An initial suggested experiment for an open source contributor funding process

Contributor funding experiment

Suggested experiment parameters

The founding entities could setup and manage a contributor funding process entirely themselves if they have the capacity to do so. Alternatively the Web3 Association is happy to help with facilitation of any part of this process that they can help with. The following are some initial suggested parameters for experimenting with an open source contributor funding process:

  • Suggested number of people - 1 to 5 contributors. Only a small number of people are needed to start learning about a contributor funding process.

  • Suggested contribution length - 3 to 6 months. An ecosystem doesn’t need to over commit to this process. A modest contribution duration such as 6 months would be enough to learn a lot about any pain points and opportunities to improve this funding process. The funding process could then be continued with another round of contributor selection after the initial experiment has been completed with any necessary changes.

  • Suggested responsibilities - Open source developers are a sensible starting point. Suitable developers from the community will be those that are interested and capable of contributing towards different open source initiatives that could generate impact for the ecosystem.


  • To create more data points and evidence that can demonstrate the potential outcomes and realities of adopting a contributor funding process. More experience and data points about how contributors behave and perform under this model should help with informing the industry on what the potential issues and opportunities are for contributor funding.

  • To learn more about how contribution logs could be used and improved over time. There is an opportunity to experiment with individual monthly contribution logs. Contribution verification and individual monthly contribution logs have been covered in more detail in separate documentation.

  • To observe and analyse the differences between contributor and idea funding in more detail based on the emergent outcomes, data and case studies.

Initial identity use cases

A full list of potential identity use cases for contributors has been recorded separately. The following is a suggested list of identity use cases that could be integrated into an initial experiment for funding contributors:

  • Contributor selection credential - Contributors that are selected to receive funding and then work within an ecosystem could receive a credential that verifies that they have in fact been selected and funded by the ecosystems treasury.

  • Contributor profiles - Contributors should be able to make a simple professional profile that they can use to apply as a contributor candidate with their personal and professional background information.

  • Contribution logs - Contributors could create contribution logs that document their contribution efforts so that other people are able to verify their recent contributions.

Measuring success

A key focus for measuring success with this funding process is making comparisons between contributor and idea based funding across the industry. Some relevant areas to determine the success of this experiment will include:

  • Voter proposal time required - Measuring and estimating the time it takes for voters to read and understand the proposals prior to voting for different funding processes such as ideas and contributor based funding.

  • Contributor proposal time required - Measuring and estimating the time it takes for contributors to write the proposals to be considered for funding in both idea and contributor based funding processes.

  • Voter preference feedback - Getting qualitative feedback from voters about their preferences of voting on ideas or contributors.

  • Contributor preference feedback - Getting qualitative feedback from contributors about their experience in either idea of contributor based funding processes and their own preferences if they have any.

  • General observations - Observing the outcomes from the experiment to identify any trends or opportunities with contributor funding and unexpected issues, opportunities, similarities or differences between idea and contributor funding.

Experiment facilitation & analysis

The Web3 Association is looking to support and facilitate any experiment for an open source contributor funding process. Some potential areas of support could include:

  • Handling contributor proposals - Managing a solution for handling the submission and storage of contributor information. This could include any efforts involved with defining a suitable data structure to handle contributor related information.

  • Contributor onboarding - Creating and managing resources that can help with the onboarding of contributors into the ecosystem and providing support where necessary.

  • Contributor support - Providing one on one support to contributors about different issues or questions and creating resources that help to respond to the most commonly asked questions.

  • Handling contribution logs - Managing a solution for handling the submission of monthly contribution logs that each contributor would need to submit. This could include the efforts involved with defining a suitable data structure to handle what data is recorded and how it is formatted for each contribution log.

  • Contribution log moderation - Reviewing the contribution logs submitted by contributors to verify what work has been completed and that it was in fact them that completed the work. This moderation process can help with ensuring that work is being completed before contributors become eligible for any future payment.

  • Sentiment and feedback gathering - Both during and at the end of this experiment any feedback and sentiments of both contributors and projects in the ecosystem can be gathered. Contributor feedback can help with determining whether this funding process is preferred over other approaches and also for gathering feedback from existing projects can help with highlighting the extent in which this funding process is useful to their own development efforts whilst building their own solutions.

  • Experiment outcome analysis - Any results and learnings that emerge from these experiments can be documented and analysed to help with future improvements to the process. For instance the contribution logs could be analysed to identify better data structures and formats to capture important information or help with finding out what new data could be captured that might be currently missing.

Roadmap and future experimentation

Initial experiment areas of focus

Initially the focus would be around making it easier for contributors to share their personal and professional information and record their contribution efforts. These sources of information can then also then be useful for any efforts for making it easier for voters to view and vote on contributor candidates.

  • Contributor profiles - Contributors need to be able to submit a sufficient amount of personal and professional information to be considered as a candidate in different ecosystems. Previous contributions to an ecosystem will be highly valuable for contributors to document and share.

  • Contribution logs - Contribution logs enable a contributor to demonstrate their recent contributions. Recording contribution efforts could become increasingly automated and sophisticated over time and cover more areas such as meeting participation and discussion contributions.

  • Contributor voter selection - One contributor profiles have been created another piece of functionality will be enabling voters to select the contributors they want to receive funding from the treasury to work in the ecosystem. An ecosystems foundation may initially handle this responsibility however it this responsibility will eventually need to move towards the community. Voters will benefit from an easy to use interface to read about contributors and to save and reselect previous contributors they have selected in previous funding rounds.

Future areas of focus

As it becomes easier to select and retain the quality contributors the next area of evolution will be to gradually increase the number of contributors over time. This results in an increased need for coordination systems that better enable contributors to more easily work together and make decisions at a larger scale. Some areas of focus could include:

  • Contribution workflow - Tools for managing and voting on how contributors work on a daily basis, what tools and software they use and how they organise themselves.

  • Contributor peer review & feedback - Solutions for enabling contributors to review each others performance and provide feedback to one another.

  • Community review & feedback - Enabling the community to review and provide feedback to contributors whether that's about their performance or impact or just to share some gratitude towards their contributions.

  • Idea coordination & discussion - Systems that enable the community and contributors to better suggest, coordinate and discuss the ideas that they could execute within the ecosystem.

  • Idea selection - A voting solution that enables the community and contributors to share their opinions and preferences on which ideas they believe are the most promising to work on at that point in time.

  • Priority coordination & discussion - Systems that enable the community and contributors to better suggest, coordinate and discuss priorities that they believe are the most important for the ecosystem to focus on.

  • Priority selection - A voting solution that enables the community and contributors to share their opinions and preferences on which priorities they believe are the most important for the ecosystem.

Education resources & content

The Web3 Association intends to continue its efforts on making educational resources that provide insightful and actionable information for ecosystems that are building their own treasury solutions. Any research and analytical outcomes that come out of the open source contributor funding experiments will be added to the existing resources so that any learnings are shared with the wider industry.

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