What is Nendly?
Nendly is a series of discussion boards, each of which is a collection of posts related to a topic. For example, people ask for advice on n/advice, whereas people solve puzzles on n/puzzles. There are a few meta boards, like n/popular, which aggregate content across multiple boards based on different methodologies. Users can create their own private boards, or rooms, and have their own side discussions too. New public boards are added through a voting process.
What makes Nendly different?
Nendly is unlike any other social media site in existence, but to see why I need to first say what's wrong with the Internet. We are living in a world of so called echochambers, wherein people form online communities whose members think the same way. Typically these are hostile of outsiders, with each user saying "how could they possibly think they way that they do? They must be terrible people". While some of this is to be expected given that it takes genuine effort to be reasonable and hear other people out, we have much more control over this than it might seem. I'll show this by surveying the field before giving my solution in the last paragraph.
Reddit is designed to fragment its userbase through its voting system, which forces each community into ideological purity. This is because users press the downvote button when they disagree with each other, and each downvote lessens the chance of a post showing up in other users' feeds. Hence, the dominant opinion will always downvote away its alternatives. People don't like this, so they go form their own communities, meaning even slight majorities will essentially censor their way to 100% control. And those in the new one inevitably do the same, leading to many insular groups that hate each other. It's why the users of "r/politics" and "r/conservative" might as well be living on different planets. Each side makes post after post about how bad the other is, and there's never an opportunity for a productive conversation between the two.
Through Twitter we see the media's contribution. Have you ever wondered why people tweet such crazy things? Or why, when there's good reasons to be upset the news inevitably reports the worst ones? It's because on a personal level you are rewarded not by being the most reasonable, but by getting the most engagement. And nothing gets engagement like a provocative tweet. In media, engagement equals ad money, and so in any controversy we find a bunch of political nobodies racing toward the hottest take, each yearning for their "take-down" to land them on cable television. Every "ratio" is a stepping stone toward relevance. By design, the worst of us comes out.
In smaller sites we see a common pattern. Often they are simply reskins of their rivals with less content. Since having a large userbase makes a platform better, they tend to attract only those that are banned from larger ones. We've seen time and time again that the end result is a new echochamber even crazier than the last. They usually advertise themselves by saying, "we're different because we won't ban you". But without the necessary structural changes, it's like saying "we're different because all our users are got banned. Please trade your current echochamber for ours". This is a shame, because competition is sorely needed in this space, and each site presents a new front to win the war against our collective sanity.
What we see in these examples is that structure matters. How we build our sites determines how people will behave, and this is where Nendly enters the picture. Nendly uses a state-of-the-art voting algorithm to promote a diversity of viewpoints. Unlike Reddit, where voting leads to censorship, Nendly's novel viewpoint analysis mathematically analyzes posts to find the best content within a range of competing beliefs and attitudes. What this means is that it's impossible for a dominant opinion to silence its rivals. This system capitalizes on the actual behavior of people in the real world. So unlike other voting systems where users are asked to not downvote each other, we use game theory. If a user wants others to see content he agrees with, it's in his best interest to upvote what he likes and downvote what he doesn't. But collectively this behavior enhances the discovery of viewpoints, and so the best ideas across a range of attitudes will be promoted together. And since it's purely math, this works whether the conversation is about movies, sports, politics, or anything else. This is what it means to be notion-friendly: to break down the echochamber and allow everyone a say in our collaborative conversation.
Does Nendly take sides?
Nope. We are doing everything we can to be as fair and neutral as possible. Do we, personally, have opinions? Of course. Will we make mistakes? It's likely. But let's not make the perfect the enemy of the good. Our hope is that everyone will leave Nendly thinking, "this is a step in the right direction".
Why are vote scores hidden?
The Internet is filled with bots. Although by nature Nendly's viewpoint analysis is extremely resistant to automated attacks, I don't want to give them any feedback. What we have here is something really special and defending it is paramount to the success of this site. I'll think about maybe showing tallies after posts have been archived and we've successfully resisted a series of diverse attacks. But until then, I'm keeping information about how it works to a minimum. Yes, this means you'll have to trust me, but as Ken Thompson eloquently explained in his 1984 Turing Award speech, at some point you have to trust people in tech. Everything is a series of trade offs, and I think this methodology is worth a shot.
What is a sort by confluence?
