W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-credentials@w3.org > July 2021

Re: VC-HTTP-API - A follow up on the RAR presentation

From: Daniel Hardman <daniel.hardman@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2021 21:01:47 +0200
Message-ID: <CACU_chnRnQ4=F50Et=gWsNd+QiWz0=dGRAV-v4n881Wo=Tg97Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: Dave Longley <dlongley@digitalbazaar.com>
Cc: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>, "public-credentials (public-credentials@w3.org)" <public-credentials@w3.org>
First of all, huzzah! to Moses for being positive and complimentary. And
thank you for the chuckle about the lambo.

Thank you, too, Dave, for your clarification. I apologize if my comment
came across as impugning your motives. It appears that this was the case,
at least for some readers, and I regret it.

As far as Dave's analysis, I agree with parts, and disagree with parts. But
debating it won't be constructive at this point, so I'll just let it stand
as an intelligent POV that I can't fully align with..

My larger point -- and what got me feeling defensive -- was about the
narrative that there have been no crisp articulations of power imbalance
concerns with this group's approach to standardizing credential exchange.
That is simply not true. There *have* been crisp articulations with clear
examples and concrete counter-proposals. I thought my suggestion
was modest: to reframe the design space as broader than HTTP -- WITHOUT
asking anyone to implement a single line of non-HTTP functionality. (And I
thought I framed my suggestion not as an "Occupy!" one, but in terms of the
need to integrate VCs with offline digital cash -- a need being
investigated by an estimated 70% of the world's governments right now
Yet I think I was still seen as a wild-eyed revolutionary. Sigh.)

The group chose not to accept my ideas, and I suppose that's a legitimate
outcome since majority rules. But having made that choice, it is unfair to
now claim ignorance to the tradeoffs that have been made. All the issues
that Adrian is mentioning are tradeoffs implied by the HTTP-centric
approach you chose. The narrative that should ensue is "We've given these
concerns a fair hearing and chosen not to address them," rather than the
narrative I was hearing.


On Thu, Jul 8, 2021 at 7:39 PM Dave Longley <dlongley@digitalbazaar.com>

> On 7/8/21 6:55 AM, Daniel Hardman wrote:
> > Indeed, the way I received Dave Longley's response to my concern was
> > essentially, "I don't care about those problems because they're not use
> > cases of my customers. If somebody besides online institutions wants a
> > standard for credential exchange, let them find their own money and
> > write their own standard." (Note my careful language "the way I
> > received" -- I may have received it wrong. I'm not claiming my
> > perception is objective reality--only that I received it that way.)
> You did receive it wrong and I'm sorry for miscommunicating my point.
> Unfortunately, it was at the end of the call so there was no time for
> clarification. We all want a more equitable future. I do ask for more
> assumption of good intentions on the behalf of others here. This future
> is important to all of us -- despite your comment that made it seem like
> I did not care. I just think my approach is more likely to see success
> than how I perceive what you presented as an alternative.
> My point was:
> 1. Funding sources for new technology will go elsewhere if you put too
> much of a burden in front of them. Then no progress toward our common
> goals will be made.
> 2. I believe we are more likely to see success when we work to evolve
> existing ecosystems rather than try to invent separate ones that must
> be adopted wholesale ("build it and they will come"). We must make the
> on-ramp slope flat enough to ensure newer, more equitable technologies
> are adopted by existing companies and users.
> 3. People are asking others to do free work and/or take on very high
> risk for them -- and they seem to be unaware of it ("*you* build it and
> they will come"). Telling those people that they *only* care about money
> and/or "institutional customer" use cases comes across to me as cheap
> virtue signalling and, I'm sure to others, as offensive.
> Every little piece of SSI technology that is adopted by existing
> companies helps change the culture to support more SSI technology. To
> me, that means we need to have an architecture that allows that sort of
> adoption.
> If "SSI technology" is just a giant stack that you have to embrace all
> at once -- I think we will fail. I *do* say to people who rigidly
> believe that's the only way forward -- to find their own funding and
> create their own standard. That part of what I said you may have
> received correctly, but the above context wasn't fully there. Hopefully
> it is clearer now. I, for one, will not work on an approach that I think
> ultimately harms our shared cause. That does not mean that I question
> the motives of those taking that approach.
> Slow progress is not failure. In fact, it is often the only alternative
> to no progress at all. I believe that it's easy to create barriers
> in software design that are high enough to cause entire projects to
> collapse on their own weight, resulting in no progress. It is especially
> easy to do this when there is insufficient focus on creating near term
> value. This is how I view some of the technological offerings I've seen
> in this space.
> It isn't that I think their end goal isn't laudable -- it's that I think
> those approaches are more likely to be *barriers* to achieving those
> goals rather than catalysts.
> In short, the way you received my comment was the opposite from how I
> intended it -- and for my poor choice of words, I apologize.
> --
> Dave Longley
> Digital Bazaar, Inc.
Received on Thursday, 8 July 2021 19:04:14 UTC

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