SourceCred Priorities 2021: What do you think?

I’m thinking a lot about where we’re at right now, and what the next year could look like for SourceCred, and I’m genuinely curious what other engaged participants think. I’m tossing in some questions below to help stimulate discussion around where we see ourselves going next year and what our priorities look like as we move forward.

Answer the questions directly, modify them, ignore them and just share your thoughts, and/or address adjacent topics. This is an open invitation to start scratching the surface of what SC’s 2020 was like and what our 2021 could be, without any need to come to conclusions yet.

In your opinion:

  1. What were SourceCred’s top three achievements in 2020?

  2. What were our three biggest struggles in 2020?

  3. What are the top three biggest priorities for SourceCred in 2021?

  4. What do we need most as a group moving into 2021?

  5. What did we handle really well this year?

  6. What did we handle poorly, or need new strategies around this year?

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I’ll give a condensed version having only been a contributor since late October.

(3) I am quite inspired by the “Pillar Memes” of MetaGame. These memes are the self-organizing force that synchronizes their community. If we think of them as a flock of birds, each of those birds is in sync because of those common memes. I would love to see a clear articulation of the memes that have brought us here. I’m not suggesting that we extend ourselves to reach for some vision that we don’t yet have, but to simply identify and articulate the core of what makes this community what it is—that which already unites and inspires us.

I see contribution tags as a majorly valuable feature on SourceCred. This would allow in a whole mindboggling host of ways to describe/measure value from contributions. I want to restrain myself from giving examples because the space of possibility is so large, but here’s one anyway. With tag based contributions, we could naturally form a more fractal organization where different types of contributions (care, dev, design, …) can be identified more clearly and easily. With that, we might decide that we need more design work over the next few months, and decide to weigh design contributions higher. We can also link contributions that happen on different plugins under the same umbrella/tag/description.

(4) I feel like it would be wise to anticipate some growing pains and loosely prepare / visualize how we might adapt to such changes.

(5) Y’all do an amazing job of making people feel welcome. I felt very encouraged and empowered by everyone, and I think this spirit is incredible.

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So just throwing out some unrefined preliminary thoughts of mine after this month off spent mentally and emotionally digesting the work we’ve done this year. I’ll have more to say and a need to refine my thoughts, but I want to get them recorded and out there regardless.

1. Some of our bigger achievements this year feels like:

a. Community Expansion from a group of like, 5 people to a community of over 30 or more.

b. The cultivation of our community culture as one of the more inviting, wholehearted, and humane spaces within the tech/crypto/OS space.

c. While unpolished, opening the path for contributors to start evaluating their own values/goals when it comes to the work they do in the world.

d. Turning the algorithm on for multiple useful platforms.

e. Attracting and maintaining a few key co-communities who seem to genuinely want to use our technology.

f. Really starting to organize and name the different pieces/goals of this project overall (the trunks and branches).

g. Having some actual documentation!

I’d be super curious to hear an answer to this question from those in the project who are more economics or SWE inclined, as my answers are obviously impacted by the community work I have a front row seat to.

2. I think some of our biggest struggles relate to:

a. Coordination. We struggle to orient ourselves and keep our work connected/communicated across disciplines. This goes for both the bird’s-eye-view of an entire community trying to work in coordination, as well as smaller individual groups trying to recreate the wheel of project management.

b. Bandwidth. Everyone in at least the Core group seems to have a large array of responsibilities that feel unrealistic for one person to take on. This quickly leads to burnout, a common practice in capitalist spaces which I personally abhor.

c. Strategy and priority. There’s always so much to do, and no real idea of exactly what should be focused on in the present moment. That really left our team feeling like we were always chipping away at an endless iceberg of tasks. We need an ability to examine, decide, and focus as a distributed entity.

d. Reinventing the wheel. We are treating ourselves and our project as thought we’re the first to ever tread this ground. We’re not. There’s an entire legacy of humans thinking about these challenges and coming up with different ways to overcome them. I’d love to see us work harder in consuming the thoughts, successes, and setbacks of those who came before. I’d love to see us build the skill of parsing through other’s work and incorporating the pieces that are applicable to our vision. (And flowing them legacy Cred!)

