Proposal: Meritocracy Through Gamification

I’m proposing we use gamification to run the meritocratic governance in BuildItHub.


This will be a seamless and low friction system where people will not have to think about the ins and outs of governance (yeah @happybeing I used the word ;)) . A system like this will allow for those that have been creating value in the community to increase in their reputation and responsibilities while limiting the reputations of those that are not. Users of the site will be able to see at-a-glance, who they might potentially be working with. It will show the team the roles they have and what roles they are missing in their project’s wise crowd.

Many sites like StackOverflow, use gamification to promote what they want to see more of.


The following ideas are not actually part of this proposal, but ideas on how we might use gamification. Each of these could become their own proposals when the time comes.


The system would add badges through different triggers programmatically. These badges would come with added permissions. People can have a multitude of badges and each badge might have a level associated to it. The higher the level the higher degree of accomplishment the users have achieved. Badges represent roles in the sense that each badge is only given to the users actually doing the work of that role on a consistent basis. These badges will not be given because of arbitrary things such as community popularity.

Again the following list is not part of this proposal, only ideas of future proposals that might be built into the system.

Connector: These folks find people who might work well together and introduce the parties to one another. They help build wise crowds.
Ideator or Proposer: These are people who not only come up with ideas and solutions, but who have shown that their ideas are good time and time again.
Leader: This person has led proposals and the community believes in their leadership abilities.
Doer: Probably one of the most important badges. The doer gets things done! They do what they said they would do when they said they would do it.
Dreamer: This person’s ideas are considered far out but interesting. Maybe the ability to complete the idea doesn’t exist at the moment or the team doesn’t exist yet to make it happen.
Pioneer: The Pioneer takes something that many deemed impossible and makes it happen.
Whys One: They think deeply about proposals and constantly ask questions about the validity of things. They ask the five “whys” and inspire deeper understanding.
Tasker: The tasker turns proposals into tasks that can be completed. This badge might be associated with the Leader badge.
Evangelist: The Evangelist draws people to great projects. Is this badge different than the connector? It includes the idea of marketing as well.

I’m looking for more ideas as to how to use gamification to help facilitate the meritocratic governance of BuildItHub. If you have any ideas please post them.

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The thing about a meritocracy…and that’s the right word to describe an OVN and the influence that a person has upon it, whatsoever they do, howsoever we describe them is this basic principle: It’s the idea that is king, not the person. In connection with this, people need to get their head around this basic distinction between a meritocracy and a democracy. An OVN is somewhat democratic in that it is actually one person who is casting his/her votes (plural; I’ll get to this in a minute) but that’s about where that word, democracy should end. In a meritocracy, it’s the number of votes that a person has that determines his or her power. In an OVN meritocracy, a person accumulates voting power by creating and/or adding value to/for the OVN. It’s a person’s accumulated points earned by creating/adding value that gives the one person X votes which in number are essentially the same as or equivalent to his/her accumulated points.

I propose that BuildItHub adopts a somewhat-analogous (not perfect) system to corporate governance wherein preferred stock (Founders stakes) have no additional voting rights but that when a percentage, say 1% fixed stake is granted to a founder, he or she is also given a sum of points for adding that founding value. This sum of points becomes part of the common voting pool. He or she must then add value to this pool to have additional power, more votes, if you will. This is similar to the idea of common stock in corporations. Only common shares, not preferred shares can vote. This levels the playing field for builders who self-aggregate to BuildItHub. They vote and have power according the value they create. Founders must be builders also to have additional power above and beyond the power that they have from founders points which over time will also dilute (for voting purposes) as a percentage of the growing voting pool which mirrors value created and accumulated by additional members than founders unless a founder is also a builder which is very likely the case in most instances. However, the voting dilution alluded to above does not apply to a founder’s fixed stake of SafeCoin earned. That is fixed. We must think in terms of the distinctions between stake and votes. Stake does NOT give greater voting rights. ONLY created value gives any voting rights and creating more value MAY give greater voting rights over time…maybe, depending upon how fast value creation occurs over time and which people are creating the most value.

@chadrickm Sounds good to me. I like the StackOverflow approach and bringing that to improve OVN UX is genius :slight_smile:

This will be a seamless and low friction system where people will not have to think about the ins and outs of governance (yeah @happybeing I used the word wink)

That’s at least twice now :-). I am controlling your mind through quantum processes that would make @al_kafir’s head explode (think Scanners movie). [Strokes white fluffy cat]

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@dllasoff I’m not sure this vote weight according to merit is the only model. When I read the link @chadrickm provided, the “weight” was I think more about what decisions people were able take part in, and whether they had a veto.

I’ve only skimmed your post, but this seems very different, more like a shareholder who can outvote if they have enough shares/rank/merit points? If so I’m not convinced that’s good, whereas I instantly liked what I read before.

EDIT: one thing I don’t like is it gives a big enough power holder the ability to dictate, rather than having to bring the community with them.

