea. Hmm...

For us right now it seems like an amazing problem XD I'm also skipping way too far ahead trying to reduce as much confusion/choice paralysis as possible for people in a not so distant future that may or may not exist :)

The modular approach to community features sounds good to me.

I’d love to start seeing some phone apps. TikTok - so simple but huuge right now. My girl turned 14 yesterday and I video chatted her on her mobile while she sat in distain in front of a laptop. We got to go mobile!

Nicely written :)

Great post, and yes, that would be EPIC. It would be a kind of 'social dashboard' where you'd not be able to live without. I miss features like 'most discussed' or 'most voted on' and other ways of seeing content that you might otherwise miss.

Also: an app that shows everything that happens on Hive, in one glance, I would very much love that.

I believe something is about to be felt and know to the world and that is the hive community.
Just a matter of time

Sounds very good, and maybe check out this related work: https://peakd.com/hive-139531/@imwatsi/proposal-imwatsi-dev-work-ongoing-funding