Major Grants Review Committee Candidates MEGATHREAD

I think that there may be a (soft) second option here that doesn’t require changing the election timeline or term length, which is for candidates to elect to run “together”, in pairs or trios for example, in conjunction with other candidates with whom they’d like to serve on the Major Grants Committee. Modifying the formal voting mechanism might go against the spirit of ZIP 1014, but nothing prevents candidates from specifying that they want to serve only with specific other candidates, and the Community Advisory Panel can take this into account when voting.

What is the formal voting mechanism? As far as I can see, it is not specified in ZIP 1014, other than:

There are many possible election mechanisms - first-past-the-post, approval, ranked-choice, etc. - and some might be more amenable to voters taking into account this kind of “joint candidacy” - or, I suppose, it would even be possible for two candidates to literally run together under one line item, like voting for a presidential or party ticket - I’m not sure whether this contravenes the “spirit” of ZIP 1014 or not.

I think there are (at least) three relevant questions here:

  1. Are “joint candidacies” likely to be more effective at selecting a committee which works well together, or are there risks of a lack of diversity or too much politics?
  2. Are the current candidates for the Major Grants committee happy to serve regardless of who the committee turns out to consist of?
  3. Is anyone not running for the Major Grants committee because they don’t know who they’d be serving with, and would they be more inclined to run if they could run with someone else?
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Intuitively, I’m much more attached to having a maximally diverse group of members who think and vote independently. I understand that “joint candidacies” don’t necessarily mean aligned perspectives/voting. But I think there’s a danger here of ending up with a 5-member group in name but just 2 or 3 voices/votes in practice. This is getting into complicated social psychology and group power dynamics but a single very articulate person can easily dominate the whole discussion.

My personal ideal MGRC would have not just a diversity of perspectives on paper but also universal courage to speak one’s mind and vote independently without it negatively influencing the overall working climate. People should be able to freely debate and disagree while still working together as a team.

That said, it would be very unfortunate indeed if some otherwise excellent candidates decide not to apply simply because they don’t know who they’d be working with. Hopefully there are enough great candidates who are open to developing a healthy working relationship even with people they don’t know or whose background and perspective is radically different from theirs.

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updated my post with my relevant IRL governance experience…

“I have 3 years governance experience as an elected official to my Local Labor Union’s Board of Trustees, where I am directly responsible for helping decide how our Union’s funds are allocated & doing quarterly audits. I also personally interact with other Union members to gage community sentiment around how funds should be distributed. Other responsibilities include fraud prevention, ensuring anyone who handles funds are properly bonded, & giving reports/presentations at our quarterly meetings.”

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Several points have been raised in this thread that should be urgently addressed:

  1. annual re-election terms
  2. monetary compensation for performing the role
  3. conflict of interest due to competing affiliation

In fact these are all symptoms of a core issue that has not been sufficiently addressed.

Please consider that the roles we are discussing here could plausibly direct on the order of BILLIONS of USD worth of funding.

Please sit with that for a moment.

I’m hearing people propose their candidacy for this role as a side hustle.

Which candidates are proposing that they will resign from their current job, and focus full time on their MGRC role?

How can anyone be asked to do that for a 1 year gig?

With no established compensation?

Finally, to suggest that this role could be assumed as a personal sacrifice casually implies that only those with a sufficiently lucrative main hustle are eligible.

Let’s reconsider the gravity of the role. It seems feckless to me to leave open the possibility of volunteer, or even part time roles.

I move that we immediately and decisively resolve the following:

  1. MGRC roles are paid positions
  2. MGRC roles are fulltime positions
  3. MGRC terms are not less than 3 years

This structure is appropriate to the critical responsibilities to be assumed with the role… anything less will result in significantly sub-optimal performance.

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Leaving these issues ambiguous makes it impossible for many parties to consider candidacy… which is against the “diversity” value I hear so much lip service to.

IMHO :wink:

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@zancas and @zooko make a good case for what the steady state of the committees could be: i.e. well paid and with longer terms than a year. But we still don’t entirely know what this job will look like and it is prudent to plan on revisiting it in a year. Of course they are brothers, so I guess they think alike.

It’s also tempting to look at the chaos in this thread and go: well, we have rule by the masses and it will be nuts and no reputable person would run. Which I think is what a couple of people are alluding to.

But, we don’t. The forum is not the community governance panel and that has shown itself to be reasonable before.

Personally I expect the MGRC to vote to pay itself, but it probably won’t be full time to start. However, it might hirer a full time staff person. Moreover, it can ask other people for technical review. It absolutely must be technically literate enough to understand that review.

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Thanks for explaining this case for full time MGRC members so vividly. I’ve been trying to form my opinions on this and I’m torn between two views of what the MGRC could be.

    1. MGRC as the driving actor. The members take this on as a full time job and set an innovative vision and plan in motion, using their budget to hire teams, contractors, adivsors, etc, as necessary to carry it out.
    1. MGRC as oversight and review. Developer teams, including for profit companies with entrepreneurial leaders and quick execution, set their own visions and apply for multi-year grants.

