(Re)building the Cryptoparty Community

January 03, 2013

"Assume good faith" - (rule 0 of every community)

The saddest thing about the recent events involving Cryptoparty and 29C3 is that I have yet to notice a single discussion which was constructive. 29C3 was the first chance for the Cryptoparty community to meet in a physical place and discuss how to evolve from there. We had that chance, and we blew it.

The 29C3 Cryptoparty itself was actually quite fun, and even though we were essentially preaching to the choir, it was a good experience. There was a good discussion on the first day sharing experiences and knowledge from various Cryptopartae. We also had some productive hours of discussing how we should continue work on the Cryptoparty Handbook. Alas, we should've done more than that. The setting was toxic - despite people keeping a straight face, everyone knew there's something wrong.

The Cryptoparty community has just started to take form. The social connections have just started to take place. Up until now, we just had the Cryptoparty meme - symbolized by a hashtag bearing the same name - and some local meetups. We have just barely started to form global connections and extrapolate the collective knowledge into further projects and long-term goals. For me, that was one of the main goals of meeting the people behind Cryptoparty at 29C3.

What we got instead was a shitstorm of rage and anger, rendering the environment completely non-productive. If the goal is to make for some juicy gossip on teh twitterz, we're definitely winning. But let's not delude ourselves that this is some form of constructive community action.

I applaud all who participate in the 140-character-free-for-all - it definitely satisfied my primal need for some good gossip. At the end of the day, it's pretty easy to discern who in the community is actually interested in building shit and spreading crypto through honest constructive discussion.

Key members of the Cryptoparty community are well aware of my stance on certain issues of the past two weeks, as I have approached them directly and let them know of my concerns and views. I see no use in discussing these recent events in public, since none of them have anything to do - whatsoever - with building the Cryptoparty community.

I hope that by the time 30C3 occurs, we - as a community - can show significant progress not only in our efforts to spread the use of crypto, but in the way we handle communications between ourselves, with honesty and respect.