RFP: D_D Publishing Platform


Today, DAO members publish their content on whichever platform they prefer and can get a boost by having links shared by the DAO’s Twitter account and by other members.

Ideally, the DAO will manage its own publishing/blog platform tailored to its needs. Discussions have taken place in the Writers Guild over the last few weeks to discover what those needs are and then to evaluate how to move forward. A feature wish list and partial evaluation of a potential solutions can be found here.


A blog platform can enable:

  1. DAO members to share their knowledge, grow their audience, and be compensated
  2. Developer DAO to provide a valuable public good, grow its brand, and open new monetization opportunities


DAO members may submit a proposal for the use of a specific platform.

Proposal Structure

The following is a suggestion for how to format your proposal:

  • Platform
    • Include name and links
  • Examples
    • A couple links of the platform in use
  • Evaluation of Requirements
    • Describe which of the soft requirements (listed below) are met by the platform. Acknowledge those that are not.
  • Other notes
    • Anything else we should know?

(Soft) Requirements

The following features are copied from the Writers Guild document. No single platform will contain all of these features; they just provide a helpful matrix for evaluation.

  • support for multiple roles (e.g., contributors, editors, admin)
  • open source code base
  • web3-capability
  • monetization potential
  • audience baked in
  • custom domain support
  • SEO optimization
  • draft preview links
  • no-code text editor
  • personal author pages
  • support for blog post series
  • export functionality
  • minimal upkeep
  • minimal cost

Other Considerations

  • The selection of one platform does not commit the DAO to using it forever more. However, we can expect the switching cost of moving from one to another to be nontrivial, as it may involve the manual onboarding of every writer and editor, and establishing of new procedures where appropriate. Please consider the platform’s long-term ability to meet our needs.


Dec 14, 2021 at 17:00 UTC.


Voting will open for 48 hours after the submission deadline.

We’re taking some additional time to evaluate the two proposals and give members a chance to poke around at each platform. A vote on this forum will be scheduled once we’re ready for it.

Consensus was reached and a decision was made by the Writer’s Guild within Discord: Hashnode! Read through the thread for context.




Usage Examples

Ghost’s showcase of examples (Ghost Customers – A showcase of real sites built with Ghost) includes:

Why Ghost?

  • My hunch is that the best long-term solution for the DAO is an open source, self-hosted option. This gives us the flexibility to dream up and implement unique web3 features that make sense for us as a DAO along the way.
  • Ghost is a perfectly good option out-of-the-box. This makes it a good stepping stone, before any customization is done.
  • An open source, web3-capable blog platform would be an awesome public good for D_D to provide the world.
  • We have the ability to build traction and value on our own platform, as opposed to adding value to another company to monetize our traffic.
  • There may be other solid candidates in the same vein as Ghost, but this is the platform I’m most familiar with, happily using it at my day job.

Why Not Ghost?

The biggest drawbacks to using a self-hosted Ghost instance is that there is a modest cost associated and we’ll have to manage the deployment and updates manually. (Digital Ocean does provide preconfigured Ghost droplets, which could be a good way to get off the ground quickly.) These tasks represent organizational challenges as to how we ensure that the maintenance occurs and the bills get paid.


  • For an organization who’s mission is to educate and onboard web3 developers, publishing content should be core to what we do, and is worth a small monthly investment of developer hours and hosting dollars.
  • It’s only a matter of time before we need to answer these process questions for some DAO project.

Requirements Evaluation

  • support for multiple roles (e.g., contributors, editors, admin)
  • open source code base
  • web3-capability
    • I don’t see any good examples yet of forks with web3 integrations, but the open source code base makes this possible.
  • monetization potential
    • Open source again makes it possible to build web3 integrations like token sales, writer tipping, and so on. Other web2 payment integrations exist as well.
  • audience baked in
    • Nope. We would not get the network effects that come with using a shared platform.
  • custom domain support
    • Yup.
  • SEO optimization
    • Robust support: custom metadata, social media previews, code injection, and third-party integrations.
  • analytics
    • Ghost comes with native analytics, but supports additional third-party plugins, like Matomo.
  • draft preview links
    • Yup.
  • no-code text editor
    • Yup, WYSIWYG. This is important for supporting non-developer writers.
  • personal author pages
    • Yup. Layout and content depends on the theme.
  • support for blog post series
    • Not exactly, but tags can serve a similar purpose.
  • export functionality
  • minimal upkeep & cost
    • These are the primary drawbacks of self-hosting. See “Why Not Ghost?” above.

Other Notes

  • Look and feel of the site can be heavily customized via themes. A theme marketplace is available or, better yet, we can create our own based on the branding created by the Design Guild.
  • A long list of integrations are available. One example is Discourse – potentially there’s an integration of this forum that makes sense within the blog.
  • Ghost supports email sign-ups and newsletters, should we ever feel the need to move away from Substack.

Thank you @dawnkelly for pinging me about submitting a proposal!!!


Hashnode Team Publication

Usage Examples

Why Hashnode Team Pub?

:white_check_mark: support for multiple roles (e.g., contributors, editors, admin)

:x: open source code base

:x: web3-capability

  • we don’t have it but uh… do you wanna build it? Because we have hired devs who’ve built cool stuff for the platform before… :eyes:

:white_check_mark: monetization potential

  • Hashnode Sponsors allows for monetization via Stripe, and Hashnode does not take a cut

:white_check_mark: audience baked in

  • 1.8 million monthly users and growing 10-20% MoM :rocket:

:white_check_mark: custom domain support

  • and it’s freeeeeee

:white_check_mark: SEO optimization

  • Hashnode’s entire platform was recently rebuilt from the ground up with Next.js + Vercel, and Google loves it

:white_check_mark: draft preview links

  • yes and one of my favorite features is that anyone with the preview link can leave comments on the draft that vanish when it’s published

:white_check_mark: no-code text editor

  • simple WYSIWYG + Markdown with benefits

:white_check_mark: personal author pages

:white_check_mark: support for blog post series

:white_check_mark: export functionality

:white_check_mark: minimal upkeep

:white_check_mark: minimal cost

  • Team Publications are currently in beta and will be launched as a paid product in early '22, but if D_D comes on board as an early adopter I can hook the crew up with a freebie!

Other Notes

  • full disclosure: I do marketing and community management for Hashnode! It’s my job to fill out this proposal! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
  • we have a newsletter feature y’all can migrate over to when you’re done with Substack :wink:
  • we have built-in analytics that are about to get a major upgrade
  • audio blog feature autogenerates audio version from text
  • customize CSS to your heart’s content
  • we have some very big names in the tech community launching team blogs in Q1 2022 and I would be very stoked if D_D was one of 'em!!!
  • I’m a new user so I could only add two links, but I’m happy to share more resources related to the platform

Thanks for getting that done so fast!

1 Like

Great proposal! I was leaning towards Hashnode previously but having an open source code base and potentially being able to integrate web3 capabilities are benefits that will certainly help us in the long run.

Not being able to utilize an existing consumer base isn’t a huge deal, as D_D has a strong and dedicated fanbase already and it will only grow.

I think Ghost is an excellent option.

I want to start by thanking you for responding and calling out your own affiliation. A number of us have ties to some of the vendors that we might use so it’s good to know about them going in.

Can you elaborate on what contributing web3 (or any) features to the platform would look like? Particularly for the DAO, is this something that we could build in public to line up to an API, or would it be privately coding up a solution that would be internal to hashnode for the forseeable future?


The proposal submission window has closed!

The Writers Guild, and greater DAO, will now have a chance to dig into the two options, Ghost or Hashnode.

Note: This RFP originally called for a 48 hour voting period following the submission window, but (with @tanoaksam’s nod) I’ve made the executive decision to scratch that idea, so we have time to properly test the two platforms and get all important questions answered.

The goal is to spin up demo Ghost and Hashnode Team Publication instances to let members log in and poke around for themselves. Once created, credentials will be shared in the #blog-platform channel in the Writers Guild.

Chatted today with @tanoaksam about Hashnode’s upcoming Team Publication product in the #blog-platform channel. Summarizing here for visibility:

  • Team Publications is in beta, likely to go live in January 2022.
  • It supports a pipeline of contributors authoring posts that must be approved by admins/editors.
  • As an early adopter, Hashnode would onboard D_D as a lifetime free user.
  • Hashnode would be excited to promote D_D’s publication as one of the first and have “almost 2 mil monthly active users.”
  • “…being such a new product, our team is very open to suggestions for improvements and feature additions. If D_D asks for it, there’s a good chance our team will make it happen.”
  • Hashnode is opposed to Medium-style paywalls. Their primary monetization strategy is B2B and event (e.g., hackathon) sponsorships in the future.
  • Robust data export and github backup tools to support backup plans if Hashnode vanishes or loses alignment with us.
  • Sponsors feature enables readers to pay/tip for content.

I was initially for Ghost (and I think I may still be in the long run) but thanks to the info @tanoaksam provided and some of the interest we’re getting in getting things out NOW, I’m for getting stood up on Hashnode ASAP. I’m sure we will eventually want to self-host a CMS where we can leverage the incredible talents of our members to extend an open-source kit, but while things are still taking shape it makes sense to me to move quickly with a turn key solution like Hashnode…

1 Like

Short version: The Writers Guild has agreed to utilize Hashnode for our publishing platform!

Longer version: After deploying/setting up Ghost and Hashnode Team Publication instances, guild members tried out the various features of each and discussed our findings in the #blog-platform channel of the guild. The consensus is that Hashnode is a solid option to get running with in the immediate-to-medium term (and possibly long term, depending on how the platform and our needs evolve over time). Features that influenced the decision:

  • Support for a pipeline of contributors that requires editor approval to publish
  • No expenses or devops, for which we don’t yet have processes for
  • Robust back-up/export tools: JSON data export + automated GitHub back-up
  • Highly customizable interface via CSS
  • Custom domain support, e.g., blog.developerdao.com
  • Traditional sponsorship is within legal bounds, e.g., banner ads within content - if we want to go that route
  • A built-in audience and a Hashnode team that is responsive to feedback/feature requests

Given that everyone who’s been active in this discussion has weighed in on Discord, I feel confident in making our selection without a forum vote here. Please note that our decision to use Hashnode does not lock us into the platform for the lifetime of the DAO or any other specific period of time. If we reach a place where a self-hosted option becomes more compelling, we can reevaluate the choice.