A new era for open, decentralized content moderation in Web3
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Lens Protocol
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September 23rd, 2022

The Lens Protocol core team is constantly working on building a better experience for users, creators, and developers. One challenge that every social application faces is how to moderate content and prevent spam in a censorship-resistant way.

Web2 was defined by its users creating and sharing content. This led to an online experience where anything goes and content moderation is handled only by the large conglomerates. Web3 is being built on the core principles of self-governance and decentralization, where users are in control. This means that content moderation will be a key issue. Although there are significant advantages to decentralization, we must also acknowledge certain challenges – here, content moderation. That's why it's so important that we establish standards and guidelines for monitoring content on Web3 platforms. Only by working together can we ensure that Web3 social is a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

With over 65k profiles and 300k posts on Lens, we recognize spam and bots can be a problem if left uncontrolled— one that can tarnish the experience for users and reduce a sense of trust and safety. This hurts everyone. The Lens Protocol core team believes users should be able to find relevant, valued content in a trusted space where their best interests are prioritized. As the network grows, and as we build towards a future where anyone can have a Lens profile, we know that if left unmoderated, spam and bots can ruin the experience and the trust and safety of the users.

The core team, in collaboration with the community, has been contemplating how to create tools for *optional* content moderation, enacted by the community. Today we’ll share more information about the first step in tackling an important and nuanced building block for the future of online social experiences.

IntroducingCultivatorDAO

In conjunction with feedback we received from our Lens developer community, CultivatorDAO is the first Web3 social DAO for open, decentralized content moderation. Designed with full transparency and optimized for an enhanced user experience, CultivatorDAO is optional – meaning it can be “turned on” by developers and/or users – and helps address spam, mitigate the risk of bots and to further curate the social graph across the ecosystem. CultivatorDAO is also forkable, meaning the members of the Lens community can fork the DAO and create another version that caters to their specific needs for content moderation (e.g., HarvestDAO). This makes it easier than ever before to create and maintain trust and safety in your community and focus on the core values behind the application.

CultivatorDAO sits at the middleware layer however users will always have direct access to any content on the decentralized protocol. Those appointed as the initial “Cultivators” will be responsible for maintaining two lists, a “spam” list and a “verified” list. The cultivators will receive proposals from data providers with either the list of accounts or methodologies to be added to either list. The DAO will vote on accepting the proposal.

The spam list will be accessible publicly to the entire Lens ecosystem via Github and will help developers who opt-in to provide better experiences for their users. This solution will strengthen the quality of content in the user frontend experience and protect the community, maintaining trust in the ecosystem. This also helps mitigate the risk of shadow banning since the decisions are publicly available.

The benefits of CultivatorDAO for users and developers

CultivatorDAO offers a number of benefits for both users, content creators, and developers:

  • Users will have more control over the content they see, as they can flag or report any content believed to violate community guidelines.

  • Developers can focus on building their product, and they can create more value-aligned communities as they work together on content moderation.

  • It is a great choice for those who value security and privacy. CultivatorDAO is transparent, decentralized and allows for a more secure and trustless environment.

The first vote for Cultivators

Built to support the growing Lens ecosystem, CultivatorDAO will be community governed and therefore, only those holding Lens profiles will be able to vote (polygonscan.com/block/33055000).

The initial nine nominees are active members of the Lens developer community that are eager to kickstart this first round of CultivatorDAO. There are five seats open for which the community will vote to form the founding members of CultivatorDAO.

Snapshot can be found below, voting commences on Monday, September 26th:

Once CultivatorDAO is formed, it will publish guidelines it uses to curate the social graph and prevent spam via the official CultivatorDAO.lens profile (lensfrens.xyz/cultivatordao.lens)

These guidelines will be designed to promote trust, transparency, and flexibility within the DAO. By following these best practices, the DAO can help foster a strong and thriving community on Lens with the best curation experience for users. We also believe that these guidelines can be a spark for more innovation in content moderation, trust and safety, and community-driven social media communities. We look forward to seeing how they evolve over time, and we hope that they will help to make the Web3 ecosystem a safer, more trusted, and more innovative place for everyone.

How to get started with CultivatorDAO

The CultivatorDAO lists will be available by early next month on Lens Protocol. If you’re a developer interested in using CultivatorDAO lists for your project, please reach out to us on Discord (discord.gg/lensprotocol).

We believe that open, decentralized content moderation is the future of the internet. By aligning incentives and using transparent protocols, we can create a more user-centric web that is resistant to abuse and censorship. We’re excited to see what developers build with CultivatorDAO.

Our goal with Lens Protocol is to provide simple, yet powerful tools that can be used by anyone who wants to build decentralized social apps. Creating new experiences, ownership of data, and choice over content, Lens Protocol is paving the way for the building of new and exciting experiences across Web3 social.

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