Catalyst Suggestion - Continue to open up the communication around product planning, discussions, decision making, preferences & future intentions


There are examples of more open and more closed communication approaches with the community from the Catalyst team when sharing information about Catalysts product planning, discussions, decision making, preferences and future intentions.

A good example of where communication has been more open is around the funding categorisation changes for fund 11 that have had a number of workshops to involve the community. This process started with some initial suggestions from the Catalyst team and then quickly moved to communication with the community to get feedback and discussion around those category ideas before a set of categories would be defined and selected for fund 11.

An example of where communication has been more closed would be around all of the decisions and discussion that led up to the proposals that got submitted in fund 10 by the Catalyst team. The product planning, discussions and decisions that were required to create those proposals was not available to the community ahead of time to read and then give any feedback. Many of the product decisions and execution preferences had already been decided at the point of the proposals submission. Product decisions were made that would heavily influence how Catalyst is developed moving forward. These architectural, product and design decisions could have benefited from being shared more widely with the community nearer the inception of any planning, discussion and decision stages to allow for more open communication so the community could provide any feedback and discussion.


  • Need for open product planning - Currently much of the initial parts of any product planning happens within IOG controlled communication. New approaches, changes and ideas that are being explored could all benefit from being open to the community so that those who are engaged in that process are able to suggest their own ideas, tools and software or infrastructure approaches amongst any other relevant contributions. Many decisions were made that lead up to the proposals made by the Catalyst team for fund 10. If that planning and decision making was available to the community earlier there could have been community members that may have had some insights or useful feedback. The key outcome this approach helps to achieve is enabling the opportunity for feedback or insights to be communicated by anyone in the community even though it may not be the case that this actually happens.
  • Lack of community discussion & feedback - When there are tradeoffs, nuances and a number of different approaches that could be taken for a product decision the community benefit from being able to give their thoughts and feedback in case approaches are missed out or there was another way to solve the same problem. For any meaningful product change to the Catalyst process there is a benefit to setting up a space, such as a forum post, so that the community can offer their thoughts on the options available.
  • Lack of open decision making - Many product decisions still occur within the Catalyst team such as those that led up to the fund 10 proposals. Making decision making more open would mean that any of the options considered and decisions that need to be made become public to the community. Some community members may decide to add their thoughts and insights into the decision making process. The value of making this fully open at all times is the wisdom and insights that different people in the community could provide for important decisions.
  • Lack of awareness on Catalyst teams preferences - In 2022, I presented the case for why a contributor focussed funding model would be a good approach to experiment with for the Catalyst funding process. That presentation did not lead to a clear public statement of intent and preferences currently held by the Catalyst team. It would be beneficial to understand the opinions and preferences of the Catalyst team so the community is aware of them and can provide feedback. For instance, if the Catalyst team was against a contributor funding model then that information could help with organising community members who wanted to explore that approach in the future - especially after CIP-1694 gets passed and deployed. The more the community knows about the Catalyst teams stance on different matters the more the community can offer their own feedback and potentially come together to test their own hypothesis.
  • Lack of awareness on future intentions - If the Catalyst team had any intentions to work on certain areas of the Catalyst funding process in the future it would be valuable to know these plans ahead of time and any current opinions held. Just starting these discussions could help with spurring on more thinking about a problem space before it is more formally approached with more serious contribution efforts. As an example one area I have been recently sharing about historically is the benefits of separating the prioritisation process from idea selection. In the funding categories work there is a goals & objectives section and on the recent W3A treasury disbursement analysis there is analysis on an independent priority process. If the Catalyst team did have a future intent to explore a priority process this information would be useful to the community so they can start providing their thoughts upfront. If the Catalyst team did not have any intentions to work on this area then it would still be high useful information for the community as then people may decide to step in and experiment themselves. The more the community is aware of the Catalyst teams future plans the more they can offer their feedback or align their contribution efforts around how they could best support existing contribution plans or experiment with areas that are not being explored.
  • Communities lower ability to contribute - Less communication around planning, discussion & feedback, decision making, preferences and future intentions makes it more difficult for community members to identify the areas that they could most effectively contribute and make impact in for improving Catalyst. Communication from the Catalyst team is key for helping people to organise themselves and find ways they could propose ideas and solutions to support new or ongoing efforts rather than duplicating existing efforts.
  • Potentially wasted efforts & resources - There is a higher risk that the community do not agree or approve of certain product development outcomes if they have not had sufficient opportunity to provide their thoughts and feedback. Making all product related communication as open as possible will help with ensuring that whenever product development outcomes emerge where the community does have strong opinions and preferences that they will be able to express those thoughts as soon as possible. This could help with preventing wasted contribution efforts and usage of resources on solution approaches that would have not been well received by the community.

