With the trademark agreement established, we are poised to move on with the Dev Fund discussion and community sentiment collection. The schedule has slipped, and I gather that the Zcash Foundation, ECC and ZIP Editors are devising a new one. Meanwhile, I’d like to raise a related issue.
Many of the proposals on the table still seem fluid, to the extent that even if everyone was in consensus today on which of these draft ZIPs is desirable, it would be impossible to just go ahead and implement it. There are several reasons for this:
- Proposals in which the intent is inadequately specified, such as the proposal calling for an “election” without saying who gets to vote and how votes are weighted.
- Proposals where the mechanism is inadequately specified, e.g., calling for a “one person one vote” election, or calling for “token-weighted voting”. These may require additional judgment calls, as well as substantial R&D which can’t be completed in time for NU4.
- Proposals that depend on new parties that may not exist. For example, some proposals require finding independent legal or technical experts with a very high bar, or huge new entrepreneurial teams dedicated to Zcash. These may fail to materialize, so we need evidence they exist, and a fallback if they don’t.
- Some proposals have lingering crucial ambiguities. For example, on whether parties in some committees are allowed to vote in their own interest, or are automatically excluded from such votes, or might voluntarily recuse themselves; or what use of funds is allowed.
- In many cases, there are multiple variants under discussion. For example, how coins are to be “thrown away” (burning? deferral? send to past miners?), or the calibration of various percentages and thresholds. Most of these variants have not culminated in stand-alone proposals, so they cannot be directly voted on as indpendent ZIPs (and we don’t want an unmanageable zoo of similar proposals, either).
Consequentially, we can’t just have a single round of voting/polling/sentiment-collection on the current proposals. Even if the winner is clear and ECC+Zfnd are fine with implementing it, then as argued above: it’s unclear what’s to implement; it may require major judgment calls that ought to be decided by the community; it may not be the variant the community really wants; and it may actually be impossible to implement.
Despite months of discussions, there’s been little progress in resolving this, and in many cases draft ZIPs have not even been updated to reflect the forum discussions.
I think there’s a couple of things we need to do, in order to address this.
First, proposers should be asked to nail down proposals or forfeit them. Where there are multiple realistic alternatives, or parameters to calibrate: the proposers should either clearly choose between these, or be explicit point out the choice as to-be-decided issue. If there are still missing components that no one knows how to flesh out as a concrete execution plan, I posit that this should be considered an unrealistic proposal, and thus withdrawn from the decision process until that’s remedied.
Second, it seems like we need at least 2 rounds of discussion and sentiment-gathering. A first one to narrow down the proposals down to (say) 3 leading candidates, to serve as seeds. Then a second round of discussions should focus on these three approaches, explore their issues and variants, and culminate in perhaps a dozen concrete and executable proposals that serve as a final menu for sentiment analysis and decision.
Yes, this work and iterations will take time and effort. It will eat into scarce community-interaction bandwidth, and cause scheduling tension with the NU4 implementation and deployment. Alternative suggestions are very much welcome.