STEMsocial app development

in #steemstem7 months ago (edited)

Improving STEM communication, one blog post at a time

Often, those with the greatest knowledge lack incentive to communicate their work to mainstream audiences by themselves. This puts the world's truths in the hands of mainstream journalists hungry to get attention through sensationalism and misleading clickbait, ultimately forcing us all to accept the status quo (the era of 'fake news').

Journalism worldwide, however, suffers from a significant lack of trust (see here). At the same time, 'over half (57%) of the world's population don’t think they know much – if anything – about science (see here).

[image credits: @glass.wolf]

STEMsocial aims to help remedy this by removing the need to trust third-parties who may suffer from bias and the need to fill a quota. We provide a new space where experts and passionate STEM hobbyists can freely express their knowledge in a social media environment actively promoting honest, reliable and high-quality content - where it can be freely accessed, discussed and critiqued..

In other words, STEMsocial aims at the development of a science communication platform on Hive for both experts and passionate STEM hobbyists. They will be supported based on fact-checking and reliable sourcing, ensuring any publications are not misleading or dishonest. And the best part? The Hive community get the final say.

Our vision includes a direct approach to those with the greatest knowledge of STEM topics in order to bring them to Hive to create content about their work, discuss the work of others or provide high-quality material that cannot be found anywhere else online. With that in mind, we have been working on bringing those at the source of the best scientific content of the planet to Hive.

This requires, as one of the first steps on this path, the development of an application allowing us to filter the blockchain content to facilitate the discovery of the articles of the largest calibre.

About the proposal

This proposal is related to open-source software. STEMsocial currently develops its own app, that is suitable for its goals (see below). The app is available from Github.

The proposal is moreover connect to Hive advocacy and marketing: STEMsocial aims at on-boarding those with the greatest STEM knowledge worldwide (i.e. researchers actively involved in groundbreaking science) to use Hive for communicating about their work. This will bring content of such a calibre that anyone may search for it on the web, and that could even bring more users by their impressive nature.

Principals: STEMsocial is managed by @lemouth and @mobbs for almost 4 years. @lemouth is professor at Sorbonne Université (Paris) and is a researcher in theoretical particle and astroparticle physics (CERN, dark matter, etc.). @mobbs is writer, composer and educator by trade, as well as a science autodidact with focus on biology and phylogenetics.

Funding details

The larger chunk of the costs is expected to be the development of the STEMsocial app in which many functionalities are still missing. To name a few (see below for a more detailed list), we can mention a better post editor, the rewriting of the routing (cf. SEO), efficiency, a better user profile page, etc, as well as a merchandise shop and other means to make the project self-sustainable.

The costs include not only some compensation for the technical work (@lemouth) and related discussions (@mobbs), i.e. not a salary as this would be much higher, as well as a designer fee (@glass.wolf).

Whilst the app gets completed, we will in parallel get prepared to contact press offices of top-notch STEM places worldwide through the production of advertisement material for Hive and STEMsocial. Spreading the material through our targeted audience will happen online and offline (direct contact), although trips worldwide are not on the list anymore due to the unknowns related to the current COVID-19 situation.

In the future, with the project scaling up, we may need to rely on our own servers. This is not included in the proposal as too premature. We may also be self-sustainable by then.

Costs by milestone

Three years ago, we hired some developers to design this app. The lack of funding however forced us to continue this app-development journey by ourselves since late 2018. Our code is now maintained during our free time, as fast as we can (which means sometimes quite slowly, unfortunately).

With the help of the DHF, we apply for support so that we could dedicate more time to the development of the STEMsocial app and potentially hire some external help. We ask for 120 HBD/day until the end of the next academic year.

Except for the work already done, we effectively plan to compensate the work done through a flat rate of $20/hour. This is by far not a salary, but a compensation (we do not aim to “hire” people). The funds will be managed from a dedicated account, @stemsocial-dev, on a weekly basis, and will allow us to work during a year on our app at a better pace, implementing new features, improving the existing ones and fixing issues.

