Individual Contribution Logs - Contribution verification, reputation building, improved funding decisions, SSI adoption and more!

Individual contribution logs represent a record of an individuals contribution efforts.

Some Web3 ecosystems use a process for verifying contribution efforts within their own grants process. This verification process can help with protecting the ecosystems treasury assets by checking that the funding is being used as intended.

Contribution efforts could be grouped together by using a milestone approach or by using time intervals such as monthly. Alternatively contribution efforts could also be recorded by each individual in monthly time intervals.

After looking at the problems and opportunities for making group based contribution logs as well as individual contribution logs, we identified that individual contribution logs were the most promising approach worth considering. As well as verifying contribution efforts the individual contribution log approach also had a number of other use cases that could be highly valuable for contributors and Web3 ecosystems.


Advantages of individual contribution logs

  • Improved contribution verification - It is more difficult to hide poor contribution performance if efforts are recorded individually and at the end of every month. Individual contribution logs make it easier to verify which contributors have been making sufficient contribution efforts.
  • Improved decision making - If contribution logs are recorded monthly and are focused on individuals contribution efforts the measurability of these logs can be much higher than the group based approaches. This makes it easier for voters to identify the best and worst performers and also can make it easier for them to compare contributors across the ecosystem.
  • Retaining top performers - Some ideas and teams won’t produce the intended outcomes. Individual contribution logs can help with identifying the top performers in different teams that might have not generated much impact. Individual contribution logs could help with making it easier to for voters to see what actually happened.
  • Higher self awareness & accountability - Contributors would be able to more easily review the contribution efforts of other people in the ecosystem and use that information to become more aware of how performant each contributor is. This information can help contributors with becoming more accountable for achieving a similar or higher level of performance.
  • Empowers individual contributors - Individual contribution logs can help to empower contributors by making it easier for them to demonstrate their competencies and performance. Their contribution logs can help them with building a reputation in the ecosystem and wider industry that can make it easier for them to receive future funding and fair compensation for their skill level.
  • Removed intermediaries - Individual contribution logs can help with reducing the influence of certain individuals and project owners from determining someone’s compensation in group based working environments. Contribution logs can help with making it easier for someone to demonstrate themselves what their value is within group working environments.
  • Flexible information usage - More detail about the ideas that are being executed can be highlighted in someones contribution log. These logs could include which milestone would be relevant to the contribution efforts. This added context means that a collection of different peoples individual contribution logs could help with creating project based information such as the total contribution efforts towards an idea in the last month or the amount of contribution efforts that have been made towards a certain project milestone. More granularity and detail about each persons contributions efforts means that it can become easier to group and layer this information into different formats that could be more useful and insightful to the viewer.

Opportunities for individual contribution logs

  • Open source contribution data - The more that individual contribution logs are used over time the more valuable the information becomes. Monthly recordings of individual contribution efforts are much more measurable than the alternative approaches. Individual contribution logs can be used for making historical comparisons as the ecosystem evolves and grows over time.
  • Self sovereign identity adoption - Individual contribution logs can be tied to a persons identity. Contribution logs could be a powerful use case for increasing the adoption of self sovereign identity solutions.
  • Trust based networks - Verifiable contribution data could be used to create some form of trust based network that people use to prove their competency and reliability. Communities could start using this information as a form of identification and a way to trust certain individuals due to the reputation they’ve built and the common connections they share.

Resources

Read our full analysis, or watch our video summaries, that cover contribution verification and contribution logs:


Experimentation in Optimism

Individual contribution logs could be integrated into the existing grants process or be used by individuals in the ecosystem as an evidence based way to start building up their own reputation. Idea funding and contributor funding could both experiment with individual contribution logs.


Further investigation

These is an opportunity to create more tooling that could enable individual contributors to easily record and present their contribution efforts. Contribution logs could become increasingly useful and reliable for contributors to build their reputation in the ecosystem and for voters when making funding decisions.

In the comings months the Web3 Association is going to look at what tooling already exists that could be used and then explore what new tools could be created to make it easier to record and present contribution efforts. We’re especially interested in improving the exposure and presentation of code contributions, this is an area of high relevance to our open source contributor proposal (docs. contributors .org/proposal/open-source-contributors) that has been recently shared.