Coming in a week or so: A sort by confluence is Nendly's signature sorting method. Roughly, it's an ordering of posts by productivity of the discussions across all viewpoints expressed in the active set. Nendly's program discovers new viewpoints over time, in a process I call sharding as hinted at in p/1. When the site first launches, this will essentially be a sort by popularity since there will only be one shard, but as new shards are discovered it'll drift toward a balancing of notions. This balance is based on the interactions between viewpoints - not the viewpoints themselves - so write your posts with the intent of inviting healthy disagreement. It's actually in your best interest to make friends with people who disagree and ask them for input since a discussion where everyone agrees with each other won't do as well in terms of visibility. Do understand that the whole point of Nendly is to have productive conversations, so if you see stuff you disagree with, that means it's working. Because we do viewpoint analysis and hide vote tallies, don't worry about the popularity of what you say. Just make the most cogent yet respectful case you can for whatever you think, and the algo will take notice.
What is a sort by activity?
A sort by activity is roughly an ordering of posts by recency of contribution. While confluence is the name of the game, this is the algo used when determining what stays in the active set. It's good to sort by this every now and then to add your thoughts to emerging discussions.
What do n/, u/, etc. mean?
What do the numbers on the front page mean?
From the front page you get an overview of your account. This includes your posts, comments, replies, etc. The numbers indicate how many updates you are behind. So, for example, if your friend has the number 8 next to his name, it means he's written 8 posts since last you checked. All of this is saved per-device, so your phone may say something different from your laptop. Note: this feature hasn't been implemented yet, and instead the numbers are just total updates ever. In an update coming very soon I'll add it.
What is n/friendly?
What is n/all?
All posts except in those in a few boards.
What are n/popular and n/contested?
These are posts from across the entire site, with the hopes that n/popular covers those with the most agreement, and n/contested covers those with the least. For now it's based solely on which board the post is in, but we'll soon move to it being purely algorithmic on a per-post basis.
Are there any Easter eggs?
Yep! There's a secret board and some other things. I can't wait for you to find them because they are actually really cool. Happy hunting! 🥚 🐇 🥚
What are the rules?
You can read the full list of rules on a/rules. Make sure to follow them and any board-specific rules whenever you create contribute on Nendly.
What if I see someone breaking the rules?
In most cases, simply report, downvote, and move on. If something really bad is happening, you can write a message to the mods via n/mod, a write-only board.
Who runs Nendly?
I'm u/noah, aka SonderDev on other platforms. Although I'm the senior admin and have the final say, my primary focus is on programming the website rather than moderating its content. Besides me, we have admins, whose powers span across the site and include the ability to exact bans, and board-specific moderators who keep our discussions on topic.
How are admins and mods chosen?
The initial set of admins and moderators have been chosen because they are awesome people I happen to know. Future ones will be chosen with the same extreme care so as to not bias the site. If you'd like to be a mod, become a well-known user of your board. Mods that demonstrate reliable fairness and enduring patience will be considered for promotion to admin.
Can I edit my posts?
Yes, click the wrench icon at the top right.
Are image posts possible?
Soon they will be, but for obvious reasons I want to make sure the spam filter works well enough before I take the risk of opening the site to arbitrary images. For the immediate future Nendly is a text-only board, but that won't last long.
What are followers?
Your followers are people who see when you post, and have a you linked on their homepage. You can follow/unfollow someone else by visiting their user page. By default, you follow u/system and u/news, but you can unfollow them like anyone else.
Who follows me?
On Nendly, followers are private. You won't be able to see them, but they will be notified whenever you post. You can see how many you have by checking your account pane on the home page.
What are friends?
A pair of users who follow each other.
What is a public account?
A public account is simply one where your post history is visible. Uncheck the box on your homepage to set your account to private and people won't be able to see your history. Your followers won't be able to see what you post, but you'll still have them. Simply re-check the box to let them start seeing your posts again.
What are contributions?
Any post or comment.
How do usernames work?
Each user has a usernumber and a username. By default, all accounts start with their username equal to their usernumber. To change your username, enter a new name into the username field on the home page. No two users can have the same username, and the only numeric username you can have is your usernumber. You can link to a given user using either their usernumber or username. For example u/system has the usernumber 1. One way to link to u/system, then, is to use u/1. Linking by number is better, since changing your username breaks all links that used your username. And once you change your username, it's up for grabs by other users, so if someone else takes your old one then all such links will instead point to them.
What is Nano?
Nano is a digital currency that you can use for goods and services just like US dollars or EU euros. It's just that instead of being backed by the United States or the European Union, Nano is backed by the Internet. Glossing over the details, its users set up independent servers across the planet that work together to support the currency. Nendly runs one such server.
How do I use Nano?
