The question asked very often: What’s a difference between Moera and other decentralized social networks that already exist? Why was it needed to create another one?
There is no much sense to make comparison to every social network one-by-one. So let’s highlight the strongest points that give Moera advantage over the popular solutions that exist in decentralized world.
A popular approach for decentralization is to build the network as a federation of small communities — pods that have their own rules. A new user should first find a pod that accepts new members and register a new account at it. From now and then the user’s network name will be bound to the pod, his social connections will be limited by connections of the pod itself and most of the social life will happen inside the pod. And since the pod keeps the account and is responsible for authentication, migration from the pod means losing the name, social connections and probably all the data.
As a contrast, Moera has a registration process independent of the server, where the user stores his data. These servers are not communities, but just providers, their job is to provide software and storage to the user for profit. Providers do not impose any rules of their own, and user is free to migrate from one provider to another while keeping his name, social connections and data. Moera treats every user as an individual, not as a part of some community. Moera node is a personal space in the cloud that has no ties to other nodes on the same server.
And if a user prefers to use their personal server as a node, Moera software makes the installation process as easy as possible.
Moera server software does not provide a web interface of its own. Users access Moera with client software that may be a web application, a mobile app or any other tool or script that may be written. All clients use the same well-documented standard Moera API.
It is not mandatory to use Moera software to become part of the network. Any existing website may implement Moera API and become accessible by all Moera clients without making any changes in its internals. Integration of popular publishing platforms, like WordPress, into Moera should be as easy as installing a plugin.
Obviously, the standard API makes it easy to create a gateway between Moera and any other social network, centralized or decentralized.
Moera API is a thin layer over the standard HTTP protocol. Moera did not create any special low-level protocol for decentralized storage, mesh networks or message brokers. This makes it easy to implement the API, integrate into existing systems and host on any server. And makes client software simpler as well.
Blockchain is a great tool for decentralization. But storing all data in a blockchain is costly, so not really achievable without compromising decentralization. That’s why Moera uses blockchain for storing user accounts only. Since migration of data between providers is easy, market forces and free competition will work to protect the user’s content.
Moera software seeks to be as user-friendly as possible. Easy sign up from a single place, creating a node by a click, simplifying complex things to make user experience even better than in the best centralized social networks.
Many existing decentralized social networks provide no more than a Twitter-like interface. Moera has a goal to provide all advanced social features — access rights, friendship, groups, discussions, recommendations etc. For most users, decentralization is not enough to choose to migrate to a new social network. That’s why user experience and unique features are a key factor to success.
Many decentralized social networks suffer from malicious actors, like spammers. Moera from the very beginning is built to prevent scam and attacks. It uses cryptography to verify ownership of posts and comments. It limits the rate of requests and allows to block clients to prevent DoS attacks. It uses spam lists to fight spam. It provides a decentralized approach to detect unlawful activity and scam, while maintaining freedom of choice and freedom of speech.
Moera API is made to be universal. It allows the client to present the user’s data in any form, making it possible to create different social networks with different interfaces and social mechanics. If some social network becomes outdated and boring, the user may switch to another one by simply installing a different client. All data on the server’s side will be left untouched.
And social networks is not the only usage of the Moera node, it is just one of the infinite number of applications. The node may become a file or document storage, a photo galley, a notebook, a password manager and so on. And if you have a smart device, it would be much more secure to connect it to your Moera node and store your personal data on it, instead of somewhere in the device manufacture’s private cloud.