Peer Content: Frequently Asked Questions

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It is best that you read the answers in the shown sequence. Please read our docs for all the details. You can ask more questions at our support site here. Some of the answers there will be seen here too. You can also see this FAQ as a mindmap: Click here -- and hover your mouse over each question in the mindmap to read its answer.

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The Internet has a lot of bright, minds putting forward their points in many online discussions. Unfortunately many minds (bright or otherwise) sometimes end up annoying other members of a discussion group. Then obviously the discussions deteriorate and not much useful content are generated.

Wikis is one way that can solve it reasonably well. But some people do not like that their data resides on a central server.

PeerContent was invented to offer a fresh new way where a group of equal peers can generate valuable contents, instead of vacuous discussions, on the Internet. All content are created and stored on the computers of the members. Our server cannot access them.

Read more at our documentation:

Why this forum system? Why not some other?

The forums here are practically serverless. NO content developed in our forums will even be seen by our server. The content is all encrypted end to end between the forum users.

Our server actually stores ONLY the description of the forum, the index file and yes, our server helps "pin" the encrypted data sent by your forum to the IPFS cloud. Hence we use the term "practically serverless" instead of "fully serverless"

It would be the members of the forum themselves who would actually be storing the content on their own computers.  Though strictly speaking this is not a completely Peer To Peer system; for all practical purposes -- it is very close to a highly private, highly distributed peer to peer (p2p) system. The major advantage of this is of course privacy and the fact that the forum community is the one who would own their own data. And each member of a forum will get his/her own copy of the contents -- so the entire forum can be read offline too.

Why not an email group? Why such a forum?

That is a good question. One could theoretically start an "anonymous" Google or Yahoo group. But there are some advantages in our system

1. It is very easy to setup. No passwords. No creating a "fake" email address to participate, etc

2. Email groups have absolutely no protection against Sybil (fake) accounts. Our system gives a stiff resistance to those who want to take multiple accounts

3. The data is not kept on any central server -- as it would be the case with Google groups, Yahoo groups, etc. This is a Peer-to-Peer system where ONLY the forum members can access the data

Whats the difference between a discussion forum and a content forum?

A "content forum" is focused on generating useful content. A discussion forum is usually for responding to previous posts. You would see that happening in various bulletin boards. This is not really a discussion forum, but a system to generate useful content by a group of peers.

So this is not a forum where people would write pithy phrases such as "Wow, that's great" or "K"  or put some emoji etc. You cannot also go around putting "likes" or give "happy birthday" and festival greetings. Sorry, let me correct that. One could do all of that; but they would look seriously odd in a content creation forum. There are no nice little "reaction"  icons for you to react on a previous posts. This is NOT for reinforcing each other's self-esteem.

If you want to look at this in a very simplified manner; think of it like a note taking application -- by a group of equal peers. Each note is to be thoughtfully crafted and placed into the forum by the peers.

Why does this require me to download a client application? And not on the web?

You are both right and wrong. This does NOT really work on a web browser. But it surely uses the web. There are several reason for it. One main one is that if it is on a web browser, we would need you to set a username, password, etc. Not only would that be cumbersome for you -- but we cannot fully claim this to be highly privacy protected.

Secondly this is practically a serverless P2P system (Our server does play a part; but a very tiny one). P2P means content is created directly between the members of the forum  and we don't really come into the picture. The entire Internet is moving to a distributed system where there are no central hubs managing your data. Your data should be important to you; and not be a money making device by the servers. We do charge, but that is for the working of the system and not at all for your data.

P2P systems such as BitTorrent do not work very efficiently using a web hosted service. That is why they ask for a downloaded client application. Same is the case with PeerContent.

Should my forum users also use the client application? Can I distribute it?

Yes, all the forum users should use the client application. They can either download it directly from our website; or you can also distribute it. It does not require any installation. Just pass on the original zip file you had downloaded from us. But please make sure that you give the latest version. Come to think of it; it is would be easier for you to tell your forum members to download it from our website. It is a very tiny application that works on Windows 32 bit as well as Windows 64 bit computers. It has not been tested on Linux or Macs -- but we believe it should work on those machine if you install the "WINE" emulation there. 

Make sure that you and your forum members read the "README.txt" file included in the distribution zip file!

Though we do permit distribution of our client application, you cannot bundle this with other software and/or books or other medium without letting us know. Please read the entire Terms of Service and Privacy policy at the documentation here:

Will this attract illegal/offensive forums?

It is difficult to read the psychology of those who do illegal activities! However, to reduce the chance of anyone doing illegal and/or offensive forum -- we have NOT given a trial version of this system. There is no free lunch here.

Each and every person who creates or joins a forum using our platform would be making a payment at our payment gateway. Though we do not collect any identifiable information, our payment gateway would. So in case someone thinks that he/she can get away by using our platform for nefarious activities; think again: All offensive/illegal work using this system can be reported to the authorities for action.

Use cases

Why should one start a forum of this type?

There is one very practical reason: You can make money by setting up such forums. Each forum creator would get a commision from the joining amount paid by the members. Currently it is 50%. See documentation again for details

But wait; there is more!

