Better Open-Source With Tokenized Github

In the light of the recent news, I wanted to share an idea I had just recently.

Every popular open-source project on Github eventually becomes overwhelmed by the number of issues. That’s because it’s so easy to create one. You are not required to understand the project. You are not required to read the documentation. All you need is a Github account.

And this is an example of the amplification attack. By the very essence, the number of people maintaining the project is much much less than the number of people using it. Plus, very often, maintainer’s time costs more than time of a person who created an issue (e.g. a person, who’s new to crypto, trying to write his first smart-contract). Again, there is no protection against this kind of behaviour. Note I am not saying you don’t have to be kind and welcoming to new people.

There are some ways companies seem to have adopted over time:

  1. Ignore the issue and close it after some inactivity period (Google).
  2. Spend your valuable time on every issue (Ruby on Rails issue team).
  3. Ban specific users

Yet there is a new idea circulating around crypto sphere. Why don’t introduce crypto-economics into open-source?

Suppose user A wants to create an issue. She pays X tokens to create it. The maintainers review it, and if they think it’s valuable, user A gets her tokens back plus some bonus maybe (if the issue uncovers a huge bug).

The grand idea is to align the incentives so a person is incentivized to spend her time (reading documentation, searching StackOverflow, etc.) before spending maintainer’s time.

And it can’t be done as a Chrome plugin (opposite to Gitcoin). It needs to be hard-coded into the platform.

Maybe that’s what oscoin is planning to do. I don’t know. Not sure if we need decentralised Github, at least in it’s open-source part. But it’s possible people will switch to such platform because their private repositories will be there.

But I am convinced we deserve better Github for open-source projects.

Projects mentioned:

  • Gitcoin enables new forms of incentivization.
  • oscoin provides infrastructure for hosting & collaboration.

Anton Kaliaev

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Ulyanovsk, Russia http://homeonrails.com