Read Our introduction post here
We are glad to announce Dngo and its first project Dngo Books here. The principal aim we pursue is to build a decentralized non-governmental organization on Steem blockchain to increase user participation in social change by incentivising contributions with cryptocurrencies.
As for the first project, namely Dngo Books, it attempts to create a collectively produced, multilingual and publicly accessible audiobook archive. In the following, we are going to introduce both Dngo and Dngo Books in detail.
Before moving on, let us explain why we consider Steem blockchain as the most suitable environment for our project.
- With its inbuilt incentivization towards content production, could be used to settle the problem of insufficient economic resources for any NGO work.
- With its decentralized and transparent nature, could enable any NGO to achieve 100% detectability by everyone. More practically, this refers to a publicly accessible ledger of all transactions of a NGO.
- With its effective community building mechanism, could make any NGO to allow everyone to participate in decision making processes.
- Being a largely adopted blockchain, could provide any NGO with human resources.
- By having steemit.com on top of it -world’s first and most efficient blockchain implementation for social media purposes-, could bring visibility to NGOs and to their campaigns.
Dngo has four core values guiding and framing its activities:
Dngo encourages its members to take the floor to express their opinions, and by doing so to get involved in decision-making processes. Furthermore, Dngo members will have the last word in deciding when and to whom the donations should be credited.
Steem’s advanced features allow everyone to monitor every single transaction performed using Dngo. This includes the funds that we gather and also the earnings that the team generates.
As a result of transparency, the Dngo team will be held responsible for every interaction that they make. In order to ensure a “checks and balances” system, an independent body that we dub “advisory board” will be supervising us to evaluate our performance.
Basing the Dngo on Steem blockchain makes us responsible for keeping it safe and clean. That’s why we work asynchronously with the blockchain. We simply won’t be letting contents with tag abuse or not in the public domain.
Fair Share Script
Dngo’s existence on Steem blockchain is dependant on the projects that it creates. Dngo’s business logic follows the Fair Share Script in three steps by:
- Designing projects that will provide freely accessible material to any user;
- Incentivising people to contribute to these projects by rewarding them with Steem Power and Steem Dollars; and
- Using the majority of the accumulated curation rewards to make charitable donations as well as creating a Community Fund through the upvotes function to serve the same purpose.
Checks and Balances: Advisory Board
In order to evolve into a more decentralized platform, Dngo plans to build an Advisory Board whose main duty will be making observations about Dngo and report their findings periodically. Advisory Board’s reports are of suggestive nature rather than being directives for Dngo team. However, Dngo team will be liable to response the criticisms posed by Advisory Board.
How to Make Donations?
Dngo community has the last word in deciding when and to whom to make charitable donations. To put it more simply, Dngo community decides on who will benefit from the donations. While doing so, we plan to provide a democratic and decentralized environment. However, this might attract people who want to abuse the donation system. As a safety mechanism to prevent potential abuses, Dngo team will contact the beneficiaries of the donations and ask them to create verified account on Steem (Advisory Board will ensure the identity verifications). This way, Dngo plans to make 100% detectable and traceable donations.
Dngo books is Dngo’s first project that is specifically intended to incentivise people to collectively create multilingual audiobook archives – mainly to serve people with a visual impairment. By following the Fair Share Script process the results expected with Dngo Books projects are:
- the creation of a multilingual and collectively produced audiobook archive that is publicly accessible:
- the creation of a source of sustainable income to “Steem” users, which will diversify and enrich their user experience on the platform, and;
- assisting people in need by using the Community Fund account and curation rewards.
Due to the nature of copyright law, Dngo Books’ users must adhere to these laws and only make audiobook versions of books that are currently available in the public domain. This does not limit the user as at this point there are over 16 million freely accessible public domain books available through Project Gutenberg, Harvard University’s public collections, as well as other public library collections worldwide.