Community discussion

Share any feedback and thoughts you have around the topic of contribution verification and the different approaches we’ve explored in our analysis. Eager to hear any different perspectives or other approaches and analysis we might be missing that could improve our own understanding and improve our analysis further!

7 Likes

We used for some time something akin to this in my previous job, and it has its ups and downs (most of what you listed are the ‘ups’, for certain, and in that manner it had a useful purpose).

In my experience, sometimes you do so much during the day that you constantly forget to list things (especially during hectic days), and it’s easy to feel that ‘you did nothing’ or see little value in tasks you completed, as they are normal and ‘part of your job’ to you, even if the value they add is there. Also, stopping after you finished to list what you did sometimes took you out of your “flow”. Since I used to work closely with a group, it was honestly easier to ask each other what we did during the day and list that, as others tended to include small things you give for granted.

The opposite occurred to us during ‘calm’ days: people tend to overexplain simple tasks they did because there is this sensation of ‘I need to fill the log and make it look nice and bulky’. Also, for those who are not fully aware of what completing your tasks implies, they can overlook the amount of time and effort it takes to do the job and easily misjudge it (“oh, they only did this during the day?” and you actually had to work during lunch to complete it in time… real story btw).

In our case, in the end we decided to remove this practice as it fell closer to a micromanagement style we were against.

Those are my two cents, hope it helps!

3 Likes

Hey @Bunnic, thanks for the response and great to hear your perspective!

This helps to capture why I think there is such as a high importance of why automatically recorded contribution efforts are so important. A benefit of many digital based contributions is they should become increasingly easier to record and present. As an example for my own efforts, I only keep high level contribution logs that link to the resources and content I’ve worked on in a given month - Contribution log | Web3 Association. Some of the digital contributions can be seen through the git commits but the presentation isn’t super friendly, this is simple solution that works for me at the moment.

Things that can be automatically recorded can be stored and presented so it’s easier to see the facts. Then beyond these efforts some manual process with peer review is needed to capture other types of effort, such as the process you had already been doing with other colleagues where you share and list what you worked on.

This seems to map more closely to daily recorded contributions which definitely does increase the cost of reviewing and verifying these that regularly. Some days you might just be trying to understand something so you have to then just explain that to others and document it down if it was a daily contribution log.

In terms of cadence, I imagine somewhere between monthly, bi-weekly or weekly are likely easier starting points to capture what actual outputs you delivered and then as the tooling gets better it should become easier to see the actual contributions made more granularly. At the moment i’m suggesting monthly as the easiest starting point.

In more corporate or project owner led environments where a manager and leadership are deciding your value and compensation I think this approach very quickly could turn into micromanagement and a more tense day to day environment. This would be especially the case if the management and leadership aren’t also recording their contribution efforts in the same way!

I made a comparison between sports teams and corporate environments to highlight the importance of contribution logs being made public and easily accessible. Having full ownership of your own contribution log data and having these public is where the contributor really can benefit from creating a long term reputation and gain more value from their recorded contributions. These logs could then make it easier for contributors to become paid what their worth without having to prove their value each and every time to new projects they work on. It’ll also be easier for others to determine when a given contributor could be highly insightful or relevant to their own initiatives.

A benefit of Web3 ecosystems is the network itself could pay for contribution efforts directly, which removes the need for manager and leadership roles that might currently dictate what someone will be paid in many Web2 environments and some Web3 environments. In Web3 environments the upper bounds for how much a contributor could be paid could be higher if they are able to prove they are a highly competent contributor. Ensuring top contributors are paid well for their efforts will be an important part of aligning the incentives so that people are rewarded when they make performant and impactful contributions.

