Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

Discuss the problems faced by the PoolTogether DAO community during its operation from three aspects: community atmosphere, productivity and member structure.

Other Internet has received PoolGrants funding to begin research on PoolTogether’s off-chain governance and social architecture, focusing on its Discord and governance forums.

This research is guided by the following question: How should “long tail” contributors be rewarded? How did PoolTogether get its reputation as a healthy, encouraging community? How does the old corporate organization help solve the problems DAOs face?

This is the second in a series of research reports on off-chain governance in the crypto ecosystem, co-funded by the Ethereum Foundation.

Introduction

PolTogether wants to be the gateway to DeFi. This reward-based savings protocol makes the value proposition of the Ethereum ecosystem (and the crypto world in general) relatively easy to understand. Once users deposit funds, they will automatically have the opportunity to win a weekly payout – they don’t incur additional costs or risks by depositing funds. The welcoming spirit created by the core team has permeated the intimate PoolTogether community, creating a lively and healthy energy, and a strong community of governance participants and community contributors. Meanwhile, PoolTogether reached an impressive $130 million in lockups.

We have a report on Uniswap [1] that shows how certain design choices hinder the development of a strong core community. The situation with PoolTogether is completely different. But while the community is known for its friendly vibe, under the surface, challenging issues remain unresolved. What happens when the aspirations of the community and the core team are not aligned? How should different types of contributions be assessed and rewarded? The major changes that may occur in the process of the community’s pursuit of growth, can this friendship between members of the PoolTogether community withstand this test? In this study of social and organizational infrastructure for off-chain governance, we explore these questions. If contributing to decentralized protocols is going to be a possibility for the future of work, we need to make sure that this new labor environment is better than the previous ones.

Start with the tools, stay true to the atmosphere

How does PoolTogether foster a healthy, lively community?

PoolTogether has taken a community-centric approach from the start. As many interviewees attested, the typical PoolTogether contributor journey begins when potential community members join Discord out of curiosity and stick around because of the community vibe:

I wanted to fork PT, but after poking around on the discord and forums, these people are so awesome that I decided to join and be more active in the community.

In PT, I found the path that worked for me. What motivates me is that this project fits the criteria I have in mind for my dream job, and I’m actively looking for opportunities to make it bigger and stronger. Elsewhere, you won’t find this fit for a million different reasons.

Here, we discuss four key factors that contribute to this general feeling of “health” and positivity within the community:

  1. A dynamic social architecture with a flexible channel structure that responds to community needs;
  2. Team openness and engagement in Discord;
  3. A concern for social good and financial responsibility;
  4. A clearly articulated and easy-to-use governance process.

 Element 1: Flexible and Responsive Social Architecture 

PoolTogether’s flexible digital architecture keeps their communities vibrant and democratic.

PoolTogether is a relatively small project with over 7900 $POOL holders compared to other DeFi protocols. Currently, Discord has about 7,800 members, which shows that a large number of token holders have joined the server.

As of this writing, PoolTogether’s Discord consists of six main parts:

  • Welcome Welcome: Read-only introduction section, including welcome and automatic announcements.
  • PoolTogether: Links to project materials, automated feeds from Reddit and Twitter, documentation for community calls and event announcements.
  • Chat Chat discussion board.
  • Contribute: Coordinate tasks and activities among community members.
  • Languages ​​Languages: Discussion area for non-English-speaking members.
  • Archive Archive: Inactive channels.

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

Contributors in Discord are assigned roles (including Community Advocate, $POOL Holder, Governor, Snapshot Multisig, Divers Team), as well as tags indicating which projects they are working on. But according to community members we interviewed, these labels are not widely used. Instead, more contributors acquire roles informally while participating in various projects and conversations.

PoolTogether encourages admins and community members to actively participate in Discord’s architecture (starting conversations, creating new channels, organizing voice calls) and community organization. Thanks to the initiative of one core contributor, tasks from announcements and calendar invites, to community call recordings, to social media feedback, have been automated. This ease of information discovery and archiving helps improve the member experience.

I try to automate as much as possible, it’s not for myself because I’m lazy and it’s actually more work for me. But I can help others automate it, which can greatly improve their experience. For example the react menu section. Servers often tag @everyone and @here, which is annoying. I tell the community that I will only use these features in emergencies or very important announcements, and for other things, I have set up announcements, calls, governance, etc. People can self-authorize these roles, which will help keep everyone safe from harassment.

Another example of this community-led approach is the diver team. It was founded with the clear purpose of attracting potential contributors and coordinating community activities. This later became the PoolGrants project (launched through the PTIP-14 proposal [2]), which set aside a budget of $500,000 (equivalent to 27,000 POOL) per quarter, with a maximum of $100,000 for the operating budget. This project was updated in the PTIP-34 proposal [3].

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

 PoolTogether’s Discord channel is easy to reconfigure 

 Element 2: Core Team Reachability and Motivation on Discord 

PoolTogether’s commitment to publicizing its work reduces information asymmetry between the core team and the community, and creates a transparent social environment where participants can easily express their opinions.

