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Republic? What’s with the name?”

For about a decade in the early eighteenth century, the “Republic of Pirates” dominated the town of Nassau on New Providence island in the Bahamas. This community was unique in many ways.

In an age of noble privilege and limited popular rights, Benjamin Hornigold, his “Flying Gang,” and other privateers built an inclusive, race- and gender-blind mercantile republic governed by a highly democratic code. Women, pirates of all ranks, and ex-slaves — many of whom the pirates had themselves freed and welcomed into their ranks — had the same voting rights as white captains like Hornigold. The captains, in fact, could be voted out if the majority willed it. (This, in fact, happened to Hornigold.)

To be clear, these were not “good” people.

They stole things, switched allegiances, and were often cruel and periodically murderous. And their republic ultimately failed because it extracted value from others (namely, the Spanish and British Empires) instead of creating its own authentic, value-creating economy.

But these were good pirates, and their code was sound.

It anticipated the cornerstone values of the modern world sixty years before the American Revolution, 150 years before the end of American slavery, and 200 years before women were given the right to vote in the US. The velocity of execution is also incredible. At most, the Republic of Pirates existed for twelve years. The code was developed, approved, activated, and observed almost instantly. For comparison, it took the United States 200 years to achieve the same social inclusion goals (and we’re still working on it). That’s 1,567% longer than the entire lifecycle of the Republic of Pirates.

We can learn quite a bit from this.

The Republic of Pirates may have been short-lived, but it’s worth of attention and respect. Its code is particularly useful since it offers us a lean, intuitive, highly-flexible, easy-to-understand framework for building federated social orders that can be deployed rapidly with minimum friction even among multicultural, multinational, polyglot constituencies.

“How is the community organized?”

Our Pirate Code

Modern developers are good pirates. They’re tribal, largely identity blind, prefer horizontal forms of authority, and work best with high degrees of autonomy.

Accepting and encouraging this, and learning from the Republic of Pirates’ code, we’ve organized our developer community around the following rules:

  • Every member has a vote on community affairs.
  • Every member will be called fairly, in turn, to available cash and credit rewards (bug bounties, development opportunities, enhancements, &c). Community administrators enjoy the right of first refusal. Moderators have the right of second refusal. Once refused by moderators, rewards are available to general members on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Every member should keep him/her/themself fit for service to the community. This means respecting the rights of other members and not doing anything that brings undue shame on the community as a whole. Members who violate either of these risk expulsion by a majority vote of the other members.
  • Quarrels between general members will be settled by community administrators whose decisions are final.
  • Quarrels between general members and administrators (and/or moderators) will be settled by a majority vote of general members. This vote is binding except in extraordinary circumstances when it will require ratification by the Confection board.

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There are pirates and there are farmers. We are all one or the other ...

“Farmers build fences and control territory. Pirates tear down fences and cross borders. There are good pirates and bad pirates, good farmers and bad farmers, but there are only pirates and farmers.” ~ Dave Hickey

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Tactical Rules

  • Admins post a bounty, fix, &c. Tasks include a statement of the build, a value ($ or Confection credits), and an estimated time to completion.
  • Whatever his/her/their authority level — admin, moderator, general member — everyone claims tasks on a first come, first served basis. Admins get first pick of all tasks. Moderators get second. General members get third.
  • All members — admins, moderators, and general — have x days to complete a task, based on the estimated time to completion.
  • If a member needs more time to complete the task and has completed substantial work on the it, he/she/they can request one extension equal to 50% of original completion time. (For example, a dev can request one 7-day extension for a 14-day task.)
  • If a member has done no work on the task and the time to completion (original or extended) expires, it goes back to the pool. Half-finished, abandoned tasks (with original or extended timeframes) also go back to the pool. If a task is accepted by another dev, s/he receives the full bounty.
  • No member may have > 3 tasks assigned to him/her/theirself at any given time.
  • Unsolicited bounties are welcome. Security researchers wishing to submit these should first join the community. Admins will then categorize (and assign a value) to the proposed solution based on our internal vulnerability scoring system. All members have access to a community guide that includes an outline of this system.

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