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Here is my shot at defining various terms in this context:

- Centralized: Centralized networks have one central point which controls the network. That doesn't have to be a single server sometimes it is just that there is just one company controlling the network (e.g. WhatsApp).

- Decentralized: Is the opposite of 'centralized' meaning there is more than one central point. So all following types are 'decentralized'.

- Distributed: In general terms, it means that the network is (more or less evenly) distributed upon all participants. All participants have the same role and responsibility. There are various kinds of distributed networks. Git for example stores a full copy of all information in every node. Distributed Hash Tables use a different approach where every node is responsible for one explicit part of the information to store.

- Peer-to-peer (p2p): Is one form of a distributed network, which works (in general) without servers. So all the participants connect directly to each another (Tox).

- Federated: Is sometimes called a 'distributed network of centralized networks'. Two popular examples are e-mail and XMPP. All participant use their own centralized server, but that server cooperates with other servers to transfer messages across the network. Sometimes their implementations make a distinction between client-to-server and server-to-server protocols.

In general, the more centralized a network is, the easier it is to control. This can be good when it comes to spam, but also bad when it comes to censorship.




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