CGOL patterns as NFTs

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pcallahan
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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by pcallahan » October 5th, 2021, 12:50 pm

simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 12:29 pm
I have no problem buying other's work too. As long as they pay me my share for using my patterns.
This varies by individual. I will almost always prefer open source software that I don't have to pay for to a comparable commercial application, even if it is superior in terms of features, and even if it won't break my budget. Some of this could be frugality, but I also think that free software tends to be better maintained in terms of core features and expert modes, whereas commercial products put more emphasis on usability. Commercial software that is perfect today may be unsupported tomorrow and the people producing it will not help me. Free software can also be unmaintained, but at least with open source, there is the option to maintain it yourself. It's a matter of flexibility.

I also note that "free" is not public domain or unlicensed. It is licensed in such a way to keep people from charging others to use it. I think this is a time-tested system that has worked well. CGoL is less formal because our work has less practical application. In effect, everything is treated as "public domain" in terms of whether you can copy it.

Examples: (a) I got a very polite request once from a musician who wanted to use an old CGoL pattern I made in generative music. Of course I said yes, but they didn't have to ask. (b) William Poundstone printed my 1x28 infinite growth pattern in the Dover reprint of The Recursive Universe without ever contacting me or even attributing it to me (just the community as a whole). I was mostly just excited to see it in print, though I admit that an attribution would have been even better.

The only sense in which this model "fails" is that I can't make a living doing CGoL. But I cannot really envision a solution that would make it possible. I don't think NFTs is the way. True, you can make a living as a chess coach for kids even if you're not a professional player. Could you have a CGoL summer camp and make money that way? Maybe. But chess (in various forms) has over a thousand year start. CGoL simply lacks the tradition that would get people interested.
Last edited by pcallahan on October 5th, 2021, 1:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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simsim314
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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by simsim314 » October 5th, 2021, 1:09 pm

I think if I will publish enough important patterns with proprietary license the community will have very few choices:

1. Move every discovery based on my findings into the same proprietary license. As I will strict any usage of my patterns to the same license I'm using.
2. Not using my patterns, or any pattern based on my findings.
3. Violating copyrights law.
4. Compromise with me and everyone who based their finding on my work - to switch to open source and NFT monetization, or any other less strict monetization that will convince the whole branch of the research we should switch to this monetization strategy instead of continue selling our findings as proprietary commercial work.

I know there are no much people who are interested in CGOL/CA field - but over the years many people come and go, and digital download sells might be very good and stable long term income source. I don't mind getting 50 bucks a month per important pattern for the rest of my life. I think it's great. Risking this stable source of income for some NFT would maybe even risky move.

I understand where you are coming from - I also published all my work for free and with MIT license. MIT license is requiring attribution, PGL licensing is forcing the whole branch to be open source + attribution, commercial license forcing the whole branch based on it to be proprietary. I personally hate commercial license, but I disagree with the claim I should not monetize my work in any form. I disagree even more with the claim everyone in the community should not monetize their findings. And the easiest "one sided" way to do it - is licensing it. Digital art download selling with commercial license is well established monetization path, that has everything in place - sites, licenses, laws, law enforcement mechanisms.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by wwei47 » October 5th, 2021, 3:00 pm

My fear will not imply my cooperation.
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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by Sokwe » October 5th, 2021, 3:25 pm

simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 1:09 pm
I think if I will publish enough important patterns with proprietary license the community will have very few choices:

1. Move every discovery based on my findings into the same proprietary license. As I will strict any usage of my patterns to the same license I'm using.
2. Not using my patterns, or any pattern based on my findings.
3. Violating copyrights law.
4. Compromise with me and everyone who based their finding on my work - to switch to open source and NFT monetization, or any other less strict monetization that will convince the whole branch of the research we should switch to this monetization strategy instead of continue selling our findings as proprietary commercial work.
It is my non-expert opinion that almost all Life patterns would fall under the mathematics exemptions of intellectual property law in most major jurisdictions. There would likely be no legal enforcement mechanism to prevent someone from using your patterns however they want.
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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by dvgrn » October 5th, 2021, 3:26 pm

simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 1:09 pm
I personally hate commercial license, but I disagree with the claim I should not monetize my work in any form. I disagree even more with the claim everyone in the community should not monetize their findings. And the easiest "one sided" way to do it - is licensing it. Digital art download selling with commercial license is well established monetization path, that has everything in place - sites, licenses, laws, law enforcement mechanisms.
I'm not sure how well the law enforcement mechanisms are really set up to handle CA patterns that are really just mathematical entities. Nobody has tried to copyright the largest known prime number. Supposing that you even could copyright your RLE, is a macrocell version of the exact same pattern really a copyright violation, or is it a "Fair Use" derivative work? How about if I convert a subset of the cells to LifeSuper State 25? If I attach a useless wormbuntwiddle onto your (hypothetical) beautiful minimal-cell-count p11 dot sparker that you spent months searching for, can I use the resulting "new" pattern without royalties?

