[Cancelled/Superceded S14 Proposal] FDD Season 14 Budget Request

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.

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gm! @kyle

I am deeply, wholeheartedly stunned by the selection of words you are using to summarize your sentiment in the tl;dr above.

Words create worlds! It’s a conscious choice!

What you are feeding back to me (FDD) and what I am learning here is that taking into account the current situation and the overall context (see also Hiring Freeze?) we could review priorities and if necessary shift the focus accordingly.

Coming back to Words creates worlds! I d like to highlight these three:

What’s awesome about calling another organizational entity a cost center?
What’s awesome about making the assumption that FDD seems to be building for themselves?

In a decentralized environment shared understanding of the broader (business) context and priorities, a culture of embracing positive conflict and a felt sense of purpose can better be cultivated and balanced through an approach of having intelligent conversations.

Just compare these two approaches:

A World :one: with conversations like these:
This conversation is initiated from an inner felt sense of fear. The urgency to act now and protection against some externality that one can’t control seem to guide the interaction between people. One adopts a defensive or offensive position. The other one reacts in an offensive or defensive way. Roles may switch back and forth. A victimized state gets acted out. Both eventually find themselves defending their position and trying to execute power over the other in order to survive.

A World :two: with Conversations like these:
This conversation is initiated from a state of trust and presence. One would approach the situation from an inner felt sense of wholeness, being okay with oneself and courage. A genuine curiosity would be rising and one is wondering how we - together - could master this situation of turmoil and uncertainty. What is emerging here and what questions for which I do not have answers yet can I ask? How can I serve the people to thrive sustainably in the long run? How can I have power with them and partner with them?

Which world would you intentionally want to manifest? Which quality of conversations regarding budget do you want to lead?

I sincerely believe we do have a conscious choice here. And no, I am not telling anybody that it is easy, but I believe it’s going to be worth it to aspire for World :two: Conversations.



:face_with_monocle: As a contributor I consider wanting to reduce the FDD’s budget with more than a half a little unfair. I am actually not biased in any way(even if I am leading two GIA initiatives, I actually asked for the minim minimorum that we need to get things running and ensuring that the credible neutrality of the grants is ensured) because I assumed that passing the budget this time will be even more difficult due to the market conditions.

I’m kinda a newcomer here, only around for 10 months, but not new in web3 and life :sweat_smile:. Life has thought me that yes, unpleasant things happen, sometimes they are out of your control => so reducing out budget would not be the end of the world and certainly not the end of the FDD.

My life experience AND geographical location(next to Ukraine, God bless everyone :innocent:) has also thought me that I should prepare for the worst. My question is:

How come that Gitcoin as the amazing organisation(not ironic, I love it) that it is, didn’t prepare for bear market conditions? As a contributor I find this a little distressing… This could be seen as a big vulnerability and while I’m sure that everyone here actually cares about our goal and wants to make the world a better place via public goods funding, I do find it a little weird that we as the cyber organism that we are, didn’t prepare for the bears :bear:

Maybe we should learn from this and prepare for the future. Maybe we shouldn’t increase spending or funding initiatives just based on the optimistic sentiment that we all have when the bulls are in charge in the markets :chart_with_upwards_trend: :chart_with_downwards_trend:


I find asking “Why didnt my DAO prepare for bear market conditions?” to be a little like asking “Can someone do something about how fat I’m getting?” It absolves the asker of any responsibility for the situation they are in, and expects foresight & a bail-out from others (not within).

Does the DAO live in a world with autonomy or not? I think its time to pick a lane.

  1. Autonomy & responsibility
  2. No autonomy & no responsibility

Here are some posts that I’m aware of that tried to get the DAO to rally around the idea that the plush times would not last forever. They didnt get much action when they were posted. Maybe they will now.

I think a better way to rephrase your question is “Why didnt WE prepare for bear market conditions?”


Hello, Kevin. Not an native english speaker, but that was my point… I was just trying to understand why budgets weren’t really an issue in the bull market vs now. :chart_with_downwards_trend:

I was not in any way excluding me, I stated above that I personally reduced the budgets for the initiatives that I’m driving to the minimum. I also was one of the people that supported and promoted the idea that the FDD should maybe try find some revenue streams in order to be partially self sustainable(if possible) and for the benefit of Gitcoin. Those ideas are supported by some, but others believe that having our own revenue streams will stray us away from our goal of defending Gitcoin(which is actually impossible :smiley: , we are all here for Gitcoin)

When you have the time, could you detail more about the implications of each scenario, would love to learn more:)

Thanks for the links, will give them a read.


Thanks for responding and the clarification. Maybe something lost in translation!


No :smiley: Not at all, but good point maybe if all of us actually voiced that and didn’t join the euforia, we wouldn’t be in this situation.

What I can do to help with the current market and reduce our spending (Only for the ASOP + Human Evaluation)

Instead of scaling up the team I will limit it and reduce the Numbers or contributors/Human Evaluators to 5 only.

