Thu 22 Feb 2018 5:02PM

P2P/ Distributed Network Protocols

D Draft Public Seen by 158

@draft asked "Are you creating something like holo" : https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/holo-take-back-the-internet-shared-p2p-hosting-community-technology#/ ?

@bobhaugen started a list of projects that could be investigated for similar uses. Feel free to add candidates (in alphabetical order):


Bob Haugen Thu 22 Feb 2018 5:15PM

We're looking at Holo as one potential technical infrastructure for an agent-centric OAE. They agree on the agent-centric part, and they want to support economic networks, so they are attractive from a valueflows perspective.

We're not deep enough into the details to know if we'll go with holo or one of the other possibilities. But we're talking to people there.

[Edit] but we don't to create something like holo ourselves. Just ride on something that already has a good team and some momentum.


Hemi Edwards Fri 8 Nov 2019 11:48PM

Is an agent defined specifically in terms of an individual, Bob?


Bob Haugen Sat 9 Nov 2019 12:09AM

No, an agent can be a person or an organization that has agency: that can make decisions and agreements as-a-group.
See also https://valueflo.ws/introduction/agents.html


Hemi Edwards Sat 9 Nov 2019 2:09AM

That's sounds really great Bob. I had actually been reading the ValueFlows docs, but had yet to reach that section. I have been discussing the possibility of developing coordination and exchange infrastructure with an international group of developers, that is more compatible with the indigenous world view of my people (Maori of Aotearoa/New Zealand) as I understand it. I think that the ValueFlox framework is abstracted enough to support this goal.

We have a Slack workspace dedicated to this project. Would you be prepared to join in the discussion or consider the possibility of collaborating with us?


Hemi Edwards Sat 9 Nov 2019 2:12AM

I came across this thinkpiece written by Joichi Ito, formerly the director of the MIT Media Lab on a drastic reform of modern accounting. Maybe it would resonate with you?

The economics notion of consumers making financial decisions to maximize "utility" as a kind of proxy for happiness is another example of how the notion of a universal system of "value" oversimplifies its complexity-so much so that the models that assume that humans are "economically rational" actors in a marketplace simply don't work. The simplest version of this model would mean that the more money you had, the happier you would be, which Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton argue is true up to about $75,000 a year in annual income.[1]

"Today, we have the technology and the computational power to create a system of accounts that could retain and deal with a lot of the complexity that the current system was designed to avoid. There is, for example, no reason that every entry in our books needs to be a number. Each cell could be an algorithmic representation of the obligations and dependencies that it represents. In fact, using machine learning, accounts could become sophisticated probabilistic models for what might happen depending on how things around them change. This would mean that the "value" of any system would change depending on who was asking, their location, and the time parameters."


Bob Haugen Sat 9 Nov 2019 1:03PM


We have a Slack workspace dedicated to this project. Would you be prepared to join in the discussion or consider the possibility of collaborating with us?

Sure. Are you in NZ now? I'll send a PM and we can discuss details.


Draft Thu 22 Feb 2018 5:30PM

What are the other possibilities (if the list is public/available) ?


Bob Haugen Thu 22 Feb 2018 5:48PM

My short list includes Solid from the semantic web gang, SSB, DAT, and IPFS. I know other people are thinking of the newer types of blockchains.

These are all technical protocols (if we can accept a blockchain as a protocol, which is a stretch) using the idea of vocabularies + protocols to get an open app ecosystem to be an ecosystem instead of a random collection apps with maybe single-signon.

Could also use the Web as-is with HTTP as the technical protocol and Solid as the app framework.

Other people may have other ideas.


Lynn Foster Thu 22 Feb 2018 8:52PM

I think all these discussions about future backend technical protocols are great. And I agree with @bobhaugen about riding on something already in development.

Just fyi, all the experiments I am working on right now (with the exception of one ssb experiment that hasn't really gotten off the ground) are still web as-is with various standard databases sitting underneath the backends. So moving from platforms to smaller open apps that can message each other and talk to different backends, but without more radical changes. For now.


Draft Fri 9 Mar 2018 8:31PM

Thank you for your list ! Unfortunately, I have some troubles to find information about the initiatives that you talk about :/ Would it be possible to put links too to have more information about them ? :)


Tiberius Brastaviceanu Fri 23 Feb 2018 12:32AM

I am also looking closely at Holochain. I spoke to Samer from https://p2pmodels.eu/ about it, they will consider it as well. SENSORICA and p2pModels will probably collaborate. I like Holo because it is agent-centric, and because they like asset-based and service-based currencies. This is what we are also looking for with SENSORICA, currencies that are backed by economic activity and utility currency. Moreover, the whole notion of current-see is something that we want to implement in SENSORICA. Not to mention our alignment on values, culture, worldview... They start with a p2p cloud application and we want to explore how we can move our CMS and CRM out of Google. I did my part in Montreal and that resulted in 5 holoports being purchased. So we put our money where our belief is.


Caroline Smalley Fri 23 Feb 2018 8:40PM

Ditto @tiberiusbrastavice beta CM will be on Rails - well underway, but we're thinking gamma in Holo. Rails will make it easier to grow the market but distributed hosting through Holo makes so much sense. Understanding is we'll need to build our own blockchain for CM currency, but when activity is managed through Holo apps, can look at exchanging for Holo.


Caroline Smalley Fri 23 Feb 2018 8:41PM

CM currency is based around P2P marketing


Danyl Strype Tue 11 Dec 2018 5:18PM

Would it be useful to rename this thread to reflect that it quickly became a broader discussion (and an important one)? We could all learn a lot from comparing and contrasting the various projects defining standards and building blocks for federated and decentralized networks of apps and sites, such as those listed earlier in this thread by @bobhaugen


Oli SB Tue 11 Dec 2018 7:45PM

I'd second that - perhaps "existing distributed framework projects" or similar?


Greg Cassel Thu 13 Dec 2018 7:56PM

That could work. I'd say we're technically looking at distributed activity frameworks, or p2p activity frameworks. (But 'distributed framework' is more concise, and probably better if it seems reasonably clear.)


Danyl Strype Thu 20 Dec 2018 5:19PM

Language can get so tricky here! Distributed/ P2P, definitely. "Activity" is gaining a narrower technical definition, but I would go with "network". Are we talking about "frameworks" though? That makes me think of web frameworks like Rails in the Ruby world, or Zope/ Django in the Python world. I would go with a title like "P2P/ Distributed Network Protocols". Any objections?


Greg Cassel Fri 21 Dec 2018 2:30PM

Well, some of these projects are literally protocols, and others are apps (although they may contain protocols). I personally prefer framework because I find it generic, flexible and accurate. Web frameworks can't own the term 'framework' any more than, say, a car chassis could own it. I think we'd be artificially impoverishing our language by deciding to use framework only for web application frameworks.

The term I personally use in one of my key docs is 'organizing framework'. Not sure why I didn't think of that up here above.

Of course you can call anything whatever you want to call it! I just try, in my social circles, to generally steward the potential of English to be used as flexibly and accurately as feasible.


Bob Haugen Fri 21 Dec 2018 2:47PM

The differences in my mind between protocol, framework, and platform include:
* a protocol usually has a specification, and if you can follow the specification, you can use the protocol. So the Web stack was a protocol. Many independently-developed Web servers and clients and pages use the protocol.
* a protocol usually has some software that runs it, but if it is really a protocol, many independent software components can run and interact with each other using the protocol.
* a framework is usually a set of software components that people can use to develop applications.
* so for example, with Holochain, we are creating a framework that will run top of Holochain the protocol, that we and others can use to develop economic network apps.
* we and others are developing similar frameworks for the ActivityPub and SSB protocols.
* I see some differences of opinion on platforms, but to me, and platform is an all-embracing, usually centralized, system, that will usually be developed on a framework, using a protocol, but you are usually stuck using the platform's implementations of the framework and the protocol.

So in terms of degrees of freedom for independent development:
* a protocol has the most
* a framework has less
* a platform has the least (of those three).


Simon Grant Fri 21 Dec 2018 3:24PM

Useful clarification, thanks @bobhaugen


Bob Haugen Sun 23 Dec 2018 3:31PM

Counterpoint: in terms how much help the foundation gives you in developing apps to run on it,
* a protocol gives you the least
* a framework gives you quite a lot, but you still need to deploy
* a platform may not require any code at all, or might offer an API with some doc.


Michel Bauwens Sun 23 Dec 2018 3:34PM

great indeed


Greg Cassel Wed 2 Jan 2019 8:27PM

I agree @bobhaugen regarding your useful distinctions, bearing in mind that you're referring specifically to web application frameworks and not the more general (and often older) uses of the extremely flexible and IMO under-used term 'framework'.

I guess the key issue to me here, as usual, is to focus on frameworks for person-to-person interactions first, and only secondarily on well-defined activities which people desire to automate through apps.


Danyl Strype Tue 8 Jan 2019 4:50AM


Well, some of these projects are literally protocols, and others are apps (although they may contain protocols).

That's true, but the focus of the discussion is mainly on the re-usability of the protocols used in said apps, is it not?

I personally prefer framework because I find it generic, flexible and accurate.

Funny, that's precisely why I don't think it's the right word here. I think we need to confine the discussion in each thread to more specific topics, so that as the activity in the group groups (as I hope it's about to), people can find the discussions that are most relevant to their interests and their work.

I think we’d be artificially impoverishing our language by deciding to use framework only for web application frameworks.

Oh, for sure. I guess I'm working on trademark logic here. Words can have many meanings, but it's confusing if they have multiple meanings (or overly broad usage) in a specific context. In the context of internet technology, I look at the title you suggested, and my mind automatically jumps to web frameworks, not what the discussion (so far) is actually focused on.

Of course you can call anything whatever you want to call it!

Cool. I'll change the title now. It can always be changed again as the discussion in the thread evolves.


Greg Cassel Tue 8 Jan 2019 4:48PM

the focus of the discussion is mainly on the re-usability of the protocols used in said apps, is it not?

Yes, good point, and I'm pretty happy with "protocol" being a key title term.


Simon Grant Tue 11 Dec 2018 11:25PM

I was noticing that more about the dat protocol has been circulating recently. Has its own site at https://datproject.org/


mfioretti Mon 24 Dec 2018 6:36AM

two comments. First is an addition to, or maybe another dimension of, the "protocol vs framework vs platform" distinctions:

protocols are much more scalable and much more robust, i.e. way more p2p than the rest. Build a platform alternative to "X" (where "X" is Facebook, google, airbnb, whatever) and everybody else has nothing to do, just jump into it... because YOU carry all the tech, legal, funding etc.. burdens of scaling it up and keeping it work. To offer a platform you must become the next Zuckerberg, with the same spending and potential surveillance powers, WHOEVER "you" is (coop, government etc).

Whereas if you ONLY build a protocol, e.g. email or http, everybody can and should build and maintain their own independent but automatically interoperating part of it with their own money, policy, responsibilities, liabilities... and the whole show keeps running without an itch if you the builder, or even 30% of the "everybody" partners retire in a monastery every year.

Second comment, no, a question: may I ask WHAT do you want to do? Not HOW (i.e. protocols or platform etc), but WHAT? And by "WHAT" I mean "if Santa Claus brings you tonight unlimited money and all the programmers and other contributors you may possibly need, what will that 99.99% of human beings who can't tell a protocol from an asteroid get and who will NEVER; EVER "run their own server, exactly? What will they do with it? What will they see on their screens? What will it look like, and what will it replace? Facebook, Airbnb, whatever, all of the above?

Not having this clear is equivalent to debate how to build the next generation of electric screwdrivers, expecting that everybody will use them to build what they actually needed... e.g. a toaster, or a door handle. It would be highly worthwhile in and by itself, no doubt, but with very little practical outcome, if any. Because this is a problem space in which anything that doesn't work from the outset for that 99.99% of people above won't produce enough change, soon enough to make any meaningful difference for society.


Bob Haugen Mon 24 Dec 2018 12:47PM

Totally agree about protocols vs platforms.

Re what we want to build, some of us are fairly clear: we want to build software that will enable economic networks, and networks of networks, eventually constituting a new economic system. For example, https://docs.opencoopecosystem.net/


Christopher Tue 8 Jan 2019 7:47AM

So the "protocol vs framework" hits the nail on the head, when considering Holochain as a technology. The core, agent-centric protocol would be extremely useful. Unfortunately Holochain are really driven by creating a vendor lock-in scenario: https://prezi.com/view/NvRAZ35fln9i70V3YCrl/

Looking forward, the core agent-centric protocol is not huge - the core idea being that the protocol is federated by nature, since agents must be trustless.

There are several companies we work with that have moved away from what I consider (as a founding employee - my photo is on the indigogo page) their pretty toxic internal politics and ... less than open technology.

We will have an open, federated protocol, and at least one (node.js / browser) client, that is agent-centric by September this year. It is very worth getting to grips with the concepts behind agent-centric design. Maybe you can put pressure on Holochain to actually build what they say they are! I know we couldnt do it from inside the company :)


Bob Haugen Tue 8 Jan 2019 2:29PM


We will have an open, federated protocol, and at least one (node.js / browser) client, that is agent-centric by September this year.

Who's "we"? Did I miss something?


Christopher Tue 8 Jan 2019 2:53PM

nope. we is just my project. we work in education and high end linguistics and cognitive neuroscience. I can see there is potential value for a policing neighbourhood dht, or something similar. that's a bunch of us with various open designs. the prezi gets the idea across.


[deactivated account] Wed 9 Jan 2019 1:30PM

Hey Chris - it's Adam - nice to see you on here! I am not a techie as you know but want to get to grips, as far as possible, with the concepts that underpin Holochain and agent-centric design. Where should I go in order to get to grips with the broad concept of agent-centric design? Are there any articles, videos, books, etc that you can recommend? I don't mind wading through stuff that I don't understand and which goes a bit over my head. Just as long as it isn't just lines and lines of code which, as a non-coder, is fairly incomprehensible to me - Cheers! :slight_smile:


[deactivated account] Wed 9 Jan 2019 1:47PM

I've taken a look at the Prezi and gotten what I can out of it without taking time out to study coding and computer architecture. I guess the thing that struck me most was the point that you were making about how it will be possible to do much the same thing with Wordpress and Python (and one other) as Holochain are trying to do, and, hence, what they are trying to do amounts to making life unnecessarily difficult for themselves in terms of reaching their stated goals. Am I getting the basic gist of you POV? What struck me, in my hazy fog of half-understanding, was that what you were saying was probably correct with regards to aspects of what they are trying to do, but that surely there must be aspects of what they are trying to do, that are considered desirable, that they wouldn't be able to accomplish in the way you describe (i.e. using Wordpress or Python). For example, a big, big part of what they want to do is to facilitate distributed hosting and distributed computing so that we can break the strangle-hold of the web-giants (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc) storing all of our data on their servers and acting as a bottle-neck for all of our communications. So surely distributed computing and distributed hosting is a very important part of what they are trying to accomplish here and not something that you can do with Wordpress, etc? On the other hand I also take very seriously the idea that they may be doing things that are unnecessary for the sake of having their own signature written all over it and want to do my best to make an independent assessment of that! Please excuse my very hazy view of things. I'm trying to understand things that I recognise as important.


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 2:10PM

the prezi makes very clear the part I consider to be brilliant, and useful. the rest of it is deeply counter productive to the movement, delivers literally no value, it's very time consuming, and being presented as a necessity of agent centric design. which it is not.

if you want to get a feel for the logic of it, start with "what is OPT-OUT security", in your mind, and ask questions from there


Simon Grant Tue 8 Jan 2019 1:29PM

@christopher7 , @olisb , @tiberiusbrastavice , @z428 I am relatively inexperienced technically, but I see some really very important issues coming up in what @christopher7 has written about the Holochain setup. To the extent that @christopher7 is correct, it would seem good if somehow Holochain, or others, could take account of his points. To the extent that @christopher7 is mistaken, it would be great for everyone to get to the bottom of it, partly in terms of our collective understanding of what is likely technically to work best and what not, and partly in terms of our social interactions: how do we best treat people who raise doubts about something? How do we restore good relationships that have been hurt? Discrediting ad hominem is, I believe, a really unwise approach. I recognise that this puts some burden on the Holochain builders and supporters, but to me that investment of time would pay off handsomely in terms of social reputation, as people who can handle dissent rationally and respectfully, and recognising that everyone's needs matter. Can we model how we would value such disagreements to be dealt with in our P2P world? P2P justice and fairness? But also, learning and education ... as someone with a limited technical knowledge, I would so much enjoy a clear setting out of the points, deep enough so that people like me can arrive at their own conclusions.

We have other disagreements in related Loomio channels as well. It means a great deal to me to have these disagreements handled well, in a positive way that restores trust and the ability to work together constructively. Otherwise we fragment, and simply get lost.

Would people be willing to take this specific discussion, about Holochain, to a separate thread? Maybe we need a separate thread whenever a tricky disagreement arises?


Christopher Tue 8 Jan 2019 1:48PM

Gosh. Where to begin. Firstly I respect and enojoy your position and clarity of expression.

As to the technology, I am a founding employee of Holochain, worked there for 10 months, a coder of 30 years, I wrote various initial drafts of white papers, coded a bunch of stuff for the Holochain Core, helped design the neighbourhood gossip protocols, and maintained core respect values for all during meetings.

I can tell you that I spent months trying to work through these technical issues with the two directors, and my opinion that they are deliberately buliding a vendor lockin "platform" is based on my complete failure to have the issues acknowledged, let alone make changes. I was unable to complete the whitepaper because of this, and the corollary lack of research into the security of the design, since no work was done on the actual policing neighbourhood dht certainly for the first 18 months of the project. In my opinion, that dht could have been built in 6 months.

Im not sure there is a disagreement here, as of yet, in the form that you mean. differing points have been raised, but I dont see any kind of "argument" happening.

As to a new thread, I am happy to discuss any level of depth about the technology.


Kristian Tue 8 Jan 2019 2:08PM

I'm a bit lost at the moment as I don't actually see the problem. Mentioning and discussing Holochain out here apparently has caused some controversy, but I'm unsure whether people have been discredited all along these lines. Do you think the discussion moved into this direction? Generally, of course, my expectation would be that, no matter how strong a disagreement on a technical or conceptual level, people are very well "professional" enough to keep things from degrading to an ad hominem level of discourse... ;)


Bob Haugen Tue 8 Jan 2019 2:36PM

To the extent that @christopher7 is correct, it would seem good if somehow Holochain, or others, could take account of his points. To the extent that @christopher7 is mistaken, it would be great for everyone to get to the bottom of it, partly in terms of our collective understanding of what is likely technically to work best and what not, and partly in terms of our social interactions: how do we best treat people who raise doubts about something?

I think it would be necessary to have somebody from the Holochain core team respond to @christopher7 's criticisms. They have a lot on their plate, I doubt it will happen, at least not here. I don't know enuf to do any kind of rebuttal.

And that also assumes this group wants to take on that kind of quasi-judicial role.

Regardless, it might be useful for Christopher to summarize his main criticisms in a simpler form than a prezi: like a list of specific issues, if possible without oversimplifying too much.


Christopher Tue 8 Jan 2019 2:44PM

it's not my responsibility, nor desire, to help guide people and projects in their technology choices. I've made myself quite clear already. specific questions I am happy to answer.


Bob Haugen Tue 8 Jan 2019 3:35PM

@christopher7 I'm willing to discuss your technical and vendor-lockin criticisms as best I can, but you have not made yourself clear enough already to do that. For me to discuss your issues, I would need to summarize and list them from your prezi, and I would probably miss or misunderstand something, and then you would need to correct me, and it would be a tedious waste of time for me, you, and everybody else.
So I am requesting that you meet me half-way and list your main issues in a form where I can easily respond in a text comment.
I am not asking as a ploy so I can piss all over you. I will take your issues seriously.
I can't discuss the toxic internal politics because I am not involved with them as an outsider.


Christopher Tue 8 Jan 2019 5:04PM

ha, well you are a very perceptive person.

ok, I have a bunch of technical documents that I wrote while I was there, but they have loads of core cultural terms in them.

so I have written this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sa41rluyW5DF2aTRUVBUm5BZjIXjEbtTAJEpotEJByA/edit


Bob Haugen Tue 8 Jan 2019 7:11PM

Ok, thanks. I will respond tomorrow latest. Might have a question or two. If anybody else wants to help figure this out, I always need help..... :thinking:


Simon Grant Tue 8 Jan 2019 3:13PM

Thanks for the responses. @bobhaugen I am absolutely not suggesting a quasi-judicial role, but exactly the opposite. I'm sorry that I didn't make that clear enough; thanks for the opportunity to clarify. What I am looking for is to reach a position of mutual understanding, where if there is a difference of opinion it is an "agreement to differ" which would be absolutely fair enough. What I see, Kristian @z428 is that @christopher7 is suggesting that (e.g. as above) "Holochain are really driven by creating a vendor lock-in scenario" and that they have "pretty toxic internal politics and ... less than open technology" -- which I see as reasonably serious claims. I read others, including @olisb suggesting on the contrary that @christopher7 is motivated to express these opinions by disappointment / resentment (I don't have the quote to hand at this moment) and that his claims do not hold water. @olisb gave an explicit "thumbs down" above.

In my experience, this is the kind of disagreement that, if left unresolved, can lead to long term ill feeling and lack of trust -- leading in turn to fragmentation of effort, lack of co-operation, and a weakened effectiveness in the "real" world out there. Therefore in my view it is in the interests of the whole community to restore these and other similarly damaged relationships. It isn't going to be resolved by people simply restating their positions. @christopher7 , I recognise and accept that it is not your role to decide other people's technology choices. You may have the impression that you have made yourself clear, but as far as I can see it is clear only that you have doubts and reservations both about the technology, and the internal culture of Holochain; and it is not clear (to me) exactly what the substance is there. I am not able to give a technical opinion -- and I suspect no one else here is, without the deeper analysis that I am suggesting. That's what I hear @bobhaugen looking for. But my much greater concern is for the emotional side, the feelings and needs of all parties concerned. If we are (all) going to make these kinds of project work, it seems to me that it is imperative to tackle cultural behaviour patterns in a positive and constructive way. All I am doing is calling out what I see (and please recognise that I am not assigning any blame on any side) as a tricky situation which needs something better than the kind of response that is common in these situations, to complain, avoid, resent, without any resolution or restoration.

Alongside "Distributed Network Protocols" we need to build supportive and caring cultural practices. @richarddbartlett is one of the people who have a great deal of value to say in this area. I don't believe that the technical solutions will thrive without the social and cultural ones.


Bob Haugen Tue 8 Jan 2019 3:48PM

I totally agree about their importance, but the social and cultural and emotional issues involved here seem to be between Christopher and Holochain people. What can we do about them here? Or is your point that those are important issues and we should be caring about them among the people who are engaged here? If so, yes please, and if I ever fail in that regard, please gently nudge me in a better direction.


Simon Grant Tue 8 Jan 2019 4:20PM

Bob, I really appreciate your offer to hear out Christopher on the technical issues. I'm sure that itself will help in one or more ways. On the wider matters, my sense is that whenever there is an unresolved conflict, it seeps into the ground surrounding those in conflict. For instance, I don't sense any harmony or understanding between Christopher and Oli.

So while your question "What can we do about them here?" seems to beg the obvious common sense answer, "nothing", at another level I don't believe that is entirely true. It's not true in my direct experience either.

My belief is that the more we live that "solidarity" culture (which by the way does not avoid conflict at all, but addresses it positively and with care) the more we, here, can be living and building the culture that will support (and be supported by) the kinds of distributed and P2P technology that we are also concerned with.

I see Michel Bauwens @michelbauwens1 also as in tune with this general theme. P2P is at the same time technical and social, and the two go hand in hand.


Christopher Tue 8 Jan 2019 5:06PM

I dont know who Oli is :)
My personal feelings about the Holochain management are not relevant. What is relevant is at least the broad scale of direction that "our" time is spent on, and I simply submit my interpretation of the software for yous to consider.

I am well trained and deeply motivated to maintain solidarity culture.


Oli SB Tue 8 Jan 2019 7:56PM

Hi Christopher, and all,
I'm Oli - I run https://open.coop I'm a fan of Holo and replied to you above.
Holo folks are my friends. I am not affiliated to the project in any way.
Like Bob says they're busy... too busy to get drawn into this chat...
I agree with Simon, it's good to clear up any disagreements, it's definitely a part of the culture we need. If anyone wants to discus a specific disagreement I think a new thread is a good idea - and should maybe be part of the group guidelines.


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 7:11AM

Dear Oli. good to meet you. I lived and worked in the holochain house for many months. I consider many of the folk to be my good friends. I am/was emotionally close with almost every person. the world, however, is not so one dimensional.

it is clear that the technical discussion doesn't rely on any human level analysis.

on a slightly more intentional level, the decision (-) to ignore the broad implications of points I raised when I was one of only three programmers (including Eric), should be considered rationally, but may not be important to some or anyone.


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 7:26AM

oh yes, we met. I enjoyed your company. we are both quite effective.


Bob Haugen Tue 8 Jan 2019 8:06PM

Headsup: my personal plan for responding to Christopher's criticisms of Holochain is to contrast several candidate protocols/frameworks for economic networks: Holochain, SSB, and ActivityPub. Might even put a little DigLife in there. So I don't want a new thread that is only focused on Holochain.

I'll discuss Christopher's criticisms as best I can, but thought it would be more useful to look at a bigger picture, using those criteria as well as some others.


Bob Haugen Tue 8 Jan 2019 9:06PM

Given that I will contrast several protocol candidates, ok if I just post my response here? (I'll write it elsewhere and post a link here.)


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 7:41AM

it may be reasonable to point out here that I have not just levelled criticism at the holochain offering. From the starting point of deconstructing the components of a platform I helped to build, I have shown how a brilliant idea is been wrapped inside a deeply counterproductive cocoon of corporate vendor lock in. I have been clear how to leverage the real value of the idea, within the wider context of existing mature tools.


Bob Haugen Wed 9 Jan 2019 10:52AM

Is the essence of your criticism that, at least at this stage, participation in holochain is dependent on software from the holochain organization? (Although the software itself is open source.)
And it would have been better to specify a protocol which could be used by agent software developed in one of many existing frameworks (e.g. Wordpress), using external "Policing Neighbourhood DHTs"?

(I like the term Neighbourhood DHT, by the way...)


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 2:06PM

yes. it is also true that the "requirement to embed a vm", which is the root of the need to developa complete ecosystem from scratch is not agent-centric and the sole effect is to create time commitment to the holochain company, not the tech, or the movement

bare in mind I spent months making this clear. as the Second programmer that ever committed full time to the project


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 2:17PM

I suppose the essence is, that holochain spent 95% of their time building a platform, which had no clear purpose in the agent centric space, and 5% jerry rigging a dht to connect these "agents" together. technically it is a much much simpler problem to create policing neighbourhood dht nodes, as a protocol and sample client. I suggest a useful prototype could have been built within 6 months, allowing community developers and app coders to begin exploring the agent centric path.

the result, of course would have been some respect, maybe some fame, but not fortune.

I have nothing at all against people raising capital by saying whatever they like, but i do feel a duty to point out what I see to be the energy black hole inaccuracy, that drove (drives) that money into that organisation.

the "at this stage" is an issue. if hochain continue to present the idea that "a new internet of freedom" is the result of starting again... effigy they know to be categorically fake, and people start reinventing thousands of wheels... then great. but.... this movement does not need that kind of time sink, nor that kind of inaccuracy in it's core.


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 2:23PM

the idea that they have built their own "rapid app development stack" to connect with their embedded vm is.... purile.


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 2:25PM

it's not just that it is dependent, it is that the dependency rejects about a decade or 15 years of ecosystems, all of which are perfectly valid components of the "agent centric" ecosystem. if that makes sense.


Bob Haugen Wed 9 Jan 2019 3:04PM

Some of it makes some sense, but the emotionally-laden expressions (fake, purile, vendor-lockin, etc) get in the way of analysis. As well as cause some people here to cringe. I understand that you feel mistreated, and give you some slack about it, but it does distract.


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 4:21PM

Lol. Bob, the fact that you choose to imply emotionally laden projections onto my words is a common place behaviour in groups such as these. Reducing the "potential emotional context" to zero, to "avoid ..." what is it Arthur Brock calls it "disruption", is just a weird brand of oppression, implemented by people who don't have real world experience of managing disagreement. The truth is, all of my analysis makes perfect sense, and my words are carefully chosen from a large vocabulary. I could have chosen "less potentially emotionally laden words", but I'm much more interested in expressing myself, than pretending that Holochain have'nt done what they have done deliberately, with awareness. My safe space credentials are thorough. The idea that use of the word "purile" is somehow "cringeworthy" is ... oppressive in the extreme.

Definition of purile: "Nowadays, puerile can describe the acts or utterances of an actual child, but it more often refers (usually with marked disapproval) to occurrences of childishness where adult maturity would be expected or preferred"

^ -- That is my actual opinion, based on my experience. Disregarding it as "an expression of being mistreated" is the kind of bizarre behaviour of people trying to lead a scenario where they are half way between one universe (managed hierarchy) and another (folk network). I applaud your attempts, but have to disagree. Perhaps you can learn something from this?

If you want to comment on the content, go ahead.

Now... a "Zero emotional version", for the.. "cringers" (should they actually exist), is:

  1. Criticism of State of the Project

    • Not a federated protocol
    • DHT not developed to deliver core promises of Holochain narrative
    • In order to create Holochain apps, developers must learn an arbitrary, immature new language form, where there is no justification for its existence.
    • Educational material embeds, implicitly around "OPT-OUT Security" as a core requirement of agent-centric, where actually the concept of "DNA" of a holochain app is demonstrably not agent-centric, and the concept of "OPT-OUT" security is... --- (now here I would insert a feeling, since for me, that is how I would choose to express my depth of understanding, but since that would get somehow related to me being mistreated, something I have never said or implied, rather than me having 30 years of experience of logical analysis... let me find an accurate, vulcan expression..... ) --- absolutely impossible, a-priori impossible with even a basic grasp of rational systems design, and possibly most importantly, devalues to zero the incredible power of GIT and Hashing in general (where Holochain is a technology built upon a deep understanding of hashing)
    • the decision makers are explicitly aware of all of this
  2. Criticism of the process

    • Creating a federated protocol, with matching example client (in wordpress, django, whatever) would have required vastly less effort
    • The decisions makers were aware of this
    • Creating the arbitrary embedded VM platform is an enormous amount of work, that had no purpose other than to support the value proposition of Holo. (vendor-lockin)
    • the decision makers were explicitly aware of all of this
  3. Looking forward

    • whilst I have no problem with Holochain acquiring money from the mainstream with this brand of misdirection, I do believe that this kind of community should avoid putting time into learning the arbitrary platform they have created.
    • The core idea of an "agent-centric" proof of truth, is, brilliant, and however that is implemented, be it through the project I have committed to complete by September, by someone else, or by Holochain, matters not too much to me.
    • Im pretty sure I have consistently applauded Holochain for the invention of this idea. I hope that I have been able to help people to grok what it really means.

Bob Haugen Wed 9 Jan 2019 4:29PM

Thanks for the less emotional version. It is a lot more clear.


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 4:40PM

and point 0. from above (which is the opening description of the prezi, should anyone not have looked it over) is
0. The Holochain concept of a "Policing Neighbourhood DHT" is absolutely brilliant. It is a federatable protocol that is extraordinarily flexible in many ways. Possibly the most valuable flexibility of it is that it effortlessly models the growth of communities from small to large, something that the other blockchain technologies cannot do.

Going further, what this agent-centric model does is allow communities to try out ideas into wider ecosystem with very low cost and very low impact. The results of a mistake in a smart contract on Ethereum can be enormous, whereas Policing Neighbourhood DHT apps can be tested in their organically interested community, and then grow, die or maintain as the ecosystem desires.

Research into the implementation details is strongly indicated, and I am grateful to have contributed to least one fork of the Holochain organisation that has found good funding to do exactly that.


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 4:50PM

oh, and fake was a typo, was suppose to say false... sorry :)


Bob Haugen Wed 9 Jan 2019 4:58PM

Here's a comment link to the first draft of my attempt to compare Holochain, ActivityPub, and SSB, incorporating Christopher's criticisms as I understood them maybe an hour ago.

I will also be sharing this with some people from Holochain, ActivityPub, and SSB, and may get comments from them.


Bob Haugen Wed 9 Jan 2019 5:07PM

@christopher7 I am very interested if you can implement your ideas in e.g. Wordpress. Or I'd personally like Python better...


Bob Haugen Wed 9 Jan 2019 5:46PM

I am grateful to have contributed to least one fork of the Holochain organisation that has found good funding to do exactly that.

I remain interested in such things and will add them to our list of candidates.


[deactivated account] Wed 9 Jan 2019 7:43PM

Whether Chris is right or wrong I totally disagree with the idea that he shouldn't express himself freely or frankly or that his choice of words is a distraction and it seems to me that it is you who are rather missing the point if you think that to be the case. The criticism that he is making of Holochain is an extremely serious one - that they are introducing unnecessary levels of complexity to an important task that can be accomplished more simply and efficiently by other means. Given what is at stake here - the creation of new economic models that can guide us away from the path of collective self-destruction that we are on and towards a future of balance and regeneration - I fail to see what there is to not be upset about IF what Chris is saying is accurate. Surely you get that waiting 15 years to birth a new economic paradigm that could be created in 18 months (say) is a bit irresponsible given that climate scientists have told us that we will have passed the point of no return with respect to global warming if we don't turn things around within the next 12 years?


[deactivated account] Wed 9 Jan 2019 7:49PM

I have met the Holochain team in "real life" and I think that they are a really cool bunch of people with really great ideas. But Chris's criticism should simply be assessed on their own merit, and I am not technically savvy enough to make that assessment. Do you have any rebuttal to make to his claim that what they are trying to do could be achieved more quickly and efficiently using Wordpress or Python? Also, can any of you point me in the direction of resources that will give me a better idea of what "agent-centric" means in this context?


Oli SB Wed 9 Jan 2019 10:17PM

Hi Adam - I agree, criticism is useful, but we need to understand the context. Why is Christopher saying these things? Is he a disgruntled ex-employee? Does he have reason to try and damage the Holo reputation? I hope not - but the facts are not clear...
I don't want to ignite flames but, in relation to Christopher's assertion that he was fired, folks at Holo told me "it's a bit hard to "fire" someone who never signed their contract in the first place." - and - "...He was not part of the core team from a month of the start of the project, for example. Not close." They also explained that the Prezzi in inaccurate and based on the Go prototype version rather than the current Rust release.
The idea that you could build something akin to what Holo proposes in Wordpress is incredible. But, like Bob, I'll be very interested to see it if it appears in September!


[deactivated account] Wed 9 Jan 2019 11:34PM

Context is important but can sometimes be very misleading. The validity of Chris's criticisms is analytically distinct from the validity of his grievances. Suppose Chris's grievances are justified and can be validated. Does that validate his criticisms? Suppose Chris's grievances are unjustified and can be shown to be spurious. Does that invalidate his criticisms? The answer to both questions is of course "no." The most that can reasonably be said is that if Chris's grievances are spurious his criticisms might [italicized] also be spurious, and best explained in terms of his subjective sense of grievance as opposed to the specific matters to which he is expressing concern. I think that it is entirely legitimate to at least consider that to be a possibility, but not to assume that it is a foregone conclusion that that is indeed the case before having assessed the validity of his criticisms on their own merit. Reflecting upon your comments I do feel, however, that Bob may have had a point when he referred to Chris's language as "distracting" although I don't think that it is his language that is distracting, per se, but rather his expressed grievances towards Holochain's "decisions makers" and the suspicion that this can create about his reliability as a witness and commentator about Holochain architecture, as expressed in your comments. However, the irony is that by conflating and confusing the validity of his criticisms of Holochain architecture with the legitimacy of his grievances towards Holochain the organization you are incurring the exact same logical error that you are (implicitly) accusing him of. Please understand that this is not intended as a pointed criticism of you. I am simply very much invested in trying to ensure that people in this space can find ways to have good faith discussion and debate without falling into the destructive dynamic of accusation and counter accusation.


Bob Haugen Wed 9 Jan 2019 11:58PM

Based on what I know so far, I would say that Christopher's ideas are worth considering, beyond whatever grievance he may have against the Holochain organization.

I am trying to treat it all in that light, which is partly why I am trying to put the grievance issues off to the side.


[deactivated account] Thu 10 Jan 2019 12:51AM

Yes, thanks Bob - I appreciate that spirit!


Paul d'Aoust Tue 15 Jan 2019 12:27AM

NOTE: My original response was really long-winded; I've edited and clarified it. Please let me know if I've pared it down too much and made things unclear.

Holochain proselyte here, dyed-in-the-wool, drank the Kool-Aid, etc. (Just kidding; I've been known to critique aspects of Holochain that I'm sceptical about. But full disclosure, I am on the Holo team as a developer mentor.)

I've made lots of long-winded comments on Bob's document, but I thought I'd summarise them here.

First, I'm intrigued by Christopher's observation that the 'policing DHT' is the really valuable thing here in terms of a Holochain 'protocol'. I think he's bang-on. For those of you who aren't familiar, here's how the Holochain story goes:

  • You and I are sovereign agents. We each carry our history with us as a 'source chain', an immutable journal of events.
  • I want to buy a coffee from you. I claim that I've agreed to abide by the rules of this particular currency, as expressed by the first item in my chain, the 'DNA hash' (the hash of the rules, typically expressed as executable code).
  • My DNA hash is nothing but an assertion or a promise -- you can't see whether I'm running the right rules; all you can see is a hash (again, this is something Christopher calls out -- the system is trustless). So you ask me for my whole chain and audit it. Once you're satisfied that I've abided by the rules (that is, that I have the money I'm trying to give you), you engage in a transaction with me.

There are three problems with this:

  • I might be lying about my history. The hashes check out, all the transactions abide by the rules, but it hides the fact that I deleted the record of me sending $5000 to someone else.
  • In order to be satisfied that my chain is in a correct state, you may need to audit the state of the people who've sent me money in the past (and the people who've sent them money, etc). But maybe those people are offline.
  • This auditing of my entire history, fanning out from this present moment, is terribly expensive even if everyone's online.

The DHT mitigates these problems by keeping a memory -- a memory of everyone's actions (fixes the problems with chain rewinding and offline agents), and a memory of which of those actions are invalid, which speeds up auditing immensely. Anyone who finds that their peer has broken a rule can publish a warrant against their actions, which spreads through the network. Eventually the network as a whole sees me as a bad actor and pushes me out -- like an immune system. Simple rules that create a fairly resilient complex system.

So that's the core of the Holochain protocol. Mutually sovereign peers, publicly stating their voluntary participation in various sets of shared rules, publishing journals of their actions based on those rules, and committing to spread, validate, and store those actions for each other. A validating/policing DHT.

This is the opt-in security that Christopher describes. It answers the question, "how do I trust your actions/claims when I don't know if I can trust you?"

The goal of the Metacurrency project is to enable the creation of rich, robust P2P economic and social networks. Their design stands on two pillars:

  1. Provide a communication protocol that allows agents to trust each other (the aforementioned DHT).
  2. Create a way for communities to author their shared agreements, which are then communicated over that protocol. This is why they're building the Holochain app dev stack.

You can use the protocol by itself if you like, and that's just fine. As Christopher says, it's a brilliant idea. But the Metacurrency folks always had in mind that this was merely a carrier for the real exciting stuff -- the actual human exchanges that make these imagined networks come alive. Instead of expressing your agreements as source code, you could draft up a document describing them and then let people create their own implementations. That's totally fine (in fact it would be a neat experiment to do just that, with the hash of the document becoming the DNA hash). As long as you use the same communication protocols that other nodes written in other languages are using, you'll be just fine. (As long as you've interpreted the agreement correctly; otherwise the network will eject you.)

Holochain's offering (yuk, I feel like I'm verging into evangelist territory; please forgive me) is a minimal viable framework to make the development of these shared agreements easy. I'd argue that existing frameworks (e.g., Django, WordPress, ASP.NET) are great but they're designed with assumptions about HTTP and mutable databases, so each implementer of the Holochain protocol would end up writing a lot of boilerplate to implement things like source chain management, P2P gossip*, the base rules about validation, warrants, etc. These are the things that Art and Eric decided ought to be included for free in a reference implementation, and along with a nice API for writing DNAs, they form the 'subconscious' rules that every DNA will probably want to have anyway. One of the core commitments of the dev team is to make it easy to build these apps.

(* Note: the P2P gossip / DHT library will be released separately, so you could theoretically incorporate it into your own framework.)

This makes up the core of the Holochain runtime. So yes, it is a heavy focus on the non-protocol aspects of Holochain, and perhaps time will show that it was too heavy a focus. But I don't want to get into fortune-telling -- we want the ecosystem to grow rapidly, and from this side of things, having a relatively complete framework seems to be the best way to make that happen.

Art thinks I'm downplaying the importance of having one single runtime engine (the 'VM' and the core lib). He says that it's crucial for you to be able to trust your own copy of the rules if you expect to be able to play by the rules of a network. (I don't disagree with that.) In his opinion the only sane way to make that happen is to have rules written down as source code, run deterministically and unambiguously by a particular VM, connecting to a particular implementation of a base API that does the bulk of the work for you. My thought is that it's not exactly imperative but, given how easy it is for a programmer to make mistakes, this consistency is pretty darn important and nice to have. Consider the consequences of being shut out of an economic network because you're running an implementation that misinterprets the rules.

(Note: Christopher's critique of the unfit-for-purpose DHT bolted on awkwardly to the original Go-based prototype is totally valid. The DHT they used was Kademlia-ish, borrowed wholesale from the IPFS project, and apparently it took the team a lot of work to shoehorn it to fit their needs. The DHT in the beta version will be specifically designed to suit Holochain's resilience model and will be very agent-centric.)


Paul d'Aoust Tue 15 Jan 2019 5:41AM

oh, I forgot to address a few specific critiques:

  • The Go-based prototype was just a prototype. A first iteration designed to probe the design for flaws and iterate into something better. The JS engine in particular was slow and clunky.

  • Because of practical realities (that is, there are only so many devs working on Holochain) the app dev stack is necessarily opinionated. For now we're only really supporting Rust as a DNA development language -- it seems to have good support for bringing in all sorts of external third-party libraries, and the compiler imposes a lot of nice guarantees in the way of type safety and memory safety. That may feel like vendor lock-in, but I'd argue that it's no worse than browser manufacturers demanding that you use JavaScript. (Actually we're looking for people to help build support for other languages, so if you know of any really bored, independently wealthy developers...)


Christopher Tue 15 Jan 2019 7:25AM

so a couple of things.

  1. where's the documentation on the dht protocol, and the specification of how the dht will manage bad actors, etc? Is there actually a functioning sharded, policing dht implementation in any form?

  2. this paragraph pretty much sums up the situation in my eyes:

"He says that the only way to guarantee that is to have rules written down as source code, run deterministically and unambiguously by a particular VM, connecting to a particular implementation of a base API that does the bulk of the work for you. My thought is that it’s not exactly imperative but, given how easy it is for a programmer to make mistakes, this consistency is pretty darn important and nice to have"

I mean? what? what does this mean? it basically says "it's difficult for a programmer to ensure they have xyz version of node.js or wordpress installed, with xyz version of an npm package or plugin". except of course it's not. it's trivial to automate such a requirement.

this kind of word / logic abuse runs deeply through holochain's marketing driven spiel, and right through their formal documentation. I find that makes me feel uncomfortable and on my guard, and I'm yet to see a functioning tool.


Christopher Tue 15 Jan 2019 7:28AM

where is the protocol definition? and sample implementation? it seems to me that there is none, and that, somewhat perversely, all that actually exists is an immature, monolithic RAD platform that tries to solve the same problems as the www.


Paul d'Aoust Tue 15 Jan 2019 6:59PM

Hey there. Not much time to respond (busy morning), but I'll do my best:

I mean? what? what does this mean? it basically says "it's difficult for a programmer to ensure they have xyz version of node.js or wordpress installed, with xyz version of an npm package or plugin". except of course it's not. it's trivial to automate such a requirement.

I think the gist is not that it's impossible for a dev to put together the right stack -- you're right; a well-written install script or Dockerfile can pull in all the right things. I think what he means is that, for a given set of rules, two people writing two separate implementations will have trouble getting them to jive perfectly enough that you don't see their respective users unintentionally forking into two separate realities. Nothing more. Nobody's bound to a specific implementation. Does a fully built reference implementation from the Holochain team lock you into a certain stack? Sure. Will it run the risk of being a monoculture because of first-mover advantage? Possibly. These are choices that everyone has to make when they choose a framework. I guess the advantage with web frameworks is that there are now a lot more of them than there used to be (if you don't like ASP.NET you can switch to Django, and they both speak web) whereas the Holochain ecosystem is considerably less mature.

Anyhow, I'm just trying to convey someone else's opinion as accurately as possible. Not trying to defend it; just presenting it for other people to make their own opinions. I've got opinions of my own; I personally think it's hard but not impossible to create two separate implementations that nonetheless are perfectly interoperable.

where is the protocol definition? and sample implementation? it seems to me that there is none

this is very true -- that part is still being designed based on feedback from the first ill-suited implementation borrowed from IPFS. I think the plan is to build the implementation and specification at the same time. I've seen the initial design doc though, and it was quite interesting.


Bob Haugen Tue 15 Jan 2019 7:29PM


I've seen the initial design doc though, and it was quite interesting.

One of my own criticisms (or comparisons) of Holochain vs SSB is that the SSB community works out in the open, all the time, discussing everything, as they live in the software they are building. As they say, that practice expands their consciousness. Do you think this is a place where Holochain's business plan and organization might be affecting their design and development practices? Vs SSB's lack of business plan?


Paul d'Aoust Tue 15 Jan 2019 9:24PM

@bobhaugen yeah, I love the stories I've heard about SSB development, especially re: cobudgeting and using SSB to talk about SSB. Oh, and Git-over-SSB. Re: whether our business plan and focus is affecting our dev practices, that's certainly possible. My story about the history of the Metacurrency project is that they worked for about a decade trying to bring something to fruition, but tight (probably nonexistent) budgets meant that it was always tough going. Perhaps they decided that the only way to bankroll continued development sustainably was to build a business, some sort of business that would give them a compelling excuse to build out their open-source project. (Like perhaps a business whose core product was dependent on the maturity of said open-source project -- in other words, Holo hosting.)

Right now I'd say we're def leaning towards cathedral-style open-source. And I'd say business needs are pushing our current dev culture to an extent: while issues are created and discussed in the open as GitHub issues on the public repo, and solutions eventually land and are reviewed as PRs on same repo, the roadmap lives elsewhere. A lot of daily discussion happens in private channels too. I think the reason for this is not that we want to shun people and stay in our ivory tower, but simply that our core dev team needs to stay focused and productive on the road to beta. (Ask me for more details if you're curious.)

That's not to say we don't want to be bazaar-style. We've been trying to attract core contributors, especially to help build out documentation and support for other programming languages. I think we could certainly push ourselves to grow re: creating a bazaar-friendly culture though, and it's something we're starting to work on.

(And also I think we're in that awkward early stage where not a lot of people outside the core team are even interested in contributing yet.)


Christopher Tue 15 Jan 2019 9:30PM

you are repeatedly conflating the idea of being able to write An App onto a federated implementation of a PNDHT, and the absurdity of many different people writing the same app in different languages.

you know you are doing that

as I said initially, holochain have not even tried to develop a policing neighbourhood dht. the idea that somehow wasn't a priority is an astonishing lie to the community (either then or now). there isn't even a specification document lol.


Paul d'Aoust Tue 15 Jan 2019 10:08PM

you are repeatedly conflating the idea of being able to write An App onto a federated implementation of a PNDHT, and the absurdity of many different people writing the same app in different languages.

I appreciate you calling me out on that, but I honestly am struggling to understand what you're referring to. Could you quote the specific spot where I'm muddying the two? (Also, re: "the absurdity of many different people writing the same app in different languages" I didn't know that we were in agreement on that point; I thought you were saying that two developers should be able to write two separate implementations of one app. Perhaps the fact that I didn't understand that is why you believe I'm conflating two different things?)


Christopher Wed 16 Jan 2019 8:15AM

no i don't feel like it's a flame war. I am avoiding pointing out which parts of the fluff and background I know to be untrue, bc in the end no one cares.

"I think what he means is that, for a given set of rules, two people writing two separate implementations will have trouble getting them to jive perfectly enough that you don't see their respective users unintentionally forking into two separate realities. Nothing more. Nobody's bound to a specific implementation. Does a fully built reference implementation from the Holochain team lock you into a certain stack? Sure."

  • no Paul, this doesn't make sense. your comments here are designed to point out that Arthur and Eric have some sort of logical, altruistic reasoning for building and enormous monolithic, from scratch execution environment that traps everyone away from the mainstream www ecosystems. your logic is that a federated protocol implies a potential mess within a single app, and that "building a reference implementation ameliorates that". it simply isn't true. npm literally does all the things necessary to create a "runtime stack"..so does WordPress. so does every modern package managed ecosystem.

the only justification for building an embedded vm is "opt-out" security, which doesn't exist.

why on earth would two developers build different implementations of the same app? how would that work? having a federated protocol, with an implementation of a PNDHT that farms validation out via hooks over rest / socket to any other software is the canonical implementation. creating simple libraries that wrap the hooks into function / api calls onto any other platform is trivial.

it is, as was my original point vs holochain on this thread, utterly unconscionable that holochain are hog teaching people to make holochain apps without having even tried to build a PNDHT. it is equally telling that I talked about all of this until I was blue in the face to utter brick walls and word salad from the founders

it is true it is they who used open grass roots language to pull together a group and then viciously grabbed the legal reigns when critical mass was achieved.

pretty sure the prezi makes all that clear


Tiberius Brastaviceanu Tue 8 Jan 2019 9:12PM

@bobhaugen "... contrast several candidate protocols/frameworks for economic networks: Holochain, SSB, and ActivityPub."
Can't wait to see it.


Christopher Wed 9 Jan 2019 7:30PM

So we've managed to boil down my criticism of the Holochain implementation to:

"If your box was hacked, what difference would the DNA / WASM architecture make" - the answer being of course, none at all.

If the WASM Architecture is designed to output Holochain Apps that will run efficiently on a raspberry pi, why not just use an existing RAD tool?

These two things kind of compete with each other, because the reality, in my rather detailed opinion, is that the design was to create a vendor lock product.


Oli SB Thu 10 Jan 2019 2:05AM

But your comments are made on out of date or incorrect assumptions. Holo is not aiming for "vendor lock in" - it will be open source. You and I will be able to download the code and run our own private p2p networks without having anything to do with Holo HQ - so how could we be "locked in"?


Paul d'Aoust Tue 15 Jan 2019 9:41PM

@olisb I think the 'vendor lock-in' critique is more aimed at the amount of attention spent on building a reference implementation with a specific set of technologies and a specific vocabuluary/API, and that hints strongly that Holo wants developers to be dependent on them so they can keep their hosting business alive (@christopher7 you can correct me if I'm wrong). The pattern of a DHT sharing and validating individuals' histories doesn't explicitly need the Holochain stack with its weird lingo (zome functions, validation callbacks); all it needs is people agreeing to use a particular gossip protocol with a particular set of message types and promises to hold the network in coherence, which acts as a carrier medium for application-specific vocabularies. Forcing a particular app dev framework into that good pattern creates the opportunity for us to command the market and make it hard for anyone to offer competing implementations.

And he's right about the pattern being able to stand on its own. I think we could do more to clarify the distinction the DHT from the app dev framework, and after reading Christopher's comments I think I'll start doing that. (TBH I was never quite clear where the protocol ended and other stuff began; @christopher7 your materials really cut through my muddy thinking in the past few days. This might sound disingenuous, but thank you!)

But the pattern for agent-centric data integrity in untrusted networks is only one half of the picture. I think what really excites Art and Eric is the application-specific vocabularies that will be built on top of that, and to that end they designed what they think is a good base toolkit for building them. You might hate it and want to design your own, and I'd really love to see new implementations come into existence. I'm a bit chagrined that all we have right now re: the DHT pattern are vague ideas bandied about in talks + an early prototype, but given that we haven't seen a massive interest in people wanting to build alternative implementations (probably something to do with the fact that the reference implementation isn't even alpha yet), I think that drafting up a detailed spec at this time would be putting our energies in the wrong spot. (Which is why the white paper has also languished in draft mode.)


Christopher Tue 15 Jan 2019 9:46PM

l. I was WORKING THERE. they weren't vague ideas, it's mathematical analysis that forms the foundation of the entire public message.

building a runtime platform from scratch is an awful idea. I was there.


it's been two years. best of luck to you, and your new friends. xx


Paul d'Aoust Tue 15 Jan 2019 9:51PM

Okay, yeah, "vague ideas" was probably the wrong choice of words, but I'm trying to be less wordy in response to feedback. I was referring to our public materials, esp Matt's talks which are vivid but intentionally light on details (wrong audience for a spec). Yes, the white paper, in spite of being unfinished, lays out the proofs that define how and why the DHT works. I shouldn't've ignored it. But you have also asked to see a detailed spec that makes it possible for third parties to build their own implementations, and I'm apologising that we don't have anything like that.


[deactivated account] Thu 17 Jan 2019 4:29AM

"And he's right about the pattern being able to stand on its own. I think we could do more to clarify the distinction the DHT from the app dev app framwork...." Hey @pauldaoust1 could you please do that, as you've said, and keep us in the loop? I think that would be a super cool thing for you to do that would help to restore trust - at least from my own perspective on things.


[deactivated account] Thu 17 Jan 2019 5:36AM

Hey @pauldaoust1 you say: "But the pattern for agent-centric data integrity in untrusted networks is only one half of the picture. I think what really excites Art and Eric is the application-specific vocabularies that will be built on top of that, and to that end they designed what they think is a good base toolkit for building them." Can you please expand upon what exactly is meant by "application-specific vocabularies" and what pragmatic value they can serve? I spent a week with Eric, Nico and Raymond Powell in October '17, and also met and spent time with Christopher earlier that year. I really love all of these guys, and respect all of them. But I find Christopher's criticisms quite persuasive. One of the things that Nico said to me about crypto and distributed computing when I was staying with him was "I don't think that it's going to be a winner takes all situation." So let's hope that ALL of these projects and project proposals happen and are a Big Success and thank you for everything that you are doing in support of that happy inclusive outcome in which all truths and good ideas are honored and everything that you are doing and will do to contribute to that.


[deactivated account] Wed 9 Jan 2019 7:56PM

I would like to know:

1) Whether anyone has any come-back to Chris's rather serious criticism that what Holochain are trying to do could be achieved more easily and efficiently using Python or Wordpress?

2) If so is anyone trying to do that? and

3) Can anyone tell me if "agent-centric computing" has a history that pre-dates Holochain and/or where I should refer to in order to get a high-level understanding of the concept?


Bob Haugen Wed 9 Jan 2019 8:09PM

1) I am not trying to do a come-back, but to understand if his criticisms are accurate, and also to compare those three candidate protocols on those and other criteria.
2) Christopher says he is trying to create a protocol and software that will embody his ideas. More in comments in that comparison doc. I hope he can do it.
3) I wrote about the general ideas in this and other documents starting in 2016, but the name for it came from Holochain.

Whether they coined the phrase, I don't know. But I and several other people have happily borrowed and re-used it. I usually give them credit, as in this more recent doc: https://github.com/valueflows/vf-apps-agents/wiki/Agent-centric-computing


[deactivated account] Wed 9 Jan 2019 8:49PM

Thanks very much Bob - much appreciated - I'll take a look at all this tomorrow.


Oli SB Thu 10 Jan 2019 1:59AM

on 3 - this discussion about building a "protocol-coop" alternative to Uber on Holo helped me get my head around the agent-centric concept... https://open.coop/2018/07/09/holochain-commons-engine-cooperation-scale/ ... UI design is going to become a lot more challenging / interesting for agent-centric apps...


Christopher Thu 10 Jan 2019 3:01AM

oh, and "holo is like airbnb for web hosting".
you mean "like web hosting, but only for holochain apps"

we are trying to create interoperable components that work together.

um. you mean like the thousands of node.js libraries, or wordpress plugins that do almost anything you can conceive of?

PNDHT. absolutely brilliant idea. nodes can be run in any kind of box. using other people's machines to run your own decentralised app, that you pay for. isn't that called "the cloud". yes, but it's the cloud made up of everyone's spare computing power... what if they turn their machine off? well so my data is available on 20 different nodes, and Holo will spin up another instance of my app in real time on another machine. really. that sounds amazing..good luck. I'm quite happy to run mature things on the cloud, or on my own device. but I wish you luck.

the truth is that the PNDHT can be add as a protocol to the existing enormous ecosystem called "the world wide web", creating decentralised proof of truth..this is absolutely awesome, but it's not obviously monetizable into the tens of millions to the creators. it seems to me that recognition, that simple recognition, and supporting the grass roots just isn't enough, which is fine . the www is built from decades of work on protocols such as html, cors, dns, and hundreds of millions (at least) of person hours on nginx, node.js, WordPress,, digital ocean, aws etc. "creating a new internet [world wide web]" is (sorry Bob) utterly purile.

and just to be clear the renewable energy thing was my chat. hahahahahahaha. funny how stuff I make up off the top of my bread becomes part of someone's narrative.

Matthew is a sweetie. and an excellent speaker. best of luck to Holochain and Holo.


[deactivated account] Thu 10 Jan 2019 5:15AM

Thanks very much Oli - I'll take a look at that shortly.


Bob Haugen Thu 10 Jan 2019 12:04PM

We've done some work on what we think is the appropriate UI/UX for agent-centric economic networks.

Short version: it is a combination of social and economic networking, with your economic interactions appearing in feed streams like your social interactions, often about the same topics. Combined with graphical overviews showing the network context the interactions are happening in.

@ivan116 is working on it, and early versions are in use in Fair Coop and soon with a Holochain demo.


