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Big Community Support

We could easily wind up with thousands of Muq servers supporting millions of users, and might possibly wind up with millions of Muq servers supporting billions of users.

Some basic low-level fixes will need to be made to scale that high (to start with, @who shouldn't list all online users, and .folkBy.nickName[] shouldn't try to cache all known users) but I'm thinking here primarily of higher-level software infrastructure needed to support useful, pleasant, largescale online communities.

In particular, we need mechanisms to define and operate social groups on size scales between "me and my friends" and "the entire online community".

We need to have the non-geographic equivalennt of "The North American Gardening Club Association" with under it a hierarchy of equivalents to state and city associations and neighborhood groups, some of which also belong to other associations -- which is to say, we will really have a lattice, not a hierarchy.

We need a uniform convention for determining whether person P is a member of group G, and for making a request of group G ("Hey, stop your subgroup S from trashing our servers, or we'll block your access entirely!").

We need a uniform protocol for limiting use of a resource to defined groups.

We need to let groups internally implement decision-making any way they wish, from classical mud Maximum Leader dictatorships to radical-left concensus-based "talk 'til you drop" communes to radical biker "last one breathing wins" anarchies, and to provide basic pre-built software support frameworks for the most common models. Anyone want to code up Roberts Rules of Order? grin

Some of this is just straight-up software design (for example, defining the membership determination API) some of it is straightforward coding (implementing that API), some of it is fairly basic research (is is possible to implement secure, verifiable, decentralized secret ballots, or are open ballots the only practical alternative?) and a lot of it is novel social experimentation -- nobody has ever built a real large-scale community not based ultimately on physical coercion!

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