Christian Buggedei is creating social, done proper. A new safe civic online space for everyone
15

patrons

$171
per month
We are building Darcy, a new online civic space.

Social Media should be better: Not a way to spy on you to manipulate you into viewing ads, but to share important moments with people of your choosing.

To be able to do so, there should be a well-researched interaction model that isn't focused on driving ad impressions. Software that has a beautiful and accessible interface. A community, well-moderated, in a transparent way. It shouldn't be owned by a central company, but decentralized and open source, so you control and own your data.

This is Darcy: Safe, secure and moderated social media that you can install yourself - but don't have to. You can also be hosted. It will be built on Solid, so you will forever own and control your data, even if you later want to move to another service.



This Patreon aims to collect the necessary funds to finish our research, write down a complete set of specifications and to put the first working version live.

What exactly will we build, and why should you care?

We are creating an online civic space, not only as a single installation package, but as a sustainable product from the ground up.

Darcy will not only be developed and maintained conceptually, or as a software project for installation - we put most of our thought into how to operate and safely run social media!

When we say operate, this means more than just the purely technical hosting: Operation includes a variety of tasks, most of them not technical: Moderation is necessary on any larger platform. When you host a social platform, you will also be responsible for dealing with GDPR compliance, copyright take-down notices and a lot of other regulatory tasks.

Darcy is designed in such a way that it can survive as a communication platform in the long term, being independent of a single company or source of funding.

If you delete your current social media account today, you will probably lose all your posts and relationship data. We want people on the Darcy platform to be confident that their data and relationships will not be lost in these cases. That is why we will do our best to put this project on a Solid foundation (pun very well intended)

"Inrupt’s working hard to help the ecosystem around Solid, it’s exciting to see innovative initiatives like Darcy emerging." John Bruce, CEO of inrupt

Creating social media is hard

When looking at all the different offers and solutions for communicating with the wider world, it becomes clear that there are a lot of things that seem to work at first, but eventually break down for a lot of people.

Places and platforms become full of spam or hate. Spammy content thrives while good things become buried. People find themselves helpless in the face of harassment and stalkers and big companies either block too much or too little.

We believe that a better civic online space is possible. We will never add advertising, nor spy on you, and instead will work with donors and funders to cover the costs for hosting, policy enforcement and the bureaucracy of running a social network.



No one should have to pay to connect with other people. This is why you will always have the option to be part of Darcy for free. However, running an online community also involves hosting, as well as a variety of bureaucratic processes that have historically functioned as hidden labor, either by unpaid volunteers whose roles are not clearly defined, or by third party vendors who do not get to play a role in shaping the platform. This includes reviewing reported content, legal compliance, spam-fighting, ensuring user-safety, protecting privacy, intellectual property.

We’re not looking to trick people into believing that technology can magically do everything without human labor and we do not want algorithms to solve tasks inherently only solvable by humans. We also want to appropriately remunerate this important labor, without relying on practices that would treat users as product, such as harvesting and selling their data.

With Darcy, we will build an online community shaped by an open, ongoing conversation about the shape of online civic spaces.

A good civic space will invite all sorts of people. We are not naive, and we know that the need for content moderation is inevitable. It helps keep the community safe and fights off spam. But we believe that the community should decide how content moderation happens.

What are we collecting money for?

To pay our expenses and our living costs, so we can work part or even full time on this project. We need to do more and deeper research than what we have been able to do so far. We need to do interviews with people at risk, to ensure that the policy guidelines we will set down will work for them too. That means we need to sit down to specify, implement, improve, test and harden the actual software.


(tentative timetable)
On top of that, we want to finish our comprehensive documentation and specification: How do people use social media,how can we ensure that the space treats both users and providers fairly, so we get valuable interaction out of a space? How should the different APIs and protocols work together, where are there risks of endangering users?

Once we are done with that, we will finalize the actual product, based on that specification. We will create a prototype and invite you to join us on it.

We will release everything we created (the research, the specifications, the code and install packages) as Open Source. 

Team

Like the platform we want to build, we are decentralized and still growing:
  • Christian in Berlin provides the vision and drive to get us to the goal
  • Nada in Birmingham is our expert on moderation and policy enforcement
  • Karsten in Hamburg ensures that the legal and regulatory compliance isn't just an empty promise
  • Oktavia in Reykjavik advises on outreach and management and asks tough questions
  • Giulio in Venice is our first developer and web expert
  • Dr. Edward Morbius from Terra Incognita is the nom-de-plume of our research center.
  • Paolo in Glasgow is our backend expert.

Learn more at https://darcy.is

Tiers
Ant Level
$1 or more per month 10 patrons

your pledge might seem small, but with enough of them, we will build a mighty thing together! 

Lucky Thirteen
$13 or more per month 1 patron

You wish us the best of luck and support our efforts. In return you get early access to Darcy's source code and the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing you supported something worthwhile. 

Sneaky Pete
$20 or more per month 4 patrons

You are a sneaky one, being able to tune in to our weekly team meeting, where you can follow our progress.

Goals
$171 of $250 per month
Infrastructure Expenses are covered. That means things like license fees for tools, subscriptions for web services we need, costs for hardware and so on.

