Grants for Building RetroPGF tools

Hello Optimists!

I’m very excited about the RetroPGF experiment that Optimism has been running, and I’m a frequent lurker in the forums and retrospectives on each round.

My interest is more than curiosity, I’ve been thinking about and working on retroactive funding mechanisms for ~8 years now, and I’m reaching the place where I’m ready to start putting ideas into practice.

If it’s possible, I’d love to implement these ideas and learn with you!

The mechanism set itself is more than I can fit here. But, broadly you can think of it as a twitter-like discussion feed, which uses mathematic ideas from the field of artificial intelligence to enable collective intelligence. One of the cool properties of the system is that it rewards Badge Holders for surfacing surprising information, which makes for smarter and more sustainable review process.

I know I’m new here, so if you’d like to learn more about me, here’s a recent Greenpill podcast talking about mechanisms for funding public goods (specifically, whether Hyperstructures are a viable approach) it seems some people liked that, or you could read this recent piece on the promise of retrofunding (Why I Want You to Steal from Me).

It would be easy for me to get to work if there is some sort of funding for building RetroPGF and governance tools for Optimism. I’ve seen the Optimism Grants Council, but I’d first want to:
A) Present myself before the community and gauge interest (hello)
B) Understand whether and where this fits in the funding interests of the ecosystem. E.g. could this be an Experiments grant?

Grateful for your feedback and direction!


The more minds thinking about retroactive funding, building tooling and running experiments the better! :sun_with_face:

There are a couple of ways you could go about getting a grant to contribute to RetroPGF as a mechanism.

  1. Receive RetroPGF for it - contributing to RetroPGF itself is in the scope of what is rewarded in round 3, and likely will be for future rounds. You can find the scope of RetroPGF 3 here
  2. Fulfil an RFP - The Foundation is putting up RFP’s to build different parts of the RetroPGF toolkit, like the RFP for building the Voting UI that just closed.
  3. Mission Proposals - Building RetroPGF tooling or running experiments could fit under the governance accessibility intent. This process just closed for Season 4, but there’ll likely be something similar in the next season. You can find out more about missions here.

In the future, we might introduce a framework for running RetroPGF experiments and receiving grants for it. Interested to hear more about your experiment!


@Jonas thanks so much for the response!

RE these opportunities:

Receive RetroPGF for it

Great to know that’s an option. I suppose this is measured on impact, which means a research stage project might not receive much in the way of retrofunding?

Fulfil an RFP

Cool to know. I’m hopeful we’ll get to move away from voting as a mechanism due not only to Arrow’s Theorem but just more generally since it’s a bad UX for dao members and so tends to atrophy towards plutocracy. So this probably doesn’t apply to me personally but hopefully someone else finds it useful.

Mission Proposals
Yeah! Probably exactly fits under Collective Governance

Does that entail adding an Issue to the Github? \

Sure! Here’s what I’m most excited about:

  1. no voting on props (neither voting nor props!)
  2. no time windowed funding rounds, it can happen any time
  3. no need for special badgeholders, anyone can impact evaluate

This might seem like it throws out everything that we’re used to in governance. Not only does it get rid of these things, but it also adds other nice properties:

  1. it’s sybil proof
  2. built in limits on plutocracy
  3. automatic initiative review — some initiatives don’t even have to be checked to be funded
  4. initiatives can be partially approved by only part of the community
  5. communities can easily and collaboratively extend initiatives
  6. you can query exactly what you can improve to get support from other community members
  7. all of this takes place in a twitter like feed (which makes it fun and lightweight)

We’re just now starting the building phase, with an emphasis on making something real that we can learn from. I have an intro video about some of the underlying math if that’s interesting. Whitepaper to come.

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