Token House participation and incentives: Season 5 (Cycle 16-19)

During the previous season, we conducted a report that served as a reference for measuring participation in Governance (you can see it here).

First of all, we want to acknowledge the contributions of @dmars300, @brichis, and @lavande, whose insightful feedback has enriched this report.

In Season 5, our team lead by Joxes and members @Pumbi, @AxlVaz, and @delphine have been working on this report, which, like the previous one, aims to provide information to evaluate the progress of our Optimism Collective processes and to detect any increase in governance participation during this season.

Special recognition goes to @Pumbi, who has worked diligently on tracking MissionsV2, collecting and analyzing a large volume of data (manually).

Disclaimer

All the relevant data was collected manually. Therefore, it’s possible that there may be some errors. If you notice any, please let us know. We suggest doing it as a private message through the forum. We want to emphasize that our purpose is to work together to iterate in search of improvements for the Optimism Collective. This report aims to gather valuable and useful data for future seasons or missions and collaborate in the continuous improvement of the process. The cooperation of everyone is essential to strengthen the operation of the Optimism Collective.

Season 5: Optimistic Growth

Brief overview of the general state of the Collective and governance.

Collective growth

From its beginnings to the current season, the Collective has undergone continuous growth. It’s inspiring to see how the Optimistic Collective has become a benchmark for other ecosystems, governance systems, and protocols. Numerous community members have actively participated in various activities and opportunities presented in governance, especially during the elections of Grants Council members.

Since its beginning in Season 3, the “Council Model” has been replicated in other governance instances, leading to its growth and expansion through the inclusion of new members. To give you an idea of this growth, here’s an overview:

Grants Council Reviewer: Builders (5)

*Note: Gonna is no longer a member of Builders sub-committee; due he has replaced Danelund as Grants Council Lead.

Grants Council Reviewer: Growth Experiments (5)

Grants Council Reviewer: Milestones and Metrics (3)

Security Council: (14)

  • Cohort A:
    • Kris Kaczor (Phoenix Labs)
    • Layne Haber (Connext)
    • Jon Charbonneau (DBA)
    • Alisha.eth (Glowworm Foundation, former ENS)
    • Mariano Conti (Independent, former MakerDAO)
    • Martin Tellechea (The Graph Foundation)
    • Yoseph Ayele (Borderless Africa)
  • Cohort B:
    • OP Labs PBC
    • Yoav Weiss (Ethereum Foundation)
    • Test in Prod Kain Warwick (Synthetix)
    • Coinbase Technologies, Inc. (Base)
    • Elena Nadolinkski (Ironfish)
    • L2Beat
    • Alejandro Santander (Independent, former Synthetix)

Developer Advisory Board: (7)

Anticapture Commission: (19)

  • Teresa Carballo (Code of Conduct Council Lead)
  • L2BEATs
  • GFX Labs
  • Lefteris
  • Ceresstation
  • Katie Garcia
  • Michael Vander Meiden
  • 404 DAO
  • PGov
  • Blockchain @ USC
  • MoneyManDoug
  • MinimalGravitas
  • Joxes (SEED Latam)
  • Gonna.eth (Grants Council Lead)
  • Butterbum
  • OPUser
  • StableLab
  • web3magnetic
  • Brichis.eth (Anticapture Commission Lead)

Note: The Anticapture Commission is distinct from a Council in that it does not have a budget and is not elected. However, we decided to include it here because we want to highlight how much governance roles has grown. Also, the ACC has recently been revamped with the addition of new members.

Code of Conduct Council - Token House: (6)

govNERDs (3)

​​In addition to the council members, the OP Foundation also created a specific role dedicated to providing support on governance-related issues, known as govNERDs, starting from Season 4. For Season 5, it has been decided to renew the initiative with the following selections:

Total number of participants

A total of 26 individuals are committed to the Optimism Collective, including council members and assigned roles (avoiding double counting).

Note: Members of OP Labs, Coinbase, and Test in Prod were not included in the count, as they are part of the core development team. In addition, for this total count, we are also omitting the 19 delegates who are members of the ACC.

Additionally, for Season 5, the Optimism Foundation appointed top delegates, representing the 100 delegates with more VP in governance.

Note: Some delegates are members of certain councils such as CoC and Grants Council.