This is a peer-to-peer forum system. Not just that, we try our level best to ensure that all the members participating in such forums are anonymous. Anonymity has a lot of advantages. There is a proven system called "The Delphi Method" which has been used by many companies for getting high quality content and advice. But for the "The Delphi Method" to work, the members should not be fake (fake accounts are called "Sybil" accounts)

In this FAQ we have given several use-cases. Read our documentation for details.

What is a "sybil" account?

Sybil* accounts are also known as "sock puppet" accounts . They are a problem in many online interactions. They are fake identities setup by one and the same person just to steer and bias online discussions.

Unfortunately, they cannot be totally avoided. Internet does not have a foolproof method to establish identity. We have tried to create some barriers to reduce the chances of Sybil accounts. If we insisted on real world identities (such as a social security number, etc) then starting a forum here would be lot more cumbersome.

*Etymology: Sybil was the name of a lady who had multiple-personality disorder.

Why cant this be in a Wiki form?

There is one crucial difference between this system and say a Wiki. In a Wiki, it is the same document that keeps getting edited again and again. But on a highly distributed P2P system, that is practically quite difficult to implement -- without placing all the data on a central server.

We don't want to own your data. Period. That was big priority for us to implement it this way.

Each person puts up his/her own posts. All members of that forum can read them, and editors can use earlier ones as a basis to develop newer posts. But old ones cannot be edited. The editors cannot create new ones. (May be the term "editor" is a wrong choice of word. Suggest a different one. The term "creator" is already taken to mean the person who started the forum)

Use it for developing consensus using the Delphi method

The Delphi Method is a major breakthrough in achieving high quality advice from a group of difficult, yet knowledgeable personalities. Sony is supposed to have used it to invent the Sony Walkman. NASA placed a man on the moon after getting a Delphi consensus, etc.

Read our documentation about how and why The Delphi Method works

Use it for getting high quality mentorship

A mentor may want to gather together business advisors and develop content together.  And make money too!

Use it to write a book

Our system can easily be used for an author to write a book and collect money from potential readers. If you are a fiction writer, you can keep typing various chapters of a book one after another and keep your audience enthralled as the story unfolds. Of course, in such a use case; you would need to keep the other members of your forum as "viewers" and not as "editors" -- hmmm... or maybe you could also invite a few editors who may do some grammatical checks, and suggestions for you.

Use it in a classroom

A professor in a class, wants the entire class to contribute -- without the students and teacher's personalities coming in the way. This system also allows "viewer" members i.e. members who are NOT allowed to post. They can only read. So the professor can decide what kind of content forum that he/she wants to create. Maybe the professor may decide to invite a few other profs as editors; and make the students as just viewers. The possibilities are endless.

Use it for family discussions

Some large families may have intricate issues which may need to be sorted out. You can bring in some external advisors such as counselors to place their opinion on the internal matters of the family. As the identities are not really known by anyone, it should be possible to get to the meat of the matter.

When people are reasonably sure they are anonymous, a lot more deeper content can be written.

Use it for scientific research

Cutting edge scientific research can be carried out using these forums. Again, this is because of the reasonable anonymity of the members this supports.

Each post can be crafted in Wordpad as an RTF file, so you can put in images, links, tables -- like a wordprocessor

Use it in knowledge based offices

Offices need to be innovative. Great ideas can come from anyone. An office can setup a forum for themselves; and let everyone contribute regardless of their position in the office. The overall success of the entire office could be more important than individual agendas. Also policies that the office may want to implement can be discussed without anyone feeling that they may be harassed individually.

Use it to for peer reviews

The conventional "blind review" system used by reputed journal is actually very easy to be used in our forums.  The journal editor can remove the authors' names of the articles submitted to the journal and all the reviewers can be enrolled into the forum -- then sit back and see what the reviewers have to say!

Starting up

Do I have to register/sign-in and then login?

No. Each forum is either created by you. Or you can join a forum. Either as an editor or only as a viewer. Our intelligent, simple client application does all the sign-in, etc. on the user's behalf. Just install that software on your computer and start using it. It is as simple as that!

Please note that the first time you create a new forum or join one; you are permanently identified with the specific computer you started on. If you later on decide to move to another computer, you would get identified as a different user. So you will find that you would need to rejoin the groups once again (which would mean additional costs, as joining any forum costs a bit of money)

We made this mandatory in order to reduce the chance of people taking sybil accounts and corrupting the content being developed on these forums. Though this does not fully prevent it; it does reduce the chance of Sybil accounts to a good extent. Explained later.

How do I start a forum?

To start a P2P discussion forum, download the forum client application. Then make a payment for handling the setup cost of the forum. Either in full or partially. With the very first payment, your forum would get created immediately. But it will remain paused till certain conditions are met. (Explained later)

You need NOT pay the entire setup amount in one go. If you want, you can share the expenses of creating a forum between your forum members so one person need not take up the entire setup expense.

You don't pay regular currency into your forum. Instead you have to first purchase "Koyns" which are our internal currency (or tokens) And it would be those tokens that gets deposited into any forum account.

What are "Koyns"?

Koyns are like the tokens you bought as a child at a counter to play a video game in some shopping mall. When the game got paused with a message asking you to enter more tokens, you asked your parent to buy more tokens -- and then deposited those tokens into the coin-slot of the game.

