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Peepeth: Unstoppable Microblogging (peepeth.com)
117 points by apo on Apr 11, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 74 comments

1) The word "microblogging" threw me off -- for some reason, I hear "blogging", and don't realize it's meant to be a twitter clone.

2) Maybe it's just me, but the full page image of the woman on your landing page makes me want to close out rather than engage and find out what the product is. I'd rather see top peeps immediately, with a partial landing banner for new users.

3) I think the most critical task for a product like yours is curating a good community. With twitter already existing, how do you intend to avoid turning into a boring graveyard of crypto shills (like Steem) or a Gab-like place filled with only people offensive enough to have been banned elsewhere?

4) Otherwise -- it looks great! I'm on the waitlist...how long before you send out more invite? :)


1) Yeah, it's a weird word. Other suggestions appreciated. 2) Good feedback. 3) Branding is a top priority. This front-end is meant to polarize for a certain type of user. That becomes more clear during on-ramp and usage. Copy/messaging needs work. Suggestions appreciated. 4) Thank you. Best way is to DM me on Twitter at @bevanbarton with the email address you signed up with and I'll approve you ASAP.

On the word “microblogging”: I think this may actually be the fundamental problem with all Twitter clones (so I'm not singling out your project; you just happen to be here).

For a mass-market tool, it should be possible to describe the purpose your tool using words that have existed for more than a couple of decades. At the moment, the shorthand is always “like Twitter, except not quite”.

So is it public chat? personal status updates? a public short-form diary? crap poetry? a personal news feed? a way to contact companies with short messages?

All of these are valid, and maybe it's several, but perhaps choosing one use-case to focus on will lead to a clearer offering.

Technically "microblogging" is the generic term for Twitter's service, as I'm sure you know, but given how quickly they dominated the space it's a bit obscure (like saying "ice pop" for a Popsicle). I'm curious about the polarizing. I've never seen the word used that way before; does it refer to screening certain types out, or to attracting only certain types in? Is the idea to avoid the misogynist and alt right types who have ruined Twitter for a lot of people?

Could just copy Wikipedia [0]:

> online news and social networking service

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter

signed up for the waitlist too, excited to try it out!

Dumping large volumes of nonessential content into the Ethereum blockchain sounds like an antipattern.

Um... cryptokitties? But seriously a lot of people don't think Twitter is non essential. Once in the block chain a message can't be deleted, which could prove to make better discourse.

And this is why no politician, celebrity may never join it. Too much at stake!

As for microblogging, from the title I thought of a Tumblr/Twitter alternative, but I guess not :)

I own crypto but not ETH, and respectfully I don't want to get into ETH just for this. On the upside thought, making people "work for it" will keep away trolls and time-wasters/haters.

I hope it grows to see it how you like!

Politicians already have https://politwoops.eu/

It looks like the actual data is stored in IPFS; who is responsible for pinning this data so it sticks around? Is the centralized peepeth.com service also a de facto centralized host?

I found the feed to be more interesting than the copy on the first page. The first peep I saw was a meme, and that's great. Lots of software in this space feels too self-serious for memes.


In terms of getting paid: As a content creator, I'd like the barrier to entry to be as small as possible. Youtube Views being the lowest, what's the draw for this over Patreon, or even a Paypal?

Good question. It's nice to be able to receive payments without relying on a company. Even if Peepeth.com goes down, you could still be in business on other front-ends (back-end data is open, anyone can build competing front-ends).

The need to bulk post, and fees in general, are likely to hinder mainstream adoption.

Can multiple users share a bulk post? Curious if it would be possible to set up a site that reduces latency by grouping post actions from multiple users, possibly even letting them post for free by displaying ads in the front-end.

As someone who appreciates free speech but also hates online bullying and trolling, I'm a bit concerned that this platform could be used by bad actors to that effort. Technically though, its an excellent concept and very nice at first glance.


For me, the biggest roadblock is actually owning ETH. You may thing that's trivial, but I'm not so sure. Apparently 10m people in the world own SOME form of crypto[1] - so, there's your upper bound on number of users. For a mass-market product, 10m is really not that much .... you don't just need "traction", you need traction that is so significant that it pushes up the entire crypto market! I'm skeptical, but who knows? Good luck.

