Ratification Doc 153 - Grants - 2019-01

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#1
This discussion is for the document that governs the upcoming grant round. Due to significant disagreements in the community and time constraints for this round we're not making a lot of big changes to the grant process from the previous round. Currently, the only major change in the document is new wording to clarify section 4.2.3:

Grants for future work are on three month timelines. Grants that span a longer timeline should be limited in scope to cover a 3 month period and with future work being applied for in a later separate grant round. This does not preclude grants for work already completed which can be applied for in any grant round.
This does not forbid people from proposing grants on work they've already completed but maintains the three month cadence for future facing work. One of the motivations for this is that the community seems to support Factom Inc's Interrim Grant for Core Dev work which would be disallowed under some interpretations of the previous wording. The community still has the right to reject any grant they do not think brings sufficient value to the protocol so this increases flexibility without limiting choice, in my opinion.

The voting section is currently unchanged from the previous grant round but there have been a number of discussions on different voting methods to be employed and we can still choose a different one. Julian and Nic worked up a ranked voting method I think is a significant improvement over what we've done previously but is not overly complex. They'll be presenting that later today. Adam presented a really interesting Single Transferrable Vote (STV) approach would could be highly beneficial but likely is too complex to implement this round. If there's no clear consensus we'll hold a more formal poll to determine what voting method to implement but I believe my recommendation is going to be to use the ranked voting method.

In terms of disallowing Affiliated ANOs from voting on their own grants, there is no language in the document forbidding it currently. The straw poll I posted on Discord had no clear consensus but had a slight edge towards allowing Affiliated ANOs to vote. If enough people are unhappy with this I can host a more formal vote on the forum to determine whether or not to include it but that will require some people to step up and create a clear definition of what constitutes "Affiliation" and the community to agree on that definition. Some of the arguments against it that I think are important to note, are that it will get complicated fast, it will be difficult to properly enforce, and given our small Standing Party size we could potentially significantly reduce the number of people able to vote on some grants leading to a lot of potential for gaming.

We have eight days to finalize this document before the vote and I recommend we try to do that without any extensions so as to avoid delaying the grant round any further. Currently the document is view-only, but if people are unhappy about that I can change it to allow commenting directly on it, though I personally think it's better to have the discussions on this thread rather than in the document.

Finally, I want to personally apologize to the community for not being able to get more improvements in this grant round. We've had a virtually non-stop cadence of document ratification through the holidays and into the New Year on highly important decentralization processes such as ANO Removal and the Guide Process. In addition, I think we're seeing some huge inefficiencies in decentralized consensus making and it's often difficult to determine what approach to take as whatever decision is made will ultimately leave someone unhappy and possibly feeling marginalized. This concerns me a lot because I feel strongly that my job as Guide to ensure all community voices are heard. I have an idea about how to improve our decentralized decision making but will post that in a separate discussion thread later.
 

Chappie

Timed Discussion Bot
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#2
This thread is a Document Ratification/Amendment Timed Discussion and I am designed to help facilitate efficient communication.

Guides and ANOs may take part in this discussion and vote. Unless this discussion is ended early or extended, it will end in 8 days after which a vote will take place. After 18 hours from the start of the thread or any point up until 24 hours are left in the discussion, you can make a motion to end the discussion immediately or extend the discussion beyond it's initial time frame by selecting the pertinent button at the top of this thread. If someone "seconds" your motion, a poll will take place which requires a majority of Standing Parties to vote one way or the other.

At the end of the discussion period, Guides will vote first and 4 must vote yes otherwise the process ends. If 4 do vote yes, ANOs then vote and if 60% vote yes, the document is successfully ratified or amended.
 
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#4
I am also opposed to rules about who can and who cannot vote for a grant. Mostly because at some point where we move to on-chain voting, this cannot be verified or validated on chain.

I could imagine a situation where significant numbers of standing parties are involved in some grant effort and the very significance of the grant inhibits or even precludes its funding.

We can also get into hair splitting arguments about what it means to be a party to a grant. Seems like a bag of worms which might be better solved by getting the standing parties implemented and in place to dilute the influence of the existing participants.
 
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#5
All Standing Parties in the Factom ecosystem are eligible to vote on submitted grants except for those materially affiliated with the Grant. This includes, but is not limited to, ANOs directly collaborating on a Grant and ANOs who have direct financial ties to ANOs who are proposing a grant or collaborating on a Grant.
The wording "includes, but is not limited to" implies that "materially affiliated" has only a limit on the down side, i.e. direct financial ties certainly means "materially affiliated," but even less obvious ties might qualify. Those ties might be just a close social relationship, or even an appearance of a close social relationship in the opinions of some.

"Directly collaborating on a Grant" is very easily misconstrued. Factom Inc. is committed to supporting any grantee to the extent that is required and within our resources to do so. Particularly we are committed to aiding the onboarding of developers. If that is "Directly collaborating on a Grant", then we are prohibited from voting on nearly any grant that we might be providing guidence and support. Or we have to turn people away when they might ask for help, otherwise we have no voice in the process.

If you are going to take the right to vote from a party, exactly what takes that vote away needs to be very clear and well defined. It cannot be fuzzy line.
 