-- Okay, those are questions that maybe there's a reasonable answer to. However, there are a lot of really difficult edge cases, and once they start showing up, only lawyers could possibly get rich in such a system. Anyone trying to enforce their licenses will only get poorer. The only sane way to avoid making everyone significantly poorer and more miserable is to never get the lawyers involved in the first place -- which, luckily, is exactly what the CA community has been doing for the last half-century, via a consensus agreement whose near-universality is almost unheard of.
pcallahan wrote:
October 4th, 2021, 1:14 am
If our community was little more outward looking, we'd be focused on education, and really trying to convey what parts of CGoL are interesting. But we don't have to be. That's fine. It's a tough sell. On the other hand, if we were really trying to get a larger audience to pay money for our work, we'd be optimizing for their standards, and it would be the opposite of the kind of educational outreach I'd like to see.
pcallahan wrote:
October 4th, 2021, 1:14 am
I just think that this attempt to monetize it would be a distraction from the best work being done here rather than a help.
For me the problem of distraction is really the critical one. The current community has been spontaneously self-assembling for more than a decade now, and it seems like it usually attracts the type of people who enjoy collaborative projects like the LifeWiki, where money isn't a motivator.

As such, it's a somewhat fragile community: add too many NFT-obsessed people to it, and suddenly you might have a much noisier, more sales-oriented, and ultimately less interesting place. I suspect a good fraction of the people currently gathering here would be strongly motivated to stop gathering any place where NFT-trading is given any kind of focus or priority.

It's possible that an NFT economy could somehow exist in parallel with the current CA community, ignored painlessly by those who don't choose to participate. It also seems possible that trying to add NFTs to the mix will cause endless arguments and distractions, without really providing any benefits except maybe to a few grifters... Honestly I think even the con artists will probably be disappointed, for reasons Paul Callahan has outlined above. The rewards are probably insignificant, whereas the risks are substantial. I'm personally not at all tempted to even "try it and see what happens" -- even if a ball like that did manage to get rolling, I very likely wouldn't like where it ended up rolling to.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by MathAndCode » October 5th, 2021, 3:48 pm

simsim314 wrote:
October 4th, 2021, 1:35 am
This is exactly the reality CGOL NFTs can change.
I meant under the current CGOL NFT system.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by AGreason » October 5th, 2021, 4:34 pm

By title 17 U.S. Code § 107, "the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."

Also, attempting to threaten the community is not a great way to convince people your idea is good.

EDIT:

Also, if you re-license something, the old version can still be used under the terms of the previous license - in other words, if you release e.g. a software project under a permissive license, and later put it under a restrictive license, the old versions from prior to that can still be used under the terms of the permissive license. So re-licensing your previous discoveries would be wholly ineffective, even if other's use of them wasn't already fair use.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by bprentice » October 5th, 2021, 5:02 pm

Some posts on this thread are equating create with discover. Leonardo Da-Vinci did not discover the 'Mona Lisa' painting he created it. All possible CGoL patterns currently exist but most of them are still to be discovered.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by pcallahan » October 5th, 2021, 5:53 pm

bprentice wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 5:02 pm
Some posts on this thread are equating create with discover. Leonardo Da-Vinci did not discover the 'Mona Lisa' painting he created it. All possible CGoL patterns currently exist but most of them are still to be discovered.
Didn't Michelangelo "discover" David by chipping away the marble that wasn't him? That quote is apocryphal it seems. (Disappointing.) But anyway, if the product is information, then the dividing line between invention and discovery is fuzzy. I think it's clear that gliders were discovered, as well as all *WSSes. The queen bee shuttle mechanism was discovered, but the idea of using blocks to remove the unwanted beehives? The fact that you can do it is a discovery. The choice to do for a purpose seems more like an invention to me. When it comes to something on the scale of Gemini, that is an engineering design. It is in the space of finite CGoL patterns, but the process of producing it is not really discovery. It relies on many discoveries and the choice to assemble them to carry out a function.

I'm not going to claim a precise definition, but there are cases where it is clear.

This may be moot for NFTs, because it seems like any kind of derivative art can be claimed as such. You may not be able to copyright the largest known prime number, but if you paint it on a canvas, that can be claimed as an original (if not very interesting) work of art.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by simsim314 » October 5th, 2021, 5:58 pm

Sokwe wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 3:25 pm
almost all Life patterns would fall under the mathematics exemptions of intellectual property law in most major jurisdictions.
I doubt. Life has a lot of artistic value to it. I would take this case to a court if my copyrights would be violated. One important argument would be that if this is such important field of math - why are we doing it in the forum on the internet and not in the academia? It's completely unreasonable claim as people are doing pretty hard work here, and get zero recognition in mathematical community as well. Once again if this is such great math - why no mathematician from the academy is publishing research based on the results from the community? This is unreasonable that a lot of valuable effort can not get any monetization or copyrights. I would say any pretty useful pattern here can be registered as algorithmic patent. Like SIFT for example. I would probably get some more professional advice. I can always also prove I've found an important pattern with video in low resolution without publishing rle, waiting for someone to pay me enough. There are many ways to squeeze maximum monetization even if there are no copyrights.