From the outset, the core team has adopted Discord as the primary communication method, gradually reducing the use of private channels and shifting to “working in public as much as possible” – a member of the PoolTogether company told us:

All of the PoolTogether people are on Discord, and our internal communications are all on Discord. I think it’s very important for teams, for example, if you’re on Slack and your community is on Discord, you can’t run a community successfully. (core team)

This makes the lines between employees and Discord members interesting and blurry. Both groups frequently answer questions and actively participate in protocol discussions, especially regarding the release of V4 – the latest version of PoolTogether’s core product.

Redefining “community success” — I think it’s like real equality between people. It feels like a real sense of shared ownership, responsibility, and the ability to make a difference — that’s definitely the end state we’re after. It happens all the time, for example, people go into Discord and wonder if PT staff are on Discord or not. Some even had to say “no, I’m not a PT staffer”. Or when I provide answers to questions, people ask to talk to the “team”. (core team)

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

 Community and core team collaborate in Discord server to design new version of PoolTogether 

PoolTogether has listened to the community at several key points in its development. For example, TAs open sourced the code of the protocol and renegotiated the VC for the benefit of the community (thanks to the core team for being candid with all token holders during the proposal process).

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

 PoolTogether open sourced the code of the protocol 

Case Study: PoolTogether’s approach to treasury diversity demonstrates the core team’s commitment to working with the community.

A classic example of the level of community involvement in governance matters is a community decision to diversify its treasury.

This proposal was initiated by CEO Leigthon Cusack in the PTIP-11 proposal [4]. The proposal aims to diversify a portion of the $POOL treasury (approximately 5.38% of the total $POOL supply) into USDC through the direct acquisition of $POOL by strategic investors. The deal will include VCs acquiring tokens at a 35% discount and locking up their positions for one year. The community disagreed with the proposal and renegotiated the deal on the PT Forum.

The proposal was revised through the PTIP-13 proposal [5], incorporating feedback from the community, and passed with full support. It reduced the total size of token discounts and diversification, and also added a European VC (recommended by community contributors) who agreed to sponsor the prize pool.

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

 PTIP-13 (Screenshot of PoolTogether Discourse forum) 

The PoolTogether community is able to voice its concerns through a formal governance process, and the core team is very open to feedback, demonstrating community commitment and the importance of an effective, accessible governance process.

 Element 3: Focus on social good and financial responsibility 

 PoolTogether emphasizes the importance of savings and generosity, shifting the focus to collective improvement rather than risk-taking, price speculation and individual profit.

PoolTogether’s ethos of social good is another distinguishing trait that helps it attract such active community members. PoolTogether uniquely positions itself as a friendly entry into DeFi. It does not feature high-risk capital pools, it emphasizes P2P financial literacy education for users and helps them find financial stability. As one interviewee put it, “Leighton (PT founder) is the one who really taught me about DeFi. It’s a perfect example of a team doing things — that’s my initial experience.

This atmosphere is reflected in Discord’s architecture, which encourages discussions and contributions related to PoolTogether’s mission. 

Discord only has 1 #help and 1 #report-scam channel. Unlike other DeFi projects, the PT community hardly discusses the $POOL price. There is no separate #speculation channel, which is a tactic used by many other cryptocurrency Discords to limit all discussion around price to a single channel without flooding the channel with spam. “We’ve built more around social good and generosity,” said one core team member.

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

 Element 4: A clearly articulated and easy-to-use governance process 

Although PT is smaller and younger than other DAOs, it does a great job of community engagement and proposal activity. In the 7 months since the PoolTogether Improvement Proposal (PTIP) process started, PT has had 25 on-chain proposals, 23 of which have passed. The participation rate of TAs is 40%. Although it is not high, it is already the highest in the field of Web3. (Data source: Tally [6] )

Even by cryptographic standards, it is incredible to achieve such a high participation rate in such a short period of time, how does PT do it?

The governance framework for changing the protocol is clearly laid out in the pinned thread in the PTIP section of the Discourse forum [7]. A summary of the process has also been pinned to Discord’s governance channel. The decision-making process, from Discord to forum to proposal, was robustly executed, and proposals were “seed” in Discord, then discussed in detail in the forum, culminating in an official vote.

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

The proposal interface [8] adds another layer of structure. It guides various proposals that can be made by presenting actions that people can take in a user-friendly way in an ABI (Application Binary Interface).

All decisions and conversations are well documented on Discord. This information is readily available, which helps new members of the community familiarize themselves with the improvement process. To further increase transparency, the community has also launched a public Trello board [9] with all delegates’ social profiles.

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

 PoolTogether’s governance proposal template 

PoolTogether Governance: How Does the PoolTogether Community Conference Call Work?

Another important element of PoolTogether’s accessibility governance process is the weekly community conference call. Although the conference call is generally small (15-30 participants), it plays a big role in bringing together core members of the community and provides a synchronous and friendly space in which the community can work together in such an environment. Relevant decisions on governance. As one interviewee told us, “The weekly community conference call is a window and a way to bring people together and get workgroups going.”

