Catalyst Suggestion - Start discussing a contributor focussed disbursement process


Expecting the voters to read, compare and vote on all of the ideas that get presented by proposers is a highly time expensive task to expect from community members to spend their limited time on. When ideas are coupled together with contributors the voter faces a far higher level of complexity to participate in the voting process due to the large amount of information that they need to digest. Voters currently are not able to express their preferences and support ideas without that also being an endorsement of funding the contributors to execute that idea. The overload of information with selecting ideas makes the decision complexity for voters very high and makes it very difficult to scale the disbursement process to a wider audience.

There are a number of other approaches that can be experimented with that improve or resolve the issues involved with selecting ideas. The disbursement approaches that could be experimented with include independent processes, passive idea selection process and a delegated idea selection process.

As Cardano is looking to scale to a global audience the most scalable of these approaches would be the delegated idea selection process. Under this approach the community would focus their efforts on helping with the selection of the most important priorities and then also help with selecting which contributors could be the most suitable for helping to addressing those priorities or creating other forms of impact for the ecosystem.


  • High voter participation complexity - For a voter to fully participate in selecting different ideas in the Catalyst process they will need to read, understand and compare the ideas available. This creates a higher complexity for the voter to participate compared to a delegated idea selection approach where the voters would instead just need to read, understand and compare contributor proposals that contain information about just the contributors.
  • Low voter choice flexibility - Voters are not able to easily express that they agree with an idea but disagree with the contributors who will be executing that idea. Separating the idea and contributor selection processes out would give the voter more choice in being able to express their exact preferences. This can be useful for situations where potentially highly impactful ideas get strong support but the right contributors are not immediately available to support its execution. Allowing the community to easily indicate an idea has community wide support can inspire potential contributors to suggest themselves as potential contributors.
  • Higher voter decision complexity - Understanding and comparing ideas that have the contributors attached is more complex than doing this separately as the voters has to understand the trade offs of both the idea and the contributors involved who are suggesting it against all other ideas and contributors. If these were separate the voter is able to judge the idea on its own merits without needing to factor in who would be executing it. Similarly the voter would also benefit from only needing to compare contributors separately from ideas and could pick the contributors with the best skills, experience and contribution track record.
  • Higher contributor participation complexity - For a contributor to participate in the ecosystem they either have to create an idea themselves or join an existing one to be compensated by the treasury. This increases the complexity to participate compared to a process where the contributor just submits their professional information to be considered as a potential contributor.
  • Lower contributor execution flexibility - Contributors are unable to easily reallocate their time to different impactful initiatives unless those ideas get funded. If the ideas are owned by other people then they may also require permission to support its execution which could also stifle the flexibility of contributors being able to support impactful initiatives. If people were incentivised as a contributor instead of for their ideas they would be able to more easily align themselves with whatever ideas create the most impact at that point in time rather than being tied to only the ideas they have received funding for.
  • Lower incentive alignment for collaboration - If the incentives are attached to the selection and execution of ideas the incentive for the contributors involved is to execute that idea as effectively an quickly as possible. If there is overlap with other ideas that could have benefited from collaboration there is no direct incentive for those teams to collaborate. The teams that do try to collaborate and provide more value to other competing teams could even disadvantage themselves if those efforts led to helping the other teams being able to execute more quickly or effectively than them at the expense of their own ideas execution. If the incentive is attached to the individual there is a more direct incentive for that contributor to work on things that would generate the most impact for the ecosystem rather than having to constantly keep getting their ideas funded each time.

Suggestion option #1 - Start discussing a contributor focussed disbursement process

A contributor focussed disbursement approach such as the delegated idea selection process is a much more scalable and easy process for voters to participate in. Ideas add a large amount of complexity that voters need to understand and then compare to make informed decisions. Many of these ideas can require specialist knowledge to understand which only adds further to the complexity and lack of scalability.

The Cardano ecosystem will benefit from experimenting with other disbursement approaches such as those that focus on selecting contributors over selecting ideas to see how voters participate in the governance process and also for experimenting with what impact those contributors are able to make through being elected into a more flexible contribution environment.

The main next steps for this suggestion will be that the Catalyst team makes their opinions and preferences well known to the community. If they disagree with experimenting with other disbursement approaches they should make that position clear to the community so they are able to provide their own feedback and discussion around the topic. Understanding the stance of the Catalyst team can help to organise the community around either supporting the existing efforts or help with inspiring the community to create their own experiments with other disbursement approaches when they can get more access to the treasury. This would be highly relevant for when CIP 1694 goes live and the community is able to have more influence on how treasury resources get allocated to different disbursement approaches.

Suggestion option #2 - Have another suggestion

Provide your suggestion and any rationale in the comments below.

Suggestion option #3 - Disagree, this is not needed

Vote for this suggestion if you don’t agree that experimenting with a contributor focussed disbursement would add value in improving the ecosystem. Provide any rationale in the comments below.

  • #1 - Start discussing a contributor focussed disbursement process
  • #2 - Have another suggestion
  • #3 - Disagree, this is not needed
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