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Voter preferences & opinions

Understanding the importance of voter preferences and opinions and how they can be useful for disbursement
Voter preferences and opinions can greatly help with providing insightful and actionable information to the rest of the community and the existing contributors about what submissions could be improved and how the disbursement process could potentially generate higher amounts of impact. Enriching a disbursement process with the ability for voters to easily share their preferences and opinions can help with making a disbursement process more responsive to new information, changing community sentiments and constructive feedback.
Communities will have a number of preferences and opinions about what priorities are most important, what ideas look the most promising and which contributors they believe will best help with generating the most impact. These preferences and opinions can constantly change as new information emerges and the ecosystems and their environments evolve over time. Preferences and opinions could be represented as the current community sentiment, approval or disapproval of anything submitted during disbursement or be direct feedback given by a community member.
Capturing and recording community preferences and opinions does not mean that a final decision is being made that leads to any defined outcome. Sharing voter preferences and opinions could occur in the same vote as one that is generating a defined outcome or these could be handled separately. Communities being able to express their preferences and opinions means that anyone in the community will be able to share what they’re really thinking without necessarily being involved in a formal decision about what outcome should occur. A community could have a vote that highlights there is a majority preference that there needs to be more DeFi applications in the ecosystem. Indicating this preference does not necessarily mean an incentive is being allocated to address that preference directly. Awareness of these communities preferences and opinions helps to expand and enhance the mutual understanding across the community on what the wider community is currently thinking. Having this understanding can then help with other formal selection processes such as the contributors who are involved in executing those priorities as now the community can reflect on whether the contributors they are selecting will help with addressing the most important priorities. In general these preferences and opinions can help with identifying what areas might need more or less attention in upcoming disbursement decisions.
Votes that result in a specific outcome could be handled by either voters or contributors. The ecosystem will always benefit from the community being able to express its preferences and opinions on what ideas they currently believe are the most promising. However who actually selects which ideas are executed is a disbursement system design choice. The responsibility of the actual outcome of which ideas are executed could be given to the contributors who would need to reflect and take into account all of the preferences and opinions that have been shared by the community. It is these example situations where the ongoing value of gathering the preferences and opinions of the community becomes more obvious as now the accountability can be left with the contributors but the system can still be fully expressive and inclusive by inviting all forms of preferences and opinions from the community to help with supporting the selection of ideas.

Importance of capturing voter preferences & opinions

There are a number of reasons why voter preferences and opinions should be captured throughout a disbursement process and a couple of concerns to keep in mind.
Advantages
  • Clearer sentiment & approval - If the community is able to express their preferences and opinions clearly this information will be available for the wider community and for any existing contributors to consider. These preferences and opinions can help make it clearer about what the current sentiment is within the community about different topic areas and information that is available across the ecosystem. Contributors can respond more quickly to these changes of sentiment and approval when it makes sense to do so.
  • Faster feedback & learning - Allowing the community to provide their preferences and opinions to any of the submissions made throughout disbursement enables the community to provide feedback and learn about what other community members are thinking. This increases the speed of feedback sharing which can help with increasing the rate in which any of the submissions made in disbursement get improved over time.
  • Inclusive - Inviting community wide participation within an ecosystem means the disbursement process becomes more inclusive towards the diversity of thought and opinion that can exist across the community. No person's preferences and opinions need to be excluded if the disbursement system enables that information to be shared freely.
  • Representation & accountability - If the wider communities preferences and opinions are known this makes it easier to identify and select contributors that would become responsible for representing and responding to those needs and wants from the community when they are executing ideas for the ecosystem. Preferences and opinions being widely available and understood helps to also increase the level of accountability, contributors would become more aware of the communities preferences and opinions that they need to consider.
  • Community engagement - The more it becomes obvious that each individual's preferences and opinions are heard and taken into account the higher the chance there is that community members choose to engage in the disbursement process because they know their input will be heard and valued. Enabling voters to always express their preferences and opinions is an important part of ensuring the voicers of voters can always be heard.
  • Responsiveness - Enabling the community to provide their preferences and opinions around different areas across disbursement more immediately helps an ecosystem in becoming more responsive to new information and any changing community opinions. Capturing these preferences and opinions across the disbursement process can help with mitigating problems that emerge before they become more problematic or could also mean identifying opportunities that can be explored more quickly and responding to those opportunities sooner rather than later which could mean creating more immediate positive outcomes for the ecosystem.
Concerns
  • Information overload - Capturing community preferences and opinions creates invaluable amounts of information and data for the community and contributors to consider when executing different ideas. However the larger these disbursement processes become the higher risk there is that there is an excessive amount of information to handle. Systems and processes will need to consider how this information is structured, organised, moderated and presented to the community so that any preferences and opinions which are shared are sufficiently concise but informative.
  • Sybil attacks - How identity is handled in disbursement processes will impact how easy it becomes for sybil attacks to occur. The preferences and opinions of voters could have a direct influence on how assets are disbursed. If this is the case, there is an incentive for bad actors to try and game that system by creating multiple identities to try and manipulate those community preferences and opinions in their favour.