Koyns are exactly like those tokens. They are the internal currency that we use in all our solutions. It helps you use our solutions as per actual usage. Each bunch (or packet or group) of Koyns are collectively given one Koyn Code. It would be that Koyn Code that you would have to enter in our client application.

Read the documentation for more details.

This needs to be used for an important social cause. Can I use it free?

Yes. We support all worthy causes. Please email us at your context and we will give you a method by which you can get to use our system free of cost.

I don't have a UPI ID. Will I get paid?

Sorry, we can only pay to those who can provide a UPI ID -- UPI stands for "Unified Payment Interface". It is a system set up by government of India where a user gets an "ID" for a bank account he/she has. The person MUST be an Indian for this.

If you do NOT have a UPI ID currently and you are an India, we urge you strongly to get one. Many mobile banking applications from India can easily create a UPI ID for you. Once you do get a UPI ID, then you can send it to us. Make sure you do that before a set time interval is over after your payment is due to you. We do a payout after a certain amount of commissions are collected. Read our pricing page for details. 

If you are a foreigner; maybe you could supply an Indian friend's UPI ID and the payment will go to that person. Giving a UPI ID poses no risk whatsoever. Because we can ONLY send money. We cannot withdraw money from that UPI ID.

How do I get members into a forum I created?

Good question. After creating a forum, you would need to market it and get people to join up. After all not only you have the intention to get valuable work; you also have a profit motivation: We give a percentage of the joining fee goes to the forum creator.(Currently it is 50% But check our website/docs for the actual figure)

You have to give the new user the Forum ID that was set up for your forum; and also the credentials of the forum to whoever who wants to join. Two types of credentials are available: One to make the new user an editor. The other to make that person just a viewer (Creation/editing disabled)

You may choose to announce this on whatsapp or Telegram or wherever else you are conducting a discussion. Or even on your website. It is strongly recommended that you also request new members to read this FAQ at the very least. Ideally, even our documentation.

I want ONLY an exclusive set of users to join my forum. What to do?

All forum creators get to control their forums from within the client application itself. (Click a special button above the forum list) You can then stop/restart memberships and pause/resume the entire server.

If you are afraid that the Forum ID and the Forum credentials (especially the editor credentials) may get leaked to all and sundry -- and you do not want that -- then you could further use one of the following methods

Use a password-protected web page
There are many free websites where they allow you to create a simple webpage; and then password protect it. Some even allow you to set multiple passwords to access such a page.

You would need to make a new password protected webpage which contains those 2 information (i.e. Forum ID and Forum credentials) Then you can personally hand over the web-page password (not the forum password) to the person who has expressed interest in joining. Do the process again for each and every member you want to add. Ideally, do all this on a site where multiple passwords can be set for the same web page. Then you can distribute a different password to the respective members.

Use Zoom or other e-meeting
As the system allows new members to be either editor or viewer; you can decide what strategy to employ. Maybe you could gather a few editors together privately via Zoom call, etc and give them the editor credentials privately in that Zoom call.

And for the viewer credentials, you can declare that publicly -- this is quite useful if all the editors together want to make money (How the forum creator and other editors share the money would be up to them. All of you could conclude that in that Zoom call)

What steps should a new member do?

Every new member has to make a small minimum payment and then credit the purchased Koyns into a forum, he/she wishes to join. He/she also needs to have the correct credentials (editor or viewer) of the forum to join.

The creator of a forum sets the minimum acceptable amount of Koyns for allowing a person to be member of that forum. The creator also ensures that new users get the forum credentials too. As mentioned several times; a new member can either be an editor or just a viewer -- so the correct credentials have to be given to the new members accordingly.

I don't want my members to pay anything. What to do?

If you do NOT want a new member to pay anything when joining your forum, you can do this:
  1. When you create your forum, keep the joining fee at the minimum (Rs 100/- or 10,000 Koyns)

  2. Buy 10,000 Koyns on behalf of the new member you want to add. You can purchase the Koyns from our payment gateway here 

    After you purchase, you need to convert the payment ID into a Koyn Code, that is done here:

  3. Now when you invite a member to your forum, you not only would give that person the Forum ID and the forum credentials but you should also now give the Koyn Code

  4. Note that you will still get your commission due to you (Currently it is 50%. Read our documentation on current commission)
Note that ONE Koyn code can be used only once.

Membership concerns

Why is a forum paused? How can it restart?

The forum is paused in the following situations

  1. The forum can be paused anytime by the creator of the forum

  2. The forum will be in a "paused" state when the entire setup amount for creating a new forum has not yet been deposited. As indicated before, the setup amount need not be paid in full by the forum creator. It will automatically get collected when other members join because all members need to pay small amount to get in (Explained later)

  3. The forum is paused when there are insufficient members. A minimum of 3 members are needed for the forum to actually start

  4. Each post made in the forum will result in our system deducting a tiny amount of Koyns (See our current pricing) If there are insufficient amount of Koyns, the forum would get paused till there is a sufficient balance

How many forums can I create/join?

Any number.

The client application installed on your computer can handle any number of forums -- Of course each forum would take up its own disk space on your own computer. That cannot be estimated by us. Our software allows each post to be a maximum length of 500 kilobytes.

Usually you would get to know about such a forum when someone tells you about it via email, whatsapp chat, etc. In a future version, we may setup a directory of forums that the general public can join.

Where and when do we see a member list?

