Which things need ERCs and which don't

Originally posted at: What kinds of things should be standardized? – William Entriken Blog

tl;dr A standard only deserves to be written if multiple people adhere to it and people depend on it’s surface area.

An easy, low-effort, low-quality way to find a bunch of things to standardize is to find a popular repository of smart contracts, and then write every one of them up with a short rationale. This is fun for practice, but please do not publish these as it will be a waste of other people’s time to read. Nobody depends on these details.

Unfortunately the EIP repository is a magnet for people to try and publish things that have no need to be published let alone standardized. Of course the reason why is some people see an ERC as a status symbol (it isn’t) or a guarantee of commercial success (it isn’t).

But if you really WANT to make something and standardize it, here’s how.

  1. Go make a thing that is useful
  2. Make it successful
  3. Make other people want to interoperate with your thing
  4. Make other people want to copy you
  5. Then go standardize it

Please see the longer article discusses further and compares to standards in other realms (food labeling, paper sizes, USB) to further illustrate the point. But I hope this thread can make some consensus that the main kind of ERC application standards we want to see are multi-implementation (producer) specifications that actually will be used by some other software (consumers).

This is a higher threshold than just “anything I can write a standard for or that somebody 10 years from now might find helpful”.

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