W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-solid@w3.org > October 2020

Re: solid.community and solidcommunity.org

From: Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2020 23:07:16 +0200
Message-ID: <CAKaEYhKpa_0_fYDhDWpBf840ieWXOK_WFaiN7vsJ=0gT60AAsw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Cc: public-solid <public-solid@w3.org>
On Sun, 11 Oct 2020 at 20:07, Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org> wrote:

> For those who are just catching up on the situation with solid.community
> and now solidcommunity.net, you can find most of the relevant information
> in my comment here:
> https://gitlab.com/solid.community/proposals/-/issues/16#note_426455085
> To summarize, the Solid community pod service is still running strong —
> data has not changed hands or switched providers. We’ve just had to switch
> domains because Melvin unilaterally chose to take the solid.community
> domain offline. The change will of course break all links to things on the
> server, and mean all its users have to switch their WebIDs, but the
> accounts are all preserved, through the efforts of Justin and Jackson from
> the Solid Project’s ‘admin’ team
> <https://github.com/solid/process/blob/master/administrators.md> - who
> have in fact had been maintaining the server and cloud environment with
> updates and bug fixes for a while. They made automated tools to make the
> transition as seamless as possible, and community members like Alain and
> others have already contributed more.
> They had to act fast because the solid.community service had been
> providing a lot of value. More than 50,000 accounts had been created over
> the years!  It was being used, for example, as a team space for the open
> source solidos project. The Solid Roadmap task tracker was there as well.
> Who knows how many other experiments and tests and projects?  I imagine
> many people joined on the assumption, from the domain name if nothing else,
> that it was a server run for the benefit of the community.
> In order to help prevent situations like this from happening in the
> future, the Solid community Pod service — including the new domain name,
> solidcommunity.net, and the servers behind it — are now properly
> administered by the Solid Admins in accordance with the Solid governance
> process <https://github.com/solid/process#administration>.
> As to the (relatively modest) running costs, the server has been funded
> since 2014 from the old Solid project at MIT.  That funding continues.
> The server, now at https://solidcommunity.net, has along with inrupt.net
> been one of the two main pod services which people typically pick when they
> want to look at solid.  This has been while the number and seriousness of
> apps and operating system frameworks they can use with it has been
> increasing. There are several other pod providers in fact, and many more
> expected, run by companies, government agencies, non-profits and
> individuals, with different expectations.  So the overall resilience of the
> solid ecosystem is in general increasing.

I would like to note that we had a grass roots team maintaining the server


You privately asked me to add Jackson and Justin, some time ago.  But I
politely declined.  They are not in our web of trust.

Your admin team here:


Contains none of our group.  And also is of a heavy inrupt bias.  If you
reply to this message, please acknowledge that.  Inrupt has its own pod too

We are not, have never been, nor ever will be part of your "solid
governance process".  We predate that, never opted in, and wish to be apart
from it.  We should be allowed to exist as such

We wanted to be grass roots.  We just wanted independence and to be able to
do our own thing, and protect user data, with our own standards

Tim, you are an inspirational technical mind, and a dear friend.  But
please appreciate that when you make a "request" it comes across more like
a "command".  Please think about the pressure that puts on someone.  It's
very difficult to say no to you.  But I would do it 100 times out of 100 if
I felt it was keeping with our responsibility to protect user data

I did not wish to take the path that you indicated.  Nor should it be
expected.  My domains, my property doesnt belong to you.  I had to fight to
get solid community to exist.  It was not your brain child, it was mine.

I trust you technically, but I dont trust you to delegate.  So I protected
user data, with our team, as ethically as long as I could, until I couldnt

It was not a knee jerk or spur of the moment decision.  I just eliminated
all impossible or unethical options.  And picked the least bad from the
remaining choices

Due to the health crisis here, where covid has spiked 2000% in the last
month, and I right am in the epicenter.  As I am extremely high risk and
due to a health crisis here, I am on strong medication and not doing well.
Running a pod in the users interest requires incredible mental effort to do
ethically.  You have to scrutinize everything, and be prepared for
everything in the pipe.  It was taking up a lot of my cycles.  So that
acted as the catalyst, and something just had to give

I would have preferred to sunset the site, but I would just have been
inviting drama of the kind we see here.  Which again, you have to
appreciate, impacts health further.

As things stood Tom asked me to switch the site back on, and I was about to
do that, but my access to the server had been revoked making it
impossible.  That is hostile.  Why was it necessary to do that.
Solid.community could have been up and running now and allowing a
transition say for the next few months.

We both made judgement calls here, and both came from the right place of
protecting users and user data.  We just disagree on the mechanism that
should take, which sometimes happens.

I wanted to explain my thought process, that the situation was more nuanced
than "X acted unilaterally"

> Tim
Received on Sunday, 11 October 2020 21:07:42 UTC

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