Priority preferences & opinions

An ecosystem will benefit from voters always being able to immediately express their current thoughts and opinions about what problems or opportunities there are in the ecosystem that should be considered. This is especially important for responding to changing environments or emergencies. The speed of information flow can help with increasing the responsiveness of the contributors that are helping to tackle these problems and opportunities. Ensuring that the community's voice can be heard through the submission of priorities along with other community members indicating their preferences and opinions means that execution efforts can be more easily aligned with responding to those priorities to generate impact for the ecosystem. Capturing community preferences and opinions around prioritisation can help contributors gain higher clarity on where they could best allocate their efforts to best address these priorities. The faster and easier it is to see what the biggest problems and opportunities are, the faster that the contributors can be in responding to this information.

Idea preferences & opinions

The execution of ideas will help to address the existing priorities in an ecosystem. These ideas could differ greatly in terms of the technicalities and approach being taken. The diversity in potential initiatives that could address a priority makes it difficult for a large population of voters to fully understand the differences, tradeoffs and nuances of every idea that might be suggested across a large ecosystem. There will likely be individuals within the community that are well informed and can fully understand the implications of different ideas due to having the relevant expertise and experience. As an ecosystem grows and the diversity of priorities and ideas expand this however does become more challenging for many voters to be well informed on all of the different topic areas and the ideas in each area.
Although there is a complexity for voters to participate in the selection and understanding of a growing amount of ideas there is still a great benefit in enabling the community to share their preferences and opinions about which ideas are most promising. The community sharing their preferences and opinions is important as it opens up the opportunity for the people who have a particular interest or expertise in a given area to participate in how those ideas are refined and get executed over time through their own feedback and participation. There is no need to prevent community members from trying to offer their opinions to help improve or support an idea. It can be accepted that there will only be a certain number of people in a larger voting population that will have both the capacity and willingness to engage in these ideas in high depth, however it is beneficial to enable any of these potential voters in being able to participate as they could provide highly useful and impactful feedback. Another reason this approach of inviting preferences and opinions is important for ideas is it enables the situations where a voter becomes increasingly interested in an idea over time to the extent that they now want to become an active contributor. This type of outcome can be more easily achieved if voters can easily engage and participate in the process of discussing and providing feedback to ideas.

Contributor preferences & opinions

The community benefits from being able to express their preferences and opinions on what contributors could help with making the most impact for the ecosystem. This could be preferences and opinions about new contributors that have yet to provide any contributions. Or they could be about existing contributors that already have a history of contribution. These preferences and opinions can help with sharing the current sentiment and thoughts around which contributors might be most suitable for generating impact in the ecosystem in upcoming disbursement decisions. The preferences and opinions about the most important priorities will also be something that influences these decisions. Identifying and responding to bad actors is another reason why the selection of contributors benefits from enabling community members to easily provide their preferences and opinions as new information and changes occur.