Firstly, I would like to announce a ZeroMe Hub created by me: hub.shouko.bit. You can seed it and (optionally) join it if you like. This hub provides high quota for content once approved by me (you can contact me by ZeroMail or ZeroVerse's mail to email@example.com).
What's wrong with ZeroMe?
As a (fairly) new user on ZeroNet, I happily started off by joining ZeroMe. It was fun and exciting to experiment with decentralized things which is exactly what Internet is supposed to be. After a while I realized that this site is a merger site (which was not implemented the last time I tried ZeroNet) which includes a lot of sub-sites called
hubs and I have to follow one's
hub to receive the updates from the person. Therefore I found Get All Hub to add all the
hubs provided by maintainer of this site.
However, when the messages from these hubs are comming in, I noticed something that I didn't expect ZeroMe to be.
What I mean by
incomplete federation is that the
hubs of ZeroMe are not quite federated. It is true that posts will be merged on your home timeline if you follow more than one hubs, and you can, sometimes, interact with users on other
hubs. However, you can never:
- Appear on the
new userslist with IDs other than
- Comment on a user's post who belong to a
hubthat do not accept your ID provider
- Accept a user's comment who use an ID provdier that is not accepted by your
These are severe enough to drive users away from, at least, ZeroMe. The first point is almost fatal: why I must use the selected ID providers in order to appear on everyone's list? (Note: this limitation is set by ZeroMe's user registry) Where is the decentralization promised by ZeroNet the thing itself? (Please, appreciate that the registry also accepts
ZeroVerse, otherwise there will be no way to appear on the list of users without leaking your IP address)
Being unable to comment on others make it not as social as one could expect. The thing
social itself is almost just about interpersonal interaction. We are not going to be lonely islands that talk without receiving things. It is undeniable that we have the freedom to choose the
hubs that we ourselves prefer, but this may make you unreachable by others, which removes a lot of the goodness to have a decentralized set of
Limits are the limits set by the
hubs. At the time of writing,
SunHub has a quota of only 48k for users, and this is true for many other
hubs that are cloned from
SunHub. This may seem a lot for blog comments or something similar to it, but definitely not enough for social platforms. For me myself, I used up 30k out of the 48k limit set by
SunHub and this is the only hub shown on first registration. This became an important part of the reason why I set up Shouko's Hub.
Since it is for now impossible to switch or join additional
hubs after first registration, the limit imposes a huge shortcoming on this platform. As is described before, it will be not very practical to set up a new and better
hub in order to increase the possible quota set on one account -- that is to say, you have to depend on the maintainers of popular hubs to assign you more quota out of their
hubs. Moreover, comments of a post is stored on the hub of the owner of the post, rather than on your own hub. This is also the reason why you could not comment on one's posts if his hub does not accept your ID. This implies that you could run out of limit on any of the existing hubs if you are actively interacting with users on ZeroMe. You will have to contact a bunch of hub maintainers in order to increase your limit on every possible hub if you are running out of limit. This, to me, seems like kind of design flaw and I do not really appreciate such strange limitation.
The "unlimited hubs" are not a good solution either. Besides the limitation described above, since anyone can join these hubs, malicious users can just replicate themselves a lot and start bombing these unlimited hubs to quickly grow the size to make it completely impossible to synchronize and download these sites. Banning users after being bombed is too late -- your hub is already failing.
As a result, most of the users tend to join the largest
hubs in order to reach as many people as possible. Most of the users will be under the control of the maintainers of the most popular
I recalled the last time when I decided to give up on ZeroNet. At that time, there was an issue on ZeroNet's repository discussing how
merger sites (what ZeroMe is based on) could be implemented. I do really appreciate that the contributors did take decentralization into consideration most of the time, but not for this final ZeroMe "product". I thought that a
hub is going to be a collection of similar or familiar people that can be set up easily, interact with others easily and this is what I thought a decentralized social platform should be. From this point of view, even Mastodon is better since it at least guarantees that users different instances can interact just as if they are in a same, huge Fediverse. (but it's not decentralized from the user's perspective.)
That is, basically, what I believe is wrong with ZeroMe.
As a conclusion, it is almost meaningless to have one's own hub. However I'm still going to give it a try.
Shouko's Hub will be a hub maintained by me and I will assign higher quota to people that I can confirm real and not spammers. This will be the hub in my imagination -- a technical guy in a group sets up a hub to serve the others, and everyone with such ability can do it on his / her own without any restriction on how the content can be spreaded. I totally believe that the limitations described above are just design flaws and could be corrected some time in the future, thus they would no more be barriers preventing user from freely choosing their beloved
hubs. Therefore, more
hubs are always beneficial to a decentralized community -- if you are capable to do so, please also set up your own hub and ask us to seed it for you.