For a long time the idea has been floating around to have independent and decentralized networks as an alternative to the existing centralized (= one user database, one management) hospitality networks.
The idea is interesting, but has some difficult aspects, that can be discussed on this page.
Is decentralized always better?
Always? Probably not. But that should not stop anyone from exploring!
The great benefit of decentralized networks is that they allow to experiment with different technology, different styles of moderation, different safety and trust features, different search features, different looks, different peer groups.
How this can work
A lot can be said about decentralized networks, but in the context of hospitality exchange the most important is user profiles, (location-based) member search, messages between members, and trust / friend connections. All of this has to work across different networks, otherwise it won't be really useful.
The biggest challenges here are privacy and proof of identity: How can one restrict the visibility of information that is shared across different networks? And how can I prove that I am the owner of profile A on network X, when interacting with members form network Y?
User accounts / profiles
The idea would mean that there is not one big network where you create a user account, but instead you would choose one or more networks where you want to create an account and have the information you define stored in the database.
- Multi-accounts: Duplicate search results, and redundant information to update in different places.
- Agony of choice: How to choose my favorite network?
- Tools for import, export and profile migration
- Auto-update a profile on site X with information from site Y.
Searching member profiles
To make member search useful, it has to be cross-network. This means, a search request either has to request information from all connected networks, or you need some kind of search engine that crawls member profiles on different networks and caches the information.
- Privacy: Information that is shared between an arbitrary number of networks is practically public information.
Messages from one user to another
You go to someone's profile on network X, click "send message", type the message, submit. You leave a link to your own profile on network Y.
- You need to type in the link to your own profile manually, which is inconvenient, and you can make typos.
- You can type in a fake link to someone else's profile.
- OpenID? Does that allow to identify you as a member of a different network?
Just like the references or friend links in couchsurfing, you could create a trust link from profile A in network X to profile B in network Y.
This can only work if there is a way to prove that your friend link does in fact come from profile A in network X, and not from somewhere else. This is the same problem as with messages.
Profile data visibility constraints
In traditional networks it is possible to show some profile information "only to my friends", or have some other constraints. How can I control that if the friends' profiles are on separate networks?
Just like there can be a trust network of people, there can also be a trust network of networks..
- Crash at Mine (?)
- Q: How does Noserub solve the above "problems" ?