I think some of the first steps for making individual contribution logs would be to start with making tools that make it easy to see what digital contributions someone has made such as code contributions, documentation changes etc. Making those easy to view in a single place is a good foundation for the next layer of peer reviews and attestations and community reviews. Will obviously take some time to build these solutions ofcourse but the upside should be that a large amount of power is pushed to the edges. If you’re a great contributor then you should be paid well for those contributions! :smile:

3 Likes

Just to be clear(er), I think you are definitely pointing in the right direction. Even if this proposal is not incorporated as the final ‘way of doing things’, the intent of your initiative is spot-on in my eyes.

My experience with this was limited to a classic ‘Corporate’ structure, which is not an exact match. However, as an ex-QA, I tend to list the things that may interfere with something from the get-go. Old habits die hard sometimes :sweat_smile:.

2 Likes

Appreciated @Bunnic, and yes exactly that, I am only trying to highlight what direction I think is the most logical over the long term and what could be effective at pushing more power to the edges and removing intermediaries. Lots to think about but a good enough starting discussion :grin:

2 Likes

Wow, I think this project would be a great resource for funding process in general. But I have a question: What would be the key distinction between Ethereum Attestation, where also individual contributions are uploaded through schema creation, and this approach to registering individual contributions in terms of verification, transparency, and ease of use for community members in Web3 ecosystems?

Btw, I’m in a community and if you want to test your solution we are always open to collaborate. :muscle:t2:

Regards!
Liliop.eth

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I see a change from specific blockchain focus to more Ethereum Ecosystem Contribution be it L1 and L2’s. I guess this is to create healthy competition and give users options that suit them the best. This kind of data and analysis will be helpful in longer term.

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Hey @Liliop.eth, so the Ethereum Attestation service could be used in the type of system being suggested here. There could be a number of systems for helping people to automatically record digital contributions and manual submission processes. Then the EAS could enable people to make attestations about those contributions to add more evidence and clarity about them.

I’m just sharing the analysis for feedback at the moment but if I went down the path of trying to developer something for this suggestion i’d look to collaborate with anyone in the industry that was interested! My telegram is Telegram: Contact @georgelovegrove if you wanted to chat there about your community :smile:

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Yes, healthy competition and aligned incentives! The less accurate the contribution logs are the harder it will be to group people by skill level so the more broad the groupings would be. You would expect this at the beginning in the early days of the tooling and processes. However even broad bucket groupings can still be useful just for identifying the bad actors or poor performers. The community can then more easily respond to that information. I also love the idea of contributors being able to use different skill sets or work across ideas more freely which can be difficult with idea token focused models where compensation agreements realistically need to be made with every new project that a contributor wants to help with.

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Yeah, I think EAS resolved certification and identity, good tool to complement the flow.

Sure! I’ll send you a dm :muscle:t2:

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Love this idea. Unfortunately, it seems to have been tried multiple times now and run into the same failure modes. In particular, the rhetoric here sounds very familiar to Govrn. Which had a great team, working product, web3 communities using it, but appears to have shut down due to lack of adoption. In SourceCred we ran into similar challenges with a feature where contributors posted their contributions in a #did-a-thing channel.

The main issue it seems is incentivizing people to upload their contributions. The idea is exciting, because in theory, “owning” contributions could lead to more sovereignty. But in practice, having to specify and upload contribution data is…data entry. We make fun of TPS reports in Office Space (to date myself). But unless you’re doing something radically different (and verified that it works), what’s the difference to a contributor? Verification of contributions also seems to reliably bring to the surface politics, which can introduce signals unrelated to the contribution itself. Sometimes this alone is enough to keep people from uploading contributions, as they aren’t in the mood to deal with drama, or being vulnerable emotionally about their self worth.

I could be totally wrong about this. Perhaps you’re thinking of something different. Perhaps there are different ways that haven’t been tried. Perhaps the “attest it and they will come” thesis (i.e. with enough attestations developers will be incentivized to build applications that make that data more valuable, and that value somehow flows to the contributors). I just want to make sure people pursuing this direction are aware of the dead ends so we don’t repeat mistakes.

Using automation I think is a promising direction. If you haven’t seen them, would check out Armitage, which uses SourceCred on the backend (for now) to automatically generate ‘contributor scores’ on GitHub repos. They just launched a feature allowing contributors to automatically make attestations via EAS actually.

