Definitions of decentralization & data portability

Mike Sena from 3box kicked off a discussion on what a “minimum viable dapp” is:

This quickly turned into a discussion on a better word for dapp that isn’t Ethereum centric, and that can speak to users and developers about the benefits of decentralization.

I’ve started using the word #data-ethics and Mike’s suggestion of something that is similar to the “organic” label when buying food seems like it goes in the right direction.

The two audiences I see for these efforts is developers (when I’m building an app, I’ll put effort into data ethics just like not storing credit cards or keeping passwords in plain text) and to users (when I sign up for a new app or when I’m selecting an app, these are the things I look for).

Targeting both means we can have both supply (apps that include data ethics) and demand (users that look for data ethics).

Now, how do we express, encourage, and possibly even enforce these ideals?


We’ve been thinking about if a license that commits a chunk of code to maintain data ethics could work — like the GPL, but locking the user data open.

Kyle Mitchell has started on this work:


There are numerous groups starting to share principles around identity & data ownership.

The Fair Data Society is working on principles.


On the other hand, maybe even a rating system would be good. The USFDA and other bodies define and review different definitions of what “organic” means.

This is a more formal process than “just” signing up to principles, but could be very valuable as a shared mark/logo/brand/trade association that works together to spread these principles.

Finally — let’s kill the word dapp. What gets done with your data is bigger than Ethereum or other blockchains. What inclusive word can be used to talk about apps which align with these principles and licenses?

And yeah, maybe it is Web3? Suggestions welcome!

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I’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot as well.
I like your “data ethics” label :ok_hand:
Definitely agree with killing the word “dapp” :+1:
An app should just be an app, and how it works should be obvious.

I’m currently having a bit of trouble with the offline-first (work at your fingertips) principle.
So in V2 of my app, you have a bunch of options for where to store your encrypted user data.
You can use either: your browser, a remoteStorage server, IPFS, Textile or Blockstack.
Some of these options will work offline, whereas others won’t.
I wonder if it would be best to implement caching for the online-only options? :thinking:
Downside, it’s another layer of complexity, and it might be confusing to the user…

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I see what you’re doing with Diffuse as being extremely experimental.

Some of the options will have different experiences than others — and thinking through what the rough edges are for each is a really great exercise.

Maybe visually a symbol for “works offline” — as a positive, rather than the negative “doesn’t work offline — would be interesting to explore.

I think caching is an underexplored area. For example, why doesn’t Google automatically cache offline maps? I do this manually before I travel — but a great experience would be if my apps just did this automatically.

Which now inspires me to think about “automatic caching” as an IPFS feature :wink:

I would ship without caching and then explore caching as an option for each feature.

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