Chat with Dillon from Commonwealth/Edgeware

Yesterday I had an enjoyable chat with Dillon Chen from Commonwealth Labs / Edgeware. Commonwealth has been experimenting with building new web3 governance systems, you can see their live testnet here.

Dillon said they built the frontend around a centralized backend to start with (for iteration velocity) while keeping space to swap in truly decentralized back-ends later. This struck me as a prudent strategy, kind of similar to how SourceCred has maintained a lot of flexibility to quickly try new ideas, because we haven’t decentralized the system upfront.

We spent a lot of the chat discussing the potential for partnership between CommonWealth Labs and SourceCred. The skills they’ve demonstrated in developing decentralize-able frontends could be really useful for us. Particularly for stuff like initiatives and artifacts, having a dedicated UI instead of Discourse wiki posts could be a huge boon. Also, we’ll need a dedicated UI for boosting.

I shared how SourceCred is orienting on doing a really good job of giving cred (and thus Grain, and $) to people that build valuable infrastructure for SourceCred, and dedicated frontends to enable initiatives, artifacts, and boosting would be very valuable. So if Commonwealth Labs wanted to champion they could expect to get a lot of cred and grain. I also touched on how I want SourceCred to recognize organizations and communities that contribute, and not just the individual participants. (E.g. if Commonwealth takes this on, the org gets cred as well as the individuals doing implementation.)

We concluded the 30 min chat by agreeing we should chat more about it, and bring in more participants from the Commonwealth and SourceCred communities. I propose that we have a voice chat on the SourceCred Discord server. @s_ben and @beanow, would be great to have both of you on the SourceCred end.

I’ll email the link to this thread to Dillon so the Commonwealth folks can chime in and we can find a time.

Also, thanks @balasan for introducing us.


Edgeware looks impressive. Also like the blockchain UI expertise, which I think is key if governance is going to be truly decentralized. Down to chat.

Hey this sounds really cool! I’ve been busy doing Aragon stuff all day every day for the last month or so, but I’d love to explore and collaborate with some of the other DAO projects out there too. Would need to create a new Discord, but yeah I’m down to chat :slight_smile:

Hey all, this has been a long time coming (very long indeed)! Finally got the chance over the past few days to dig into all the posts on Discourse and Github. Hopefully will be able to attend more community calls to discuss this working proposal in more depth. I wanted to outline a project for Commonwealth and Sourcecred based on the documentation and the calls that we’ve already had.

What is Commonwealth?

Some of you all have already poked around, but in short, we’re building the best way to organize crypto communities. An admin can create their own community. Each community comes with a few key features:

  • Rich interactions within communities (discussions threads, wiki posts, link sharing, creating polls and surveys, ranking posts, and more)
  • We are building features for “authenticated forums”, creating safe spaces for a subset of community members to discuss privately using an on-chain source of truth—i.e a blockchain or cred instance.
  • Unified profile across communities and feed for activity tracking
  • Link on-chain addresses and sign transactions
  • Purpose built UI for voting in and participating in every protocol governance process (I.e raising inflation or changing cred parameters)

So far, we’re working with NEAR, Edgeware, Polkadot, and few other projects to build and add specific features that are needed in their communities. As @decentralion has mentioned, we’ve chosen to work on this in a closed-source manner. We did this so we could iterate quickly. Over the course of 2020, we’ll be working to open-source everything, and get the codebase to a point where any group could contribute to the project.

Sourcecred ←→ Commonwealth Integration

As we’ve talked about on the community call, a good first step would be to have a SourceCred / Commonwealth Integration, before moving on to more fun research-type things. An integration would include. This would include a few weeks of architecting and dev work:

  • Integrated UI for Sourcecred Boosting: Users would be able to view and boost any type post natively within the UI based on existing grain distribution.
  • Integrating SourceCred into other communities: We can point to the running SourceCred instance and populate the cred of each interaction. This would look like something like the existing Discourse Plugin. From our side, we would expose the Commonwealth API, so anyone can do the current cred calculation. Once this is done, SourceCred could be toggled on in one-click from any new or existing Commonwealth community, enabled by retroactive initialization!
  • A SourceCred community forum + authenticated forums: We’ll create a SourceCred community on Commonwealth so that there is another place to share ideas. In addition to that, the SourceCred community should feel free to use the “authenticated” forum feature to create sub communities / working groups. One example could be an authenticated forum that is only viewable to users who have cred scores above or below than a certain threshold.
  • Bonus: Discourse to Commonwealth Import tool. With this, the SourceCred community could take advantage of native boosting / viewing boosted proposals on posts that have already been created.

When all the dev work is done, we can start to seed some other communities on Commonwealth with different cred instances and also have something where we can open source to the public! We have a few ideas for “general topic” communities within crypto (ZKP + DeFi + Validators). Communities like these exist without a native token, but still feel like places where granular tracking of contributions could be very useful. Beyond those crypto-native communities, we think there are other places where this could be layered on—Future of the Web, a bio journal club and more). We can flow both grain and budgets to them.

