[Cancelled/Superceded S14 Proposal] FDD Season 14 Budget Request

Another clear well-described budget from Disruption Joe that gets my full support. Glad to be part of the team with you and the entire FDD & Gitcoin Dao. I appreciate the leaning out and trimming of the budget plus getting some metrics established to help communicate.


Lol. We never argue. I can argue that we don’t ever argue :sweat_smile:


@DisruptionJoe is a master at building the machine that builds the machine. FDD has prepared a lot of content but its buried in several documents, I’d suggest maybe making it a bit easier for people to understand how FDD is functioning.

Here’s the approach I took to make sense of the FDD budget that I took (after looking at everything) and the subsequent comments/suggestions I’ll give.
1. Get a sense of the top level sums
This can be found under Season 14 Budget Requirements and splits the budget into outcome owners, GIA, Sybil Defenders, and Evolution
2. Start with the FDD Season 14 Goal Planning documents
3. See if you agree with the overall goals

Here are my thoughts for the team:

  • What about prevention of sybils?: I’m curious if FDD is looking at prevention/deterrence rather than detection. having less sybils might make it easier to defend too. A red team approach might help where some FDD individuals are empowered to pose as sybils to try to attack us and learn from that rather than relying too much on automation and AI/ML.
  • FDD Storytellers might not be necessary: this stood out as its more of a PR activity for FDD. For context, its asking for 14.4k USD which is >50% of most of your sub-workstreams. Its unclear how it will help improve contributor UX, GIA execution, or sybil execution and the items of quests etc seem to fall under onboarding instead. I’ll suggest removing it or making it into just a sample blog post or explainer for contributors.
  • Greater focus on policy: working with grantees for GR13, there was some feedback that the policy was unclear or that the process for grantees might feel arbitrary or disheartening. I know this isn’t the case but perhaps reallocating the budget from storytelling to policy communications will be more helpful. In fact, including that as a top-level OKR for GIA might be even better. Right now Evolution has a higher % of budget compared to GIA too which might suggest overindexing on automating and growing FDD for this particular budget
  • Inter-Workstream work: would like to see some evidence of discussion on FDD with Grants 2.0 especially with “Catalyst | nollied” which is asking for 37.5k USD (one of the largest allocations). Caveat that I’m not saying there isn’t discussion, but would like some idea of how aligned this work is especially because what is proposed is very experimental and is researching a lot of different highly technical topics.
  • Sybil Detection DAO needs more details: I know there’s some context as during ETHDenver this idea was floated. Right now I’m assuming its about creating a sub-DAO focused on sybil detection, but I thought that was FDD itself. Also it’s asking for 90k USD which is the largest % of the overall budget.
  • Overall thoughts: I like that FDD takes time to explore more experimental issues and DAO-wide issues. The budget and its process to come up with it is democratic and decentralised which I appreciate too, however I’d like to see work done between other parts of the DAO (links to discussions, WIP, etc) to get a better idea how the work is going.

4. Take a look at past performance with the S13 Report Card

  • at first glance, most of everything has been done, so congratulations to the workstream for pulling of a great season!
  • interesting to see the work exploiting grants and a focus on simulations, I suppose that falls under prevention!
  • curious how some of these things have been used like the mandate delivery option and the CAP table research

5. Requests and rationale for vote choice

  • Requests: Additional focus on Grant Policy communication, removing FDD Storytelling, include more inter-WS discussions to provide more confidence on decisions and direction. I’d like to see more work from subject matter experts on the technical aspects of FDD, especially on mechanism design and AI/ML work
  • Rationale: I am leaning towards a FOR vote as I agree with most of the OKRs and won’t want to let one OKR hold back my general positivity towards FDD.

Once again a great job putting together elements of the budget!


yes!!! that’s what my squad “Catalyst” is researching and developing. I’m a firm believer that we should not totally rely on retrospective sybil account detection. we’re working to minimize the profit margins for exploits in general using novel mechanism design proven through simulation. i’m hoping to coordinate with the grants 2.0 folks (ie. @kevin.olsen) to bring this to fruition.

to be clear, we haven’t had full on discussions yet, but I am hoping that this season we can work more closely. either via direct communication, or by presenting our propositions and simulation results to be implemented into the “marketplace” of components/presets for the round managers. the only “evidence” i have can be found here.


storytelling is something missing in nearly all streams, esepcially FDD. there’s an almost magic-like property of taking what’s going on internally and communicating it in a digestible format. i think of it like self-awareness and external relationship building.

you know, in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), communicating with ones-self unlocks immense potential in becoming a better human being. why wouldn’t this apply to the shared consciousness of a DAO?