Here is a brief resume of what I am anticipating:

Breaking down GR13: Total amount of contributor: 35
35 x 500$ = 17,500$ (± 11,000 Evaluations) (300 Evaluations each)
Poap creation (Bounty): 250$
Workshop session: 2
35 x 50$ x 2 = 3,500$
Total: 21,250$

Breaking down GR14: Total amount of contributors: 5
12,000 Evaluation / 60 Minutes = 200 Hrs
200 Hrs / 5 Human Evaluators = 40 Hrs
40 Hrs / 5 Rounds (June 9, June 11, June 13, June 15, June 17) = 8 Hrs Non-Stop For each Day
40 Hrs x 60?$/Hrs = 2,400$ x 5 = 12,000$
Poap Creation (Bounty): 250$
Workshop session: 2
5 x 50$ x 2 = 500$
New Total: 12,750$
Amount saved: 8,500$

This is of course only an small-scale of the total amount that we are requesting. I’ll need to work on the operation side to see where we can cut the budget. Writing this here in the hope that this will help other to do the same with their own initiative, if not, then we might have to lay-off contributors or even partially remove some initiative/inventiveness.


Jumping in to provide my two cents as I go through all the proposals.

This is probably the toughest proposal of them all for me to review & comment on. On one hand, FDD does important work that is critical to our mission. On the other hand, I share the concerns raised by others around FDD’s rising costs.

I agree with the assessment that FDD is a cost center - if we didn’t have the problem of sybil attacks, we wouldn’t spend money on fraud detection; it is not GMV-generative. This view is reinforced by FDD’s own stated workstream mandate - “defend Gitcoin from threats”; it’s here to protect downside, rather than to generate upside. And that’s just fine. Being a cost center is by no means a bad thing, and doesn’t make the work FDD does any less important - calling something a ‘cost center’ shouldn’t be viewed as an attack or as a diminishing sentiment. Without the work FDD does, we would not have a viable grants program. Sybil resistance is work to be extremely proud of.

That said, I do worry about FDD’s rising costs, and frankly, the budget request and supporting documents are extremely cumbersome to review - after going through them all, I still don’t feel confident in having a clear assessment of this workstream and what, at a macro level, FDD is building towards. I feel like I need someone to summarize it all for me - and that shouldn’t be the case, given how closely I work with FDD.

I believe others have shared similar feedback, and so I will wait to see what the resolution is before making a decision on voting.


Yes, and… Sybil defense is an unsolved research problem with a total addressable market of everyone on earth and not a person more!

When we find solutions for unsolved problems with a large TAM, should we generalize the solution and have Gitcoin invest in it, or even own it outright?

Should we only allow certain workstreams to do this?

I guess I only agree that it is not gross GMV generative if you don’t consider a fair mechanism to be something that attracts more participants.

This should have the … before and after “…defend Gitcoin from threats…”

The full mandate, unchanged since the first budget passed has been, “Defend Gitcoin from threats to it’s legitimacy, credible neutrality, and sustainability”

I do not view it as an “attack”. It is an invalid statement in my opinion.

Yes. Then please explain why every other workstream should have higher budgets if this is true? Honestly not trying to be snarky here, I’d really like to know how we consider every other workstream’s work to be more important than dealing with this existential risk. (Considering @kyle is asking for a 40% reduction)

Especially when you consider it is an unsolved research problem with a red-team blue team aspect continually changing the strategy and it is core to the grants 2.0 roadmap.

With a cost center, you can set and maintain a strategy. With this work, we have to innovate every round and try to stay ahead of the attacks as the honeypot gets larger and larger.

In relation to what?

Other workstreams? We have a lower rate of increase than the majority.

Last season? We lowered our rate of increase from 30% to 9%.

Something else?

We found last season that although we have clear round over round metrics and seasonal objectives along with specific deliverables, people DO find it confusing still. That is why we added the storytellers stream. It is not redundant with MMM because they are not close enough to the work to explain it. We would work with them.

It is a small amount to make sure the rest of the DAO does not rob itself of impact, efficiency, ethics, and income, by simply not understanding our work which is admittedly more complex than most other streams. (Again, the problems we are working on are complex)

So we should or shouldn’t do our storyteller initiative to help communicate this?

Would we want the DAO to vote no to funding us because the work we do is in a complex domain and no one has the time to learn about it?

In conclusion

I would love to talk with you about each initiative.

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I really appreciate the thoughts from @annika and agree with so many points she made:
1 - Being a cost center is not a bad thing, and shouldn’t be viewed as a criticism
2 - It’s been difficult to navigate the story line on the value being delivered
3 - Sybil defense is important work and needs to be part of any QF round

For my own edification I have tried to break down the core work FDD does
1 - Primary scope:
1.1 - Defend Grants Rounds from Sybil Attacks
1.2 - Review Grants to confirm compliance to our rules/policies
1.3 - Defend against collusion attacks

2 - Secondary scope:
2.1 - Generate ML models to run programmatic sybil detection (using the centralized data set, and a growing on-chain data set)
2.2 - Conduct human review of potential Sybils
2.3 - Build/invest in tooling to make 1.1 and 1.2 more scalable and approachable
2.4 - Invest in OS and working norms (and operations) for the workstream

Is this accurate? I am trying to keep this as “pure” of a scope as possible.


I do not view it as a criticism, but as an inaccurate description or at best, part of the story.