Note: there will be language restrictions during the beta period. In the Beta phase, Dngo Books will only accept contributions in English and in Turkish. So far, we have only been able to filter and list the public domain books in those two. The other languages will be added when we are ready.
How to Contribute
What is necessary to contribute?
- Obviously, you should have a device to record your voice. You may use computer + microphone or simply mobile phone, unless it creates any quality issue
- You need to choose a book from Dngo Books database. Those are public domain books from Gutenberg Project.
- You need to vocalize and record Dngo Books VoicedSignature and the book you have chosen. As only .mp3, .mp4(audio) and .ogg files are uploadable, you may record directly in these formats or use converters to upload.
Although the contribution page is very straightforward, yet a step-by-step guide is provided below:
- First, you can login with SteemConnect to https://dngo.io/.
- Click to “Contribution” link.
- Search for the book you recorded and select the appropriate one from suggestions.
- “Post Title” is the post title for Steem. You may write something like “Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens | Audiobook – Chapter 1”
- “Post Body” is the post body for Steem. You may give brief information about the book and the author here. It would be great if you add your personal thoughts and feelings about the book, the author, your recording process and details you learned while vocalizing.
- “Chapter” is not the internal chapter of the book. Chapter numbers will be following previous chapter numbers. So, please leave a note about which book format you chose from Gutenberg Project and where you stopped recording. In this way, moderators would be able to help when someone has concerns about chapter numbers.
- Click to “Browse” button to upload your recording. Currently, .mp3, .mp4(audio) and .ogg files can be uploaded.
- In “Tags” part, you are free to use any tags that related to book but please do not use any tags could be considered as Tag Spam. Inappropriate tagging could be a reason for contributions to be rejected by moderators.
- Last thing to do is hitting “Submit” button. After this, your contribution will be reviewed by moderators. If it does not violate any rules, it will be accepted by the moderators and your contribution will be posted to Steem.
Voiced signature is the protocol that we rely on to assess the originality of the audiobooks delivered by our users. Basically, we provide our sample text to users and ask them to vocalize it before they start vocalizing the book itself. If the Voiced Signature and voice in the audiobook are matching, this means the contribution is unique. This way, we prevent abusers from getting rewarded. By abusers, we mean those who upload audiobooks that are not actually produced by them. Here is the text:
Start of recording (Intro)
“Chapter [number] of [Book title]. – This audiobook was produced for dngo.io’s dngo books project on Steem Blockchain. All dngo books recordings are completely free and in the public domain. Please visit dngo.io for more information about this project. More information about Steem Blockchain could be found on Steemit.com”
If you wish, say(optional):
“Recording by [your name/steem user name]”
End of recording (Outro)
“Title, by Author. [Translated by [translator]]. [Chapter]” – End of record
KALI: User Friendly Interface for the Visually Impaired
Since Dngo Books project is particularly designed to provide the visually impaired with freely accessible audiobooks, we should offer a user-friendly interface to the people with visual impairment and blindness. For this reason, we are building a tool that we dub “Kali”. This tool will enable users to interact with the website by using their microphones. As you can see in the following video, Kali is currently allowing users to jump between the pages through voice commands. He can also read the book names in the page out loud to let users know what that page contains.
@bencagri proved what Kali is capable of at its current development phase. We will be working on Kali to make it better. When we release the final version of Kali and integrate it to our system, he will be able to help users to post comments and upvote contents solely by using their voice.
What Sort of Contributions Can You Make?
To be able to provide more options to the listeners, we don’t assign a book to only one user. We believe that this will bring variety of preferences.
- You can start making audiobook and complete the project by yourself.
- You can join already existing projects to give it a pace
- You can make a group work with other users so that each character in the book have their distinct voices
We call each three as different product types and rewards may vary depending on the product type.
Available Languages & Internal Organization
As for the beginning of Beta, only the listed books in English and in Turkish will be available. More languages will be added as soon as we get the clarifications from the legal advisers regarding the copyright laws in respective countries. We are aware that there are other audiobook archives serving in many languages. However, posting audiobooks to Steem blockchain is what distinguishes us from them. Having in mind that blockchain is immutable, we should march carefully in order to protect all concerning parties.
