Meeting 7 - October 7th 2021
Catalyst Circle Meeting 7, Thursday, 7th October 2021
CC Meeting 7 Minutes
Thursday, October 7th at 17.00 UTC
Catalyst Circle members:
Nadim Karam - Facilitator
Stephen Whitenstall - Secretary
Lauris - Several discussions with SPOs on different topics. No consensus on how to proceed. Categories are regarded as useless given that Circle influences what is “in the basket”. It may be different with the Toolmakers & Maintainers - we have to revisit this feedback.
Dor - Very busy. Kriss was away this week, and the launch of the new fund. Excited there that an entire plan / strategy for the entire year is coming.
We are busy translating the intention into a plan of action which is extremely complicated. Now, in a short time, we need to transition away from how we have been doing things in a certain way for five years.
I feel confident because of the legitimacy the community gained from the Circle where representatives initiated constructive outcomes.
Victor. For me, I think it was a couple of slow weeks. Because I was on vacation with my family. Besides the vCA work. We have started doing the Fund 6 retrospective. Yesterday at Town Hall we had the Proposer’s retrospective. Some people raised some problems regarding not only the proposer point of view, but also some other point of views. And we are continuing with this following week with more from the Community Advisor's perspective. Nadim, Dor and myself discussed the voting process for Circle v2 which we are going to talk about further during this meeting.
Felix. Things didn't happen so much in regard to what I think belongs to Catalyst Circle.
The Fund 6 retrospective has a lot of value. It was quite interesting that in the retrospective people speak not only about the experiences from the proposer’s perspective, but also generally as a member of the community. And it went a lot into the social part.
What was extremely interesting was that even though the community pointed out problems because they want to build solutions. When we just dropped the question of who would leave the day job and go full time into catalyst everybody in the room was ready to go.
Which brings me a lot to the point that we are building a society that is really beautiful. And I think the Catalyst Circle plays an important role.
Dean - So I met with my Circle and they invited this gentleman Pieter Nierop who is in analytics. Peter breaks down different wallets, how much are in them etc. I asked him if he could come up with the percentage of voting from individual wallets or larger wallets, smaller wallets, mid sized wallets, and the percentage of actual voters. I will work on this going forward.
Moving existing Items across the board
Lauris - From my side,we don't have anything which is going forward at this time. We're still waiting for funding. After the voting we may move forward, otherwise, everything will say the same.
Dor - I think it's actually important that every ticket has a specific owner from the Circle. So maybe, maybe at the end of the meeting, if we have some extra time, we can go through the empty tickets and decide who's the owner of them.
Nadim - We are finding that TRELLO is not easy. JIRA might be better.
Lauris - In the next couple Circle meetings we can take the prevalent issues and just copy paste everything.
Dor - I work in JIRA every day, and I absolutely hate it. I hope that we can consider other alternatives like Asana, for example, or stuff that's a bit lighter than JIRA because JIRA is very heavy. And I think it will prevent other people from participating. Also maybe a clear understanding of like, what are the requirements of the tool?
Dor - I think it would be great that maybe we can have a discussion from the Circle, I'd love to hear from the Circle members their perspective on this problem, like how do they encounter it? And we can start to move it. So maybe we can take this off this main meeting, so we can start to define this problem a bit better and maybe schedule a dedicated meeting ?
OK the problem is :
- Identify and understand the needs of the different groups in catalyst
- Awareness of what is IOHK currently working and what is in the pipeline?
- How do we avoid duplication of efforts?
- How does IOG and the rest of the community collaborate on things more effectively ?
Felix - Most relevant to our Toolmakers.
Right now we're moving towards having this a well defined problem. Currently, the internal process is one of mapping. Both in Catalyst, and outside of Catalyst, we're mapping any part that IOG has any control over and then seeing if we want to move from that being under the custody IOG to not being IOG.
We are starting to raise different ownership options. Like is this part mapped to the Cardano Foundation ? Or is this part mapped to the community, like Treasury funded stuff. Or to this entity called the DCF (Distributed Cardano Fund) , which needs to be defined.
Some things can happen fast and other things need to happen slowly and carefully. Once we map and prioritize we can share this with the community and start to have a much broader conversation.
For example :
Who is the best adapted to take on these things?
What does the transition look like?
What kind of framework is ready ?
So all the IOG stakeholders are unified on an approach so as to prevent messiness.
