Vitalik Buterin offers rosy views on Twitter’s Community Notes

X, formerly Twitter, officially rolled out its Community Notes feature in December 2022, and the tool has since become a fixture on the social media platform.

Anyone can sign up to become a contributor for the open-source Community Notes program, which is still technically in its pilot stage. It has evolved into a vital component of a large community that scans the microblogging site for inaccuracies and foibles.

Vitalik Buterin noted that the tool mirrors certain crypto projects with its decentralized approach, dependence on community involvement, and transparent code base.

The Ethereum co-founder made this observation on his blog Wednesday, calling Community Notes “impressively useful, even under contentious conditions.” 

“What interests me most about Community Notes is how, despite not being a ‘crypto project’, it might be the closest thing to an instantiation of ‘crypto values’ that we have seen in the mainstream world,” Buterin wrote. 

Community Notes operates using its own version of a consensus mechanism. Before a note is approved and displayed to users, there needs to be an agreement among contributors. This means that even if some contributors have had disagreements in their past evaluations, they must reach a consensus for the note to be validated, as outlined on the project’s website.

In his early Wednesday morning post, X’s vice president of product, Keith Coleman, shared a screenshot of a section from Buterin’s blog that discussed crypto values. CEO Elon Musk later shared Coleman’s post as well, amplifying Buterin’s views on Community Notes to millions of his followers.

Buterin highlighted that the notes, which provide additional context or even counter the statements made in posts on X, are not written by a centralized group of experts.

“They can be written and voted on by anyone, and which notes are shown or not shown is decided entirely by an open source algorithm,” he wrote. “It’s not perfect, but it’s surprisingly close to satisfying the ideal of credible neutrality.”

Credible neutrality is a concept that was popularized by Buterin in January 2020. If a mechanism is credibly neutral, it means that it doesn’t discriminate against anyone, nor is it inherently biased toward anyone.

However, Buterin concluded his blog by saying that Community Notes isn’t quite on par with the level of decentralization offered by decentralized social media. 

“If you disagree with how Community Notes works, there’s no way to go see a view of the same content with a different algorithm. But it’s the closest that very-large-scale applications are going to get within the next couple of years,” Buterin wrote.

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