Holochain Forum

Growing a healthy Holochain community

I am starting this thread in order to continue discussions that came out of a technical forum post that have wandered way off topic and this seemed like the most appropriate place to post.

Whilst I consider my response I am seeding the thread so others can post too without further filling up the original thread!

OK, let’s do this - to start I’m going to post a separate comment for each paragraph of your reply as they seem to be distinct topics, and if they develop into anything we can create new threads/topics/whatever-they-term-it-here

I think a good place to start, if you want, is to post your thoughts as to how to create a healthy community.

Whatever’s happened here I would certainly gain value from hearing as I spent almost 20 years in the Drupal community so can only really speak from what I saw there, much of which I can see here in some ways, hence why I am taking the initiative now to speak my voice as nobody has had the same experience as anyone else.

As for “principled understanding on how to create a healthy community” I personally didn’t know there were principled understandings, I would’ve thought it depends on context but perhaps I’m thinking too deep so let me know.

I’ll kick things off and encourage anyone else to as well, what’s the worst that can happen?! I am merely sitting on the sidelines throwing this into the air, I am not involved in keeping the lights on so my ideas are simply that, I have absolutely no idea what is going on commercially so I realise my ideas are ideals, doesn’t mean I’m going to stop voicing them though lol!

For me, it’s putting people above companies/organisations/corporations. That means putting more effort behind helping non-techs getting involved as well as ensuring if anyone’s being a dick then they’re dealt with effectively too. Whole world of difference between me typing this and actually doing it though.

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“Talk is silver, code is gold” is a quote from the earlier Drupal days, and although I feel I did what I could to bridge the gap, for example creating a “Drupal Discovery Day” event where the morning was more business-focused talks and the afternoon was a Drupal 101 workshop, and there have been thousands of people around the world making the system “easier” over the years, it’s still one of the most hated systems and if anything you need to be more technical than ever these days. That said, once people get to know it, they love it and the control it gives them to create through the UI. The big problem/barrier I see in the Drupal community is there is literally billions of dollars of business being made out of it not being easy for people to use.

As for Holochain, the only IRL events I’ve been to are at the Open Coop annual get-together in London where I met @dcatki and they had a pile of lego setups they were using for people to play with to get an understanding of what Holochain was which I thought was quite non-technical however as I’m 48 and started hacking on code when I was 9 I am not the best person to comment! I think the only way to get over this is for more people to speak up, not just wait for the self-fulfilling prophecy to fulfil itself…

I’ve seen quite a few examples of non-tech people involved in all areas like the REA accounting, the project about hospitals, and a whole host of people who bought hardware a while back who don’t - and I hope they don’t take this in a bad way if they read it - seem to me to be very technical yet hungry and excited to give it a go and are loving it, being part of something new and exciting, feeling like they’re doing their bit.

I’m trying to do my bit where I can - I came in a bit “guns a blazing” wanting to do awesome project X and super-duper world-changing code Y but the last couple of days I’ve spent using my Autistic/PDA wordplay skills to tidy up the gym training as I’ve been going through it myself and found it a bit confusing. I’m not the fastest person in the world and only done a few paragraphs so far but it’s helping me learn more about the code and language, and hopefully going to be helping others as they want to learn more about the project too. I’ve tried to think of a wider audience too, ones who perhaps haven’t coded before - in the early days of Drupal there were some amazing contributions made from non-coders from all walks of life and I think this is one area that is highly important to protect as it empowers people from all over the world to use computing to do what they want, no matter what level of resources they have. I’m highly encouraged when I see the YouTube videos of creating an app in one line of Vue code, and in the forums when I see people bringing projects in for low-code which I saw the other day.

So I do think you had a shitty experience, and I don’t think that can be changed as it’s in the past, and whilst I’ve seen it happen here and around, I’m not at the position where I think it is going to be the de facto way forward. I may be wrong, I hope not, it’s my belief if we all just join in and create our own events, help others with theirs, talk about this stuff, and so on then perhaps the vision we see in our minds of how we all want this to be will be the future, it sure ain’t gonna happen by us crossing our fingers & hoping.

If you can see past this crappy experience you had - I mean you’re still here so I presume there’s something keeping you around, then keep on doing what you did by replying to this thread and see if you can be part of the change that is obviously needed as you should not have been treated as you say you were for sure.


OK I will chip in a bit being a non-tech (basic html/.css/php only) who has been with the ‘project’ for a while now and currently participating in the elemental chat using Holoports.
First I’m not good with ‘communities’. I’m much too self obsessed to see the other person’s reality well enough and have been called a maverick as I will go my own way.
However, on this one I am happy to be on the outside of the tech and to wait for each stage to happen. Because they do happen. At least so far they have. I don’t really need an explanation of what is going on behing the curtain because I wouldn’t understand it anyway.
When the time comes I’m hopeful there will be some code to cut and paste that I can use to get a basic web page on a holoport - if I get that far I will be amazed!