More than that I hope this great culture will convince more people to do like me too - to stop publishing very great useful patterns just for free, and squeeze maximum money they can, from their effort. This will creating very "great vibe" in the community.
wwei47 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 3:00 pm
My fear will not imply my cooperation.
Your cooperation is not needed in the case of copyright path. You can either violate the law and be sued for that or ignore the patterns I publish under copyright protection law.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 3:26 pm
can I use the resulting "new" pattern without royalties?
This kind of copyright questions are encountering in the court many times. At the moment reasonable person like a judge is convince you made some small superficial changes to my important discovery, they will usually recognize the intellectual theft. To explain how flexible this idea is: Microsoft payed copyright violation fees for C# being ripped from Java.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 3:26 pm
Anyone trying to enforce their licenses will only get poorer.
I'm not trying to get richer here. I'm trying to change the culture of hard work expected to be done and published for free for no reason, without any path to monetization. This is completely unreasonable and not accepted by me.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 3:26 pm
via a consensus agreement whose near-universality is almost unheard of.
Sorry for breaking this universality. I'm rebelling against this consensus. I place a veto here, a strong one sided veto. When I learned about consensus this was usually defined as agreement of all parties. Now you have a party who disagree with the consensus. Even if this is one person, at least for now.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 3:26 pm
For me the problem of distraction is really the critical one. The current community has been spontaneously self-assembling for more than a decade now, and it seems like it usually attracts the type of people who enjoy collaborative projects like the LifeWiki, where money isn't a motivator.
Money should not be the motivation for such things ever. Someone should see the value in it - and want to pay money. As usually people understand that this is a good thing and a lot of effort was put into it. This community seems to have hard time grasping this simple concept, that monetization is a good and important and necessary for any creative community, and people should not do work for free - even if they like the hobby so much that they are willing to do it for fun themselves. I can do my best at least to enforce monetization to the best of my abilities, at least for work done by myself. I don't think anyone can force me to publish under MIT license, and as I said before - there are many ways to squeeze profit from inventions. The fact that people here don't get even the reason why I want to create NFTs, shows you somehow expect people here to work for nothing, I would say even demand this without providing any alternative options. I don't accept this expectation as a concept, in my value system everything that benefits someone - at some point he should start paying for it. This is true in all fields of life. And if this doesn't benefits anyone, then I'm probably wasting my time. But then - this community would not exist. And therefore CGOL patterns do have monetary value. I think I can tease people with low resolution videos until I'm getting good enough offer. And will recommend this "great" strategy to anyone who is doing something useful in the field. Until we learn a more civilized way to monetize our research, and have a reasonable consensus on this topic.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 3:26 pm
It's possible that an NFT economy could somehow exist in parallel with the current CA community, ignored painlessly by those who don't choose to participate. It also seems possible that trying to add NFTs to the mix will cause endless arguments and distractions, without really providing any benefits except maybe to a few grifters... Honestly I think even the con artists will probably be disappointed, for reasons Paul Callahan has outlined above. The rewards are probably insignificant, whereas the risks are substantial. I'm personally not at all tempted to even "try it and see what happens" -- even if a ball like that did manage to get rolling, I very likely wouldn't like where it ended up rolling to.
Well ok, back to the barbaric methods then. NFT is a light in the end of the tunnel, coinciding perfectly with open source agendas, I see no reason why would any grifter come and buy CGOL NFTs, as I envision it, it will be people from the community or wider circles of the community who will buy NFTs to support the research. But yes I've failed to convince anyone that NFT is a good idea, because you all locked on a concept that NFT is something you read in the news and not something created by the community itself. Nevermind - there are many more barbaric and effective methods to squeeze profits from inventions. I'll resort to them until the community will get why we need NFTs instead. For now is like talking to a wall. Imagine paying for every single useful pattern you use - and can only publish your created pattern under the same license, demanding everyone else to pay for every single download, and every pattern in your larger pattern. It would be like every single pattern you create is NFT. This draconic copyright system is already well established and installed with law enforcement, and practiced already in many existing creative communities. As I said - I'll get some more professional advice, but I see no reason not to enforce this rules on every pattern I publish from now on, and on any pattern that is using my patterns. And if you want to bring this case to a court - be my guests. As far as I see it - this is all part of artistic creation and not mathematics, and using my pattern is like downloading 3d model published with creative commercial license, and sharing it for free, violating the license agreement. I'm only left with a "minor task" to find patterns that people would like to use or download.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by calcyman » October 5th, 2021, 6:05 pm

There seems to be a lot of people talking past each other here. I'm going to create names for each of the hypothetical worlds that we've been discussing, so that in future there's no ambiguity about which of these different possibilities is being discussed:
  • Enthusia: the current world of CGoL research, where there is no monetisation whatsoever and everyone produces research solely for the love of the subject. (The original sense of 'amateur' would work here, i.e. how Fermat was an amateur mathematician because he was a lawyer by profession, but unfortunately the meaning of 'amateur' seems to have shifted to imply less aptitude.) In general, people freely collaborate and share research in a MIT-licenced manner, imposing no restrictions other than generally expecting attribution out of politeness.
  • Cryptopia: essentially following the same template as Enthusia, where all patterns are still MIT-licenced, but the discoverers of patterns (if they choose to) can occasionally mint NFTs of their discoveries which they can sell on OpenSea to earn money. Ownership of an NFT in this world is a status symbol and/or speculative asset, but does not have any relationship with the ability to use the corresponding pattern (because the pattern can be freely used anyway without restriction, as in Enthusia). The hope is that Cryptopia will behave pretty much identical to Enthusia, except Lifenthusiasts can gain compensation from cryptoasset speculators.
  • Stallmania: a large number of Lifenthusiasts sufficiently dislike monetisation, so restrictively licence their own discoveries to only be (transitively) used in non-commercial applications, but are otherwise unrestricted (think GPL rather than MIT).
  • Proprietaria: some Lifenthusiasts start publishing patterns under proprietary licences which restrict their use in downstream projects, e.g. by requiring royalties to be paid to the discoverer.
  • Commercia: a fully-fledged NFT market economy where people mine and buy components to use to mint NFTs of larger composite constructions, somewhat like simsim314's original post.
In my opinion, Proprietaria is the worst of these models. I'm not very keen on Stallmania, either, because it's also restricting use of patterns.

