Thanks for the reply, Joe!
Disclaimer: I believe this conversation should prioritize discussion focused on 1) the significance of a multichain block explorer & whether (the case I am making, that) such an explorer is integral to the broader success of Polkadot, 2) whether Polkadot as a project should be promoting a block explorer that has an opaque business model & lacks support for (a majority of) the broader ecosystem or whether that project should/would consider changing its current business model & practices, and 3) in the end, depending on the general consensus around the first two matters, what block explorer (if any currently existing one) should be promoted & how it should be supported.
Regarding the PTF, I am beginning to think that its presence in this discussion is distracting from the more foundational topics here. While I understand that the topic of this conversation may be a good example of a matter that could be handled by an initiative such as the PTF, I think a separate public discussion around the PTF would be more suitable than making its case here.
The reason I say this is because the PTF at this point does not exist and is a proposition for parachain teams to uptake, which distracts from the underlying argument that a multichain block explorer should be seen as common-good & required infrastructure for the success of Polkadot. Regardless of whether or not the PTF comes to fruition, the Polkadot ecosystem as a whole will suffer without a multichain block explorer.
I agree, but I don’t think that the PTF is the right answer, at least for now or in the immediate future. Builders in this ecosystem need fewer hurdles when building in this ecosystem, not more work to do (such as setting up & then participating in the PTF) alongside the work that is already involved with building in this ecosystem. The topic of a multichain block explorer should be understood as a problem that Polkadot needs to solve, not as a common feature that parachains should pursue.
The service being block explorer support. The PTF misses the greater issue here. A block explorer is something that a live parachain ought to have available on day 1 of launch, regardless of whether they are a part of the PTF. It’s also something that one would assume a parachain needs prior to their token having a sense of value, so the PTF would likely need to cover the costs not just of their current members, but for parachains that may or may not ever join or contribute to the PTF, which is the flaw in this solution. Otherwise, there is likely to be a gap between a parachain going live & block explorer support. Unless Polkadot desires to become an oligarchy seeded by the wealthy few, I think a different approach is needed here.
Why not? I’ll reiterate that I would much rather Subscan be open to a more transparent billing process provided by the treasury. Nonetheless, this doesn’t need to be overly complicated.
Step one would be to avoid promoting them on social media or including Subscan links in any public or community-gated settings, primarily social media. Step two could involve reaching out to current projects that already provide block explorer support to all parachains by default & discussing if they would be interested in a bounty to cover costs to develop a more modern UI. Step 3 is, after development (which should take about 2 months if not sooner, minus testing), to start promoting that newly improved block explorer & work on promoting awareness of it.
Step 1 can be more immediately acted on in order to stop increasing the problem where the most recognized block explorer of the Polkadot ecosystem is also one that supports less than half of the parachains in the ecosystem (considering there are other platforms that already support every parachain).
“Replacing Subscan” isn’t a “several months” process unless we make it one.
To underscore the significance of making this a more inviting ecosystem to build in, I would like to highlight that the crowdloan auction schedule was just engineered by Parity to be more artificially competitive because the current rate of demand isn’t keeping up with the supply.
If demand is low, we should be looking at ways to make this an ecosystem where it is easier to build & deploy. The tactic mentioned in the preceding paragraph did the opposite. Similarly, when addressing the concern & need for an ecosystem-wide block explorer, pushing the solution off as dependent on the formation of the PTF, this isn’t making anyone’s lives easier to build in the ecosystem. On the contrary, it just adds more work.
This isn’t a matter of whether or not parachains need a block explorer (where they could all, for example, technically end up with their own unique block explorer platforms) for their own sakes. This is a matter of Polkadot needing a clearly known multichain block explorer for the sake of Polakdot itself. Otherwise, both in terms of UX & DX, we aren’t providing a better experience than if somebody were to build elsewhere, which IMO, should be seen as unacceptable.