The Forum Shouldn't Be Under The Control of The Company


#1

So Daira has locked this thread that Eric Meltzer started about changing the consensus rules.

I disagree about Daira’s decision to do that, and I also disagree about the suggestion that changing the consensus rules is unethical. Eric has the right to run whatever software he wants on his own computer, right? If he chooses to run some software that enforces different consensus rules than the current consensus rules, he has the right to do that. I’m pretty sure we all agree that it would be wrong for anyone else to compel or threaten Eric to prevent him from running whatever software he wants on his own computer. Also, Eric has the right to talk to other people and to advocate to them that they should run certain software on their computers. We all agree that Eric has the right to say such things, don’t we? Everything else flows from that. There is nothing coercive or unethical about the proposal that Eric advocated.

But more than disagreeing about this particular moderation decision, I would really like to get the company out of the business of moderating forums. For one thing, it gives the company undue power over conversations, as demonstrated here. For another thing, Daira is a fantastic cryptographer and hacker — one of the best in the world — and there is a whole lot of core protocol work on Sapling and beyond that she could be focusing on more if she had fewer moderator duties.

Previously, I thought that The Zcash Foundation should take over the forums. But, thinking about it in light of the current issues, maybe they shouldn’t have undue power over conversations, either?!

You know who has done a fantastic job of running https://chat.zcashcommunity.com, where members of many different organisations and factions have been meeting on neutral ground for years now? @Shawn! That’s one of the reasons why The Foundation awarded him the first ever Privacy Guardian award. I propose that, if @Shawn is willing to take over running the forum, that the company transfer all ownership and controls to him, and that the Foundation give him a batch of 48 time-locked ZEC payments (one unlocking each month for the next 48 months) to pay the costs of running the service plus a little bit to compensate him for the tremendous amount of time that he has always put into serving the community in ways like this.

The point about pre-paying with timelocked ZEC payments instead of just sending him more ZEC each month is that this way he remains relatively independent from the Foundation. If the Foundation is sending another payment every month to cover the costs, then he will not be fully independent.

I like the feeling I have, when I meet with Zcash Foundation people on https://chat.zcashcommunity.com that we are on neutral ground, where neither my organization nor theirs has the ability to lock conversations, exclude people, etc.

P.S. I said I disagree about Daira’s decision to do that, but I’m not thereby instructing her to reverse her decision. These sorts of decisions about community gardening and moderation are not my job in the company, and I’m not interfering with the people (including Daira) whose job it is.


#3

I agree. However, Eric does not have the right for that software, and the resulting block chain, to be called “Zcash”, as that right lies with the trademark holder (by design). The proposal advocated to include the change in the Sapling network upgrade (later changed to the Zcash network upgrade after Sapling, following my timeline objections), which means it was advocating for a change to the Zcash FR rules, rather than the FR rules of a branch from the current Zcash block chain. Thus while I personally disagree with Daira’s decision to lock the thread, I do not consider hir moderation logic to be inconsistent.

I like this, both as a specific solution for the forum, and as a more general way for the Foundation to incentivise and commit funding to a long-term service or objective (with the timescale being chosen on a case-by-case basis based on risk of venture, and trust in the recipient).


#4

I had an idea for the zef an DMd @ericmeltzer, dont know if its any good but as far as moderation goes I like knowing I can speak to informed people, but you know
Im sure there’s a mutually satisfying solution


#5

This is a bit of a red herring, because it isn’t what Eric advocated. He advocated a network upgrade (originally as part of Sapling, then when it was pointed out that this was impractical, the following network upgrade), that would be an upgrade of Zcash, i.e. keeping the same name, social acceptance as a currency, ticker symbol, position on exchanges, etc. but with a portion of the FR payments diverted to his own fund with his own choice of fund manager. This is exactly equivalent to saying that the relevant funds should be taken from the recipients they would have otherwise gone to. It doesn’t do to handwave about people’s right to run whatever software they want (which is not in dispute, at least not by any of us) when the practical effect is that money will be taken from people without their consent. This is a necessary conclusion if we consider cryptocurrencies to be currencies at all, rather than just some (elaborate and very energy-inefficient) computer game.

However, this is entirely separate from the question of who should moderate the forum. As a practical matter, most (not all) of the current moderators work for ZcashCo and in my opinion, we’ve been doing a pretty good job of moderation. I would have made the same decision in this case if I were moderating a forum that was not controlled by ZcashCo. I also don’t feel that my position as moderator has substantially affected my ability to work on Sapling etc., since reading the forum is something I need to do anyway just in order to keep up with the community.


#6

Just to push back a little on this (and I’d personally have zero issues if you did this) is it a good idea to have one person then essentially “owning” all Zcash community channels? The analogy to Bitcoin might be a good one here. Things do change and the reason I think the Zcash Foundation is best positioned to take ownership is that they have an established level of governance with a level of oversight from the board.

All in all, I don’t think this needs to be a decision that needs to, or should be, made immediately as a reactive response. The forum has, and continues to, work well.


#7

Passing the forum to a third party would be bad. It would be seen as disengaging, retreating or hiding from the community.

Just my Z0.0002 worth.


#8

I concur with @garethtdavies sentiment. I would be willing to take over the Forums responsibilities but I would prefer to do so under the auspices of the Zcash Foundation so that I also have the checks and balances of the Board as well as the Community.

I have already discussed this a bit with @acityinohio with regards transferring the Community Chat to the Foundation (before Zcon0, but nothing concrete yet) so that a single person doesn’t have unilateral control over so many Community resources. I think the Foundation is in the best position to oversee these kinds of resources, and I am willing and able to continue moderation and maintenance of them. Also, on the same note, I think the r/zcash subreddit should be part of the the community resources under the umbrella of the Foundation.

CC @amiller

EDIT: In case my first paragraph isn’t clear, I’m proposing that the Foundation takes the “keys” for the Forum if the Company wants to relinquish them, and I will assist running as needed.


#9

No ones complianing about the big deal ToR phish thread being closed, if a moderator excersises their job whilst providing reason then thats it, deal with it people
Reevaluate the arguments and present new proposals, the zefs a good idea, its just how to go about it


#10

I’m a fan of the Zcash project and community being as decentralized as necessarily possible. I feel uncomfortable about a sole person having the full ownership and control over the forum. I’d find greater comfort with the forum being run by the Zcash Foundation because of their moral and legal responsibilities to serve the communuity as a whole.


#11

Wonderful offer and very open minded.

Absolutly don’t agree, it would only give more pride to the zcash company. They couldn’t erase, hide or modify any comment, which IMHO is radical transparency.

@Shawn if you needed any help/experience for deploying/managining discourse software or any help on server side maintaince and/or any IT related topics, I’ll be more than happy to offer my time and expertise, absolutly free of charge.


#13

A point of dissent: I think the Zcash Company employees who moderate the forum have done a great job overall. I disagreed on this latest contentious decision, but overall I’ve found @daira and @paige to be evenhanded and humane. Regardless of which entity ends up stewarding the forum, I would be happy to have both of them stay on board as moderators.

Disclosure: I’m also a forum moderator, although with much less history in the community, and the thoughts above are informed by my experiences collaborating with both women.


#14

Same view, i think the resonsibility should be in the foundations hands. But that doesn’t excluse shawn either, as he could do the main job under/for the foundation, not?

I as well have always some concerns when everything comes up only to one person. Shawn did/does a perfect forum job, but so did sonya, daira and paige and i think together with root they are a good team, so i don’t understand why the forum should be only in the hands of one.


#15

Agreed, all controls shouldn’t be under just one person.


#16

Forum is now part of the Zcash Foundation :laughing: