[FINAL] Season 4: Council Intent Budget Proposal

As someone who came to Optimism Governance from the Velodrome team, I’m glad you asked this. As it happens, the Council was formed as a direct response to the question you’re posing and was in itself an attempt to get people with domain expertise in direct engagement with proposals and initiatives to grow Optimism. I’d say the Grant Council have made a great step in that direction (as evidenced by a high 9.3 NPS from proposers), and forthcoming will be a post from me outlining how we can broaden our expertise even further next season under the proposal @danelund.eth has made.

Nonetheless, I’d caution against distributing decision making too much – this may have been before your time, but previous grant rounds had been clumsy and cacophonous, lacking experts clearly tasked with (and compensated for) the difficult work of pursuing and evaluating promising proposals. As I said many times during that period, governments often have full-time domain PhDs in equivalent roles, and it’s risky to use other structures when overseeing such massive distributions of resources and governance power for what are often highly technical, context-heavy proposals. It’s not straightforward to simply expect people to show up and help, even with compensation, but doing outreach with intention can prove fruitful.

As for this document, it wasn’t ever a formal part of governance, nor was anything in it a condition the Council had to meet. It was a list of things we would have liked to have done, something of a statement of direction. The thing is that we were heavily strapped for time and had to prioritize for getting the best proposals funded with the most transparent, rigorous process we could design, full stop.

I think the Grant Council have done just this. The points @lavande made were ones that I think often go underappreciated in Governance, particularly those with respect to the nature and intention of Governance grants. Nonetheless, given the desirability of OP as a resource, I’m proud to say that this past season, we managed to scale grant asks to be more commensurate with the anticipated value of proposals and were able to return ~300k OP to the treasury, all while greenlighting proposals we were most confident would have the impacts we wanted to see and putting serious time into refining and clarifying processes even between cycles. This is a Council that is taking its job seriously.

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Thanks for your quick response

Yes, although before my time I have read discussions and the seen evolution that established a council. I recognise S3 Gov Grants Council as a significant undertaking with positive improvement and strong results. I am FOR the council model.

However, based on my experience as a contributor to an executive funding council, 100 proposals per cycle could benefit from expanding the pool of expertise. And here, I feel that a Gov Grants council has an opportunity via the proposed RFG process to identify/match/reward expertise specific to corresponding RFG(s).

I understand Notion is a collaborative workspace, and should be considered a work in progress. But what purpose does the Notion serve if not to establish a “high degree of transparency” and soe accountability about the council’s ongoing work? Given the council’s position of trust and authority, we should be able to rely on Council documentation, in this case that there would be an S3 review.

Reliability of Notion aside, I now understand from your response a Season 3 Council Review was not undertaken. Yet the process to evaluate - as then reflected in Notion - was established via Token House Approved Vote on the Council Structure Special Voting Cycle 9a.

My position is simply that Council should be accountable to Token House to uphold/undertake/deliver as per the vote that established the Council. My concern is that by foregoing the evaluation/review process, there is a clear asymmetry of information being established, which effectively ensures all but a very few, well-informed people we provided sufficient (let alone equal) opportunity to understand the needs of Gov Grants Funding, in order for there to have been any competing Council Lead Proposals presented.

Hey Lee and welcome to OP governance! It looks like Justine and Jack have addressed your concerns. I’m not sure what other information you’re looking for as everyone aspect of the council’s process is public. If you have a specific question, I would be happy to answer it.

I would like to point out that your tone is coming across as combative and hopefully that is not your intention. The Grants Council is made up of individuals, and we all have personal lives with babies being born (I just had twins myself), getting sick, family obligations etc. This was our first season as a council, so obviously things were not perfect. If you have constructive feedback, we are very open to hearing it! However, that is not how your comments are coming across at this point.

Hi @katie

Congratulations on your twins! As a solo parent of a new school entrant 5-year-old and having contributed to an executive grant funding council, during his formative years - I can begin to appreciate the extent of work that goes on behind the scenes. I recognise S3 Gov Grants Council as a significant undertaking with positive improvement and strong results and I am for the council model.

Thank you for assuming good intentions while also raising my awareness. Please know this is me trying to be extremely civil, - between making breakfast, school lunch and in transit - so somewhat stilted yet direct because tbh, I’m never exactly sure which - questions, concerns, and stated opinions - might offend. I appreciate and am open to all constructive feedback.

Due Diligence

My intent is to clarify my understanding, I believe this to be due diligence when voting on a OP +5MM funding allocation that concurrently

  • re-approves council
  • confirms the council lead
  • expands the S3 Councils remit and remuneration, sans Token House evaluation

So rhetorical question: What would happen if this proposal failed? In considering this option it worries me (in terms of process, not people) that No, does not present as an equally viable option here. I do recognise governance experimentation is a process of continuous improvement, as am I (hopefully)

Token House S3 Review of Council : Questions

I am for governance experiments and the evaluation of those experiments. From what I’ve seen Optimism does this well See S2 Feedback i was actually looking forward to the S3 Council Review process as an opportunity for collective engagement, to build context and surface learning to inform Council S4.

Based on Cycle #9a: Grants Council and the information reiterated in the Council Notion, until this morning my understanding was that a review process was either ongoing somewhere or perhaps had passed. I was confused about where? did I miss the evaluation process? And while @jackanorak clarified the council is not bound by Notion it seems I’ve failed to ask the right questions because I am yet to grasp why the decision to forego the council structure provided for S3

@katie could you clarify please why Token House was not provided with the opportunity to evaluate the council in S3.

@danelund.eth as the author, S3 Council Lead and confirmed S4 Council Lead should this proposal pass I’d appreciate your commitment to undertake the process as proposed for S4…

I recognise no one here has any obligation to answer my questions, and I’m ok with that too - I use this forum as much for transparency, as a record that the questions were asked, as I do in search of understanding.

So you’re saying there was some type of council review that was promised that never occurred? Isn’t that the purpose of the vote?

GM!

2 quick questions!

#1

I see that the overall budget is 6m OP but when i do the math it looks like:
1M OP for builders
2M OP for Experiments
2M OP for RFGs
285k OP, 12k USDC for Council Budget
0 OP, 12.5k USDC for Operations

This adds up to 5.285M OP and 24.5k USDC (worth 12.25k OP at $2 OP) this is about 5.3M OP, but the budget is 6M… is there something I’m missing… What will happen with the extra OP in the budget?

#2

There is a Mission template that was just released:

In season 3 we used these templates for builder and growth experiments:

Which template will be used for season 4? Is it going to be one of these, will it be fusion, or will there be a new template?

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The Council Review process occurs as part of the proposal to renew the Council (which takes the form of approving a proposed Council Intent Budget for Intent #2.) I do think the review timeline was a bit shorter than what would be optimal as the eligible Council Intent Budget was posted shortly before the deadline, which limited the opportunity for discussion before moving to a two-week voting period. However, it did receive the required 4 delegate approvals to move to a vote and there was an opportunity to discuss and address any specific concerns during the voting period. This is the first time we’ve run this renewal process, so we can adjust timelines in the future to allow for more time in the review period. The Council should be evaluated primarily on their opertional performance during Season 3; feedback on the renewal process is useful to the Foundation for process iteration in future Seasons.

Anyone was eligible to submit a budget proposal and, in the process, apply to become Council Lead. All Reviewers will be elected individually, subject to the Council Intent Budget being approved, so there is ample opportunity for new contributors to become involved and for turnover if there are any concerns about previous Council member activity or behavior.

If a delegate is not happy with the Council model or the proposed budget, they should not approve the proposed budget for Intent #2. Since there was only one Council Intent Budget proposal, the Council would not continue in Season 4 if the budget is not approved. Had there been more than one Council Intent Budget Approval, the same process would apply, albeit with the opportunity to approve one budget over another.