I think initially MGRC was conceived of as 2. The idea being that there’s already quite a talent pool of already-formed and experienced development teams that have, for example, worked on other cryptocurrency projects. I think of Parity as an example here but of course there are others. Small grants (presumably) wouldn’t appeal to them but longer term ones might be worth a strategic focus.

On the other hand, having an MGRC committee sit and wait for proposals to arrive may be just an unnecessary layer of indirection. Why not just find excellent MGRC members and empower them directly?

I’m still leaning towards thinking 2. is better. The threshold issue for me is about how likely the MGRC is to work well effectively. We set that the committee is 5 ppl and roughly how they’re elected. They’ll be a committee that most likely have not all worked together before. I believe that zip1014 does not even specify if they each get individual responsibility for 1/5 of the fund or if they have to decide by majority vote, for example. Based on this, I think one of the most important criteria for choosing MGRC members is that they are likely to work well with the other elected members.

The teams applying for the grants, in contrast, get to come with their own varied governance structures already in place, hopefully ones that have already been battle tested and shown to be highly effective.

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It’s true that @Zooko was lucky enough to share some quality genetics (~50%) ;), but I don’t generally give his opinions a blank check on that basis.

Per the issue of term length, I think my argument for longer terms is distinct from @Zooko 's.

My understanding of @Zooko 's argument is that:

 Longer terms gives MCRC members time to coordinate with each other.

But, I’m not really interested in analyzing that position either way, I’m sure @Zooko can if he feels like it.

My argument for longer terms is as follows:

I want the MGRC roles to be something a candidate feels like they can commit to.

Could you @secparam commit full-time to a role, foregoing other options, if the guarantee of the affiliation was 1 year? Do graduate students typically join a research program on that kind of timeline?

I will reduce the problem this way:

There are two possible MGRC-members “good/competent/diligent” and “bad/incompetent/distracted”.

In the case of the former we’d all likely agree that a longer term is better, and in the case of the latter we’d all want a shorter term.
My argument is that a shorter term increases the likelihood of the latter… or… now that I write it I realize I like the other formulation better:

a longer term increases the likelihood of the former

More specifically, a longer term that is agreed upon now would give valuable information to candidates.

To put it another way: Increasing churn in the MGRC composition increases chaos, in the very body that reputable persons might be depending on for confidence.

So, as I see it, short terms are part of defensive mindset that expects to be disappointed in the MGRC, and wants to pay a chaos-churn cost based on that expectation.
Longer terms, are more rational if paying the churn-cost is a waste… if the MGRC is competent, which again, is (I argue) more likely if candidates know the term is long enough to give a break from campaigning.

Having an initial term of one year followed by longer terms (probably) after that seems quite reasonable to me, so I think we (@secparam and I) may be in agreement (even though we’re not close genetic relatives)… :wink:

Oh… and also… MGRC members should receive ZEC-futures.

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Quick thought… working well together is facilitated by working full time together.

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More and more, I’m leaning toward no compensation and short term (1 year) for the MGRC.

I wouldn’t want this to be seen as a cash grab for MGRC members.

Based on my own experience as a one-time Zcash Foundation Grant Review Committee member, I don’t expect it to be much work. I expect it to be part-time at most.

I would like to see it start like this (no compensation) and if it proves to be different (substantial work), then we can change/adjust it for the next term. Nobody wants to do the grind for free :slight_smile: The reality itself will show us the way.

Also, I’m not of the opinion that all MGRC members should be technical. Again, based on my own experience as a Zcash Foundation Grant Review Committee member. The most important is the ability to understand what value does the proposal bring to the ecosystem, if you think the team can deliver and if what they ask for compensation is fair. The ideal MGRC should be a mix of technical and non-technical folk so they can analyze each proposal from different perspectives.

As a final note, I would love to see some accountability checks and balances. For example, it would be great if the Community Governance Panel feels MGRC member(s) prove to be unworthy during their term, they could vote to kick them out, effective immediately.

I’m open to change my views based on facts, but this is where I currently stand.

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So… I’m going to stand as a candidate, will do a more ‘official post’ later today.

EDIT: Done :slight_smile:

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Compensation for work should come from the success of the work itself, I think that this should also apply to the company and the fund.
I also do not see the point in the additional staff of people, I believe that the fund and the ECC should do this collectively, in accordance with the authority to manage trademarks, what is the point of developing an ecosystem if this can run counter to the basics.

So is MGRC supposed to be a bureaucracy (with hierarchy, continuity, defined rules, and expertise) or can it be an adhocracy (decentralized and flexible)?

I’ve always thought it was going to be a bureaucracy, with top-down structure. The world is run by bureaucracies, but the idealistic thought is maybe we can do something different here? Maybe we can keep it light and nimble. I love the idea of MGRC positions being unpaid oversight roles.

We have 8% to distribute. We have great, creative, talented people in this community. I think without a doubt we can put those resources together to function as an adhocracy and distribute the entirety of the 8% block reward to those working on development and adoption.