Operating Costs

Governance allocated the following budgets through the vote in Agora:

  • 400k OP - Grants Council Operating Budget
    • Builders: 5 Reviewers 30k OP
    • Experiments: 5 Reviewers 30k
    • Milestones and Metrics: 3 Reviewers 25k OP
    • Ops Manager: Additional 10k OP
    • Milestones and Metrics Manager: Additional 10k OP
    • Communications Manager: Additional 5k OP
  • 70k OP - Developer Advisory Board
    • 12,5k OP per member
    • 20k Lead
    • Members of OP Labs are not included in the budget.
  • 15k OP - Code of Conduct Council*
    • 3k OP per member

*Note: the CoC reward structure is intended to be heavily weighted towards retroactive rewards, which means that it’s planned to be funded by the RPGF in the future.

Meanwhile, the Optimism Foundation covers the following costs:

  • 40,5k OP - govNERD
    • 13,5k OP per member
  • Amount not disclosed - Security Council
    • “Initially, the Optimism Foundation will cover member expenses and may provide members with a stipend. The Security Council will not request a budget from the Governance Fund at this time.” As you can read here.

The top 100 delegates receive retroactive rewards for activities carried out during Season 4. A total of 418k OP was allocated, and distributed based on the level of activity.

We can deduce that the operating costs of the Collective in terms of governance amount are 943.5K OP for this season.

Intents Budget

Also, the Token House approved the Season 5 budget for Intents with the following final amount:

  • Intent #1: Progress Towards Technical Decentralization, 1.33M OP
  • Intent #2: Grow the Superchain, 4M OP
  • Intent #3: Improve the Consumer Experience, 1.33M OP
  • Intent #4: Improve Governance Accessibility, 1.33M OP
  • Unallocated Budget: 1M set aside for general allocation

Total budget for Intents: 9M OP

Note: The Intents budget is not an operating cost, but we include it for informational purposes.

Optimist Governance = Iterative Governance

One of the defining qualities of Optimism’s governance is its iterative nature; season after season, the collective has relentlessly pursued improvement.This relentless drive is highly commendable as it distinguishes Optimism from other DAOs that often move slowly. With each vote, the collective has demonstrated an ability to improve decision-making processes, making Optimism a leading DAO for the rest of the ecosystem.

Remaining true to this ethos, Season 5 witnessed not only the introduction of new councils but also changes to the missions.

Missions V2

Season 5 began on January 4, 2024. The novelties introduced during this season include the fact that, unlike Season 4, the Top 100 Delegates were required to propose or sponsor Missions. This means that only through delegates each mission request could be proposed.

Similar to Season 4, for each Mission to go to a vote in Agora, it had to receive 4 votes, and explicit support from delegates in the forum. Additionally, delegates and any community member could provide feedback to improve the mission. Once voted on in Agora, the approved proposals became the responsibility of the Grants Council, which would be tasked with selecting the teams to execute the missions.

Participation and Voting Data

The selection of mission requests requires significant activity from delegates to provide feedback, sponsor them or provide approvals to go a vote (called “soft approval” in the next sections). We have tracked this activity during this season.

A topic was created within the forum for people to share their Mission ideas and seek sponsorship. A total of 74 missions were sponsored, which we categorized by the 4 intents:

Intent #1:

  • 12 Mission Requests were created for this intent
  • 10 obtained a soft approval (83.3%)
  • 3 were rejected by the Developer Advisory Board (1 had not achieved soft approval)
  • 6 received Token House approval (Agora vote)
  • 2 were withdrawn (one with soft approval and one without)
  • 1 remained as a draft and did not achieve soft approval

100% of the Missions corresponding to Intent #1 that went to onchain voting were approved by the Token House.

Intent #2:

  • 20 Mission Requests were created for this attempt
  • 14 obtained a soft approval (70%)
  • 7 received Token House approval
  • 5 remained as drafts
  • 1 was withdrawn

50% of the Missions corresponding to Intent #2 that went to onchain voting were approved by the Token House.

Intent #3:

  • 21 Mission Requests were created for this intent
  • 13 reached a soft approval or surpassed it (61.9%)
  • 6 received Token House approval
  • 6 remained as drafts (besides them, none reached a soft approval)
  • 2 were withdrawn

46% of the Missions corresponding to Intent #3 that went to onchain voting were approved by the Token House.

Intent #4:

  • 21 Mission Requests were created for this Intent
  • 10 obtained a soft approval (47.6%)
  • 7 received Token House approval
  • 6 remained as drafts
  • 4 were withdrawn
  • 1 was merged

70% of the Missions corresponding to Intent #4 that went to onchain voting were approved by the Token House.

