Barriers to involvement with the CIP 1694

Part of the CIP Editors mission is " … facilitating conversations between community actors". But when I entered the conversation in this Discord questions were not welcomed or facilitated.

In respect of CIP 1694, there was a peak of discussion in November 2022. Whilst this was productive there was no facilitation of a wider engagement with community actors.

Debate has now commenced on CIP 1694 on social media and the consequences of a lack of outreach can be seen in how the CIP is misrepresented or misunderstood.

CIP 001 suggests that Authors are responsible for outreach and collation of wider feedback. Are the CIP editors satisfied this is happening ?

In Voltaire the collation of wider feedback from non GitHub sources is obviously a critical issue. Understanding GitHub is a barrier to many in the wider community. And the complexity here is NOT in the text of CIP 1694 which is quite straightforward to read as a text proposal. The blockage is in the barriers to engagement with the text.

The technical specification paradigm is inherited from historic blockchain improvements processes (eg BIP, EIP). There are issues here as well in how governance is framed as a “problem statement” and assumes a deterministic solution.

My impression was (and is) that core discussions are self selecting by virtue of the tools used, the small number of people involved and the lack of outreach (I mean outreach to potential users of the CIP process). Because of this review and commentary is (in effect) governed.

In that only a narrow section of the community decide on the design of and adherence to a technical framework. There is also a dominant mindset influenced by legacy blockchain improvement processes.

Reading CIP 001 the question also arises as why there has been no preliminary META CIP for Voltaire ? CIP 1694 reads just as much as a political/philosophical specification as a technical one. Should this not be META ? Or alternatively a “Cardano Problem Statement” ?

On the Open Source context there is in my view a cultural divide between CIP (blockchain) and a contribution (OSS) paradigms. The CF CIP repository should have a contributions file that points to CIP 001 and reconciles OSS practice.

It is also not clear to me how review is incorporated within a transparent GitHub workflow. What about Issue and Pull Request templates ?


Link to conversation above on Discord, in case forum readers are interested in more than just a curated screenshot:

The conversation continues beyond the point quoted above— from multiple writers in different roles, with differing points of view— answering the original questions and explaining in more detail why these complaints aren’t relevant to the CIP process.

If not already on the Discord, and having a genuine interest in the CIP Editors Meetings & process as it generally proceeds on GitHub, this invite link will allow you to read the thread above & more:

If anyone thinks something has gone wrong with the CIP process, and can offer a constructive suggestion based on the process goals as they’re explained (and limited) in CIP-0001, then please post an issue here so we can give it proper consideration:

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You were requesting changes to the whole CIP process and that “someone” should be obliged to do something, because one(!) CIP goes beyond the usual scope.

CIPs are technical documents that do not finally decide or force anyone to do anything. They are proposals on how wallet apps, marketplaces, blockchain explorers, … implement certain features.
(And there is, in general, also no assumption that these solutions are deterministically the only possible solution to a given problem. But to implement something, you just have to decide on one coherent solution.)

And the Github-based process of comments and improvement suggestions in pull requests which the author(s) and only the author(s) can then decide to adopt or not works quite well for these documents.

CIP-1694 is very special in that its scope goes – somehow – beyond this which is why it is also discussed in a lot of other forums. The political and philosophical discussions should be in these other forums and, in my opinion, make very limited sense in the CIP process, where you’d have to convince the author to take over changes.

If the wish for totally different alternatives arises from these discussions, a detailed technical solution should then probably have its own CIP, where the CIP process can ensure that the technical presentation is as clear and sound as possible, but the political debate, which of the alternatives to employ, is, in my opinion, completely outside the scope of the CIP process. Facilitating such debates should not be put as an onus on CIP editors who have enough to do with the editorial process of technical documents.

Governance – not the CIP editors (!) – also has to solve a problem that already arose in the debates around the host of reward sharing scheme CIPs: How can a proposal that requires implementation in the core Cardano node have an actionable path to active?