Oli SB Thu 10 Jan 2019 12:32PM

thanks Bob, I'm going to start a new thread on this as I think it is really interesting


Bob Haugen Thu 10 Jan 2019 12:44PM

Re agent-centric: don't forget this https://www.loomio.org/d/3wDCtkoG/structuring-the-oae-around-agents from @lynnfoster and it mentions something even earlier from @olisb


Christopher Thu 10 Jan 2019 2:44AM

what of course is fascinating is the cognitive dissonance of Oli talking about a contract, firing, and grievances as if his sentence makes sense, which of course it does not. "pretty hard to fire someone who hasn't signed a contract". is it? what does that mean? really look at it. in detail. :) lol..

btw, who mentioned anything about being fired? I certainly didn't?...

anyway. what Adam said (thank you Adam).

just as a point of fact, I said you could build a WordPress plugin that allowed one to create holochain app using WordPress ui, post types and validation code. which would work alongside some implementation of a PNDHT node implementation. I fink there is a prett clear parallel between the schema / dna stuff in the holochain code base. point being the analysis of the need to have a complex internal "dna".structure that prohibits the proticol being federalised in the first instance.

as to "how can it be vendor lock in" there is loads of detailed discussion about that, I fink it's clear the question isn't rhetorical, at least to me.


[deactivated account] Thu 10 Jan 2019 5:55AM

I'd like to get clarification as to 1) which parts of Holochain's value proposition you believe in wholeheartedly, 2) which you believe are untenable, and 3) which you believe are tenable but wrapped up in unnecessary complexity and "vendor lock-in". My understanding so far is this:

1) You believe wholeheartedly in the concept of agent-centric computing and the proposed way of achieving it through the use of peer-node distributed hash tables.

2) You don't believe in Holo or the idea of distributed hosting which you believe to be untenable on account of the amount of time it will take, in your opinion, to get people running Holochain on their computers and/or making available their spare computing capacity/running holo boxes at the scale necessary for websites to start making a mass migration from big central servers to the Holochain.

3) You believe in peer-node distributed hash tables as a way of implementing agent-centric computing (as already stated) but consider the way that they are seeking to do this to be unnecessarily complicated and entirely unjustifiable on rational grounds given that (according to your claim) it is possible to achieve this using existing and well-developed web tools such as Wordpress, Python and others.

Could you please make any necessary corrections and additions to this breakdown of your claims so that I/we can get really clear about what you are saying - thanks.


Christopher Thu 10 Jan 2019 11:00AM

Dear Adam,

The prezi really makes this clear. It literally draws a diagram showing what I believe the most obvious, simple and flexible structure for a Policing Neighbourhood DHT. I will answer your questions directly, but briefly.

  1. What we are talking about is agent-centric proof of truth, within a blockchain style context. Agent-Centric computing is not the same thing: agent centric computing - https://people.dsv.su.se/~fk/pris/articles/Jennings_1999.pdf .

The idea of a Policing Neighbourhood DHT is a very good one. Mathematically, it seems that a PNDHT could to deliver very high confidence in proving the voracity of agents in a purely distributed manner. I have encouraged the construction of a modelling tool for such types of networks, and hope to see that available soon.

  1. I made it very clear sitting in the Holochain kitchen, that I think the Holo value proposition is a poor one. The requirement to create a completely new kind of software, on top of an enormous monolithic codebase that is two years old, compared to the 2.5 decades of global work on the world wide web and internet tools is nothing more than marketing spiel. The PNDHT protocol does not require the "building of a new internet" to function, or to deliver the kinds of promise that people are excited by. What this means is that, if "Holo" is a distributed tool for allowing people to create decentralised hosting space (which is an enormous technical challenge, due to the relatively unpredictable nature of "home hosting" - if my nine yearold unplugs my holo box, what will the result be?), as well as being built on top of a brand new technology, which makes it even more complex. Now if the point of Holo was to create hosting space for any and every kind of software and website, it would still be an enormous challenge, however the point of Holo is to create a hosting environment for a brand new platform which deliberately eschews almost every existing web technology and library in existence. I am somewhat afraid that grass roots orgs will actually put in the effort necessary to connect with such a network, only to discover in 2 years time that they could have just used the very mature tools that they were already surrounded with, witih PNDHT capabilities added to them.

  2. The project, as I see it, is to work in theory on the Policing Neighbourhood DHT concept, create a set of draft protocols, build a modelling tool for such a network (which as I said, I have convinced someone to do already) and then create an implementation of PNDHT which supports interaction in a federated fashion. Exactly like building an email server. The implementation would be a piece of software that ran on the peer device, maintained the DHT, and pushed hooks for validation out to whatever implementation is being used to implement the App specific code. The app specific code could very well be implemented on top of a tool such as wordpress, which is an extraordinarily mature tool for creating Post Types, Validation Rules and User Interfaces.

I spent many hours documenting the security design of Holochain, and speaking "at" Eric and Arthur about these concepts, and they essentially didnt respond... unless you take the kinds of things OIi has been saying about me as "a response".

Kinds regards



Bob Haugen Thu 10 Jan 2019 12:24PM

I should probably clarify my own position here:
* I think Christopher has an interesting idea and direction and hope he pursues it and that it works.
* I am also still working on a Holochain project, and given the overall goals and "business plan" of the founders, think that what they did makes sense for them and could also work, and maybe get up and running faster than Christopher can get his project up and running. At that stage, it would be very interesting to see if they can interoperate.
* I do think the Holochain founders have some we-are-the-center-of-the-universe pretensions but that is normal for people whose life work is to do something like what they are doing. This is a mission for them, and they think the business aspects are necessary to get it to work. Not the way I would have done it, but I'm not them, and don't know if their way or my way will work.
* Whether their plans will result in anything you could call vendor lockin or not remains to be seen. They promise other software that compiles to Web Assembly will be compatible, and theirs is open source. So it's constrained, but not locked, if those promises hold up.
* I am also working on projects using ActivityPub and SSB, and have friends who are working on Solid. I think something more general is happening with P2P networking that all of these candidates are examples of. They will converge and interoperate or those that don't will die.
* @lynnfoster says I should explain that we do have standards for organizations and projects we will work with, and Holochain has more get-rich attention around it than we would prefer, but there are also people around and involved that we think have compatible values and goals. We are not comfortable with all the venture capital that has gone into Solid, either, but are happy to help friends who want to work in that ecosystem.


Christopher Thu 10 Jan 2019 12:33PM

first isn't better

especially if the "constrained" revolves removes every mature ecosystem with complimentary functionality, forcing or delicate ecosystem to invest enormous effort in various wheels

xx good talking with you.

might have some stuff to post next week on implementation stuff, not sure.


Bob Haugen Thu 10 Jan 2019 2:46PM

@christopher7 you might want to think about how your ideas might it fit into ActivityPub. Already got at least one WP plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/activitypub/
And the economicPub functions might get there in your timeframe.


[deactivated account] Thu 10 Jan 2019 6:21PM

@christopher7 @bobhaugen Thank you both so much for taking the time to try to explain your points of view. I will take my time to try to absorb this information. I like the Holochain bunch as people but I take very seriously Chris's point that they are creating unnecessary levels of complexity and, in so doing, denying their community the opportunity to work with mature and well established tools. Novelty for the sake of novelty is not what is needed right now. I hope that it is possible to implement the idea of Neighborhood Policed Distributed Hash Tables using existing web technologies in the way that Chris describes and that developers have the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of agent-centric computing AND the benefit of mature software tools - Wordpress, Python, etc. What's not to like about that prospect? And anyone who wants to can still choose to work with Holochain, Solid, IPFS or whatever they wish.


Christopher Thu 10 Jan 2019 6:49PM

and @olisb @asimong


Christopher Tue 15 Jan 2019 9:40PM

and I have to say. the "initial dht" which is "being redesigned based on feedback"didn't have neighbourhoods implemented AT ALL, lol, there was only one neighbourhood, zero protocols for dealing with bad actors, etc etc etc. amazing how there is enormous media description, at the core of the hc message, but only work on a platform.

oh. that's what I said. lol really.


Bob Haugen Tue 15 Jan 2019 10:49PM

Does anybody else think we are getting into a flame war here and everything has been said and we're going in circles?
Anything new and important to add?
Or are we at https://xkcd.com/386/ ?


Simon Grant Wed 16 Jan 2019 9:08AM

Hi Bob @bobhaugen -- actually this comes across to me as one of the most informative, interesting, and potentially important discussions I have seen for some time. What sparks there were at first, which could have resulted in flames, have (with particular thanks to you, to @adamwaterhouse and latterly @pauldaoust1 ) generated more light than heat.

Three things I would be delighted to see, which in my opinion would really allow this discussion to bear good fruit:
1. a joint document summarising what has been set out in an agreed way, with clarity about where people agree to disagree
2. linking this back into learning materials, so that anyone with sufficient competence can dig in to follow the discussion and evaluate for themselves
3. some response from the Holochain people indicating that they've seen and understood, and what action they might take

I could help on the non-technical side with 1 and certainly with 2, but 3 is obviously out of my orbit! Number 2 is related to what I'm starting with the P2PF wiki

The whole discussion restores my faith in the idea that it is indeed possible to have useful discussions in fora like this. Your XKCD point is good, though ;)


Bob Haugen Wed 16 Jan 2019 11:15AM

a joint document summarising what has been set out in an agreed way, with clarity about where people agree to disagree

I doubt that is possible. Paul and I both agree that Christopher has some good points, and I would like to see what Christopher can do with with a Wordpress plugin and a Policing Neighbourhood DHT. But @christopher7 , you seem to me to be getting more pissed off and contemptuous.

Christopher and the Holochain leaders disagreed so fundamentally on implementation design that it was probably a given that they would need to divorce. And be pissed off at each other. I have not talked to Art or Eric about this, just Paul in the Holo organization, because I know him to try to be fairly open-minded, and he was not already pissed off at Christopher. (And I don't know Art or Eric very well, so I probly would not get much of an answer from them.)

Now it's up to implementation: can Holochain implement their plans, how will it work, will it become a protocol allowing for independent agents or will it be a platform?

And can Christopher implement his ideas? (Which I would like to see.)

In the meantime, I continue to pursue 3 paths and maybe 4, if the Solawi software team uses Solid. Christopher's ideas would fit nicely into the ActivityPub path, which could use something like a PNDHT.


Christopher Wed 16 Jan 2019 11:52AM

Dear Bob,
sometimes indulging in equivocation is pretty obnoxious. I am in contempt of these people, and I have explained in minute detail why. The idea that "contempt" itself is something to be avoided is deeply oppressive, and is the umbrella that people that like hide under.
I have nothing against Paul, but again his language usage is born of the style of calculated political impact, and I simply dont have time for that. I actually know what Im doing.



Christopher Wed 16 Jan 2019 12:01PM

lol, you know I have afghan military priest hugging me in public and thanking me for saving peoples lives by negotiating a new relationship with the government, around the chaos of energies and passion and pain, spending all waking hours building and helping and fighting fear in everyone, including myself, and these pithy little conversations where its considered "not ok" to point out how someone is deliberatley lying is ... not going to get yous anywhere.


Simon Grant Wed 16 Jan 2019 12:02PM

Thanks, @bobhaugen -- what is increasingly clear to me is that the social / linguistic conventions that @christopher7 likes and uses seem to differ from yours and those of several other people here. I have been very heartened by how you and others have nevertheless tried to hear him despite his coming across to you as "pissed off an contemptuous". It interests me that Christopher writes about this as: "it's good to have people ameliorating the impact of true words so people can grumble and splutter and not feel out of place." I'm heartened that Christopher has tried to hear others despite them coming across to him as grumbling or spluttering.

Herein, to me, lies one of the great challenges of collaboration particularly in the technical realm, where I sense there is more of what has been called "neurodiversity". It can take a great effort to put aside one's learned reactions to other people's ways of expressing themselves, particularly when it comes to expressing their opinions about oneself! :laughing: I'm not an expert, just practicing as I can. But when good communication does take place despite such obstacles, it can be highly rewarding.


Bob Haugen Wed 16 Jan 2019 12:50PM

I think I am done here. But for the record, I do not think Paul is lying, deliberately or accidentally. And contempt happens, it just prevents collaboration. Sometimes some people cannot work together.


Christopher Wed 16 Jan 2019 1:01PM

lol. experience tells my friends, and I find them in contempt of this community. if, somehow, you ignore the details to arrive at equivocation, you'll fall foul of it over and over again. xx


Christopher Wed 16 Jan 2019 1:44PM

Lol, contempt does not "just prevent collaboration". thats a completely irrational viewpoint. Having feelings and being very clear about why is an actual thing. Being able to see past those feelings for the better of a project is another thing. Completely ignoring the behaviour of people because it is destructive, and pretending that selfishness and coniving self agandisment dont exist, because "talking about it" represents "neurodiversity" (which is not what that word means) is ... ... a complete waste of my time.

Equivocating between people that make vague assertions and ad hominem nonsense couched in hypberbole, and people who speak in minute exatitude, and back up their assertions with deep reasoning, is absolutely destructive to this movement, and characterises the sort of middle class "helping hand" that will enjoy making all its own widgets to share with each other.

Ill look on to these channels with interest. gl. hf.
Be prepared to have your predictions come true


Christopher Wed 16 Jan 2019 2:02PM

"disagreement" or "implied disagreement" as a rhetorical device of control is ... so brittle. Why do people pursue it. Fascinating question. It usually seems to be around money or the promise of money... a kind of "proof of beurocratic viability". its a weird one.

Whats wrong with disagreeing about things and being emotional about it? Whats wrong with someone being right and someone being wrong? lol, sometimes there is a middle ground, sometimes there isnt. jeje. Thank god Im not beholden to that kind of world. Well, almost zero, but not quite.
Be prepared to have your predictions come true


Christopher Wed 16 Jan 2019 2:03PM

it's a kind of perversion of safe space, created by accidental or deliberate top down management strategy.

Be prepared to have your predictions come true


[deactivated account] Thu 17 Jan 2019 3:04AM

I've been finding this exchange extremely interesting and rewarding. @christopher7 is not exactly King of Charm ;-) but is making important points and Paul has thanked him for clarifying his own thinking about Holochain and accepted the validity of quite a few of his specific critiques.


[deactivated account] Thu 17 Jan 2019 4:50AM

Hey @asimong @christopher7 lives in a part of Scotland where hard-hitting and uncompromising rhetoric is the norm. I don't know how much you follow politics. This was George Galloway giving US senators a small taste of Glasweigan wrath ["Glasweigan" means from Glasgow]: https://youtu.be/OnoST3eQm0k


Paul d'Aoust Thu 17 Jan 2019 5:13PM

@bobhaugen I do feel like this conversation has run its course -- in this thread, at least.