1) Meeting rhythm

The conference call takes place every Friday, with announcements made by the bot in the #events channel, and the recordings are archived in the #recordings channel. The process of communicating and recording calls, as well as inviting members, is almost completely automated, and was developed by one community contributor on top of the work of another volunteer:

PT’s Discord channel setup is already well done, but when I go to Discord, I’m still adding some changes that you haven’t experienced before. Upload our events and our recording channels to Spotify and publish them to the channel. Our event posts are synced to the calendar via a bot, so when I post an event post for a community conference call, it automatically syncs to your calendar without you having to register. This is how the entire community tracks activity. When I started setting these things up, slowly the server became what it is now.

2) The host of the meeting

The conference call was moderated by several different community members, and the core team was frequently present. The weekly agenda, posted on the #announcement channel by co-founder Leighton Cusack prior to the start of the call, typically includes updates, news, and a dedicated governance discussion time, usually around a live proposal or grant follow-up.

3) Proof of participation

At the end of each conference call, attendees receive POAP, which provides proof of member participation and is rapidly gaining traction as a ticket to Web3 work. On a conference call we were on, a participant mentioned that when a TA applies for a job at a Web3 organization, the hiring manager is looking at the POAP and NFT collections instead of reviewing the resumes.

Since we started giving out POAPs, our community conference call participation has exploded. Fivefold from the original dozen people. Discord was beeping and beeping, so we tried using stages, but it wasn’t so open that people couldn’t talk to each other. We took it for granted that Stages would make conference calls as easy as everyday conversations, but unfortunately it wasn’t. With a “yes, it can be done better” mentality, we ended up finding a better solution.

The PT is open to proposals to improve community teleconferencing, and members will provide feedback from calls to other projects.

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

 Pictured above is one of Leighton’s weekly posts announcing the agenda for the next community call 

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

 A community member posted about participating in the Compound community call 

Overall, PoolTogether leadership has adopted some of the best practices of community organization:

  1. The work content is transparent, and key information is easy to obtain;
  2. Willing to learn from community members, work with them, and empower them;
  3. Have inspiring community leaders who are willing to engage directly with the community;
  4. A socially oriented mission, not an oppressive one.

All of the above combined have given the project a solid reputation and a very dedicated group of contributors. Founder Leighton Cusack, in particular, pushed organizational behavior in this direction:

I think there is a good argument around the idea that to achieve true decentralization, it will always require the original founders to give up a lot of power, usually financial, like Andre launching YFI or Satoshi, or Vitalik Give up more social power (within Ethereum). I do think a lot about how to creatively give up something, personal power or financial power, to build something decentralized. I own 4% of all $POOL tokens and I try to think how I can donate them to serve decentralization purposes in a really efficient way. I’d rather give up a lot of things so that I can see some things become more successful.

For founders, the takeaway is clear: those who want a welcoming and healthy community have a responsibility to practice that culture personally on their team and with other members. Leighton interacts with people who report bugs or ask questions, which is to show everyone in the community that support is available to everyone, there are no hierarchies.

However, this commitment to openness also creates other ambiguities and tensions, which are discussed in the following chapters. The lines between “core team” and “community” are blurred, sometimes creating a misunderstanding between the priorities of the core team and the aspirations of the community. Related to this, the lack of clear expectation-setting and role definitions raises questions about the labor of community members and their compensation. How does PT grow in size while maintaining all the good intentions it fosters?

Work for DAO

PoolTogether and the rise of Web3 jobs

A key topic of debate in PoolTogether (and the wider Web3 space) is the question of how to fairly reward community labor. The pressure to find an answer to this question is mounting; expectations are rapidly shifting as community members see their contributions as work.

While talk of naturally evolving, voluntary, and intrinsically motivated contributions still exists, contributing to DAOs is also increasingly seen as an easy and accessible way to gain initial work experience in DeFi. As evidence of these contributions, POAPs are now seen as equally, if not more, important than traditional resumes in the recruiting process.

The “go to DAO work” meme is further enhanced as more and more people without any cryptocurrency experience find stable jobs in DeFi purely by contributing to the community. PoolTogether’s community superusers exemplify this approach, some later hired elsewhere as full-time employees.

Blur the lines between the core team and active Discord contributors

Another indicator of the unique workforce situation within the PoolTogether community is that newcomers struggle to distinguish core team members from enthusiastic volunteer contributors — this is our ethnographic observation of the Discord server. Based on field investigation, first-hand observation and participation in writing). In an interview, co-founder Leighton Cusack also recalled that new community members told him that they wanted to talk to the “team” and not him. In this case, the blurred lines between employees and contributors illustrate the openness and seemingly flat hierarchy of the PoolTogether community, where the contributions of volunteer contributors are valued and watched as much as the contributions of employees.

