Reward system in FOSS social media app as temporary solution against propietary, cloud/AI driven softwares

There appears to be a hole in the F-Droid/FOSS app space in regards to cloud-based, data intensive and/or AI driven apps. This is understandable. For example, who in their right mind would be able to offer a service like Shazam/SoundHound for free and without advertising! No one. Even if they did, it would likely use network services that are not easy to replace.

I propose that there may be a simple way to implement such a service in the decentalised social media landscape (ie. Fediverse apps), and possibly many other types of services.

There are at least 4 kinds of apps that I’ve heard exist in the closed-source app space that would be extremely valueable in the FOSS space. In fact these apps could be the only thing stopping people from transitioning fully to an open-source system. They relate to identifying content.

  1. Shazam / SoundHound type apps - that are able to identify music tracks from a very short recording of a track.
  2. Translater apps - an app that can take an image, text or recording of a communication and translate it.
  3. A vision-impaired helper app that might for example help a vision-impaired shopper to read a label with small text.
  4. A font identifier for when you want to know which font they used.

What I am proposing is a method for FOSS social media apps, like those on the Fediverse, to be able to replace the types of apps listed above with a type of Reward Service.

The user making the request would need to specify whether the Request is Safety Critical or not. If it is then it would need to pass through a Jury. The people trying to collect the Reward are not told whether the request is ‘safety critical’ or not, nor do they know the person making the request, however they are able to check whether equal content being checked has been submitted previously (based on the hash of the content), when the Request was answered and what the answer was, based on that they can maybe mark the Request as spam, offensive or violent and if a Jury agrees then the Answerer gets credibility also, and the user may be penalised.

Like anything else in the social media space, the Reward Service may need to operate in a way so that a user cannot immediately flood a server with Requests. Likewise it may be bad for a small group of Answerers to quickly consume all the Requests for Rewards (thinking of an AI-based adversary that wouldn’t be FOSS). Similarly a user would need to develop a reputation before they can be a Jury member to assess the validity of a response (safety critical requests need to be Jury assessed).

Credibility points earned (if earned, more below) might be used to grow exposure to your social media page, similar to how I remember Minds worked? (Minds could have changed since).

I wonder though if this service would work without any rewards except the reward of possibly the Requester making contact with the Answerer?

If a Requester likes the answer they can request to become friends with the Answerer. Friends see Requests from Friends first but are not rewarded with Points for solving Friend’s Requests.

Done right, I believe that the FOSS social media platform(s) that adopt this will grow because I think people would love to have a service similar to the tech giant services but free. I also think that some people will love the social aspect of helping people and growing their network of friends.

Obviously this service has a few drawbacks, the primary one is that, it may take time to get an answer from someone (ie. a real person) with actual understanding/knowledge. If the request is not answered or not answered correctly the Requester may need to “Extend the Request”. An Extended Request may garner a higher reward, or simply the Requester will like the Answerer even more.

There may be people who specialise in certain types of Requests, so it might be prudent to have a categorisation system. Eg:

  • music -> pop
  • music -> classical
  • music -> (30_OTHER_TYPES)
  • music -> unsure
  • vision impaired -> allergen check -> soy,
  • vision impaired -> brand and product
  • vision impaired -> street sign
  • translate -> signage -> road/street
  • translate -> signage -> business/shop
  • translate -> signage -> community
  • translate -> page
  • translate -> art / graffiti
  • font -> serif
  • art -> photography
  • art -> painting


It may be prudent to have an optional timer on Requests ie. 2 minutes, 20 minutes, etc. This may be important for blind people when they are at the shop, or people travelling who need relatively quick answers only.

What do people here think? Could this system be a viable alternative to the proprietary apps out there? Personally, I would be open to using something like this to answer some of my curly translation and music requests. Would you?

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