An Idea for Long-Term Contributor Alignment

@frogmonkee’s post about the Governance Solutions Engineer program had me thinking about contributor alignment. This post lays out a strategy we could use to adjust contributor incentive to allow us to create long-term alignment.

The Problem

Our current member system has the following issues:

  • Trusted contributors can lose their status and access if they drop below 35K BANK. Some examples:
    • people who need to use BANK for living expenses
    • people who move their BANK to Polygon
    • people who get rugged
  • There are many “inactive” L2’s who retain status and access but are no longer engaged by BanklessDAO
  • The guest pass system has a lot of issues
    • it’s onerous for L2’s to continually renew trusted guest passers
    • There are valued contributors who are stuck at the guest pass level simply because they don’t have enough BANK to be L1
  • Unequal split of active contributors of each means that the Coordinape rounds aren’t remunerating people the way they were designed
  • It’s hard to tell what different contributor levels mean. L1 means you have 35K BANK, what does L2 mean? What about L3 or L4 (also connected to accumulated BANK as far as I know)

The Idea

In short: create a flexible framework which allows us to experiment on contributor alignment over the long-term by tying different types of contribution to various perks.

A lot of the issues come from conflating contribution with BANK holdings, and others come from activity. I suggest instead of one track which tries to validate all aspects of being a member of BanklessDAO, we use many which each describe a different type of contribution. I further suggest we start with community acceptance, stake, and activity.

Community acceptance - based upon community support, i.e. how many people support you being a member of BanklessDAO?

Stake - how much BANK you hold

Activity - how active you are in Discord

Assuming we have a reasonable split for levels in these categories, we could then assign perks to each level to help align membership over the long-term. See An Example below for details.

Why These 3 Categories of Contribution?

Although there are many ways we can measure contribution to BanklessDAO, these three are convenient to start. Our current levelling system conflates community acceptance and stake, so disentangling those two gives us a starting point. Adding activity allows us to handle the flow of contribution over time, ensuring the people who are currently working on BanklessDAO are being incentivized to do their best work.

Community acceptance is trust. Higher levels of community acceptance should give you more access to tools to help a contributor pursue the BanklessDAO mission. It’s measured in the number of people who vouch for you.

Stake is risk. Higher levels of stake show you are risking more on BanklessDAO and opening yourself up to the upside and downside by holding BANK. In some ways, stake shows how much you believe in BanklessDAO.

Activity is contribution. It’s not, really, but it’s just an easy correlation to contribution (assuming that contribution is based upon working together). Discord is our central hub. If you’re not joining meetings and/or sending messages in Discord, you’re not participating and likely not an active contributor. See below for other ways to measure contribution.

We could add a lot of other dimensions to this (although I think we should restrict ourselves to the 3 above to start). Here are some examples:

  • Output - how many artifacts (code/designs/documents) you produce (contributed)
  • Impact - how much you’ve contributed to the mission
  • Recognition - how much the community values your contributions (i.e. Coordinape allocations)
  • Earnings - how much BANK have you EVER earned (i.e. using BANK for living expenses wouldn’t affect this number)
  • Etc.

A Note on Perks

Perks are anything that is seen as a net benefit to the individual they’re given. This is an intentionally broad definition - we should be creative when experimenting with perks!

For some concrete examples, perks can be physical things like merch, digital things like NFTs, intangible things like recognition, access to higher-level tooling, etc.

Perks would be paid for from the treasury. They’re benefits given continually to contributors to help incentivize them to continue working with us in the long run. As such, we’d need to take care that our perk distribution is sustainable. It would be heartbreaking to have our treasury emptied through excessive perks.

The example below will lay out a perk framework for clarity, but remember: we need to keep experimenting to ensure our perks are actually helping us keep active contributors over the long term. We need to look at the state of our contributors regularly to ensure that the results match the goal and make changes as necessary

An Example

To make the above ideas clear, here’s an example. First we have each of our 3 contribution types to define:

Activity - Measured daily, weekly, and seasonally
Activity is a bare minimum for contributors, so you’ll notice many of the perks below require you to be active.