The DAO and the Unpaid Intern Problem

But, as in other industries, the ambiguity of employment relationships and the normalization of unpaid work tend to become more problematic over time. Community members we interviewed described the issue of fair pay, not just for PoolTogether, but for the web3 organization as a whole:

DAOs have an “intern” problem. We think we’ve reinvented the business wheel, but we’ve just accepted “illegal” interns so that they can put those experiences on their resumes and then try to find them later. work… The DAO (hopefully) figured it out on its own and did it for free and very well within a month…

PoolTogether’s community members and core team have been working together to develop solutions to alleviate this “intern problem.” As of this writing, PoolTogether has four different labor compensation models in operation. In the following sections, we describe each of these compensation models in turn, noting some of the limitations and complexities of each model.

Model 1: Collab.Land and Coordinape: Bias, Game, and Capture in Tipping Practice

The PoolTogether community rewards members for their contributions by tipping them through two tools that are increasingly favored by Web3 organizations – Collab.Land and Coordinape. We’ve been using Collab.Land since May and Coordinape since August.

Tipping relies on Collab.Land’s Discord bot integration. Members are encouraged to tip each other for actions that are appreciated. For example, come up with a good idea or share a helpful article on a community call. Top contributors share tips with new contributors almost every day. The coordinape project works similarly to tipping. Every 2 weeks, PoolTogether will distribute $1,000 of POOL tokens into a fund controlled by participating community members, who then confirm each other’s due compensation.

The popular application of Collab.Land and Coordinape has spawned a [PoolTogether] Discord tipping culture named by the interviewee. This, in turn, is believed to help build an ideal culture: generating positive reinforcement over time, while also structuring community participation in a way that favors naturally evolving, active contributions. “That’s why we use Coordinape and Collab.Land… As a contributor, you can do whatever you want, you don’t have a set time to do things, and no one is forcing you to do things. “

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

However, there are currently three key inefficiencies preventing Collab.Land and Coidinape from advancing fair pay: visibility bias, tip gaming, and tip capture.

1) Visibility Bias: Conspicuous contributors tend to get higher tips

By visibility bias, we refer to the tendency for contributors to receive more tips when their contributions are more visible to the average Discord user. As one interviewee emphasized, “The most visible people… make the most money. Not the most active or helpful, but the most visible.” Another One interviewee recalled that he was “overpaid” after completing a high-profile contribution like putting PTIP together, and $POOL tips came flooding in. For example, a contributor who helps run a community conference call is more visible and more likely to be paid by tipping than a contributor who helps translate documentation for a sub-community of non-English users. In this way, visibility becomes an “imperfect synonym for valuable community contribution”.

2) Tipping Game: Anyone who spends enough time in Discord can learn how to easily get more tips

In the online community, when the behavior that the community really wants to encourage becomes those “imperfect pronouns”, and the reward activities are equated with it, members may be tempted to do those “rewardable and rewarding activities”. not valuable” contributions to the tipping game (Kraut et al., 2012, p. 53).

This is reflected in a potential tipping game for the PoolTogether community. In theory, the risk of tipping games should be relatively low, as there is no formal set of eligibility criteria for rewards – members simply tip on a case-by-case basis for what they consider good contributions. “Opacity and unpredictability” make the reward game more difficult, “especially when the reward has only modest value” (Kraut et al., 2012, p. 57).

But in reality, a newcomer can learn in a short period of time what types of behaviors are more likely to be tipped by observation. The longer one stays in the community, the more transparent and predictable the tipping model becomes, making it easier for others to take advantage of. This in turn allows members to decide how to contribute next based on the likelihood of being tipped rather than what is most valuable to the community. One interviewee reflected on these possibilities when explaining ways to work with the PoolTogether community:

A well-received community call where I spoke and people tipped me directly, more than I got through Coordinape…Coordinape first round, I only got $2-3 $POOL tokens.. …. and I get $2-3 $POOL tips on every call just because I’m speaking on the call, all I have to do is stay active on the community call.

3) Tip capture: Early contributors are “gulp-guiding” tips, while newer contributors may be paid less

In PoolTogether’s sub-communities, long-term superusers benefit the most from the inefficiency of tip distribution, which is a path-dependent tip capture. Members who rose to prominence for making high-profile contributions were still more likely to be tipped, even if their activity and contributions decreased. The result is a core group of tipping whales who themselves know they are being overpaid:

I ended up being the more visible person on Discord. There should be an opportunity for them to pull me out of that system. At one point, I received 40% of the GIVE… In the long run, you need to pull out the people who continue to “make money” because you need to give that money to new people. But the old members are swallowing the money.

By the same standard, newcomers who make valuable but unobtrusive contributions will have the hardest time getting adequate compensation from the community. As one interviewee put it plainly, “I think it’s still a little boys’ club. It’s harder for newcomers to get involved…even though they’re doing the work the community needs more now.”

Pattern 2: PoolGrants: Explaining the dangers of the “your terms” approach

PoolTogether’s service agreement is through the PoolGrants project. Make recommendations to the funding committee and, if approved, receive funding. Depending on the size of the budget, fees can be paid up front, or 50% upfront and 50% after completion. The grant proposal itself, agreed between the grantee and the committee, replaces the lightweight contract. After the project is over, the funding committee reports on its effectiveness.

