[Bitcoin-development] A critique of bitcoin open source community

Melvin Carvalho melvincarvalho at gmail.com
Sat Oct 19 16:50:25 UTC 2013

On 19 October 2013 18:38, Mitar <mmitar at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi!
> Interesting read:
> http://courses.ischool.berkeley.edu/i290m-ocpp/site/article/nmerrill-assign3.html

Im sympathetic to some of the points, but it seems slightly harsh.  I do
agree that we're lucky to have the excellent leadership of Gavin, who I
think is a great role model.

Perhaps the bitcoin community is at a size where it may benefit from a
loose code of conduct.  The ubuntu code of conduct has been excellent in
this respect, in helping to grow that community:



Ubuntu Code of Conduct v2.0

Ubuntu is about showing humanity to one another: the word itself captures
the spirit of being human.

We want a productive, happy and agile community that can welcome new ideas
in a complex field, improve every process every year, and foster
collaboration between groups with very different needs, interests and

We gain strength from diversity, and actively seek participation from those
who enhance it. This code of conduct exists to ensure that diverse groups
collaborate to mutual advantage and enjoyment. We will challenge prejudice
that could jeopardise the participation of any person in the project.

The Code of Conduct governs how we behave in public or in private whenever
the project will be judged by our actions. We expect it to be honored by
everyone who represents the project officially or informally, claims
affiliation with the project, or participates directly.
We strive to:

Be considerate

Our work will be used by other people, and we in turn will depend on the
work of others. Any decision we take will affect users and colleagues, and
we should consider them when making decisions.

Be respectful

Disagreement is no excuse for poor manners. We work together to resolve
conflict, assume good intentions and do our best to act in an empathic
fashion. We don't allow frustration to turn into a personal attack. A
community where people feel uncomfortable or threatened is not a productive

Take responsibility for our words and our actions

We can all make mistakes; when we do, we take responsibility for them. If
someone has been harmed or offended, we listen carefully and respectfully,
and work to right the wrong.

Be collaborative

What we produce is a complex whole made of many parts, it is the sum of
many dreams. Collaboration between teams that each have their own goal and
vision is essential; for the whole to be more than the sum of its parts,
each part must make an effort to understand the whole.

Collaboration reduces redundancy and improves the quality of our work.
Internally and externally, we celebrate good collaboration. Wherever
possible, we work closely with upstream projects and others in the free
software community to coordinate our efforts. We prefer to work
transparently and involve interested parties as early as possible.

Value decisiveness, clarity and consensus

Disagreements, social and technical, are normal, but we do not allow them
to persist and fester leaving others uncertain of the agreed direction.

We expect participants in the project to resolve disagreements
constructively. When they cannot, we escalate the matter to structures with
designated leaders to arbitrate and provide clarity and direction.

Ask for help when unsure

Nobody is expected to be perfect in this community. Asking questions early
avoids many problems later, so questions are encouraged, though they may be
directed to the appropriate forum. Those who are asked should be responsive
and helpful.

Step down considerately

When somebody leaves or disengages from the project, we ask that they do so
in a way that minimises disruption to the project. They should tell people
they are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick
up where they left off.
Leadership, authority and responsibility

We all lead by example, in debate and in action. We encourage new
participants to feel empowered to lead, to take action, and to experiment
when they feel innovation could improve the project. Leadership can be
exercised by anyone simply by taking action, there is no need to wait for
recognition when the opportunity to lead presents itself.
Delegation from the top

Responsibility for the project starts with the "benevolent dictator", who
delegates specific responsibilities and the corresponding authority to a
series of teams, councils and individuals, starting with the Community
Council ("CC"). That Council or its delegated representative will arbitrate
in any dispute.

We are a meritocracy; we delegate decision making, governance and
leadership from senior bodies to the most able and engaged candidates.
Support for delegation is measured

Nominations to the boards and councils are at the discretion of the
Community Council, however the Community Council will seek the input of the
community before confirming appointments.

Leadership is not an award, right, or title; it is a privilege, a
responsibility and a mandate. A leader will only retain their authority as
long as they retain the support of those who delegated that authority to
We value discussion, data and decisiveness

We gather opinions, data and commitments from concerned parties before
taking a decision. We expect leaders to help teams come to a decision in a
reasonable time, to seek guidance or be willing to take the decision
themselves when consensus is lacking, and to take responsibility for

The poorest decision of all is no decision: clarity of direction has value
in itself. Sometimes all the data are not available, or consensus is
elusive. A decision must still be made. There is no guarantee of a perfect
decision every time - we prefer to err, learn, and err less in future than
to postpone action indefinitely.

We recognise that the project works better when we trust the teams closest
to a problem to make the decision for the project. If we learn of a
decision that we disagree with, we can engage the relevant team to find
common ground, and failing that, we have a governance structure that can
review the decision. Ultimately, if a decision has been taken by the people
responsible for it, and is supported by the project governance, it will
stand. None of us expects to agree with every decision, and we value highly
the willingness to stand by the project and help it deliver even on the
occasions when we ourselves may prefer a different route.
Open meritocracy

We invite anybody, from any company, to participate in any aspect of the
project. Our community is open, and any responsibility can be carried by
any contributor who demonstrates the required capacity and competence.

A leader's foremost goal is the success of the team.

"A virtuoso is judged by their actions; a leader is judged by the actions
of their team." A leader knows when to act and when to step back. They know
when to delegate work, and when to take it upon themselves.

A good leader does not seek the limelight, but celebrates team members for
the work they do. Leaders may be more visible than members of the team,
good ones use that visibility to highlight the great work of others.
Courage and considerateness

Leadership occasionally requires bold decisions that will not be widely
understood, consensual or popular. We value the courage to take such
decisions, because they enable the project as a whole to move forward
faster than we could if we required complete consensus. Nevertheless,
boldness demands considerateness; take bold decisions, but do so mindful of
the challenges they present for others, and work to soften the impact of
those decisions on them. Communicating changes and their reasoning clearly
and early on is as important as the implementation of the change itself.
Conflicts of interest

We expect leaders to be aware when they are conflicted due to employment or
other projects they are involved in, and abstain or delegate decisions that
may be seen to be self-interested. We expect that everyone who participates
in the project does so with the goal of making life better for its users.

When in doubt, ask for a second opinion. Perceived conflicts of interest
are important to address; as a leader, act to ensure that decisions are
credible even if they must occasionally be unpopular, difficult or
favourable to the interests of one group over another.

This Code is not exhaustive or complete. It is not a rulebook; it serves to
distill our common understanding of a collaborative, shared environment and
goals. We expect it to be followed in spirit as much as in the letter.

The Ubuntu Code of Conduct is licensed under the Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. You may re-use it for your own
project, and modify it as you wish, just please allow others to use your
modifications and give credit to the Ubuntu Project!


> Mitar
> --
> http://mitar.tnode.com/
> https://twitter.com/mitar_m
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