In the CA group, we have the problem which is the lack of a reputation system for CAs and vCAs. This one has just been picked up by the community and there is a draft for a reputation system. This is now being discussed among the CAs and we plan to share this with the IOG research once we have a better document. So I think we can move this one to picked up
This problem concerns the system to assess and review assessments to account for the quality of the assessment itself. As well as fairer payments for vCAs.
We have just finished the vCA round, the QA phase. But I am not sure we are ready to validate. Because we have just received the data from the QA stage, and I am going to analyze it, do some charts again, and check how it went. Were we able to remove the bad assessments etc. So we are moving forward with this, but not quite ready to move this to the validation column.
Felix - So we have submitted a funding proposal And met with the rapid funding mechanism challenge team. Everything's now done, just waiting for voting for the funding as well. So we are now in a position to support action later. But I'm not sure if we can move it forward already.
The assessments were five out of five for every category.
For “improve catalyst onboarding”, I think we had two experiences. We didn't have the time to wrap up with documents and create the right project.
On the other hand there is already CA onboarding, recruitment. And also two weeks ago in the After Townhall, several projects from the community such as Gimbalabs onboarding developers, SPOs came to onboard SPS, CA school on boarded introduction into catalyst and proposals. WADA was there as well. So we see that the whole community comes together with several projects to address specific groups and directly help them think this is beautiful.
Dor : We have a lot of leverage within the Voter app notification system. I'm still waiting for those kinds of curated links, like onboarding funnels, that we can use so we can divert those people to onboarding processes.
Nadim - So one thing that we discussed is using this time to have maybe two or three different breakout rooms. What do you guys think of this? And what would be the themes of each breakout group that we need to discuss in the next call?
Dor - I nominate two IOG ones. It could be kind of a follow up on the conversation we'll have next week.
Nadim - We can all agree in the telegram chat if we're gonna have two or three different breakout rooms and what are the themes so you can have your time to think of it sounds good.
Nadim : Nadim, Dor and Victor had a call to discuss and this is the proposed direction that we would like to further agree with you. We've broken it down into three different stages. One is the pre election process, then during the election and then post election.The timeline D is the day of the election. And T plus one after the election.
There are different constituencies and groups. Each group is going to approach this differently and you know, what works for one might not work for the other.
We are basing the election on the previous one. Firstly the pre-election process starts 20 days before the election is announced with the nomination of each of the groups.
To give enough time to reach as many as possible and to use the new App push notification feature. So if there is a nomination based on their own constituency then a message is tailored to them.
Reference : CCv2 Election Process -
CCv2 Election Process
Dor - We could make a cool video together. A two minute video where everyone can come in and talk a bit. Something easy to disseminate. Then we can put it on Reddit, Twitter and the general Cardano Telegram. And that probably would reach a large number of people. With some kind of a basic script. Each one of us says something about what's the best thing about the circle. And what are the specific requirements of the role and the compensation. and refers you to the candidate application form.
Nadim - Cool, let's do that as an action item. I think that would be great. And we can also use the push notification because we can practically reach everyone from the catalyst community.
Nadim : Initially, we said it would be a three month term. But you need two weeks to get on board and then you need at least two weeks for the election. And that's already one month gone. It's not enough time to really do any work. Even from the first circle, it took maybe a month or so just to get started really.
So we're considering extending the term of the next CCv2 to six months instead of three months.
Circle v1 veterans will stick around for that six months as mentors, to be a sort of buddy, guiding the new members, giving them advice, to guide and clarify expectations.
What do you guys think of extending the Circle term from three to six months while keeping yourselves just as mentors to shadow ?
Nadim - A related point is how to secure funding for six months given that the scope of our proposal was only for three months.
Dor - We need to add a new Circle funding proposal to accommodate the extra three months of the term of V2. But as Felix says, also accommodate for the extra scope of work of like, if a former Catalyst Circle member, is also mentoring, they should be compensated for that.
Victor - We spent approximately two meetings to understand how to operate as CC. But we were also the first to do one. CC v2 has an example to follow. To see what worked and what didn't work. So we can try to have the next one for three months and see how it goes. Maybe it's going to be easier for them than it was for us. And if it doesn't work, then we can submit a proposal for six months.
Dor - I think there's a reason why usually like terms are not so not so short, usually. Because I do think there's a lot of domain knowledge that needs to be transferred. I would feel more confident about the six months term. I think that's a reasonable idea, we could do three and wait. I do think that now that catalyst has a much higher profile in the community. And also the funding amounts are much bigger, so we're gonna attract many more candidates, like the quality candidate pool is going to go up. And I think it's fine to ask people to commit for longer.