Respondents positively described examples of funding provided by PoolTogether, including blockchain clubs in schools, those who funded protocol translations, and those who produced videos and dashboards. Among them, a contributor to the community created the PoolTogether pod for the r/EthFinance and Bankless DAO communities, which is considered a successful project through PoolGrants by community members.

Respondents agreed that “the easiest way for people to get paid right now is through grants,” and this applies to many other DAOs. But while funding projects often provide PoolTogethers and DAOs with well-established and practical reward models, they also have inherent limitations.

1) Only a limited number of projects are eligible for funding through grants

For specific, time-limited, and one-time projects, grants are an appropriate compensation model. Member contributions that do not meet these criteria, especially regular and ongoing contributions, are more like work than projects, yet they are still funded through funded projects, a phenomenon that is considered inconsistent. “I don’t know if I can really feel comfortable in an environment where I need to keep reapplying for jobs.” While it’s debatable whether community members should see funded projects as their “jobs” in the first place, it’s debatable about the small but ongoing efforts of the DAO. contributions are not eligible for compensation through grants, regardless of how the work is classified. This can become increasingly problematic as these are exactly the types of tasks required to maintain the protocol and its community.

2) Remuneration for funded projects depends on the ability of contributors to ask for remuneration

Another problem is that the task of defining appropriate compensation is left to the discretion of community members, who may lack the knowledge and resources to fairly price their labor. In a discussion on the topic on the server, one community member was disturbed by these methods, noting that “the compensation is tied to my requirements, because I know that compared to the outrageous numbers in the DeFi space, I can’t do it fairly for myself. Pricing… The DAO proposal/funding system, as it relies on the principle of stating your terms, has been abused.” This is for contributors who may try to apply for retroactive compensation in the form of PTIP through the governance forum, and A significant hurdle for contributors who are looking for new contributions. By contrast, contributors who are more comfortable and confident in asking for (larger amounts) of funding are more likely to be paid adequately and benefit from funded projects more broadly.

3) The requirements for a proactive, successful funding program are not well understood

A broader challenge facing the PoolGrants project is the difficulty of leveraging the initiative of community members and fostering positive contributions in a systematic manner. Respondents described successful funded projects as a black box—while the results are exciting, the process behind it all depends on the skill and initiative of the contributors:

More people should be motivated to get to work. Sometimes people take the initiative and the results are amazing.

He came up with the idea basically all on his own, which is amazing. It would be great if we could find a way to encourage contributions like the aforementioned.

It is clear what types of active contributions are desirable. But PoolGrants has had trouble encouraging more of these projects. This can be seen in the “Micro Grants” program, which is designed to bridge the gap between funded projects and the relatively small, atypical contributions of community members. The purpose of microgrants is to encourage short-term, small-contribution projects with a budget of less than $1,000. For example, promoting PoolTogether on social media channels. But as respondents noted, microgrants have not taken off within the community, nor have they “generated creative ideas” among community members, as the sponsors had hoped.

Unsolicited, effective funding is not some kind of miracle. Just like in other organizational settings, there are always identifiable enablers that make a project successful or not. One might ask whether there is a causal relationship between the lack of proactive funding proposals and the uncertainty community members face about project scope, valuation, and “job” security.

Mode 3 Operations Team: PoolTogether Skilled Labour Shortage?

The PoolTogether prize pool requires ongoing lightweight maintenance of certain smart contracts, e.g. the Chainlink Keeper contract, into which $LINK must be deposited to maintain regularly awarded prizes. The PoolTogether corporate team created two operations teams [10] for Ethereum and Polygon to perform these basic tasks prior to automation. In theory, managing such an operations team shouldn’t cause too many problems. However, PoolTogether faced a unique challenge.

1) PoolTogether (yet) attracts seasoned developers to its community

PoolTogether is a protocol that targets “crypto beginners” and is positioned as an on-ramp to DeFi, but it also maintains a complex infrastructure that will benefit from technically knowledgeable and skilled community members Support and contribute. This contradiction was highlighted in a comment from a core team member:

The purpose of these two operations teams is to transfer control of the protocol to these users, who I assume are superusers. But we also brought a lot of new people – beginners to cryptocurrencies, because we intend to expose them to DeFi in the easiest and safest way possible. I feel like there is a lack of skill sets in the community. I want users in our community to become developers and become more professional.

2) The knowledge asymmetry between the core team and technical contributors is difficult to bridge

This in turn leads to a knowledge asymmetry between PoolTogether’s core and operations teams, which can create barriers to effective teamwork:

A lot of people don’t know how it works… It takes a lot of work to explain all these realities to these people. You have to deal with TAs to drive this human capital operation.

3) Unclear expectations around decision-making power frustrate technical contributors

Another challenge for the PoolTogether operations team stems from confusion about the expectations of the governance roles that operations team members hold within their area of ​​work. For example, a core team member decided to change the multisig quorum managed by the Ethereum operations team from 4/6 to 2/6, and the operations team members expressed confusion as to why this was allowed to happen without their knowledge. On the one hand, from an efficiency standpoint, increasing the automation of operations team activity management is certainly desirable. On the other hand, operations team members may also want to have some level of agency and accountability in decision-making in the operational area, which in turn may inspire more commitment, engagement, and better performance in their roles.

