Meeting Minutes
DSNP Advisor Summit
March 7, 2024
MIT Media Lab
Cambridge, Mass.


  1. Recap, objectives, agenda, organizational updates and upcoming events
  2. Governance Working Group (G-WG) update and discussion
  3. Discussion: trade-offs in DSNP vs. other protocols/ecosystems, and articulation
  4. Discussion with Tomicah Tillemann
  5. Breakout sessions:
    1. Designing DSNP governance: aligning incentives for good and fair participation
    2. What approaches can help facilitate the goal of preventing harm within a decentralized system?
  6. Technical specification roadmap/discussion
  7. Summary and closing


  1. Tomicah Tillemann (TT), President, Project Liberty (remote)
  2. Erik Suhonen (ES), Project Liberty Foundation
  3. Wes Biggs (WB), Project Liberty Foundation
  4. Sarah Nicole (SN), Project Liberty Foundation
  5. Braxton Woodham (BW), Amplica Labs (remote)
  6. Harry Evans (HE), Amplica Labs
  7. Dave Clark (DC), DSNP Advisor
  8. Larry Lessig (LL), DSNP Advisor
  9. Deb Roy (DR), DSNP Advisor
  10. Wendy Seltzer (WS), DSNP Advisor
  11. Sara Wedeman (SW), DSNP Advisor (remote)
  12. Sandy Pentland (SP), DSNP Advisor (remote)
  13. Wes Chow (WC), DSNP Advisor Team
  14. Thomas Hardjono (TH), DSNP Advisor Team
  15. Maggie Little (ML), Ethics Lab
  16. Jonathan Healy (JH), Ethics Lab

Meeting Summary:

Recap, objectives, agenda, organizational updates and upcoming events

The meeting was called to order at 9:00am by ES.

ES reviewed progress since the last meeting, as well as meeting objectives.

ES discussed the goals and some initial logistics for the upcoming Project Liberty Foundation Summit, co-hosted by Harvard and MIT on April 18-19. All advisors were invited to attend.

BW gave an overview of projects completed and roadmapped for Amplica Labs. Some key items progressed in 2023 were Frequency Access, a tool for Web 2 to web3 onboarding, which had successfully been rolled out and opted in to by over 600,000 MeWe users so far, and a universal handle system. He noted that legal frameworks for decentralized business models were still evolving, so more effort was required to orchestrate sustainable models than would be the case for a Web 2 platform. He discussed the focus for 2024 on decentralization of the ecosystem, including programs to enable and incentivize participation in governance by individual users.

Governance Working Group (G-WG) update and discussion

SN and WS updated participants on progress on the DSNP Governance Framework and Spec Development Process documents. The draft governance document prescribes a multi-stakeholder steering committee as a point of escalation, but envisions that most normal spec evolution items can be discussed and incorporated without escalation.

SN noted that the spec development process will be presented on the public DSNP community call on March 8.

Discussion: trade-offs in DSNP vs. other protocols/ecosystems, and articulation

DR explained his request for further documentation and talking points to answer questions about DSNP, including how it compares with alternatives in the broader federated/decentralized social space.

DC noted that MIT grad student David Karger had co-written a detailed analysis of social media affordances across a number of services. He shared the paper’s URL in a later email:

WB showed several slides with initial thinking from Amplica Labs about differentiation, and offered this as a starting point.

WC was volunteered to chair the Comparative Analysis Working Group (CA-WG).

Discussion with Tomicah Tillemann

The group had a collegial discussion with Project Liberty President TT. Topics discussed included the structure of Project Liberty, the various decision-making bodies and entities it comprises, and the structure of the non-profit and commercial entities relevant to the DSNP ecosystem.

Breakout sessions:

Group A: Designing DSNP governance: aligning incentives for good and fair participation

The first group discussed the proposed stakeholder groups for DSNP specification governance, and considered if there were scenarios where the structures could become beholden to special interests.

The general sense from the discussion was that the multi-stakeholder model disincentivizes some types of manipulative behavior seen in other standards bodies. However, the group acknowledged that each stakeholder group was responsible for defining its own policies and process for representation, and that this could lead to challenges in motivation for participants.

In the following discussion, DR asked about facilities for excluding certain participants.

The group also discussed how IP would be licensed. WB shared that the current license attached to the specification repository content was Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. WS noted that there were some complexities in this license. WB took an action to research why this particular license had been selected, and if anyone at Labs had strong feelings about its continued use versus other Creative Commons license options.

Group B: What approaches can help facilitate the goal of preventing harm within a decentralized system?

DC gave a presentation on his ideas about the approach to talking about preventing harm. He argued that while the DSNP specification focuses on the affordances necessary at the consensus system level, to connect the protocol to this goal would require more definition at the layer of social media applications and supporting services. He proposed that an ecosystem architecture working group should be convened, not to specify interfaces, but to specify what types of interfaces should exist.

In the following discussion, LL raised a question on the types of business models that would be enabled or encouraged by the ecosystem.

Technical specification roadmap/discussion

WB gave an overview of specification workstreams, focused on work in the area of attestation. The specification proposal contemplates both first and third party attestations, and attestations for both user identities and social content, covering use cases such as proof of personhood, public credentials, content provenance, content tagging, account tagging, and interaction proofs such as proof of purchase or proof of attendance.

The group discussed whether attestation types should be guided by the specification, by Project Liberty, or solely by the community of users. Participants agreed that Project Liberty could serve a useful role in identifying and highlighting best practices as they emerged.

Participants asked how repudiation and revocation would be handled, as well as the right to be forgotten. WB noted that individual agency was a core part of the design, so tombstoning announcements served as a key form of revocation, but acknowledged that issuer revocation of outstanding credentials was a challenge across the attestation landscape and was not specifically addressed by the DSNP proposal.

Summary and closing

ES reviewed the progress made in this meeting, relative to the meeting objectives.

ES reminded the group that the next in person meeting would be held April 18, 2024, with the location in Cambridge to be confirmed. The meeting will adjourn at 3:00 PM to allow participants to prepare for and attend the Project Liberty Foundation Summit reception scheduled for later in the evening.

The meeting was brought to a close at 4:30pm by ES.

Minuted by WB