Core Peer-2-Peer Collaboration Principles

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Project initiated by Ryan Lanham


Section 1: Toward a Peer to Peer (p2p) Ethos

Borrowing from the Wikipedia article on ethos [1]:

There are three categories of ethos, which, if followed in the situation of speaking, could help develop a high ethos:

  • phronesis - practical skills & wisdom
  • arete - virtue, goodness
  • eunoia - goodwill towards the audience.

Each of these components is relevant to what is included in Section 1 with the adaptation that they apply not to rhetorical speaking but rather to p2p interactions. That is, the eunoia component of this ethos is not so much goodwill toward the audience but goodwill toward others who may benefit in future from a p2p interaction.

This ethos is meant to be normative. It is not an appropriate document to be used authoritatively as rules or as a basis of governance.

Article 1. P2P Interactions

A. High quality p2p interactions exist between peers. Peers typically recognize and interact with each other without reference to rank or hierarchies.

B. Peers' willingness to interact is not primarily linked to external controls. External controls might include, for example, prestige in undertaking an interaction, financial gain, or duty.

C. P2P interactions are not amoral or value neutral. The p2p ethos embodies trying to act with goodness and goodwill as well as practical skill and wisdom.

D. Peer interactions are judged qualitatively superior if linked to serving (and be served by) contributions to a commons.

E. Another measure of quality is the contribution to mission critical functionality for efforts that save lives, advance learning and understanding, enable sustainable economic processes or otherwise support or enable key components of the public good as openly understood in free, deliberative and collaborative societies.

F. These interactions attempt to minimize mediating forces or organizations. Hierachies that impose organizational or governance on p2p interactions that are otherwise consistent with social standards and laws are not appropriate to the ethos.

G. A p2p ethos is inconsistent with the purposeful extraction of value from interactions when no value is contributed directly. Simply enabling future actions is not a creation of p2p value worthy of repeated compensation.

H. What to avoid: P2P specifically does not aim to circumvent human rights, democratically enacted laws, rightfully established organizational controls, or legitimate claims of property in force. Rather, p2p seeks to build and expand common resources that are expressly free, open, collaborative and mutually beneficial.

Article 2. Recognition of the Commons

A. Concepts such as Open Access, Open Source, Open Content, Creative Commons, Science Commons and their supporting frameworks are consistent with the core principles of p2p.

B. While not specifically non-commercial, p2p interactions recognize the value and ideal of expanding shared and freely available resources particularly related to knowledge and information. Commercial gains are more consistent with p2p when they benefit entities that are inclined themselves to participate in more frequent p2p interactions.

C. Attribution and acknowledgment of contributions are consistent with p2p, and the development of peer-reviewed reputations and ratings can be consistent with a p2p ethos.

D. Missuse, overuse, abuse or sabotage of commons can in no way be consistent with a valid p2p ethos. Mutual trust is a necessary and valued component of p2p participation.

E. What to avoid: P2P interactions should avoid a permission culture. That is, private copyrights, trade secrets, intellectual property boundaries or other boundaries between attributed contributions are actively discouraged.

Article 3: Economic Theories

A. P2P is not associated or disassociated with any particular economic theory such as capitalism or socialism.

B. It is possible that p2p represents its own framework of economic theory most closely aligned with what have been considered barter and exchange economies.

C. Implementations of alternative currencies, open money and modes of exchange that do not necessitate governments, central banks or state-based regulatory authorities represent core elements of a p2p ethos.

D. What to avoid: P2P is not a transaction-based mode of exchange. Optimization of trades and exchanges for personal gain is not consistent with a p2p ethos.

Article 4: Moral Foundations

A. P2P interactions are considered qualitatively superior if they advantage larger, open and sharing communities.

B. The ideas associated with sustainable production or sustainable operation of production resources are at the root of a p2p ethos. Introducing ideas of carbon neutrality or sequestration, recycling and avoidance of adverse social or environmental impacts is an esteemed principle of the p2p ethos.

C. P2P transactions are not appropriate mediated by political, social, gender, sex or religious biases. Interactions occur openly without respect to identities or group participation by peers in other aspects of their lives. Free expression is a valued right, not a privilege. A high burden of proof exists for any entity that judges peer to peer interactions as a threat to the state, the peace, or common decency.

D. Transparent execution of transactions in the full view of any party is consistent with the best ideals of a p2p ethos.

E. Where resources are allocated or invested in those who might contribute to a p2p framework, openness of selection processes, transparent decision criteria and inclusive capacity to participate as a candidate for selection are core principles.

F. P2P interactions are not biased against bots, transhumanist beings, AI, other species or forms of intelligence that can act as peers if it is reasonable to recognize such participants as peers in the context of an interaction.

G. What to avoid: Peers should avoid pre-judging counter parties based on affiliations, ranks, or associations unless those associations specifically address competence or capacity associated with the aspects of a particular p2p interaction.

Article 5: Science and Technology

A. Evidence-based scientific facts, sound technical assessments and fact-based risk evaluations are esteemed as core p2p principles.

B. Access to information, information appliances, computers, cellular services, networks and raw data is paramount. Schemes to reduce, tax or limit interactions, open information access or sharing (particularly of digital resources in the commons) are preposterous to the p2p ethos.

Section 2: Recommended Means of Governance for p2p Projects, Frameworks or Networks

First principle: Governance exists to enable stable, smooth operations of p2p interactions. It does not exist for external financial, political or rhetorical aims. Thus governance is not "over" p2p transactions, but in service to them. Regulatory functions are protective of peer interactions executed without widely destructive results or malicious intent.