The members are ONLY revealed when the forum has grown to at least 14 members. (This can be reconfigured by the forum creator) Even then, the actual identities of the members are not revealed. There is no "member list" as such. But you can see the member ID on posts in the forum.

ONLY the internal IDs of the members are used to identify the members. Nothing else. We collect only a very tiny amount of personal information. That is actually done by our payment gateway for their legal reasons. Of course; we can use that information if we find that someone has violated some legal terms and conditions. But we will NOT use that information for revealing the identities to each other in a forum.

Read our documentation on why we are trying so hard to keep everyone anonymous; as much as possible.

But the forum creator would be known, right?

The person who starts a forum here possibly may get identified by others as the one who started the forum. Because he/she would be  requesting others to join the forum that was created. But even then there is no harm done as such.

The fact is: A forum creator actually also does not know his/her own forum Identity when the forum was created! That means the creator cannot announce that "Please join this forum and my ID on that forum is xyzabc" 

Our system waits till the membership has gone to at least 3 members before anything really happens. It is only when the forum has the required minimum number that it would even be allowed to start posting. But even then the ID will NOT be revealed till the members reach 14 (Can be increased. See below)

Each post would contain the forum internal ID of the person making the post.

In short; the forum creator gets hidden in the middle of the first set of forum members. If the forum creator wants; he/she can set a higher number of minimum users before the actual IDs are revealed. For example; if the creator wants to hide to quite an extent, he/she would set a limit of 200 members (as an example)

Posting will always be allowed after 3 members but  those posts will NOT show the ID of the poster till the membership hits 200 (in the above example)... after that; each ID would be revealed above their respective post. The initial posts will continue to exist without the posters' IDs ... But frankly, even those IDs will not be decipherable: They will be a garbled set of alphabets and digits. But at least you would be able to differentiate author of one post from another. Below that minimum limit the IDs of the authors will not be seen at all (For.g. It is 200 in this example, or 14 in the system set minimum)

Where are the credentials of the forum I created?

The credentials for each forum is created automatically within the program, at the time of creating a forum and it is saved in the forum creator's own computer. There are two types of credentials that are created: One for future editors and the other for future viewers. The one for editors is name editorCredentials.txt and the other is viewerCredentials.txt

The forum password is never sent to our server (You can take a look at our code -- explained elsewhere in this FAQ) The forum password is set automatically from within the program itself -- so that you do not have to. Go to the "data" folder and look under the forum ID  that the creator had supplied and you can get these two credentials files. Choose the one you want to give to your new members.

But forum members can identify himself/herself later. Then what happens?

True. That can happen sometimes. In such a case, other members can do any of the following:

  • Simply shrug your shoulders and carry on as usual

  • Mildly wonder why that person is identifying himself/herself and smile at yourself

  • IF you are a bit mischievous you can deliberately obfuscate the situation by claiming it you who is the said identified person and not the other person. And then smile at yourself (but don't tell anyone that you got the idea here)

  • Completely ignore and focus on the topic contents at hand

On a more sober note; there would be situation where the writing style of a person may reveal who that person is -- Even then, you can select from the above list :-)  In all such situations; it is NOT advised to get into an argument. People have their own motivations and one of them could even be being acknowledged for the content they are developing. It is understandable and completely forgivable.

But there is a related question on actually identifying people in a classroom, which a prof has setup. Read on!

I am a prof. I used this to get students to work together. How do I give them marks?

This can be an unusual situation where you need to formally identify the people who signed up for the task. This is how a professor can give assignments to a class of students

  1. This is suitable for assignments where it does NOT matter how the student obtains knowledge -- even if the student uses other students works as references, that is fine

  2. The professor creates a spreadsheet where he/she creates a column of the student names and assigns special passwords in the second column

  3. The professor then sends a whatsapp message or email to each student and hands over the forum credentials (editor credentials; not the view ones) The professor ALSO gives out the passwords individually and asks the student NEVER to reveal that password till the time is right.

  4. The forum goes active and everyone generates content as instructed by the professor. Maybe the professor can also intermingle in the forum and help clarify the content coming up

  5. After the assigned time period, the professor then uses the control button  (available in at the top of the "Forum" list i.e. the 2nd tab) and suspends the forum so that no further activity can happen -- other than reading the local contents

  6. Each student can figure out what was the user-id that the system had given to himself/herself -- It is shown as a "hint" over the small user-id label shown next to the "ignore" checkbox. The student should carefully notedown that, and send an email/prof stating that "My user ID is xcsdfdsfsdfewqrf and the password you gave me was ABC"  The professor can now match the password that was given to the said user; and come to know the actual user.  As the student does not have passwords of other user, the student would not be in a position to impersonate anyone else.


My forum members need to be collectively acknowledged.

Usually forums created here deliberately keep the members anonymous. So once the forum starts generating knowledge, it would be difficult to acknowledge; even collectively, the contributions of the members.

But sometimes one may want to create high quality content  from a group of specially qualified people. They may need acknowledgement.  Not individually but that group may need to be collectively acknowledged for their contribution without attributing specific posts to individual people.

Here is an example how that can be done: a group of say 45  professors working on nuclear waste wants to develop some rich material. One of them starts a forum using our system. Then via a Zoom call or some other video meeting, he explains to others and shares the forum credentials and the forum ID to the other 44 persons via the Zoom chat.

