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

Mitar mmitar at gmail.com
Sat Oct 19 21:09:09 UTC 2013


Gregory, thank you for your time and answers. Just maybe to clarify
where Nick is coming from, there are two previous articles:



On Sat, Oct 19, 2013 at 1:40 PM, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, Oct 19, 2013 at 9:38 AM, Mitar <mmitar at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi!
>> Interesting read:
>> http://courses.ischool.berkeley.edu/i290m-ocpp/site/article/nmerrill-assign3.html
> Hopefully Nick will show up someplace and offer some specific pointers
> to where we failed him.
> The only interaction I can find from him on IRC is in #bitcoin, rather
> than #bitcoin-dev:
> --- Day changed Mon Sep 16 2013
> 11:45 < csmpls> Hi, I'm interested in contributing to the official
> bitcoin project. Is there a mailing list I can join?
> 11:46 < neo2> csmpls, contributing how?
> 11:47 < csmpls> neo2 - probably start by approaching a low priority
> issue like this one https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/issues/2545
> 11:48 < michagogo> csmpls: There *is* a mailing list
> 11:48 < michagogo> ;;google bitcoin-dev mailing list
> 11:48 <@gribble> SourceForge.net: Bitcoin: bitcoin-development:
> <http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?forum_name=bitcoin-development>;
> Bitcoin-development Info
> 11:48 < csmpls> Great, thanks.
> 11:48 < michagogo> I don't know how active it is, though
> 11:49 < michagogo> There's also the #bitcoin-dev channel
> I got involved with Bitcoin without previously interacting with other
> contributors (AFAIK) and maybe things have changed in ways invisibly
> to me. But I don't think so. Michagogo, who was answering there, is a
> newer participant and I don't think anyone knows him from anywhere.
> Certainly if things have become less welcome to new participants that
> would be bad.
> I can point out a number of other recent contributors who, as far as I
> can tell, just showed up and stared contributing.  But I don't think
> that the existence of exceptions is sufficiently strong evidence that
> there isn't a problem.
> The specific complaints I can extract from that article are:
> "I wasn't even allowed to edit the wiki"
> I'm confused about this, if he's referring to en.bitcoin.it.  Editing
> it is open to anyone who is willing to pay the 0.01
> (https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/BitcoinPayment) anti-spam fee. This isn't
> a policy set by the bitcoin development community, though I'm not sure
> that its a terrible one. I've both paid it on behalf of other users
> and made edits on behalf of people who didn't want to go to it.  At
> least relative to some policy which requires actual approval the
> payment antispam is at least open to anyone with Bitcoin.
> "My IRC questions about issues on the github page were never answered"
> Without a nick I'm unable to find more than the above, unfortunately.
> So I don't yet know what we need to improve there.
> "#bitcoin-dev would rather talk about conspiracies, or about
> destroying other cryptocurrencies"
> I've been pretty aggressive about punting out offtopic conversation
> from #bitcoin-dev lately. Enough that I worried that my actions would
> be the inspiration for this complaint. Much of the time discussion
> like that is brought in and primarily continued by people who are not
> active in the development community at all, but deflecting it to other
> challenge without creating a hostile environment (or one that merely
> feels hostile to new people) is hard.  Nicks comments themselves may
> be a useful thing for me to show to people in the future on that
> point.
> "Bitcoiners are a bunch of paranoid, anti-authoritarian nutjobs"
> I actually don't think that this stereotype accurately reflects the
> development community. (In fact, I personally enjoy the great sport of
> being called a statist by some of these aformentioned jutjobs, but
> none of them are developers). On his other article Nick also asserts
> "Most contributors hide their identities", but this is factually
> untrue as far as I can tell. (In that same article he writes,
> "Bitcoin's core code is written in Typescript, which is compiled into
> C++"…)
> "I looked at the many items sitting in pull request purgatory"
> Many of the long standing pull requests are actually created by people
> with direct commit access.  We use a model which has a relatively long
> pipeline, a fact which I think is justified by the safety
> criticialness of the software and our current shortages of active
> review. Hopefully long term motion towards increased codebase
> modularity will allow faster merging of "safe" changes.
> But I suspect there will always be a backlog, at least of "unsafe" changes.
> Which brings me to,
> "I didn't even know what I had to do"
> Above all, I think the most important takeaway from this is that we
> need to have better introductory materials.
> One obvious place to put them would be
> http://bitcoin.org/en/development  but the IRC question makes me
> believe that Nick hadn't actually found that page, it's a little
> buried.


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