Some backstory on recent edits to constitution.md

Dan Larimer and I sat down together today (I mostly stood) for a lightning edit round on the default Constitution. (Some additional edits are here and will be covered in a separate posting.)

The revisions from that session are visible here:

https://github.com/EOSIO/eos/commit/ab30b771efa8d5efda3f6746ebe55a2e59085fdf#diff-3e7c13a8ffaa6d097827c0124007e558

This post is to give some context to the edits, and to share my recollection of what we said and the thinking behind specific changes.

Preamble

The introductory remarks "This constitution is a multi-party contract..." is to make clear that the rest of the document is to be read as a contract between the Members.

Numbering

You'll notice that the Articles weren't re-numbered fully, which actually makes the DIFF easier to read. This was fixed in a later pull request, so don't be surprised when the thing you were referring to as Article 15 later turns into Article 12.

No Initiation of Violence

Standard libertarian thinking here, and a useful catch-all in cases people have offered elsewhere about party X threatening party Y.

False Statements

Changed wording to only prohibit false 'attestations' -- i.e. statements that you make that you explicitly tell others they can rely on as true. This reduces concerns about free speech becoming actionable, and reflects the 'CARS' approach from CACert, where one indicates which statements one is making as a 'reliable statement' that you're willing to be held liable for if other people rely on it being true.

Private Property

Reworded to make it active voice ("Members grant...") and to acknowledge the case where a referendum might lead to a change of rules that lead to a change of property ownership.

Agree to Arbitration

Changed to plural 'Members' for parallel construction, and tightened wording.

Vote Selling

Tightened wording and remove list.

No Fiduciary

Dan extended this based on significant input we've received from our lawyers, among other sources. Same purpose. Merges the old Articles V and VI, which several folks had requested.

Agreeing to Penalties

Reworded from 'reversal of transactions' to the more generic 'restitution'.

Old Arbitration Articles IX and X

Deleted as out of scope for the Constitution; these points are covered elsewhere.

Developer and License

Added 'free and open source' to this.

Multi-lingual Contracts

This article is still in flux.

Off-Chain Users

Deleted as being too obvious to need stating.

Dispute Forum

Default changed from ECAF to ICC. Rationale has been explained by Moti on Telegram and (soon) on an EOS Go posting. ECAF work continues but ICC is the placeholder until token holders can amend this Article and elevate ECAF, if they choose to do so.

Amendment

Removed list of subordinate documents.

Choice of Law

Removed Malta. Going without a terrestrial fallback.

If this was helpful, please UPVOTE. If not, please REPLY so I can improve.

Thomas Cox
blockchain governance expert - active in the EOSIO ecosystem
US: +1 503.516.3886

(all opinions are my own)

Comments

  • RomanCryptoLionsRomanCryptoLions Posts: 44 Jr. Member - 1/5 EOS Tokens

    Just for the record, I'll post the comments here that I made in the Gov Chat:

    Strongly disagree that this should be an article at all. Everything you want to cover here is covered by the right of private property.

    But there is a more serious problem.

    This whole idea of non-initiation of force is an error that lives deeply in parts of the libertarian community.

    Harm is not a binary. It is a gradient. There are many types of harm that fall short of violence. This idea of non-initiation of force is morally appealing nonsense. It's a prohibition on retaliation against a myriad of lesser offenses.

    You cannot have a justice system without the initiation of force.

    If someone steals a whole bunch of EOS, and we involve real-world authorities in trying to recover it / prosecute them, we are initiating violence.

    How about negative externalities? If a member of the EOS community is about to sell bullets to a warlord who has innocent people kneeling beside a freshly dug ditch -- that's a peaceful, voluntary transaction. Are we prohibited from initiating violence to disrupt it?

    I used to be a part of the non-aggression club. I understand it. It took me a long time to find my way out.

    I would urge you to ask yourself whether you're doing verbal gymnastics to preserve an appealing ideology: "the non-initiation of force."

    It's appealing because it's simple. Unfortunately, it isn't accurate, and you can't build a justice system on top of this idea.

    It becomes a prohibition on retaliation.

  • RomanCryptoLionsRomanCryptoLions Posts: 44 Jr. Member - 1/5 EOS Tokens

    Also, consider including a statement about standing. Who has the right to prosecute offenses of the constitution.

    I strongly suggest near-universal standing -- give all citizens above some low reputation threshold the responsibility of protecting their community.

  • SamupahaSamupaha Posts: 52 Member - 2/5 EOS Tokens

    Article I
    Members shall not initiate violence or the threat of violence against another Member.

    The constitution should be applied only to actions that happen in the EOS blockchain. Violence between account owners is a non-blockchain event so it's out of scope of the constitution.

    This article should be removed.

  • MortenMorten Posts: 27 Jr. Member - 1/5 EOS Tokens

    @thomasbcox said:

    Choice of Law

    Removed Malta. Going without a terrestrial fallback.

    I just want to clarify the consequences of this for everyone.
    Removing the reference to the laws of Malta in the constitution does not remove the need for a set of laws in arbitration. The consequence is simply that the arbitrator will have to decide which laws should be used.

    Referencing the following maxims of equity:

    2.13 Equity follows the law
    2.15 Where equities are equal, the law will prevail

    Equity exists within a legal framework (traditionally common law), and is not independent of it.
    If contracting parties do not themselves agree on a choice of law, the arbitrator will have to decide in each case.

  • freiheitfreiheit Posts: 5 Brand New

    I think that there might be a different view upon the conception of violence.

    From my perspective, we may consider violence any behaviour that is driven by the principle that "the end justifies the means".

    This kind of violence is always wrong, if one has the consciousness to understand it.

    This happens because an ethical action can only be ethical by itself, not for an external cause.

    For example, stealing money because in this way you will be able to feed people that is starving cannot be a ethical action; while, voiding a transaction that has been done without the approval of the account owner is an ethical action.

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