Catalyst vs Trade Secrets

CardanoCardano
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self.cardano7m ago
As we move forward with Cardano governance, and Catalyst becomes more prominent (Catalyst is a set of tools and forums through which the Cardano community decides what projects to fund and at what level) - as we move forward here, I am seeing an interesting clash between proposers who want to open-source their methods and code, and those who want to receive funds for work they would like to keep essentially closed, for competitive reasons. I totally understand the argument that that some proposers may need to keep their work essentially secret, in order to retain a competitive advantage. But here’s the rub: Catalyst is an open forum, and we are evaluating proposals based on (among other things) merit and achievability. We don’t sign nondisclosure agreements, and our feedback is basically public. Thing is, we need at least some technical implementation details in order to do the work that Catalyst requires. I just recently had a situation where I asked a bunch of proposers/devs, in their project Discord, for details on a Catalyst proposal that they are requesting funding for. I have extensive engineering experience in the area they’ll be working in, and in order to throw votes to their proposal I felt I needed at least some basic implementation information. I was told that this information was “secret sauce,” and they said they could not divulge it. I’m torn. On the one hand, I like these folks. They are good, and even without the info I requested I can guess they’ll be at least partially successful. But that’s it: It’s just a guess. All the proposal itself does is identify an issue and assert that the team is qualified to address that issue. So I’ve been wondering: To what degree should we expect technical teams making proposals on Catalyst to divulge basic technical information, so we can assess the strength of their approach and judge whether that approach makes sense and can be achieved? Is this unreasonable? How much secrecy is appropriate on an open, grant-seeking platform? To what extent should trade secrets be encouraged? Anyone else giving this thought?