LOL I love how you say non-tech followed by oh yeah but I know how to code :wink: I tried CSS once but it does my head in, I’m far more adept at logic stuff, and no front-end code has ever made any logic to me but that’s just me!

Thanks for posting your good experience with the project, it’s encouraging and although I’ve only been vocal for a short time since I kinda said my “final goodbyes” to the last project I was supporting at the end of last year, I’ve been an avid fan of this one for quite a few years and it’s been fantastic to see the pace picking up recently.

There are going to be issues growing any community and for me even if intentions aren’t what I hope they are, as long as the code is open then it’s forkable, and for that reason I place more trust in the team.

Open Source projects enable me to leverage my talents in an indirect way in order to sustain the life I want, which is very much one of a hobbyist who likes to network a lot with people doing interesting stuff in the world. They give me something interesting to chat about, and through the relationships I grow I connect people with people, people with technology, and create wealth for myself and others, and it gives me time to do the computing stuff I love.

It also helps manage my expectations, because I don’t expect anything, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to not only play with and utilise awesome technology but also get to be ‘sociable’ which doesn’t really happen much in the “real world” lol!

This was actually on my mind earlier when I was “working” on the gym docs - the thought crossed my mind “ugh, there’s not even any points, why am I bothering - is this a wise use of my time? Really, is it?”. The answer came to me pretty much in an instant: “Yes, absolutely!”. Not only am I spending hours obviously “in flow” as I read bits and realise quite how wrong what they are saying is, but I’m right there, changing it, dealing with my frustration and hopefully being productive more than sitting typing yet another long reply on the forum and seeing my picture on basically the entire page of latest forum posts lol.

I’m learning more about the API, more about Rust, more about how annoying the English language can be, more about how tricky it can be when you use the word “add” when you’re writing a tutorial about the “create” function, and just how flippin hard it is to get documentation right so it flows. Today’s “nightmare” has been the word “content” used as a field name which I’ve now proposed changing to “greeting_text” as I found it confusing.

Anyway, I feel actually it’s quite good that there isn’t a defined system in place. In the Drupal world there wasn’t for years, then they brought in points, and it works - a bit, in issue queues people give each other credit for participating, it’s starting to spread now to more non-tech stuff, but is also easily gamed, I don’t believe it’s efficient in terms of things like the commercial side and like the street where they took all the traffic signs and markings out, people ended up taking more care.

Particularly in a project where there’s a lot of emphasis on the creation of new currencies I believe there will be mutual credit currencies and all sorts by the community and it may be an area you want to look into if you feel there is a need you want to address. I am sure there are, and I’ve thought a lot about this over the years but especially given what’s happened over the last year or so I honestly don’t think there’s anything more to do than connect with my heart and know that I am doing this for me, and the minute it becomes a burden and not fun is the minute I do something different. That’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but they have the freedom as you do to change it and create the world you want to see, not the one you’re waiting for that may never arrive, because it only exists in your mind and everyone has free will etc. etc.

In summary of this rant, much like the conversation that happened a few days ago talking about how value can be measured in commons-based peer production, forests, common resources, etc. I think people including myself are projecting their own beliefs and fear on things that are simply not clear, and by being open about these we can hopefully move on and past them in order to grow the healthy Holochain community!

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I forgot to mention the main point here, the reciprocity I get is free awesome technology. I still can’t get over the fact I can download this stuff and build whatever I want with it.

My incentive is I get to live the life I choose to live. If anything, a point-based reality would do the opposite, I’d forever be Pacman…!

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I have been wondering if anyone is planning on building an art gallery?

You’d probably get a better response creating a new topic for this one I feel @Pathecat

…here’s a good place to post I reckon:


How do you envisage a model that would foster a healthy Holochain community?

Lisa Welchman gave a keynote on Governance at the 2013 DrupalCon Prague and detailed a very important point about communities and how as they grow there is a point where they turn from being organic into being fixed, and what usually happens is because the community don’t stand up for themselves and “lay down the law” so to speak then other entities do it for them, the opportunity is gone and all because we don’t like telling other people what to do necessarily whereas organisations and other interested parties have no problem in pushing their own agendas.

At the time Lisa said it would be awesome if the Drupal community could prove everyone wrong. They didn’t. Can we? Is it already too late and the story is as “dark” as I feel from the way you express your experiences so far? In all honesty, it probably is, but I don’t think it’s a given that it is 100% intended to be like that, it might be that another way hasn’t appeared or been created yet. This is our/your/everyone’s chance now, it sure ain’t gonna happen automatically.

