Principles Seminar - Session 1: Openness

Hi all! Today we had our first Status principles seminar (see

What follows are opening slides and notes taken. Embedded video, slides and nicer format will come to soon.

(Initial slides can be found here: Openness and intro slide: HackMD - Collaborative Markdown Knowledge Base)
(Original hackmd notes here: **Posted to discuss -- Oskar** - HackMD)

Opening slides

Status Principles Seminar

Oct 9, 2018 - Oct 19th, 2018

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.


  • What’s up with the order and succession?
  • Format, opening talk, personal bias
  • Why do this?

  1. To get people to engage with principles in a more high resolution way. Why?

  2. To increase our individual and collective ability to think about these things. Why?

  3. To make sure we are building the right thing in the right way. Why?

  4. To give access to better tools to socially coordinate, communicate and transact. Why?

  5. To increase liberty for everyone.


The goal of Status is widespread adoption of the decentralized web. Our challenge is achieving mass adoption while staying true to our principles outlined below.

Let’s begin…

The Plan

  • Oct 09: Openness & Inclusivity
  • Oct 10: Security & censorship-resistance
  • Oct 11: Decentralization (people and computers)
  • Oct 16: Privacy & Transparency
  • Oct 17: Continuance & resourcefulness
  • Oct 17: Liberty & Anon chat

Principles Seminar v0

Session 1 - Openness

Oskar, 2018-10-09

Copyright and related rights waived via CC0.

VI. Openness

The software we create is a public good. It is made available via a free and open source license, for anyone to share, modify and benefit from. We believe in permission-less participation.

Public goods

Excludable Nonexcludable
Rival food fish in sea
Nonrival private parks air

Public goods (cont)

  • Anyone can use it
  • Antifragile torrent files
  • Networks, not stovepipes

Free license

  • Freedom to run, study, share and modify code
  • Status LLC gone? Software survives


  • Anyone able to participate in creation
  • Ethereum nodes
  • Less coordination (just contribute!)
  • Open to unique perspective
  • Free culture vs permission culture

Principles pairing

Like pairing wine and food. That’s where the real discussion happens.

thesis + antithesis => synthesis

(openness, security)

  • Free modification => risk of malicious versions
  • Mitigations: reputation, signed binaries
  • Scope: under Security

(openness, continuance)

Using individual SNT (private good) to keep the public good public and good?

“Build Status with Status”

(openness, privacy)

Certain legal agreements require salary information to be private, how does that interact with open compensation models?

(openness, liberty)

Live in a world where people benefit freely?

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety – Ben Franklin

Wall of shame

A conversation starter.

  • Changing code requires privileges
  • License situation unclear: some CC0, some not
  • Cluster repo private, harder to participate
  • Slack and GDocs, closed and permissioned
  • Network non-rival good?


With that, handing it over to the facilitator. Coming up: next speaker, open discussion, wall of shame generation, and more.

Raw notes

Session 1 - Openness

The software we create is a public good. It is made available via a free and open source license, for anyone to share, modify and benefit from. We believe in permission-less participation.


Principles will be covered not in order - we want to build up to Liberty, have tried to pair them so that they make more sense.

Oskar’s opening remarks are not gospel, you might have your own interpretation of the principles.

Discussed why we are doing these sessions - increase engagement in high resolution, and develop collective ability to think about Principles.

Pairing Principles helps see the tensions, positives and negatives.

Talked through intro slides.


How do you feel about the fact that we have guardians, can we talk about having a completely permissionless codebase, Corey?


Difficult to answer, I hope so. We can’t say that anyone can just do what they want. Proof of work is a push forward in creating open permissionless networks, knew it was fair due to how incentives were structured; how do you do that in a codebase? We need some type of hierarchy around who gets to build a codebase.

We should study how others, e.g. Linux handle this

Linux Foundation was essentially a few people’s decicions as governance Linus + one or two people who decided which patches to allow

Are we naive for thinking it can be done differently?

POW - by virtue of having a free license, anyone can make changes. You can just fork it and run own version of Status. Protocol that has most consensus gets followers, doesn’t preclude someone from forking it and making their own universe.

Don’t have to use offical Status client to use Status, we’re giving you the main signal to go off and do something different. We have to be certain that the base layer protocol is secure.

How do we demonstrate that the client is secure, how do we present that to people?

This would be one layer up in e.g. Android, people should be able to check it above the level of the app. This technology hasn’t yet been realised.

Can we use Discuss DMs instead of emails? Not practical if we need to contact people outside Status network.

Action item - describe centralised/proprietary services we’re using and be clear about why that is and why it’s justified. Services policy for why we use services that we do. [rewritten as WoS – Oskar]

Making good progress on Status as our IM client, but let’s separate out other collaboration tools like email, discussion etc.

Can justify Google in some way as it helps with continuance, but need to balance those things against openness.

Decentralised tech harder to debug overall. Openness is a prerequisite to inclusivity.

We’d like to have completely open finances, what are our barriers there?


  1. Protection of individuals’ privacy. People may not want their salary public, due to e.g. tax optimisation purposes or other personal interests.
  2. HR centralised point of view, people may start comparing salaries and become unhappy with situation. Not an absolute barrier, but a consideration.

Doesn’t need to happen instantly, but a pathway to openness would be great. In prior company, financial dashboards transparently reflected burn rate, headcount, etc. Non-sensitive info, but was super helpful for context.

Can we have headcount and total salary cost?

Open KPIs can happen.

Shared examples from Buffer and NomadList: Nomad List - Best Places to Live for Digital Nomads

Have experienced this before in another company - settled on voluntary disclosure as not everyone wanted to participate.

Can we focus at org level first re financials?

What can’t be made public - individual salaries. Other financial information can be made public.

What about changing how we make payments, e.g. salaries > bounties?

As we DAOify, we have legacy obligations. Dialogue should shift from optimising centralised legacy company to how we build into the future. Can’t switch off the legacy entity completely, DAO will interface with that long into the future.

DAO would be largely without legal entity footprint. Maybe contributors would form their own legal entities in each jurisdiction to interface with the DAO.

Would radical transparency lead to overall higher costs?

Some things need to have delayed openness, e.g. sensitive projects, can talk about these later but need to act first.

Using language/knowledge that the general public can’t understand - barrier to adoption. To be open, may have to compromise on other things to reach a wider audience. Although we’re being open on Discuss, the level of discussion may not resonate with many readers.

Need our own house in order before we can succintly express that to the mass market.

Wall of shame - wrt openness ideally

Note: not all of this is wall of shame right now

  1. Reliance on Google and Slack

  2. Not fully open to community contributions

  3. Weren’t using our own product

  4. Closed financial info. Lack of pathway for how we’ll get to openness.

  5. Balancing openness and disclosure of security issues/vulnerabilities?

  6. We don’t have an inventory with rationale for centralized/proprietary services. Desired action: describe centralised/proprietary services we’re using and be clear about why that is and why it’s justified. Services policy for why we use services that we do.

Let’s keep discussion open about this principle here, as well as add stuff to our wall of shame in this thread.