Now all those people now join the forum, and develops various contents. After a few months; all or some of the posts can be printed out into a book and that group can be collectively acknowledged.

In short, care needs to be taken that the people joining such a forum are given the joining information (forum ID and the forum private key) with the least chance of all that being leaked to the outside public.

I don't want an old forum member to access the contents

Sorry. This is just not possible. This is a peer-to-peer system. Once members are enrolled into a forum, we have no way of knowing who contributed and who did not. Moreover; every forum member is able to collect the contents developed in the forum at his/her own computer. So it is not possible to prevent access to a particular member of the forum. The peers in these forums are more or less of equal status.

Can the number of members be restricted?

We thought about this but decided not to restrict membership from our side. But read the answer to the next question too. The reason is that in any group there would be people who would show initial enthusiasm to contribute and later on would get bored/and or preoccupied with something else.

In short, collective content creation by a group of people are NOT done in a consistent manner. Content gets created in spurts and starts -- so there should be a way for fresh members to be allowed in. Of course, what would usually happen is that membership would finally come to a halt --it all depends on how the forum creator markets his/her forum.

All forum creators get a control from within our client application; and they can decide to start/restart registrations.

I want only a closed group of friends to use it.
Let them be anonymous but I want control

Forum creators have control over when to stop/restart registrations. It can be done by the creator from within the client application.

In this particular example where the creator is known to the forum members this is how further control can happen. But before that...

Though everyone would know the creator, others who join up do not know each other by  various techniques. Here is one:

This can be done by putting an additional layer of protection from your side. Usually that means, you do NOT distribute the credentials to your friends directly via Whatsapp, etc.  Instead, you can create a simple form on a web site; and only when people give a form, and promise NOT to give the credentials to anyone else (Usually by clearly explaining the conditions) You could even ask them to provide some personal information for your own requirements. All that is up to you.

There are a couple of points you need to know: You would be known to each person who joins up as the one who set it up. Yet, it would be difficult for people to identify you once you are inside the forum.

Also, the users will NOT know each other. Note that our system has NO method to connect your forum user members to the actual identities of users you invited.

But this form of forum also would be very useful. For example; you could be a professor in class, setting up a Delhi discussion among all the other students. The professor himself/herself will NOT contribute but just do the initial setup. Or maybe interject once a while and add a few tips to manage the content appearing in the forum; without revealing who you are.

Managing the forum

I am the creator of a forum. Now how do I manage it?

This is a peer-to-peer forum. That means everyone is practically on the same level. Nobody is superior. Nobody is inferior. So once the forum starts generating posts; everyone is equal to each other. Including the creator.

Here are things that a creator (and only the creator) can do:

As a forum creator, you can set a minimum joining amount for letting members join the forum you created. This incentivizes creators of forums to go and market the forum, so that they earn some amount of money. Two types of forum members can be added: New members can be either editors or just viewers.

The creator can also set the minimum no of members required before the IDs are seen by each other.  Also, the creator of a forum can request us to suspend the forum (explained elsewhere in this FAQ)

The creator get a control to stop/restart membership to the forum; and suspend the forum. All that can be done from within the PeerContent client application.

What would be the license of the contents generated in a forum?

We have NO ownership over your data for sure. In fact we have absolutely no access to your data. The license terms for using your contents would be all up to the forum creator and the forum members. The forum creator must make it clear on the licensing conditions of the contents while writing the description of the forum. It would be nice if the forum creator would explicitly mention all the conditions when attracting members to a freshly created forum.

In case such a license is not specifically mentioned, it would be very difficult to reinforce it later on. Usually ALL the editor members of the forum have all rights over ALL the contents in the forum as it is really difficult to know the actual legal identities of people.

Irrespective of whatever be the license conditions may be; the system allows members with editor permissions the use of previous contents in the forum for the purpose of creating new posts. Of course the viewers can also do  this  -- but the changes viewers make cannot be posted back to the forum.

What if some user copies the content and claims he wrote it?

There could be a stray chance that some users who did not understand the system may attempt this.

But this can easily be fought legally: All you have to do is to take your computer to the authorities; and show that the data appeared in your computer earlier than what that user had claimed. As the actual content is on IPFS -- it is impossible for anyone to claim a date earlier than the one stored on the IPFS cloud.

How come I did not see passwords being used anywhere?

That is the beauty of the system, right? We don't want to trouble you with passwords, etc. The client application that you use for these forums does all the magic of handling the credentials. All that happens in the background.

You and other editors just concentrate on posting good quality contents ... and those with "viewer" credentials can enjoy reading them.

How do I shut down a forum I created?

Well, if you are the creator, you can always suspend the entire forum.That control is available from within the client application.

But usually, you need not suspend your forum because you do make money when new members join up, right?  As all the main work is done on your own computer; you and/or other members can simply choose not to post anything. It is as simple as that! Also note that forum posting would happen in spurts and starts. So give your forum some wiggle room and time-- it is quite possible that someone or the other wants to post; albeit a bit late here and there.

How to ban a member?

There is no banning possible in the forums created here.

If you do not want to read some person's post; you can instruct the software to ignore that person's posts. So even if that person posts something, you would not get it. Ignoring someone is a powerful mechanism. When enough forum members ignore posts by a certain person, that person usually would understand that he/she is not welcome as such.

