A second crack at that scary thing.

This is far from a done deal, but it’s time again to revisit that scary thing : the stack-blowing problem of parsimony vs. decentralisation. The conflict in question is mapped by the following two points :

  • The rule is zero, one, infinity. And you’d better have one damned good reason why one rather than infinity.
  • Fragility and stability are opposite evaluations of decentralization much like hot and cold are opposite evaluations of entropy.

After mulling MP’s outline over for a few days, glass after glass of mullinously mullinipherous mulled wine fueling the charge, I came up with the following proposal :

It seems to me that the primary consideration is the limited recourse available to the most serene republic, as with any other state, in the event of the disappearance/elimination of a key service operator.

Since this is our primary concern for both critical and non-critical services, particularly in-channel bots, one potential framework for resolving this conundrum would be assess the sensitivity of the code itself and determine parsimony vs. decentralisation based on this. That is, if code can be openly published, or perhaps at least distributed throughout assbot’s L1, and re-implemented at a moment’s notice in the event of an operator going MIA or AWOL, then the service may be safely appended to an existing pillar. If the code is too sensitive to publish or even share among the L1, as determined by the consequent vulnerability to the operational system, then it should remain independently operated so as to distribute the risk of multiple critical services failing simultaneously.

This initial proposal has aged rather well over the past seven weeks, if I do say so myself, but it still addresses the question head-on. Let’s see if there’s another vector to attack this from. In this aim, a thought from Herr Burke :i

For what plausible reason are these principalities suffered to exist? When a government is rendered complex, (which in itself is no desirable thing,) it ought to be for some political end which cannot be answered otherwise. Subdivisions in government are only admissible in favor of the dignity of inferior princes and high nobility, or for the support of an aristocratic confederacy under some head, or for the conservation of the franchises of the people in some privileged province. For the two former of these ends, such are the subdivisions in favor of the electoral and other princes in the Empire; for the latter of these purposes are the jurisdictions of the Imperial cities and the Hanse towns. For the latter of these ends are also the countries of the States (Pays d’États) and certain cities and orders in France. These are all regulations with an object, and some of them with a very good object. But how are the principles of any of these subdivisions applicable in the case before us?

Do they answer any purpose to the king?

What Burke is getting at is a very subtle and practical purpose that quite side-steps the entire “P vs. D” controversy, putting in material terms what was initially a philosophical consideration. The King’s purpose, to be sure, is not his “purpose” but rather his utility as it relates to his need to foster and maintain the support of his Lords and extended minions. This is a thing. A very necessary one.

So, then, if we’re talking in-channel bots, does Mircea find it useful and valuable to have lobbes’ lobbesbot handle Phuctor announcements ; williamdunne’s scoopbot_revived handle Qntra, Trilema, and Contravex announcements ; kakobrekla’s assbot handle authentication, title reading for links, and the stock ticker ; trinque’s deedbot handle notary functions ; and nanotube’s gribble handle messages, google searches, and bitcoin market/network data, or should they all be bundled up and wrapped into a single, centralised, ultra-reliable, and uber-fragile service ?

To the extent that a republic of one might be a bit too serene, it makes sense to use “bot slots”ii as a lasso with which to retain the best of the best, much in the way MPEx uses share issuances or stock warrants as a financial reward bound by contractual agreement, and similarly in the way that The Lordship List is used as a social feedback reward bound by honour.

Voluntary associations are brilliant, beautiful, ethical and just, don’t get me wrong, but without some measure of skin in the game, the demands of meatspace readily overwhelm the demands of #bitcoin-assets. It’s a biological dynamic, this, particularly for those who somewhat reasonably desire to live like bezzle kings today at the expense of a mathematically-backed promise of prosperity tomorrow. To this end, the “parsimony vs. decentralisation” conflict may be viewing a fundamentally useful tool, that of incentive and reward, through the lens of a philosophical “controversy” with no readily establishable framework for no particularly good reason. In summa :

Decentralisation is a weapon to be wielded, an olive branch to be offered, or a carrot to be dangled. That’s it. Nothing more.

This second crack at that scary thing at least turns the conundrum of “I know obscenity when I see it, sir” into “I know a good man when I see him,” which is something.

___ ___ ___

UPDATE (IIIrd CRACK) : Following a conversation with Stan and MP on this topic, I’m wont to recall the earlier jobs > people situation that’s presently facing the republic and that’s more likely than not going to continue in perpetuity. With this in mind, decentralisation is perhaps better viewed as a weapon/carrot/incentive when and only when jobs < people, that is, when salaries of some description or another are needed. All of which is to say, not in La Serenissima right now and not in the foreseeable future. Such are the consequences of being raised in a world limited by geography and spending one’s time reading authors similarly constrained that my biases so readily manifest in manners inapplicable and ill-adapted to computer times. It’s a process, this.

As it stands, pick a gun and pick a post, soldier.

___ ___ ___

  1. From his SPEECH ON PRESENTING TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS A PLAN FOR THE BETTER SECURITY OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF PARLIAMENT, AND THE ECONOMICAL REFORMATION OF THE CIVIL AND OTHER ESTABLISHMENTS - February 11, 1780. []
  2. Slots for bots ! Such slots currently include BitBet announcements primarily (formerly []bot), annual conference information fetcher secondarily (formerly empyex), and some tertiarily important functions such as, say, a DuckDuckGo search bot so we don’t always have to use USGoogle. I’m sure you can think of some others. []

4 thoughts on “A second crack at that scary thing.

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  3. […] list of projects to be undertaken by would-be captains of future industry. Indeed, there are far more jobs than men up to the task. But lest you think that this warrants a lowering of the bar to entry – an […]

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