Let's Stop Saying "Plotting"

I was asked a little while ago if I understand that farming is not plotting. In fact, “plotting” is not a thing.

I am most certainly not confusing farming with making plots, although semantically making plots is a part of farming. Am I confused about farming and the Chia nomenclature? Oh, yes, very much so. Gives me insomnia.

Here is a very pretty diagram that I fished out of this here wiki

I’m a simple man. If I can use a gui, I’ll use a gui. I’m not simple enought to not be able to get into command line and documentation minutia. I make my living off things like that.

So that was the pretty diagram that had harvesters, a farmer, full nodes doing something in a ritual circle overseen by a timelord. The humble wallet and an “Electron GUI” on the right. Even a mythical creature, a pool that we are not supposed to be asking many questions about.

I got to that diagram from this super promising page. What are harvesters, farmers, full nodes, and timelords? Awesome, that’s exactly the question that I have!! But this is clickbait. The road here forks into " network architecture document" (where I got that diagram from) and [the new consensus document (Chia Consensus - Google Docs). Is there an old consensus document? It probably does not matter.

Remember, I’m a Windows gui user. I’m trying to make a mental map of what is going on in that diagram to the gui. It clearly does not map – the gui runs everything in an easy to understand, but monolithic way. When it gets shut down it leaves behind a command line interface.

Now let’s take a look at the command line documentation:

Command: chia start {service}

  • Service node will start only the full node.
  • Service farmer will start the farmer, harvester, a full node, and the wallet.
  • positional arguments: {all,node,harvester,farmer,farmer-no-wallet,farmer-only,timelord,timelord-only,timelord-launcher-only,wallet,wallet-only,introducer,simulator}

This is not technical documentation. This is a puzzle. A Chia Lament Configuration.


There’s “all”. That is easy to understand. Node – well, I think I kind of understand what a node is. Same with harverter. Now, farmer-no-wallet. Is wallet a property of the farmer? I can imagine that. But farmer-only!!! What is the difference between a farmer and farmer only? Oh, oh, oh – “Service ‘farmer’ will start the farmer, harvester, a full node, and the wallet.” This is confusing, very confusing, but I’m still with it. Then there’s wallet and wallet only. What is in the wallet besides the wallet? Is a timelord hiding there? A timelord launcher? A gang of timelords? It could be anything.

Is this a timelord?


The introducer and the simulator are not on the previous diagram. Are they in the wallet? Are they part of the full node?

And after that stream of conciousness – have you noticed that “plotter” is not a thing – not in the diagrams, not in the command line documentation?

There is a chia demon. Ok, daemon. It makes plots. Making plots is what we, farmers spend most of our attention on right now. The plots are our lottery tickets. But the other pieces of farming, and I guess occult (timelords, nodes, electron guis, and introducers are not farming methaphors) equipment do not involve making plots. But when you are using the windows gui that is not apparent.

The problem here is that in that puzzle that we all pretend is simple there’s a great deal of complexity. And it stems from poor naming. And the puzzle making culture at Chia Network.

“Plotting” is not a farming term. “Plotting” means to “secretly make plans to carry out (an illegal or harmful action).” I have been saying “plotting” without thinking much about it, and I bet you have too. The farming metaphor that is appropriate to our dirt farming is “sowing”. Maybe “seeding” or “planting”.

We can make plots files without internet, without any time lords or other warlocks. All we need for that is chia demons. But those demons live in a mangled mesh of farming equipment, and I have been very confused about that for a while.

A harvester these days is a machine that is properly called a “combine harvester” or a “combine”. What does a combine combine? Oh, reaping, threshing, gathering, and winnowing— all better metaphors for the mechanics of Chia production.


So when I say I’m having trouble harvesting, I mean combine harvesting. Doing everything that I need to get my plots to give me the sweet, sweet magical, uh plants of the mint family? And doing it with a windows gui or the daemon that the windows gui leaves behind.


That gave me a good chuckle.

But: we can say “Plotting”. It actually fits pretty well into the agricultural metaphor.

Imagine you just bought 40 acres of land, and you want to start farming. Before you start farming, you need to prepare the land. It’s got trees and weird bushes and rocks and stuff. You clear the brush, remove some large stones, and lay out several fields. You transform the unimproved land into farmland. It happens once (for any given acre).


That is called “cultivation” – I think that consists of clearing the land, ploughing or plowing which I think is the same thing. I like “ploughing”, but it is also a double entendre. And “plotting” still means “making evil plans” and not cultivating the land.



To be pedantic, no! :slight_smile:

Plowing the land is part of the farming cycle. You plow* at the beginning of each growing season. “Cultivation” simply describes growing plants. (Disclaimer: I am not an actual farmer, and have basically zero agricultural experience aside from the one time I tried to grow a pot plant in my closet during college).

“Plotting” (in chia) on the other hand is the one-time price of admission. It’s the process of turning “not a farm” into “a farm”. It happens exactly once.

“Plotting” land in the physical world is more about measuring/mapping. But still, you just do it once and then you’re done, just like here.

  • Edited. Original post said “plot” here, which was the opposite of what I mean in this context.
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This is not being pedantic. Being pedantic is pointing out that the verb “plot” in Standard American English has a set of meanings that does not include any agricultural ones. And neither does Standard English.

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In the agricultural context, it’s an extension of the map-related definitions. “Farming a plot” is a common usage.


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At great personal risk to myself, I post the following rebuttal. You seem more fun to read than to interact with, and I mean that as a complement. Passive-aggressive link in-kind: https://is.gd/ku0sGj


Yes. In this case “farming” is a perfectly cromulent verb meaning “engaging in farming activity” and “plot” is a perfectly cromulent noun meaning “a piece of land”. If you reverse them though, and say “plotting a farm”, plotting would become a verb meaning “to conspire”, and it would not work. Look, let me make an argument for you that I can’t refute. Jus type the magic words – “I do not believe in prescriptivism, words can mean anything I want them to mean and you can’t do anything about it”. I admin defeat, you have bested me, I surrender. It’s “plotting”.

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I wrote some bad stuff. Not my proudest moment. I asked the moderator to erase it. Look, being condescending is bad when you are right. It’s worse when you are wrong. Yes, the verb “plot” has another non-farm-related meaning. A captain can “plot” a course. It has to do with drawing lines on charts. “Plotters” are usually pieces of equipment that draw lines. All the results that you elegantly googled for me are either devices that are navigational in nature or printers. They are not cultivators or ploughs/plows. The amazing thing about the English language is that it has an enormous number of words to choose from, more than any other language in the world. Plotter and plotting are English words, but they do not mean what you want them to mean. But English is a living language, and if you will say “plotting” in an agricultural sense enough times maybe it will stick.


Well I certainly might be wrong, but at least you are funny about it. :laughing:


Don’t feel bad. I love a good argument about language. :slight_smile:

I’ll concede (a little) that “plotting” is (something of) a stretch, but as you now acknowledge, it’s a term that is used in the context of geography. In agriculture, plots are geographic units of farmland. Plotting, then, is the development or design of a farm by dividing land into plots.


I thought you plotted a plat?