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A non-technical analysis of ASERT vs Grasberg

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Avatar for ZakMcRofl
Written by   146
5 months ago

ftrader wrote an article comparing the technical aspects of ASSERT vs Grasberg.

While I agree with most of the technical arguments presented, the even bigger problem is the leadership failure demonstrated by Amaury and by extension Bitcoin ABC:

Failure 1: No pre-decision communication, acting in bad faith

Amaury did not propose this DAA in the last developer meeting in which he already said it was late for adding new ideas for the November update

A good leader should not be so bad in communicating and should not participate in technical discussions in bad faith (withholding their ideas)

Failure 2: Dishonesty

Amaury mischaracterized the situation and claimed that no proper proposal was on the table despite this being discussed for weeks now, including with him.

A good leader should not be dishonest to further his agenda or to satisfy his own ego

Failure 3: No recognition of well prepared contributions

Amaury voiced no notable concerns against JToomim's proposal, so accepting it would have been an easy home run in terms of healing our community from the damage ABC has caused with their IFP behaviour -

A good leader would encourage others to contribute, not reject their ideas in order to trump them with his own implementation in the last minute.

Failure 4: Unilateral decision making

Instead of presenting his ideas as a counter-proposal to the community, Amaury immediately said "Bitcoin ABC is therefore moving forward with the Grasberg DAA"

A good leader would aim to bring everyone to the table and convince them of the merits of his ideas, he would not unilaterally decide such important changes.

Failure 5: No follow up communication

Following the announcement, Amaury and George Donnelly have done no attempts to discuss their decision with the community, neither from a technical nor from a decision process perspective. Instead, the community is left to itself to interpret and speculate by such a puzzling decision has been reached at Bitcoin ABC

A good leader would understand that this proposal is controversial and do his best to defend it in the community

Previous instances of similar behaviour

It is not the first time that Amaury has shown such significant leadership failures. In fact, in during the IFP events I wrote an open letter to Amaury outlining many of the same observations:

But I know that in your mind, you think that are doing the right thing for Bitcoin Cash's future. After all, you were there since its inception and a big part of its early success. Now, you feel that without being paid proper salaries, you and maybe some of your team cannot continue working on Bitcoin Cash full time. Unfortunately, the way you are trying to accomplish this funding is leaving you with very little support in this community. Trying to ram through unfinished, unreflected major changes to Bitcoin Cash's consensus rules is not the Bitcoin way. Neither is disregarding community feedback, not consulting with other client implementations, not offering any transparency regarding the unknown company that is supposed to get funded and not offering a plan for the usage of the collected funds.

(Source: https://read.cash/@ZakMcRofl/building-bridges-an-open-letter-to-amaury-sechet-66b63780 )

Summary

Overall, I think these failures in leadership are much more concerning than making a non-optimal technical decision. Even if Grasberg had technical merits over ASERT (in my opinion it doesn't), introducing it this way is hugely damaging to the ecosystem.

We should reject a leadership is not only incapable of uniting the community but also seemingly unwilling to do so.

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Avatar for ZakMcRofl
Written by   146
5 months ago
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Comments

ABC even hired a PR guy with their meager resources, who is under constant attack and total rejection from the community since day one. Anytime anyone in ABC does anything to appease the mob, whether it is a compromise, a 'defense' or even reaching out, it is taken as an attack.

The fact that they hired a PR person, that by the way actually does a great job, despite constant twisting and attacks from within the community, says much louder than any other claim, who is failing in communications.

I cannot fault anyone in ABC anymore for totally ignoring most of the usual suspects. I can show you stuff that I have said months ago as well, it portraits the exact opposite reality of what you are saying. What now?

The biggest problem is the fact that people don't agree on how governance ought to work on BCH. And no, it is not decentralization vs. centralization as many make it out to be. It's decentralized demagogy vs. decentralized meritocracy.