We have to learn how to collaborate more on both the code and the business side of things, people have been raised into a competitive environment and a service-to-self world whereas the future is in service-to-others. Not all over the world, for sure, that’s one thing I learned in my travels that once I’m out of the UK and especially in places across Europe there’s a lot more people collaborating.

Lisa’s keynote was in 2013, ten years after I first started using Drupal and right up until I finally quit trying at the end of last year I kept being told they didn’t want to be a member of my business network. They never complained when I brought them profitable projects though.

Even the councils in the UK are starting to collaborate, we were holding meetings about that ten years ago and they weren’t listening to our efforts back then but nice to see they’re finally sharing code. Bit late IMHO though. Still proud I got Brighton Council off Coldfusion onto Drupal though lol!

So, what do you, or anyone else reading this, see as a way forward - there’s no harm in posting ideas and dreams here. In the Drupal world you have the Drupal Association, for which back in 2012 I was the first ever community-elected Director of, and IMHO it’s a top-down structure that in some ways helps - big corporations mostly, but also people tend to expect way too much of it, which is why I always wanted to build a Virtual Enterprise Network (a book by Ken Thompson, his work like Bioteams is based similarly on how nature works like the holochain project is). I feel similar will emerge here, and with the Holo-REA project I believe it will be different and far more effective, but it will take time and grow naturally as opposed to saying “we need governance model X”. But that’s just my 2p.


As far as I know it’s a private company who are creating a hosting service which in turn helps to fund a purely code project run by a few mates and they’re giving the code away for free. Maybe I am missing something but that’s a pretty cool thing to do for the world and the advancement of the human race. All I can think is if you think there’s something missing, well here’s the forums, you are as you have done, as able as I am to voice your opinion, suggest ideas and solutions and be part of what you see.

As above, if you believe it’s a problem then post a solution. And keep on posting until either a) you decide the project is not for you, or b) you become part of co-creating what you see as from what I see there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with everything you say, it just hasn’t been done yet for one reason or another.

Why not? It’s happening because I brought up a topic and it triggered you into responding, and we’re developing it - that surely is the definition of growing a healthy Holochain community?!

Drupal has 20 years experience of building systems for issues, there’s currently 99,918 issues for Drupal Core. That’s not to mention the few thousand modules, themes, and so on. This is not a unique issue. Again I say dive in, suggest a way forward. Propose a system for a problem you see, and if the response is “naff off we don’t want your crazy talk of all this stuff” then for sure, complain, but at the moment I still haven’t seen much more than a crappy experience at an event and a current view of a community where you’re still around and interacting with after this crappy event and obviously with some knowledge and expertise and passion in these areas, so all I can suggest is keep on trying, create some posts with some actionable solutions, again I may be wrong and wasting my time, but I’m choosing like you to be here, so with that, it’s now 3.20am and I think I’m gonna go try get some kip, thanks for your post, it’s a step forward, we’re opening up discussions and even if it’s a little “loud” then so be it, there’s obviously issues that need addressing and ignoring them isn’t going to make them disappear, the only thing that will disappear will be the community.

I agree it is a cool project, however being “cool” doesn’t inoculate you from acting according to international business norms. I’ve attempted to solve my issues at the lowest levels possible and outside of written format because I’m a fan of the project.

Before being cut out of the Dev Camp and all other “open” meetings, I was told “As a white woman from a predominantly white organization, to you a white man; I’m asking you not to speak about Holochain in your African projects, we dont want you as the face of Holochain in Africa.” Mind you this took place during the zeitgeist of the race protests of last year.

Flags should be raised any time someone is talking about their skin color or ethnic make up in a professional setting.

Upon reporting this to what “higher ups,” I was told the team doesnt not agree with “white saviors,” and no foul was noted. So, you can preach how cool the project is till you’re blue in the face, but as long as skin color plays part of “unofficial policy” then I can’t follow you down your logic that fair play runs this community.

I’ve brought investors to this community that were blown off…all the while witnessing my “peers” get special access and attention. I’ve asked for investor support in the forum to deaf ears, I’ve reached out to core team members for backing with investors and was told “anyone investing in a company with a business plan based on a product that doesnt exist is stupid.” I’m not sure Sid’s investors are dismissed in such as way.

If I’m on the “outside,” then that is evidence there is an “inside.”

So, here I am up at 2am triggered again because I know my skin color and background put me at a disadvantage in this community that I can’t overcome. I have to operate with less information than my peers and have to overcome more obstacles than those who the team does agree with their skin color and where they work.

If past behavior is truly the best indicator of future behavior, raising this issue will only serve to further isolate me. Even less engagement, no chance at being invited to the “cool kids” club.

I don’t think I said that, what I have been saying is it is what it is and we are fully aware of the fact we are on the outside and that there is an inside.