I see your concern and it’s legitimate but the facts about decision-making in general seem to me to demand that when historically, a person who has proven worth by value creation and therefore establishes himself through point accumulation as having contributed more, that truth value must be represented meritoriously so that the powers of decision-making that have previously shown themselves to be of most value are represented to be of greatest value, certainly statistically, it is more likely that points of view thus represented have more probabilistic likelihood to become the “best” decision than less-established or less-proven votes. Remember: it was the community that agreed w/ the previous value created that gave that person the points in the first place. It ought to be to the community’s benefit to give greatest weight to historically-proven value creators as evidenced by accumulated point values. I realize that work performed does not in itself guarantee nor qualify a person’s ability to make good decisions. But, we aren’t relying on one person, even if that person has accumulated more points/created more value. To give that person more votes in no way establishes a dictatorship since anyone is free is contribute value and every new decision is a new opportunity to exercise power in any construction direction. It also doesn’t mean that people with lesser amounts of points won’t be heard. Anyone can put forth an idea. And, anyone can vote according to what they think is best for the community. It isn’t reasonable, I believe to assume or even believe that persons who favor working in a flat, free heterarchy would then become absorbed with or go to the trouble of trying to dictate something. The approach I favor to give weight to previously-proven decision-makers in no way negates that a wise crowd is already assembled. It is also unfair to hold hostage the greater interests of those who create the most value to the whims or even the sincerely held beliefs and ideas of those who are less invested. It is also disrespectful to create a governance system that does not incorporate stake reflected in point values. Also, when contemplating on-going decision-making, if I were a community member and hadn’t accumulated much voting power yet or much voting power ever, I would likely listen to anyone’s ideas and vote the same way regardless. One person with more power than me isn’t going to stop me from going with my perception of the best idea of something. Where I think a person’s power reflected in votes is most powerful is in the utilization of the principle of lazy consensus which I support. It’s most important in the function of objecting to something. Here’s where the points count and here’s where the people who have added the most value have the most at stake. Here’s where they should be able to STOP something that they don’t want or don’t like. This is why I favor a meritocracy over democracy in terms of OVN governance.

The concept of votes for everything leads to some pretty smelly governance IMHO, and I don’t think any of us is supportive of building this type of bureaucracy machine. The only two things I’d like to emphasis is “Command & Control” = bad and impossible in an OVN due to opt-in membership, while Consensus Building and Leading by Example will be what drives BuildItHub and the projects that use BuildItHub. There will be times when decisions have to be made on every project I’m sure where a consensus might not be reached. The project members will have to be very careful in these cases as those in disagreement with a significant change could just “fork” a project and go their own way. This ability to fork a project is a huge protection against the dictatorship mentality.

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@dllasoff I understand the logic, and at first thought your argument seems sound. However, this is because when following logic, we tend not to notice the assumptions - it’s just too much work to go through the basis underlying each logic step and humans are lazy. So I listen to my gut too.

I now realise it isn’t paranoia that I’m feeling. For example, here’s one consideration that occurs to me: you assume that those who made the biggest contribution will be the most suited to make decisions. Err, why?

But that’s not all, suppose that was true. My experience is that as any endeavor moves through stages, you need different kinds of people leading it, and different kinds of people working on it. For example, those who are great at firing up a project, getting a team together, getting to the first release etc. (and those implementing who do best with creativity, uncertainty, handling demands of project launch etc), are often people who are then not suited to the subsequent stages, where a different mindset, personality, skillset, knowledge, kind of awareness etc., are needed.

If contributing over time locks in control (gradually over time) it could make it hard for the community to evolve. I think your model is attractive for those in at the beginning, so may well seem like a good idea now, but later, it may discourage new talent, also make it harder for existing talent to move on when they’d actually be more suited to a new project from their own point of view.

BTW I don’t expect to be a contributer to this project. I’m more a very interested observer, so it’s not my interests that lead to these comments. I’m more interested in learning from the process by engaging wroth it.


Consensus Building and Leading by Example will be what drives BuildItHub and the projects that use BuildItHub.

That sounds good to me.

It isn’t an assumption that those who make the biggest contributions are the most-suited, it’s just that in a flat world, those who have historically demonstrated capability ought to be empowered and those who have not demonstrated or have demonstrated to lesser degree ought not to be able to unduly influence decision-making against those who have greatest stakes in the project. What mechanism would you propose? One man, one vote has demonstrated equally disastrous consequences for humanity as blatant authoritarianism. The method I suggest is a balanced approach that also does not assume that different players won’t come along; they will. Different people at different stages will add value and earn voting rights. What’s wrong with that? How is my approach dictatorial? I fail to see your logic. It isn’t an assumption for me that those who make good decisions in the past will necessarily do so in the future; it’s simply that they have statistics in their favor against those who have no record or little record of doing so. To give those who make big contributions power to decide stuff seems only fair and to be the only common sense approach to self-governance. Why should you give me more power to decide the fate of something that I haven’t contributed very much to? You should have more power to decide than me when you have contributed much more. It doesn’t make naturalistic sense to me to allow me equal decision-making power as you, in this case. Don’t forget that we are talking about the end of an argument, thesis or case. Before that, people, person-to-person/group are quite able to make their case and win the day based upon the merit of their idea. Just because you have more points than me doesn’t mean I can’t persuade you to go along with something that I think is in your best interest. It’s just that in the end, this ought to be up to you more than me.

@dllasoff your posts are too long and contain to many points for me to respond to everything. FYI Actually I find it hard to read them so I tend to give up part way, partly because of the lack of paragraphs.

I’ll respond to one point because I don’t think you’ve understood what I was trying to say. Maybe re-read my post and see if it needs classification. Anyway, you write:

It isn’t an assumption for me that those who make good decisions in the past will necessarily do so in the future;

Two things appear wrong with this to me.

  1. As I read your proposal, people build up voting power by making contributions to the project. So you are arguing as if contributing is the same as making good decisions. To do this, you would need to reward people for the times they voted in a way that was later judged good, and vice versa. I’m other words, the link in your proposal between reward and quality of decision making is tenuous.

  2. You seem to have missed my main point, which is that as a project evolves, it changes dramatically, and with that the needs of the project change, and it is not true to assume people who contributed lots at the start will always be the best contributors as time passes. For this reason I think it’s good to make it easy for people to move in and out as the match between them and project changes, and from what I understand, your proposal could inhibit this.

What do I suggest instead? I liked what @chadrickm wrote (quoted in my feedback), which sounds too me like the model he first linked to when introducing his ideas.