e. CRED LITERACY. This one has been huge for me. We’ve really failed to help participants of our internal community understand when/why/how they should flow Cred within our available tools. In some cases, we are operating as though Cred flows one way when in reality it doesn’t (eg: all normal emojis in discord flowing 1 Cred, when in reality the :100: and :+1: emojis flow a different amount!). I think it really undermines our community’s ability to trust the technology when misunderstanding and contradictions like these exist. Tbh, it’s been driving me nuts.

f. Onboarding. We have always struggled to communicate our vision and a newcomer’s place in the work we do. As a consequence we lose out on a lot of powerful participants. This includes things like resources and flows for newcomers; but also includes our lack of product management and our lack of ability to provide financial stability for newcomers.

3. I’d say in the coming year our priorities across the project should be along the lines of:

a. Building the technology. The technology is a core aspect of our product and I would love to know that at the end of next year we have not only built out all of its most necessary functions, but it also runs smoothly and intuitively for the communities using it (including our own).

b. Building out Governance. It’s becoming more and more obvious that our product isn’t just an algorithm, it’s a technology for collaboration. A huge aspect of human collaboration is governance. It’s also the time for our internal community to start learning how to be distributed in our decision making and thereby move away from our centralized TBD governance model. I want us to use tools like Emergent Strategy (thanks Thena!) and DisCOs (thanks Seth!) to not only build our own internal ability to govern ourselves (with decentralization, interdependence, fractalization, adaptation, resilience, transformation, etc.) but to also improve the ability of any community using our technology to do the same.

c. Internal functionality. Beyond our governance, I want our community to feel aligned and functional. I want our whole community to understand our vision, our values, and what kind of conduct we expect and why. I want our tools to be clean, smooth, and easy to use. I want our processes and project management flows to be intuitive and widely used. I imagine this resulting in a better ability to improve our onboarding, moderate behavior in our community, have better communication, and move forward on extremely important processes such as generating good Docs quickly.

d. Better Co-Community Support. We’ve identified that we aren’t ready to grow and therefore aren’t actively attempting to draw in co-communities from the ecosystem to be using our product. However, I don’t think that means we should sit on our hands until the technology is more refined. We should be evaluating how we can create strong community ties with those who use our product already (eg: Maker, 1Hive, MetaGame, eventually Balancr). Let’s build out what it means to be an effective Ambassador bridging the gap between us and another community, let’s evaluate the best way to provide support to these communities who are taking this journey with us. Eventually, having lots of co-communities will be vital to our financial independence, let’s move at the speed of trust by building impecible trust with our ecosystem in a way that supports the thriving of every project in it.

4. In the coming year I think our community will need:

a. Better compensation. Now, I don’t necessarily mean more money per participant, what I really mean is better clarity per participant and better security per participant. I think this combines better internal Cred literacy with a more fleshed out technology. By having methods of flowing Cred we all understand inside and out along with a technology that is functional and useable by every participant we’ll be able to create more consistency and transparency with our Grain. Once there’s transparency and consistency, participants will be better able to direct their efforts knowing that they’ll be rewarded and how. This creates more trust (move at the speed of trust) overall and will give existing participants a better footing from which to encourage newcomers to join up.

b. Orienting on outcomes/vision. We have a really hard time staying focused on our the appropriate scope. Within a single conversation we often yo-yo between vision, tactics, strategy, etc. and I think that makes it really difficult for us to decide what our scope ought to be, what our priorities ought to be, or to orient on any concrete/logical next steps. From our reading of Emergent Strategy, I’m starting to think that we should focus first on the vision and the outcomes we’re trying to create for ourselves; only then should we orient on the various actions we could take to achieve those outcomes while acting within our vision/values.

c. Utilizing the elements of Emergent Strategy. During the break we started a book club to read the book “Emergent Strategy” by Adrienne Maree Brown and discuss it together. We’re not even half way through and it’s already revolutionized the way I (and probably others) are thinking about this project. I think that taking the time to deeply understand the elements of Emergent Strategy, use them for ourselves, and embed them into our product will have hugely positive impacts on this project and our ability to coordinate/get things done.



