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    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2010
    @Mitch: I'd advise to wait until it is more... erm... finished before trying to drag people to it. It's betweek "alpha" and "broken" now, and they might not check it out again later if they're disappointed now.
  1.  (9273.22)
    Yeah, I was more looking to my early adopter friends who can cope with such things. Just not a lot to play with at the moment without any contacts in there.
  2.  (9273.23) - I'm a patient optimist.
    • CommentAuthorD-
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2010
    • CommentTimeDec 8th 2010 edited

    I do find their front page a little 1990s, which is in stark contrast to their registration page, which is a bit cleaner. I do hope they work the kinks out soon and in doing so, create a more consistent visual identity.
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeDec 9th 2010
    I've been following it for a bit now, so I'll use this as an excuse to sign up:
  3.  (9273.27) - cause i'm a sucker for signing up for new things.
    • CommentTimeDec 10th 2010 edited
    Ok, this seems like an incredibly poor design.

    I just got through with several message exchanges with devs and users of the Diaspora Alpha.

    Diaspora does not have any "official" servers. The "joindiaspora" url is the instance being run by the developers of the software. the "" url is a completely separate instance being run by someone named David Morley, who just downloaded the code and implemented an instance, but is not a developer on the project.

    Diaspora is designed to run this way. There is no official server farm. Anyone can run an instance, which is called a Pod. If you signed up on, your account is on David Morley's Pod, not on the Diaspora developers' Pod.

    For all their talk of privacy, I see no reason why David Morley, some guy who started a Pod, can't access all of your information. Perhaps it is encrypted. I don't know.

    In addition, if David Morley gets bored with the project, or can't afford to keep his server up, or has a hardware problem, there goes your account. Poof! Gone. It is not stored anywhere but on his server. The Diaspora devs accept no responsibility for it's integrity or it's availability. They are proud of their distributed system. It is not a monopoly like Facebook, I am told. I am also told, if I like, I can host my own instance of Diaspora and have my account on there, so I have total control over it, but that I am probably "not techy" enough to do that.

    What a joke.

    At this point I'd recommend not even bothering with it until you can get an account on (at the moment it is closed to new registrations) because at least that instance is actually being run by the actual developers of the project. Presumably they have at least a basic interest in their service continuing to function.

    Or maybe if you are "techy" enough, you'd like to host your own data.

    But I'm done with it for now. These guys seem like open source ideological purists with an active disdain for usability or reliability. Unless they revise their focus and commit to at least a robust "official" pod that can guarantee the security and availability of your account, this is just never going to go anywhere. Before too long they'll all be disappointed that it hasn't been widely adopted, and they'll all drift away to different projects and the thing will just wither or fragment uselessly.
  4.  (9273.29)
    Thanks for the update and explanation, oddbill.
    • CommentTimeDec 11th 2010
    There is definitely a catch-22 to this particular implementation of a distributed, federated identity system. What is lacking is any form of PKI infrastructure that is capable of providing independent authentication of someone's identity.

    I've thought for a long time that was is needed is a public corporation / nonprofit whose mission it would be to provide absolutely trusted, non-repudiatable identity verification. The infrastructure to do so is fairly easy to set up; all one really has to do is set up a large-scale Certificate Authority. OpenID has some potential here, but there is still no means of actually tying this back to a person if one wants to. The ultimate solution is really going to have to be something like a DNA-based public key.

    This isn't quite as creepy how it sounds if you understand how PKI, encryption and certificates work. The central issue is being able to prove at least one-way that someone claiming to be you (or a friend) is who they say they are, but not the other way around - you don't want the ID to be traced back to you involuntarily. There's a technique called a "one-way hash" in cryptography that provides this function - if I were to provide a DNA sequence and run it through a one-way hash and generate from that a public key, I would have a means of proving my identity on demand. However, that same key cannot be reverse-engineers to extract the original hash from it, which also provides for anonymity.

    Unfortunately, this isn't an easily understood concept, and probably will take years of public education before it can be socially trusted. But for something like Diaspora to be any more successful in the long run than the various attempts before it (WASTE, Chandler and the like), you have to be able to base an identity on something other than just a local circle of trust. Otherwise you just wind up with the same problems as we're seeing with either Facebook on the one side (privacy invasion) or Twitter on the other (widespread impersonation) once you scale it beyond a circle you can immediately verify.

    If there was a Public Key Corporation, then an independent third party could provide verification to Alice that Bob is, in fact, Bob when he sends a 'friend request', across non-trusted systems. I've thought about this a lot and really don't see a way around it. You either have local trust only, in which case you're no better off really than just a fellow running her own little BBS system for her friends, or you have third-party verification. Attempts to provide a web-of-trust model based on people signing their associate's keys (think /Little Brother/) is only as successful as the actual social network backing it up - it provides no way for Alice to verify that Charlie, who is presenting themselves as a hacktivist from China, is who he says he is, unless he knows Bob as well, and the key is passed through a direct network of trust.

    So, yeah. I probably will still go ahead eventually and run my own instance for my kid and her friends once it matures, but I don't really see how this does what it claims to do in terms of trust and verification.
  5.  (9273.31)
    ...and is down, will probably need users to rejoin. Basically everything Oddbill said is happening.
  6.  (9273.32) has deleted pretty much everybody (a hair less than 10K users) and is starting from scratch.

    I actually feel a bit bad for the poor guy at this point. He just wanted to play with the software. is all over. Joindiaspora is invite-only. There's no functionality anyway. Come back in six months.
  7.  (9273.33)
    Reviving this for those still interested.
    Anyone on, sing out. Pool/share invites, maybe?
    (Warren - if you want one, even if just booking in advance of six months, just let us know.)

    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeDec 17th 2010
    I signed up on a while back but haven't heard anything from them since.
  8.  (9273.35)
    Ditto what Emperor said. Signed up, haven't heard a thing since.
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2011 edited
    Well 8 months on, not 6, but here we are again. Diaspora is well into its alpha testing phase.

    Joindiaspora is still asking people to sign up but you can now view people's profiles on there. I have been sent an invitation but it has yet to arrive, so I suspect they are rationing how many are getting sent out to keep things manageable. is back as a community-funded pod which, presumably, won't go deleting everyone's accounts. I signed up there, seems to work OK but it isn't as slick as the Google+ one and it'd be nice to be able to chose who you share parts of your profile with (circles are aspects here).

    So just nosing around, I'm not sure how you connect across pods at the moment (I'm reading a tutorial on Diaspora now) but it does seem to be coming along nicely.
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2011
    Diaspora almost reminds me of Ning in some ways.

    I might write up a pitch on it for a magazine I'm working on getting a freelance job for. Anyone who's been playing around with it for a while care like giving an interview? :D
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2011
    i was one of the kickstarters of the project and am well disappointed.

    first of all i absolutely refuse to use the web implementation of diaspora, because, really, that's not what i invested and signed up for.

    secondly, they sent me code to build my local implementation on os x, but that didn't work, because it wasn't source and the bits and pieces on the disc only worked with some other framework software in place. beside the fact that i'm no hacker and my ability with software has its limited, i demand to get what they promised: locally implementable software for gnu/linux, windows and os x. not delivered yet.

    several days ago i've received a questionnaire and vented these and many other irks, but right now i have little faith in diaspora getting off the ground in the way they had announced. and, truth be told, even if they manage to become another viable social network - as long as they aren't able to fully deliver on their original pitch, i'm not going to be satisfied.

    so, yeah, that was me. slightly pissed off.