Listing out different concerns and risks and some approaches in which they can be mitigated
Concerns & Risks
Lack of clarity on what contributors will work on
There is a risk of a lack of clarity on exactly what contributors would be working on. If what contributors are trying to achieve is not clear it will make it difficult to determine whether there will be a good return on investment electing a cohort of contributors and also more difficult to determine how much to allocate to the contributor categorisation.
Mitigation using clear and open product development workflows - To increase clarity on what contributors are working on it will be important to see a public product development workflow that the contributors are using and going through to prioritise problems and execute solutions.
Mitigation using roles and minimum thresholds - The use of skill based roles with minimum thresholds for each role type will help create better guarantees that contributors as a collective group have the right skill diversity to be a good return on investment and are feasibly able to execute impactful initiatives.
Lack of team synergy
There is a risk that the contributors that are selected by the community don't have a high synergy when working with each other. Contributors may prefer different processes or approaches to other contributors. These differences could lead to decision complexity or potential conflicts.
Mitigation using roles and minimum thresholds - A diversity of skill based roles will help ensure that the cohort of contributors at least has the right skill diversity to collaborate and execute different tasks.
Mitigation using contributor participation and contributions history - Over time contributors will have a history of their participation and contributions. This history will help to provide evidence towards what they were like to work with and how they collaborated with others. Contributors who are better at collaborating would likely have an increased chance of being funded again if they were also impactful with their contributions.
Difficulty selecting candidates
Voters are not likely to have high familiarity with all the candidates that they would be voting on. A idea based proposal can be easier to understand and compare from a high level than comparing contributors with similar skill sets. Ranking contributor candidates against others without sufficient information would be difficult.
Mitigation using contributor participation and contributions history - Having a history of contributors previous participation and contributions will make it easier to identify high performing contributors and compare that with other candidates.
Mitigation using contributor focussed dReps - dReps which focus their efforts on the ecosystem of contributors will be able to have more capacity to identify the most impactful contributors. They could also even interview newcomers to the ecosystem to identify talent that would benefit the ecosystem. dReps can also help to highlight information about contributors to the general voters which could help with better informing the voters.
Difficulty removing malicious actors
If a contributor is elected and is a bad actor by either not doing what they said they would, causing conflict in the ecosystem or exhibiting malicious behaviour then this can mean wasting community treasury funding and impacting the effectiveness of the rest of the cohort. There is also a risk that multiple contributors become corrupted or are actually bad actors. This situation would need intervention from the community.
Short term - Similar to idea proposals if the proposal team does not execute then their funding can be stopped by IOG. A contributors can adopt a similar model in the short term.
Long term - The community should be able to initiate a vote that has a pass threshold that if reached would remove a bad actor from a contributor cohort. There could also be an internal mechanism for the cohort to remove a bad actor themselves if they breach a community set policy that contributors should have been abiding with. In terms of larger scale corruption the community can be given the ability to start a vote to remove an entire cohort of contributors if this was necessary and start a new election process.
Potential lack of contributor diversity
The group of contributors that get elected each funding round could have a lack of diversity. This could influence how the cohort works on supporting, maintaining and improving the ecosystem negatively due to a lack of mixed perspectives or representation from different communities.
Mitigation using creation of an inclusive product development workflow - Effort can be made to ensure there is diversity of thought from different communities when getting feedback in the ecosystem about which problems exist, their priority and how they can be solved. Better integrating a mixture of voices in this process will help to ensure the outcomes are more representative of what the wider community wants solving.
Mitigation using robust contributor proposal standards - The better the standards are for creating contributor proposals the more easy it will be for voters to compare contributors based on the actual strengths and merits of each individual.
Mitigation using introduction of part time contribution tasks - Improving how tasks and effort is distributed amongst the community will increase the number of people who can participate effectively. More participation will help to increase the opportunity for more overall diversity in the ecosystem.