We thought so too, so we added a very small budget to be intentional about this during s14.

This is not only for today, but for tomorrow. The ASOP could run without innovation, but it would cease to be effective. We HAVE to innovate every round to keep up with the red team and larger rounds.

Looking at this from a grants 2.0 perspective, we need to give communities who use or fork grants 2.0 a way to be credibly neutral.

This is a wildly subjective area

I don’t think the grants 2.0 architecture will solve this through “policy” but rather by giving communities tools to provide legitimacy (sybil defense) and credible neutrality (community consent). These communities would then compete for mechanisms that truly work better for their participants. Basically, our longer term strategies for sybil and grant eligibility have a by product of collusion protection, but this has not been a focus in the last few rounds.

For grants 2.0, users will have a dPoPP. By integrating many services, they will be able to participate meaningfully. By only allowing them to advance by integration, we would be putting new users at a disadvantage in the system. How might we provide the new and disadvantaged users the same access to the system. (That is the point afterall)

Our job is to find a way to decentralized the inputs, remove PII from the equation, and still be able to make sense of the rich history of participation users will acquire on dPoPP.

This is done so algorithmic bias does not co-opt our system. We don’t have a steady true state for what is sybil.

If we had zero ethical concerns about the bias of our algorithms, we could remove this, but I think it is best thought of as part of 1.1.

And reduce unwanted bias. Additionally, I think providing a solution which includes legitmacy and credible neutrality to any ecosystem who starts a round is a part of grants 2.0, not just an accessory.

If we hand them the 2.0 rails without this protection, they may use 2.0 and get worse results than legacy systems. The reason a community would want to use grants 2.0 is to allocate better.

It’s like selling a car without tires. Sure, you can do that, but good luck!

Yes. Can we make sure that the machine building the machines of legitimacy and credible neutrality are sustainable without key man issues.

Lastly, the desire to define innovation as secondary for FDD is not realistic. Each round the attackers advance their strategies and we need to innovate ours to be effictive.


I’ve gotten feedback about people not understanding what is going on in the workstream. It seems that there are many impressions about what the stream is, or should be, but they have missed the ongoing effort due to our having too much content to review.

“I feel somewhat DDos attacked when I read FDD budget”

Here are a few ways to look at it.

First, check out this explainer from Octopus octopus Thoughts On FDD - YouTube

Next, you can see how evolution is more about understanding what we did the last round, finding what is and isn’t working, and then converting to a better overall process. It is not redundant with DAOops.

Here we show which squads focus on executing this round vs innovating and if they are about efficiency or decentralization.

This shows our essential intent agreed upon by CSDO and how each FDD squad fits.

Then we connect which squads are related to which aspects of GitcoinDAO.


This is a step in the right direction - I really appreciate the bucketing - but I still feel a little DDoS attacked (to steal anon’s on-point wording) even when looking at this view.

I said this to @kishoraditya just now about something else - “I think the challenge with FDD’s “at a glance” stuff so far is that it’s still quite complex - e.g., the bucketing of what FDD is focused on in the four buckets is a step in the right direction, but understanding 30 broad strokes bullet points and what’s underlying them is still far, far too granular / lacking context to be a summary”

As a Steward coming in to review this, my head goes towards:

  • What are the top 1-2 priority / impact items in each of the four buckets?
  • What is the resource allocation / rationale for each of those?

That is where I would want to start to make sure I’m understanding & agreeing with the most critical items. Beyond that, as a Steward, I care less about understanding the long-tail (unless, of course, it’s taking up substantial budget - in which case I would want to go into its rationale, but only after understanding the core pieces).

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I know FDD is taking a lot of steps to evaluate where changes can be made. I appreciate the work and contemplation.

I am still not sure how to vote until the final thoughts are shared (I think FDD is going to revise again tomorrow after an internal meeting per my conversation with Joe).

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Thank you on behalf of the GIA :slight_smile: We appreciate your praises and the fact that you have noticed us means we are getting stuff done and that’s nice…we have actually worked a lot and also put in a lot of passion, late hours and brain matter :brain: into defending Gitcoin from threats to its credible neutrality. It’s not easy for us to make friends when our mission is to maintain fairness (in the degree that we can and are allowed). We are decentralizing more and more each round and building, modelling based on our results. We work very closely with the “Sybil defenders” and the data science @omnianalytics have been slowly but surely building on our results. We are working to become a fine tuned machine that has the purpose to integrate with Grants 2.0

It’s not healthy to compare things, but I was want to give this as an example:

I personally help out with the MMM(because I love it) pro bono because I like co-hosting and participating in fun events that are beneficial for Gitcoin and the web3 space overall. I don’t have the deepest understanding on what’s going on over there, but I do find it intriguing that the MMMs budget is a decent amount and it was approved by almost everyone, which signals that the work and outcomes generated by them are visible, while it seems that our collective work in the FDD has not reached the same level of awareness… :frowning:

Tough times, we will make it through. :robot: :blue_heart:

I apologize for all my “emotion” filled posts and thank you for all the work you are doing! Without the collective efforts of the Gitcoin core team we would not be here and we should also remember that