The planned work can be broken down as:

  • October 2018 - May 2020
    • Compensation for all developments and work done so far, relevant for the current version of the app. [$5k]
    • Designer fee for our graphical designer. [$2k]
  • June 2020
    • Finalisation of the planned developments for the 2020-Q2 period: creation of a homemade post editor (including some management for the post drafts), Steem(STEM) cleaning, integration of other tags/communities, maintenance and bug fixing.
    • Design discussions.
    • Preparation of monthly STEMsocial live events (online seminar for the general audience)
  • July - December 2020
    • Improvement the SEO (possibly migrating from Blaze to Vue), routing, profile pages (replies, comments, posts, notifications, etc, user admin panel), a better wallet and curator tools. In other words, getting an MVP version of the app.
    • We aim at making the app mobile friendly, with an improved style.
    • Adding important Hive functionalities (witnesses, proposals, etc.).
    • Integrating hivemind where useful; improve the app efficiency.
    • Creation of STEMsocial (and therefore Hive) promotion material.
    • Getting a list with targeted audience and charities; design of potential business avenues.
    • Starting our monthly live events series, and advertising it to the greater web.
  • January 2021 - July 2021
    • Finalisation of the STEMsocial app v1.0, focusing in particular on the development of revenue-generating features.
    • Marketing targeting big institutes, known STEM bloggers.
    • Continuation of the seminar programme.

The currently requested amount is probably larger than needed. This will allow us for some flexibility, extend the proposal time frame if needed and eventually return the unused funds to the DHF if relevant. We will refine the calendar with the time passing.


  • Apr 14th: The detailed STEMsocial roadmap for 2020 can be found here (updated above).
  • Apr 20th: A summary of the March/April developments can be found here.
  • May 7th: End of April achievements (new post editor) can be found here.
  • May 12th: Clarifications about our proposal can be found here.
  • May 20th: Update of the proposals following the proposed template, see here.
  • June 18th: Thre May-June report is available (editor part II, communication module with Hive, Markdown/HTML converter fixes).


The future

Do you think we can bring value to Hive? If yes, supporting this proposal is a way to support our vision and help us to speed up the current tasks. If you want to have a word about it with us, do not hesitate to reach us out on Discord or the Hive Chat.

You can vote for this proposal:

PS: This article has been formatted for the front-end. Please see here for a better reading.


My suggestion to make your proposal more appealing to the community is to lay a roadmap covering your business plan to make this a sustainable project. Of course this shall have some milestones, deadlines, etc.

Otherwise, what will be the main source of income when the founding period ends? More funds fron the DAO?

As a chemist I think that the number of use cases for a platform backed by a dedicated scientific community are gigantic... But we need to integrate the interest some companies have for paying for research, lab services, and other related activities, with the potential this decentralized and global community has. Also, you can develop a platform integrated with Hive for coursera-like paid courses, this also might drive outside money I side the Hive platform.

Very good suggestion. I can't at all speak for the current only developer, @lemouth, but I imagine it's difficult to put a reliable roadmap that supporters can completely depend on while the funding is so low (zero).

Speaking for me though, I have many potential avenues for further sources of income once the platform is up and running in a way that we can be proud to share to a more mainstream audience while functioning smoothly, onboarding quickly and so on.

I would consider this 'phase 2'. Until then, we simply have to refine the current platform into something awesome. then we can look into integration, coursera concepts and beyond - this is where my ideas come in, basically.

In the meantime, I'm sure we can come up with some more specific deadlines and so forth. Let's see what lemouth has to say!

Great, then let's advertise those ideas you have. Put those stages (at least the broader concepts of them) in some kind of flowchart. If you make a great presentation of your proposal is easier to catch big players support.

I already supported the proposal, not much but still every tiny bit adds up at the end

Thanks a lot for this suggestion. This is a great one. As said by @mobbs below, I am currently the only developer and I cannot move fast (we have zero funding, etc.). The idea behind the funding request was actually to accelerate that.

We will re-organise the items into a roadmap, both concerning the development of the app (which is why we ask funding for) and about what we aim to do to make the entire project sustainable. However, this may take some time, as I am heavily COVID-busy... I will try to deliver this by the end of the week.

We fully agree with you on the need to make the platform attractive. We will try to include that in the roadmap.

Great! I would love to contribute to the platform with the spare time I can manage to get out of the daily work... For now, I voted with my little HP to support your proposal... As I wrote in my comment to mobbs the way you present your proposal is very important, if you have a solid idea (as I am sure you guys have) all it takes for it to take of is to have some of the spotlight it deserves.

Kind regards.

Little by little, we will get there. This is what we do (with the support we have) for almost four years.