None of the other three models restrict the use of patterns in CGoL. Commercia is still somewhat restrictive, but only in the world of CGoL NFTs rather than in CGoL itself.

My favourite models are Enthusia and Cryptopia -- in general, they'll overlap by 98% or so.
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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by Book » October 5th, 2021, 6:14 pm

calcyman has nailed it!

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by simsim314 » October 5th, 2021, 8:05 pm

calcyman wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 6:05 pm
My favourite models are Enthusia and Cryptopia
I don't mind to try and start monetization direction from minting on OpenSea and see how it goes. My problem with this model - is that it will very probably bring exactly zero benefits and exactly zero monetization. I'm willing to explore this option, as I really don't like Proprietaria. But one thing about Proprietaria is sure - monetization, and enforced monetization on anyone who is using the pattern down the line i.e. even several important enough small patterns might enforce Proprietaria on half of the field. To the contrary to Proprietaria my original idea of Commercia, was more similiar to Cryptopia, but focused on CGOL and made to work for specifically in CGOL, in parallel to all the patterns being free to use.

I also don't really like monetization - I dislike the fact that there is no such option at all. It's assumed by default you must publish your work without any monetization. If openSea minting will not solve this issue, and as I see it, people are really not into CGOL specific NFTs, then as I'm concerned I will personally switch to Proprietaria, just to emphasize how seriously I see this problem, and have a real discussion about the topic - unlike what we are having here, that people saying to me to the face that I should not even try and monetize any of my hard work. This is preposterous and really rude, and completely unacceptable on any artist and creator in any field where creators are investing time and effort. I want to have the choice, do I want to monetize my pattern or not, and not being dictated not to, as I see it it's just complete disrespect to the field and to the time and effort put into it, and to all people who are working very hard to make discoveries.

EDIT You can actually enforce open source with GPL license. I would prefer to avoid both commercial and GPL licenses and stick to MIT, if NFT on opensea would work, or people would get the idea that CGOL NFTs are not meant to block people from using patterns as they wish. Otherwise we will have open-source, closed-source war, where both parties will be able to use half of the patterns. I would try to avoid such state of affairs - as long as some sort of real and reasonable value monetization path is available I would prefer it.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by MathAndCode » October 5th, 2021, 8:46 pm

simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 1:09 pm
I think if I will publish enough important patterns with proprietary license the community will have very few choices:

1. Move every discovery based on my findings into the same proprietary license. As I will strict any usage of my patterns to the same license I'm using.
2. Not using my patterns, or any pattern based on my findings.
3. Violating copyrights law.
4. Compromise with me and everyone who based their finding on my work - to switch to open source and NFT monetization, or any other less strict monetization that will convince the whole branch of the research we should switch to this monetization strategy instead of continue selling our findings as proprietary commercial work.
That is a great way to encourage other people who discover patterns to license them so that you can't do that with derivatives of their patterns (the idea being that someone else would have found them anyway but you beat that person)—or so that you can't use them at all in case you try to find a loophole to the former.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by wwei47 » October 5th, 2021, 8:58 pm

simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 8:05 pm
people saying to me to the face that I should not even try and monetize any of my hard work.
What about everyone else's hard work?
EDIT: What I mean is that you're not the only one doing hard work here.
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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by simsim314 » October 5th, 2021, 9:18 pm

MathAndCode wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 8:46 pm
That is a great way to encourage other people who discover patterns to license them so that you can't do that with derivatives of their patterns (the idea being that someone else would have found them anyway but you beat that person)—or so that you can't use them at all in case you try to find a loophole to the former.
Exactly this will create an open-source/closed-source war, where everyone can use only half of the patterns according to their license branch. See my comment to Adam. My point is to try and avoid this path, as my main goal is just to allow reasonable monetization of effort put into the patterns for people who are willing to monetize them. This is why I prefer NFT monetization over commercial licensing. This is my point.
wwei47 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 8:58 pm
What about everyone else's hard work?
EDIT: What I mean is that you're not the only one doing hard work here.
Exactly! But it seems no one cares about this. I can't say about how other people feel, but I do hope others will also start to demand respecting their hard work, as they work way harder than me and deserve way more respect and better rewards. But someone tells me - don't monetize your hard work, like I have to keep it for free, and no one is being bothered by this - actually many people supported this position and only I'm criticizing this kind of rude and degrading attitude toward others effort. This is completely unacceptable, not toward me - not toward others. This is simply very disrespectful.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by dvgrn » October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm

simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 8:05 pm
It's assumed by default you must publish your work without any monetization.
I would put it slightly differently. It's certainly assumed that if you do research work on CA topics, you're unlikely to get paid much of anything for it. But nobody is actually expecting you to do any such work if you don't want to do it on those terms.

