Changing our Grain distribution policy

We recently issued a holiday grain bonus and then swapped our Grain distribution policy to be 100% through the “BALANCED” policy. This had an unintended effect on the new distributions. The balanced policy tries to ensure that everyone is paid the same amount of Grain per Cred regardless of when they earned their Cred. Thus, since we just made a big distribution to recent participants via the bonus, the balanced policy saw that everyone who didn’t get much Grain in the bonus is now “underpaid”, and shifted most of the resources towards paying them:

Of this distribution, at least 2/3rds is flowing to people who are not very active in recent months.

As discussed in Adding a Grain "Salary Cap", right now our Grain distributions serve a “salary-like” role, rewarding people for their ongoing contributions. We have scarce capital, and it makes most sense to invest that in supporting our current contributors. Thus, I propose switching over to fully using the “RECENT” policy for the time being. Using a decay factor of 0.16, here are the results:

Why 0.16?

With a decay of 0.16, we distribute 50% of the reward based on the last month, 25% based on the month after that, 12.5% on the month after that, and so forth. It’s nice to reason about.

My proposal as TBD is the following:

  1. For now, we switch to the RECENT rather than BALANCED policy, at a rate of 15,000 Grain per week
  2. When the new “more balanced” allocation policy is ready, we turn that one on, distributing at a rate of 10,000 Grain per week.

The result is that we’ll still be distributing 25,000 Grain per week, but it will focus on rewarding active contributors more, and the “balanced” catchups will be less extreme.

As TBD, this is my decision, but I welcome comments before committing. For now, this weeks Grain distribution is paused pending discussion. I intend to canonicalize whatever policy we choose by Friday, so that we won’t skip the week’s Grain distribution (it’ll just be a bit delayed).

Thanks to our treasurer @panchomiguel for surfacing this, to @eeli for implementing the RECENT policy, and to @META_DREAMER for implementing the ledger distribution viewer.


P.S. One thing to note about this: back in Holiday Grain Bonus I said that we wouldn’t have any incentive to make ongoing contributions during the month of December. With this proposal, there would continue to be incentives to contribute throughout the holidays. I think this is still OK. With the bonus and the meeting hiatus, I hope folks won’t feel socially or economically compelled to contribute if they’d rather be taking a break.

A decay factor of 0.84 is a pretty high decay. This is almost like using the immediate policy. Do you mean a decay factor of 0.16?

Also, since we don’t have the “more balanced” policy at the moment does this just mean we will be distributing less total grain in the meantime?

I think it is good to at least allocate SOME grain to the balanced policy, since this will still cover the people who are most extremely underpaid. This is the policy decision we have made at 1hive where we distribute I think at an 8/25 split favoring the recent policy over balanced.

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I do! Good catch, thanks, I forgot that we invert the factor in the API. I’ve updated my original post with the correct parameter choice; for posterity, here’s the distribution with decay=0.84 which was originally in the post.

Yeah, distributing less Grain in the month of December was already the proposal (somewhat reduced Grain in December to compensate for the big boost to Grain distributions in the bonus).

Yeah, I agree. But I’d like to do this with the new “more balanced” policy rather than the legacy balanced policy. It’s smoother and (imo) easier to reason about.

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I guess if we get the more balanced policy out quickly I have no concerns with this.

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I’m in favor of switching to the RECENT policy until we have the “more balanced” one ready. That said, as the person who apparently stands to earn most for this (newly-factored) distribution, I’m curious what the associated Cred scores are. I know we can’t currently (easily) see those at all, but it makes me wonder: have I been delivering the most valued contributions in the past 5-6 weeks? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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As the person whose grain distributions would be most reduced by this, I think that this is a good idea, and support it.


  • The OP says that we’ll still be distributing 25,000 grain per week. Should I read this as “…once the new ‘more balanced’ policy is turned on”? Or am I misunderstanding?
  • Since I originally proposed and toyed with the “more balanced” policy, I haven’t worked on it, and don’t plan to productionize it. It looks from the linked thread like there is renewed interest. Now that this post proposes actually using it, does the “more balanced” policy have a clear owner and path forward?

Serializing some thoughts from an off-thread conversation with @decentralion about the way in which this was proposed: even though this makes a change to a distribution strategy that we (as an org) had previously agreed on, I think that the proposal is completely above board and the process is working as designed.

What we agreed on was an intent, to enable people to take December off without feeling undue financial pressure. We had also planned an implementation of this. It turned out that the implementation wasn’t quite up to spec: more-than-doubling my weekly grain distribution was clearly not part of the intent. While making the grain distribution, we noticed the discrepancy, delayed distribution, and agreed on a plan to proceed.

Every step here is, I think, working as intended. Part of the value of manually checking our grain distributions is that we may make adjustments like this.

And I think that it’s great that @panchomiguel noticed this and felt empowered to raise a concern about it, as he continues to take on the role of treasurer. If @decentralion had instead raised this concern by themself, I would still think it perfectly acceptable and not an abuse of TBD power.


Besides doing the Grain distribution this new way today (and moving forward for December) for last Sunday’s distribution date, is it possible to see what it would look like for this upcoming Sunday’s distribution as well, @decentralion?

Thanks for the thoughts and discussion everyone! I think there’s broad consensus in favor of this idea, and it’s Friday, so I’m going to go ahead and make this change official.

We don’t have any support for previewing future distributions as yet.