I agree there seems to be some answers needed for what you say has gone on, I am not sure how forthcoming they will be though.

It does make me wonder why you’re still sticking around though - if they did to me what you say they’ve done to you I’d be half way to Timbuktu by now…

Im still around because this isn’t a hobby–I have real communities that can’t manage waste, pay high health and wealth costs to have electricity, and can benefit from this tech.

Further, I’m was an early user of Palantir…which is a data-centric version of Holo-REA. My years of participating and building automated processes in that software gives me a vision of how apps will “evolve” over being developed from afar. The best hApps will come from intimate knowledge of the tools capabilities and the specific on the problem on the ground. Palantir developers would sit next to us in Afghanistan and the pentagon to automate our analysis process. Useful tools could never be generated from the HQ building and pushed to the frontlines. I dont see many people in the community that understand what REA is doing, much less have years experience working with a software that measures relationships. Understanding the value flows in such a system is what makes translating Game A investment dollars difficult into Game B terms.

Prioritizing the poor in tech was a bad strategy, this industry is notoriously centered upon solving their own problems. As a social scientist I sit back and reflect on how bad of an idea it was to present people of color to rural, high-altitude tech Americans…those are demographic hurtles I now see are too difficult to overcome.

Because the community is in direct competition with itself over limited resources of money and knowledge–none of the “woke” people that observed this all happen stood up for what was right and kept their doors open. They stand to gain from less competition in the community, which made them forget their values and follow along blindly.


The whole of what you wrote above has been troubling me, in particular:

As someone who spent most their adult life in very multicultural areas - being the only white person on the street in East London and having to deal with the stares as people thought I was breaking into my own home lol, living in Bradford and loving learning about cooking with spices, and most recently Brighton for almost a decade where you have to be pretty out there to be noticed as ‘normal’ lol I do not and cannot comprehend what it is like where you are talking about, so I don’t know the story.

I have experienced many different cultures also through the Open Source community, and I have seen examples, like really bad examples, of things that shouldn’t go on but do, and I feel it is better to discuss these out in the open and I respect you for doing that, it’s obviously an issue but I still feel there is something a little amiss as whilst you keep referring to the race issue emotionally you state the gender issue in a factual way “she” said this, and then you added in the next sentence a “mind you”, so we have a 95% “this is really really bad” and 5% “but there is this small thing that might be a catalyst for saying this really really bad thing”.

Are you totally sure that this was meant as bad as it sounds or could it have been communicated in a really bad way at the time, or is it a general view and we do have a problem that should be addressed? Maybe I’m too much of a sucker, but I just get the feeling that this is a bad thing that happened that could’ve been handled better and perhaps some more education and closer communication in the future could help.

I know this is tough but we really are all one energy and must push through these issues that to me seem as if they need bringing to the light of day in order to show we can deal with them as a community, “inside” or “outside”.

We also have to remember that people deal with people, and if people don’t get on there’s not much you can do to change that, it’s not something that can be forced, but also not something you should hide in the background and ignore either.

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The message was clear that I was kicked out because they have strong feelings about white people working in Africa. I had her put it in an email, which she softened the tone but you can tell it was total back-peddling. However, when reporting it up the chain, they did put in written form that they dont agree with “white saviorism.”

the stereotype they maintain is known as the “Dark Continent” stereotype–the belief that African societies are not capable of multiculturalism. That Africa is a place only for black peoples–When in fact the continent is very diverse.

it was horrible when it happened and worse when I reported it and wasn’t taken seriously. What happened to believing people when they are victims of racism and exploitation? and now its in a public forum and still no response or engagement.

People of color (I’m Mexican and if you remember I brought a group of people of color to the Dev Camp) were excluded due to skin color and when it was reported no one believed those reporting and circled the wagons around those who committed the offense.

is anyone listening?

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Yes, and eagerly awaiting some kind of response from someone else, because I agree, I don’t believe this would be a good way forward and unlike you although I love the idea of the technology, I cannot and will not support such raving lunacy as it seems completely opposite to the promoted intentions of the project.

But that would probably please them, ignoring is a well-used trait.

It would be good to hear the other side of the story though, as I’m sure anyone else reading this would like to know too, perhaps @bear or @dcatki or even @artbrock would be so kind as to comment, I find this highly disturbing.



In 2017 I interviewed Matt Shutte on my podcast. In the first quarter of 2018 I wrote a white paper of an energy use case using Holochain (seriously, who was writing Holochain white papers like that at that time?). My paper and efforts were ignored then and out came Red Grid–all white male team that never produced any electricity.

Why was Red Grid given special attention well after I presented my paper? Ohhh, again, their skin color matches the team and their worldview.


I hear you, but haven’t been involved in the interactions your referencing so can’t speak for the folks who were. I’ll look into it and find out more though.