For any given exciting Discovery X, I personally would very much hope that the discoverer would be an Enthusian or a Cryptopian. In fact, a Proprietarian discoverer would be likely to cause so much difficulty in the community that I'd probably prefer no Discovery X at all, over a Discovery X that a Proprietarian was trying to "own".
simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 8:05 pm
If openSea minting will not solve this issue, and as I see it, people are really not into CGOL specific NFTs, then as I'm concerned I'm will personally switch to Proprietaria, just to emphasize how seriously I see this problem, and have a real discussion about the topic - unlike what we are having here, that people saying to me to the face that I should not even try and monetize any of my hard work. This is preposterous and really rude, and completely unacceptable on any artist and creator in any field where creators are investing time and effort.
That would indeed be a rude thing to say, but again it's not how I'm reading most of the responses. You started this thread as follows:
simsim314 wrote:
October 3rd, 2021, 12:51 am
6. Obviously this can't work without community approval and engagement. NFT has only subjective meaning, it has to be a hype so to say.
What people are saying may be hard to hear, but it seems to be a very common opinion. The "community approval and engagement" is quite simply not there -- and therefore, according to what you yourself said, that particular method of monetization via NFTs is obviously not going to work. The community's collective understanding of NFT mechanisms may be unfortunately simplistic and limited. But on the other hand they may be seeing some things very clearly, such as that it's a non-zero amount of effort to organize, maintain, pay attention to, and "hype" these things. It would in fact be a big commitment, and a change of focus in the community.

Speaking for myself only, that "hype" effort seems very likely to be a waste of time -- i.e., it seems unlikely to provide any reliable amount of monetization. That's just my honest opinion, not any kind of dismissal or insult aimed at the general idea of monetization. You're absolutely welcome to try anything that you think might work, in the way of monetization -- but hopefully you'll listen to the widespread concerns of the community, when you are depending on that same community to help you to make your plan a success.

To put it simply: I'm much more worried that the NFT proposal would bring serious distractions and difficulties into the community -- whether or not it is successful by any measure! -- than I am hopeful that the proposal will have significant positive benefits. Just for example, I'm very concerned about what the job of conwaylife.com moderator might come to look like, if CGoL NFTs along the lines of your proposal do manage to become at all popular. I don't want to be paid for my volunteer moderator work, but I do want to avoid having that work become a complete nightmare.
simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 8:05 pm
I want to have the choice, do I want to monetize my pattern or not, and not being dictated not to, as I see it it's just complete disrespect to the field and to the time and effort put into it, and to all people who are working very hard to make discoveries.
Speaking as someone who sometimes works hard to make CGoL discoveries, I'd rather you didn't try to speak on my behalf on this issue. I'm seeing serious disagreement but not disrespect in the posts here so far.
simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 8:05 pm
Otherwise we will have open-source, closed-source war, where both parties will be able to use half of the patterns. I would try to avoid such state of affairs - as long as some sort of real and reasonable value monetization path is available I would prefer it.
I can't solve the monetization problem, though I'd like to be able to. It just doesn't seem to me that there's a lot of money sloshing around that can be easily tapped by would-be CA researchers. Compared to doing anything with NFTs or other monetization methods, I could work a regular job for the same number of hours, and then do whatever I wanted with the money, and come out way ahead -- in good part because I would find NFT "hype" work or any other kind of CA "sales and marketing" activity to be extremely unpleasant.

The trouble with the "open-source, closed-source war" is that if it happens, it will instantly have a terrible dampening effect on the atmosphere of collaboration that is now a fifty-year tradition. Let's say someone finds a collection of four Spartan still lifes that happens to be a color-changing glider reflector -- but decides to keep it closed source until sufficient "monetization" happens.

A discovery like that would normally mean updates to the gun collection, to slsparse, to various smallest-oscillator and SKOP collections, Pattern of the Year nominations, etc. But people do those kinds of stamp-collection updates and statistics-keeping for fun, as a community. If those things can't be done -- either because someone is trying to refuse to allow the use of some known pattern by threatening to take people to court, or because someone is hiding the details of a new discovery and only giving out information about its existence -- then we would know something better was out there, but that we couldn't use it. Suddenly all of that entertaining collaboration on optimization puzzles isn't any fun any more. Maybe we'd spend all our time trying to prove prior art on things that people were claiming as discoveries, or something horrible along those lines... but that's really just stressful and not entertaining at all, so most likely a lot of us would just drop the CGoL game entirely, in disgust.

The unintended side effects of Proprietaria should not be underestimated. If we ever get anywhere near the point where "both parties will be able to use half the patterns", as suggested, then I suspect that the community will shrink by attrition to a tiny fraction of its current size -- leaving many fewer people who will be interested in paying for anything, NFTs or otherwise.