You may ask, how will the person know if he/she is being ignored? The clue would be that nobody seems to agree or disagree to whatever he/she has posted. That will be an ample enough hint.

Remember that ALL posts are actually collected  inside the computer of the individual members of the forum. Our server does NOT have any access to the contents and hence we have no way to directly ban anyone.

A member posted something offensive. How to take legal action?

That is unfortunate that someone thought of using this for something illegal.I hope everyone reading this answer will understand that a full audit trail is available for each and every post made into a forum. We can give all the required information to accurately track the route taken by each post. ALL posts are actually done directly into IPFS by the user from that person's own computer using the person's own Internet connection. Though we do not know what is the content of the posted we know the way it got posted. For correct complaints we will surely provide all the details of the IP address, time of posting etc to the authorities. Note that other members of the forum would know and it would be one of them who would make a complaint and they too would cooperate with the authorities, for sure.

Please email us at and we will explain the next steps.

Note carefully the terms of services. We are not here to intervene in personal quarrels and someone who has a distasteful method of expressing his/her points. Please note that there are many people in the world with weird ways of expressing; who can still be quite knowledgeable and contributory to serious discussions. Read up on The Delphi Method in the documentation.

Using a forum

Can I make my post read-only ?

Yes. A forum creator is given two types of credentials. One for subsequent editors and the other for subsequent viewers. So if the forum creator wants members to only read and not post, then give those people the "viewer" credentials; and not the "editor" ones.

Note that all the peers are supposed to be equal in this p2p content forum. Everyone has the capability to take each other's posts and work further with them. So technically speaking, even viewers can actually work on the posts but they can do it only for themselves. They cannot post the changes back into the forum.

I joined a forum very late. Can I still get the earlier contents?

Yes, you can. Right from the genesis of the forum. ALL the content that are created in these forums are actually floating around in an encrypted manner on the IPFS cloud.  The abbreviation IPFS, by the way, stands for "Inter-planetary File System" That kind of explains the ambition of that project. So even if Elon Musk transports you to Mars, you should still be able to get the contents of the forums you had joined.

Can I only download some of the data?

This is tough to manage. Let me explain.

The forum client apllication would download the post you clicked on. The downloaded post would get decrypted and the decrypted version would be stored locally on your computer.

With strict discipline by you; you could theoretically choose not to click on certain posts -- in which case the posts for that particular topic you did NOT click would not get downloaded. But doing this would require great discipline and foresight. We have not given a feature to  "preview" the contents before it can get downloaded.

Someone copied my post? What to do?

In a content forum such as this one, the peers are supposed to take content from each other and add/edit it. This is allowed. That is the whole idea -- that the peers help each other and flesh out contents.

In a Wiki, all the peers are allowed to work together on the same topic. But this is a threaded content system -- where each user expresses his/her own variation of some previous content... and create new content too, of course!

Can I edit a post?

Unfortunately no. Even if you are an editor. You cannot even edit your own post you had done earlier. Think of this like an email group -- Once you send out an email, you cannot edit the same again, right? Editors can always create new posts based on the older one. Viewers anyway cannot post new content (even if the utility allows creation -- that is for the viewers own use)

But we are thinking of giving a setting that will delay the post for a few minutes. We are not sure it would help, so we are currently testing that function and if found suitable; we may give it in a future version

Can I delete a post?

No this is not possible. As this is a privacy protected P2P system, we have no idea where all a post may have appeared. The data is not at our end. It is with the peers. Think of this like a special type of emails: Even if you delete a sent email in your own email software, it will NOT get deleted at the receiving end.

Will I get notifications when new posts arrive?

Notifications are not shown in the client application. This is NOT a chatting system where people are responding very fast and sometime quite thoughtlessly. These forums are for thoughtful posts.

When creating a forum or joining one; you are given the option of specifying an email address. Some mobile apps (such as "Pushover") will give you an anonymous email which you can use here. Or you can create an anonymized email address on Gmail, etc. and use that here if you are worried about privacy. Our system can send notifications to that email address; regarding new posts and also other critical messages.

What is the maximum size of a post? Are attachments allowed in posts?

No. Attachments are NOT possible in a post. Also a post cannot be more than 250 Kiloybytes long. But it can be a "rich", formatted text with images loaded from external links. All contents are actually stored as RTF files.

In fact, when you create a new post; it opens Wordpad for you  to create your contents. You can change a setting to any other word-processor you like. But you need to necessarily save the content as RTF files. Explained in the documentation.

Can I get earlier versions of the same document?

No. Again take a look at emails: You may lovingly draft an email. Again and again. But when you press that send button the other person or persons gets only the final version. It is the same here. On your own computer you can have lots of drafts lying around. But when you post any of those; it would be full and final.

But nothing stops you from re-writing the same post but as a different one. That is what we do with emails too, right?

Money matters

Why do you charge a setup amount?

We want only quality forums to appear here. So the setup amount is charged to act as a small entry barrier. Also, it covers our server costs. Check our latest pricing -- Our charges are very nominal. As explained earlier; the forum creator need not pay the entire setup costs. If it is less, the balance would get automatically deducted from the Koyns deposited by new members joining the forum. That is why when initially when people keep depositing Koyns into the forum, the balance still keeps showing up as zero -- because it all goes towards completing the setup cost.