Summary

Total numbers

  • 74 proposals were created
    • 27 did not obtain the soft approval, which represents 36.5%
  • 47 obtained the soft approval, representing 63.5%
    • 4 were withdrawn (3 rejected by the Developers Advisory Board and 1 was withdrawn by the delegate)
    • 269 soft approvals were issued by 43 delegates
  • 43 proceeded to voting in Agora, representing 58.1%
    • 17 were rejected, being 22.3% of the total proposals
  • 26 were approved by the DAO, representing 35.1% of the total proposals

Note: These percentages were taken over the total of 74 proposals submitted.

To see this chart in detail, you can refer here.

Approval percentages per Intent

It is important to note that for a Mission to be carried out, it must pass several stages (obtain sponsorship, obtain soft approval, pass the voting in Agora). We share below the most relevant % corresponding to each Intent:

Soft Approvals:

  • Intent #1: Of 12 Missions created, 10 obtained soft approval but only 6 advanced to onchain voting (50%). *The Developer Advisory Board rejected 3 proposals and 1 was finally withdrawn.
  • Intent #2: Of 20 Missions created, 14 obtained soft approval to advance to onchain voting (70%).
  • Intent #3: Of 21 Missions created, 13 obtained soft approval to advance to onchain voting (61.9%).
  • Intent #4: Of 21 Missions created, 10 obtained soft approval to advance to onchain voting (47.6%).

Final Results:

  • Intent#1: 6 of 6 (100%) Missions were approved by the Token House
  • Intent#2: 7 of 14 (50%) Missions were approved by the Token House
  • Inten#3: 6 of 13 (46%) Missions were approved by the Token House
  • Intent#4: 7 of 10 (70%) Missions were approved by the Token House

Delegates activity

Regarding the level of participation and interaction on the forum, we have compiled the following information.

Proposing and sponsorship

  • 24 delegates out of 100 enabled (24% participation)
    • 11 delegates belong to the Grants Council or to an Optimism committee
    • 13 delegates proposed/sponsored only 1 mission
    • Among them, 23 delegates belong to the top 100 delegates. This means that out of 24 delegates who provided sponsorship, 95.83% are part of the top 100 delegates

Feedback & Soft approvals

  • 142 enthusiasts participated in the feedback round
    • 104 only provided a single comment. representing 73.2% of enthusiasts
    • 16 provided 2 comments, representing 11.3% of enthusiasts
    • 19 provided between 3 and 9 comments, representing 13.4% of enthusiasts
    • 3 provided between 10 and 20 comments, representing 2.1% of enthusiasts
  • 29 delegates from the top 100 provided feedback on the proposals
  • 43 delegates from the top 100 provided soft approvals
    • 14 are members of an Optimism committee
    • 14 only issued the soft approval without providing feedback, representing 32.56% of delegates from the top 100

Note: We refer to enthusiasts as those individuals who do not hold roles within governance or work for the Optimism Foundation or OP Labs.

Note: Ranking column displays the position of each delegate in the top 100 delegates list. Consequently if it appears empty, it means they are not within the Top 100 delegates.

For practical purposes, it is important to mention that 16 delegates volunteered signs to review some missions, as you can see how it was distributed here. These delegates logically represent 16% of the top 100 delegates, and approximately 25 proposals were assigned to each of them.

Correlation between Comments and Votes:

In this graph, you can observe the correlation between the number of votes and the quantity of comments made by each delegate throughout all the Mission Requests of this Season 5.

Note: Our intention for Season 6 is also to include an evaluation of the correlation between the amount of feedback and approval for each Mission Request submitted.

You can view all the delegate’s activity here.

Season 4 vs Season 5

Data:

Rapid comparison across seasons:

Missions V1:

  • 49 missions were created
  • 31 advanced to voting
  • 27 were approved by the DAO.

55.1% of missions were approved after going through the entire process.

Missions V2:

  • 74 mission requests were created
  • 47 reached soft approval
    • 4 left
  • 43 went to voting in Agora
  • 26 were approved by the DAO

35.1% of missions were approved after going through the entire process.

Delegates participation during Season 4:

  • 63 delegates had +0.25% VP (required for approval)
    • 27 supported missions
      • 7 were council members
  • 4 active delegates below the 8 threshold couldn’t vote

A total of 31 delegates participated in Season 4.

  • 42,8% of activity

Delegates participation during Season 5:

  • 100 delegates were eligible to vote
    • 43 delegates voiced their support for proposals
      • 14 are members of an Optimism committee
      • 16 applied as volunteers

A total of 43 delegates participated in Season 5.