Mitigation using contributor focussed dReps - If dReps are incentivised to make good voting decisions for electing contributors it will be more likely that they have more capacity to consider the diversity in the choices they are making. Effort could also be made to interview and speak with newcomers coming into the ecosystem and give them a better chance of showcasing their strengths and merits to the community.
Negative emotional outcome from being rejected or due to the process being public
Community members that try to become contributors could have a negative emotional outcome from being rejected from being able to participate and work as a contributor in the ecosystem. There is also a risk of a negative emotional outcome occurring due to the process being public where the community will see which contributors did and did not get elected. These factors could be a deterrent from people participating.
Mitigation using robust contributor proposal standards - The better that quality contributor proposal standards can be integrated the easier it will be for contributors to be elected based off the merit of their skill sets and contributions. Achieving this will make it clearer whether the process is fair and based on the merits of the individuals based on who gets elected. Providing this is achieved then it gives all contributor candidates clear feedback on where they can improve their proposal for next time.
Mitigation using introduction of part time contribution tasks - People don’t have to jump into becoming a full time contributor and going through the election process. Instead they could find part time work in the ecosystem to build up their reputation before deciding whether they are comfortable with trying to work full time in the ecosystem.
Mitigation using contributor participation and contributions history - The better the integration of a contributors participation and contributions history into contributor proposals the more that can impact whether or not a contributor is elected. This makes the path to becoming a full time contributor more about the quality of their participation and contributions.
Mitigation of Concerns & Risks
1. Usage of roles and minimum thresholds
Roles such as development, coordination, analysis, product and design are used help with clarity for voters and other contributors. Contributors can define a role so that it is clear where they intend to be focussing the majority of their time whilst contributing in the ecosystem. This can be mixed with having minimum thresholds for certain roles so there is enough skill diversity and capacity in each area for the cohort to function most effectively and support the ecosystem.
2. Clear and open product development workflows
The product development workflow that the contributors use to improve and maintain the ecosystem will need to be open source and easily viewable by the community. The area where the community will be most engaged is the identification of problems and with prioritising which problems need to be resolved first.
3. Creation of an inclusive product development workflow
Part of the product development workflow for improving any process or system will include problem gathering and problem prioritisation. In these phases it will be important to gather perspectives from different communities in the ecosystem to understand the implications that those problems have on different people. More discussion with a range of communities will help with finding better solutions.
4. Robust contributor proposal standards
The information that is requested to create a contributor proposal needs to be analysed to thoroughly understand what makes a good contributor proposal. This analysis can help to lead to the creation of standards in what information should be included. Creating standards for contributor proposals will help to ensure the information is included to best identify the most promising contributors based on important factors like their skills and previous contributions to the ecosystem. The better that these contributor standards are for proposals the more that contributors can be elected based off the merits of the impact they could deliver rather being a popularity contest.
5. Introduction of part time contribution tasks
The available funding is limited. There can only be a number of full time contributors that can be elected in a given funding round. Part time contribution is another approach that can be beneficial for the ecosystem to allow people to participate in supporting, maintaining and improving the ecosystem. Part time tasks are well suited when they are well defined and manageable in terms of scope. Identifying and distributing these efforts will help to increase the diversity of participation involved in helping the ecosystem.
6. Contributor focussed dReps
dReps offers a way for community members to delegate their voting power to other people who want to be representatives in the ecosystem. dReps could provide an effective solution for people who do not want to do the research and analysis to come to conclusions on which contributors to elect. Some dReps may decide to focus entirely on understanding the contributor candidates in the ecosystem who are applying to become full time contributors. dReps could be an effective way to better analyse and make comparisons between candidates. Voters could then benefit from these comparisons in their own voting decisions.
7. Contributor participation and contributions history
Contributors should over time be able to have credentials and identity based tools that they can use to prove and verify how they have participated in the ecosystem. This can mean providing evidence of what initiatives they participated in, what contributions they’ve made or even how they have voted on certain changes to the ecosystem. This information then can be used to give voters an easier way to find out about contributors that they believe are most suitable based on their experience in the ecosystem.