Thanks again for the suggestion. We will update this post most probably on Tuesday (let's rest for the Easter week-end ;) )

For the follow-up, the roadmap has been posted here.

I absolutely love this. Specialized front end is exactly what STEMsocial needs. Articles curated by you guys fit a science website more than a random blog. @steemhunt is the best non game DAPP on STEEM IMHO and using a very well crafted front end with its own features is one of the biggest contributers to that. I immediately voted for the proposal without even looking at what you guys are asking for.

Current website still needs improvements to look slick and ahead the curve. I'm not a UI designer. So I prefer not to give any advice on that. I'll try to bring more awareness for the project.

Yes we are very aware that the front-end needs some proper design, and we will get there! As much as it pains me, the backend stuff is more important to function smoothly and flexibly before we pretend to be something more than we're not with a nice aesthetic - and besides, we can hire help specifically on this matter if this proposal works out =D

Glad to have your support (and open critique is always welcome for bug finding etc)!

Thanks a lot for your support and comment.

We know that the front end design should be very high in the priority list, as well as its mobile version (that is barely existing, to be honest). Following the comment by @joelsegovia, we will put everything as a roadmap and this item will be tagged as a "high priority" item. In the meantime, we will take seriously any (reasonable) advice :)

I don't know if the vote took. I tried. Went to Hivesigner. Anyway, kudos for continuing to develop this interface for the science community and hobbyists.

Thanks a lot! Your support and presence is always appreciated.

I hope you are safe in those hard times (you live in NY area, don't you?).

Hi Lemouth,
Yes, New York. My husband and I are in true lockdown. Our kids bring supplies and leave them at the door!:) We are lucky, so far. There's a surcharge on just about everything. So much is not available. I think about people who can't pay the surcharge, who actually have to work in public now. Nothing in life is fair, is it?
I understand France is in the thick of it. I hope you and your family are well and come through this unscathed.
Of course I'm still here. One of the few places on the blockchain where I feel a certain amount of idealism prevails (or at least dedication to an idea). That's a great thing.

Glad to read you are fine! I hope this will stay like that...

Indeed, nothing is fair. I think the US will be hit more hardly than France (and Europe in general), as we have a good social security system here (which is not existing at all in the US, if I am not mistaking). I don't envy you at the moment.

My wife is now fighting on the front. She is currently working with a COVID unit, dealing with night shifts. I am in charge of our boys (home-schooling, entertainment, meals, everything), and I have to work remotely as well. The status is a bit over-stressing, in particular related to work (as with the young kids, you can imagine I have very little time to do anything). But on the bright side, I am spending a lot of time with my children and this is great!

Anyways, I am looking forward to the end of this situation. Most probably not before a month or even two... That is my prediction.

Happily voted! Hope you'd get the funding very soon 👍

We hope that too! :)

I hope so too, cheers!

done (supported) and done (re-hived/blogged)


Many thanks!

This post has been voted on by the HiveSTEM curation team and voting trail. It is elligible for support from @curie and @minnowbooster.

If you appreciate the work we are doing, then consider supporting our witness @stem.witness. Additional witness support to the curie witness would be appreciated as well.

For additional information please join us on the SteemSTEM discord and to get to know the rest of the community!

Thanks for having used the app. This granted you a stronger support from SteemSTEM. Note that including @steemstem in the list of beneficiaries of this post could have yielded an even more important support.

Hi guys, I always wondered why you preferred to build a completely custom app rather than go with a WordPress site connected to the blockchain through SteemPress (soon to be ported to Hive, as I understand). I guess SteemPress or WordPress doesn't seem like it has the features you need? I'm not saying it does, just asking whether you investigated that pathway.

Hi! Sorry for the delayed answer. I have just noticed this comment today ;)

The SteemPress plugin for WordPress has a different goal. It allows any blogger to publish his/her content on Hive, in addition to his/her personal blog. Here, we are after a front-end that filters the chain to only show what we consider as high-quality material. Moreover, we also have a more long-term vision that includes a merchandise shop, other activities (such as visits in great STEM places), reviving the STEMart initiative, etc. To do so, we really need to control how the content is shown so that people don't laugh in checking the app. For instance, we do not want to allow pseudoscience or false information to be visible. We have checked the existing front-ends, and none of them is exactly what we need. For that reason, we started 18 months ago to do that our way.

I hope this clarifies. In any case, feel free to come back to me if you have any further comment or question.