CGoL as a mathematical recreation has been going strong for half a century now -- but Proprietaria really seems quite capable of killing it off, at absolutely no net benefit to anyone.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by wwei47 » October 5th, 2021, 9:32 pm

simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:18 pm
wwei47 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 8:58 pm
What about everyone else's hard work?
EDIT: What I mean is that you're not the only one doing hard work here.
Exactly! But it seems no one cares about this. I can't say about how other people feel, but I do hope others will also start to demand respecting their hard work, as they work way harder than me and deserve way more respect and better rewards. But someone tells me - don't monetize your hard work, like I have to keep it for free, and no one is being bothered by this - actually many people supported this position and only I'm criticizing this kind of rude and degrading attitude toward others effort. This is completely unacceptable, not toward me - not toward others. This is simply very disrespectful.
Exactly! I respect my own work by letting other people use it. If I make people pay for it, then it gets used (and seen) less, and does not earn the proper respect it deserves.
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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by pcallahan » October 5th, 2021, 9:40 pm

dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
I could work a regular job for the same number of hours, and then do whatever I wanted with the money, and come out way ahead -- in good part because I would find NFT "hype" work or any other kind of CA "sales and marketing" activity to be extremely unpleasant.
I agree completely (and not just hypothetically). The work I do to compensate for the fact that I'm not paid for CGoL is actually less onerous and better compensated than (I suspect) the work I would need to do in order to somehow be compensated for CGoL or any similar thing I'm interested in.

I have considered what it would take to monetize my hobby interests, either by producing artifacts of some kind I could sell on Etsy or in my dreams, starting some kind of computer camp themed along my interests (e.g. puzzles and computer search instead of building a cookie-cutter Arduino robot). These aren't utterly crazy ideas, but the compensation wouldn't even come close to my day job and I suspect that it would be a lot less fun as soon as I was relying on it to make a living.

I have watched VC money chase some of the dumbest ideas ever since the dot com boom, while worthy projects like the development of an implantable artificial kidney get a pittance of funding. Unless Elon Musk personally announces that CGoL NFTs are the next big thing and he plans to buy them up personally, I'm going to stay really skeptical that this is the place to wager my effort. As I said (I think) NFTs aren't guaranteed to attract any attention, and tying them to CGoL in particular is likely to make them harder to sell than a hundred other ideas.

If this community liked NFTs, maybe we'd be buying them from each other. That wouldn't make us any money on balance, but it would be a market of sorts. However, it looks like an informal poll of the only people likely to be interested in CGoL merchandise mostly don't like NFTs at all.

Added: It is hard to read "Proprietaria" without thinking "Stephen Wolfram" and his bizarre attempts to suppress the publication of rule 110 universality. We are effectively an academic community, though without a university and the funding that goes with that. It functions through trust, merit, and reciprocity.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by dvgrn » October 5th, 2021, 10:10 pm

simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 5:58 pm
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 3:26 pm
Anyone trying to enforce their licenses will only get poorer.
I'm not trying to get richer here. I'm trying to change the culture of hard work expected to be done and published for free for no reason, without any path to monetization. This is completely unreasonable and not accepted by me.
I can definitely see why you'd be disappointed by the general reaction to your NFT proposal. I hope you didn't take my post as some kind of disparaging comment that you're somehow "trying to get richer" (and that there's some reason that you "shouldn't" be doing that). That wasn't the point at all.

I have some small amount of experience with people trying to enforce things that they feel very strongly about, as a matter of fairness or justice, via the court system. At least in the US, it's often true that whoever has the most money "wins" -- but quite often it's the lawyers who are the winners, and everyone else would have been much better off making some kind of reasonable agreement outside of the court system. If and when CGoL patterns ever become the subject of a court case, there will be so little money at stake that everyone will inevitably end up losing some of it.
pcallahan wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:40 pm
Added: It is hard to read "Proprietaria" without thinking "Stephen Wolfram" and his bizarre attempts to suppress the publication of rule 110 universality.
Yes, the only case I can think of where anything CA-related was ever taken to court was the unfortunate incident where Stephen Wolfram brought a lawsuit against Matthew Cook to more or less un-publish some results that Cook had put a lot of work into (as Wolfram's employee) and was excited about sharing. The lawsuit was successful, in a manner of speaking -- it got Cook's paper removed from the conference proceedings. But the lawsuit was also a serious embarrassment and did permanent, irreparable damage to Wolfram's reputation among many Lifenthusiasts. Fifteen years later, the memory of that episode was still fresh enough that there were multiple strong objections to adding Wolfram to the (since-defunct) LifeCA mailing list.

All of which is to say that anyone bringing copyrights and legal issues into the CA game is bound to stir up a fairly impressive hornet's nest -- or at least a very good storm in a teacup.

Come to think of it, there might be some evidence that taking someone to court for a CGoL-related infringement might result in some monetization. I'm guessing a Kickstarter for the court costs of the person being sued would gather a little cash. But instead of getting into all that, before threatening hypothetical court cases, why not just run a Kickstarter directly and see if anyone will chip in for some new CA research? I've been wondering if I should set up a Kickstarter campaign myself, to get the setup costs for printed Conway's Life textbooks down to something vaguely reasonable, and/or make the printed book affordable for more people.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by simsim314 » October 5th, 2021, 10:23 pm

dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
I would put it slightly differently. It's certainly assumed that if you do research work on CA topics, you're unlikely to get paid much of anything for it. But nobody is actually expecting you to do any such work if you don't want to do it on those terms.
I can do whatever work I want - and license it with commercial license. Those are the rules by which any other creators community works. I can decide my price for my effort, and demand either not using it in your patterns or pay me for download and usage (and downloads of your patterns too - if they contain mine). This is the norm in any other normal creative field in the world where rules and law applies. You can't demand from me open sourcing my work, or decide under which license I should publish it. If you don't want to pay me this is fine - just avoid using and publishing patterns licensed by commercial license.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
Proprietarian discoverer would be likely to cause so much difficulty in the community that I'd probably prefer no Discovery X at all, over a Discovery X that a Proprietarian was trying to "own"
At the moment too much of the community will become Proprietarian , you will have no choice.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
What people are saying may be hard to hear, but it seems to be a very common opinion.
As I said - OK then I will switch all my patterns into commercial licensing, and sue anyone and any site that publish them for free. If this is the only accepted monetization on this community, lets go this path. Would you like it? How many people you think will join this path?
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
it seems unlikely to provide any reliable amount of monetization.
Great, lets go to the commercial licensing. As I said before - you can't tell me with what license publish my discoveries. Commercial licensing creates a great viable and profitable monetization. I see no problem in this path if the community can't get the reason for NFTs.