Daily Active Weekly Active Seasonally Active
Has posted at least 5 messages on BanklessDAO Discord in a day Has been active 3 of 7 days using Daily Active criteria Has been active > 50% of the weeks in the season using Weekly Active criteria

Community Acceptance
Anyone contributor can initiate a poll for any other contributor. You can’t initiate a poll for yourself.

C0 - Guest Pass C1 - contributor C2 - trusted contributor C3 - key contributor C4 - core contributor
Same as current guest pass Discord poll with 5 existing contributors voting in favour Forum poll with 20 existing contributors voting in favour Forum poll with 50 existing contributors voting in favour Snapshot poll with 100 existing contributors voting in favour

Note: C2, C3, and C4 contributors who are seasonally inactive revert to C1

Stake

S1 - Minnow S2 - Koi S3 - Dolphin S4 - Orca S5 - Whale
<10k BANK 10-35K BANK 35-100K BANK 100-300K BANK >300K BANK

Perks

There are more perks here than would likely be sustainable, but I wanted to flesh out the example.

Coordinape
In pirate ships, they elected their captains and when it was time to distribute their loot, they did it based on a share system: crew gets 1 share, quartermaster gets 1.25 shares, first mate gets 1.5 shares, and the captain gets 2 shares.

Instead of having multiple Coordinape pools, have a single pool (for active contributors only) which is distributed based on pirate math: 1 share for each C1, 2 shares for each C2, 3 shares for each C3, etc. Then put that amount into each Coordinape circle for allocation.

Assuming 1M BANK for coordinape/month, and the following contributor breakdown: 1000 C1’s, 100 C2’s, 10 C3’s, 1 C4 (1111 total contributors)

  • 1M BANK / 1234 shares = ~810.4 BANK/share

The monthly round allocations would look like this:

Active C1 and above (1111 contributors) Active C2 and above (111 contributors) Active C3 and above (11 contributors) Active C4 (1 contributor)
900,354.4 BANK 89954.4 BANK 8914.4 810.4 BANK

Note: Stake contributors wouldn’t be included in coordinape rounds, they’re only for active contributors.

Tools
In most cases, more trust should give you more tools to allow you to get more done quicker. These kinds of perks should be reserved for active contributors. That being said, there are some tools which are also status symbols and might be attractive even if you aren’t an active contributor - the example below is a BanklessDAO email.

Notion membership Discord Administration (i.e. create roles, etc) Discord Nitro BanklessDAO email address
Active C2 and above Active C2 and above Active C3 and above Active C4 and above
S4 and above

Merch
Anyone who says they don’t like merch drops goes back to C0!

Christmas Merch Drop Summer Merch Drop All-Season Merch Drops
Active C2 and above Active C3 and above Active C4
S4 and above S5

NFTs
Exclusive NFTs minted specifically for BanklessDAO members. You can’t buy ‘em (except in the aftermarket, bwuah ha ha!)

Yearly NFT Drop Twice Annual NFT Drop Special One-Shot NFT
Active C2 and above Active C3 and above Active C4
S4 and above S5

What do you think?

Intrigued? Offended? Hungry? Drop a comment to let me know :wink:

8 Likes

Things I like: looking at the nuance of membership beyond BANK holdings, thinking of the people who need to convert BANK (this could be me in the very near future now that I don’t have that corp paycheck), making more defined perks other than voting power, creating BanklessDAO email addresses, and pirate math.

Things I need more clarity on: Who will manage all this? It seems like this will be kind of complex to implement across the DAO. Keeping track of these various statuses could be tough for the Ops Guild. At what level is a person allowed to vote? At what level do they get to do the things L2s do, like assign roles/edit access to Discord?

Very interested in the ideas here. Just curious about how this would work on the day-to-day.

I haven’t gotten too deep in implementation details, but I’ll try to answer.

  • We already track stake, so it would be a matter of changing the automations. Hopefully a « solved problem »
  • for community acceptance, similar to how L2 tracking is done, but TBH I think we need more structure around this. I don’t believe this can/should be easily automated, so it would be a role or group to track
  • for activity, I believe DAOdash already has this info, so we’d need to feed it into an automation
  • for perks, we’d need a group to coordinate this . Maybe the same group as the community acceptance trackers - people responsible for tracking contributor status

Again, it’s just an idea, so I’m open to any kind of feedback

1 Like

Thanks for this post.