Another reason why we launch the Beta with only two languages has its roots in our growth strategy. Currently, we don’t have enough moderators to cover more languages. Hiring moderators may help us to achieve this goal, however, adding all languages at once without having the substructure needed to deal with its potential consequences would be a leap of faith into chaos. That’s why we prefer to add languages progressively to make the system more organized and easily manageable.
Closed Beta with Turkish Community
On March 30, 2018, we launched our closed beta with Turkish community on Steem blockchain. During the closed beta period 48 users (including our team) have registered the website via steemconnectV2. We received 14 unique audiobook contributions from 6 different users. One user (@kagantrky) also introduced our website to Turkish community by making a video presentation.
Apart from gifting those valuable contributions, Turkish community also helped us to detect bugs on the system and make it better with their suggestions.
Special thanks to
- @baycan, @harunbadilli, @serpilem, @omerbayrak, @eyupyusuf, @mesafe for their audiobook contributions.
- “Steemit Turkiye” discord group and “Koal” Discord group for supporting us.
- @emrebeyler (Steem Witness), @peri, @monomyth for upvoting our contributors.
In our understanding, true decentralization can only be achieved in time with the participation of people. Dngo has claims to achieve decentralization with the participation of Steem users, however, regarding Dngo Books project we don’t claim that the project is totally decentralized. There are two main reasons for this:
We have to filter the posts due to our blockchain environmentalism value. We simply don’t want any contribution containing tag-spam, malicious links or inappropriate content to be posted on Steem blockchain via our application. For example, people who wishes to post audiobooks to the Steem blockchain with “introduceyourself” tag can do that via other interfaces. We are not censoring, we are filtering.
As we have mentioned above, we would like to reward contributors. This entails the question of validity of the content. Since our goal is to create a collectively produced audiobooks archive for audiobook lovers and mainly for the people with visual impairment, we should always take into account the expectancies of the people who will listen to those audiobooks. Considering how important and fundamental the voice is for visually impaired, we can’t just let everything go. That’s why we have a list of rulesthat we follow.
In the second quarter of this year we are looking forward to
- Building an Advisory Board
- Adding New Members to the Team
- Starting Dngo Community Fund Account and Making Our First Donation
- Releasing Kali and Integrating it to our System
As for Q3, 2018
- Becoming an Open-Source project
- Adding Multilingual User Interface
- Introducing Dngo & Dngo Books project to the NGO’s in United States, Germany and, Turkey
Sponsor Model & Beneficiary Fees
As we desire to make donations by using majority of the curation rewards as well as using the funds available at Community Fund, our priority is to become delegated by Steemit and other possible sponsors without interest payments. Under this model, we can use all the available funds to make donations. This way we can avoid cutting beneficiary fees from the users.
However, if we fall short on attracting sponsors at this round, we will introduce beneficiary system and go to next round of crowdfunding. In that situation, beneficiary fees will be used to make sponsor payments.
What Do We Need?
1) Steem Power Delegations
As we have discussed above, our model is based on Steem Power delegations. For the time being, we don’t have enough Steem Power to reward contributors with the upvotes. Additionally, unless we have enough Steem Power, we will neither be able to fund the Community Fund account, nor accumulate curation rewards on Dngo-io account.
2) Being whitelisted for Iframe
As it’s known, the only whitelisted web services for Iframe are Youtube, Vimeo and Soundcloud. Currently, we are not whitelisted and that’s the reason why we can’t embed audiobooks on steemit posts. Being able to use Iframe will allow users to listen to audiobooks on Steemit.com and other interfaces.
3) Beta Users to Contribute
Beta users and early adopters will help us a lot detect existing and potential problems and fix them as soon as possible. We are also more than willing to know more about their ideas and suggestions to make the system better.
Thank you very much for reading this long post.