To summarize, I think that this year we’ve done an incredible job of building out our community’s emotional environment to the point it’s become our biggest hook and brought us some notoriety within the ecosystem. And for good reason! I love that one of our gifts to the ecosystem this year was an emotionally safer and more humane space than capitalism can provide. I think that where we really struggle is to coordinate as an increasingly larger group of engaged individuals. We need to find a method of working together that is distributed and adaptive like a flock of birds in the air.

This last year, we’ve been the project where people look at us and say "WOW! I’ve never seen such a wholehearted, emotionally healthy, and welcoming community in the tech/crypto/open source space! I don’t know how they do it, but I want to be a part of it!"

By the end of next year I want them to be saying "WOW! I’ve never seen such a wholehearted, emotionally healthy, and welcoming community in the tech/crypto/open source space! And DAMN do they get shit DONE! I just don’t understand how they’re such an effective group, it seems like they could do anything they set their collective mind to! I don’t know how they do it, but I want to be a part of it!"

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Being that I am very new here I really like this post. It is is very helpful for identifying the needs. I came across this post 2020 priorities it may be worth taking a look at to see how it compared to what was done. I hope to be of some help to the community as soon as I can get caught up to speed. I have a l to learn.

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  1. Building the community. We’ve both grown (in terms of # of active participants) but even more importantly deepened (level of knowledge, investment, engagement, and depth of connection to one another).

  2. Validating SC through actual usage (both by SC and co-communities). In the process of seeing SC used by other communities like Maker and 1hive, we’ve needed to improve SC to make it more robust to gaming. The fact that SC saw its first waves of gaming, and successfully adapted, is a very good sign.

  3. Deployability. SourceCred has gone from a rube-goldberg machine of one-off scripts and observable notebooks into a reproducible and deployable system which can be turned on with (minimal) engagement from the core team.

  1. Coordination and execution. This is particularly apparent on the technical execution side of things. If you look back at the Beta Roadmap (thanks for linking it @Monstrosity1), we really only made progress on one of the technical goals (deployability). My sense is that we aren’t good at follow-through; we have multiple projects (CredRank, dashboard redesign, etc) which are in half-finished state. Good work is being done but we struggle to actually land it.

  2. Cred quality. Right now Cred is way too indexed on contributions that have high platform-legibility (e.g. forum posts and pull requests) and misses a lot of the most important contributions. We need a solution for this before SC will be ready to scale to more projects, imo. I’m putting this second below technical execution, because we need good technical execution in order to improve the Cred. (But I think we can probably push on both simultaneously in the process of developing the Creditor).

  3. Communication, especially async communication. We’re not good at communicating what’s going on in SC, either to ourselves or to the outside world. I think SC is basically a black box for people who don’t have bandwidth to attend our meetings. This relates with pt 1.

  1. Develop the Creditor. I think we can design a Creditor that solves the dual function of recognizing contributions that have already happened (i.e. assigning Cred) and organizing expected contributions that haven’t yet happened (i.e. project management). Thus, we can work on our biggest issues of execution and cred quality simultaneously. In the process of developing the Creditor, we should focus on figuring out how to collaborate efficiently. (h/t @LB for a lot of offline discussion here)

  2. Integrate with Ethereum / build on-chain Grain. Getting to the point where Grain can be easily distributed on-chain without manual / centralized human intervention will be a big step forward for SC being useful for our co-communities. It’s also a vital step for our own process of decentralization–we should move control of our treasury out of the hands of individual treasurers, and into a trust-minimized smart contract.

  3. Experiments in decentralized governance. I think that in the long-term, SC is actually a tool for decentralized governance and coordination; deciding compensation is just a specific use case. We should start exploring and building out this functionality.

I think we need to develop new strategies for coordination and execution that reflect where we’re at as a team and community. For most of 2019 I was approximately the only person working on SC, and so the project’s development habits were oriented on my individual throughput. In 2020, the team grew but I don’t think our development approach changed in the ways it needs to (e.g. I stayed pretty focused on my own technical output, and we didn’t have much management/coordination bandwidth).

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Frieldy crediquette suggestion: If you want to thank Thena and Seth, you can mention @blueridger and @s_ben, thus flowing them some of the Cred from your post.