Here are a couple issues : measuring contribution by presence is fundamentally flawed. It’s like measuring shared parenting , contact time with kids matters, but quality contact time is more important than quantity .
A member could drop in the discord server, make a single post, revolutionized monetization, and not return for all sorts of reasons like maybe they don’t have an internet connection and the library is closed. Under this system the Saviour would not be rewarded and the opposite, the members who were running the DAO into the ground , would be rewarded. So the incentives are not aligned. For certain this is an extreme example. But truth is stranger than fiction in most cases.

For example I am not sure we are asking the question why L2 is a membership level?

L2 could be honorary label. For example in common law, after 12 years of exceptional service as measured by one’s peers, a lawyer can receive the designation queens council QC. This does nothing for perks or pay. It’s an honor recognition like a medal. Same in the military , plenty of service awards, that come with no promotion or perks. I am not saying these are the answers . What I am suggesting is maybe we might list the problems out and work them backwards from scratch within a larger framework.

If we can get the larger framework, we could figure out how many levels of membership are needed inside the framework , if any, then determine how to meet those needs.

We may find we need 1 level, or we may find we need 4 levels . I realize these are only ideas , and they help us all have the conversations To move in a common direction and it’s easy to arm chair quarter back and point out shortcomings rather than provide solutions. IMO Theses ideas are great to aggregate to answer more fundamental questions and come up with the missing framework.

Great post I really like this line of thinking. for the merch drop is the idea that it would be a free merch drop or exclusive purchasing only for the proper tier of membership? One thing I could see going wrong potentially is people adding random comments just to game the activity tracking but even if thats the case its possible just getting people to be active in the discord will increase the likelihood of them actually engaging in meaningful ways, maybe.

@links thanks for taking the time to create such a model. I would like to discuss, if holding BANK as a Stakeholder is maybe a completely different dimension that should be taken separately. Holding BANK clearly defines an incentive structure and also it defines the way the BANK holder is remunerated for taking the risk. It seems to me that this is a beautiful thing that can stay separately as it is.

The other two dimensions that you analyzed are activity (I like that one in particular) and community acceptance. On activity I feel this has great potential, because even though this can be abused, there is certainly a smart way to measure this. And since the DAO lives of activity I think this would be an excellent measurement to determine remuneration.

On community acceptance: I have my doubts how this could be operationalized but I am sure there is a way. I am convinced this is just lack of spontaneous creativity :slight_smile: However, I am not sure whether community acceptance should directly translate in remuneration. Wouldn’t it be even more elegant, if the acceptance would lead to your output being even more valuable and therefore your remuneration would be higher? Does that make sense?

Thanks to the people who gave some feedback! I tried to answer the pertinent points below.

Agreed, which is why I looked at activity as mainly a qualifier/disqualifier for perks rather than changing the amount of perks. Even this is a bit suspect, but hopefully the community discernment in coordinape would prevent malicious actors from taking advantage. Would you give a big coordinape allocation to someone who popped in and said “gm” 5 times?

By keeping this human layer as a check, activity doesn’t do much except disqualify people who aren’t around consistently, which is a bare minimum for contributing to this DAO. If someone revolutionizes monetization with a single post and disappears, we can’t actually reward them in any case.

We could also beef up activity by adding more dimensions (output, impact, etc), but these are harder to measure, so we’d have some work ahead of us.

Yeah! You hit the heart of my intent which is to create a framework for experimentation. I don’t know HOW many levels we need. This was just an idea of how we could experiment to find out.

Either could work! Just the exclusivity could be a big draw IMO, but if the treasury is healthy enough we could pay for some merch, which would make higher levels even MORE desirable. This could create a natural incentive for people to move up in levels (which is a problem some other posts have identified).

They could do that, but in the example they wouldn’t be rewarded in the coordinape system, and we could even create some mechanism for community rejection (i.e. removing people from acceptance levels if they are acting maliciously).

We could also beef up our activity metric with some of the other dimensions I described, including output, impact, etc, but they are harder to measure, so it would take some work to make it happen.