Felix - From the beginning, from my point of view, it would make sense to get as much experience from different people as possible before moving into longer iterations. Shorter iterations allow more people to have experience. So after six months, you have 14 people who had the experience instead of six. And I think this is valuable. Also, there is the admin team that can have a longer duration and help the process a little bit.
Lauris - We are not yet established like a company which knows everything, how it should be done, and etc. There are a lot of inputs which are needed from different people. And I think more people coming here with more information and more ideas would be better. Six months is a lot longer period, especially if we see the budget . We understand the kind of scope we have to do and it's not an easy task, it's not an easy job for them to do. I would think that six months will scare some people off who already are committed to other projects.
Dor - Maybe we can do three months for members and six months for admin.
Lauris - For the Admin team six months makes sense. For active Circle members three months. We will have to help our next team onboard, so it will, of course, drag for longer than three months. And that's clear. But I will say three months is the active period.
We could make the election earlier so the next Catalyst team can join already. And we know who they are, and they can join those meetings, like at least two meetings. And understand their dynamics.
Nadim - So we announce the nominations 10 days in advance and secure confirmation from the nominees. We're using the same process as happened previously. Then we identify the voters and observers who're going to be in the room, who's going to vote on who's going to be just watching. Again, close to this we can also use the push notifications. Dor how much in advance do we need to notify IOG in order to ensure a push notification?
Dor - A week in advance is good enough for push notifications
Felix - So what do you think by changing this a little bit and doing it a little bit like Idea Fest ? So Catalyst Circle Fest, not in the actual town halls, but scheduling a live event? Announce it long before, give it a special date.
Lauris - Also, we have to understand we have two town halls, which are quite active and the elections will have to be on both. That would be ideal. A lot of people don't speak English. Last time we had a town hall on Wednesday. And there was another one town hall that basically no was there. So we have to figure out how to cover all regions.
Nadim - What does everyone think about the CC Election Fest Felix mentioned ? Having a specific day so that everyone knows that they're coming. The sessions for the election can go after each other rather than all having to go simultaneously so that people can watch all the elections if they wanted to.
Lauris - I would go with the Town Hall because it is an “official” venue. And I don't think we should create one more event. You are voting for your representative. So you are in one Breakout Room listening to the people who will be representing you, not just jumping around. I don't want to do a big shout out. We already have a platform for that.
Dor - I think we can look at it from two dimensions. One is just engagement. Would we get more engagement in the Town Hall? I see pros and cons for each approach. On a Wednesday we know that there will be a certain amount of people. 130 people usually go to Town Hall and another 70 or more come to the Eastern Town Hall.
The counter argument is that doing a special event on the weekend may result in even more people showing up. We can look at the past. The last Idea Fest was held at the weekend. How many people showed up in total to the live event?
Dor / Felix - At Idea Fest 203 people showed up and there were 83 presenters. So 120 people participated and regular Town Halls have a larger number. Which will get more participation - Town Hall or a weekend session ?
Victor - If we move to a different day we should create a whole event and have different sections about governance, talks etc. This could attract the interest of more people. Having someone from IOG, from the Cardano Foundation, maybe Charles can be there to give a speech for five minutes. Something like this would bring more attention to the Circle.
Dor - Charles might be a candidate for the circle by the way. He said he was thinking about it. He wanted to join this Circle. It would be a big attraction for people to join and get a chance to hang out with them every two weeks.
Dor - That is one dimension. The other dimension is can we create a decision making process that can actually help us elect higher quality candidates. Can the fact that it's like a unique event and that it is its own thing happening. Can we do something there that would make the actual process better, that would lead to better outcomes?
Lauris - Town Hall is, as Dor said, a totally different structure. But maybe this is a plus. Having a different event attracting people who are not coming to the town hall. Town Hall is for people who already know a lot. But for groups like ADA holders or stake pool operators and others it may be a good idea to have a different event, a new event. Which could attract more people. But the question is, do we have the manpower to manage that? I suppose Felix can comment on that.
Felix - For me, the main point would be this event is hosted by the community Because the town halls are hosted by IOG and the weekend events are hosted by the community. I think it would be a nice signal to the candidates that show up that the election process is community organized. I think this has a symbolic, really high value also. But not if it is IOG who sets it up.
Nadim - It seems like we're all aligned on the idea of a weekend event, but now the big question is, who will implement all the logistics? Do we have the resources?
Felix - Yes, we have the resources. Also, Dor it helps with your problem moving IOG to being a service provider.
Nadim - We'll agree on the logistics and the resources in the next few days.