Note that the system will always try to reach the current setup cost mentioned in the pricing page, so it is best that the setup cost is paid as quickly as possible; just to avoid a larger setup cost later. The moment the mentioned setup cost is reached, you are safe. So even if the price increases later; it will not affect your forum.

Why should new members pay?

One main reason is that we want this to go viral. The forum creator gets a commission from all the subsequent members who join, as each of them have to pay a joining fee. See our documentation for details.So that profit incentive is also a very good reason!

But there is a deeper reason too!

This P2P system is to encourage genuine content where all the members are actually anonymous (or rather, we do not announce who they are to other members) Anonymity means that members are more focused on the content rather than the person writing the content.

We do NOT collect any personal identifiable information as such (Our payment gateway does, because they need to, for their legal reasons) We cannot let this system get corrupted by arbitrary people simply joining up or the same person joining multiple times.  All that would reduce the quality of the content appearing in the forum.

The need to pay something would also deter casual forum invaders. This reasonably ensures that the forum has only real people and not "sybils" (Sybil = a fake account)

Can I pay in Dollars, Euros, etc? Answer: YES

Our payment gateway is in India. It is managed by Razorpay. Despite its unusual name; it is an excellent, responsible payment gateway -- now a Unicorn in India. It accepts most currencies and credit cards from most nations. For those who are Indians, it will accept even bank transfers, debit cards and UPI (Universal Payment Interface) payments.

Can someone outside (not forum member) credit Koyns into a Forum?

Yes. Thank you for asking. Anyone can add any number of Koyns into any Forum they know about and care for. So this means, if you are participating in a PeerContent forum for some social cause, you can advertise the ForumID via social media, your blog and so on... Hopefully then someone or the other will add additional Koyns into your Forum

If they are not a member, you can ask them to go to this page and deposit the Koyns. Of course, they should know your ForumID

I could not get 3 members for my new forum. Can I get a refund?

Unfortunately no. But there is another way out. The forum creator can get whatever setup amount that he/she had deposited converted back into Koyns. Provided that the forum has not yet got three members and you have tried for at least 90 days. Any forum that does not met the minimum member criteria would get paused (i.e. suspended). The creator has to email us with the Forum ID, from the same email address which was used to purchase the Koyns. We will email back a "Koyn code" that represents the amount paid by the creator.

Important: The forum must be at least 90 day old before you can ask for this.

Note that if you have a feeling you may not get enough forum members in time, you can always start with a lesser amount than what is demanded by the setup fee. Our system will collect the rest from new members who will join.  So obviously you should set a joining fee that would accommodate your need.

We suggest not to pre-conclude too fast: Systems like this grows in spurts and starts. People may be slow to join in the beginning; only to pick up speed later.

A "Koyn Code" is like the number you see at the bottom of a currency note. It stands for the value of that note. The act of returning back the Koyns is that such a Koyn Code represents the entire lot of Koyns in that forum setup account.

Once such a Koyn Code is in the hands of the creator, the same can be used in our company's other solutions. Almost all our solutions use Koyns for elastic payments (i.e. pay as per usage. Such a "returned Koyns" can even be used for creating another forum here.

Koyns paid by individual members to join an account cannot be returned back or refunded.

How are forum creators paid?

All forum creators are allowed to set a minimum joining fee. We will pay creators from India the currently ongoing commission (usually it is 50% but we may change this once a while) from the minimum joining fee collected from each member, and reserve that to the creator. Once the actual payout reaches at least Rs 2000/- (Indian Rupees) we will send it to the creator via UPI. Due to foreign trade restrictions, we can ONLY pay to Indian citizens through UPI. We will deduct all government taxes and payment gateway fees and the balance would be sent to the creator via UPI.

Why do you charge per post also?

We incur some ongoing costs. We use an external "IPFS pinning" commercial service to put your posts to the IPFS cloud (Don't worry, those are all encrypted by the forum from your end and so we cannot read those posts)

All the "Koyns" credited into a forum becomes the pool from which a small no of Koyns are deducted for each topic that is posted on the forum.  Check the latest pricing page. Don't worry; the per topic cost is extremely low.

Once the pool is exhausted someone or the other in the forum need to replenish it by purchasing more Koyns and crediting those into the forum. Note that anyone can credit more Koyns into the forum account. It is not necessary that the forum creator has to do it.

After the setup cost are done and commissions
given to creator, what happens to the balance?

The balance Koyns in any forum's account would be consumed incrementally as per each posting done by the members. If the forum is a slow one -- without much activity, the balance will remain there till such time the members post contents. Once all the Koyns are consumed, any member in the forum can add additional Koyns (Need not be done by the one who created it)

Purchase additional Koyns from our payment gateway:


How does this work?

Each forum has its own strong password which is used for end-to-end encryption. Our server has no clue about this, as this password is set on the forum creator's own computer. The server is given a hash of this password so that when new members are to be enrolled, the program sends the hash that the new member entered and that is compared at the server. Only the ones who can match the hash would be allowed as a member. Further more another password is set for the server end to encrypt the index file of the forum there.

None of the data produced in the forum is actually kept at our server. It is first encrypted at the user's own computer by our utility and the software pins it on the IPFS cloud. Only the QHash name of the IPFS cloud file is stored in an index file. But as explained earlier, the index file itself is also encrypted.

