Removing ZCAP members

Is Justin Ehrenhofer providing the Zcash community constructive criticism or is he being overtly negative / a troll? Below is a sample of his recent tweets about Zcash. Decide for yourself.

But Ehrenhofer aside, in my opinion, ZCAP / ZF should have a process in place, whether by petition or vote, to remove existing members of ZCAP whose presence does the community more harm than good. You could even have a supermajority requirement in place if you wanted to ensure removal was limited to the worst of the worst cases.

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What makes you think his vote would be different from yours? I mean the worst he could do is abstain right?

In one of his tweets :-

I know I’m probably considered a troll in the Zcash community at this point

I doubt he’d be surprised if something bad happened to his status.

Agree there should be a process, its an unpleasant thing but eventually necessary.

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The ZFND administers the ZCAP and they surely see this so like the Helios poll they’ll probably take that into consideration but I think them pruning anyone is gonna be based on whether they’re still active or not and not because we want to gerrymander the vote. Participating in Zcash is pointful when you realize the point is what you make of it.

I don’t think anyone in this thread wants to “gerrymander the vote.” Not sure why you’d say that. Having a fair process in place to remove existing members of ZCAP whose presence does the community more harm than good would be beneficial to the community as a whole.

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I broadly agree with this sentiment.

I, too, have reservations about Justin’s motivations for involving himself in the Zcash community.

The line between genuine criticism and trolling can be a very fine one, and the difference can be very subjective. I think it would be unwise to “kneejerk” exclude anyone who is critical of Zcash. Dissent and criticism can be constructive, it can serve to challenge our assumptions, and it can be a sign of a healthy, diverse community.

However, I agree that we should have a process for excluding individuals who don’t engage constructively, and I don’t believe that the Zcash Foundation should be the sole arbiter, as it opens us up to accusations of seeking to influence the ZCAP’s decisions by excluding or removing members who disagree with the Foundation.

We recently invited suggestions and ideas for expanding ZCAP, and I think it makes sense to simultaneously consider how to ensure that ZCAP remains a useful and representative method of soliciting community feedback, so I’m going to change the title of this topic accordingly, and request that people post their suggestions here regarding if and how we should expel existing ZCAP members.

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I believe 3 aspects are legit ground for member removal from ZCAP:

  1. Inactivity
  2. Hostility
  3. Identity (or lack thereof). Pseudonymity is totally cool but identity abuse is not.

Expanding on the above, here are some suggestions on removing members from ZCAP:

  • Abstain for over some period (e.g. 2 years) in the voting process. Technically, is this feasible? Each member vote need to be checked against their ZCAP seat for it to be legit, right?
  • Inactive in the community forum (or any place where it is considered to be a common room for everyone to discuss matters related to Zcash) for over a given period (e.g. 2 years).
  • Constant disrespect towards the project and people involved (users, developers, community members etc.) with unwillingness to engage according the CoC (for example in the forum)
  • Proof of Identity abuse such as Sybil attack or Identity theft

In order to make sure that ZF does not become the sole arbiter, we can periodically do “member removal” poll alongside “new member” poll. Is it feasible to consider such poll in the upcoming voting period?

Edit: Clarified my stance on pseudonimity.

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Simple process with a high bar.

It shouldn’t burn up everyone’s time (better things to do than troll hunting, endless debates & appeals), also shouldn’t happen very often.

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I welcome opposing views, it’s a healty sign and something I think we actually need.

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Opposing views about how we can make Zcash a successful project are good, but that’s not the issue here.

This is about removing people from ZCAP who simply don’t want to see Zcash do well. I hope we can agree that people who don’t want Zcash to succeed should be removed from the panel.

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Below are my ideas for how to expel hostile/unconstructive ZCAP members in two specific scenarios. I agree with @ChileBob that the process should be “simple with a high bar” and hope the below is in line with that. I would appreciate hearing thoughts, feedback, and alternative ideas from community members.

