Discussion:
Requirement for pseudonymous BIP submissions
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Chris Stewart via bitcoin-dev
2017-03-18 15:23:16 UTC
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As everyone in the Bitcoin space knows, there is a massive scaling debate
going on. One side wants to increase the block size via segwit, while the
other side wants to increase via hard fork. I have strong opinions on the
topic but I won’t discuss them here. The point of the matter is we are
seeing the politicization of protocol level changes. The critiques of these
changes are slowly moving towards critiques based on who is submitting the
BIP -- not what it actually contains. This is the worst thing that can
happen in a meritocracy.

*Avoiding politicization of technical changes in the future*

I like what Tom Elvis Judor did when he submitted his MimbleWimble white
paper to the technical community. He submitted it under a pseudonym, over
TOR, onto a public IRC channel. No ego involved — only an extremely
promising paper. Tom (and Satoshi) both understood that it is only a matter
of time before who they are impedes technical progress of their system.

I propose we move to a pseudonymous BIP system where it is required for the
author submit the BIP under a pseudonym. For instance, the format could be
something like this:

BIP: 1337

Author: ***@protonmail.com

BIP content down here

The hash “6f3
9cd0” is just my github username, christewart, concatenated
with some entropy, in this case these bytes:
639c28f610edcaf265b47b0679986d10af3360072b56f9b0b085ffbb4d4f440b

and then hashed with RIPEMD160. I checked this morning that protonmail can
support RIPEMD160 hashes as email addresses. Unfortunately it appears it
cannot support SHA256 hashes.

There is inconvenience added here. You need to make a new email address,
you need to make a new github account to submit the BIP. I think it is
worth the cost -- but am interested in what others think about this. I
don't think people submitting patches to a BIP should be required to submit
under a pseudonym -- only the primary author. This means only one person
has to create the pseudonym. From a quick look at the BIPs list it looks
like the most BIPs submitted by one person is ~10. This means they would
have had to create 10 pseudonyms over 8 years -- I think this is
reasonable.

*What does this give us?*

This gives us a way to avoid politicization of BIPs. This means a BIP can
be proposed and examined based on it’s technical merits. This levels the
playing field — making the BIP process even more meritocratic than it
already is.

If you want to claim credit for your BIP after it is accepted, you can
reveal the preimage of the author hash to prove that you were the original
author of the BIP. I would need to reveal my github username and
“639c28f610edcaf265b47b0679986d10af3360072b56f9b0b085ffbb4d4f440b”

*The Future*
Politicization of bitcoin is only going to grow in the future. We need to
make sure we maintain principled money instead devolving to a system where
our money is based on a democratic vote — or the votes of a select few
elites. We need to vet claims by “authority figures” whether it is Jihan
Wu, Adam Back, Roger Ver, or Greg Maxwell. I assure you they are human —
and prone to mistakes — just like the rest of us. This seems like a simple
way to level the playing field.

Thoughts?

-Chris
Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
2017-03-18 19:15:09 UTC
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Post by Chris Stewart via bitcoin-dev
There is inconvenience added here. You need to make a new email address,
you need to make a new github account to submit the BIP.
GitHub doesn't allow people to have multiple accounts last I checked.

Luke
Troy Benjegerdes via bitcoin-dev
2017-03-24 02:30:29 UTC
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Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
Post by Chris Stewart via bitcoin-dev
There is inconvenience added here. You need to make a new email address,
you need to make a new github account to submit the BIP.
GitHub doesn't allow people to have multiple accounts last I checked.
C'mon people.

Anyone remember when git didn't even exist and all we had was CVS,
subversion, and BitKeeper?

Get me a couple of motivated grad students who know Python and we can
turn a combination of Mercurial, BitTorrent, and pynode into a distributed,
leaderless, decentralized version control system that can let users
create a crypto key, anonymously propose BIPs, and then get paid in
crypto for the best commits.

Who else would contribute to a crowdfunding effort to do such at thing?
Andrew Johnson via bitcoin-dev
2017-03-18 16:57:56 UTC
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I think this is an excellent idea. I consider myself to be extremely
data-driven and logical in my thinking, and have still fallen victim to
thinking "oh great, what's <person I've been annoyed by in the past> on
about now?" when seeing something posted or proposed.

And vice versa, it prevents people from being more partial to a bad or not
so great idea simply because it was posited by someone they hold in high
regard.

Simple, yet effective. I would actually even go a step further and say
that all BIPs should be done this way as a matter of procedure, I can't
think of a downside.