  • 43% of activity of the Top 100 delegates

Note: It’s important to mention that the numbers presented here should be approached with a spirit of exploration and curiosity, rather than taken as definitive sources of truth. If you see any errors, please send us a DM.

Wrapping up

  • The number of proposed Mission and Mission Requests has increased by 51.02% between Season 4 Missions (49) vs. Season 5 (74) Mission Requests. From here, we can highlight that during S5 there were more requests to carry out missions than actual missions in S4.
  • Active delegate participation increased by 59.26% this season (27 delegates in S4 vs. 43 delegates in S5).
  • This season, out of the 43 delegates who gave approvals 62.8% (27) provided feedback by commenting on the proposals in the governance forum. On the other hand, (16) 37.2% participated only by approving mission requests.
  • From the total of 74 Mission Requests submitted:
    • 16.22% of the missions were created for Intent 1
    • 27.03% of the missions were created for Intent 2
    • 28.38% of the missions were created for Intent 3
    • 28.38% of the missions were created for Intent 4
  • Of the 74 missions proposed, if we take into account sponsorship (48) 64.9% were driven by delegates outside the top 25 with the most VP.
  • During seasons 4 and 5, a nearly equal number of mission requests were approved by the DAO, with 27 approved in S4 and 26 during S5.

Conclusions: stay Optimistic!

After analyzing all the compared data regarding the previous season, we can notice at a glance a slight increase in delegate participation.

  • Migrating from the 0.25% VP system to a list of Top 100 Delegates had a positive impact and contributed to the inclusion of delegates who were eager to collaborate more extensively.
  • If the requirement to participate were extended to the Top 150 Delegates, would the % of total participation also increase?

It’s also important to note that in Season 5, the number of councils/committees increased due to the iterative and experimental nature of Optimism’s governance.

  • At the Grants Council we went from having 2 subcommittees to having 3 subcommittees, and 4 additional new councils/committees were introduced.
  • The number of members increased from 9 in Season 4 to 47 in Season 5. It’s important to clarify that among the 47 members during this S5, there are 8 individuals who hold positions in multiple sectors such as ACC, Grants Council, govNERDs, Code of Conduct Council, among others. Therefore, to clarify, 47 positions are filled by 38 individuals, excluding individuals who hold more than one position or role.
  • We believe this shows that the % of active involvement within the Optimism Collective is increasing and this is very important for the decentralization of governance.

Regarding Missions, while the number of approved missions at the end of the process remained similar between seasons, it is interesting to note that the final % passed decreased (55.1% in S4 vs 35.1% in S5).

  • Hypothesis: as the Collective learns which type of Mission has a real positive impact on the ecosystem, the final approval rate will decrease over time as a result of specialization.
  • It’s worth highlighting that there was a significant increase in the number of proposals created this season (49 Missions in S4 vs 74 Mission Requests in S5). A possible interpretation after analyzing this recent data is that crafting a Mission Request in S5 might be a bit easier, as the creator of the proposal isn’t necessarily the one executing it. This setup potentially fosters a freer flow of ideas and facilitates proposing with more liberty. Moreover, the applicant—who later creates a mission based on the mission request and applies through Charmverse—can also focus their ideas based on the mission requests and undergo the regular grants review process without the complexity that may come with participating in a forum. This is why we believe both processes maximize creativity.

One not insignificant detail is that the process in Season 5 was somewhat confusing initially regarding the sponsorship by delegates.

  • Many community members were unsure about the flow from creation to approval of the proposal.
  • Having a forum thread with + 170 messages is not a pleasant experience for someone unfamiliar with governance operations.

It was also observed that it was complex and an additional workload for the Top 100 delegates to review all the missions, analyze them, provide feedback, and subsequently approve them due to their quantity.

  • Assigning the review of specific missions to interested delegates was a process that greatly helped expedite the work.

It’s truly amazing to participate in these processes and see more people engaging with Optimism governance. Exciting challenges lie ahead for governance, and we believe we are on the right path.


Additional resources
As we mentioned at the beginning of this report, these data and numbers were collected entirely manually. To broaden the perspective, we invite you to consult other sources of data such as the one prepared by Brichis below:

Approvals - Google Sheets and Notion – The all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.

24 Likes

Wow! What a thorough review.
Personally, it’s going to take a bit of time to get my head around everything here, but thanks for pulling this all together team. Cheers!