It's funny how you all support Cryptopia - while I was talking about a little bit more advanced cryptopia that will be more focused on CGOL/CA.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
NFT proposal would bring serious distractions and difficulties into the community
I think the commercial licensing of my patterns will both bring more distraction and difficulties to the community and will bring me more reliable and profitable source of income. So I really don't see why I should even start to be bothered by NFT instead of creating my small CGOL Proprietaria, based on my path of research. You can't demand me not to use commercial license for my patterns. Hopefully enough people will join the ride too, willing to pay each other good buck for their findings - this will work exactly like NFTs, we will sell each other our patterns download and usage permissions while restricting everyone else to even see our patterns not to talk about using them without paying, until the whole community will be either forced to comply with our licensing and subculture or ignore the whole branch of findings all together. NFTs are just a nice compromise to avoid this path.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
I don't want to be paid for my volunteer moderator work, but I do want to avoid having that work become a complete nightmare.
You can choose if you want to be payed or not, this is your personal decision. But I guess the nature of the work is not up to you. If the site will contain a lot of commercial licensed patterns published for free, it will be regarded as piratic site, stealing intellectual property for members of the community. NFTs made exactly to avoid this. They are the solution not the problem.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
I can't solve the monetization problem, though I'd like to be able to. It just doesn't seem to me that there's a lot of money sloshing around that can be easily tapped by would-be CA researchers.
I would start from commercial licensing my patterns, and hope for long term passive income. And if not - maybe my research is that bad, or maybe people don't see value in my findings. This is fine by me, as long as they don't steal my intellectual property.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
The trouble with the "open-source, closed-source war" is that if it happens, it will instantly have a terrible dampening effect on the atmosphere of collaboration that is now a fifty-year tradition. Let's say someone finds a collection of four Spartan still lifes that happens to be a color-changing glider reflector -- but decides to keep it closed source until sufficient "monetization" happens. A discovery like that would mean updates to the gun collection, to slsparse, to various smallest-oscillator and SKOP collections, etc.
Exactly, and this is why this argument should convince you that the only viable option for both monetization and open source - is active CGOL NFT trading. Once again NFTs is the solution not the problem. The problem is complete lack of understanding people should pay money for effort other people put into the research and complete disregard to it. There is no less effort nor less value in CGOL than in any CG art, there is only less respect because everything is free.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
Suddenly all of that entertaining collaboration on optimization puzzles isn't any fun any more.
Exactly this is why I prefer NFT monetization as being the more civilized option and not a barbaric forceful license based one. But if NFT will fail, monetizing CGOL research is my personal goal. I will not let go of other monetization attempts. Adam suggested to just place some patterns in OpenSea and see what happens. I'm not against this experiment. Just saying the next logical step is way more forceful, and disruptive to the community and to the fun. I'm totally willing ruin all the fun, no problem here. Would prefer to avoid it - but would prefer much more to have my work appreciated and valued over letting everyone have fun. I think many communities have found this balance between fun and monetization, between respecting the effort of experts and still not creating bad atmosphere in the community. This community has total disregard to the effort people put into it. There are many available tools and laws that can forcefully put stop to this. I would prefer to use less force, but I will not accept claims as "there is simply no money in the field". This is unacceptable claim to me. I can squeeze a lot of monetization value from my work if I would wish to not play by the established nice rules. There is nothing stopping me and others from doing that except of our good will and actual fun we are having during the discovery and research. This is why I try to explain we need NFTs as a monetization tool. We must have NFTs if you wish if we would like to keep the good atmosphere and respect the effort put into them.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
so most likely a lot of us would just drop the CGoL game entirely, in disgust.
My guess is that you would do more effort before that. Like for example buy some NFTs. This is exactly what money is made to measure.
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
The unintended side effects of Proprietaria should not be underestimated.
Oh yes. I agree on that.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by AforAmpere » October 5th, 2021, 10:53 pm

Why is monetization all so suddenly necessary to help the community now? It's been operating perfectly fine for 50 years without issue. Nobody has complained about not getting money out of it because that's not why most people come here. I don't get the mentality of associating every single thing you do with money. Have you never done something nice for someone else that requires effort and not expected them to pay you for it? It's the same principle in a way. I want to help out the progress of the community by putting work in, but I don't want, nor do expect compensation. Based on these threats, though, it seems like this is more of a personal desire for payment than a lofty goal of aiding all of us in some mysterious way.
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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by bprentice » October 6th, 2021, 12:36 am

simsim314.