Suggestion option #1 - Continue to open up all communication around product planning, discussion, preferences, decisions and future intentions

The Catalyst team has already begun its journey in becoming more open with its communication around product planning, discussion, decisions, preferences and future intentions.

The point of this suggestion is to put even more emphasis on the fact that this openness can be further improved. This is a simple but important step for more effectively enabling the community to participate in product thinking, discussions and decisions when they any community member believes it is important to do so.

The more open and public a products planning, discussion, preferences, decisions and future intentions are the higher the opportunity there is for community members to provide relevant and supporting information or offer useful insights that benefit the ongoing product development of Catalyst.

The community highly benefits from understanding how the Catalyst team is thinking, what they are basing their current decisions on and what their ongoing intentions are with how the funding process is being iterated and improved. With this awareness and knowledge the community is able to provide counter arguments, insights and their own expertise to support and improve the product development process. Beyond this it will make it clearer where there are areas of execution that the Catalyst team has no intention of tackling which would then help to create a clearer opportunity for the community to step in and decide how experimentation could be conducted in those areas and do so with more collaboration, communication and support from the Catalyst team to better test any hypothesis.

Some potential example next steps:

  • Planning - The fund 10 proposals were a great example of more open communication for product planning. Continue this approach and further open up any more communication that happens prior to the any new proposals happening.
  • Discussion - Use documentation tools for communicating execution plans / decisions and long form discussion platforms like the Cardano forum to share the teams current stance on product decisions and approaches so that the community can participate in the conversation and give space for that discussion to build up over time.
  • Decision making - It will be great to see open discussion and any research and analysis that leads up to making any future decisions so that community can respond and contribute. Example situations could be around proposal data structures for the website or plans for creating priority systems.
  • Preferences - The current preferences and stance of the Catalyst teams about different topic areas should be documented so the product approach and direction being taken for Catalyst is well known by the community. For example which disbursement approaches does the team believe are worth experimenting with or is there a preference that these approaches are experimented with elsewhere and the team doesn’t think Catalyst should test some of these? The community being aware of any of these big preferences enables the community to offer their thoughts and feedback and can then also determine how they want to explore any areas that are not being covered by the Catalyst teams preferences.
  • Future intentions - What areas of execution are the Catalyst team intending to focus on in the near future? For instance is an independent priority system being considered as an upcoming areas of experimentation? This and any other relevant intention related information would be invaluable for the community to provide their insights and feedback or find ways to support those intentions or experiment in the areas not being considered.

Suggestion option #2 - Have another suggestion

Comment with your other suggestion below.

Suggestion option #3 - Disagree

The Catalyst team don’t need to communicate anymore than they already are. Provide any rationale in the comments below.

  • #1 - Continue to open up all communication around product planning, discussion, preferences, decisions and future intentions
  • #2 - Have another suggestion
  • #3 - Disagree
  • No vote - See results
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I won’t consider workshops that require attendance at a specific time a particularly open form of participation.

I couldn’t figure out where to submit a counter-proposal of not having any categorisation at all but just one big Catalyst competition. Which I would still consider the most fair form of distributing the funds! All the “challenges” we had up till now as well as the “categories” that were now decided by whomever to be the new hot shit just randomly protect some proposals to be able to get funding although they have less support than other proposals in more competitive categories/challenges. That is arbitrary and bad!

But you do you!


As to your question: I guess that is option #2. Another suggestion. “Workshops” as well as “townhalls” are an exclusionary form of participation for a rather small in-group. Don’t do that! Establish processes that are open to all Catalyst voters. Which are potentially all ADA holders!