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#11
The wording "includes, but is not limited to" implies that "materially affiliated" has only a limit on the down side, i.e. direct financial ties certainly means "materially affiliated," but even less obvious ties might qualify. Those ties might be just a close social relationship, or even an appearance of a close social relationship in the opinions of some.

"Directly collaborating on a Grant" is very easily misconstrued. Factom Inc. is committed to supporting any grantee to the extent that is required and within our resources to do so. Particularly we are committed to aiding the onboarding of developers. If that is "Directly collaborating on a Grant", then we are prohibited from voting on nearly any grant that we might be providing guidence and support. Or we have to turn people away when they might ask for help, otherwise we have no voice in the process.

If you are going to take the right to vote from a party, exactly what takes that vote away needs to be very clear and well defined. It cannot be fuzzy line.
That line was supposed to be removed pending the community's discussion on whether to prohibit affiliated ANOs from voting on grants. It was my oversight but it is removed now. I agree with with all your rationale on this point.
 
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#12
Sorry, one other request.

Can we get a plan together to get the grant periods aligned with the month, and developing predictable dates for grant rounds quarter to quarter. Funding periods starting on the 1st of the month would make tax reporting a bit more sane.
Yes, we want to hard code grant round dates. I agree this needs to happen.
 
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#13
I am also opposed to rules about who can and who cannot vote for a grant. Mostly because at some point where we move to on-chain voting, this cannot be verified or validated on chain.

I could imagine a situation where significant numbers of standing parties are involved in some grant effort and the very significance of the grant inhibits or even precludes its funding.

We can also get into hair splitting arguments about what it means to be a party to a grant. Seems like a bag of worms which might be better solved by getting the standing parties implemented and in place to dilute the influence of the existing participants.
I would like to put my support behind this statement by Paul. We are trying to socially emulate the way our future on-chain voting system will function, and by adding these kinds of rules we are bringing in principles and setting precedents that we ought to avoid. It does not prevent entities to willingly recuse themselves as well, and I as a guide will recuse myself from voting on all grants except the ones described in our Governance document (as I did last time around).

I also think the added complexities will bring more pain and friction to the community than it would solve.

Getting more standing parties up and running ASAP is the solution I believe, and I think we should make that one of our main priorities in Q1/Q2 this year.
 
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#18
Where is my name in the changelog as only the some wording is changed ;) /jk

The voting discussion is still ongoing I guess, but if we are going to keep it like this we need some wording in there to make sure people do not do binary voting this time around. Binary voting negatively impacts people that are voting in spirit with the 60 points cutoff as they only have 40 points to award to grants that should make it according to them.
 
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#19
Where is my name in the changelog as only the some wording is changed ;) /jk

The voting discussion is still ongoing I guess, but if we are going to keep it like this we need some wording in there to make sure people do not do binary voting this time around. Binary voting negatively impacts people that are voting in spirit with the 60 points cutoff as they only have 40 points to award to grants that should make it according to them.
Good point. Didn't mean to disregard your contributions. Let me consult our document master on how to handle change logs for cloned documents and then I'll update it.

I agree regarding voting. If the community goes with that option we can add some wording.
 
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#21
Just want to re-iterate here that I strongly support the use of a ranking vote rather than a scoring vote. It just makes more sense and avoid many pitfalls that happened last round (and make it easier for standing parties to vote I think).
STV proposal sounds great to me but I do not think it can be reasobably ready for this grant round, so I'm looking forward to read the formal proposal of Julian and Nic and hopefully we can use it.
 
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#22
I agree with the STV system as a final Target ( btw I found a old post (May) from Xavier with a video explaining the principles
)

Not sure whether it is hard to implement. You need to determine the threshold and compare this threshold with the average score of each grant. You check the total amount of FCT available. You then consider extra votes, distribute them to the second choice (one by one). You check again the balance of FCT still available after each new winner. You then eleminate the lower score and distribute the votes (one by one) etc...

This all process could be realised manually by the guides as long as the votes are auditable as a the process/logigram used.
 

Chappie

Timed Discussion Bot
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#24
We are now 18 hours into the discussion. You may now make a motion to extend this Document Ratification/Amendment Discussion by an additional 72 hours or end this conversation by selecting the pertinent button at the top of this thread. This option will end when there are 24 hours left in the discussion.
 

Chappie

Timed Discussion Bot
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#26
Tom has made a motion to extend the discussion. If someone seconds this motion by selecting the button below, a vote on the motion will start.

A majority voting yay will pass the motion and the discussion will be extended for 72 hours. This motion will remain open until the normal discussion period ends or a motion to end the discussion is passed by a majority.
 

Chappie

Timed Discussion Bot
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#27
David Kuiper has seconded the motion to extend the discussion.

A motion is now active at the top of this thread to vote if you want to extend the discussion. A majority voting yes will pass the motion and the discussion will be extended for 72 hours. This vote will remain open until the normal discussion period ends or another motion is passed.
 
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#29
Hey Tor,

It's going great so far. We are refining the last couple details with regard to scoring and will have it up this afternoon (around 4 PM PST) for review. I apologize for the delay. There are some intricacies we've had to think through and describe, but we are very nearly done.

Will take a look at the suggestion feature now to see what we can do with it, as well.