It COULD be enough, and in fact most perks in the example are for community-acceptance+activity and not stake. However, it IS in the benefit of contributors for the whales to keep their stake (i.e. dumping BANK would reduce the price), so having little perks could encourage this could be useful. TBD

We’re currently using community acceptance to remunerate (monthly coordinape rounds are supposed to be more lucrative for L2s), but I think the idea around this is: we want people to stuck around and contribute EVEN IF THEY AREN’T IN A ROLE.

For instance, let’s make up a person, let’s say…@frogmonkee (any resemblance to someone living or dead is purely coincidental). He has a role that pays well, but he figures out a way to automate it or do it much cheaper by passing it to someone else. Should he take the opportunity, putting himself out of a job even though it’s best for the DAO? You’d be hard-pressed to find people who would do this. But if this fictional person was accepted by the community and was remunerated just for contributing in any way he saw fit, it makes the decision easier.

I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I think chasing revenue to the detriment of everything else is a bad strategy if we truly want to revolutionize work. That works on an individual perspective, too. Freeing up our core contributors to follow their hearts makes for a resilient and constantly striving organization…that last part is just my belief, though :wink:

3 Likes

I like this idea but it is important to recognize this type of solutioning is essentially a function of not having a two-token system. In an ideal setting, we would have governance and reputation separated with a token for each. Members would not be able to be compensated in governance/voting power but would instead receive reputation. Okay, now that this caveat is out of the way I have just a couple pieces of feedback on criteria development: The common denominator with all three of your proposed dimensions is quantity. I think we will want to break these dimensions down into quality, diversity, and ratio scores. Allow me to elaborate…

Community acceptance - Not just how many support but how many at each level of membership support. And how many at different tenures support. For example, someone who has been here since day zero may have the support of 50 L2s but ZERO support from all level ones. Another person may have support from 30 L2s and 15 from level ones. Your current metric would rate the former person as more reputable. This could be problematic for a few reasons. If someone garners favor simply because of their legacy reputation they are effectively just an incumbent who has failed to build support with new members and relies on their reputation from existing ties. I would argue the second person has given a better good faith effort to build ties with a more diverse audience.

Stake - Same idea. Amount of $BANK to me is actually not as important, especially since $BANK can be earned. HOW often have you sold $BANK is far more important to demonstrate stake. For example, maybe you have 5x the amount of BANK as someone else but are you constantly pumping and dumping? I trust a HODLer with 50k BANK far more than someone with 1 Million who constantly pumps and dumps to sway votes. cough cough.

Activity - This one will be the easiest to measure and has the least amount of consequence if we get it wrong but it is still worth thinking through a measure that is more than just pure quantity. I think it should be a 30 day rolling average and a ratio that is a combination of both meetings + chat + sign-on time. I also think POAPs, Discourse activity, and voter engagement should be included as well.

If we do all that ^^ then I think this is a great starting framework to start measuring contributors.

Of course we should of just done a two-token system from the start :wink:

p.s. I did not take the time to read any of the comments so if some of my feedback is superfluous or repetitive my apologies.

2 Likes

I agree with you that membership and voting can benefit from a review and from substantive changes. I also share similar ideas about The possibilities in your examples.

In my mind , measuring activity is tough since quality of participation obviously is more important that quantity ( the industrious idiot example or Gamming the system comes to mind) . A contributor could show up once deliver the promised contribution and generate the highest revenue to benefit for the DAO, if they are penalized for the lack of activity we have them mispriced the risk and likely alienated the member. So the definition of activity matters a lot and the correct identification mischief we are trying to cure matters more.
For example , Activity can be measured by awareness. If the there is a small buy or re-stake of 5% BANK each season to maintain membership with a limited window of a week to re-Engage and a member missed the window to re engage, this is just likely a good indicator of activity since it obviates against silent participation and indifference , if those are the mischiefs meant to be cured.

On the issue of token based voting . When there is a single protocol one trick pony, token based voting can make sense: members have a similar understanding at least of the product or service.

