Re: A Quick Note on WebID history

> On 13. Aug 2021, at 01:02, bergi <> wrote:
> Am 10.08.21 um 22:40 schrieb Henry Story:
>> There was a vote on Hash URLs and 303 and I supported keeping things
>> simple and efficient with hash urls, as Tim Berners-Lee would have
>> preferred, and I lost, so we allowed both.
> I remember that call very well. There was a majority, and there was your
> position. You claimed that you, as a chair, can make the decision. A
> discussion with you was impossible. The rest of the call was about you
> acting like a dictator, how we can remove you as a chair or if we should
> close the group. Maybe I'm a little bit picky, but that's not the way I
> want to work in a CG.

The issue had been voted at TPAC with Tim Berners-Lee present, and on
his suggestion, by a large majority. We also voted on removing
the abstraction from URIs down to URLs, which I had allowed
to enter the discussion after being pressured by some folks on it,
and which end up using up a lot of our time.

I imagine someone will say: but look that is what DIDs ended up doing: 
they generaliseto DID URIs instead of URLs! Yes, and 

1. that took another 10 years nearly to get done, and 
2. was a massive effort. 
3. it shows that us not doing it did not stop anyone else from doing it: 
   DIDs and WebIDs can work very well together. 

Our aim was to be able to start building decentralised social networks 
as soon as possible.

For hash URLs I tried to stick with Tim Berners-Lee’s vote which
I think is the right efficient way to do things. But we
went to a second formal vote on that and I and Tim lost the vote.

So the issue was one of one vote versus another vote, and trying to
keep the group on track to get this finished. Democracy is just not a
simple process. Furthermore this is an engineering project, which 
is evaluated not by the people in the room voting for it, but by 
the number of users.

There were then very many other reasons for why it was nearly impossible
to get the project to a final standard. You can ask Manu Sporny about
just how much trouble he had with some very vocal people (who you can
be sure where always shooting out loud about democracy, revolution, will
of the people etc…) who were trying to undermine his project at every step 
of the way. 

My thought was simple: let us build implementations, and we will prove
the value of what we have done with deployments. Because in the end
it is not who is in a mailing list that counts: it is how many millions
of people are using a system, because they like the deployments they are
using. And that is not at all an easy thing to do, as I think you can imagine.

Finally, we ended up having the problem of keygen being removed from
Chrome, which made things very complicated. I spent a few weeks
trying to argue with the Chrome developers not to remove that,
and had the support from many others. But there was no argument that
was going to work there. They even refused to discuss it with 
Tim Berners-Lee. That is the power reality on the ground. There is what
a Google team says and does, and that is pretty much the end of
the matter. 

Anyway, WebID-TLS as a result is not going to work long term. I was
hoping there could be improvements made to TLS that would overcome our
problems, but they were not made, even though they were attempted 
(But of course not in this forum). 

The other WebID spec is just a definition that is used by Solid to allow 
hyper-apps to work, and to which we can attach other methods of 
identification. So the Solid projects is really the one using WebIDs
on a daily basis now.

Henry Story
WhatsApp, Signal, Tel: +33 6 38 32 69 84‬ 
Twitter: @bblfish

Received on Friday, 13 August 2021 05:24:30 UTC