Dear Scaling Bitcoin: Diversity And Inclusion requires Community And Transparency

Chris DeRose
Sep 18, 2017 · 4 min read

Scaling Bitcoin is the pinnacle of developer research in the world of Bitcoin. The caliber, reach, and reputation of Scaling Bitcoin is pristine. In the world of blockchain conferences, the scientific content of Scaling Bitcoin is the standard of excellence.

Yet for many in the Bitcoin community, there is a dark cloud on the horizon: the politics of diversity. While diversity and inclusion are positive ends in themselves, there are several ways to measure diversity and reasonable limits to inclusion itself. Scaling Bitcoin has a Diversity & Inclusion Committee with no stated purpose and no publicly transparent explanation as to how the committee is formed. There is a perceived honor associated with the Scaling Bitcoin event, yet no accountability for its Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Scaling Bitcoin has celebrated diversity since its inception. But just what is it that this program is achieving? Seemingly, there are few answers. It appears that there is a team of individuals assigned to steer ‘diversity’ at this years event. However, there is very little information on their goals, and their oversight. Presumably, these individuals have great freedom over the agenda. No one understands the metrics used to select these individuals. No one knows what the agenda is. And no one knows what safeguards exist to ensure fairness. Will these individuals favor meritocracy over egalitarianism? If so, where? And what safeguards ensure their morals are in agreement with the values of attendees and presenters?

Thus far, communication on the diversity agenda has been meager, at best. It seems that there is an ‘internal document’ on the process that has not been made public. The only available literature on this program appears to be tucked into a single sentence under a “Travel Subsidy” heading.

This description is woefully inadequate for a program that has four managerial members. Particularly if this process of inclusion comes against the cost of pursuing merit. Against the process of pursuing impartial truth.

Science is a process of peer review. And thus far, the questions surrounding this program have only been met with silence. Some diversity proponents have been labeled ‘opaque’ in their intent. Others have even been caught leveraging their power as a censorship strategy. And for many here in bitcoin, we are now left to wonder over the intent. Questioning these proponents, has already resulted in the censoring of well-intentioned virtue through social opprobrium.

Transparency over a political agenda should be of great importance to the Scaling Bitcoin committee. A summary of the most important concerns raised by the community includes the following questions:

  • What is the function of the four panel committee? Is it merely to award travel compensation to oppressed presenters? If so, under what metric of oppression?
  • Under what criterion were diversity panelists selected? And by what metric of oppression were they deemed fit to judge?
  • With what political parties do the judges align? And in what geographies are these judges residing in?
  • Will the Scaling Bitcoin override a meritocracy to accommodate oppressed persons? And by what metric will oppression be calculated?
  • Time and space is limited. Will the conference make public which talks were rejected to make space for political agendas?

Most importantly:

  • Is ‘diversity’ a goal of Equal opportunity to all? Achieved by removing race/religion/orientation considerations from proposals? Or is diversity the pursuit of equal outcomes? Achieved via the handicapping of those perceived as having privilege?
  • If applicant privilege is a consideration, what metrics will calculate such privilege?

Most attendees of Scaling Bitcoin recognise that prejudice does exist, but there is a lack of consensus around the resolution. If the goals of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee are left unclarified, their diversity initiatives may hinder the goal of removing prejudice. Many allege that some in the diversity board have unreasonable opinions. Most importantly, a fearful and silent majority believes that people should be identified “not by the color of their skin”, gender, or religion. But should instead be identified “by the content of their [presentations]”.

The silent majority has now spoken. And this majority questions the conference’s need for political agendas. In a field whose intent was to remove the unfair whims of third parties, should we not carefully consider such whims at Scaling Bitcoin?

Bitcoiners deserve transparency. Bitcoiners deserve involvement in the steering of community morals. Please release the hidden Scaling Bitcoin diversity agenda. Please answer the basic questions outlined in this document.

We look forward to hearing your response, in our shared interest of furthering the justice achieved by blockchain.

Special thanks to the silent contributors to this letter.

Chris DeRose

Written by

A man’s hat is a mark of distinction, discriminating taste, and sound conviction. Bitcoin provacateur. Dark Net spelunker. EMH Shill. #floridaman