Thanks for this suggestion. We also made this budget review tool on Ethelo and would love for you all to check it out to review all of the Season 14 budget requests! https://gitcoinbudget.ethelo.net/

Yes. This is directly a goal of ours with the Catalyst squad (formerly called Matrix).

We actually found that this one bubbled up for us from all the contributors. We weren’t doing a good job of sharing context within the workstream between squads. Most of your other criticisms here seem to highlight the need for some level of comms.

This is a very small budget and the outcome owner is already a source council member with another outcome so there isn’t a full time person dedicated to this. We simply felt the need to be intentional about this.

One answer to this is that we raised the round management budget substantially and put the grant policy work within this stream. We believe that the policy errors were more process driven than due to an unclear policy (although its just a weighting, not a binary).

Another answer is that we are bearish on policy in general. Instead, we are solving for how any community, including our own, can collectively set and review criteria and grants eligibility status against that criteria in a decentralized way that maximizes for trusted outcomes first, then minimizes cost for scalability.

You can see this in our Rewards Modeling OKR report here or if you want a high level overview, watch this 8 minute video.

This workstream was formerly called Matrix. We believe that it’s work is crucial because without it we are not preparing for a grants 2.0 future. Funds removed from fraudulent allocation is the most relevant metric for them.

Without them we do not have a high-level overview of why we are focusing where we are. In the last season, Kylin’s review on the matching caps informed the grants ops decision on what to do with matching caps.

Additionally, they identified an entirely new vector of attack. Their work is needed in my opinion and their budget is only lower than the sybil model now because innovation and research is a hard sell, but unfortunately FDD is tasked with solving 2 unsolved research problems for Gitcoin.

In season 14, they are tasked with coming up with Grants 2.0 components which can minimize fraudulent allocation. They will map the composable components and communicate an understanding of the tradeoffs in different component stacks. They will also be able to inform decisions based on simulations.

Grants 2.0 is going to be a main customer for this squad because they will need a collection of components to start. They are currently focused on building the first component of Grants 2.0 as the ones which are used in cgrants, but this squad can simulate and suggest new legos with code that can be dropped into production.

They can also plugin synthetic data to the community model to help train it faster. Another way they can reduce costs is in prototyping NLP solutions. Lastly, they can help other FDD squads with simulations. Deliverables include reports and graphics and even code for grants 2.0 components.

I will be directly leading this effort. The details are in flux, but we need to begin building some of our standards into protocols which will serve as microservice protocol DAOs. The entire solution can be generalized to serve all of web 3. Here is the Sybil Detection DAO deck.

Overall, thank you for the thoughtful response.


Gotcha on that, may I suggest not asking for a budget to the tune of 5.8% of FDD’s overall budget. As this is more nascent, probably a smaller sum to start to show some results would be good + there’s a fair bit of reserves each round that can be used for activities like this

(edited for accuracy, 9.2 to 5.8%)

1 Like

True, storytelling is fundamental to the human experience and knowledge transfer. However that’s not the core of what FDD ought to be doing and my personal take is that focus is definitely important!
Hence the suggestion of focusing on explaining the grants policy itself and starting with that rather than creating all these experiments and quests suggested. This is something that can be measured as you can now survey past grantees and new grantees or figure a way to see if they get the policy.


The catalyst budget is 5.8% and they are only new in that it is a name change. I highlighted some results above. This squad is comprised entirely of Ph.d statisticians, mathematicians, systems engineers, and machine learning engineers. This is a very low budget for the work being done imho.


by this same logic, should we also slash accounting/talent/collaboration?

research and development is longer term for tangible results with high risk high reward. plus, we’re paying our highly qualified members below market value already.


uhm…,… i disagree. hahaha

  1. Yes eventually it should require less budget, that’s what DAO Ops is trying to do and eventually this part of the budget would be lower. (to the slashing point) Understand that legacy-wise that’s how it is now but hopefully we’d have better standards across the DAO. So to the original point, would working with MM be better rather than doing it in-house?

  2. Yes and @DisruptionJoe explained the rationale for this, at first glance it seems to be an entirely new initiative hence my skepticism. Now that it’s clarified, I’m quite impressed how FDD has found quality contributors to work on this (and am excited to see it happen).


generalizing integral human-centric functions to an external workstream/squad sacrifices fidelity. of course, we can outsource collaboration, talent, and accounting, but it will inherently be less fine-tuned for our needs. in the case of talent and collaboration, this could cause disjointedness.

:smiley: yes catalyst is my favorite child lol.


I love that there is a Discord convo with core engineers going on right now about how to optimize the quadratic funding calculations and @nollied walks in with already built code from his simulations. optimized_clr.py · GitHub


i’m pretty impressed with how precise your statements here are. it’s tightly coupled with my vision too.


