Value Brainstorm With The Community Care Division

Please put your brainstorms here.

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What generally accepted values do we value higher than others? E.g. most would say they value mercy. Most would say they also value justice. But the two typically come into conflict the instant you put together a policy or law. Are there any such examples that come to mind when thinking about SourceCred? Perhaps that will help narrow things?

General values off the top of my head:

  • Empathy
  • Transparency
  • Honesty
  • Justice
  • Equality
  • Creativity / Art
  • Skillful communication

Edit: adding

  • Consent as a value?

In the Introduction doc [] @LB (and maybe other contributors? IDK) wrote out the following as starting points for SC’s vision:

  • Outcompeting capitalism
    • Creating a system to replace capitalism is important to dismantling the harmful systems we live within
  • Creating better structures for recognizing labor that’s currently “invisible”
    • The nuance of value and a wider recognition of it (eg: emotional labor)
    • Better access to opportunity
  • More equitable and ethical payment systems
    • Decoupling hours worked from money paid
    • The bias of payment and privilege of negotiation
    • Moving away from cost of replacement and towards rewarding of sustainable value created
  • Better interpersonal and collaborative tools
    • Community playbook
    • Self-directed/remote work environments become more possible
  • Growth plan and concrete strategy
    • Supporting crypto and open source to create better-functioning economic ecosystems
  • Shifting priorities in line with values on a micro and macro level

From these points, I can pull out some potential Values:

  • We value individuals over production
  • We value collaboration
  • We value equity
  • We value community
  • We value growth
  • We value dismantling the harmful systems we live in
    • This specific value could branch out into lots of other values - prioritizing listening to marginalized voices, not tone policing, creating systems that disrupt capitalism (what we already do), etc.

I think these are some good additions to the ones @s_ben listed above.


Brain dump:

  • Integrity
  • Transparency
  • Well being of a contributor as a whole human (not just as a producer)
  • Personal growth
  • Freedom to thrive (vs freedom to fail)
  • Nuance —> systems that see humans more clearly, systems that are like nature; robust micro and macro applications
  • Equity
  • Inter-connected community —> like the personal emotional support network; diverse, stable, supportive.
  • Accessibility (internally - our community, our product, externally - comprehension, opportunity)
  • Privilege —> Considering the needs of those with less privilege and erring on the side of caring for their needs over the needs/wants of those with the most privilege. (Credit to Dandelion for this concept near the beginning)

There’s probably more.


Some thoughts, following up from our meeting today:

Community Values vs Embedded Values

I think it’s interesting to distinguish between the values that we hold as a community, v.s. the values that are getting directly embedded in SourceCred, the product. As an example, we value respecting people’s pronouns and gender identity (hence why we regularly share pronouns in our intro meetings), however that value is not embedded in the product–for example, we haven’t built pronoun identifiers into SourceCred identities. And this is fine: people shouldn’t need to agree with all of our politics in order to benefit from SourceCred.

That said, I think we should absolutely be embedding values into the technology. IMO, technology should be built with values. But we should be intentional and somewhat parsimonious with it. So I think the “embedded values” that we put into how SourceCred works should be the most fundamental and universally applicable values; values that are inherently aligned with building a better system for governance and sharing rewards.

Since I think these embedded values wind up being more fundamental, I’m going to start with brainstorming some embedded values (and showing how they are or can be embedded in the product), and then explore the surrounding values that are held by our community.

Embedded Values

Community Autonomy

SourceCred is open-source, and communities can customize it with their own weights, own version of the algorithm, own plugins and sources of data, etc. This gives communities a great deal of autonomy that would not exist if this were a more traditional tech platform, where all of the infrastructure is controlled by us.

Transparency / Accountability

The Cred scores, and the Grain distributions, should never be a mystery. You should always be able to dive in and explore exactly what contributions someone earned their Cred for, and how those contributions were valued. The transparency always acts as a check on people maintaining / running Cred instances, making it easy for communities to spot and stop corruption or abuse of power.


SourceCred’s algorithm is in some respects inherently decentralized, since the value of any contribution isn’t coming from one decision by fiat, but through references from other contributions, or from collective mechanisms like boosting. We should keep finding ways to make the power within a SourceCred instance decentralized.

A corollary to decentralization: we should aim to minimize the concentration of power within instances.


SourceCred is intended to be a more equitable economic system, and to move away from the capitalist paradigm of paying people as little as possible (to extract value for owners/capitalists) and towards helping communities reward all participants fairly. This is going to be a hard one to embed in the product, because instance insiders / maintainers will have an incentive to try to increase the rewards they get, and (see community autonomy, above) they will have the power to do so. But I think that the transparency/accountability value helps here.

Community Values

I’m going to structure this a bit more as a grab-bag, maybe would benefit from refinement:

  • Integrity
  • Consent
  • Systemic change
  • Incremental impact
  • Awareness of power dynamics / privilege
  • and more

Generally agreeing with the embedded values. Finding it hard to rank these personally, as they all seem roughly equal, which is good.

Like seeing consent emerge in the answers for community values. Seems kind of like a noun or verb more than a general value, but it still works.

While the separation of embedded vs community values makes sense, I think we should be conscious that community values will inform embedded values over time to some extent. As will what projects we choose to partner with early on, as we’ll end up building things that reflect their values and needs, which will naturally become part of the product, which then attract similar projects, etc.

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