@asimong Glad you found this conversation constructive -- I was worried that people would feel like this thread had been hijacked by the two of us. If people are interested in seeing something like this I'd be happy to chip in on point #3. Probably won't be for a week or two, as I've got a few commitments before then.

@adamwaterhouse thanks for the context re: cultural differences and brusque Glaswegians; wasn't aware of that. If this other document/thread does come into being, though, I'd prefer if it only focused on the technical details and not get into interpersonal/emotional stuff -- not because emotions are unwelcome, but merely to improve the signal-to-noise ratio for that specific artifact.


Christopher Thu 17 Jan 2019 9:48PM

honestly, characterizing my extremely well described position, and clearly expressed distaste as "Glasgow brusque" is... deeply disrespectful of me, Im annoyed because the behaviours are awful. the language used by holo and paul is carefully designed to convey something deeply misaligned with the truth. that's called "lying"

it's also pretty racist. you unlikely have a clueabout Glasgow culture, and... pfff. I'm being brusque because of the deliberate lies. either come up with a decent repost, or don't say anything. don't try and somehow ameliorate the effect of my words with some arbitrary meta concept. picking "Glasgow brusque".to "explain the brusque", when I'm quite clear the brusque is because of deliberate lying and smoke screening, is an arbitrary abstraction, which is a form of social violence that, unlike me, you're not owning up to


[deactivated account] Thu 17 Jan 2019 10:00PM

Hey Chris, don't blame Paul blame me! He was responding to my comments. TBH you do come across as though you're spitting blood. I think that you've made some terrifically valuable points and I also think that Paul has been very good natured in his responses which it would be nice if you could give him some credit for!


Christopher Fri 18 Jan 2019 1:05AM

:) I'm not blaming anyone. I was talking about what you said. I'm not attacking you, I'm pointing out what I think.

it's ok. I expect you hear me and agree. again. I'm happy to hear whatever, but i'm being clear about my deliberately hard descriptions. they are hard because I'm specifically choosing them to be, not because of some accidental emotion or cultural oddity.



Christopher Fri 18 Jan 2019 1:06AM

lol, I don't come across as spitting blood, I come across as icy hard on some specific points


[deactivated account] Fri 18 Jan 2019 5:54AM

I'm with you there though Chris. It surely is unconscionable for the Holochain team to 1) neglect to draw a clear distinction between the protocol and the framework and 2) fail to make clear to the larger Holochain community that a choice has been made to prioritise the development of the framework over the development of the protocol AND the reasons for that decision. And, in view of this I am sincerely calling upon @pauldaoust1 to do his best to rectify this state of affairs as he said he would do. I do, however, think that Paul deserves a LOT more credit from you than you have given him. Many (perhaps most) people in his position would have responded to you in a highly defensive manner, gone on the offensive or refused to engage with you at all. From my POV at least he has done none of those and has instead a) engaged with you in good faith, b) acknowledged many of your points, c) THANKED YOU for helping to clarify his thinking with regards to the distinction between the protocol and the framework and d) offered to do his best to try to help the broader community to understand this important distinction. NONE OF WHICH you have offered him a single word of thanks or appreciation for! On the one hand I think that it shows a lack of basic human decency when it comes to your handling of situations like this and is extremely "unfair" towards Paul, but on the other hand I also think that it is pretty dumb strategically.

I mean let's face it Chris - you're not going to get Art and Eric to dramatically change their roadmap and priorities to what you think they should be. If that was going to happen it would have happened long ago. That ship has sailed. The decision has been taken. The MOST that you can realistically hope to achieve with respect to the Holochain team with regards to this issue is to persuade them to retrospectively acknowledge the decision made and to provide reasons for that decision and Paul is, at least if I am understanding him correctly, offering to try to do that! And asides from the fact that I think that he deserves credit for the openness and honesty with which he has handled the discussion I'm also concerned that if you don't pause breath from criticising him for a moment to at least say "well, okay, that would at least be something" - an acknowledgement of some description - he's not going to bother following through on the things that he's said he'll do since "clearly nothing that I say I'll try to do to clarify things will ever be enough for Chris" and we won't get that one truly meaningful outcome from this intense discussion that Paul is offering to deliver on. As my dyslexic brother once put it [true story this] you need to LEARN BETTER TICTACS! ;-)


[deactivated account] Fri 18 Jan 2019 7:05AM

Hey Chris, so I get that there are many layers to your criticisms but let's look at what has happened here from a big lens perspective:

1) You started working with the Holochain community in 2017 after attending one of their hackathons in the States. You were, initially, tremendously positive about the experience of working with them and grateful to us [the Noomap team] for putting you in contact with them. During the conversations that we had in Rotterdam in early 2017 you were contrasting them very favorably with us and really singing their praises.

2) At some point in 2017, probably gradually and over time, your perception of them changed and you ended up falling out with the core team in October.

3) Although you left the core team you remained part of the larger Holochain community and continued to discuss Holochain on Mattermost (I don't know if you still are as I haven't been on it myself in months) and were allowed to engage in whatever conversations you wanted there. There was no vindictiveness on their part (from my POV), no airbrushing you out of photographs. It was just simply the case that you were not longer a part of the core team as the working relationship between you and them had broken down.

4) Sometime after that, according to what you've shared here which I have no reason to doubt, you were able to help a team to get funding for a fork of Holochain that will be creating a PNDHT that can facilitate agent-centric computing using a federated protocol that the existing mature ecosystems such as Wordpress, Python, etc, can easily plug into and run on top of.

YAY! Welcome to the new world of agent-centric computing that everyone can plug into and take advantage of! Thank you Art and Eric for providing the initial inspiration and thank you Chris for placing the idea into the hands of a team who could share it with the world in a way that everyone can take advantage of! :-)

5) Holochain release their combined protocol and framework to the world with vocabularies that allow people to start creating new models of social organisation and economic exchange on top of Holochain.

YAY! Welcome to the new world of scalable distributed communities, new, original and diverse forms of social organisation, value exchange, and collective intelligence! :-)

6) Having pursued their parallel paths for a time the various projects within the world of distributed computing (including Holochain and the open PNDHT) ALL start talking to each other and drawing inspiration from each other leading to further cross-pollination of ideas and an evolutionary leap for humanity, with the whole world now able to take advantage of every single aspect of the value offering of Holochain, CEPTR, the MetaCurrency Project, the open and federated PNDHT, Solid, IPFS, etc, etc.

YAY! Welcome to the new paradigm of love, peace and abundance! And we can all go into a big, beautiful field, with trees and flowers, and join hands TOGETHER in a big circle - you, me, Art, Eric, Paul, Matthew EVERYONE at Holochain, everyone within the WHOLE Open Apps Ecosystem and everyone else - ALL OF US TOGETHER and sing and dance all day long until the sun goes down and far into the night in the pale light of the stars and the moon! :-) ;-)

I mean, and I missing something here because I just don't see the problem? Can we not be pragmatic and forward looking? How about sharing with us a link to the project that has forked the Holochain code with a view to creating an open and federated PNDHT? How about asking Paul and the Holochain team if, having clarified this matter, they would be gracious and big enough to provide a link to this project? You clearly have a fearsome technical intelligence but you need to balanced it out with love man! ;-) This is not hippy talk. It is basic interpersonal psychology. People don't respond well if they feel that they're under attack. You're familiar with the story of the competition between the sun and the wind, right? ;-) See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GGvRtuxglM


Christopher Fri 18 Jan 2019 8:39AM

ok Adam.

this is the last of this I'm going to speak.

  1. not being defensive when someonec rather grumpily shows you are talking a combination of nonsense and falsehoods AS YOUR JOB, and your organisation is KNOWINGLY stealing time and energy from a very delicate ecosystem is not laudable. I've actually been through difficult things in my life. having a mild, factual, impersonal roasting on a loomio channel isn't one of them.

  2. you have absolutely no idea what happened with holo, hilochaim and my personal and business life. you are making things up. I have absolutely no interest in your opinion about "what happened". I can assure you the reality was quite as vicious as I am implying.

  3. my "tactics" ... lol, are extraordinarily successful. it may be that I don't give a rats arse about whatever it is you are talking about. consider that I may, in fact, be doing exactly what I want to, and have absolutely no need of your help, or coaching.

  4. as you point out, I had initial positive feelings. this is because art and wick are premeditated liars who manipulate the ecosystem of peace and open live for their own gain. much like noomap, who are also people I have nothing to do with.


thank you for your attention and time.


Christopher Fri 18 Jan 2019 8:47AM

I am not responding "well" because I was "attacked" as you put it, repeatedly, in several ways, none of which were as loving as some negative comments backed up by strong analysis. I am responding.

the issue here is, Adam, you are assuming that somehow holo don't deserve the vitriol I'm pushing at them. actually they deserve much worse.

I am presenting "love", for the sake of the larger community, through putting an extraordinary amount of effort into explaining exactly what is happening, in a formal sense, with the technology, offering it insights openly, and you can do what you will with it.

people are free to work with whoever they want. you won't find me near certain types of people.



Christopher Fri 18 Jan 2019 8:56AM

it makes much more sense to me for this conversation to result in "let's sort out PNDHT, and btw, this holo people seem a bit dodgy" , than "let's sort out a PNDHT, and aren't those holo people great for what they are doing".

much as the people in my POLICING NEIGHBOURHOOD have a serious distrust of the three muskateers of noomap, holo are also that.

anyone who thinks this wider ecosystem doesn't have sharks (little baby ones admittedly) in it, is missing the point of how humanity ends up in these situations, and may get some value going out into the wild, say refugee camps or working with poverty on the streets, to get a better grip of human nature in its complex delusions and tempting deceptions.


Christopher Fri 18 Jan 2019 10:04AM

lol, you've even got me doing it. there isn't any vitriol, just some clear negative comments. lol


Christopher Sat 26 Jan 2019 11:52AM

lol, imagine i was the king of charm, and my words represent a very gentle description of the reality. some of the documentary evidence of holo's behaviour would make your toes curl. lol. might even promote outrage. I'm just being clear. hah, not trying to stir up anything. my agreements are well backed up by rational analysis. holo literally demand that they don't have to respond to criticism. lol


Christopher Wed 16 Jan 2019 9:16AM

actually mostly thanks to me. it's good to have people ameliorating the impact of true words so people can grumble and splutter and not feel out of place. it's also true I know how to make sparks without setting fire to things.

as to working with holochain, I wish you the best of luck, but as you can imagine, I have no interest I working with people as ignorant of real world issues as these kinds of people. there's not enough time. I've done my academic background work, and spent years on the ground at the front lines of the various class wars (from urban poverty to running a huge refugee camp). perhaps they have something to offer you, and I respect that.

from my perspective they are destructive, manipulative and adolescent


Christopher Wed 16 Jan 2019 9:33AM

lol, have you actually seen the weird language forms that spring up around these kinds of people? there are loads of them just in this thread

pseudo logic with a goal; hyperbole on stained metaphor; appeals to avoiding feelings. it's not open analysis my friend. and see which people join in because they think it's clever


Simon Grant Wed 16 Jan 2019 2:15PM

OK, at this point I think I move on, too. We all tried to have a conversation that worked for us at least. "Assume good faith" and all. It was harder than I had hoped, but these things happen.

Back, I hope, to core thread territory ... I have always been interested in a deep appreciations and critiques (and comparisons) of these various technical systems, though recognising the severe limitations of my own technical understanding. That's what prompts my willingness to help (note, not do by myself!) lay out the learning groundwork from which people can understand what is being proposed and make better decisions about which "horses" to back. I hope to offer an opportunity for those who care about communicating technical matters to use me as a guinea pig... I really value the kind of deep transparency that comes from attending to multiple voices that are able to intercommunicate. Please let me know if I can do more towards this!


Christopher Thu 17 Jan 2019 5:24PM

Yeah, I had conversations in good faith with people around this topic for quite some time. Because my good faith has been pushed way way passed boundaries so many times, I am quite comfortable being rather cold in my analysis of people's accuracy and choice of words


[deactivated account] Thu 17 Jan 2019 3:22AM

"And he’s right about the pattern being able to stand on its own. I think we could do more to clarify the distinction the DHT from the app dev framework, and after reading Christopher’s comments I think I’ll start doing that. (TBH I was never quite clear)" This is an astounding admission from @pauldaoust1 that amounts to an acknowledgement of @christopher7 's core critique. I can only feel tremendously grateful to both Christopher and Paul for having this vigorous discussion.


Paul d'Aoust Thu 17 Jan 2019 5:23PM

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I try to take input from every place I can -- I feel like I have major perspective shifts every week or two (thrilling but exhausting), so this epiphany is par for the course. Just want to mention that I had a few colleagues (including Art) review what I wrote, and they thought it was pretty accurate. So it appears that this revelation is astonishing only to me -- that is, it's a part of my own learning journey. I guess Art and Eric don't disagree with Christopher so much on the protocol/framework distinction, but on the relative importance of each. I think they see a good, ready-to-use framework that bakes in a bunch of affordances related to P2P interaction as crucial for adoption. If the protocol is the road network, the framework is the vehicle, and they want to make sure both are easy for devs to use.


[deactivated account] Thu 17 Jan 2019 10:22PM

"I guess that Art and Eric don't disagree with Christopher so much on the protocol/framework distinction, but on the relative importance of each." But WHY @pauldaoust1? Because the advantages and potential benefits of creating a PNDHT protocol that anyone could use as they chose, coupled with a dedicated communications campaign and hackathons could surely be enormous in terms of kick-starting a new era of agent-centric computing. Where is the costs/benefits analysis that can explain why not doing that and focussing on the framework instead is serving a greater good? Are those of us who have supported Holochain precisely because we were inspired by the concepts of agent-centric computing, Sovereign Accountable Commons, etc, as explained so eloquently by Art and Eric, not entitled to ask for one?


[deactivated account] Thu 17 Jan 2019 5:06AM

Yes, I agree with @christopher7 that it is, in general, rather oppressive to give people a hard time about getting emotional about things that upset them. It is true though that it can be problematic when you have two people getting emotional with each other but I haven't seen that happening with @pauldaoust1 who has been totally cool, non-defensive and good-natured - much respect to you brother! :-)


Simon Grant Thu 17 Jan 2019 6:00AM

Hi @adamwaterhouse just to be clear, I have nothing at all against expressing emotions. What I find helpful is to separate personal value judgements from matters that people can agree on as facts, and to own the emotions and the values as clearly as one can. Emotions can be complex little beasts, and learning about one's own as well as those of other people can really help in dialogue.

I am recognising that this is now totally off topic. But it's a topic that I would gladly return to in an appropriate place.


