Hey @hydravion thanks for the welcome, here are my thoughts on these.
Should Aether organize real-life meetups in your opinion?
Yes! Our network isn’t big enough for organizing our own local meetups, but one thing we could aim for is invite folks to conferences we plan to attend, and hold Aether gatherings. Of course, the pandemic makes this temporarily difficult, but @b and I discussed doing live calls or even going on people’s podcast to answer forum questions.
A lot of folks use Aether for its pseudonymity, and an irl meetup risks excluding them and their voices, so we want to find ways that they can be represented too.
How do you envision Aether’s future? What major goals & milestones would you like to reach over the short, medium and long term?
The short-term (next 4-6 months) @b and I will focus on building a sustainable business, which also means bringing a hosted private community offering. In fact, this has been the focus for the past year and we’re very close to shipping it. This will also allow us to build features on a single client app, instead of essentially maintaining two apps on limited capacity.
In parallel, we will be publishing regularly about topics especially relevant to our P2P network, on controversial topics like moderation design. We started a substack for this in addition to posting our blog.
Medium term (2021) I think getting the moderation features right, and rolled out, would be critical. As you said: “We need to create the right environment before we can start to see more activity here on Aether”. We want to be very clear on the Aether approach to moderation, and have technical features and community guidelines to back our approach. More concretely, the minting process is a way to prevent a network level abuse, but the human attention abuse (more subjective) isn’t fully rolled out. We have mod but not yet mod elections, and the ability to “deny hosting” to specific content is still under discussion. We need these in place, though they have a dependency on network size so it’s kinda a milk first or cereal first problem
I wrote about content and community as well as diversity and representation in the Aether thread. I also want to explore how the Aether network may work with other projects in the DWeb space. These would be my medium and long term goals.
In the past, I’ve made a number of suggestions to improve Aether, a number of which are relatively unimportant, while others touch on what I believe to be consequential issues that are impeding the growth of Aether’s community.
Surprisingly, I have received little support for them so far, even though they seem objectively commonsensical to me and should imo rather be consensual.
I just read through the list, thanks for posting all of these over time. I think some are pretty useful features that I would also like, for example “being able to reorganize communities in the sidebar”, yea that’s like objectively useful some other ones may need more discussion.
I’m sure @b has read all of them, and the reason why the straightforward ones aren’t implemented is not bc the feature is bad, but bc of priorities.
I can broadly classify good feature requests into “existential” vs. “nice to have”, the former meaning “we absolutely must do this now otherwise there won’t be an Aether network anymore”. The former may be difficult tasks and not as visible, such as building a business to sustain development work and seeking a co-founder, and has been the 2020 focus. The latter aren’t ignored, they are tracked for triage when we have capacity to move beyond the “existential” issues to the “nice to have” ones.
It’s common to think that “small features” should be high priority, bc they are easy to implement, however the more we keep doing those, the more we push issues like “project sustainability” into the future, and many projects fail to make that transition and become abandoned bc the single founder can no longer afford to pay rent. Unlike big companies with budget to hire extra ppl for these, small projects like Aether just cannot afford to prioritize what are seemingly easy wins unfortunately. Let’s take Matrix for example, a much more established and well capitalized project, I still cannot rearrange rooms in my sidebar on their official Elements Desktop client.
As of last week, we now have set up an internal project board, and I just added the thread you linked to a new issue. @b and I also scheduled weekly “product meetings” to discuss this sort of stuff. This doesn’t mean we’ll have the feature in the next release, bc getting me up to speed alone will eat up @b’s time (yea… tks Ben!) but it sets up a structure for us to load balance, and when we are able to onboard more folks, we may have capacity to implement all the “nice to haves” in parallel.
Here’s the old comment discussing issues that are imo hindering Aether’s growth.
These are the controversial features. For example “Making all SFW content more accessible.” I agree there is a high friction to discover content, but we aren’t at a place to default all content to SFW yet when “decentralized mod” isn’t fully rolled out yet. We need to make discovery better, but the solution isn’t obvious.
“Suggesting communities to users.” The implementation of that is probably controversial. The simple question of “should a user see any content they aren’t subscribed to?” This itself will find people on both sides My personal take is, let’s get a lot more content into the network first, before we hold this discussion!
Milk first or cereal first?
Cereal first. The higher risk step needs a more robust roll-back strategy!