Let’s face it, technical mailing lists need some spicing up. Take the bitcoin-dev mailing list for instance: there’s many threads about overlapping topics. It requires a lot of context to grasp the implications of one small change across many parts of the network. These code changes might not even be close to being implemented yet, but will still be argued over with intense fervor. People with the same first names popping in and out of discussions, arguing opposite sides; my mailbox can’t handle it.
To address these probelms, I propose a new Meetup: Dramatic Readings of Technical Mailing Lists. People come and play their favorite mailing list authors, and defend their ideas with enthusiasm like mailing lists have never seen. Faces will redden, voices will raise, spittle will fly. And in the end, nothing will be resolved. It’s just a reenactment.
I’ve been chuckling about this idea to myself for a little while, and the longer I think about it the more it seems legitimately feasible. I mean if Bitcoin-XT wasn’t dramatic enough, the open letter made me shed a single tear. Mix some dramatic reenactment into the Scaling Bitcoin event, and you’re pretty much there.
In all seriousness though, I’m really looking forward to the Scaling Bitcoin events. With miners already converging towards consensus on BIP100, it feels even more overdue. Having worked on remote teams, I can say from experience that meeting in person is a necessary part of maintaining a healthy remote relationship. Something about distance allows disagreements to fester and grow toxic when you can’t look someone in the eyes and interpret the sarcasm in their delivery. Warm fuzziness aside, there’s a lot of outstanding problems and solutions to be nailed down. Again, meeting in person and dedicating time to a problem seems to guarantee 10x results from remote discussion.
How excited am I about Scaling Bitcoin? I won’t even be there and I’m looking forward to it; I’ll be at the Blockstack event being held the same weekend. There’s talk of streaming parts of Scaling Bitcoin, and I’m sure the discussions will be taped. I guess it’s the “hallway track” I’ll be missing out on. Still, Blockstack’s event will not be too shabby.
A final note: To the uninitiated, these conferences happening on the same weekend might seem like further proof that the Bitcoin community is terribly divided. The concerns of these conferences are actually orthongonal(one about scaling Bitcoin, one about decentralized applications). I think the fact that there’s two high quality conferences on the same weekend speaks to the robustness of the community.