Community Sentiment Polling Results (NU4) and draft ZIP 1014

I’m all for experiments (it’s what I do for a living). They need to be constructed so that they don’t cause harm, with clear goals, and with follow-up analysis of what we’ve learned and what we can improve. For the many months since the staked-weighted petition was proposed and invoked, there has been no substantial discussion of any of the above by the petition’s advocates, and not for lack of trying — questions and critique have been consistently ignored or dismissed. So at what point do we just declare this experimental approach a failure?

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Agree, which is why if it’s going to be considered it needs to be a ZIP and implemented correctly.

For now there is no way to “stop” the users from voting in the coin-holder poll by declaring it a failure, that ship has sailed. The only thing the ECC and Foundation can do is not take the results as a serious indication of community sentiment.

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@mika, i agree with you that the current eligibility for community advisory panel is not satisfying at all and could have been handled way better, no doubt here. I have made serveral posts about it months ago and asked to make it somehow better and not invite only, unfortunatly it got not enough support to be heared.

It is as well not satisfying that miners are not represented anywhere and i would go as far as calling this the biggest defict on the whole voting process.

But to be fair, i understand where the ZF is coming from in setting this time line to be eligable to vote. It’s preventening from pure outsiders/trolls/manipulaters/whatever to get a vote on such important decision making vote. Does it hurt reliable members that joined after this date? Of course it does and that’s a trade off for having a secure voting mechanism.

As said in my last post, the community advisory panel is not perfect, has a lot of space for improvements but it’s absolutly superior to the coin weight-voting in every aspect and more important, it’s the only reliable mechanism we have at the moment.

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I think you missed my point - so I try to make it clearer.

  • The current voting format allows double voting.
  • The current voting format excludes people from voting - in particular it also excludes people with an forum account older than March 2019 from voting.
  • This forum, it’s software and it’s infrastructure is controlled by the ZFND who is one of the candidates. This is usually absolutely not acceptable - since it makes it relatively easy for an candidate to manipulate the elections.

The properties given above seriously threaten the legitimacy of the election result and what’s even more worrying they might do so anytime in the future.

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Mika, Zcash governance doesn’t rely on the community advisory panel and Helios being perfect. It relies on the Zcash Foundation and the Electric Coin Company to either both agree on a legitimate way forward, or in case they disagree, on one of them having evidence of support from the community. (That’s why there was that unfortunate delay with the trademark agreement, was we had to get a provision in there that protected the community in case one of the two organizations went rogue.)

It’s part of Zcash’s checks and balances that ECC serves as an independent agent of the community, not just as a rubber stamp on whatever the Foundation decides.

You’re right that there are substantial risks and limitations of the current polling process, that could be attacked and that mean it will need to be strengthened and improved a lot in coming years if we’re going to continue using it. The thing that bothers me the most is that it excludes a lot of critical stakeholders whose continued support Zcash needs.

But, I have seen no evidence of attack, no evidence of malfeasance or irresponsibility on the part of the Foundation in the way they’ve organised it, and I know a lot of the names on the Community Advisory Panel, and all of them are excellent members of the cybercoins industry — thoughtful, well-informed, values-driven people. It’s an amazingly high-quality group.

So even though it is imperfect — as everything is — I currently feel like it is a very high-quality and legitimate group and process.

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Came across a relevant prior statement in the other thread:

@joshs does that answer your question?

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Thank you for the response Sonya.

I don’t believe that it answers the question. More specifically:

For question 2 [in the helios poll], if the vote is split between 2 or more of the 4 funding choices, or none of the choices receives the majority of sentiment, what is the Foundation’s intended approach to resolving the ambiguity? There is a similar conundrum for question 5.

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Voting rate is not 100% yet — community please vote and voice your opinion because it can change the outcome literally!

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Thanks for the clarification. I updated our polling post to be more explicit about what the Foundation would do in that event:

([Edit/Update, January 24] In the event that the poll results do not constitute a clear community consensus, the Foundation will engage in a run-off poll (with the same constituency on Helios) to measure sentiment between leading options. This should only be an issue for Questions 2 or 5; if a single option doesn’t get 50%, the Foundation will pick the two options with the highest votes to appear in the run-off.

@sonya is correct that the Foundation will continue to use the combined forum participant + community advisory panel constituency as the basis for evaluating community sentiment.