[1] https://www.quora.com/How-many-people-own-at-least-some-cryp...

The counterpoint is that you could look at it like encrypting your messages.

For years, using PGP for email was possible, but only a few people did, because it was clunky and they didn't care enough. The climate changed, but so did technology. WhatsApp now makes E2E message encryption trivial, due to the work they've put in to make it easy for users.

You could argue that if a cryptocurrency based service made the usage of that cryptocurrency sufficiently easy then it wouldn't matter that there hadn't been much adoption up to that point.

To put it another way - the market size for Peepeth isn't "people who already own some form of crypto", it's "people who don't want their messages censored". The use of crypto may be a barrier to entry for some of those people, but it doesn't necessarily have to be.

You're right but it's not really a counterpoint, it's just supporting/ alternate angle on my original point: for something like Peepeth to be mass-market-popular, it needs the underlying technology (cryptocurrencies) to be mass-market-popular, not just popular-in-some-niche (however large that niche is). So this service seems to be betting its future on the fact that some analogue of "whatsapp" will appear, that will make cryptocurrencies trivial to use. Do you know of any such service? THAT is something I'd be really interested to invest in :)

The point I was trying to make with the WhatsApp examples is that the work to make it easier could be part of Peepeth. I don't think WhatsApp is leveraging much existing work to do what it does, they've just come up with a good flow that fits their model.

Yes, the challenge for Peepeth is probably greater than that faced by WhatsApp, but not impossible.

The implicit assumption being made in the parent is that the current market size is dictated by UX, rather than something else like a compelling use case for the majority of the population. I'm suggesting that with some UX work and a compelling use case (which Peepeth may or may not be), there is nothing preventing large scale adoption of crypto.

Right. And I guess what I'm saying is that if Peepeth can solve the crypto UX problem, I'm already sold - but I've seen nothing in their page that suggests this is even on their radar. They seem to take ETH for granted - which is kinda' like Whatsapp saying that "you need to install bcrypt, create a public-private keypair, configure your identity wallet to keep the private key, and then you're all set to start using Whatsapp!". You can see how that is not a very attractive proposal - for most users, encryption is completely transparent in whatsapp, they don't even know it exists.

Peepeth could do something like Whatsapp, say "it costs you 1USD/month to use Peepeth, but for the first year we'll waive the fees" and transparently purchase ETH on your behalf behind the scenes. But they don't do that. They put all the crypto burden squarely on your shoulders, with no hint that they'd consider making it all seamless/ transparent for the regular user.

I think having a way to overcome the usability problem is a good idea.

Keep in mind that Peepeth is a self-funded effort by one person (Bevan). I'm sure he'd be more than glad to solve the usability problem, but purchasing ETH on your behalf can't be done without funding or a source of revenue.

However you can donate see https://peepeth.com/support

Web3 applications will require users to have tokens so they can interact with the DApp, so either a network token like Ether or a utility token like BAT is needed. The tradeoff is that your data isn't mined and sold for advertisers and your content can't be demonetised or otherwise censored by the platform. In the context of social media, I believe the cost will serve as deterrent to trolling and harassment.

For all the hurrah about Facebook and privacy, it will be interesting to see if users really do care enough about their rights to free speech and privacy to switch platforms and put some of their own resources into making better solutions.


'So if users don't adopt obscure decentralized platforms underpinned by crappy UI and strange, unfamiliar cryptocurrencies en masse, really it's their own fault'

Put some of your own resources into making a better version.

Agreed. Not just that but the overview suggests:

* I have to be using Firefox.

* And I have to install a firefox extension.

* And I have to have ETH.

There is not Firefox requirement.

I appreciate all of these distributed social networks (Mastodon, Peepeth, Diaspora, etc.) getting some buzz right now. I think distributed hosting of social networks is an important step forward.