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Griff - the lesser calculation applies with the exception of the USDC. That was a scriveners error and I have revised it. I aim to have the counsel provide the rubrics for feedback, but I will look to also include the reviewer-developed templates for community feedback. I think that is a good idea.

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I would like to see a review of the previous season spending and a review of its council as the previous commenters have also mentioned.

And also +1 on griff’s questions.

But in general the amount of time the existence of grant councils has saved from me is the only reason I am still involved in governance here. So will vote yes.

But would really appreciate some clarity on the above.

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On budget, the Grants Council for Season 3 was allocated 4.850M OP for distribution (4M for Growth / 850k for Builders). By my count, the Growth used 3.75M OP and Builders used 789k OP, meaning that ~311.9K OP was returned.

The Council received 151 proposals. You can see the Cycle / Season breakdown and pass rate here:

The Council fine-tuned procedures that were designed to make review both efficient and consensus-driven. Between Cycles 10 and 11, a few changes were made that improved the Council process:

  • Forms were updated to be Council-specific and to elicit information relevant to the rubrics
  • The preliminary review was updated to include two reviewers instead of one in order to adopt more consensus / to prevent projects from being declined due to reviewer-specific calibration
  • The Final Review was amended to permit each sub-committee to draw the line on a ranked list of final reviews. In Cycle 10, there was a cap on projects that could receive grants.

While we had envisioned a more formal review by the delegates at the end of the Season, there was some confusion as to who would initiate the review. The Council did engage with the community consistently through the Season. I attended delegate calls in both cycles to lay out how the Council was running and to lay out a vision for Season 4 and respond to questions. We also held weekly office hours that were posted to the governance calendar. Nonetheless, I agree that there should be a more formal review at the end of Season 4 and will work with the Foundation to make sure an opportunity is provided on the Forum.

There are some things I would have liked to do better in Season 3 and the proposal I have made reflects this, but I agree that more color is useful. Here are some things I would want to do better:

  • First, I would have liked to have had all of the meeting notes added to Notion. That was not feasible given the demands of the Season. I can add the remaining notes that are on Notion and Google docs, but the Notion is effectively maxed out on space. It should be noted that the Council used all free services for Season 3 and the Notion ran out of space several times. In Season 4, I would like to solve this by having a dedicated ops manager and better resources.

  • Second, I would like to have more frequent interactions with proposers. The demands on reviewers were much higher than expected, and I would like to ramp up the hands-on nature of community dialogue. Anyone who wants to be a reviewer is encouraged to apply, and any questions germane to that process are encouraged.

  • Third, I would have liked to have sent out all of the completed rubrics. That is still going to happen and is part of the preparation over the next few weeks. I have committed to providing summaries of the final review averages and comments in advance of S4. I experimented with doing this for the preliminary review round in Cycle 10. One thing I noticed was that projects that are not happy with their scores sometimes harassed their reviewers. If you would like to hear more about that, I can ask one of the reviewers to share their experience. My goal is to provide rubrics for community feedback much earlier in the process this time. This was a suggestion by @Gonna.eth and I think a good one.

If any others want to chime in with their reviews of Season 3, I certainly welcome it. As the voting cycle is at a conclusion, I will endeavor to make adjustments (within the bounds of the approved proposal) accordingly.

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I believe I have the right and reasonable judgment myself

Our team has inspected the proposal and we need some points to be clarified before making our final decision:

What is the remainder of Intent 2’s initial budget and why it has not been clarified?

The value of intents are undeniable and we support them; but, how will we find which projects will receive from this fund distribution, which is just given as a title, or will we be able to learn it in the future?

The workload of the committees under the Token House is increasing, and more staff may be needed in the future to keep up.Would a part of this amount be used to fulfill the demands of the subcommittees in the future?

We do not think the proposal is not explained precisely enough for the distribution of a large quantity such as the 2.5M OP, and we want it to be detailed.

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