First, you need a wallet, which is where you store it. I personally use Nault on desktop, and Natrium on mobile. Either will give you a personal nano address. They look like nano_ followed by random characters. Here's Nendly's for reference.
In either wallet, you can send and receive nano by entering in an address. For some free nano to test with, visit my faucet. After this, paste your address into the field below your username on your homepage. This will link your account, and any pending tips will be sent soon after (usually a couple of minutes, depending on how many people are using Nendly).
How do I trade Nano for dollars?
To trade nano for dollars, you'll have to use an exchange, just like you do when you want to trade euros for dollars. There's quite a few, but I recommend Binance.
How do I trade Nano for euros, pounds, and other fiat currencies?
To trade nano for something besides dollars, there's many options based outside the US. One is KuCoin. I can't say as much about these since I'm an American.
What are tips?
On Nendly, you can send gifts and tips to other users. Simply click the gift button on their user page or the rocket symbol on one of their contributions. This will present a special QR code, which when you are logged in is specific to your account. Scan the code with your phone or click to copy the nano address to your clipboard. Sending funds to this address will propagate to the user, minus the commission that Nendly takes. This commission starts at 50% for brand new accounts with 0 post history. As time goes on and the account's human score goes up, this percentage goes down. Nendly takes this to pay for the servers, and I'll likely lower or drop this commission entirely as our Patreon grows to levels wherein I can work on Nendly full time. Other sites like Reddit have obnoxious ads and effectively take 100% of their "awards", so I think this is a fair compromise. And hey, why post to Reddit and get fake internet points when you can post to Nendly and make some nano? :)
What is n/moon?
n/moon is a special board that orders posts in the active set by total nano gifted in the comments. You can't actually see how much nano went into each post, but the order is correct. The name comes from an old joke about nano growing in value by orders of magnitude in a few minutes, or "mooning" as it's said. Now while I wake up each morning and check to see if it's actually happened yet, we can imagine it as we watch well-crafted posts start mooning all the way up to the top of n/moon.
Are you part of the Nano Foundation?
Nope! Nendly has no special relationship with the Nano Foundation. If I do something insane or some disaster happens like everyone's nano being lost, please don't get mad at them.
What's Nendly's position on privacy?
The state of social media when it comes to privacy is an absolute disaster. You can read all about the wild west that is data collection elsewhere, but what's relevant here is what Nendly does.
I avoid all Google services.
Instead of Google Analytics, I've opted for the far better Fathom, and I plan on writing my own alternative.
Instead of Google reCaptcha, I use hCaptcha and only load the script when needed.
I support the Tor Project
Nendly works with Tor and has special Tor-only features.
Nendly runs a Tor relay to help support the network.
Nendly runs a an onion that anonymously introduces users to nano.
Nendly uses best practices in security.
I don't store your passwords in plain text.
I keep the nano node up to date and keep everything of value off my servers.
Nendly uses your data to improve the website and its viewpoint analysis.
It's best to use privacy-preserving software either way. Tor is one option, but here's another.
What is the active set?
The active set refers to all posts and comments that aren't archived. Once a post stops getting comments, it'll fall further and further down in a sort by activity. After going all the way to the bottom, the next new post in the same board will push it out of the active set, and the post will become archived. A mathematically interesting phase of viewpoint analysis happens afterward, and then the post rests forever in the archive. As with all posts, you can permanently link to it using it's post number, like p/1
What is n/archive?
n/archive lets you query for posts no longer in the active set. You won't be able to vote or comment on them, but they'll stay there as a permanent record of the evolving discussion happening on Nendly. In rare cases I might have to remove something but Nendly's discussions aren't meant to be ephemeral.
What are invitations?
Nendly allows users to tip each other using nano. These tips involve a commission, as explained in the nano section. Briefly, it starts at 50% and goes down as the user's human score increases. We will send you 5% of Nendly's commission if you invited them through our system. To invite someone, have them sign up using your special invitation link, which looks like the following.
The user doesn't have to link a nano address for you to get your 5% of our take. This is because I save each user's total amount owed for when he or she links an account. To keep the system fast and simple, we won't do the same for you, so make sure you link an account. Whenever there is a confusion of any sort, we default to sending everything (including Nendly's commission) to the user. Please don't do anything crazy with this (for example, don't buy ad words with your invite link). Nendly reserves the right to cancel your invitations and inviting ability at any time for any reason. Also, we'd like to dramatically lessen or drop Nendly's commission entirely once our Patreon takes off, so please understand this isn't meant to be a strategy for long term revenue. Don't make it a job; think of it as more a thank you for helping make my dream a reality.