I have been compiling my Voter’s guide and I want to offer some of my questions and observations ahead of posting the voter guide. I do intend to update my voter guide as we discuss here, but hopefully we can keep the FDD relevant convo in this thread.

tl;dr on my current sentiment:

FDD - Requesting a reduction (from 118K to 67K GTC), FDD is a cost center, like DAO Ops and should be focused on maintaining as slim of an operating budget as possible. Gitcoin seems to be paying for the education and advancement of a number of ideas - Sybil DAO, Most of “Evolution”, Catalyst, etc. without any discernible increase in value being delivered back to the DAO. Cutting most of “Evolution”, scaling back “Sybil defenders” and doing a deeper dive on the value of GIA would be valuable. FDD has brought tremendous strength in ideas to the Gitcoin DAO, and those participating in the workstream are sharp and care deeply about our mission. FDD seems to be building for themselves and not for Gitcoin - costs continue to grow without a large change in result (though I understand decentralized approaches are culprits for this cost increase). FDD supports a two week long blitz (Grants Round) which has a leading and trailing week or so of intense evaluation of the round. Getting to a budget of $650k to support the Round is just too much. IMO, Outcome owners can lead much of “Evolution” as part of their day to day if they weren’t just building the machine to feed the machine.

We seem to have hit a tipping point where despite the volume needing to be processed, we still continue to see growth (though much less growth than past seasons). I am still struck by how much we could accomplish with a team of three (Joe, Kevin and I) and the partnership with Blockscience. It cost us roughly $50K/mo to deliver all of our sybil detection for rounds up to 11. And now we are at a 13x funding request ($550K) with a 1.5x increase in Grants funding volume (the 1.5x number may be too low as it likely depends how you measure the round volume - I am looking at $$ going through the platform contributors - which for the longest time had been our north star ).

I don’t want to see FDD go away, I just really wish there was more prudence in the selection of ways they are expanding. The bear market we are heading into has really changed my risk tolerance for the experimentation and learning. I feel it is important all workstreams deeply evaluate the impact they have for Gitcoin and strip down to the slimmest budget they can while maintaining the impact likely for S14, S15. Even if it means slowing initiatives like Sybil DAO, new tooling build outs, research on adjacent areas (like DAO governance models), etc.

I would love some thoughts from the FDD team on how might we be able to cut this budget down to perhaps a 7x increase from “the good ole days” as compared to where we are now. This request and feedback is going out to all workstreams.


Your understanding of FDD’s role in solving unsolved research problems which existentially affect Gitcoin’s future is interesting to me. You seem to be saying on one side that we, Gitcoin, need to focus on creating a decentralized protocol. That there is no future value for Gitcoin if we don’t decentralize the system and give the governance token more utility in that process.

FDD is doing that with both of our areas of responsibility, but your answer is ‘You, me, Kevin and Blockscience could do it for less’.

From the beginning, the reason for having a workstream for FDD was to push the control of the subjective decisions out of the hands of a few… you me kevin

We take that seriously and are building to allow larger numbers of participants.

Sybil Detection DAO - On one hand you are saying we need to find ways to provide upside back to the DAO. On the other hand, you see a (lightly) validated idea that simply needs execution to take a solution we are using which can be generalized for all of web 3 and think this is simply education. The wild thing is that while we would provide the digital infrastructure which would be required for online democracies to work, we would also benefit from better data into our system. Very positive sum.

Cutting most of evolution - Which part of evolution do you think is least needed?

  • Contributors knowing when and how to participate?
  • Us understanding where are strengths and weaknesses are and continually improving?
  • Our data collection and aggregation that allows us to be data driven?
  • Our internal and external communication of what we are doing so we are clear between ourselves and you and other stewards understand our work? (This one is new, but the explanation to fishbiscuit above discusses relevant details)
  • Our paying contributors on time?
  • Our paying contributors for the roles DAOops has requested we create?

If we had wanted DAO ops to run everything and control all the decision making, hiring, and payment decisions along with assessing every workstream’s competency, then we probably should have made a company, not a DAO.

That is a little facetious.

I do want to hand over responsibility for some of these items as we have done with others in the past, but I don’t believe the DAOops workstream has advanced to the level to be able to fully serve our needs. Reasons:

  • After 6 months we still don’t have a metric for “what is a successful onboard to gitcoinDAO?”
  • Our peer review process supplied to us was basically telling us to walk all our contributors through copying a google form with the right settings and sending it out. This handed us more work that we needed to pay our contributors to do rather than providing a service.
  • We didn’t include the $120k for travel expenses the CSDO passed! ($120k coming from the Moonshot proposal)

They will get there, and the way we will do that is by other workstreams, FDD included, developing their own systems. We allow the successful norms to emerge and then DAOops can facilitate the operations which we all opt in to sharing.

