A developer is building a Holochain-based alternative to Reddit called Comet that he says will solve problems with fake users, including bots and paid shills who post spam or skew ratings on posts and comments.
This problem is known as the Sybil attack, which is against Reddit’s rules. The developer acknowledges that most subreddits are “good at enforcing those rules,” but disagrees with authoritative moderation as the method of enforcement.
Moderators may abuse their power, make mistakes when issuing punishment, or make decisions that are reasonable to some but objectionable to others. Comet’s solution is to do away with authoritative moderation entirely, instead making use of Holochain’s agent-centric design to distribute power to individual users.
Comet’s approach relies on “each person’s inherent ability to determine who creates good content,” the developer said, adding, “votes are not counted as objective truths.” Instead, they are weighted according to users’ preferences: “if you dislike somebody enough to have them registered with a negative weight for you, then everything they upvote will appear as a downvote for you, and everything they downvote will appear as an upvote for you.”
To start, posts and comments are all equally, neutrally scored. He said, “unless you have given at least one person a weight, every post will have a score of 0.”
The developer, who goes by the GitHub username MightyAlex200, is a precocious 15-year-old who cited as an influence the “Anarchist principle of dismantling unjust hierarchies and replacing them with horizontal structures with human values at heart.” He spoke about how he came to choose Holochain as the architecture for Comet:
The server-client architecture (and in much the same way the “cloud” computing paradigm) never struck me as a particularly good one. I was interested in blockchain for a while, although I didn’t fully understand what problem it was actually solving. I moved away from supporting blockchain after I heard about Hashgraph. It clarified what blockchain solved, and then proceeded to objectively outdo it. Of course we all know how much of a let down that was due to patents and such. I then found Scuttlebutt, which was nice, but I didn’t realize how useful the architecture was until I saw how Holochain generalized it for distributed applications without consensus. In the future I hope to see a world without servers that are dedicated to a specific task, one where all computers are part of a global commons dedicated to the betterment of humankind.
Comet is still in early development, and is being produced under open-source GPL 3.0. Developers who wish to contribute to the project may do so at the project GitHub.
5 thoughts on “Comet: The Decentralized Reddit-Killer Designed to End Moderator Abuse and Sybil Attacks”
This is amazing. Love your blog. Please continue posting content like this, really interested in the sorts of applications being developed on this infrastructure!