Future Work

Here, I’ll lay out some more speculative (and fun) ideas for more SourceCred and Commonwealth fun! Some of these have already been discussed within the community as initiatives. I think the Commonwealth team would be able to pick up some of the work.

  • Implementing the Keybase / Discord / Telegram / Twitter bots previously discussed in the forum. Looping in Abridged / Metacartel here would be useful…
  • Running some on Edgeware DAOs: We could seed some grant giving organizations to community participants and weigh voting power based on cred. This would potentially be a welcome point of decentralization on Edgeware and could also just be very cool, and might be related to work on CreDAO
  • Building other sources of truth for cred allocation / APIs. I know the idea of integrating into reddit / other chat apps has already been discussed. It would potentially be interesting to allocate cred based on an open graph, using the bots built above! twitter community or arxiv or Wikipedia posts.

Wrapping Up

I’m curious to hear if this is in line with what the SourceCred community is thinking and how we should move this forward—should we create an initiative and more are there other contributors who might be interested in taking on some of the work? I’ll make sure to hop on the next community call to talk about this.


Cool! Where can I learn more about how it works and/or launch my own community?


So you’re saying that any of the CommonWealth communities would be able to click a button to activate SourceCred, then they’d be able to play SourceCred in their community (UI/UX best practices required) and get a cool visualization of it like the Edgeware Lockdrop Stats, but with a timeline graph and stuff for their SourceCred data?

So if I understand correctly, you’re more or less saying that instead of using Discourse, SourceCred could use CommonWealth as the main forum for SourceCred and you guys would build all the SourceCred game mechanics (which are still a moving target) into the UI/UX of the CommonWealth experience?

If so, that’s really cool, but also introduces platoform risk - esp if you’re not open source. Why not open source? Such strange. Very odd.

I’d really like to learn more about how you guys think about, build, and use DAOs. What’s the best way to do that?

Also, reading through your Day One post, it seems like you learned from current crypto governance platforms. It’s hard to get people to engage in governance, esp if they’re trying to adapt around web2 platforms (Etheruem <> Reddit/Twitter, Aragon <> Discourse/GitHub, etc…). Having everything integrated into a seamless UI/UX is key :slight_smile:

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If you wanted to auth into right now with your Github handle, we could give you a private community to play around with! This also goes for anyone in the SourceCred community. We hopefully can spin up a public SourceCred community relatively soon.

Yes exactly! ETA hopefully by the end of February or mid March.

Appreciate the feedback. We had started building the tool for one community (Edgeware later in 2019) and open-sourcing was an afterthought. After a bit of code cleanup we will 100% open-source! This should happen in line with fully integrating SourceCred into Commonwealth :slight_smile:

Yea, it’s a huge challenge! Any feedback that anyone in the community in much appreciated. We’ll try to use this thread to keep the community updated on integration process

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Hi @dillchen – thanks for the detailed writeup! It’s super helpful for orienting.

In a long-term sense, I think our projects are complimentary and aligned. Commonwealth builds infrastructure for crypto communities to communicate, coordinate, and handle governance. SourceCred scores are derived in no small part from communications, and are an input to processes like governance, so there’s a natural complimentarity. In the long term, I’d love to see SourceCred (and many other crypto projects) using Commonwealth as its own communications platform, and I’d love to see Commonwealth having cred scores deeply integrated throughout.

At the same time, we’re both young projects that need to optimize for our own velocity, and process of finding product-market fit. Collaborations can add value but also overhead and risk taking a lot of energy without delivering the short-term progress needed for success. So we should be clear-eyed around potential collaborations, and weigh the possible awesomeness against the definite costs.

Looking at the short term collaborations, here are my thoughts:

  1. Building a dedicated UI for SourceCred boosting

We definitely need a dedicated UI for boosting. However, to meet our needs, it needs to be standalone from Commonwealth (or Discourse, or GitHub). We need it to be able to reach all the partner projects that start using SourceCred, and it’s unrealistic to expect that they’ll all also adopt Commonwealth. Because it would be independent from Commonwealth, I worry it would be too disconnected from your core offering to justify a lot of investment on your end–please let me know if I’m wrong in this assessment.

  1. Integrating SourceCred into Commonwealth

This could be pretty promising. SourceCred works quite well on the forum data model, and adapting it to intake data from Commonwealth rather than Discourse should be straightforward. (For it to work best, you’d need reactions like :heart:s --not sure if this is a feature yet.) With the scores, you could then integrate cred into the UI in cool ways like showing the total cred for a topic in the UI, sorting topics by recent cred, etc.

  1. Migrating SourceCred off Discourse and to Commonwealth

This one feels like a non-starter, for the time being. Our Discourse community has momentum, and my experience says that switching communications platforms is extremely costly. Discourse does a fantastic job with the “bread and butter” of having a forum, whereas Commonwealth’s differentiation of being able to integrate with a blockchain isn’t needed for us, since we don’t have anything on-chain. The proposal of having a “side-forum” on Commonwealth doesn’t feel realistic; without the network effects of being the central spot for discussion, I think it would become a ghost town.

Let me know what you think–also, now that we’ve oriented over the forum, it might be good to switch to a dedicated voice/video call–a lot higher bandwidth.

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