GG20 Community Round Governance: A Retrospective

Community Round Gov Process Retrospective

I’m excited to post this retrospective on the newly implemented governance process for community rounds during Gitcoin Grants rounds. With GG20 wrapping up this week, I wanted to bring some learnings from this process to light. This post will include:

  • Retro on Community Council and their experience
  • Retro on the selection criteria, additional learnings and how we might move forward differently.

Thank you to @Sov for spearheading the initial idea of the evolution of Community Rounds, and to the 7 members of the council, @mashal, @thedevanshmehta, @azeem, @ZER8, @lanzdingz, @wasabi, @feems, who embarked on this experiment with us! It was an honour to coordinate this undertaking and learn alongside everyone throughout the process.

As a recap, the new governance process included enabling communities to upload proposals to our forum, and applying for extra matching funds from Gitcoin to run in a Gitcoin Grants round (GG20 was the first iteration). The Community Council then reviewed and voted on the proposals, with the top 5 being selected for matching funds. If you’re unfamiliar with this process, read the following posts for further context: GG20 Eligibility Criteria - Community Rounds, GG20 Community Rounds Announced, GG20 Community Council.

Community Council retro:

This being the first iteration of Gitcoin electing an external GG Community Council, I have been personally very pleased with the results and the council that was elected. The council’s diversity and experience put us in a strong position to govern GG20.

A detailed survey was presented to the council gathering feedback on their experience and ways we could improve the process. They had to scale their overall experience from 1-5 (1 being “poor” and 5 being “excellent”). The results revealed that the average rating for the council’s overall experience was approximately 4.71 out of 5. This indicates a highly positive experience among the council members. Each member also roughly spent 10 hours on this initiative, in line with what we set predicted.

“For how fast everything moved and the care needed to effectively carry this out with a tight timeline I thought it was done as well as it could have been when you factor in everything. We were able to identify what needed to be changed in the future, without letting that affect our ability to get the current task done on time now. everything was handled in a way that gives me a lot of confidence for the foundation of what we’re building/Gitcoin is working towards helping create.” - Lana

Retro on the selection criteria, learning:

Using CharmVerse as a platform to review & vote:

Other options we explored before selecting CharmVerse: Ranked Voting through Google Sheets, which tested unsuccessful due to the results needing more than 7 voters and reviewers. We also looked at manual reviews, which is labour intensive and not favourable. We wanted a platform where the council could easily review and comment on proposals as well as vote using a rubric, which was why CharmVerse was a great option.

Within the same survey, the council was asked to rank their experience with the platform chosen on a scale of 1-5 (1 being “poor” and 5 being “excellent”). The average rating for using CharmVerse as a platform was 4.14 out of 5. This suggests a generally positive consensus towards continuing to use CharmVerse, with most members indicating satisfaction, though a couple of members saw room for improvement. We have given the CharmVerse team some feedback on how we would like the UI to be improved in the future, but with this outcome in the survey, we will most likely keep CharmVerse as the platform moving forward, making sure that the improvements are implemented by GG21, barring any necessary changes due to adaptations of the rubric and eligibility criteria detailed below.

Improvements to the Rubric:

Here are some suggestions that surfaced in the survey that we would like to implement in the rubric for future rounds. NOTE: these are not set in stone right now, as we will circle back with the council on this and ensure the rubrics are created in collaboration with what the council suggests.

  • Include ‘community reach/impact’ and details about community leaders’ public/social impact.
  • Introduce a rubric for round deliverables or milestones, possibly weighing the network effects.
  • Expand and refine rubric definitions to ensure clarity, such as defining terms like ‘leverage’ more explicitly.
    • Introduction of mechanics that determine the ratio of matching being received by a Community Round; this could be a subset of the rubric focused on the financial aspects of the application.
  • Add more measurement criteria tied to application questions for easier referencing.
  • Incorporate individual or group sessions with applicants and add a measurement for more diversity of projects to prevent monopoly by well-known names and popular/ same projects getting funding.

Changes to Eligibility Criteria:

Strong eligibility criteria that are also closely linked to the rubrics used for evaluation can ensure high-quality, values-aligned funding rounds that serve the community well. The council’s input will set the eligibility criteria for future rounds.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Consider restrictions such as disallowing back-to-back funding rounds for previous recipients, with a potential reinstatement after a cycle or annually.
  • Require previous recipients to provide impact tracking metrics and improvement plans for subsequent rounds.
  • Standardize metrics more comprehensively to enhance comparability across different projects and rounds.
  • To share progress, community size, and all other relevant stats
  • Address transparency and conflict of interest concerns, such as disclosure of relationships between applicants and round participants.
  • Disclose all forms of funding

Those not selected for matching felt “excluded”:

One thing that we picked up is the rounds not selected for matching funds felt excluded and disempowered to still continue and run a round during GG20. This is not something that we intentionally set up and one of the biggest pieces of this process I would like to change. How might we ensure each round that applies feels empowered, but still upholds the resources that Gitcoin can give community rounds during a round?