The demagogues and their leveraged 'voters' can't compete with the obvious merit of ABC and therefore claim centralization, as they are either unwilling or incapable of getting to the steering wheel, where Lead-Dev of ABC is currently at. The issue of what I called 'de facto' centralization long ago is not even something ABC themselves like. The first guy who talked about the problem of having to keep all strings together almost on his own was none other than Amaury himself.

So if you guys want to have a 'community vote' or whatever, because you don't like his personality, then good for you.

But you won't win this battle, if you try to win it within BCH consensus rules and the meritocracy that comes with it. That's why we have this drama... or what I call politics. It's the game of the people, who can't win on the free market with merit.

And it is also true, what others pointed out: No one that wants to 'fire' Amaury even has an alternative of how to steer the ship OR a better decision process. Other than "muh community vote". That is, so nice at it does sound, absolute worst kind of process you can come up with as it is apparent that the 'community' that votes can be gamed much much easier than anything else.

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5 months ago

You wrote so much yet you didn't address any of the points I made. Let me addresse your points: A PR person that fails to see any flaw on the side he represents is a waste of resources. He should try to moderate, talk some sense into Amaury and most of all engage when the emotions are running high. Why is there no attempt from him to explain why cooperating with the rest of the community on this is out of the question?

You say you "cannot fault anyone in ABC anymore for totally ignoring most of the usual suspects". Does this include JToomim and all the other devs working on the DAA, other node implementations, wallets or BCH-based projects? And you base this on the fact that them hiring a PR person reflects badly on the community? No normal open source project needs a PR person, usually this is solved by talking to each your users and doing what is best for them.

Then you claim that "The first guy who talked about the problem of having to keep all strings together almost on his own was none other than Amaury himself." If that were truly his interest, why doesn't he encourage outside contributions more. We have a perfectly acceptable proposal on the table, with approval from all teams, yet he has to mangle it into yet another controversial "I had the last word" implementation that messes with the confirmation times and has zero backing from other developers. He is alone because he is unwilling and incapable of collaborating.

"The demagogues and their leveraged 'voters' can't compete with the obvious merit of ABC and therefore claim centralization, as they are either unwilling or incapable of getting to the steering wheel, where Lead-Dev of ABC is currently at." - I trust BCHN to easily outperforming Bitcoin ABC. It is not hard, just have some empathy and collaboration skills. Heck, even my own pitch for project lead would sound better than what Amaury is offering: "I, ZakMcRofl, know nothing about crypto development but I will surround myself with community experts, I will bring the community to the table, I will hold regular developer meetings between all groups, I will listen to their opinions and I will encourage development of methods to find consensus in the community, I will accept all reasonable improvement suggestions that have no negative impact and I vow to have my role up for a vote once a year"

"But you won't win this battle, if you try to win it within BCH consensus rules and the meritocracy that comes with it. " - I would not be so sure about this. Miners want a coin with a positive, growing community and lots of users. Amaury's behaviour is causing the exact oppositve: every 6 months contention for no good reason, people leaving the community because of his toxic behaviour, distration with stupid ideas like the IFP instead of focusing on adoption.

"That is, so nice at it does sound, absolute worst kind of process you can come up with as it is apparent that the 'community' that votes can be gamed much much easier than anything else." You do realize that the same could be said about the democratic voting process in almost every country in the world? And yet it works and has brought peace, stability and prosperity to many nations. Name one proposed Bitcoin Cash change that was sensible but rejected by the community being gamed?

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5 months ago

Thanks for this writeup. I fully agree: we're looking at a persistent case of leadership failure.

It will be interesting to see wether we (the holders/community) have the power to switch leadership.

If we do show that we can do that, it will result in a tremendous boost for Bitcoin Cash: the whole notion of having multiple implementation to "be able to switch in case one dev team goes bad" needs proof of viability.

If on the other hand we fail to show this and ABC stays "in power" and keeps behaving in this way (which is likely since it has been going on for a while now, if not since the beginning), then I fear it's going to be a long painful way down. We'll keep losing mindshare, devpower and community strength.

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5 months ago