Introducing the Agents Program: A New Approach to Ambassadorship in the Polkadot Ecosystem

We are excited to announce the Polkadot Agents Program, a new initiative set to redefine the role of ambassadorship. This program serves as a decentralized HR entity, designed to bring together a diverse range of talents and skills to actively contribute and grow within the ecosystem.

Revolutionizing Ambassadorship with Integration: Unlike typical ambassador programs that often limit participants to tasks like tweeting, making videos, or creating small content pieces, the Polkadot Agents Program goes several steps further. It requires agents to actively integrate with various sub-DAOs and communities within the ecosystem. This approach is not just about promoting Polkadot but involves meaningful engagement and substantial contributions to the ecosystem’s growth. Agents become integral parts of the community, participating in activities that have a real and lasting impact.

Diverse Tracks and Categories for Broad Participation:

  • The program offers multiple tracks and categories, open to individuals with diverse skill sets and interests.
  • Areas of focus include Ecosystem Development, Content Creation, Event Management, Infrastructure, Substrate Development, and App Development.

Engagement with Key Polkadot Initiatives: Participants will be involved with initiatives such as:

  • The 1000 Validators Program
  • The Infrastructure Builders Program (IBP)
  • The Hero Builders Program
  • Wag Media
  • Moderation Bounty
  • Antiscam Bounty
  • And many more upcoming sub-DAOs, initiatives, and collectives

Key Elements of the Agents Program:

  • Learn-to-Earn Modules: Participants engage in educational modules to enhance their understanding of the ecosystem, supporting continuous learning and development.
  • Points System: This system tracks and rewards the engagement and progress of participants, highlighting their active involvement in the program.
  • Mandatory Governance Participation: Agents are required to actively participate in governance activities, contributing to the direction and decisions of the ecosystem.
  • Knowledge Testing: Regular testing ensures agents’ knowledge aligns with their roles and capabilities to contribute effectively.
  • Integration with Sub-DAOs and Communities: A fundamental requirement is for agents to join and actively engage with other sub-DAOs and communities within the Polkadot ecosystem. This integration fosters a deeper connection and collaboration across various initiatives and projects.

Looking Towards a Decentralized Future: The Agents Program represents a significant step towards a decentralized future, integrating diverse talents into the Polkadot ecosystem and building a strong, engaged community. In light of the decreasing presence of central entities like Parity and the Web3 Foundation, the responsibility of growing and nurturing the ecosystem increasingly falls to the community. This shift marks a pivotal moment where community-driven efforts become crucial in attracting new talent and expanding the range of expertise within the ecosystem. The Agents Program is at the forefront of this transition, filling the vital role left by these organizations. It’s not just about maintaining the status quo; it’s about empowering community members to take an active role in the ecosystem’s expansion and evolution, ensuring that all areas in need of attention are adequately supported and developed. This program is a testament to the community’s ability to drive meaningful growth and innovation, paving the way for a truly decentralized future.

Explore the Agents Program: Watch the video below for an introduction to the Agents Program and its impact on the Polkadot ecosystem. We’re looking forward to seeing the diverse talents that will join us in advancing the Polkadot ecosystem.

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Hi Tom,

As the original creator of the Polkadot Ambassador Program, I share your enthusiasm for its growth and adaptation to future needs. However, I have concerns about the program’s leadership over the last two years. I believe that with collaborative efforts from community leaders, we can enhance the program and make a more significant impact!

Point 1: Diverse Ambassador Tracks:

“Unlike typical ambassador programs that often limit participants to tasks like tweeting, making videos, or creating small content pieces, the Polkadot Agents Program goes several steps further. It requires agents to actively integrate with various sub-DAOs and communities within the ecosystem”

The Polkadot Ambassador Program already offers a diverse set of tracks, which goes beyond limiting participants to tasks like tweeting. These tracks include:

  • Content creation
  • Community building
  • Events
  • On-chain activities
  • Brainstorming

Additionally, there are regional tracks that connect ambassadors to local meetups and events. What the program needs now, I believe, is a set of leaders who can guide and scale these groups for more effective actions.

I’m curious to know how this new initiative will affect these existing structure?

Point 2: Leveraging Polkadot Pathways:

“Learn-to-Earn Modules: Participants engage in educational modules to enhance their understanding of the ecosystem, supporting continuous learning and development.