On Sat, Mar 18, 2017 at 10:46 AM Chris Stewart via bitcoin-dev <
Post by Chris Stewart via bitcoin-dev
As everyone in the Bitcoin space knows, there is a massive scaling debate
going on. One side wants to increase the block size via segwit, while the
other side wants to increase via hard fork. I have strong opinions on the
topic but I won’t discuss them here. The point of the matter is we are
seeing the politicization of protocol level changes. The critiques of these
changes are slowly moving towards critiques based on who is submitting the
BIP -- not what it actually contains. This is the worst thing that can
happen in a meritocracy.
*Avoiding politicization of technical changes in the future*
I like what Tom Elvis Judor did when he submitted his MimbleWimble white
paper to the technical community. He submitted it under a pseudonym, over
TOR, onto a public IRC channel. No ego involved — only an extremely
promising paper. Tom (and Satoshi) both understood that it is only a matter
of time before who they are impedes technical progress of their system.
I propose we move to a pseudonymous BIP system where it is required for
the author submit the BIP under a pseudonym. For instance, the format could
BIP: 1337
BIP content down here
The hash “6f3
9cd0” is just my github username, christewart, concatenated
639c28f610edcaf265b47b0679986d10af3360072b56f9b0b085ffbb4d4f440b
and then hashed with RIPEMD160. I checked this morning that protonmail can
support RIPEMD160 hashes as email addresses. Unfortunately it appears it
cannot support SHA256 hashes.
There is inconvenience added here. You need to make a new email address,
you need to make a new github account to submit the BIP. I think it is
worth the cost -- but am interested in what others think about this. I
don't think people submitting patches to a BIP should be required to submit
under a pseudonym -- only the primary author. This means only one person
has to create the pseudonym. From a quick look at the BIPs list it looks
like the most BIPs submitted by one person is ~10. This means they would
have had to create 10 pseudonyms over 8 years -- I think this is
reasonable.
*What does this give us?*
This gives us a way to avoid politicization of BIPs. This means a BIP can
be proposed and examined based on it’s technical merits. This levels the
playing field — making the BIP process even more meritocratic than it
already is.
If you want to claim credit for your BIP after it is accepted, you can
reveal the preimage of the author hash to prove that you were the original
author of the BIP. I would need to reveal my github username and
“639c28f610edcaf265b47b0679986d10af3360072b56f9b0b085ffbb4d4f440b”
*The Future*
Politicization of bitcoin is only going to grow in the future. We need to
make sure we maintain principled money instead devolving to a system where
our money is based on a democratic vote — or the votes of a select few
elites. We need to vet claims by “authority figures” whether it is Jihan
Wu, Adam Back, Roger Ver, or Greg Maxwell. I assure you they are human —
and prone to mistakes — just like the rest of us. This seems like a simple
way to level the playing field.
Thoughts?
-Chris
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
--
Andrew Johnson
Chris Stewart via bitcoin-dev
2017-03-18 17:35:30 UTC
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Post by Andrew Johnson via bitcoin-dev
I think this is an excellent idea. I consider myself to be extremely
data-driven and logical in my thinking, and have still fallen victim to
thinking "oh great, what's <person I've been annoyed by in the past> on
about now?" when seeing something posted or proposed.

I think we need to all recognize we are only humans -- thus susceptible to
our emotions influencing our decisions. The notion of identity is an easy
way to form judgements for/against an idea before thoroughly vetting it.

I also think a by product of this would be to curb reddit/twitter trolls
from talking about these protocol changes. It is a much less juicy story if
you have to say "9458b7f9f76131f18823d73770e069d55beb271b created a BIP to
propose a block size increase" compared to "Satoshi Nakamoto created a BIP
to propose a block size increase".

Note about the OP:

"The hash “6f3
9cd0” is just my..." should really say "The hash
'9458...271b' is just my.." Forgot to change the hash this morning.
Post by Andrew Johnson via bitcoin-dev
I think this is an excellent idea. I consider myself to be extremely
data-driven and logical in my thinking, and have still fallen victim to
thinking "oh great, what's <person I've been annoyed by in the past> on
about now?" when seeing something posted or proposed.
And vice versa, it prevents people from being more partial to a bad or not
so great idea simply because it was posited by someone they hold in high
regard.
Simple, yet effective. I would actually even go a step further and say
that all BIPs should be done this way as a matter of procedure, I can't
think of a downside.
On Sat, Mar 18, 2017 at 10:46 AM Chris Stewart via bitcoin-dev <
Post by Chris Stewart via bitcoin-dev
As everyone in the Bitcoin space knows, there is a massive scaling debate
going on. One side wants to increase the block size via segwit, while the
other side wants to increase via hard fork. I have strong opinions on the
topic but I won’t discuss them here. The point of the matter is we are
seeing the politicization of protocol level changes. The critiques of these
changes are slowly moving towards critiques based on who is submitting the
BIP -- not what it actually contains. This is the worst thing that can
happen in a meritocracy.
*Avoiding politicization of technical changes in the future*
I like what Tom Elvis Judor did when he submitted his MimbleWimble white
paper to the technical community. He submitted it under a pseudonym, over
TOR, onto a public IRC channel. No ego involved — only an extremely
promising paper. Tom (and Satoshi) both understood that it is only a matter
of time before who they are impedes technical progress of their system.
I propose we move to a pseudonymous BIP system where it is required for
the author submit the BIP under a pseudonym. For instance, the format could
BIP: 1337
BIP content down here
The hash “6f3
9cd0” is just my github username, christewart, concatenated
with some entropy, in this case these bytes: 639c28f610edcaf265b47b0679986d
10af3360072b56f9b0b085ffbb4d4f440b
and then hashed with RIPEMD160. I checked this morning that protonmail
can support RIPEMD160 hashes as email addresses. Unfortunately it appears
it cannot support SHA256 hashes.
There is inconvenience added here. You need to make a new email address,
you need to make a new github account to submit the BIP. I think it is
worth the cost -- but am interested in what others think about this. I
don't think people submitting patches to a BIP should be required to submit
under a pseudonym -- only the primary author. This means only one person
has to create the pseudonym. From a quick look at the BIPs list it looks
like the most BIPs submitted by one person is ~10. This means they would
have had to create 10 pseudonyms over 8 years -- I think this is
reasonable.
*What does this give us?*
This gives us a way to avoid politicization of BIPs. This means a BIP can
be proposed and examined based on it’s technical merits. This levels the
playing field — making the BIP process even more meritocratic than it
already is.
If you want to claim credit for your BIP after it is accepted, you can
reveal the preimage of the author hash to prove that you were the original
author of the BIP. I would need to reveal my github username and “
639c28f610edcaf265b47b0679986d10af3360072b56f9b0b085ffbb4d4f440b”
*The Future*
Politicization of bitcoin is only going to grow in the future. We need to
make sure we maintain principled money instead devolving to a system where
our money is based on a democratic vote — or the votes of a select few
elites. We need to vet claims by “authority figures” whether it is Jihan
Wu, Adam Back, Roger Ver, or Greg Maxwell. I assure you they are human —
and prone to mistakes — just like the rest of us. This seems like a simple
way to level the playing field.
Thoughts?
-Chris
_______________________________________________
bitcoin-dev mailing list
https://lists.linuxfoundation.org/mailman/listinfo/bitcoin-dev
--
Andrew Johnson
Steve Davis via bitcoin-dev
2017-03-19 21:17:04 UTC
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Post by Luke Dashjr via bitcoin-dev
GitHub doesn't allow people to have multiple accounts last I checked.
GitHub doesn’t allow email addresses to have multiple accounts.
muyuu via bitcoin-dev
2017-03-19 23:43:12 UTC
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If this was in place I would contribute more and I wouldn't have to create
throw-away accounts.

This is not a space where you want to be a recognisable target.

Today, BitFury's CEO threatened to sue developers if they didn't kowtow to
his demands to leave the PoW alone. This is unacceptable. Decisions have to
be made on merit and the interest of the project, and nothing else.

This is very important and needs to be given priority. Most Core developers
and all the main ones except Satoshi have built a public persona, either
for ego or for practical monetary reasons. Obviously there's academia where
everything is about plastering your name as much as possible and getting
cited. So it's understood. Although I understand the difficulty of getting
funded and getting trusted without a face, there needs to be an outlet so
people can interact and contribute in a proper cypherpunk way.

Also, GitHub is quite anti-privacy. So I recommend not reusing personal
accounts from work.