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Hey @s_ben, fantastic reply, much appreciatee!

I’ve seen SourceCred before and am a fan of what they have been working on, but not seen Govern or Armitage so will have a look at what I can find on both.

There’s two factors i think that are going to be important with recording contributions. One is it will be important to minimise the time it takes for people to record them. This is what automatically recorded ones such as git commits, doc changes etc are an important starting foundation to give people a way to better visualise there contributions without them having to do much work.

Without these tools the main thing that matters in a log is just a brief log about the outputs someone made. I’m recording all my contribution outputs in my own contribution logs - Contribution log | Web3 Association. These don’t take me more than half an hour a month to do. Verifying them would mostly be looking at the git commits for my examples. I think something like this is a good simple baseline, then the next step up is something like this but with automatically recorded contributions that bring in more information and present it better.

The second thing is considering what incentives are available for people to start recording these contributions. For DAO experiments that aren’t paying full time salaries it would be difficult to expect them to spend much time on recording their contributions very well. The logs need to get to a threshold of value to the contributor for them to want to spend any meaningful time recording them. The less time it takes them the lower that value requirement threshold is going to be. Per month I think it would be difficult to get someone to spend 1 hour per week on these unless there is significant value in doing it. Less than half an hour a month makes sense for me personally at the moment.

In relation to politics, in a group setting there is always going to be some process for how compensation gets distributed. In a more autocratic leadership approach, people are just letting someone else decide their value, which although might be simple, it can also easily lead to exploitation, conflict with leadership and excessive leadership influence / power. In group based decisions there is more decision complexity due to the need for people to understand what everyone else has contributed. In either of these scenarios, if a contributor can’t prove the contributions they have made easily they have less ability to prove and demonstrate their value - they could rely more heavily on the observations of the people in leadership or around them.

It’s due to this that it makes sense to just start with facts that are easily provable about someones contributions. Humans can still interpret the value of someones contributions as they do currently but they now have a simple source of factual information to consider that should be easier to use than before. Attestations could then be integrated on top of that baseline which add in more detail, this area needs a ton of thought though.

Here are some relevant and interesting projects I currently have noted down (added Armitage and Govern in there!)

  • tea .xyz/
  • armitage .xyz/
  • govrn .app/
  • gitroll .io/
  • docs.opensource .observer/
  • sourcecred .io/
  • dework .xyz/

Another factor worth mentioning is the different between effort and output. The starting point for logs can solely focus on outputs - what outcomes have actually been produced by different people, which can often be mapped to digitally created outcomes - but not all the time. Effort can also be tracked but it makes it more complex to both record and read this information. Effort will be needed in situations where multiple people work on the same outcome and it’s hard to break that down into a simpler subsets of that work.

I am not looking to develop a separate solution for this, I would reach out to any existing projects I find first and see what I can learn from them and also see how we could collaborate. I’m trying to work out the best starting point to support the proposal of open source contributor funding. Making tooling for individual contribution logs could be a good starting point so it might well be a focus of mine moving forward. Still going through the motions thinking it through!

Thanks again, and keen to chat more if you had any other thoughts :grin:

1 Like

Just checked out your personal contribution log. Very interesting and well structured! If you could properly motivate everyone to do this, it would definitely be super useful for a lot of efforts. Going through a bit of your content, and reading your replies here, it seems you have a good understanding of the scope of the challenges involved and some promising angles to address them. I especially like sports as an inspiration. Will not attack the general idea anymore :sweat_smile:

I do think you may be underestimating a couple challenges. Namely that certain types of tasks and personalities will be very difficult to incentive. And that mapping outcomes and effort to higher-level goals and impact may be intractable for many domains for some time. But ofc those are open problems the whole collective is working on, not necessarily something contribution logs need to solve. And there could also be low-hanging fruit for some contribution types and impact desired. Might just suggest being careful around expectations that logging contributions solves more than it can, at least until some other big problems are solved that have taken more than a few web3 startups off the field on stretchers.

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Great to know. Been trying tonparticipate over the cossystem and it’s nice to see any efforts recognized. Best to you all!