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Gemini Protocol’s Originator: “I Continue to Care About This Project and I Care About the Community That Has Formed Around It.”

Posted in Site News at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: ‘Solderpunk’ is back from a long hiatus; this bodes well for Geminispace, which grew fast in spite of the conspicuous absence

AS we noted 4 days ago, Gemini space had become very important to us. It’s growing very rapidly (it’s hard to correctly estimate the overall size, but crawlers/spiders see almost 4 times as many capsules this year compared to last year). Recently, some people expressed concerns about alleged stagnation or rather a lack of changes to the original specification (not that everything must change or expand over time). Then, some people asked for patience [1, 2], knowing that ‘Solderpunk’ was likely to return some time soon and finalise the specification. As of minutes ago, there is already a proposal to freeze the Gemini specification.

Well, ‘Solderpunk’ probably wants to keep it simple. And he’s back now, having just posted an update with plan for the specification:


Lo, I have returned.

And I have come not to bring peace, but the sword.

Well, not really.  Sorry, couldn't resist a little drama.

But I *have* come with a strong resolve to move things forward quickly, 
decisively, and if necessary unilaterally.  I will be putting the 
"dictator" in BDFL (but not ignoring the "benevolent").

My thoughts are something like this:

The never ending discussion (and at times heated argument) that has 
characterised the efforts to collectively and openly finalise the spec 
using this mailing list, and the associated risk of leader burnout, now 
feel to me like they are a larger risk/liability to the project than the 
prospect of making slightly suboptimal and/or unpopular decisions when 
wrapping things up relatively quickly and without agonising over every 
little detail.  The sooner the spec is finalised the sooner we can spend 
more of our time and energy reading and writing Geminispace content.  
People who aren't interested in spending time and energy doing those 
things have no place playing a strong role in deciding how to finalise 
things, anyway.

It's clear that any hope of unanimity in the community on exactly what 
Gemini should look like is long gone.  There are too many people coming 
from too many technical backgrounds for us all to agree on what is 
necessary and what is extraneous.  Anything resembling "design by 
committee" will likely result in bad compromises leaving everybody 
unhappy.  Better to have decisive leadership with a clear vision.  This 
will leave some unhappy.  It's unfortunate, but it's inevitable.  Gemini 
can't be everything to everybody.

Despite my total lack of involvement for several months and the lack of 
any progress on the spec, Geminispace *itself*, which is our real goal, 
has neither stagnated nor shrunk.  It has only gotten better.  Awesome 
things like smol.pub have turned up.  All the time there are more and 
more people setting up little digital homes in Geminispace, who accept 
and embrace Gemini as it is right now, and many of them are very happy 
with the status quo.  They are writing truly wonderful content, and I 
have not come across a single thing written there yet which made me 
think "right now this is merely good, but it could be excellent if only 
Gemini supported X, Y or Z".  And all of this is hosted on diverse 
servers and compatible with diverse clients, including clients which 
have not been updated in months.  All of this says we have gotten the 
most important things right or close enough to right already, and there 
is no risk of catastrophically messing anything up if we simply resolve 
outstanding technical issues with the minimum possible change.  
Additional capacities in the gemtext format are not necessary.  That's 
not just, like, my opinion, man, that's an empirical fact.  Geminispace 
is there.  It's *exactly* the kind of space I originally envisaged.

I will start wrapping stuff up, via changes to what have always been the 
canonical versions of all relevant documents, hosted at 
gemini.circumlunar.space, as quickly as I can.  I am not going to take 
the time to justify every single decision against all real or imagined 
objects in long posts to the mailing list or my gemlog.  Maybe I will do 
this retrospectively some day, but for now I just want to get it done.  
I will act largely alone in this regard, but I'm not going to completely 
disregard all external input.  A lot of people have put a lot of of time 
and care into thinking and writing about these issues both on this list 
and in the git trackers that sprung up once I delegated spec 
finalisation to Sean.  I'm going to read that stuff and I'm going to be 
be guided by it, and I will reach out to individual people for 
clarification when I feel it necessary.  I am genuinely thankful to all 
of those people for their efforts and I do not intend to be dismissive 
of them.

If I sound angry and frustrated, I apologise.  I mean, to some extent I 
am, but not at particular people or at the community, I'm angry and 
frustrated at vague abstract things like human group dynamics and viral 
internet hype cycles.  I continue to care about this project and I care 
about the community that has formed around it.  I acknowledge that I am 
far from blameless in how this year in Gemini has turned out.  I hope 
the community still has some faith in me, and I hope everyone 
understands that I'm doing this because I honestly think it's for the 
best, and not because I want all teh [sic] power. I don't want *any* power!  
But nobody I know and trust enough to give the power to wants it either, 
and big formal multi-person decision making is not going to yield good 
or fast results, so, here we are.

I'm not going to have time to do this *and* follow the list closely and 
reply to any and all questions.  But I will make a genuine effort to 
keep the list informed as I work.


As a reminder, Gemini is a new project (it only ‘feels’ old or nybrutalist) and the specification is still work in progress. Regardless, we’re an early adopter and we’re pleased to see how fast Gemini grew this past year. Having the founder back in the game (to do technical work on the specification) is icing on the cake.

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