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If I understand your proposal correctly, it’s:

Depend on the self-selected financial circumstances of the electees to dictate their interests. (At least at first.)

Isn’t that setting up Zcash for capture by whomever bothers?

Aren’t multiple (or all?!) candidates thus far significantly interested in other/disparate ventures? Accenture, Summa (not necessarily running), Ethereum Foundation, etc. (these are just tip-of-the-brain)…

I’m not speaking ill of these other interests, mind you. I’m just saying these are other interests

IMHO, MGRC members aren’t going to be “grinding for free” in any circumstances, they’re going to grind for whoever is paying them.

This isn’t a denigration of the role… it’s a statement of fact about the human condition.

There are two possibilities:

  1. Depend on the set they come in with to align with the mission of increasing the value of ZEC.

  2. Make it explicit that the MGRC role is an interested role by defining compensation as part of the role.

I’m leaning towards the following:

I will not vote for any candidate unwilling to commit to establishing ZEC futures compensation for MGRC members.

By the way, @anon16456014 I think you should consider running… though I’d have to convince you to change your mind about incentive alignment, before I could vote for you.

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Fact: Many (or all?) of the current candidates have explicit and significant interests in diverse non-ZEC areas.

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I do not think you have to be technical to be a committee member. I have only been a part of the Zcash community since the beginning of the year. I started out mining and now am helping out with ZECpages. From my point of view Zcash has been horrible at what it has set out to do at least from where I sit. The privacy tech is there but nobody uses it.

I think focus should be on how to get people to understand the difference between T and Z and then actually have the tech available to use it. On both of those accounts Zcash is failing. Even as a miner there are only a couple of pools where I can use a Z-addr for my mining wallet. As a semi-educated person in regards to crypto I could care less about what Zcash is doing with Cosmos or whomever else because Zcash doesn’t even do the basics it has set out to do. Helping projects that focus on the original purpose of Zcash would not require technical expertise. Just enough knowledge to know if it will actually help or not.

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I really appreciate this comment.

I am also hoping we can establish this type of committee here, yet as you said it will likely turn out to be a bureaucracy.

There is hope however I have just realize, we can give an incentive to the MGRC reps by allowing them to apply for their own Grant for Funding that would be voted for just once annually by the Community Advisory Panel solely to ensure Quality of Service from the MGRC. Obviously the idea needs some refining but I am just figuring out how to introduce this to the community as I came across your comment.

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It seems to me that everyone forgets that financing is based not only on interest but also on the price of a coin, there is no way to guarantee financing because there is no way to set a certain cost, and if we say that financing will be installed as many people think here, it can capture all 8% of the allocated funds what then is the point in this structure when it spends 100% of the money to distribute the remaining 0% This structure should already be in a funded organization, and better in both. After a year or two, you can look at the situation with a separate structure.

Annually, the Community Advisory Panel could Audit the performance of each elected MGRC member, I hate to put it this way but it would be similar to a push or a pull request on GitHub that would eventually lead to certain representatives being in positions of trust based authority, Trust form the Zcash Community Advisory Panel, who ultimately are random community members and represent the diverse demographic that has been requested.

On github a lot of people are already used to “pay it forward” logic which is what I would be voting for at the end of the day anyway with my ZCAP position.

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here’s why i’m currently pro compensation:

pros -

  1. more costly to bribe MGRC members.
  2. (think) MGRC will be somewhere between full/part time work. have a feeling proposals will come in waves. 1st elected team will need to put in the extra time to set MGRC up as a properly functioning legal entity, from scratch IRL (this will not be an easy task).
  3. MGRC workload will increase, not decrease over time. have no doubt MGRC membership becomes full time work. only thing we don’t know is when.
  4. MGRC needs to attract top talent over multiple years (maybe forever). figured 1st committee would garner most interest, but there’s only currently 9 people in the running. think that number would be at least doubled if candidates knew the position paid a living wage.

cons:

  1. could attract people that just want a guaranteed job for a year that pays well (cash grab). really don’t see this happening. CAP is filled with very bright people. we’ll sniff this out immediately.
  2. proper annual pay is currently very difficult to estimate.
  3. funds paid to MGRC members reduces available funds for proposals.

as-of-now, believe compensation is necessary for MGRC’s longterm success, but a well reasoned argument against compensation could change my mind; not militant about it.

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I’m OK with compensation provided MGRC has no control over it, there’s just no clean way for a group to decide how much to pay themselves from a common fund.

Looking at it a differently - the committee will work for and be accountable to others, its that other group who should control reward/compensation. Everyone should have a boss, most actually need one.

Compensation opens other cans of worms, like ‘How much is enough?’, ‘Should everyone get the same ?’, ‘Who works hardest?’, ‘Who put in the hours?’, ‘Performance review? By who?’, blah, blah, blah.

Could quickly devolve into a time-sucking mess & that’s not what we’re here for. I suggest something extremely basic, simple (if at all) & decided during the Helios vote.

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