As a relative newcomer to ThreeFold community, I wanted to share some reflections from my experience with the project so far and some opportunities I see for improvement in the process of welcoming new users around here. Let me first congratulate everyone responsible for bringing ThreeFold to where it is now. I see an experienced team working from a solid set of values who have already developed an awesome functional product built upon an open ecosystem that’s being utilized through an ever growing set of respectable partnerships. This is the coolest thing I’ve seen happen to the internet in a long, long time.
I first learned about ThreeFold through the Hackernoon article published in late June. Seeing the clear potential of the technology and a life centered focus that’s rare in this industry, I got very excited and spent most of the rest of that day reading the wiki and watching videos. Soon enough I was shopping for farming hardware while trying to understand all of the nuances of capacity measurement, the coming certification program, and ROI projections. Since then, I’ve brought my first node online and even deployed a little test project hosting a website accessible over public internet. All of that was impressively easy, even though the tools and documentation are undergoing rapid development.
In my quest to understand ThreeFold—what it is now, where it’s coming from, and where it’s going—I have spent substantial time reviewing the available resources. At this point, I’ve covered the majority of wiki pages, read almost 400 posts here on the forums, scrolled through the relevant Freeflow pages and Telegram groups, watched a number of videos including some of the presentations and Zoom calls, browsed through
circles.threefold.me, reviewed code and documents across many repositories on Github, read all of the Google Docs I’ve seen links to, and… I still have a lot of questions.
To share some of what I learned along the way and seek clarity on certain aspects of farming, I made this post with the hope of getting input to develop a better resource for potential and new farmers. To be honest, I feel like I’ve run into a wall in deepening my knowledge of and involvement with ThreeFold. The sense is that most of the conversation and decision making happens separately from public communication channels (plenty of good reasons for this, I know) and substantial updates to these channels are rare. This forum, for example, is surprisingly quiet for the existing momentum around ThreeFold. I see many questions here left unanswered and at least one request for help that received no reply at all.
Therefore, my first suggestion is making a commitment to provide regular updates (posting simultaneously with Telegram announcements like the recent July community update would be a great start) and also respond to all posts here in a timely and complete manner. I know that you are all very busy right now building the tech and partnerships, but a little more attention in this regard would go a long way.
Community participation here currently comes with a requirement to register a 3Bot and complete various forum requirements before posting. It seems that this barrier is very effective in curating a high quality conversation, but not everyone will want to take those steps right away. I am surprised to see that ThreeFold does not have an option to sign up for email communications. This would be an excellent, low barrier way for individuals to stay connected even if they’re not ready to go deeper immediately. I hope that this is under consideration for the next website update.
Communication from ThreeFold and between community members is currently fractured among a number of different channels, lacking clear distinction about how each one is used. If I have a question about farming, do I post it here in the farming section, on the FreeFlow page for farmers, in the farmer’s Telegram chat, or ask via the contact form or support chat on the main page? If I want the full scoop on the new tokenomics, do I read the wiki, look around these forums, or go try to find links to the Google Docs and recordings of Zoom calls where details were hashed out? I’m sure I can’t be the only one who is bewildered over all the different places answers about ThreeFold might be hiding. Providing a clear sense of the intended use of different communication channels and aggregating links to harder to find resources like meeting/presentation recordings and Google Docs would be a great start here.
Transparency for ThreeFold’s operations is theoretically good, but suffers from the fragmentation of information I just described. One example is the relationship between ThreeFold and Mazraa, especially with regard to the IEO. It was only by scrolling up Telegram that I learned Mazraa is intended to become part of the TF Foundation. It’s still not really clear to me what’s happening with these 70m tokens that were “donated” to the foundation but are being sold by Mazraa while it is still a separate legal entity. Are IEO participants being encouraged to buy from Mazraa or go buy on an exchange? Why haven’t all existing Rivine TFTs been created on Stellar yet? What percentage of already farmed tokens are owned by the foundation? How exactly is this plan to protect the price of TFT during the IEO supposed to work, and is the “marketmaker bot” still a thing? Et cetera…
An easy transparency win, as I see it, is in the minting process. It frankly doesn’t look good, if TF is serious about bringing farmers and investors onboard, that the details of minting (past, present, and potential future changes) are currently hidden. You really don’t want it to appear as if nearly a quarter of all available TFTs were farmed under an arbitrary and opaque rule set that’s being changed just as the project is going public. I know that the new minting logic is supposed to be as good or better for farmers, that expected ROIs are still very good, and also that serious investment has been made by early farmers who are making the current launch possible. But with greater publicity will come greater scrutiny, and I think that attending a bit to transparency in minting will help a lot with convincing potential farmers and investors that the token is sound. Specifically, publish a full specification of both the new and old minting logic and release the minting reports (which I see are in the tube for this summer) sooner than later.
Finally, I think that some explicit resource on ways to get involved in the ThreeFold community would be very beneficial as more and more new faces arrive. I really want to help out and think I have a lot to offer here, but it’s not clear to me who to talk to or how to get engaged. Maybe I’m seeing some natural growing pains here for an organization that’s been running in stealth mode for a long time, but now that ThreeFold is going public, I think it’s essential to provide a warm welcome for all of the new guests who will want to participate in one way or another.
Thanks for reading and for your contribution to this exciting evolution of planetary consciousness