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Love what’s being said so far on this thread. I’m going to make mine short n sweet:

Literacy - We’ve improved a lot around literacy, such as with the Grain Calculator. I’d like to see even more literacy, specifically using the Creditor. Since the Creditor will be a tool for both users and potential users, it’s important we make it accessible. There should be supporting documentation around the Creditor, but what I’d love to see is it being so straight-forward that we don’t need much documentation.

Project Managing - Knowing what needs to be done and how to do it has felt challenging. We don’t have a task ticker yet, and currently use meetings to decide on what needs to be done, which not everyone can attend. I’ve looked into multiple sites, and agreeing on one that incorporates Git, is open-source, and is free has not picked up much speed when I’ve brought it up. My suggestion is that we tackle this immediately and together to find a solution, and not let it fall through the cracks. One solution could involve paying for a tool we can use until we have a task-ticker. Another could involve creating a Project Manager role. There might be growing pains at first, switching to a new system or creating a new role, but overall, I think it would create room for more asynchronous work, with much less need for communication. It would also create an organized system that could handle team growth.

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I’m pretty brand new here, so my intentions will be very general.

That we, The People, continue to grow in decentralized autonomy, continue learning new ways to interact constructively, continue to build on the strong foundation of defining, creating, and rewarding our own value.

We are amazing. Thank you.

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Finding myself in general agreement with pretty much everything here, which is a good sign we’re all fairly aligned:)

I would just raise a couple general things I’d like to “boost”, inspired by an Adrian Marie Brown quote I’m hopefully not butchering: “My job is to help communities improve shared understanding and clarity around shared values”.

I think a lot of other priorities touch on these. E.g. improved Cred literacy, better project management, more decentralized governance, better coordinating, orienting on outcomes/vision and utilizing elements of Emergent Strategy should further define shared values and increase our shared understanding. However, I think coming at these goals more directly could yield large dividends as well. For instance, codifying our shared values/principles into a formal list, as many successfull communities have done, I think could go a long way in terms of building shared understanding, but also be useful in navigating inevitable disagreements and conflicts. I think it could also be a key feature in our governance. Either as an explicit part of it, or as a peripheral part that reduces reliance on heavy, time-consuming or centralized processes (i.e. governance minimization).

In general, I also think anything that builds trust is good. Move at the sped of trust is a great motto. And I think we should be open minded about what builds trust. For instance, I think some of the ‘unproductive’ meetings that have been referenced, where people pop in and out with their thoughts, accomplishes more than just moving forward a strictly specified goal. That communication allows people a safe space to be seen and heard, and builds trust. Expecting people to also do social activities outside of work to build that trust independently (i.e. virtual manditory happy hour with coworkers) is not a great substitute for many. Also, I think it’s hard to judge the strict productivity of these meetings, as one of our other problems is lack of clear goals and project management. That could be more of the root cause than a more freeform communication style.

ANYWAY, looking forward to intention setting and loving that we’re being emergent about it!

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  1. Building the best web3/crypto community in terms of communication / coordination / wholesome-ness
  2. Finding product market fit, millions of $ distributed through SC across many the communities using it actively with lots of interest / demand from other communities. Did a really good job of helping the major ones resolve issues and iterating based on real world usage / feedback
  3. Onboarding a bunch of awesome contributors and scaling out responsibilities
  1. Maintaining our own dev velocity while dealing with influx of users and serving their needs
  2. Prioritizing tasks and shipping complete features. Discovered a bunch of things we could do and tried to do all of them without a proper SDLC and coordination / decision making processes. We grew our contributor base but our dev workflow / processes didn’t scale with it
  1. User experience and better tooling for larger communities. There’s a bunch of disparate hacks and workaround and scripts that 1Hive / MG / others have put together to make up for some shortcomings in the SC user experience (particularly around things like merging / activating accounts and dealing with grain payouts on chain)
  2. Creditor + new plugin system to get better coverage of contributions outside of GH/Discord/Discourse
  3. Formalizing cred flows to/from our dependencies and communities that we are supporting. Super important for SC long term sustainability and setting expectations for communities using SC.
  4. Scaling up our community structure so we can grow beyond the 20-25 or so active participants we have currently to 100+
  5. Having 10+ big projects using SourceCred in a meaningful way and flowing cred to us and each other if they have dependencies
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