[bitcoin-dev] BIP Process: Status, comments, and copyright licenses

Luke Dashjr luke at dashjr.org
Wed Feb 3 00:03:31 UTC 2016

On Tuesday, February 02, 2016 11:28:40 PM Dave Scotese wrote:
> How about "defining" (rules, code, etc.) Such code and rules define what
> bitcoin is.  It does require consensus and it ends up being a concord, but
> all that can come after the fact (just as it did after bitcoin was first
> released to the public).

The difficulty is that this BIP needs to refer to three different context of 

1. Consensus (stated) among developers for changes in the BIP Process.
2. Economic consensus (potential and stated) to veto a soft-fork by an
   intended "firing" of the set of miners if they choose to enforce it.
3. (Actual) consensus in economic adoption of changed rules, to determine the
   success of a hard-fork (after the fact).
4. The set of rules currently established as (defining) Bitcoin, enforced by
   an (actual) consensus of economically-relevant nodes.

Context 3 can be disambiguated with "adoption consensus", and context 4 with 
"consensus rules" and/or "consensus protocol", but I don't see a clear 
solution that covers all four contexts, and even sharing the word "consensus" 
for them may be confusing.

In addition, usage of the word "consensus" for context 4 has proven confusing 
to users. For example, recently users misinterpreted the "Consensus" label 
used in context 4 as implying that the idea itself had in fact achieved 
consensus among some group of decision-makers (similar to context 1, but not 
necessarily the group being "developers").

I don't know a good way to make this completely clear, so suggestions are more 
than welcome.


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