Dor - I think the only path forward I see is if the Circle admin team does it and becomes the election committee at least for now. And I think it's a one off. It is not perfect because they are also going to get voted right at some point as administrators.So it's not good that they also are the election committee. If it rides on the back of the swarm session and happens on the weekend. And Swarm already has a zoom, invitations, people and facilitators in place, setting the space and the production. But then the admins do the election and administration. So there's a bit of a separation there, then it should be, it should work, I believe.
Nadim - This gives us the opportunity to rethink this now that we're having our own dedicated event. The election starts and we instruct attendees to go to the breakout rooms.
Then we show the agenda, explain the election process and each person presents for five minutes. It will help to have information prepared to inform the voters about the nominee and their background.
When we announce the nominations, we need to identify critical quality characteristics that are expected from each role. The emphasis of choosing a new candidate should be on previous experience and/or contribution to their group. So an SPO representative needs to have been an SPO and been active in terms of their presence in the community.
In terms of critical quality characteristics. Each group will have their own different characteristics based on their own needs and time commitments.
We've created questions for each Circle member for you to answer. This will clarify a lot to the new member joining.
Example questions :
Why was this role created?
How is this role delivering value?
What's the main problem that you're currently solving?
How much time is expected from this candidate to fulfill in this role?
What is the most difficult task of this role?
What's the most rewarding?
Which other stakeholders do they interact with?
This helps define what Circle members have been doing for the past three months.
Finally, we request Circle member’s insights, such as :
What challenges is Circle currently facing?
How can Circle execute better?
How can Circle be monitored better?
This will eventually become an onboarding kit that will be given to these new joiners? So that they will know exactly what to expect and what issues that they're working with. How many meetings, how much time is expected from them and the level of knowledge they should know in terms of tools and system.
Lauris - I would be careful not to push too much, to define what they have to do, what is the procedure and how much time they have to spend? I would prefer that they look for themselves and find some interesting ideas. Not putting everything in some kind of box. Definitely provide some kind of guidance, so people know what can be expected. But not super defined.
Nadim - Absolutely. It does not need to be exact. Just overall recommendations. And what sort of advice or insight you can give them doesn't need to be prescriptive. Like you need to spend 10 hours every week or something like that.
Myself and the admin team can work on identifying the critical quality characteristics and have them communicated when we request nominations. So that the nominees are aware of them.
For later iterations we discussed the possibility of having a rating system based on these characteristics. Each Circle version will update the critical quality characteristics for the new person. But that's something for later stages.
Once a nominee has presented, the voters will provide feedback and then cast the votes. We need to agree on the methodology behind this. How do people cast a vote ? Is it through a Google form? Or what other mechanism will need to be used? Felix, we'll discuss this if we're going to work together on this new event. Unless anyone has any preferences in terms of how they want the voters to cast votes.
Dor - I think the voting mechanism needs to be something that doesn't require any technical proficiency so that any casual person can intuitively use it.
Nadim - Votes are cast and one day after the election we present the winning candidates and the voting results. We can also share statistics of how many people showed up, how many people voted, etc.
Post election, we introduce each person to their buddy. As agreed, Circle V1 veterans will stay as mentors. We should also have a handover session which could be an informal discussion on methodology and lessons learnt.
Felix - Maybe we can arrange for the elected people to present in the Town Hall after the Saturday election. Also in the After Town Hall the new Circle members can meet and speak with their communities.
Lauris - Will the voting be voting on the zoom call or something that people can do afterwards as well ?
Dor - We spent a considerable amount of thought drafting the first process. Addressing how to avoid the duplicate voting, risk analysis and making it harder to hack it. It was thoroughly documented and shared. So I would recommend reusing that rather than reinventing something.
Lauris - I agree. I would prefer it to be like last time. Of course, there are some limitations. It means that people have to be on the call, which is sometimes not suitable for everyone.
Nadim - Next step here is to define a date for this session.
Nadim - After this meeting we will sort all the action items with the person that owns each one and share it with the minutes.
Dor - This election is a fairly complex operation. It requires a lot of coordination and a bunch of deliverables. I think at least we should have come out of here with a clear definition of who the point person is, who's the project manager. The person that would work on the document and dependencies. And alert Circle if there's something not happening or if there needs to be some intervention.
Dor - There are two different things happening. And I think we'd have two separate concerns. There's the event and then there is the election process. These two are separate. So I'd rather have Nadim supervising the overall production and Felix managing the event. Just to keep a clear separation. We can't have a member of the circle managing the elections. I think this is a good practice to adopt.