[deactivated account] Thu 17 Jan 2019 10:30AM

Yes, I agree with you in general and it is a topic that is of interest to me also. So if you start discussing it in a different thread please do invite me - cheers!


Christopher Thu 17 Jan 2019 5:22PM

Yes, I try hard to be clear where my expressions come from, which I think is required to respect the other people in the "room".

I have no problem calling people out, or being quite clear when I see patterns of deliberate avoidance and whool pulling.


Christopher Thu 17 Jan 2019 5:18PM

@pauldaoust1 btw, my emotional experience is not that "you are lying", but to be honest Paul, you are towing the line of explanations that to not hold water, and you have a responsibility to analyse that for your own good. The result is no different to if you are lying or not. Be careful of houses in glass cards.


Paul d'Aoust Thu 17 Jan 2019 5:25PM

Ah, thanks for the clarification. I have to be honest with you: in certain places it definitely came across as "you are lying" (or at least being disingenuous), and it felt quite demoralising. Believe me, I scan my intentions constantly for clues that I'm toeing the party line vs speaking from sincerity, not just for my own good but for the good of people I'm talking to.


Christopher Thu 17 Jan 2019 5:29PM

Well, in my analysis of your words, which I accept is coming from an ice cold perspective, there are two things. You make statements which appear to be formal, but which are symbolically questionable, but tow the line of the soundbytes/hyperbole coming out of Holo/chain - this is easy to do when you are surrounded by it. Two I made criticisms of things that you said, which you then repeated to other people, without addressing me and those critiques.

none of that is weapons grade bad, but its coming close. I appreciate that you didnt resort to criticising my style of communication, and drag the conversation into a valueless meta.

For my part, I hope that my strong attempt to justify my position without reference to my feelings is visible to you. It is true I have feelings about the position, and I hope you are able to see the world in multi-dimensional ways, as I do, and allow those things to exist independently of each other


mike_hales Fri 18 Jan 2019 1:58PM

In the interests of harvesting nuggets from this looong thread . . could someone who's on top of this please identify (ie link to) the comment where DHT/Policing Neighbourhood DHT first makes its appearance (with explanatory links?)?

Likewise, the comment where the Wordpress plugin route is described, documented or linked-to. Thank u


[deactivated account] Fri 18 Jan 2019 11:30PM

Hey Chris, I don't know exactly what happened between you and Holo but I spent a week with Eric and know Nico well. Everyone has personal limitations and blind spots. I'm giving you plenty of credit, and thanking and supporting you, in clearly articulating and explaining what surely is a serious omission on the part of the Holochain team - their failure to draw a clear distinction between the PNDHT protocol and their own framework. That said we do appear to have a clear difference of opinion on the social side of things - I believe in building bridges and certainly don't want to foreclose on the possibility of working with Holochain folk in the future. Nor would I wish to burn bridges with you. The idea of an open and federated PNDHT protocol has a lot to be said for it and you are doing a grand job of championing it! :-)


Christopher Fri 18 Jan 2019 11:36PM

thank you. I'm not bothered about winning. I'm just putting my narrative into the ecosystem. it'smy choice, and not a demand for purple to follow a path.

thank you for your input. I appreciate it.




[deactivated account] Fri 18 Jan 2019 11:42PM

Cheers Chris, and please keep me in the loop with regards to any progress made in creating an open PNDHT protocol. I would definitely want to know about that - thanks!


Tiberius Brastaviceanu Mon 21 Jan 2019 7:26AM

Hi all. I've been following this thread with a lot of interest. I appreciate the technical aspect as well as the drama, as I am very intrested in the social aspects of collaboration in open networks. Moreover, the drama touches me personally because I was myself involved in it in multiple occasions.
I think Chris' style is a bit too rough. Could be personality, culture, the past experience with Holo, I don't know the guy nor the story. But I resonate with something, which is the subtil tyranny of "non violent communication", read emotionless and non-acusatory communication. I appreaciate a ton Adam's intervention. He really hit the nail in the head.
I recently wrote a piece on the subject, in reaction to a situation that I lived with Ouishare Montréal, where I was on the receiving side of the accusation of using non-appropriate language for reprimending a delinquent member for deliberatly trasngressing clear governance bounderies, afterafter having been clearly verbaly adviced not to do so by me, in two occasions. In fact, I just told this person that I will make sure to create a loss of opportunity for him in the future, within the context of the project, if he was to continue to stick around. That consequence / cost that I associated with his actions, communicated using a dry and firm tone, lead to me being the bud guy of the gang. Not the same situation like here, but now you got a bit of the context to appreciate my post and perhaps try to apply to the lessons extracted from this experience.


Simon Grant Mon 21 Jan 2019 9:23AM

I'm very interested in your views here, @tiberiusbrastavice and in your post on steemit. I tried to reply there but my reply was eaten because I hadn't signed up yet. Do you know of anywhere that we can engage with these topics properly? I suggested this earlier but I haven't seen any ideas on this yet. How about a "Metacommunication and culture" thread on OAE? Though I would rather have a wider discussion that wasn't located just in OAE, but drew material from many places. Should I ask to start a whole new Group?


[deactivated account] Mon 21 Jan 2019 9:41AM

Hey, thanks so much for the words of appreciation @tiberiusbrastavice! I don't know a great deal about exactly what happened between Chris and the Holo team but I've met Chris who came to stay with us for a couple of weeks or so when I was living in Rotterdam, and also spent a week with Eric, Nico and Ray in Dortmund in October 2017. I also spent time with their director of communications, Matthew Schutte, in February of last year when he came to stay with a German friend and I over two days. My basic point of view is that they are all really amazing people doing really amazing work, but of course that doesn't necessarily make them flawless or above any criticism whatsoever. The fact of the matter is that regardless of the details of what happened between Chris and the Holochain team his criticism of their failure to draw a clear distinction between the PNDHT and the Holochain-specific framework stands on its own merits and @pauldaoust1 (a current Holochain team developer who has been in conversation with co-founder Art Brock) has admitted as much, thanked Chris for making clear this distinction, and promised to try to make this distinction clearer (whilst also defending the Holochain team's chosen priority of developing the framework).

However, it also needs to be pointed out that it is Art and Eric who came up with the design for the PNDHT and all of the software is open-source, so they deserve to be credited with coming up with those ideas and it needs to be pointed out that they have only delayed the practical utilization of their own ideas, not anybody else's. As regards their decision to prioritise work on the framework over work on the protocol I think that Chris is entitled to criticise them for making this their priority upon the basis that it delays the take-up of agent-centric computing, but not to condemn them, as such, since they are surely entitled to make the framework their priority if they wish [but that's because I don't attribute selfish motivations to them in the way that he does].

What I do think is unacceptable is for them to knowingly fail to make the distinction between the two or to acknowledge that any such decision has been made. People like myself who have been following and supporting Holochain primarily because we like the idea of agent-centric computing surely deserve to be told that and to find out, so late in the day, that that information was withheld (for whatever reason) does undermine trust a little. But @pauldaoust1 has expressed his wish to rectify that and deserves praise for that, and encouragement to motivate him to make good on his pledge (which he is unlikely to have if he feels that he's going to be under-attack whatever he says or does). The problem that I have with Chris with not giving Paul his due for his, IMO, open and non-defensive responses is 45% (approx) because I think that Paul deserves credit for that but 55% (approx) because having Paul publishing something that make clear the distinction between the protocol and the framework would be a hugely meaningful outcome from all of this that would fully justify all of the effort that Chris has put in to creating the Prezi and all of the rest, that he is endangering when he remains on the attack no-matter-what-paul-says-or-does [or so it looks to me, and I suspect him]. The fact of the matter is that Eric and Art aren't going to suddenly do an about-turn and say "Hey Chris, we've been thinking things through and have decided that you were right all along - let's halt work on the Holochain framework and simply create an open and federated PNDHT that anyone can use and get this agent-centric computing idea off the ground before we start thinking about anything else!" That just simply isn't-going-to-happen and Chris surely knows that. And so the pragmatist in me thinks "Okay, well what's the next best thing." And the next best thing is surely that Holochain:

1) acknowledge the distinction between the two [the protocol and the framework],

2) acknowledge that a choice has been made [to give priority to developing a Holochain framework over an open PNDHT protocol],

3) gives their community of agent-centric computing enthusiasts the opportunity to support the development of an open PNDHT protocol as well or instead of Holochain if they so wish [by letting them know about the fork of Holochain that Chris says he helped to get funding for - and please tell us more about that @christopher7 together with links and documents, if you would].

So let's please try to get to that happy outcome in which everyone's a winner, and please join me in helping to get us there @tiberiusbrastavice by offering @pauldaoust1 some support and encouragement to do the things that he's said he'll do. I would greatly appreciate that! :-)


Greg Cassel Mon 21 Jan 2019 7:15PM

Thank you @adamwaterhouse for processing these technically and socially complex subjects so deeply and carefully. That's a great service to everyone. :)

My bit of sharing: I don't fully understand your apparent perception that Art, Eric and/or the Holochain team have failed to responsibly communicate something crucial about the relationship between a "PNDHT" and the Holochain project, with its several systems including their crowdfunding campaign, Holochain app, ICO, Holo platform, Holo Fuel etcetera.

As an 'outsider', I perceive that the Holochain team is trying to develop a small but significant number of related computing systems which seem mutually necessary, to them, to ensure that truly distributed computing actually happens.

We could debate the necessity of each of Holochain's temporary systems-- such as the crowdfunding campaign-- and each persistently related system, such as the Holochain app and Holo platform. Regardless of such debates, it's certainly true that each persistently-related system would not need to be developed by the same team! However, relationships between dev teams are hard to coordinate. IMO, truly distributed computing might be greatly delayed-- or might never happen at all, due to global calamities-- if one or more related systems fails to functionally emerge.

Most software development & support is unnecessarily centralized, but that's sometimes for practical reasons. Teams often feel the need to reserve as much autonomy as possible, based on personal relationships. Of course, the Holochain team must repeatedly answer to a global community for every design decision and goal which they centralize. They're currently focusing on several related systems, including an open source Holochain app which could be used & forked with or without using the Holo platform or Fuel. BTW, by focusing on an open source app instead of a separately available protocol, I think they are… well, they're simply doing what the vast majority of dev teams do, to foster their creative autonomy & sustainability.

My key related perceptions:

  • It has seemed self-evident to me (in Holochain media) that Holochain is intentionally prioritizing several related distributed computing systems, instead of just making the Holochain app or a more-basic protocol.
  • It's never seemed important to me for the Holochain team to conspicuously point out that less-centralized approaches could be pursued.
  • I haven't seen any evidence that they've suppressed alternate perspectives, or stated untruths about their design choices and goals.

Of course, if the Holochain team ever denied that a less-centralized approach is possible-- or unfairly criticized the feasibility of a specific less-centralized approach-- then I'd want to know.

Thanks again Adam, and anyone else who reads this, for valuable dialogue.


Paul d'Aoust Mon 21 Jan 2019 7:54PM

Hi @adamwaterhouse -- I'm not going to be able to honour this very detailed message with a very detailed response right now; got some obligations. I really appreciate you laying out some specific requests, and for being so supportive. Last week was quite draining for me, so I'm glad to see my presence was helpful.

A few want to see some specific responses, so I'm going to try to figure out the best format.

Realistically, I don't have time this week; please remind me if you don't see hide or hair of me by the end of next. One thing I want to mention before I leave though:

What I do think is unacceptable is for them to knowingly fail to make the distinction between the two or to acknowledge that any such decision has been made.

Given Arthur's no-red-flags feedback on my first post (where I first detailed my dawning awareness of the protocol/platform distinction), I think this is reflective of my evolving understanding than of any lack of candour on his or Eric's part. He's not stingy with his feedback, so he woulda called me out if I were being indiscreet or inaccurate.

That said, now that I've got a clearer picture, I'm definitely going to start making the distinction clearer. Sounds like you think it'd be valuable. I'm one of the first people developers talk to when they want to know more about Holochain, so this is good feedback for me to take in.


[deactivated account] Tue 22 Jan 2019 11:58AM

Hi @gregorycassel, thanks for your response. I do think that it is open to interpretation as to whether or not the Holochain team have failed to communicate something of importance to the broader Holochain community. I guess it ultimately comes down to what standards you are holding them too. I personally think that it is entirely legitimate to hold them to very high standards of openness and transparency given that they claim such standards for themselves. I would guess that the average dev team doesn't make the types of claims about their commitment to openness and transparency that the Holochain team does.

It has certainly come as news to me that agent-centric computing could be implemented using the protocol in conjunction with existing software ecosystems (Wordpress, Python, etc) in the way that Chris describes; and it is certainly true, as far as I'm concerned, that agent-centric computing was a very key part of their core message and selling point. And so by focusing on the framework and neglecting to work on the protocol whilst failing to:

1) clearly articulate the difference between the two

2) explain that a choice had been made not-to-go-all-out-for-agent-centric-computing-by-any-means-possible but rather focus on building the framework that would allow them to implement the bigger MetaCurrency Project vision , and

3) provide an explanation for the reasons for that decision, including a good faith weighing up of the pros and cons of each option

a breach of trust of some description has occurred, in my opinion.

Again, I agree with you that they probably haven't acted any differently from a normal dev team, but they are not a normal dev team. They make big on their commitment to their community and on their commitment to complete openness and transparency. They requested and received crowdfunding from their community of supporters [who purchased Holo boxes up-front through Indigogo] upon the basis of such promises - people like me who parted with our money upon the basis of such commitments - which allowed them to go on to raise a very considerable amount of money through their ICO [of course, it is also testimony to the intelligence of Art and Eric and the whole team that they have been so successful]. Am I not entitled to feel a little disappointed that such matters were not explained to me as clearly as they could be?

I personally think of Art and Eric are two of the most extraordinary human beings alive on planet Earth today and Matthew is just the nicest person, but-that-is-precisely-why-I-feel-a-bit-let-down learning this information so late in the day. However, I am not attributing any bad motivations to them. I get that they are juggling lots of commitments and competing priorities. Furthermore, and most importantly, I-think-that-I-understand-the-context. Chris, validly I believe, criticizes them for making big on agent-centric computing in their public-facing communications but not communicating the information that he has shared here and which Paul has corroborated. However, he wasn't just criticising them - as I am - for not articulating that decision to the community. He was and is harshly criticising them for the decision itself. That's where I part company with Chris because I think that they are fully entitled to set their own priorities, and do not believe that Chris is entitled to demand of them that they should make his priorities their own. My request of them is a far more modest one - simply that they communicate this information, the decision made and the reasons for that decision (points 1, 2 and 3 above) to their supporters like myself.