Your threats to disrupt this community can be easily countered by establishing a forum rule that states that all CA rules, CA Patterns and CA ideas posted to this forum shall be in the public domain.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by pcallahan » October 6th, 2021, 1:51 am

bprentice wrote:
October 6th, 2021, 12:36 am
simsim314.

Your threats to disrupt this community can be easily countered by establishing a forum rule that states that all CA rules, CA Patterns and CA ideas posted to this forum shall be in the public domain.
I don't think his intention is to disrupt the community or that he'd act on any perceived threats. I liked some of his ideas a couple of years ago on the "Broader audience for CA" thread and I'm sympathetic to the general idea: could CGoL be more than a hobby? As I've made clear, I think NFTs are not the way.

I'm in the unusual position of actually having been paid to work on Life when Nick Gotts invited me to Aberystwyth over 20 years ago. This is was not a sustainable model, but he had the grant money to support my stay for a few months. When I told a friend in the Bay Area, my friend was impressed to hear of anyone ever getting paid to work on Conway's Game of Life.

So there's certainly nothing wrong with being paid in my view. There is something wrong if it stops or even slows down the free exchange of ideas and results. It doesn't necessarily have to. But it's just really unlikely in my view that there is money from outside the community. So we'd just be paying each other in cash instead of reciprocal effort as we now do.

Another personal anecdote: when I first put up my life page with Java applets in 1995, it got enough attention that I was answering email about it and so forth. It also placed high in search engine rankings like Alta Vista (which must have continued until Google appeared, which was 1998 or 1999). That's because there just wasn't a lot out there. You could get attention with nearly any creative content. Today there are so many high-quality websites covering math and computer topics that it is hard for any one of them to get attention. There are also cat videos. There's also TikTok. The vast majority of people out there will look at content for entertainment. It might be science if it has a cool animation. It might be turtles eating pumpkins for Halloween. It's not they they would necessarily hate a cool Life pattern. It's just that their ooohs and aaahs would be short-lived while they moved on to the next distraction.

I mean, that sounds negative, but I think there's some accuracy to it. Monetization is the art of collecting pennies from short attention spans, and if you're going to do that, the margins are pretty slim. Putting a great deal of effort into content of limited interest just isn't likely to pay off.

The "eat your vegetables" method might work better. If we had a concerted effort to make the powers that be demand "cellular automata literacy" then we'd at least have parents spending money to enroll their kids. That's also "in my dreams" but it is more believable to me than the mass of people suddenly being interested in paying for CGoL results out of sheer intellectual curiosity.
Last edited by pcallahan on October 6th, 2021, 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CGOL patterns as NFTs

Post by dvgrn » October 6th, 2021, 8:59 am

pcallahan wrote:
October 6th, 2021, 1:51 am
I don't think his intention is to disrupt the community or that he'd act on any perceived threats. I liked some of his ideas a couple of years ago on the "Broader audience for CA" thread and I'm sympathetic to the general idea: could CGoL be more than a hobby? As I've made clear, I think NFTs are not the way.
Yes, this looks to me more like a case of latching onto a philosophical idea and deciding to be very determined about it and follow it to its logical extreme, past the point where it makes any sense to anyone else. At this point I've probably posted too much on this thread, so I'll try to let the subject drop for a week or two, and try not to worry too much about it unless these various highly theoretical threats seem to be close to becoming reality.
simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 10:23 pm
At the moment too much of the community will become Proprietarian , you will have no choice.
...
OK then I will switch all my patterns into commercial licensing, and sue anyone and any site that publish them for free. If this is the only accepted monetization on this community, lets go this path. Would you like it? How many people you think will join this path?
Of course I wouldn't like that. But I don't think anyone will join the Proprietarians. At least based on the responses in this thread, you'll be on your own.

Your previous contributions (many of them quite awesome!) are already in the public domain, and have been for years. It's very difficult to make something private once it's been clearly documented to be in the public domain: you can't just "switch" on a whim. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that any court case brought on such grounds would inevitably lose -- and it would amount to such an obvious "nuisance lawsuit" that if someone decided to countersue to recover their court costs, they would very likely win. So this looks like a clear path to negative monetization. I'm not telling you not to take that path -- you are free to do whatever you want. I am, however, advising you not to take that path, because there seem to be no possible good consequences.

Newly created Proprietarian patterns are another matter, of course, but there's no sense in worrying about them at the moment. Absolutely nothing like that actually exists. I suspect that Proprietarians just aren't very good at making interesting CGoL discoveries, maybe because their hearts aren't in the work.
simsim314 wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 10:23 pm
dvgrn wrote:
October 5th, 2021, 9:22 pm
so most likely a lot of us would just drop the CGoL game entirely, in disgust.
My guess is that you would do more effort before that. Like for example buy some NFTs...
This is something that I can very firmly contradict. I won't be buying any NFTs. For the commercial-license idea I can make a much stronger statement: I will retire permanently from the field of CGoL research before paying any money for one of these hypothetical Proprietarian patterns. I believe that doing that would be setting a terrible precedent, so as a matter of principle I won't do it.

If Bill Gosper wanted to sell an NFT of the one and only Gosper Glider Gun, I would definitely not buy it -- I'm just not interested. If he was doing the NFT-selling because he needed some money, I would hope that other people would be interested and that he'd make million$... and if that didn't work out, I'd try organizing something like a GoFundMe.

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