What you don’t explicitly say here is that by eliminating FDDs operations and structure, you are effectively asking for all hiring, decision making, and information gathering and insights to be provided by DAOops.

Can you say more here?

This is ridiculous! Quadratic funding (and most other funding mechanisms one might use in grants 2.0) does not work without sybil resistance. Second, if you want a decentralized protocol that improves democracy and allows for better allocation of resources you HAVE TO provide a decentralized way to source the inputs to the system.

Sybil detection is not the only way to do this. Catalyst is working on mechanism design solutions for grants 2.0. Either way, if the content moderation (both users/sybil and issues/grants) for online democracies works like what you had at Twitter, then we are not building for this community.

This work from our rewards modeling crew in GIA went fairly unnoticed, but it is essentially the point of what FDD needs to do. We need to understand how we can create trusted outcomes via engineering good systems, then minimize the cost to be efficient, but not so efficient that the system centralizes.

This will be used to optimize and decentralize the inputs to the sybil pipeline along with it’s original intention of optimizing the grant review mechanism so that ANY community can provide community curation rather than self curation. We are going to be able to offer legitimacy, credible neutrality, and sustainability AT SCALE if we are successful.

If that isn’t directly in benefit of Gitcoin, I don’t know what is.

You obviously see this as an expense and I see it as an investment that also happens to make us better. Gitcoin would own a substantial share of these protocols to govern and participate in their growth. Think aqueducts and ownership. (Kinda like owning a rental property. You benefit from the investment appreciation and cashflow.)

By understanding the governance for a new Sybil Detection DAO, we can help Gitcoin launch multiple subDAO microservice protocols which will be legitimate public goods as digital infrastructure enabling online democracies.

By building out Sybil Detection DAO, we gain data partners which need to be rewarded for providing us with data that makes our detection efforts better.

By building out new tools like Ethelo for grant reviews, we enable the community to make eligibility decisions. We provide a way for the subjectivity inherent in decisions to be owned and distributed in the community, not a delegated authority.

Those weren’t the “good ole days”. Those days sucked. I do not want to “Make Gitcoin Great Again”!

We were unable to innovate or really even understand what was happening. We were not able to assess if the things we worked on were the most relevant. This type of thinking is what led us to the previous dGrants issues. It led us to not decoupling the eth and platform creating a ton of confusion and unhappy users (who think FDD is messing up but not realizing we made design decisions that made it impossible to be logically consistent)

The suggestion that FDD is here for itself and not the community is simply untrue. We are innovating to find solutions. Perhaps if you didn’t ask us to “slim down” and not look at the overall threats to the DAO, we would have rang a louder alarm about the need for treasury management back when we started in November.

If we were to line up the importance of our work, it would probably fall under PGF and the yet to come GPC, but right up there with them. Heck, I remember the good ole days where I was hired for growth but we couldn’t get the data needed to make that work and had a major gap in operations which I ended up filling. Back then we didn’t need ANY marketing. (I’m absolutely not saying we don’t need MMM, I’m just pointing out the double standard in the logic.)


I can say that this is a great suggestion Fishbiscuit :slight_smile:
We should focus on Policy Communications and we will have a GIA Twitter account in GR14. The FDD storytellers initiatives is something different and I wouldn’t take it’s budget, but I do agree that we need a cohesive communications strategy with our grantees :slight_smile:
Me and @David_Dyor will start working on this and would love to hear more from you :slight_smile:


i realized that the deleted response above had unfair/leading questions. feel free to ignore.


I appreciate your responses @DisruptionJoe - ^^ This to me is the crux of where our opinions differ, and you appropriately named it. I feel we are both entitled to hold our opinions and I want to call out that I understand your position and I think I understand the value you see in the work you and the FDD are doing. In the market we are bracing for and with the results I have seen, I am advocating now is not the time to make such large investments.

One area I have hoped for FDD to innovate is in software that integrates with the platform / protocol. And my understanding is that the investments have instead been made in building (adjacent) software that support manual review and manual intervention. The ASOP is likely the place that our visions had aligned the most, and I know you were slowed/blocked by a contributor’s lack of action there so i do want to acknowledge the work there.

I am really trying to think through how we move forward. Perhaps I can articulate some of my thoughts more 1:1 and then you can evaluate if they are viable? A larger change is likely needed and I dont want you to feel rugged or pushed out as part of that retooling.

We have a protocol coming (dPopp) which will make much of what FDD does more scalable, and also invite others to participate in a simple and effective way in determining the best sybil suppression model.

If S14 is a “tide us over” type of season and we cut the things we know we are not going to need in the same way for S15, I could get behind that budget.

1 Like