Ideas for community onboarding and improved transparency

Hi all,

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 :slight_smile:

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Dear Scott, thank you for your input once again. As your questions span across our whole projects I currently collecting the best answers from all stakeholders in each area. I will get back to you asap!

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Wow, these are in-depth recommendations. Great that you take the time to give such a valuable feedback.

I can only directly answer on 1 questions, I thought it would be useful already to give that information?

Why haven’t all Rivine tokens migrated to Stellar yet?
The answer is easy: because they can’t move without the token owner allowing his private key to start the migration. The migration has been implemented only in the 3bot connect app, but it still requires the intervention of the token holders to start the process. According to the decentralised setup of a blockchain, without this key, there is no way to do anything on the tokens.
We also know about a few tokens that have been lost, simply because the private keys to access the Rivine blockchain have been lost. So the number of tokens on the Rivine blockchain will never really go to zero. Next to that I suspect that there are a few token owners that have not taken the time yet to upload their private keys into 3bot connect (before there was the Threefold app, being fully phased out now), despite the fact that Threefold has tried to contact all known token holders to take action.

For the rest, you have given really valuable input, thanks for that ! But it’s a lot to consider, also on Threefold side. So it can take a while before all is digested :sweat_smile:.

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Thanks @Roel, I’ll look forward to hearing more.

@Geert, I appreciate the clarity on the question of token migration. I’ve read a bit about that process and applaud the fact that it’s all been done via the distributed ledgers with users in control of their tokens. What wasn’t clear is if it would resemble a fork, where new tokens are assigned to old keys, or as I’m guessing now, some kind of atom swap mechanism that generates TFTA on Stellar. Very cool, and leaving lost tokens behind is perhaps a nice side effect. Will the foundation keep Rivine online indefinitely then?

Thanks again everyone for taking the time to read, consider, and respond to my post. I am excited to be a part of ThreeFold in my own little way, and I hope I have managed to help :slightly_smiling_face:

At a certain moment balance will have to be made whether conversion remains automated (which requires a running Rivine) or it’s switched to a manual setup. In the end, only thing required is the proof that the private keys are ‘able’ to control the public Rivine address. I imagine that then a small procedure can be implemented to execute this conversion ad hoc. Balance to be made with need to maintain an auto running Rivine and the infrastructure for it.
(I wonder BTW whether Rivine-Stellar conversion is first migration that happened in the blockchain space or not)

Scott, would you be open to having a zoom with me? I think that might help clear a lot up and would also love to get more input from your side.

That sounds good, Roel. I’ll message you to schedule something.

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Thanks a lot for your constructive comments Scott! Although I have certainly not been delving into the tech as much as you, I concur that a lot of things that users, and simple small-scale farmers, must do to get going is not very transparent, and in some cases cumbersome. That really needs to be addressed if the grid and the movement is to grow. My wife and I have been involved for about 2.5 years now, and we still maintain great expectations and enthusiasm for the project. I think these issues you raise are a matter of resources (i.e. money), of which there is way less than needed. But now there seems to be some movement, we all hope to keep that momentum growing! Again, thanks for your participation and comments!

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Hey Bruce,

I am glad to hear that you found my post interesting and constructive. It’s also nice to get some perspective from someone who’s been around for a while longer than me as a community member :slight_smile:

Your point about limited resources certainly makes sense, but I think it is also often a question of priorities. For example, the new tokenomics logic was released some time ago as a Python program linked from a thread on this forum, but no mention of that file or explanation of what it contains exists on the wiki. Presenting this information in an easy to find, easy to understand way seems like an important step for a project with a cryptocurrency that’s trying to attract investors. To do so would take someone’s time, yes, but isn’t expensive otherwise. Probably these details will be released in a coming major wiki overall I’ve been advised about, but even “details coming soon” would be better than what we have now!

