Retrospective of the Zuzalu Gitcoin Rounds and Suggestions

There have been multiple Zuzalu Gitcoin rounds:
The Zuzalu Continuous Innovation round from 15 Aug 2023 to 29 Aug 2023 focused on tech projects with a few events included that I was the manager of: Zuzalu Continuous Innovation | Gitcoin Round Report Card
(Love the new report cards BTW, thank you whoever did that)

The Q1 tech round and events round from 30 Jan to 23 Feb that Chance was the manager of:
Tech - Zuzalu Q1-Tech Round | Gitcoin Round Report Card
Events - Zuzalu Q1-Events Round | Gitcoin Round Report Card

This post is suddenly relevant as the stewards for the third series of Zuzalu rounds were chosen yesterday.

Writing this now to gather my thoughts to hopefully learn from the previous experiences. Sharing here in case it is helpful for anyone else and so the Gitcoin community who has helped make Zuzalu possible can be included.

Process for choosing the manager for Continuous Innovation:
Basically Janine called me up and asked if I wanted to do it and offered me $35/hr in pay and I tracked my time in ClickUp.

Process for choosing the manager for the Q1 rounds:
I think a few people including Vitalik, Janine, Nicole etc. reached out to Chance who managed the round as a volunteer (Huge kudos for that and I wish I was working with him on the upcoming round.)

Process for choosing the managers/stewards for Q2 rounds (one event and one tech round):
Sejal posted in the Zuzalu forum that people could self-nominate to be a steward, and voting was held where three stewards would be chosen for each round. Voters could choose their top three choices for each round and whichever 3 at the end who had the most were chosen yesterday. I’m one of the tech round stewards.
I think people should be able to form parties and have 3 people apply together. The reason is because otherwise individuals might end up being chosen who do not want to work together. (I’m happy with the people I’m working with in the tech round luckily but I see how this can go wrong) This should avoid getting locked into a 2-party system if we are using approval voting instead of first pas the post.

What I did for the first round:
-Announcements about the round reminding people to apply
-DMing Zuzaluans with projects we thought should be included
-Messaging and calling with some applicants who I didn’t know to see if they were ligit
-Co-writing video calls during which people wrote up their projects and sharing tips on how to write it or use markdown such as how to include pictures
Answering a bunch of community questions, mostly when people were having difficulty donating.

Then for choosing which projects to accept in the end, there were a couple calls with Marine, Janine, and Nicole where we looked through the applicants, their twitters, websites, if we knew them, and if they matched the criteria.

During donations, we received a lot of feedback that adding enough stamps to Gitcoin passport for many people was impossible for achieving a matching score and that the process was excruciating. I am very glad we have other options now.

For the Q1 rounds, we ended up saying if anyone has a Zupass they would receive full matching, and after some discussion with Umar and others matching funds were disbursed half according to what Zupass holders donated to and half according to what others donated to.

For these Q2 rounds, I made this suggestion of adding someone’s legal name as a proof of personhood deciding whether to match a donor’s contributions. That can be obtained with a credit card payment: $10,000 Donated to Gitcoin Zuzalu Round with Credit Card Pilot Project Proposal
Considering someone could get matching with on-chain history using model based detection and/or this method, that means they could donate two times total using each method once and get more matching. This would allow a sort of 2x Sybil, but may also encourage more total donations and could allow donations for billions of non-crypto users. With that trade-off in mind, it depends on if the current Zuzalu round stewards decide to also accept this proof of personhood.

For the Continuous Innovation Round it was super broad basically saying if it supports the Zuzalu mission and values it can qualify (plus looking ligit), it’s open source, and noting that if you are a Zuzaluan then you are more likely to have the project accepted.
Zuzalu mission (from a workshop I and Rachel and Dimi held during Zuzalu where we broke participants into small groups to answer a form with 10 questions, then a smaller team reviewed those answers and refined it into this) - to foster a global network of communities to advance humanity by creating playgrounds at the intersection of free and open technology, health, science and social innovation
Values: Authentic Kindness, Mutual Respect, Personal Growth, Freedom

For the Q1 rounds the criteria was:
“Technology projects must be fully open-source, relevant to the needs of in-person Zuzalu events, and blockchain components must be maximally compatible with applicable Ethereum ecosystem standards.
Events projects must be what is reasonably understood as a “Zuzalu event”: roughly, a long-duration in-person gathering whose goal is to experiment with open frontier digital and social technologies.
Contributions may be retroactive in intent, supporting events that have already happened! So eg. an event that takes place in Q1 is eligible for funding in both Q1 and Q2, just as an event that takes place in Q2 would be.”

In the end, the events round was somewhat controversial considering it featured everything from a small retreat of several friends living together to hackerhouses to a single person’s efforts supporting an event to an entire team with a full on 8 week pop up village with 200 people.

I am not an events round steward but made this suggestion:

  • Is at least 2 weeks in duration
  • Has a topic focused on at least one of the original Zuzalu tracks
  • Core team includes at least one resident of Zuzalu or participant in ZuConnect
  • Includes aspects of co-living
  • Includes a co-created schedule
  • Includes coworking on meaningful projects
  • Between 50-300 residents anticipated

There won’t be any perfect criteria but since we need to pick something it might be nice to add some minimum numbers for residents and how long it has to be. I figure if it is longer than 2 weeks without any limit for how long it can be maybe that even incentivizes some long-term projects, permanent village projects, etc. (without it just being another grouphouse, hackerhouse, or paid for vacation of friends) Also maybe it’s worth adding a cap to how many residents it can be (somewhere 150-300.) I think a lot of the magic of the original Zuzalu is that it was close to a Dunbar sized number and I wonder if it would lose that if it got too big

For tech round I think there has not been much controversy, so perhaps we can stick to similar criteria:

  • Matches the Zuzalu mission and values
  • Open source
  • Fits into one of the original Zuzalu topic tracks
  • More likely to be chosen if there are Zuzalu or Zuconnect residents as team members
  • Blockchain components must be maximally compatible with applicable Ethereum ecosystem standards
  • Relevant to the needs of in-person Zuzalu events

For what a Zuzalu event is, here’s the best I can think of on that:

I am writing this while in Zanzalu in Zanzibar. It’s funny that one year ago as I was managing the first Zuzalu round I was also in Zanzibar and there had only been Zuzalu event and now there has been around 7ish (see here:
I am very grateful to Vitalik and Gitcoin for all their support and it makes the work I am doing today possible (I ran out of funds last time I was in Africa until Gitcoin saved my ass, see here: Gitcoin Appreciations Thread - #2 by Sov)

I’m sure we will make plenty more mistakes along the way but it’s great to see this progress and I’m glad for this whole community! I would welcome input on all this, how could we could improve this process or criteria?