As far as I am aware Chris didn't ever think to make that request of them as a stand-alone request. I wish he had. I wish that he had come to the realization that he wasn't going to persuade them of his point of view and said: "Hey guys, we're never going to agree on this one and I guess that we're going to have to go our separate ways, but could you at least publicly acknowledge to the Holochain community the points I'm making you know to be true as part of your commitment to openness and transparency." I personally think that they may well have agreed to that and, further, also think that it would have created a win-win-win outcome:

1) A win for the Holochain community who would possess a greater understanding of such matters and have the choice of supporting other projects creating agent-centric computing using PNDHT + Wordpress/Python, etc, such as Chris is working with in addition to continuing to support Holochain [and I would like to support both in some form - why not?]

2) A win for agent-centric computing and the concept of the PNDHT as we would have all gotten to watch it being implemented in a variety of ways

3) A win for Holochain itself who would have gotten plenty of credit for their initial design of PNDHT and probably attract more interest in Holochain and more people wanting to use it [with all of the additional functionalities that it can offer] as a result of the success of other varients of PNDHT agent-centric computing.

Well, it didn't happen like that I guess; but I still think that we can get there retrospectively with the help of @pauldaoust1 and that's what I'm hoping for! :-)


Christopher Tue 22 Jan 2019 1:52PM

Dear Adam,

My exact point is that I did, very explicitly point out all of these issues with the code base, in great detail, in documents, at the time. I have been quite clear about that. People dont want to hear it. This, combined with the impossibility of bullying people in my immediate circle, are the two reasons that Holo secretly stopped paying me with absolutely no notification of their decision to me or anyone else. There was no reason to "fire" me, there was no reason to underpay me. If there had have been, then why didnt they tell anyone.

The reason I present direct, negative interpretation of these people, is the astonishing level of misrepresentations of the truth and bullying they maintain for the narrative of their "nature" of supporting the community, whilst knowingly creating a product designed to force people into their enclave.

OK, enough of this.

The analysis is: I presented all of this in detail, as one of three programmers, as the second longest member of the development team after Eric, went "unheard and unnoticed", in September 2017. If you think my domain specific knowledge is in question, or that I had no confidence to express my beliefs (!). If you really think that these are lovely people who have got 20 million dollars from a project developed as a cooperative, that they have now turned into a straight corporation, where there current development team is a corporate one with no experience of the intial cooperative process (other than arguably Nico, but he lived on site only for a few days two or three times, we lived together and formed this project on A/E's foundation, 7 days a week, for months).

If you honestly think that all of that doesnt smack of a plan being put in action, then please, go ahead and "learn" how to build "agent-centric" apps by embedding your mind and core development culture in a brand new ecosystem, with a monolithic centrepiece...

And you are free to decide that my hard edge towards these people is some kind of sickness of mine, or equivocation between two opposing points of view, and I am free to shout loudly "no, Im responding to how I was treated in a fair and considered way".

Be prepared to have your predictions come true


[deactivated account] Tue 22 Jan 2019 3:27PM

Yes, but @christopher7, regardless of what did or didn't happen in the past isn't it better for you and for the community that you are presumably seeking to serve to be pragmatic and forward looking? Could you please provide more information on the fork of Holochain that you say you managed to help obtain funding for? How can I follow what they are up to? And how can I support the creation of PNDHT-facilitated agent-centric computing and agent-centric computing-powered communities built using mature ecosystems such as Wordpress, as you are advocating? And asides from what they may or may not have done are you able to give a bit of credit to Art and Eric for coming up with the concept of PNDHTs which you are clearly a big fan of? Cheers! :-)


Christopher Tue 22 Jan 2019 4:10PM

I have given and very positive clear credit, many times in this thread, as well as in the prezi. I agree this is important.

the other project is not open source, and they have apparently changed from their pndht as a central goal.

you specifically mentioned that you didn't think I had brought it up at the time. just making it clear.

there is another channel on loomio, now, which is for working on the specification of a PNDHT as an open project. personally I'm not comfortable putting out furtherspecifics without someone from Holo involved in the conversation, given my clear history as an employee there. Paul has mentioned he would like to be involved, but had other commitments at this time.

thanks Adam


Christopher Tue 22 Jan 2019 4:12PM

"contractor" rather than employee. Holo didn't have any "employees" other than Arthur and Eric, when I was there. I don't know about the situation today.


Christopher Tue 22 Jan 2019 4:14PM

as a further "forward positive", I believe that community and systems developers in certain spaces would do well to get their heads around the agent-centric truth paradigm, with the caveat of avoiding stands of logic starting from "opt-out" security.


Greg Cassel Tue 22 Jan 2019 7:47PM

It has certainly come as news to me that agent-centric computing could be implemented using the protocol in conjunction with existing software ecosystems (Wordpress, Python, etc) in the way that Chris describes

That could depend on how we define "agent-centric computing". Holochain uses that term at times, but they've also literally sold a big picture: a technical stack of related systems, to generate fully distributed computing. To enable such fully distributed computing, agents must use protocols and apps which fairly, securely and fully distribute all data processing and hosting across any number of nodes.

I'm not a software coder, and I don't know if Chris' conception of the "pndht" can replicate all of Holochain's intended distributed processing and hosting functions. If the pndht can indeed replicate all of those functions, I'd still be quite unsure whether its separate development would be feasibly likely to catalyze the timely emergence of a major global distributed computing ecosystem, which the Holochain team is explicitly trying to catalyze by building the Holo platform plus Holo Fuel, etcetera.

As much as I can remember, Holochain has always seemed quite explicit and upfront about the degree of centralized design which they intend to govern, while enabling anyone to fork the open source Holochain code or to derive an open source protocol from it. Does any of their PR actively mislead anyone into thinking that their planned tech stack is the only way to achieve their distributed computing goals? I haven't seen it, but everyone is free to take the personal responsibility of judging them in the court of public opinion.

@christopher7 , you are of course free to separately develop a pndht, and to develop support for it and any related systems, in which each important component (or fork thereof) is governed by any able persons or groups. Of course that goes without saying, but I find myself in the strange place of desiring to emphasize it. I assume that you want to govern or co-govern some of the work, such as a pndht, and to be compensated for it. Good luck in whatever you constructively build or co-build. I'd like to have links for any related websites: not just the digital presentation, but news/updates.

I don't work for Holochain and I'm no expert on their tech, so this might be my last substantial comment here.


[deactivated account] Tue 22 Jan 2019 10:13PM

Hey Greg, I don't know if you've read the whole thread. Chris has made a number of points which I consider extremely important and which I would like to have known about earlier. I was under the impression that the PNDHT was one of the main things that they were currently working on and it came as a big surprise to me to learn from Chris and Paul that that wasn't the case. I feel a lot of sympathy with Chris's argument about the value of creating an open and federated PNDHT for other reasons too. Holochain make a lot about their commitment to drawing inspiration from nature but it strikes me that in several important respects Chris's ideas are more respectful of biomimetic and evolutionary principles. By prioritizing work on a PNDHT that anyone could use they would:

1) Be helping to create the greatest diversity of social organisms in the minimum amount of time with all of the infinite variety of possibilities which that could give rise to.

2) Be trusting the evolutionary process itself - and acting as its stewards - rather than trying to design a desired outcome upon the basis of limited and incomplete knowledge.

3) Be creating a "stable intermediate form" that would consolidate the first stage of progress towards distributed autonomy and serve as a firm foundation for further steps.

4) Facilitate the reapplication of mature software ecosystems within the new context of agent-centric computing.

It isn't a point that Chris has explicitly made himself but in all of the four above respects it strikes me that the course of action that Chris advocates is more is more aligned with biomimetic principles (which the Holochain team say that they are committed to) than the course of action which they have actually taken. I also think that Chris's moral argument - that the world doesn't have ten years to wait for HApps to reach the same level of maturity as Wordpress and Python - is a rather compelling one that deserves an answer.

In any case if you feel that you require proof that Chris has made some important points you need surely look no further than the fact that Paul has, very graciously, thanked Chris for helping to clarify his thinking. I'm not judging anyone especially harshly here but I do feel disappointed that this information wasn't made available to me earlier. Holochain are not just a software development team. They are attempting to spearhead a movement and make a great deal of their commitment to educate the community. I simply think that they've fallen short of their own standards here, not in terms of the decision that they've made since they are entitled to make whatever decision they choose, but in terms of their failure to communicate that a decision had been made and to explain the reasons for that. But of course there is a context and that is something that I've also tried to acknowledge.

In any case my main point is a forward looking and outcome-focused one. Primarily thanking @pauldaoust1 and asking him to make good on the things that he's said he will do. Then everyone can get at least a part of what they want and we will swiftly arrive at the agent-centric computing utopia by means of the detailed roadmap that I have shared above - YAY! ;-)


Greg Cassel Fri 25 Jan 2019 6:39PM

I was under the impression that the PNDHT was one of the main things that they were currently working on

@adamwaterhouse they certainly are working on a DHT, as a key element of the Holochain app. Do you mean that you were under the impression that they're working on a DHT protocol, or app, to be available separately from the Holochain app? If so, can you figure out how you came to have that impression?

I'm not implying that Holochain PR, and team member statements, have been perfectly accurate, or consistently minimized risks of misinterpretation. I haven't really seen all of the PR, nor most of the personal statements. I would prefer for public criticisms to be as clearly explained as possible, thus giving others a better chance to assess their importance.

I do recognize and appreciate your forward looking and outcome-focused attitude. Thanks for that!


[deactivated account] Fri 25 Jan 2019 8:37PM

Hey Greg, I have a felt sense of how this all played out upon the basis of my personal contact with these folk. They're all wonderful people but they're all people and, of course, have both strengths and weaknesses. I don't consider anything that I've written to constitute public criticism and think that you are perhaps taking me a little over-seriously and not quite getting the tone or purpose of my communication which is to bash a few heads together in order to try to restore some mutual respect! ;-)


Greg Cassel Fri 25 Jan 2019 8:58PM

Okay, well this thread looks a bit different to me Adam but that's okay. I think there's sufficient mutual respect here, with some people (Chris included) making great efforts to contribute substantially. By contrast, it looks unlikely for mutual respect to develop between Chris and the Holochain team, unless maybe they have constructive direct dialogue, which I'm definitely not holding my breath on. And hey that's okay too: not everyone in p2p design and organizing need to get along. (But most of us probably do.)


[deactivated account] Sat 26 Jan 2019 8:58AM

I feel a bit dissatisfied with my response of last night and want to have another go. However, I want to prefece my remarks by thanking you for the incredibly valuable information that you have been sharing on the requirements for a protocol for p2p economic activity. I really appreciate that.

With regards to this thread in particular I feel that you are responding to my points in a very decontextualised way that causes you to misinterpret me. Further you are setting your own standards by which I should judge Holochain's actions and asking me to justify my position with respect to them. This is a recipe for misunderstanding. My remarks and points of view only really make sense within the context of the entire conversation within this thread, the in-person contact and interactions that I have had with Chris and with members of Holochain, my own investment of time and money into Holochain and the expectations that I had, and the criteria by which I myself am judging some of their actions. Above all it only makes sense within the context of an understanding of my motivation which is not to make any sort of "public criticism" of Holochain - if I wanted to do that I would write an open letter on Medium.com and post it on social media - but rather to try to promote a greater level of mutual respect and understanding between Chris and Holochain (represented here by Paul). If you want any further information or clarification about any of this I will be happy to have a video call with you sometime but I don't feel that it would be productive for either of us to continue discussing such points here - I feel that we have reached the outer limits of what can be accomplished through messages.

I would, however, very much like to know how you came to possess such a deep level of understanding of p2p protocols without a programming background. It gives me hope as I want to be able to understand these concepts without having to learn to code.


Greg Cassel Fri 1 Feb 2019 9:54PM

I appreciate @adamwaterhouse that you want to maintain strong context for all your remarks here, and that you don't intend it as "public criticism" of Holochain. FWIW, "publicness" isn't really a binary yes/no state; it's a potentially complex dimension. For example, this is a searchable public forum-- however, yes it is inconspicuous, and we can certainly hope that people won't extract anything from here in any badly decontextualized ways.

I would, however, very much like to know how you came to possess such a deep level of understanding of p2p protocols without a programming background.

I'm a fairly well-trained designer (esp. film production) and I've somehow become a p2p organizing systems designer, because that's simply where my life experience-- including intensely painful disasters in nonprofits and volunteer-based projects-- led me.

I'm Buddhist and when I had bad experiences in group projects, it was easy for me to not blame specific actors for reflecting the biases of their environments, such as exploitative social media platforms. I'm a philosopher of language, and when I focused on studying digital networking technology, it was easy for me to see that it always includes arbitrary technical assumptions.

I try to repeatedly start simply from ground zero, building new language and tech potentials which seem clearly possible to me. I don't code software, but I've made myself focus strictly on modular media design (and 'cultural code') for years.

To further get where I'm coming from, I'd recommend reading this two-part essay of mine: Developing P2P Networking and Nonlinear Dialogue.

Thanks again Adam for your constructive tone here, and for trying to promote greater mutual respect and understanding between participants.


Christopher Sat 2 Feb 2019 9:09AM

I'dlove to know what it is people think is being built. that is "other" than the pndht (which I coined in the prezi btw). I honestly am fascinated as to what constructs people have built in their minds, since, as I pointed out, the holochain "client" could be any piece of software, including, literally, a web browser.

I am, to repeat myself,, fascinated as to what it is people think is the value of, or even meaning of the holochain "client". lol. what is it? perhaps having the discussion from that perspective will help people build functional constructs.

how on earth are these people getting away with not producing the pndht, which is the core value of their entire marketing narrative?


Simon Grant Mon 21 Jan 2019 11:30AM

I am deeply touched, or impressed, by how this conversation has progressed and the place it has reached. It has needed diverse personal contributions from us diverse individuals, none of whom could or would have done this alone. First, those including @bobhaugen @strypey @olisb and @gregorycassel led the way in engaging @christopher7 , and then passed the baton to others including @adamwaterhouse @pauldaoust1 and @tiberiusbrastavice . What I take from this is that we don't need to worry about not being able to do everything ourselves. Every one of us is imperfect and fallible. But as @michelbauwens1 has famously written, "the next buddha will be a collective", (which I imagine draws on Thich Nhat Hanh's saying, "The next buddha will be a sangha") and "Together we know everything, together we have everything".

As may already be very obvious, I'm interested in "protocols" for distributed human peer networks, to create and to use, to give to and receive from, the technical ones.


Christopher Wed 23 Jan 2019 10:46PM

So, great. Not much more that needs to be said from me. I invite people who are writing these sort of "concilliatory" english sentences, to represent whatever they are thinking, to try and describe what exactly Holo have done in the last 2 years. Perhaps from the aspects of "marketing", "network development", "promises" and "software".

Best of luck