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I think question 2 will get a single option over 50% as the 5th answer/question should/can be added to each of the 4 other options, means result from question/answer 1,2,3 or 4 + Any of the above distributions is acceptable.
There would be no majority if each of the 5 possible answers gets an equal (near equal amount) of votes, like
Answer 1: 20%
Answer 2: 20%
Answer 3: 20%
Answer 4: 20%
Fine with any option: 20%

I see another potential/theoretical problem in the outcome. What happens with all the question if question 1 the majority does not support Zip 1014, [edited] but the following questions have a winner as well?

[Edited] added the later part to make it more clear what i have in mind.

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Actually so far 62 people voted and 57 did not so far.

  • Maybe the ZF can re-send the helios links to the participants as some might have missed them?
  • Maybe the ZF and ECC can make a final official announcement that the helios vote is taking place and people should check their email folders and participate in the vote?

I agree with @dontbeevil that participating is important and everybody eligable should vote for what he thinks is best for Zcash’s future.

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FWIW, speaking not for ECC but for myself and as a ZIP Editor, my position is that I will completely ignore the results of the coin-weighted poll regardless of what those results are, and that is what I am advocating that others, including ECC and ZF, do. (If coin holders want to express their opinions, they are able to do so via other channels, including on this thread. See also my comment on Staked Poll on Zcash Dev Fund Debate .)

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This has been fixed (coincidentally yesterday). Please let me know if you see any further accessibility problems with that site.

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@acityinohio 1/3 of members didn’t vote yet, can you send a follow up email asking them if they can vote (if you’ve not already sent an email). Hope the 1/3 is happy and healthy to vote.

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Thanks @dontbeevil @boxalex; FWIW I sent a reminder (only to those who haven’t voted yet) late on Friday EST, but I will send another today. So far we are at 74/119 eligible voters which isn’t a terrible turnout, but I’d certainly prefer more votes cast.

Good point; we included that question as a sanity check to make sure the Foundation’s minimal changes to ZIP 1012 still had support. But if the community doesn’t support it as a basis then I think it calls into question those changes — and we’d have to solicit more feedback from authors and the community, as the Foundation wrote in mid-December:

If the proposal is not approved: the Foundation will solicit feedback from ZIP authors and the community to refine the proposal further, and then go through this final vote process again.

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Quick update: extended the voting period by 12 hours until Jan 28th 12:00 ET (17:00 UTC) to give a few stragglers a brief grace period to submit their ballots. So far 86 have voted, hoping to get a few more in before the poll is over.

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Results here: https://vote.heliosvoting.org/helios/elections/43b9bec8-39a1-11ea-914c-b6e34ffa859a/view

The Foundation board will be meeting tomorrow afternoon to discuss and release an official statement.

Edit: Just to offer more of an explanation regarding the deadline extension; there were a few stragglers that had email issues (the Helios system apparently was not sending their login credentials for whatever reason). We wanted to give them the opportunity to vote despite the technical issues. No one can see the intermediate results on Helios, so no one knew how this would affect the outcome. The total poll from last night to noon today increased by 2 votes; from 86 to 88.

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Not surprising the results for the community advisory panel are basically identical, well I guess they’re a little different but we didn’t really talk about it much

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Is this a cryptographic guarantee, or simply a result of the interface not offering such functionality? I admit that I know very little about Helios.

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[Just going to preface this by saying that I am by no means a Helios expert either] I think for a reallllly dedicated adversary (e.g. if they had somehow backdoored https://heliosvoting.org/) they would be able to see the intermediate tally by decrypting the ballot with the server’s key before we had initiated the tally on the helios interface, but AFAIK there is a cryptographic guarantee there that the votes remain secret until the tally is computed. Note that this means we are effectively trusting heliosvote (as they were the trustee with the secret key necessary for the final tally computation) which isn’t ideal, but others have trusted the system before with important elections. And it’s only trusting heliosvote to keep the results and individual ballot selections secret, I don’t believe they can change the tally in anyway.

But again I’m not an expert and would welcome other more informed perspectives on this. I am pretty confident that nothing nefarious could have happened, but I appreciate the concern, particularly after the sudden extension — which was a judgement call on my part to allow voters who had technical issues an opportunity to vote.

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