I’m helping sorta! | 2023 Jan 22-28

This week was pretty good. Feel like I’m sort of getting the hang of this stuff.

My PR was merged, which wasn’t super climactic or anything but nice to land. Mainly I picked up a lot of small things from the experience of doing one PR that will be helpful in the next (see the dev log on Jan 25).

My PR was particularly concerned with HTLC fail messages, so I ended up spending a good chunk of time in this section of BOLT 4. I eventually ended up asking a question about one section in it in the discord and learned how a change to certain failure codes was merged into the specification even though the reasoning included was not fully accurate (i.e. a full probing attack revealing a final node was thought to be possible when it wasn’t entirely possible). Interesting to see more into protocol development, and how in its early phases things aren’t always so strongly debated as something like Bitcoin nowadays. It’s also different because lightning doesn’t really have crucial consensus like Bitcoin but nevertheless.

Learned a lot about dual-funding/interactive-tx and BOLT 12 this week which was cool. By just reading the spec PRs I feel like I’m at the edge of protocol development, seeing the changes getting discussed. It’s really cool. I left some comments on an initial PR for dual-funding on LDK and ended up asking a question in the discord that led to the PR author asking a question on the spec PR which was cool. Felt like I was vicariously contributing by asking a decent question so that felt like an accomplishment.

Overall this week I’m just getting more in the groove of being a new contributor. I’m getting past being intimidated somewhat, I’ve learned what to look out for when writing a PR, and I’m learning where I can contribute as a newbie. Things are getting better.