For example, when it comes to marketing rounds outside of those selected for matching, there are many factors to consider: resources, vetting of the rounds, intentional coordination, etc. We are actively working on creating a system that is inclusive and impactful for all involved and making sure the process is fair, vetted, and well resourced.

Moving forward:

  • On the topic of making the process more inclusive for all involved, I suggest the following:

The top 5 are still selected for matching through the same review and voting process, but the top [ X ] will be included in our marketing efforts. The exact number of rounds we can support and what this marketing support will look like will be discussed internally and fleshed out in another post leading up to GG21.

  • We will update the rubrics and eligibility criteria with the council, as we would like to give them more autonomy in this regard.

  • An updated Roles & Responsibilities doc will be posted to the forum, outlining the new and updated responsibilities of the council as their roles will evolve moving forward.

“The comms part by the Gitcoin team was excellent. On the whole, I’ve taken this role pretty seriously and have felt that it was a big responsibility to make sound decisions with intentionality and countering bias that comes with decision making. I’d love to stay updated re the results of each round, and to understand how they were run ++ learnings et al from them (would esp like to understand challenges and what went well + didn’t from each). This will help in improving decision making for the next one.” - Mashal

The goal of Community Rounds is for Gitcoin to continue empowering those within the ecosystem to fund what matters to them most, creating an inclusive and collaborative environment during GG, and further decentralizing our grants program.

We have taken a great first step, and through these iterations and learnings, we can continue to improve over time.

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Thanks to the council and everyone that participated in this process.

We are excited to take these lessons learned and continually improve as we move forward.

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Congratulations to everyone on the council, including @MathildaDV and @Sov, for the inaugural community-led governance in GG20! Credible neutrality is incredibly hard, but this team made everything look so easy with the care, rigor, and attention to detail toward the operator, grantee, and donor experience!

Offering marketing support in some capacity to more rounds sounds like a great idea. In search of incentives for community rounds that operate on Grants Stack, here’s another area of exploration.

Opportunity: Should Gitcoin incentivize community rounds that showcase metrics-based impact towards future Allo GMV?
Validation: Does the community round’s performance on the following measures impact future Allo GMV? Can other metrics quantify a community round’s contribution to potential Allo GMV? If so, how can Gitcoin incentivize “high-performing” community rounds?

– % share of first-time voters (with qualifying Passport criteria)
– % share of returning voters (e.g., cGrants voters returning to Grants Stack)
– Diversity of participation (e.g., measured as the average number of projects supported by a voter)
– Participation from tenured voters (e.g., measured as the average “Gitcoin-age” of the voter since their debut donation)
– Share of contributions from first-time grantees

@Sov, @MathildaDV If this area of exploration is relevant, I am happy to scope out a funded direct grant via Citizens Innovate for interested citizens to conduct targeted research, data analysis, and recommendations.

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Thanks for this. Yes, let’s explore what scoping a direct grant could look like.

I would be especially interested in how this functionality could be integrated with existing tools, including RegenData, Grants Stack, and Karma GAP.

I think these metrics are applicable to not just Community Rounds but our program rounds as well, so having these views at a platform level, giving a view across the whole of Gitcoin Grants, would be helpful.

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Sounds great! Will get back on this.

Great point. Did not think about that!

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Yeah this is interesting thank you for sharing! This feels like an idea that expands beyond GG community rounds, or are you thinking specifically for those running in our quarterly program?

Curious if these metric-based impact is something we would require in the eligibility criteria (so, ahead of considering them to run a round), or just an incentive for them to run a successful round?

This could be part of the retro template we give them that are part of the mandatory agreements when they run a round if we’re baking this in purely as an incentive. The question still stand for me: how do we define a successful round? Are those success metrics for community rounds the same as our program rounds? I would say they differ slightly? Is it up to the community rounds themselves to define the successes? If we start with “how do we define this” first I think we can build from there! Wdyt?

Either way I would love the council themselves to weigh in on this recommendation specifically how it pertains to eligibility criteria and rubric evaluations for future GG Community Rounds as they will be the driving force behind making those decisions. I love how this is unfolding so let’s keep in discussion around this @rohit.

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I was leaning toward the latter (incentives), primarily motivated by this statement:

More specifically, when a community round does not get picked up for matching but chooses to run during GG, can we offer micro-grants to these rounds when their efforts show metric-based performance towards potential Allo GMV?