I too hope that the momentum will keep growing, and I’d love to suggest to more of my friends that they invest or set up farms. However, until we can answer basic questions about things like token distribution in the past and future and how the current token price relates to the value of the grid, I am wary to share too broadly, either with those who don’t have the savvy to evaluate the risk themselves or with those who do have the savvy to raise these questions for themselves. I tend to trust the TF team because of the values I see at work here, but not everyone will feel the same way.

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hi scott, couldn’t agree more, indeed the wiki has not received enough priority.
We are making lots of improvements over last days, but still lots to do.

About forum, 100% agree, we are pushing to do more with that one.

Emails, you’re right, we will implement, just as a news channel, will happen < 2 weeks.

FreeFlow pages we will remove, we can’t keep everything updated.

The IEO is something we tried to do but didn’t do, we now have the TDE and this is planned to be done end of summer with help of some partners like Dash & Digibyte.
IEO has been removed from wiki, TDE we are improving content.

Minting process, completely redone, please let me know what you think.
We have the minting reports ofcourse but we need to visualize them, summer work indeed.
Indeed we need much better info here, will include it in our work to be done.

PS: there has been a project defined to organize our projects where people can contribute in case you would be interested: see https://circles.threefold.me/project/despiegk-contribution/kanban

As a final note, do you have time for a zoom, would be super nice to meet you. Please contact me on telegram: @despiegk.

AND many many thanks for your contributions, very valuable

Kristof

Thanks Kristof, it was awesome meeting with you. These are great updates, and I’m looking forward to seeing/helping to create what comes next!

Just getting into the August update (glad to see it posted straight to the wiki, though it’s occurred to me that these might fit best in the blog. Tagging @Roel here to consider), and loving what I see of the new site so far. I’ve left some corrections/suggestions over on Github and was happy to see what I think is my farm now on the map :slightly_smiling_face:

Finally, regarding minting, I do have some thoughts in development on the current minting process to share soon. For now, let me leave a reference to my post outlining the second version minting logic for anyone who’s curious.

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@scott thanks for the input once again, I’ll talk to the team where we want to start putting the announcements.

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Hello dear community.

  • the question of VITALITY. The technology used to build the network is still young and I am interested in further planned development. Actually, ThreeFold will remain the basis for development on its basis, or will the development of the network continue without the participation of the classic Internet? The ThreeFold network itself currently exists thanks to centralized DNS servers, which allow you to find something without resorting to difficult-to-remember IP addresses. Those. an independent network exists thanks to the centralized Internet … and suddenly, (at the whim of large corporations / bankruptcy / hacker attack) it can cease to exist in an instant.

  • a question SECURITY, rather to the developers of applications & sites within the network. Will analogs of Internet services (for example, mail servers) be created within the ThreeFold network? As they say, history teaches us not to repeat the mistakes of the past, and I will turn to some of them.
    The last presidential election in the United States, when there was an alleged attempt to hack Hillary Clinton’s mail server. Perhaps this is her user (non-advanced) level of computer literacy, or neglect of security in the form of encryption of correspondence using a PGP application. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/13/russians-hillary-clinton-email-server-trump-indictment. If the mail service worked inside the ThreeFold network, theoretically this would not happen, is it?

  • a question of ETHICS. Starting my acquaintance with the site, the forum, I read and accepted the code of conduct when communicating (quite democratic and tolerant). Humanity is constantly creating something revolutionary for good purposes, but in fact it was used for military purposes for bad deeds (for example, nuclear weapons, although atomic electrospaces are used for peaceful purposes). If your mind can control the element, it is beneficial, if not - chaos. Actually the question: technology can be used for criminal, military and terrorist purposes in view of information security. How the community will react to the possible compromising use of this technology for what it was NOT designed for. For example, from the news, I learned that Al-Qaeda used Google maps (due to the good quality of the topography display) to deliver combat strikes. https://www.foxnews.com/tech/al-qaeda-uses-google-maps-to-plan-attacks-new-video-reportedly-shows. Will it not work out the way it happened with Skype, Viber and probably other applications that monitors special services of different countries (previously, the protocol was encrypted for these applications)? How to deal with such illegal citizens? Banned? But the account can be recreated, it is not tied to an ID, driver’s license or credit card - it is anonymous. Meanwhile, the world is increasingly using a hybrid method of waging war (internet-media, bot-chats, disinformation). And lastly, they are already creating applications for monitoring and analyzing blockchain transactions https://ciphertrace.com/ How long this development is evolving, we do not know.