However, they're all lacking one major thing that needs to happen in order for a true Facebook Exodus to take place - distributed discovery and consumption. Facebook has a HUGE network effect, and simply put there is no way any of my acquaintances are going to leave Facebook just because of the recent news. I can start a Mastodon node, but I would be shouting into a void - there's no one there to see my content, and no incentive for someone to move over. If I _did_ convince anyone to move, they'd be shouting into the same void, and get bored. There needs to be a way for us early adopters to post content, but let it still reach people that haven't jumped yet.

Right now the best solution I have for this is something pull-based like RSS. Even that's not a great solution, though - my average acquaintance no longer uses RSS. I might be able to get my mom to install Feedly, but no way is my old friend from High School going to install it. Open to hear ideas around this.

I understand that concern. There are some compromise solutions already available, at least specifically for Mastodon, and certainly space to communally explore further solutions.

A Mastodon feed has built in ATOM (RSS) support so you could encourage someone to subscribe to you in Feedly if you wished and they were already a happy RSS user.

You can use tools like IFTTT or Zapier to cross-post from Mastodon to Facebook (or Twitter or whatever else).

There's a Mastodon to Twitter bridge [1] where Twitter users can volunteer a primary Mastodon account (on any instance) for people to follow and in turn see all of the people on Twitter they follow that have posted a Mastodon address to follow them on Mastodon. A similar bridge should be easy to set up for Facebook as well, I just don't think it has been done yet.

In a way that bridge is the closest to a public directory of Mastodon users, and there's certainly room for other sorts of public directories (Mastodon "yellow pages"/"Yahoo listings") or Mastodon-tuned search engines. (Of course, existing search engines often already return Mastodon results; Mastodon feeds are already web pages.)

[1] https://bridge.joinmastodon.org/

> I can start a Mastodon node, but I would be shouting into a void - there's no one there to see my content, and no incentive for someone to move over.

That's what POSSE[0] is for: you Publish on your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. So you'd publish on Mastodon & (hopefully automatically) also publish a syndicated feed on Facebook.

[0]: https://indieweb.org/POSSE

There is an opportunity here as this has parallels to the early internet. Think of your Mastodon node as your website, how would people discover you? Someone needs to build a scanner/crawler/indexer for the allowed-to-be-discoverable parts of these non-domain+HTTP services. A Google for the decentralized web will be built by someone and there can be a first mover advantage here. Sadly, to do it right requires money and time, so beware the motives of the ones that pop up. Regardless, I don't necessarily think it's the job of these services to provide that centralized index (it's against their core anyways). If anything, they just need to provide crawlable, opt-in hooks for the bots to hit.

For a lot of people, RSS hasn't gone away. They just call it Apple News. It has very quietly scaled to 70M MAUs and lets you add custom news feeds.

What do you do when somebody posts death threats or child porn on your immutable social network?

Front-ends like peepeth.com are censorable. Illegal content will be removed from the peepeth.com front-end.

I think its criminal appeal is limited compared to alternatives. Use of a known and traceable payment+communications channel reveals more info about the perpetrators and their networks than non-crypto communication channels + crypto payments. Pairing communication and money removes a level of anonymity because of the traceable nature of blockchain transactions.

> Front-ends like peepeth.com are censorable.

To make sure I understand, are you saying, "Every client developer has to handle this on their own, if they choose to at all"?

> I think its criminal appeal is limited compared to alternatives. […]

It seems like you're suggesting that anonymity is not possible with Ethereum, but searches suggests that it's possible now, and will become easier thanks to projects like Project Alchemy. (I don't know much about Ethereum, though, so I'd love to hear your thoughts!)

Kindof an interesting legal question - what would make peepeth more liable for such data more-so than etherscan.io for example? If both sites have the feature to hide or prevent download of the data, whereas etherscan may not even bother?

It kinda makes you wonder if the Ether wallet itself that can sync and download such data is also at risk of being called illegal.

Are FBI raids now going to focus on targeting people that have a copy of the block chain to put them away?

Freenet has been around for almost twenty years, it's known to contain illegal content (including CP), and as far as I know its users haven't been systematically raided.

On a different note, Sone - microblogging over Freenet - has been around for quite a while, and it's under active development.



But this content would still be stored and distributed, even if it's not displayed on public front-ends?

How do you allow access and editing of any identifying data previously posted, so as to comply with GDPR?

