The way the Freenet system is designed to work, a given document may be
stored on one or more server nodes. Each node stores a certain number
of documents, ranked by priority. When a document is fetched, its
rank is increased and that of all others is lowered. When documents'
rankings drop below a certain level, they are deleted from the node,
although pointers are kept to other nodes where they may still be present.
This produces a sort of crude "economy", where document requests are
treated like payment to keep documents present in the system. Documents
which are requested more often get higher rankings and get replicated on
multiple servers. Documents which are requested too rarely eventually
get dropped from the system.
The problem with this kind of system is that there is no method for
effectively determining the demand for a piece of information. In terms
of the "economy", document requests are too crude to serve as currency
because they are too easily "forged".
In the other direction, the system attempts to offer publishing services
to anyone, without regard for ability to pay. It is in effect a pure
commons, and since there are no costs to publishers, we can expect that
the resource will be over-utilized.
So we are likely to see documents flooded into the system, both by
people trying to wash out the ones they don't like, and by genuine
users attracted by the free service. People will create request bots
and cooperative circles in order to keep their documents present (and
to flush the ones they don't like out of the system).
It's a highly unbalanced and fragile system which is unlikely to achieve
However it could still be a good testbed for the basic mechanisms for
storing documents, moving them around, and so on. If the ranking system
were updated to be more reasonable (based on real payments, for example)
then it could grow into a more stable system.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:04:29 MDT