  • a question of MARKETING. I found out about your community a little over a year ago, but joined (acquired a node) a little over a month ago. I’ll tell you about the first impression, it is always bright and memorable. The idea itself is noble and delightful, an excellent presentation video and many partner badges, an inspiring environment for developers and farmers. The presentation compared the cost of services between Google, Microsoft, AliBaba, Amazon and ThreeFold. I wanted to look at the figures for the cost of services on the official website … but I did not find it. I registered on the forum, also found nothing that would direct me where to look. But still I found a link to the wiki where I got only the answer - how to buy TFT coins. I also found a great guide with illustrations on how to install the “3Bot Connect” application, but how to use the services, alas, no.
    Since we are all different and each has a special vision of the order of things in his head, I propose to somehow unify this. Someone who has already created what I’m looking for, but cleverly hid it in the wiki or forum in subdirectories, and not in a prominent place - it’s not my fault. I cannot know the style of your order of things. Let’s take this to the official website, create a bookmark for the services provided (like the competitors have https://cloud.google.com/products/calculator), it is possible here to buy TFT coins in addition with detailed instructions for “housewives” (novice user level ). The first thing that alarmed me was how much time would I spend looking for what I needed? I just theoretically, as a consumer, wanted to know the cost of hosting / computing resource / information storage. We are losing clients, gentlemen, because of poorly thought-out marketing. How can I attract customers if I cannot tell / show where and how you can independently choose the service you need and how much it will cost ??? Perhaps this is my fault because of my own special mentality to see only what is in a conspicuous place, excuse me, I shared my first impression.

P.S. Do not consider it arrogance, or political incorrectness (the reason is just interesting): why is there no development of ThreeFold in Russia (on the mini-map https://explorer.grid.tf/ I did not see a single installed node on a huge land area)? Doesn’t a free society communicate with the aggressor country?

Thank you for attention.
Best regards, Volodymyr Goroshko.
Kiev, Ukraine.

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My participation in the webinar gave rise to further reflection. And although for my comfortable perception of English the speech was somewhat quick, but I understand the time limit. On the recommendation of the host, Chris Hutton, I watched “The Great Hack” movie. And my fears were confirmed. Facebook has become a test / condemnation site, although it was conceived as a tool for building a community. Returning to the topic of vulnerability, i.e. use of ThreeFold for other purposes. “If you want to understand the criminal - thinking like a criminal.” ThreeFold is a kind of supercomputer / computing cluster that can legally be used for hmm, password cracking, DDoS attacks, spamming, and more.

Will it turn out that we will find ourselves in a position like Facebook?

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Hey Voldymyr,

Thanks for adding to the conversation here. You raise many valid points and questions, and you are definitely not alone in many of these concerns. Here are some thoughts on your points:

  • Vitality - DNS is not, as far as I know, required for the Grid to operate. It is a nice thing to have for anyone hosting a public website, for example, and it’s certainly necessary for growing a community on sites like the one we’re on now. ThreeFold is the capacity layer, and there are other projects working on replacements for centralized DNS. Try a search for “decentralized DNS” for some ideas of what’s out there. Bridging back and forth with the public internet, is in any case a real bottleneck for the Grid. Not many entities besides ISPs have the network resources to handle routing large amounts of public connections into the Grid, so more partnerships in that realm will be necessary. As long as there are enough public gateways in enough locations, we’re protected from the whims of those who control any given one.