You could deploy a smart contract that has an array of all censored/blacklisted peeps which other clients can choose to use.

I like it, really! I believe this to be a good use-case for decentralization as opposed to anonimity - if paired with a good verification mechanism (so leaving behind the crypto-anonimity mantra) this would also guarantee integrity of timelines (tampering/algorithmic curation of news and what not). Good luck to you Sir!

Thank you.

Currently there's Twitter account verification (through a blockchain oracle contract). More verification options are on the way (incl. domain ownership).

I'm genuinely curious how this compares to something like, say, Mastodon. It seems to me like Mastodon actually offers a lot of the same advantages.

Good question. With Mastodon, there is no central data store. So if your chosen front-end goes down (which hosts your content), you're out of luck. I think they're working on that problem though.

Alternatively: Mastodon lets you run your own node on your own hardware, have it exist as an equal peer, and if you want to delete your own data you have that option.

It's weird to me how the no-retractions thing is a benefit. Seems like a feature deficit. I can't imagine using twitter without the delete function, if only just to delete botched tweets.

It looks like you're able to do a similar thing with their batching method to make using it cheaper. Re-read your peep before it gets pushed to the chain and you'll be able to delete them there.

That's fair, but I think the criticism still stands. Why is it good that you can't delete things?

I can think of lots of situations where that's not a good thing. I can't really think of any situations where it's a good thing.

I feel like this Jack Dorsey profile is fake, because he hasn't mentioned Peepeth on his Twitter account or anything.


However, it seems to have fooled the real(?) Fred Wilson.


Not that I think this says something bad about Peepeth... the situation is obviously not much better on Twitter, even with verification. Just a point about how easy it to be fooled online when you're not expect it...

Haha, good eye. Don't tell Fred! :)

Yes, Peepeth users are aware that unless an account is Twitter-verified (with a Twitter icon next to their name), the user is not guaranteed to be the "real" user. Other verifications like domain ownership are coming soon.

Yeah, having multiple ways to verify identity will be so much better than Twitter's manual situation that can't scale...

Doesn't look like they claimed to be the 'real' jack dorsey?

I’d seriously reconsider the name. I understand it’s a combo of peep+eth but combining them is really not gonna resonate with anyone.

I like the name and have found that the Peepeth community has also embraced it. It's catchy, easy to remember and is a perfect description of it's main components.

Sounds like it's about Shakespearean Peepers, that's the reason I clicked: to find out what the hell could have that kind of name.

Sounds like peepee

Thou hast peepeth? I think it's clever.

I don't think it matters that much as long as people can remember and spell it. Google wasn't a resonant name with anyone except math nerds.

Yes, it's not a name I'm going to be comfortable pronouncing in discussion, so I'm not likely to discuss it with anyone.

Big fan of Peepeth.

Thank you! All suggestions appreciated.

Heads up: my username @twitter seems to trigger a bug, as I expected it would.

I love this. Is the notion that users will be able to monetize their own data?

Thanks Grace. Yes, that's part of it. Also, content isn't controlled by a company (it's immutable on the blockchain).

Well done.

The ui/design seems a just a little hard around the edges.

Don’t forget to Like and Repeep my Peeps on Peepeth

If the silly name ends up putting the urge to call for virtual fame to death, more power to it. This 'like me, Like Me, LIKE ME NOW' whinge is one of the more obnoxious phenomena in the world of 'social' networking.

Yeah, it's an unfortunate name :\. This is how I imagine any conversation about it going:

"Hey friends, you all should try this app I'm using Peepeth"



"How do I spell that?"

The name jokes are many and hilarious, making a page on the site for that :)

I'm glad you find humor in it :). I sincerely hope it doesn't hurt adoption! I really want there to be alternatives to Twitter (I use Mastadon).

You should check Peepeth out. It is a way better alternative to Twitter. It has more of a community feel without the garbage heckling, etc.

It seems to be great if your goal is to see many copies of the dickbutt meme.

"Hey guys, I was wondering if we should migrate the Peepeth code base to pijul."

"You wanna put the Pee-what in the pee-who?"

Methinks thou peepeth falsely, good sir!

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