Stellar Community Fund Round 5 Finals Postmortem

Well, the final results for SCF #5 have been sorted out and let me begin with a big long YIKERS. Remember in the nomination round how we had a record turnout of 671 voters and had to remove all but 295 of them? Well in this final round we not only matched — but smashed — that record. 4,137 unique Keybase accounts showed up last week to vote in our final round. Unfortunately, we had to remove 4,058 of them.

Let’s put that in a graph and compare to previous rounds. Red represents votes we had to remove; blue is legit votes.

This round was extremely difficult to review. We’ve never had thousands of votes to look through, and the current system isn’t designed for that kind of volume. We spent the last few days and nights combing through hundreds of votes and making lots of tough calls, and we’ve arrived at the following criteria for disqualification:

  1. All accounts with duplicate IPs (679 accounts removed)
  2. All accounts created since nomination voting started (320 accounts removed)
  3. All accounts with zero proofs (2,662 accounts removed)
  4. All accounts with inactive or bounty hunter proofs (291)
  5. All accounts which voted for Trybal.Network not caught by above criteria (106)

The first thing to address, regretfully, is that after much deliberation we’ve made the difficult decision to disqualify Trybal.Network from the final round. Before any adjustments they stood far ahead of the pack, which always warrants a deeper look.

As we began our review, it became clear that the majority of disqualifications had a common project in their queue: Trybal.Network. IP dups, new accounts, and zero proofs were all painting a pretty unflattering picture. Once we started a deep dive into hundreds of Twitter, Github, and Reddit proofs, strong evidence became hard proof.

Trybal.Network attracted a very specific crowd of folks the SCF wants nothing to do with — bounty hunters — and once we removed disqualified accounts, they were dead last in the standings. By a lot. It was clear they shouldn’t have been in the final round at all.

We’ve always reserved the right to take necessary action to preserve the integrity of SCF, and it’s clear that the Trybal.Network-supporting accounts were working to unfairly twist the outcome of the vote. We don’t take actions like this lightly, and we always prefer a decentralized, open, hands-off approach, but the SCF as it’s currently designed isn’t well suited to deal with manipulation of this magnitude.

For me this leaves one final glaring question: how did Trybal.Network affect the initial nominations? Who got left behind? How would the final results have changed? The answer is not much: there’s a world of difference between 671 votes and 4,137. Most of the manipulation in the nomination round came from other projects which rightfully didn’t make the cut.

However, if we were to apply the same disqualification logic to the nomination round, Trybal.Network and Rigel would both be out. Xlet and would have taken their places. Rigel didn’t cheat though — they were buoyed by throwaway votes made by Trybal.Network-supporting accounts, so rather than disqualifying them, we’ve decided to adjust their position to reflect legitimate community sentiment from the nomination round. We’ve also decided to promote Xlet and into the finals, and to assign them votes reflecting community sentiment expressed in the nomination round. So without further ado, and after the hours of review, conversations, and counsel, our final results for SCF #5 are:

This round was far from ideal, and for that we are sorry. Ultimately, this is why we’ve been collecting and distilling years of feedback to create a new structure for Stellar community funding, why we’re so excited for the future, and why we’re so sure it’s time for a Big Change™. So stay tuned: SCF 2.0 is on its way for a timely August 31st arrival!

For those who won the last SCF 1.0, congratulations! You deserve it. We’ll be in touch about next steps for collecting your prizes and taking your projects to the next level. I love and appreciate all of you and all you’ve done for the Stellar community. We’ve had some great rounds. But our best rounds are yet to come.

Stellar Community

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