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Dat Project Updates: Focusing Our Goals & Community Structure

Over the last few years, Dat Project has grown from a tool for data transfer to a wider community building peer-to-peer applications. We are continually impressed and excited about the work being done in our community. As the community has grown its needs have changed; to better support and sustain the Dat community, we'll shift our governance and priorities in these areas:

  • Code for Science & Society (CSS), a nonprofit, and Dat Project, an open source project, will have separate governance structures and leadership.
  • Dat will be led and governed with an open source structure through community working groups.
  • The Dat Project will focus on building and maintaining a small core of software that:
    • Effortlessly synchronizes data between many computers.
    • Makes it really easy to build decentralized applications.

These changes are motivated by seeing what has been working in the Dat community and being open to what needs to be improved for the health of the project. We really like people experimenting with different ways to use Dat and the commitment to creating value-driven decentralized software. We do not like how confusing it can be to get into the Dat ecosystem and the ambiguity over what is supported. We hope these changes improve these hurdles and continue to foster a growing Dat community.

CSS & Dat Project Organizational Structure #

The biggest structural change is that Dat and Code for Science & Society (the nonprofit that supports Dat) will have separate governance frameworks. The needs, mission, and responsibilities of the nonprofit are different from those of Dat. Dat is an open source project, that needs to sustain a community and provide leadership paths to outside contributors. Our structure has served us so far, but to maintain transparency and focus for both organizations we see the value in separating the governance and leadership.

CSS Involvement in Dat: #

  • Code for Science & Society will continue to fiscally sponsor Dat Project.
  • CSS will also sponsor related projects that use Dat, such as ScienceFair.
  • CSS will continue to build tools with Dat, such as DatBase and software for Dat in the Lab, focused on advancing the CSS mission.

Dat Open Source Governance #

We are prioritizing leadership and governance structures around the Dat Project, community governance, and underlying protocol specification in the coming months.

  • To support the strategy and vision for Dat Project, we will create an open source governance team, led by core Dat Project members and long-time outside contributors. This group will also be involved in financial and legal decisions regarding the Dat Project.
  • To advance the protocol development and third-party implementations, we have convened a Dat Protocol Working Group. This group will document all aspects of the Dat specification and make protocol decisions moving forward.
  • To uphold community values and foster a welcoming community, we will create a working group of community members to uphold the Code of Conduct.

In creating these leadership teams and working groups, we aim to ensure a wide variety of stakeholders are involved in strategic and technical decisions. Additionally, we want to provide a pathway to leadership for people from a variety of organizations and with various backgrounds and types of professional expertise.

Dat Project Core Focus #

We set out to improve access to public data and created a new protocol along the way. In our work on developing Dat, we found a under-served need. Decentralized software has potential to return control of digital information to the people. Today, building peer-to-peer applications presents both technical and ethical challenges but Dat is slowly changing that. Through projects such as Beaker Browser and Dat-based collaborative tools (e.g. Pixel Pusher), our community has demonstrated the promise of a new model for digital tools.

To encourage people to experiment and innovate with decentralized technology, we aim to make Dat foundational software for peer-to-peer applications – one that is backed by a mission-driven nonprofit. To realize this future, we want to make sure Dat is really good at the core underlying needs of peer-to-peer applications. We hope that with our small but critical focus, we can create a strong building block for the Dat ecosystem.

As always, feedback welcome! #

There has been great discussion and feedback from our community around these issues, and we want to thank everyone! Let us know if you have questions on Twitter or via email (hi@datproject.org).