This will require some retrospective analysis on past community rounds to establish a correlation between a metric and potential Allo GMV (e.g., testing a hypothesis such as, “first-time donors onboarded to Gitcoin by a community round have a high likelihood to return in subsequent rounds for broader participation”.)

If I can find stronger correlations in the data, will draft a set of recommendations for the council.

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Sounds great! Thanks Rohit for this recommendation. Excited to see where this leads!

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This is so true, as GCC community round advisor, I had several rounds of discussion inside the team. We felt not only ‘excluded’, but also ‘forgot’.

  • excluded from the additional matching funds, I know it is not excluded from the community round, but the team is upset.
  • forgot. Nobody contacted/noticed GCC team for the upcoming GG20 community round.

So based on above situation, I suggest we could refine the processes for community rounds:

  1. recruit and contact the community rounds as before. we need the dedicate Gitcoin team/staff to recruit community round, and educate/support them.
  2. after community rounds recruitment, we could ‘select’ additional matching rounds as what we did.
  3. for the additional matching funds, another idea is retro-fund with some criterias.
    e.g top 5 number of contributors community rounds will get additional funds
    or top 5 of contribution fund community rounds will get additional funds.
    – and this will make things easier, and it is up to the community results.

just my 2 satoshi.

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Firstly, thank you for you response. Secondly, I’m so sorry you felt this way! This was definitely not the intention from our team, and it’s part of the reason we would like to adjust this process in future rounds. All this feedback is helpful for us to continue to evolve and improve.

Thanks for dropping your thoughts and feedback here:

Again, I’m sad to hear that you felt this way! Curious – I remember reaching out to you directly, giving you a link to our runbooks for running a round as well as the round dates and times for GG20, encouraging you to still run a round. What would have felt more supportive from our end? I’d love to know so that it can be adjusted in future rounds!

I don’t disagree with this! We are currently working with the resources we have but are working on improving this in the future.

Not sure what you mean here? Who is “selecting” additional matching funds? Gitcoin or you as a community round?

If I’m understanding correctly (and forgive me if I’m not), are you suggesting that the additional matching funds that are allocated by Gitcoin each round be distributed through a retro-type mechanism instead of our council?

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After exclude in the additional matching funds, GCC team is upset, and misunderstood it for a few days. but finally the team decided not to join GG20.

Maybe I missed your messages, sorry about it if I missed.

The selection might be the same as this round.
Here what I mean is we could divide the who process as 2 phases:
phase 1 - recruit community rounds (e.g Feb 1 - Feb 15)
phase 2 - select additional matching funds rounds from above rounds (e.g Feb 16 - Feb 28)

yes, you’re right. if we could have some retro-pgf, it could be a new experiment.
normally it is not a good way with council. (personal view)

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Thank you for your feedback!

The reason we moved to an external council reviewing and voting is because we are decentralizing the program more, and handing more of the decision-making power back to the community. An external council ensures that we stay true to our community-led vision, and moves us away from internal Gitcoin contributors making these decisions. So far, the majority of feedback we have received RE: this new process with the council has been extremely positive.

Of course there are still ways we can improve and that’s why we make sure to gather feedback so that we can alter and iterate where necessary. We would love to see you apply again in GG21 and if me and/or the council can provide further clarity and/or more feedback (in addition to the feedback you’ve already received on your GG20 application), we’d be happy to do that!

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As one of active participant submitting the grantee appilcation directly or supporting the communities to participate in Gictoin Grant round, I feel a bit sad in GG20.

There is no Web3 community and educational round; while we awared that GCC is also no running QF round in GG20. Several projects are not participating in GG20 this time.

As one of DeSci round working group members, I can feel the support and communication from MathildaDV and thanks for adding DeSci round into Gitcoin webpage. Also thanks for your participation in DeSci round AMA.

Here are my some ideas:

  1. I observer that some rounds are selected to gain Gitcoin support of 25K; while they can find other sponsor into their matching fund. Some rounds are not in the list and give up to do the QF round due to the lack of 25K.

Would it be possible to set the cap of funding allocation to the Top5? For example, Gitcoin can support the QF with matching fund of 25K to ensure the QF is successful; while if there is other sources of matching fund, Gitcoin will support the community round with 10K and reserve 15K for the Top 6-10.

  1. It would be good to explore more how to support the community round by Gitcoin. For example, if it is possible that Gitcoin can arrange a meeting or line up with the potential sponsors and the potential QF community round working team. There are rounds looking for matching fund, while there are organizations aiming to support QF. Gitcoin may play a role as bridge them together?
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