EDIT: I just want to also note that I noticed that @gene wasn’t included in the members of the Code of Conduct listed above. When @teresacd became the CoCC Lead, then another new member slot became available, and thus Gene was added to the Code of Conduct Council as next nominee in the election. Just wanted to point this out for any readers here, or if any edits want to be made to the above report.

7 Likes

appreciate the depth of summarization but exactly what is actionable here?

It’s worth highlighting that there was a significant increase in the number of proposals created this season (49 Missions in S4 vs 74 Mission Requests in S5). A possible interpretation after analyzing this recent data is that crafting a Mission Request in S5 might be a bit easier, as the creator of the proposal isn’t necessarily the one executing it. This setup potentially fosters a freer flow of ideas and facilitates proposing with more liberty

i think there are a few confounders here, most notably the publicity swell from RPGF just prior as well as broader crypto interest/activity of late

  • Hypothesis: as the Collective learns which type of Mission has a real positive impact on the ecosystem, the final approval rate will decrease over time as a result of specialization.

again, confounders – a big piece here is, frankly, the quality of applications being submitted.

  • Migrating from the 0.25% VP system to a list of Top 100 Delegates had a positive impact and contributed to the inclusion of delegates who were eager to collaborate more extensively.

i think this conclusion is pretty questionable – there are only a handful of delegates who’ve really stepped up as a result of this, all of whom have past or current affiliations with already prolific participants in governance: @brichis (General Magic), @jengajojo (Bankless) and potentially @Joxes (Defi Latam) – as far as i can tell, i’m not seeing much new participation on this front. Happy to be wrong, though.

6 Likes

Impressive thread with well-organized data. Outstanding work!

6 Likes

Thanks a lot for this report. Much appreciated!
And kudos to @Joxes for reacting quickly to my DM last night and revising some data.

4 Likes

Comprehensive overview of all that is happening in Season 5.
Discussing the current state of Optimism Collective with new participants requires a comprehensive explanation, and this post will be significantly beneficial for that purpose.

4 Likes

Hey Jack, thanks for the feedback.

First, certainly the goal of this report isn’t propose a particular path (as actionable) rather than to serve as a reference point, that is, a reliable source for the reflection period when considering delegates incentives, delegates activity, mission request processes, new governance roles, among other considerations. This data should help substantially to sustain certain takes, those quantitatively relevants. We approach this report as a “governance snapshot” that aggregates all the data, offering delegates an overview of governance and processes, and considering that extracting data from the forum still being a hard task, we voluntarily take it in advance.

Regarding the quality of the applications, we can agree with what you said. However, our evaluation is oriented towards mainly quantitative participation. We did not focus on quality or compare missions with respect to the previous season. A deeply qualitative evaluation should be done outside of this report.

Well, to delve deeper, we have prepared quickly the following table that shows delegate participation in Season 4 and Season 5, to visualize the evolution of participation across delegates.

So, according to our investigation, first there were 27 active Delegates during Season 4, while the number increased to 43 active Delegates in Season 5. In the table, we can see that 19 delegates participated in both Season 4 and Season 5. Of the 43 active delegates in Season 5, 24 delegates (representing 55%) had not participated during Season 4, which shows a relevant net-increase in participation, at our lens. And then, rapidly we have identified a few new delegates who have taken advantage of these rule changes. These include delegates @jengajojo, @brichis, @AdvantageBlockchain, @web3magnetic, @0xDonPepe, @NathanVDH, @v3naru_Curia, as well as some previously frequent delegates who have experienced a decrease in their relative (%) voting power. Certainly the number of such delegates is not large, and previous parallel gov relation are involved in some cases that possibly encourage the participation, but still in a positive direction.

Happy to receive all these comments. Let’s stay in the loop regarding this topic. We will surely make some adjustments to the post accordingly as we continue to digest all the collected data.

7 Likes

Thanks for the research and post @Joxes

About, the overlap between 'a delegate occupying multiple positions, we have seen overwheling amount of interest for any position in the collective sub-committiees. I wonder if this is the result of lack of talent or lack of clear onboarding to Optimism Governance.

Another thing to highlight is the relationship between VP and active delegate participation. Not all of the 43 active delegates from S5 have significant VP. While it’s interesting to see that programs are organized to delegate VP to chains or apps building on OP, not many of these are actually active in governance (maybe besides voting). The collective should consider delegating VP to active but underrepresented delegates in order to incentivize talented governors to participate in governance.

8 Likes