  • Security - Again, ThreeFold is the capacity layer which can run any Linux workload, so the security of what anyone chooses to deploy on the Grid is an open question. What 0-OS is designed for is to provide security within networks and workloads running on the Grid, and also to provide security for farmers within their local networks. If you choose to deploy insecure code and expose it to the outside world, that code may very well be exploited by someone in the outside world. If you choose to run any code on the Grid without exposing it to the outside world, it will be as secure as the private keys you use to connect to your overlay network. Unlike other cloud providers, you’re also secure from intrusion or surveillance by the cloud provider or whomever they provide access to. That’s all assuming you trust the 0-OS code, which is open source though not independently audited at this point.

  • Ethics - You’re touching upon a major question for all decentralized and peer to peer networks. Actually, you’re asking a question that’s relevant to anyone producing a product that could be used for harm. If you make hammers, someone might use that hammer to commit a crime. If you create a censorship resistant publishing platform, someone might use it for harassment or defamation. In most cases, this is a question to be addressed within the services that might be deployed on the Grid. You suggest that it might be used for some negative purposes like password cracking or spam, but I think that’s very unlikely given the cost associated with using the network. Given the ease with which computers running Windows are infected by malware, it is much more cost effective to use readily rentable botnets for such purposes. With regard to something like DDoS it is possible that web gateway providers could limit such behavior, but if traffic were routed through say VPNs after hitting the public internet, this sort of thing could be impossible to detect. Furthermore, given the private nature of workloads deployed on the Grid, it would be impossible for anyone to know that something like password cracking was being done on the nodes, unless the cracker couldn’t keep a secret. The best protection against grid abuse, I think, is doing everything possible to ensure that the grid is being utilized at a level that makes this impractical and even more uneconomical.

  • Marketing - Yep, ThreeFold went public just this year and it’s been a bit of a rough launch. Like you, I was initially a bit discouraged by how much and how deep (reading the code, sometimes) I had to search to find answers to pretty basic seeming questions like: how many TFTs per month might my node produce as a farmer? Since then, I’ve been very impressed with how responsive those working for ThreeFold are to input on how to improve and how far the website and wiki have come since then. You can trust that your concerns will be heard and brought into consideration as improvements continue

Regarding nodes in Russia, I am not sure if there have been any attempts by anyone in the community to promote farming there. This is very much a community effort, so if you have any ideas or resources that might aid that effort, feel free to share.

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Thank you Scott for your time.
From your answer, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, time will put everything in its place.
Regarding the promotion of ThreeFold, I am ready to get involved in this business, but I have a small amount of information. Presentations and webinars (essentially the same thing), lack of information for practice. I mean the cost (you mentioned that this technology is expensive for deploying malicious bot farms, you did not mention at least some cost if it is initially cheaper than that of large centralized giants). How to find a consumer of services, if I do not have information, how much will it cost for him? If the issue is somehow clear with the promotion of farming, then finding a client for the consumption of services is very problematic. I get the impression that, on the whole, the entire network is practically idle and only mints coins for which there is no demand due to the lack of consumers. Perhaps developers can use it in view of the large scalability of computing resources, but this is minuscule. So far, there are more questions than answers.
Finally, direct me to the right person, perhaps I would undertake the translation of the site into Ukrainian (my native) and Russian languages, I know them. This will potentially expand the possibilities of perceiving information in native languages ​​over a fairly large territory.
Thank you again for your answers and your time.
Best regards, Volodymyr.

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Hi Volodymyr, thank you for your support!

I understand your questions and concerns. Everything is reasonable since we are in the early days of the grid. To attract consumers to the grid, farmers and parters are one of the top priorities for us now. Some of the efforts on this front - is upcoming release of Grid 2.2 which will include some quite cool end-user applications to showcase what is possible on the grid. After this release we will double our efforts for user acquisition, and developer/partners community grow.

Regarding translations of our website into other languages - at this moment we are short on resources to manage it and plus everything is evolving very rapidly, information on the website and wiki is improved and updated almost every day, so we believe at this stage it would be more efficient for us to stay in English only and then add other languages on the later stages of our development, including with your help :slight_smile: . Nevertheless, feel free to prepare any translations for your own use and for your friends and community.

Thank you once more!

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