 Model 4: HR SubDAO: PoolGrants Human Resources, Application of Lessons Learned 

In order to solve these problems, PoolTogether company and core community members discussed the possibility of “Human Resources SubDAO”. Separated from PoolGrants, this DAO “will focus on paying salaries to participating members,” for example, grant reviewers, community managers, and multisig executors.

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

Challenges that the HR subDAO may be trying to address include: how to organize part-time and full-time jobs at PoolTogether to provide true job security and financial stability. As one interviewee put it:

Coordinape is an amazing long-term solution, but I can’t show this to my landlords as “Proof of Income”… If the DAO is a new company, they should be able to hire people appropriately.

One early idea was an “executive committee” made up of PoolTogether employees and the community. Committees can post vacancies on governance forums and recruit applicants through a formal recruitment process. As such, this new “HR subdao” will provide a clear path for casual contributors to become part-time or full-time employees of the PoolTogether company or the protocol itself. The first step towards this goal consists of a diagram of the “Key Protocol Contributors” and their core skill sets produced by the core team.

It remains to be seen whether PoolTogether will attempt to implement the HR subDAO. Here are some key challenges TAs may face if the community moves forward with this proposal:

1) Different views on compensation may make it difficult for members to agree on the design of the HR subDAO

The key challenge for the HR subDAO will be to find its place in the PoolTogether community (and in DeFi in general) with differing opinions on what types of contributions should be paid for, and how.

To this end, it is helpful to review the motivation behind the creation of the HR subDAO, the conflict within the PoolGrants team around labor and compensation. The disagreement over how many hours community members are billed for administrative tasks has sparked broader discussions around labor and fair pay. One interviewee summed up the different points of view in this debate as follows:

I think everyone has very different views. Everyone agrees that contributions need to be rewarded, there are plenty of opportunities out there, some people really need money, and without incentives, TAs can easily go elsewhere to contribute. The data point of view, which I partly agree with, shows that there can be no reward without contribution. What I like to see is that people don’t need permission to do something, and then if the community likes what TA does, then TA is treated with kindness. If you contribute, you will be rewarded. There is no need to beg for wages.

As with PoolGrants, proactive contributions seem to be more valued, while formal work agreements are considered more troublesome:

If someone starts showing up on the payroll, the risk is that they will start slacking off.

A further divergence of opinion arising from the compensation debate concerns how to value technical (or “hard” labor) versus social, interpersonal, emotional (or “soft” labor). Both types of labor have their place and are indeed necessary. But if a “soft” contribution is understood as a contribution to maintaining and improving the protocol that is less important, then its value is reduced.

Should community managers be paid? Of course. Should TAs be paid more than developers? No, TAs shouldn’t get paid that much. TAs are valuable, but without the protocol itself, there would be no community.

2) High transparency, coupled with a lack of human resource structure, undermines employees’ job security and trust in the workplace

The design principles of transparency and “open work” are popular in DAOs. However, the previously mentioned confusing solution to the PoolGrants compensation problem highlights an important shortcoming of this approach that HR subDAO might also try to address. When accepting job postings, DAO contributors must also accept the fact that their activities and performance may be subject to scrutiny by community members. TAs may even be fired for having a public deliberation process. Additionally, as is the case in PoolGrants, the lack of formal mediation and conflict resolution processes, such as those developed for traditional HR environments, can leave employees feeling vulnerable, attacked, and overexposed. Without such an HR structure to guide, DAOs may have some conflicts caused by emotional and personality conflicts:

When you go into a small group of very committed and contributing people, in a strictly virtual space…everyone is in this transparent, clear mindset…but personality clashes are a potential factor, and this issue has not received the discussion it deserves.

There needs to be a way to decentralize conflict resolution…there needs to be a route, and we’re addressing it as the DeFi and DAO space.

This high level of transparency and lack of human resource protection not only makes DAO employment prospects less attractive compared to traditional organizational jobs, it can also undermine the job security of contributors, which in turn affects their engagement, performance, creativity power and risk-taking—all of which are critical to fostering innovation within an organization.

3) HR subDAO is a time-sensitive project as more and more DAOs are competing for human capital

To improve the current process, it is critical to design a HR subDAO that is flexible enough to discover and mobilize the energy and initiative of contributors, whether they are new or old members of the PoolTogether community.

Several respondents expressed regret that PoolTogether was unable to hire one of its most talented and active community contributors:

A week or two ago, he started working on “Another Protocol”. PoolTogether missed opportunity, PoolTogether should hire his…because he has more involvement at PoolTogether. But another deal went to him and made an awesome offer he couldn’t refuse.

