Open-Tent Policy

“I think a lot about this thread because it reminds me of a lot of interactions I see online, where someone who thinks they know more than others about a topic falls into gatekeeper mode.

Look, I get it, there are people who think they are experts on given topics, who know everything. I think, for example, I know a bit about digital publishing because of the fact that I’ve been doing it for quite a long time. But while I have strong opinions on walled gardens such as Substack, I ultimately don’t want to push people away from something that’s working for them—rather, I just want to highlight, hey, you have options.

I think that when it comes down to it, the gatekeeper approach has its limits for cultural growth. It is designed to discourage others from showing an interest in new topics, rather than finding ways to introduce them to new topics. If you walk into a situation where you’re relatively green on a given topic, God help you.

I think some of this is out of protection—we want to ensure that our little corner of the cultural world is safe in some way. But at the same time, it naturally leaves others out.

If you’re an expert on something and your approach is to demean or otherwise criticize others who think differently on an issue than you do, you are doing more damage to your reputation than you probably even realize.

Open up the tent. Give yourself—and your hobby or career—some room to breathe.”

-Ernie Smith, “Open-Tent Policy.” Mid-Range. June 7, 2022

Letter in Support of Responsible Fintech Policy

“Blockchain technology cannot, and will not, have transaction reversal mechanisms because they are antithetical to its base design. Similarly, most public blockchain-based financial products are a disaster for financial privacy; the exceptions are a handful of emerging privacy-focused blockchain finance alternatives, and these are a gift to money-launderers. Financial technologies that serve the public must always have mechanisms for fraud mitigation and allow a human-in-the-loop to reverse transactions; blockchain permits neither.”

Letter in Support of Responsible Fintech Policy

If you can dictate the premises, you can dictate the conclusion. It is possible to have transaction reversal mechanisms as part of a smart contract, which presumably these “experts” would know. They are worried about privacy, but at the same time, they are worried about too much privacy. Let me guess, only government hits that sweet spot of panopticon privacy and anything outside the panopticon must be used in service of crime.

As a counter to this document, I’d like to refer to the previously mentioned blog post on blockchains, where Tim Roughgarden says:

“An enormous number of people, including a majority of computer science researchers and academics, have yet to grok the modern vision of blockchains: a new computing paradigm that will enable the next incarnation of the Internet and the Web, along with an entirely new generation of applications.”

Which experts are being listened to and who does that benefit?