Exactly @HeptaSean! Workshops and town halls are useful but they are limiting due to the time requirement, easy loss of information over time and the lack of continuity of the conversation over a longer period. This is why I made the long form discussion suggestion that the Catalyst team should help endorse and encourage more usage of this forum or something similar to discuss different topics, planning, decisions etc.

On the funding categories opinions that isn’t relevant to this topic around opening up communication more, if you want to put that in another suggestion we can put stuff there. Though as a short response, one category means massive variability in what gets funding so there’s a higher risk of funding all going to one direction without the community meaning to do that just because one area is more popular voting wise than another. One category is also more complex for voter decisions as it means comparing one proposal with every other proposal rather than against similar proposals in a separate category. Categories can make the process easier for the voter to participate - they could just focus on one category for instance which is contained to an area of proposals they understand more / are more willing to review due to their own preferences / background.


I am sorry that you didnt consider the workshops as an open form of participation. I hosted most of them and tried to garner participation however I could. The only places I could think of were here, in my forum post that I maintained throughout, in the Project Catalyst Discord server, on Twitter, and on Telegram. I could get very little input from anyone other than during the workshops though.

I would absolutely love to hear in more detail how you envision a more open and collaborative process working that encourages all :slight_smile: Please :slight_smile:

Not your fault at all! It would be the job of the Catalyst operator that we “elected” to run Catalyst (without much real choice, though) to enable such participation.

Your dissemination of the dates was totally okay. I saw all of the announcements from the point where I asked:

But, unfortunately, the workshops from that point on were all during my working hours on the only weekday – Wednesday – that I’m not in home office.

(I honestly don’t know if I would have made attendance otherwise. On the one hand, Zoom calls are really not my piece of cake in general. On the other hand, going into a Zoom call that discusses details of how exactly one concept – categories – shall be fleshed out with “Oh, I now want to please discuss if we should do that at all!” feels annoying and derailing.)

(BTW: Also something I missed in the “participation” around CIP-1694. I can understand that purely destructive contributions somehow have to be managed. But even rather constructive alternatives like @Kenric_Nelson’s work on quadratic voting – although it’s not my personal favourite – were completely side-lined. There was simply no space, process, requirements for totally different approaches provided. It was made quite clear that “this” is the way, it’s already half-implemented, and we just talk about some minor adjustments in those zillion workshops around the globe. … and most people seem to have been happy with that. Me not.)

Rough ideas:

  • I don’t think it will ever work when the powers that be go in with their own proposal. If something is already half-implemented by the IOG Catalyst team in the case of this thread or by the cardano-node/cardano-ledger team in the case of Voltaire, alternatives that deviate too much, that are not just minor patches will always have a totally futile underdog role with no chance of ever being successful.
  • So, the custodians would have to commit – at least initially – to a neutral role, just publish a call for proposals that makes clear what is in scope and what out of scope of the thing that shall be designed, what questions have to be answered in what detail etc. pp.
  • The proposals and at least part of the discussion have to live on a platform that allows long-form textual discussions so that we can see how elaborated they are, which of them might have a chance to succeed, where participation might be fruitful. That can be Github – as it is used for CIPs – or this forum or a Wiki set up for that purpose or …. Google Docs or Ideascale are rather not suited for the job in my opinion.
  • This would allow groups to form to work on different competing proposals without a prejudice on certain decisions in a blueprint given from above. And these groups can then, of course, also use Discord, X, Zoom calls, whatever they like to work on their proposal. Maybe some proposals fork in the process, maybe some join. There should be given enough time for that if possible.
  • At some point when the proposals are elaborated enough, there should probably also be debates between the proposals with a larger audience of interested people from the whole community to at least get an impression of the opinions at large.
  • I’d love if the final decision would be a vote of some kind, but if that’s not feasible I could also live with a decision by the custodians based on those debates.

The important part for me would be a process that allows a rather wide range of alternatives instead of these processes that give the impression of: “Oh, no, if you don’t want categories, dReps, community reviews at all you are wrong here! We are just talking about how we do it! That it is done is already decided for us … by whomever whyever.”

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