As DAO contributors specialize, develop valuable technical and non-technical skills, and expand their work experience, the protocol may find them competing for talent, especially the cost of switching projects in the crypto world in very low circumstances. These contributors, in turn, may expect more reliable forms of remuneration, broader benefits and perks, and flexibility in job and creator economic levels. On top of that, a protocol like PoolTogether may need to be more accommodating to take more money from its treasury to put into the compensation of its contributors. As one interviewee put it:

A bunch of protocol projects are sitting on treasury-specific funds that DAOs should use. But is there a case where a DAO would say we should give the team more money? I don’t think there is such a case.

The community contains many people: How should PoolTogether make the community’s diverse supporters coexist?

While most cryptocurrency protocols understand the need for a broad spectrum of holders and participants, it can be misleading to refer to them collectively as a “community.” Even within the PoolTogether company, there are different views on the role of the PoolTogether community. Some see the community as a self-organizing marketing tool: making memes, showing passion, recruiting new users and token holders. From this perspective, one contributor thinks the community is great, but TAs are just talkative critics and meme creators. The PoolTogether company is the project’s mature skilled personnel, while the community members are “idle people” who lack relevant professional skills and/or technical capabilities. These team members expressed high standards for “meaningful” contributions.

For now, it’s much better for DAOs to have full-time staff — especially from a business perspective. If you’re looking for someone to partner with, you can’t hire a freelancer, you have to know the stack in depth to collaborate with people. (core team member)

Others on the core team believe that the current community already has intrinsic value. TAs see the importance of the community in ensuring better terms for raising funds as a positive outcome. Other community-driven initiatives, such as the introduction of Coordinape, are a positive example of the decentralization of team power.

This discrepancy in perspective reflects different priorities within the PoolTogether company, but also a lack of internal consistency in what constitutes a valuable contribution. In our view, this uncertainty is one of the reasons for compensation issues and misunderstandings between the core team and PoolTogether contributors. On the one hand, PoolTogether promotes its openness to the outside world and actively encourages all kinds of new contributions. On the other hand, the dominant mindset for teams to evaluate and recruit the workforce is based on technical contributions and business goals. This is why a well-known community manager working almost full-time for free is at risk of being poached by another protocol.

Other than that, PoolTogether does not define quality criteria or success metrics for contribution types. In the absence of these criteria, community members sometimes choose to participate in tasks that they are not eligible for, occasionally proposing partnerships or ill-timed token economic redesigns that fail to advance the protocol.

To address these challenges, we first suggest that PoolTogether needs to develop three distinct community groups: believers, governance, and developers. To get the most out of TAs, each contributor type requires a different labor model.

 Believers – Generate well-meaning contributors and maintain an enthusiastic, positive environment. This group of contributors is most similar to fans or an online brand community. 

But how should their activities be rewarded? Fan activity is notoriously difficult to evaluate and reward because it is largely the combined behavior of semi-active “long tail” participants in the social media space. These contributions are often closely related to branding, marketing and other organizational cultural initiatives in traditional contexts (such as raising awareness of projects through partnerships, publicity stunts and social media, referrals and dissemination, production of educational content in different media formats, memes, etc. ). While these contributions are often short-lived, the value they generate is indisputable. From an infrastructure perspective, this work is key as it fosters internal cohesion and long-term commitment among members.

Contribution Reward Model: The generous tipping culture that already exists in PoolTogether provides a solid foundation for this community of fans to reward each other in a peer-to-peer fashion. In order to develop this peer-to-peer faith economy, highly active participants can receive regular and modest token funding, and it is hoped that TAs will use the tokens as an incentive to spread to other believers. However, it should be noted that some challenges remain. If PoolTogether grows significantly, maintaining its open and positive culture can be difficult.

 Governers – Token holders and users with an entrepreneurial mindset and sufficient technical knowledge to see strategic opportunities for treasury deployment or token improvement.

As many projects have found, governance actors require high background, token acumen and technical ability in order to make highly leveraged governance proposals. Governance proposals made by small-scale token holders are often unhelpful, poorly defined, or lack credibility. In PoolTogether, most proposals reach the most advanced formal stage and are approved in a vote. However, this does not mean that TAs made meaningful contributions to the growth of PT. In some cases, the core team seems to tolerate some proposals rather than enthusiastically support them. A typical case is PTIP-8 [11], which proposes to build an NFT prize pool that requires a lot of technical construction. Although the proposal passed, the initiative failed to gain the support needed to move the project forward due to a lack of social support from the core team.

In the context of traditional corporate governance, the role of governance would be assumed by executives, investors or board members. But in the cryptocurrency space, there is an inherent tension between the need for a core team to hire competent people, and the need to maintain decentralized governance for securities compliance. Recent proposals for governance mining [12] have repeatedly emphasized the need for such participation, but have not addressed the underlying problem of attracting qualified participants.

Contribution reward model: PoolTogther should create dedicated projects to attract capable governance. The above projects should be positioned differently than funding projects and should offer significantly higher token funding and stablecoin remuneration. Whether as a legally registered new entity or as an informal committee, it is imperative to acquire, train and retain the best people capable of operating the program. (Venture capital may be a talent pool to draw from here.) The project itself must have clear KPIs and protocol growth goals, and ideally, participant rewards depend on reaching those goals.

