Thoughts on Four Mesh-y Roles

These are four roles to play in the lightweight mesh concept I have been hacking on, under the name Gilgamesh. The roles are Leader, Lurker, Repeater and Notary. The goal is to provide varying levels of risk, find ways to extend the range of message distribution, and to add a layer of reputation and verification into the system.

These roles map to existing systems like Twitter in a fairly easy manner. Leader is someone who tweets, a Lurker is someone who reads tweets (mostly), a Repeater is someone who retweets, and a Notary is the “verified account” feature.

In the case of a crisis situation, or where apps are not viable, these roles can all be implemented manually, by humans, using the Bluetooth protocol and settings built into their phone directly. However, the plan is to implement these in the Gilgamesh app itself, to really take advantage of the dynamics expressed below, in a seamless user experience.

Leader (Read/Write): In this mode, you are communicating information by using your device radio to broadcast updates and information to all who will listen. This is the highest risk, highest visibility role to play in the mesh. There is also an idea of a Trusted Leader, who is one that you have paired or verified your device with, or been verified by a Notary “Numbers Station” (see below).

Lurker (Read Only): In this mode, the radios on your device are not broadcasting anything, but only set in receive or “discovery” mode. You can receive messages from leaders, but you cannot send anything. It is the lowest risk, least visible role in the mesh. Most people in the crowd, and new users of the app, will be lurkers. Switching to a Leader mode on your device is as easy as entering in a status update.

Repeater (Read/Write): A repeater listens for messages for known (paired/bonded/verified) Leaders and rebroadcasts anything they say, to anyone who will listen. Repeaters can be positioned in central fixed locations, or they can move through out a large area, to really extend the range of the mesh. The last set of received messages from a Leader are repeatedly broadcast on a regular basis, and if any new Leaders come in range, the Repeater will share any messages with them that have not been sent to them before. Repeaters can also be set to only repeat messages from Trusted Leaders.

Notary (Write Only): A notary, or “Numbers Station” is a device, managed by a trustworthy human, that Leaders can add their device ID to through pairing, to spread the device IDs of verified, trusted devices. If you are a Lurker or Leader, and you encounter a trusted Notary, then your device can accept any of the device IDs that are being broadcast by it, as trustworthy.

Feedback and thoughts are welcome here, or on the Github project tracker:

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