So, awkward truth up front: I’m being rewarded extremely well by SourceCred. Over the past few months, I’ve been receiving about 30,000g per month, which is a large fraction of SC’s total Grain issuance, and more than I need.
I see Grain distributions as serving a role similar to salaries: they allow contributors to pay for their living expenses and thus frees them to work on SourceCred. As such, giving top contributors giant Grain distributions doesn’t really make sense; at a certain point, I have plenty of Grain to cover my needs. As such, I think we should add a principled way to reduce the Grain payouts to top contributors.
(If, in the future, we have meaningful wealth accumulation at SourceCred, and we want to distribute that wealth back to contributors, it would sense to do so in a way that’s directly proportional to Cred scores. But I don’t see that as the role Grain distributions are playing for us, right now. We’d also want any future mechanism playing this role to be more tax-efficient than Grain distributions.)
At first, I thought about re-scaling the Grain distributions via a clean mathematical function; for example, we could pay based on the square root of Cred, rather than on raw Cred. In simulations, this did not have the desired effect. It reduced my Grain earnings, but that Grain shifted almost entirely towards people who had barely ever participated in SourceCred (e.g. 1 Discord message with an emoji reaction) rather than to other core members of the community. It would also have made the Grain distributions extremely vulnerable to Sybil attacks.
Instead, I propose a simple fix: we can cap the rate at which people can earn Grain. For example, we could limit Grain payouts to at most 2,500g/week, or 130,000g/year. This would be approximately in line with salaries in the tech industry, with which SC needs to compete for talent. When a contributor hits the cap, they would become “underpaid” (relative to Cred) in the eyes of the algorithm, which means that they would continue to get paid into the future, meaning they could (e.g.) take a sabbatical but still have income from SourceCred.
We’d want this cap to apply only for individuals, but not for organizations. (If organizations get capped at receiving 1 person’s upkeep worth of Grain payments, it would significantly hamper our business model, since SC itself gets paid via Grain distributions.)
I think the rate limit approach could serve our needs relatively well, although the need to hard-code the maximum distribution rate is a little awkward. All thoughts on this proposal are welcome. Also, until we decide what approach to take, I’m voluntarily deactivating my Grain account.