Scenario #1: Process for Expelling Persistently Hostile/Unconstructive ZCAP Members

  1. Community Petition
  • Create a post in the Zcash Community Forum (ZCF) to recommend a ZCAP member be expelled from ZCAP for hostile or unconstructive behavior.
  • Provide support (e.g. tweets, forum posts, etc.) that demonstrates the member has persistently acted in a hostile or unconstructive manner.
  • Encourage feedback from community members
  1. Review Process
  • The petition will be reviewed by the ZF Executive Director (ED) or their delegate to determine whether to reject or accept the petition based on the allegations made, support provided, and community input. Note: The ED or their delegate are not deciding whether the member should or should not be expelled, but whether or not the allegations and support warrant the ZCAP being polled.
  • Reject – The ED or their delegate will briefly explain their reasoning for rejecting the petition in the relevant ZCF thread.
  • Accept – Whether or not to remove the member will be an item in the next scheduled ZCAP poll.
  1. Voting Process
  • Three choices: (1) Approve, (2) Reject, (3) Abstain
  • If “Approve” receives more than half of all votes, the member is removed from ZCAP

Scenario #2: Suspension from ZCF = Immediate Expulsion from ZCAP

  • If a ZCAP member is suspended from the ZCF for a violation of the Zcash Community Code of Conduct (CoC), that member shall be immediately expelled from the ZCAP.

Reasoning for including Scenario #2: When I was reviewing the list of ZCAP members, I noticed that one or two members who have been suspended from this forum for violating the CoC were still active ZCAP members. My personal opinion is if a person is removed from the Forum for inappropriate behavior, they should not retain voting rights on the Zcash Community Advisory Panel.

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Hey,
Can we help by drafting a ZIP ?

@tokidoki can you open your Private Messages on the forum ? I’d like to speak to you privately

I agree that no one should be removed from ZCAP for expressing substantive opinions about the direction of Zcash.

Since ZCAP votes for ZOMG, you could imagine weird scenarios where coalitions band together to modify the electorate in order to get control of ZOMG. And we have to watch out for that, because a lot of money is on the line.

Also, a credible accusation that this is what was happening would undermine trust in ZOMG, which is essential to its continued existence!

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Coming from a psych background, I don’t think the problem is the criticism, it’s the language revealing identification. So first, a red flag might be pronouns like “they” when you’d hope to see “we.”
Example: “We are really need to get our act together,” vs.”They really don’t know what they’re doing.”

And, second, distancing language and other verbal cues that might imply contempt (those people, etc. that community, proper names in place of inclusive pronouns). Contempt—disgust mixed with feelings of superiority—is widely considered a toxic emotion and a relationship killer. Unlike anger, a transient emotion that can even occur between intimates, contempt can be difficult to resolve. If pressed for time/resources, it might make sense to limit input from people over representing that emotion.

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A naive question: what’s the threat being addressed? Is that certain ZCAP members are toxic in their expressions and harm discussions/morale/reputation, or that that are malicious and will abuse their ZCAP voting rights to intentionally harm the Zcash ecosystem?

I’m asking because removing people’s formal ZCAP voting rights will do nothing to solve toxicity (unless they’re so offended they just walk away). Whereas malice is a high bar for which I have not seen evidence here.

Inbetween the two, there’s the valid concern that if people don’t express themselves constructively, then they’re probably not listening much either, in which case they may at their best but flawed judgment make bad voting decision. Well that’s bad, but I think this is how democracy works, because (as they say) it’s the least bad alternative.

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This is a terrific question. In my opinion, it’s less about the latter and more about the former; that certain members are toxic in their expressions and can potentially harm discussions/morale/reputation. In other words, they do the Zcash ecosystem more harm than good. These individuals are few and far between, and the standard should be high to remove them. But, it has nothing to do with whether or not they hold controversial beliefs and more to do with this: if you’re constantly trashing Zcash in public (in a non-constructive way) or suspended/expelled from the forum for a violation of the code of conduct, why should you retain your voting rights? There are a number of constructive members in the Zcash community who are not on ZCAP and would love to take their spot so that they can have a voice at the table.

I wonder, does this clarification help address @Autotunafish concerns? It’s not about opposing views, it’s about how you conduct yourself as a community member.

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OK that makes sense, but I feel it’s not worth the cost of a ZCAP expulsion process (in attention, vibe, optics, and risk of abuse).

An aside:

There are a number of constructive members in the Zcash community who are not on ZCAP

The current ZCAP expansion mechanism will likely add these people soon; expelling others won’t expedite that.

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Agreed. Belligerence can be fun and maybe healthy, but it has no place in problem-solving arenas where it distracts from logical argument and threatens cooperation—especially when it is serial behavior. Emotional intelligence is tantamount to intellectual efficacy. We have a code of conduct on the forum, can something similar extend to other aspects of the community?

Earlier though, I was speaking to detecting more than just personal challenges in expressing negativity. I’m more concerned about allowing people with harmful intentions toward the community positioning themselves to spread their influence and undermine the product (Zcash). Maybe if people tasked with governance also had at least a minimum stake (holdings, track record, something!) in the community, this could be deterred to some degree? Like a co-op?

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Whoever is opening PRs against the zfnd.org blog repo referencing this thread, please stop.

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