In the remote case that our server may get hacked, the hacker will NOT be able to easily decrypt the encrypted index file data as our server keeps that password away from the data.

All the cryptography work is handled by our system by using standard cryptographic algorithms. The user is not even aware that all this is happening.

When I minimized the application, it disappeared!

To reduce the impact on your regular activities, when you minimize the client application; it actually disappears into the System Tray. You will find it there. Double-click on its icon there and it will return back to your desktop. Sorry about the confusion.

Where is the data stored?

They are NOT stored at our server. All data that gets created in all the forums here are actually stored on the IPFS cloud as separate "pages" floating around on the Internet. Our server compiles an "index" file for the forum members but that is also encrypted in such a way that our server cannot decrypt it. It can only get decrypted at the forum users' ends.

IPFS is a fault-tolerant large network of Peer to peer pages.  The content themselves are encrypted using end-to-end symmetric encryption. Only the forum members would have the capability to read those pages; as only their computer where the forum software has been installed would have the forum password for decryption.

The pages are downloaded by a simple desktop application (currently Windows, but we are making for other OS too) which can download these pages, and keep them on your own computer.

As mentioned earlier; our system does NOT have any capability to decrypt these pages.

Why would the server NOT know the contents of the forums?

Good question. The simplest answer is that this is a peer-to-peer system with end-to-end encryption. Read the details below:

Our server coordinates the activities of the forum, so it compiles a file called "index.txt". That is true, but it has no way to understand its contents.

The forum post title, tags, contents are ALL encrypted with the forum password. Nobody can get to read the contents EXCEPT the forum members. The forum password NEVER leaves the forum members' respective computers.

(There is an exception for a special forum "TheMadMagazine" which we give along with our client application. It is an example that we had made during testing and we decided to give it anyway. In that particular (and only forum) the index.txt file can be read and you can read the titles and tags of the post. However, the contents themselves of TheMadMagazine forum, are still encrypted)

What if a member leaks the forum password?

It is quite difficult to leak the forum password. Because the password is further password protected from within the utility. If you mean, "leaking" out the credentials that someone received so that someone else joins -- well, that is not called "leaking".... As far as our system is concerned; that is how the forum grows, right. So it is not a problem to us.

If the member gives the forum credentials to someone outside, no harm is really done. That thief cannot impersonate the person from whom the credentials were taken. They have NO choice but to actually join the forum to see the contents.

Note that the member will have to ALSO share the his/her membership credentials of that forum to that outside person if that person has to really impersonate the person the credentials were "stolen" from (with the intent to impersonate). But the membership credentials of a user is actually tied up to the hardware of the computer of the user; so that outside hacker will have to physically steal the hardware too.In short practically nobody can impersonate any legal  user. Hence there is practically no identity theft possible.

Of course stealing your computer, or the decrypted files that are on your own computer -- well that kind of theft is not what we are talking of here. Those thefts cannot be handled by a software company!

Our server keeps the actual index of the forum pages; and that index is revealed ONLY to those who are actual members; and who come in using our special desktop application. Moreover, the index file itself is kept encrypted on the server. And we have a proprietary method that makes it extremely difficult for a member to share his/her membership credentials to an outsider

In short practically nothing can go wrong as far as hackers/thieves go. But take backups regularly of your data. Note that once the data is on your computer; it is actually kept in a decrypted  manner on your own computer. Just so that you can browse thru all the forum content even offline. If you lose your computer, you will surely lose your membership to the forum too.

My computer went bust. What to do next?

Sorry to hear that. It is super critical that you take regular backups of the client application folder you had installed. That includes the data the software manages for you. We simply have no way to recover any data loss that happened on anyone else's computer.

Each membership is actually tied to the hardware you happen to use when you created/joined a forum. The only recourse available when you shift to a new hardware is to rejoin the forum as a new member (after reinstalling the client application) and paying the joining amount for the forums you want to particpate in.

I got an error saying there is a glitch in the IPFS fabric

This happens once in a while. You may find that data download from IPFS is slow and eventually timing out, saying there has been a glitch. Fortunately, there is a way out: There are many IPFS gateways around the world -- and here is a link you can use to see which ones are possibly having an error right-now.

Peer Content has a way to reconfigure the ipfs gateway you can use. Just load the peercontent.ini file into a TEXT editor (yes, that is a TEXT editor. NOT a word-processor. Notepad is a TEXT editor. But Wordpad or Word are not text editors) and change the source seen the INI file to one of the other ones shown in the above web-page

Make sure that the IPFS gateway URL ends in front slash. That is super critical. It should NOT have spaces or spill over to another line. So doubly check what you edit. The '"About" dialog will show the current IPFS gateway that is being used

Does the client application contain any virus?
Does it secretly take out data from my computer?

Of course not. Our system does not have any kind of malware or virus. Our software is a freeware but it is not open source. It does use open source software components (which are MIT or Apache licensed or proprietary freeware) Send an email to us, and sign our NDA (Non disclosure agreement) and we will arrange a code walk through online; and you can see for yourself what the software does.

I have more ideas on this. Where do I submit those?

That is so nice. You can always add your suggestions, bugs you saw, issues you faced, etc here: