Getting Started With Nostr Relays

Relays are where all the stuff (the S in Nostr stands for STUFF) goes.

Your Client will WRITE your stuff to all the relays it connects to, and READ any stuff they have that you want, (from your network, basically). Think web host.

Relays are the core infrastructure of Nostr. The boring technical bits that make it all work.

Important – If you and Joe do not have any Relays in common, you won’t be able to see each other.

Which Relays to Join

The ones that Joe, your friends, your colleagues and future ditto use. But you don’t know which they use, so, get good coverage.

The people you know and will know, are going to mainly be on Relays close to you culturally – in your country, in your language.

Join a few Relays in your country.

Join other relays around the world in countries that speak your language(s).

Join PAID Relays.

To be blunt EVERYTHING is on the free relays.

This is the Internet, EVERYTHING is almost certainly the one thing you don’t want. There is gold, much a lot of crap to wade through to find it. But, you do you.

Some rely owners are exploring ways to hide the nasties, but it’s all early days (Feb 2023).

Sign up for Paid Relays, 20ish of them is a good number, but fewer is fine if you know your people are there.

Currently all are run by enthusiasts, and right now, no one has any idea what they need to charge ongoing to cover the overheads of servers, bandwidth and time. Prices will evolve over time but the basic utility is low cost so “some level of cheap”, always. Current one off fees will probably end up being “every few months” fees.

I run – UK based, 4000sats one off fee.

List – see Relay Exchange

And for all of them (with mapped locations)

Is Nostr content safe and suitable?

For who?

Kids? No.

Adults who can cope with coming across stuff they find mildly distasteful in a “mute that idiot” way? Yes.

The Chinese Communist Party? No. They are terrified of Nostr. They made Apple take Damus out of the China App Store within 24 hours of it going live!

The Free Relays let anyone post anything.

The Paid Relays ALSO let anyone post anything, provided they pay the fee.

GOOD NEWS , paid relays don’t have much crap on them because people who are crap are also stingy as fuck. The few who are there, that’s what MUTE and BLOCK are for. Nostr is based very much on you controlling your feed.

But in the future, Republicans, Democrats, all types of people gonna join. So there will be:-

Moderated, Curated, and Focused Relays

Are not a thing yet, but will be. Probably based on tagging – e.g. “adult”. Some relays will reject posts so tagged, others, will love them.

Some niche relays will only accept posts tagged with their name. So the people of Gloucester might tag nostr.gloucester on locval issues posts so those posts are accepted locally, while nostr.gloucester ignores everything else. So my “Cineworld Film Review” is included, but the “look how cute my cat is” isn’t.

Some will be even more tightly curated. Any Disney relay will be very tightly managed, probably with a moderation queue vetting all incoming notes, and parents would have to pay for that service.

Find your Friends

Best way to start – email everyone your pubkey – public key, and use tools that people are creating, such as this one to find the people you interact with on twitter . Get yourself on there so that your come lately friends find you when they do the same thing.