 Developers – members of the technical community who integrate the PT protocol into their own applications and services, build new front ends, and create pools for their own communities.

So far, the PoolTogether company and community members have used token economics to increase the adoption of the protocol. However, token incentives for sponsors and depositors alone are not enough to allow the protocol to grow as quickly as PoolTogether hopes. $POOL is not used to develop a community of contributors and developers, but is distributed to sponsors who actively earn token benefits and then leave. In search of a solution, PoolTogether recently proposed a move to Olympus-style bundling rewards. However, we see potential for another growth strategy that focuses on rewarding application developers who use the creation of dedicated pools for their own communities.

Contribution reward model: Of the three community groups, application developers are best suited to take the form of automatic rewards. Applications and integrations that drive new transaction volume may be rewarded, and a proportional amount of $POOL will be automatically sent to a designated proxy address. Rather than paying for liquidity directly, “developer mining” puts the onus on driving new liquidity to those who can create a value proposition for their own network. Such a major upgrade to PoolTogether’s incentive structure requires thoughtful token design. In addition, investments in product marketing, improved documentation, and developer outreach and outreach are needed to support this initiative. Despite these requirements, we believe this is one of the highest potential impact areas for PoolTogether’s expansion.

Currently, PoolTogether should not be focusing on cultivating a group of open source contributors. Documentation contributors may be helpful to the community, but it’s hard to go beyond the motivation and background provided by the core team when it comes to contributing to the protocol itself. This may change as the integrator community grows.

Even if PoolTogether starts experimenting with more structured employment contracts, the broader “community” of contributors cannot and should not be ignored. Cryptocurrency is both a social phenomenon and a financial phenomenon, and the vitality of the “community” is at the heart of the success of any protocol. Some community members may prefer a more traditional compensation model, but there will always be people who want to show up and participate in the community in a more informal way. There are also a large number of participants who are intrinsically motivated by the mission of the communities they serve. Protocols like PoolTogether should make room for this type of contribution, even as they start to develop clearer paths to employment.

Community Graphics

There is no perfect historical analogy or precedent for the kind of organization PoolTogether is trying to form. At this nascent stage, it is important to embrace the multiple metaphors that community members use to understand the activities they are involved in. Each metaphor has its own affordances, its impact on governance, its role in the world, and its way into the world.

On the surface, the PoolTogether community looks like a list of channels and discussion groups on Discord. But in the visual imagination of the members, the “form” of the PT network took on new and unexpected forms. These metaphorical shapes—often invisible—can be used to design novel organizational structures that feel unique and in the spirit of PoolTogether. Not all org charts have to look like “trees,” and not all hiring processes have to look like “pipes.” In our research, we asked PT contributors to visualize their mental maps of the community. What if it were in physical form? Here are some metaphors we received:

  • A city-state centered on a cathedral (the Protocol);
  • International Space Station, whose modules interface with a central hub (Discord and Governance Forum);
  • a series of concentric circles, each slightly larger than the last;
  • A continent with many connected but unrelated tribal groups;
  • An octopus, the head is the PoolTogether company, and the arms are the various sub-teams;
  • A flywheel that rolls down the hill, collecting new community members as it rolls.

Take PoolTogether as an example to explore new ways of organizing creative production in the field of Web3

Each of these metaphors implies a different organizational structure. Are we looking for something modeled on a company model with employees, managers and HR? Or a civic organization with voluntary contributors involved in public service activities? Or a religious organization with worshippers and evangelists who offer tithing to grow the community? (Translator’s Note: Tithing is often used to refer to religious offerings in Judaism and Christianity. According to the Book of Genesis, Abraham dedicated one-tenth of his income to Melchizedek in the city of Salem. Considered the origin of tithing.)

Create a symbiotic work environment

What happens when the old way of organizing labor is put on hold and replaced by something new? PoolTogether and others are looking for “babies” to be thrown away with the bathwater. TAs are learning from the old organizational structures that were originally designed. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what a particular system does until it’s removed. In its absence, one can instead better understand its purpose. To fill the void, people reinvented the wheel — and that’s not always a bad thing. People will learn how (and why) it was designed in the first place, and then make improvements. You can translate old designs into the language currently surrounding your new technology.

Along the way, PoolTogether has managed to cultivate a very active and active community. Their questions are all good ones: how to reward high-quality contributions, how to incentivize more integration, how to maintain a healthy community vibe with rapid growth, how to look at the many different supporters that exist in the community. The solutions to these challenges outlined in this report will draw on and incorporate the experience of predecessors, while recognizing the unique organizational qualities that PoolTogether is working to create. Contributors do not fall into exactly the categories recognized by the current legal system. After speaking with community members of many different backgrounds, it became clear that setting direct expectations around compensation is just as important for protocols as it is for traditional cooperatives, nonprofits, and corporations. As PoolTogether continues to pioneer new ways of organizing creative production, it is critical to ensure that work arrangements are symbiotic for all parties involved.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/take-pooltogether-as-an-example-to-explore-new-ways-of-organizing-creative-production-in-the-field-of-web3/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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