-muyuu
Troy Benjegerdes via bitcoin-dev
2017-03-24 02:18:45 UTC
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Post by muyuu via bitcoin-dev
If this was in place I would contribute more and I wouldn't have to create
throw-away accounts.
This is not a space where you want to be a recognisable target.
Today, BitFury's CEO threatened to sue developers if they didn't kowtow to
his demands to leave the PoW alone. This is unacceptable. Decisions have to
be made on merit and the interest of the project, and nothing else.
This is very important and needs to be given priority. Most Core developers
and all the main ones except Satoshi have built a public persona, either
for ego or for practical monetary reasons. Obviously there's academia where
everything is about plastering your name as much as possible and getting
cited. So it's understood. Although I understand the difficulty of getting
funded and getting trusted without a face, there needs to be an outlet so
people can interact and contribute in a proper cypherpunk way.
Also, GitHub is quite anti-privacy. So I recommend not reusing personal
accounts from work.
-muyuu
I quite agree, and I would add that sometimes making yourself
recognisable is far more important that merit.

If we are really going to go for merit, then we probably need to go
all the way back to examine why is it developers and academics think
they need to have money to make code or reputation to do research.

The best code I've written is stuff I've given away for free, although
sometimes I'm able to leverage being recognized for having written
something into getting paid to write more code. The best research
I've done has been self-funded, when I did not subconsciously have
a funding agent I was trying to please with the outcome of the
research.

We need a safe space for merit, how about http://gplspace.org/
Troy Benjegerdes via bitcoin-dev
2017-03-28 01:31:04 UTC
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Post by Troy Benjegerdes via bitcoin-dev
Post by Troy Benjegerdes via bitcoin-dev
I quite agree, and I would add that sometimes making yourself
recognisable is far more important that merit.
The intent of my original proposal allows you to reveal yourself *after*
the BIP has been accepted if you so choose. You do this by just revealing
the preimage of the author hash. As others have pointed out, you can't
*force* people to use this process -- but we can make it a defacto
requirement by the BIP maintainer. Just like how you can't *force* people
to format their BIPs in a certain way, but the BIP maintainer has the right
to decline them if they aren't formatted that way.
Post by Troy Benjegerdes via bitcoin-dev
Today, BitFury's CEO threatened to sue developers if they didn't kowtow to
his demands to leave the PoW alone. This is unacceptable. Decisions have
to
Post by Troy Benjegerdes via bitcoin-dev
be made on merit and the interest of the project, and nothing else.
I think everyone on the list needs to see that paragraph again, and let the
implications set in.
We are talking about money here. Decisions in this project are
not made based on 'merit', they are made based on ROI. If killing
the project is more profitable, many of the actors involved are
obligated to their shareholders to attempt to kill the project.

Or maybe in this case, they might be obligated to their investors
to attempt to try to run all the competing miners out of business
and acquire a majority stake in the hashpower.

If Merit were actually important, I would hope we would be
talking about a way to finance development in a way that provides
real financial incentives for merit, rather than what appear to
be some perverse incentives that seem to be rewarding short-term
traders, conflict, and further consolidation of mining and
exchanges.

The other problem with merit is there are just about as many ideas
about what has merit as there are people judging the merit of the
project.

For instance, I think demurrage and increasing the money supply are
ideas with more merit, but those ideas are not profitable to existing
bitcoin investors, and thus are not seriously discussed.
Tom Zander via bitcoin-dev
2017-03-29 08:49:38 UTC
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On Saturday, 18 March 2017 16:23:16 CEST Chris Stewart via bitcoin-dev
Post by Chris Stewart via bitcoin-dev
As everyone in the Bitcoin space knows, there is a massive scaling debate
going on. One side wants to increase the block size via segwit, while the
other side wants to increase via hard fork. I have strong opinions on the
topic but I won’t discuss them here. The point of the matter is we are
seeing the politicization of protocol level changes.
I agree with your assessment, the sides are political and picking sides
makes people a target.
For that reason I know that many companies are not picking sides, we’ve seen
some bad stuff happen to companies that did.

I’m not convnced it makes sense to use anonymous, but provable, identities
is the way to solve this. Though.

I also don’t believe people are rejecting proposals purely based on the
name. What I see is that pratically all proposals are ignored for the time
being becaues we can’t make any changes anyway until we have made a protocol
upgrade and came out stronger.
I do agree that bips are seen politically, but not based on the person that
suggests them, but more based on the content being useful for their
political side.

I am not entirely against pseudonymous submissions, but in that case I think
it should be carried by a well known member of the Bitcoin community.

This raises the bar somewhat to a point where you have to convince someone
that is already publicly known to propose it with you.
--
Tom Zander
Blog: https://zander.github.io
Vlog: https://vimeo.com/channels/tomscryptochannel
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