In a diversified DAO like bDAO , it’s not reasonable to expect diverse guilds to know enough to make informed decisions about voting on other guilds projects or to be engaged outside of their orbits enough to have a decent understanding of the issue being asked to be voted on; and to some extent we observe this in bDAO. So influence of whales begins to manifest from the moment the proposal is made and the drift towards centralization continues.

If centralization is a concern, then we might consider is defining what order of centralization we wish to overcome, vote on that, then design around it. For example which one takes precedence: a right to vote , or a right to profits/benefits. Because the two do not have to be tied together.

If the CSE goes ahead, membership review can be an assigned task. If it does not, membership review could be launched as a separate project.

Intrigued by this! Just finished reading it and now my baby daughter is calling me so I can’t craft a thoughtful response. Am excited to see where this conversation goes!

1 Like

I am ready to vote on this!!!

I like the idea of a flexible contributor program. Stake is only one aspect of being a contributor and we definitely over-index for it.

My issue is how can we realistically manage this system? It seems extremely complex and simply managing guest passes right now is a huge overhead.

Curious to hear your thoughts and game plan on implementation and overall management.

Yeah…I really hand-waved the implementation because I didn’t actually know what kinds of information we hold and also because I was trying to get some discussion around the strategy and not tactics.

Here are some quick thoughts on implementation:

  • complexity can be mitigated by doing one thing at a time…each dimension can be iterated upon separately and in parallel with the current levels until we are ready to “flip a switch”
  • We’d need a funded group to implement this. It would be easy to say “let ops handle it” but I’d say the scope is beyond the Ops Guild mandate, as it involves iteration and experimentation.
    • this group would need to mediate the contributor ladder as well, no more ad-hoc polls and “how do we elevate people?”
    • this group would have to develop some automation/tooling to handle changes in level (i.e. Got promoted to C1? Here’s a tally form where you input the link to the poll and the Discord member ID)
  • STEP 1: whatever mechanism we are using right now for stake - change it to handle the new stake levels
  • STEP 2: L2’s → C2’s, Guest Pass stay as Guest Pass/C0, implement C1 tooling
    • with the requirement for C1, I think the Guest Pass issues will start to die down
  • STEP 3: start simple on activity, whatever information we already hold in DAO Dash
  • STEP 4: first and only perk, coordinape using pirate math

This lays down a baseline to iterate upon. Every season, we should lay out a new perk to work on, as well as tooling updates.

Anyways, it IS complex if you look at it as a whole. If you look at it as a series of small steps, it’s doable with the right people.

Would love to hear your thoughts and challenges!

Activity - how active you are in Discord

I think this is a false metric if you take it at face value: you can write 23423423 lines of text (if we just look at statistics) without actually having said anything useful. So the real value that you can trust is your first point: Community acceptance.

I’d also point out that there are other measurable stats you haven’t mentioned like taking a look at the project one is working on and the amount of $BANK they earned through doing actual work. This is also not a perfect metric, but it is relatively objective compared to lines of text. You also bring these up:

Output - how many artifacts (code/designs/documents) you produce (contributed)
Impact - how much you’ve contributed to the mission
Recognition - how much the community values your contributions (i.e. Coordinape allocations)
Earnings - how much BANK have you EVER earned (i.e. using BANK for living expenses wouldn’t affect this number)

Coordinape is also something that I think is more valuable than Discord activity.

How would you measure Impact though?

So I’d start with these

  • Community Acceptance
  • Earnings
  • Output
  • Recognition

I don’t know how to measure Impact, and I already outlined my problem with Discord. Note that I haven’t mentioned the amount of $BANK you have since I don’t think that it has correlation with actually creating value for the DAO.

Perks

I agree that having perks is good but as I’ve stated elsewhere this is very hard to do properly. For example, somebody was doing a raffle the other day only for those who had a very specific POAP. I don’t think that POAPs are good for this purpose and we should be mindful of their limitations. For example, somebody can contribute value to the DAO worth thousands of $$$ while still not having any of the “contribution” POAPs (for example the ones we hand out for participating in community calls) simply because they are in a different timezone.

A note on participation vs contribution.

I think we should also figure out whether we’d like to reward participation or contribution. I think those two are at the far end of the same spectrum and both attract very different people.

1 Like