We try to use as much Open Source as possible, but some things go so much smoother with paid tools.
1 of 4
We are building Darcy, a new online civic space.

Social Media should be better: Not a way to spy on you to manipulate you into viewing ads, but to share important moments with people of your choosing.

To be able to do so, there should be a well-researched interaction model that isn't focused on driving ad impressions. Software that has a beautiful and accessible interface. A community, well-moderated, in a transparent way. It shouldn't be owned by a central company, but decentralized and open source, so you control and own your data.

This is Darcy: Safe, secure and moderated social media that you can install yourself - but don't have to. You can also be hosted. It will be built on Solid, so you will forever own and control your data, even if you later want to move to another service.



This Patreon aims to collect the necessary funds to finish our research, write down a complete set of specifications and to put the first working version live.

What exactly will we build, and why should you care?

We are creating an online civic space, not only as a single installation package, but as a sustainable product from the ground up.

Darcy will not only be developed and maintained conceptually, or as a software project for installation - we put most of our thought into how to operate and safely run social media!

When we say operate, this means more than just the purely technical hosting: Operation includes a variety of tasks, most of them not technical: Moderation is necessary on any larger platform. When you host a social platform, you will also be responsible for dealing with GDPR compliance, copyright take-down notices and a lot of other regulatory tasks.

Darcy is designed in such a way that it can survive as a communication platform in the long term, being independent of a single company or source of funding.

If you delete your current social media account today, you will probably lose all your posts and relationship data. We want people on the Darcy platform to be confident that their data and relationships will not be lost in these cases. That is why we will do our best to put this project on a Solid foundation (pun very well intended)

"Inrupt’s working hard to help the ecosystem around Solid, it’s exciting to see innovative initiatives like Darcy emerging." John Bruce, CEO of inrupt

Creating social media is hard

When looking at all the different offers and solutions for communicating with the wider world, it becomes clear that there are a lot of things that seem to work at first, but eventually break down for a lot of people.

Places and platforms become full of spam or hate. Spammy content thrives while good things become buried. People find themselves helpless in the face of harassment and stalkers and big companies either block too much or too little.

We believe that a better civic online space is possible. We will never add advertising, nor spy on you, and instead will work with donors and funders to cover the costs for hosting, policy enforcement and the bureaucracy of running a social network.



No one should have to pay to connect with other people. This is why you will always have the option to be part of Darcy for free. However, running an online community also involves hosting, as well as a variety of bureaucratic processes that have historically functioned as hidden labor, either by unpaid volunteers whose roles are not clearly defined, or by third party vendors who do not get to play a role in shaping the platform. This includes reviewing reported content, legal compliance, spam-fighting, ensuring user-safety, protecting privacy, intellectual property.

We’re not looking to trick people into believing that technology can magically do everything without human labor and we do not want algorithms to solve tasks inherently only solvable by humans. We also want to appropriately remunerate this important labor, without relying on practices that would treat users as product, such as harvesting and selling their data.

With Darcy, we will build an online community shaped by an open, ongoing conversation about the shape of online civic spaces.

A good civic space will invite all sorts of people. We are not naive, and we know that the need for content moderation is inevitable. It helps keep the community safe and fights off spam. But we believe that the community should decide how content moderation happens.

What are we collecting money for?

To pay our expenses and our living costs, so we can work part or even full time on this project. We need to do more and deeper research than what we have been able to do so far. We need to do interviews with people at risk, to ensure that the policy guidelines we will set down will work for them too. That means we need to sit down to specify, implement, improve, test and harden the actual software.


(tentative timetable)
On top of that, we want to finish our comprehensive documentation and specification: How do people use social media,how can we ensure that the space treats both users and providers fairly, so we get valuable interaction out of a space? How should the different APIs and protocols work together, where are there risks of endangering users?

Once we are done with that, we will finalize the actual product, based on that specification. We will create a prototype and invite you to join us on it.

We will release everything we created (the research, the specifications, the code and install packages) as Open Source. 

Team

Like the platform we want to build, we are decentralized and still growing:
  • Christian in Berlin provides the vision and drive to get us to the goal
  • Nada in Birmingham is our expert on moderation and policy enforcement
  • Karsten in Hamburg ensures that the legal and regulatory compliance isn't just an empty promise
  • Oktavia in Reykjavik advises on outreach and management and asks tough questions
  • Giulio in Venice is our first developer and web expert
  • Dr. Edward Morbius from Terra Incognita is the nom-de-plume of our research center.
  • Paolo in Glasgow is our backend expert.

Learn more at https://darcy.is

Recent posts by Christian Buggedei

Tiers
Ant Level
$1 or more per month 10 patrons

your pledge might seem small, but with enough of them, we will build a mighty thing together! 

Lucky Thirteen
$13 or more per month 1 patron

You wish us the best of luck and support our efforts. In return you get early access to Darcy's source code and the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing you supported something worthwhile. 

Sneaky Pete
$20 or more per month 4 patrons

You are a sneaky one, being able to tune in to our weekly team meeting, where you can follow our progress.