Cover photo

Protocols Unraveled

Trolling, Climate Catastrophe, and Research Reality

Issue 11

We are officially through the first month of the Summer of Protocols! Thus far, researchers have participated in 13 guest talks, 4 researcher-led meetings and countless hours of Discord conversation. With another month left in the bootcamp phase of the program, the calendar is bursting with more exciting guest talks, researcher meetings and the preparation for the Summer of Protocols retreat.

Our guest talk with Sarah Perry introduced the concept of weasel words in the context of scientific research, why checksums are important, and how research data can be manipulated to provide the desired results.

Renee DiResta gave an interesting talk about the evolution of internet trolling, the rise of hate speech, and the impact of changing the design of social platforms.

Dara O'Rourke gave what one researcher called, "The best climate talk I've ever seen". Topics ranged from the protocolized facilitation of carbon awareness, how to get actionable metrics to feed into existing mechanisms, and how to build a better record system through the lens of such a system built at Amazon.


Meet a Researcher - Nadia Asparouhova

Nadia Asparouhova (@nayafia) is a writer and researcher. She is the author of Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software (Stripe Press) and “Roads and Bridges: The Unseen Labor Behind Our Digital Infrastructure” (Ford Foundation). Her work has been supported by Protocol Labs, Emergent Ventures, and Schmidt Futures.


Guest Talk with Renee DiResta


From Our Discord

"And re trolls, etc, I really appreciated the non-moralizing frame. We can get mad at these people or call them moral failures, but as designer of system/protocol, they are more like pests on a farm. When you successfully concentrate value, expect pests."
- Seth Killian

Link to Discord Message


Three Links

Are We Still Thinking? - How conversation has turned into ideology (🎩: jgc)
boids - A swarm simulation using the behaviors of birds (🎩: Dorian)
Social Norms and Social Roles - An in-depth look at how behavior and policy influence society (🎩: Toby Shorin)


Upcoming Events

June 2 - Guest Talk with John Bissell
In Search of a Protocol for Matter Assembly and Disassembly at Human Scale
This talk will characterize the state of materials synthesis and chemistry, discuss the current protocol for new materials synthesis and its limitations, and survey some unconventional approaches to materials synthesis that might enable more predictable development of new chemical pathways. It'll begin with a brief overview of the models we use to predict the behavior of matter in different situations. From there, it'll walk through a specific example of a large scale existing chemical process and factors that contribute to the unpredictability of the behavior of the process to new inputs. This will lead to a discussion of alternate chemical systems and some avenues for potential future work.
Pre-Talk Reading Material
June 6 - Guest Talk with Alex Komoroske
Gardening Platforms
In this talk, Alex Komoroske, who led Chrome's Web Platform PM team for many years, discusses how to use lenses like coevolution, power dynamics, pace layers, and coordination costs to take a grounded but high-leverage approach to building protocols and platforms. The talk will dig into a selection of insights and themes from the reading material.
Pre-Talk Reading Material


Website | Discord | YouTube


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