  • Points System: This system tracks and rewards the engagement and progress of participants, highlighting their active involvement in the program.”

Currently, we have a robust system in place known as “Polkadot Pathways,” which allows community members to earn points for completing tasks. It’s a valuable tool for understanding our community’s knowledge and interests. Incorporating the proposed points system into Polkadot Pathways could be a great enhancement.

I’m interested in hearing your plans for implementing this effectively and taking it to the next level. Would this system replace, or be a part of the current plans you have?

Point 3: Bounties and Community Engagement:

I’d like to emphasize that bounties such as moderation, events bounty and anti-scam have been successful due to the existing ambassador program. How do you plan to further engage and grow community involvement in these bounties? What’s the funnel strategy for attracting new members, and how will it differ from the current structure?

Point 4: Mandatory Governance Participation:

While encouraging community members to participate in governance is important, I have reservations about making it mandatory. Not everyone may be interested or able to participate in this way. Can you elaborate on your strategy for activating community members who may not yet hold DOT or have an interest in governance? How will you track and promote this aspect effectively?

Point 5: Branding and Program Focus:

Regarding branding, I’d like clarification. Are you suggesting a complete renaming of the program, or is this a separate initiative within the existing ambassador program? The name “Polkadot Agents” may not adequately convey the program’s focus, so further explanation is needed to understand the scope and purpose of this proposal.

Final Questions:

In conclusion, I’m excited about the potential for growth in the ambassador program. However, I believe we need a deeper analysis of the current structure and its scalability within your proposed changes. Some specific questions include:

  • How will new members join the program, and what platform will be used for community building?
  • How will new community members be onboarded without disrupting the existing community’s work?
  • How do sub-DAOs and various initiatives fit into the new community member onboarding process?
  • Can we simplify the introduction process for new community members who want to get started quickly?

Additionally, I suggest reviewing the current ambassador “candidate” onboarding process for potential improvements here.

I look forward to a more detailed discussion to address these critical points and help ensure the successful growth of the ambassador program. Cheers!

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Thank you for taking the time to post and for all your work. :saluting_face:

I have been working on this personally since August/September 2023. I had been receiving a lot of complaints from people I interacted with about the state of the ambassador program. It was clear something needed to change. I developed this after sub0 2023 as an enhancement to the current ambassador program.

I’m not really sure what I’m allowed to say publicly and I want to avoid poking at anyone, so I will try to avoid sensitive areas and comments. If you want to talk more privately you can reach me on element @stakeplus:matrix.org

To preface, I would like to state my own general overall experience and goals for this program. When I came into the ecosystem full time (a little more than a year ago), I needed a machete and a chainsaw to clear a path forward (and still do). It was not and is not an easy thing, it was/is unclear to me how to integrate, what was/is possible, or what would/will be allowed by TPTB. Since joining, I have seen many people leave over frustrations about constant changing of the guards, difficulty in integrating, or from general drama. I believe that things don’t need to be like this. What we need is to craft a paved road, a path of least resistance, into the ecosystem and hand hold people to some degree down this path. Not everyone is going to have the type-A personality required currently to thrive in this ecosystem. I believe that this program can be that path. Showing people a road that leads to networks/webs of collectives, opportunities and where future agents can be the change we want to see. Bringing the next generation of ideas, experiments and development.

Point 1:
The Polkadot Ambassador Program already offers a diverse set of tracks, which goes beyond limiting participants to tasks like tweeting. These tracks include:

Content creation
Community building
Events
On-chain activities
Brainstorming

Additionally, there are regional tracks that connect ambassadors to local meetups and events. What the program needs now, I believe, is a set of leaders who can guide and scale these groups for more effective actions.

I’m curious to know how this new initiative will affect these existing structure?

As far as I’m concerned, This program will be launched as a completely separate program and collective unless forced to adopt the current structure. In this decentralized future there’s no reason we can’t have 2 competing programs, may the best outcome win. As far as I understand it, there will be a team seeking a decentralized futures grant for the purposes of continuing to build the existing ambassador program. Since the ambassador collective was grandfathered in and won’t be submitted for a token holder decision on its creation, I don’t see any stopping blocks on their path.

Yes, there are a few tracks but those tracks do not optimally align with ecosystem needs. These additional tracks were only added last month. It lacks all of the technical aspects that are most critically needed to build and maintain everything. It only focuses on promotional aspects, rather than building and maintaining the ecosystem including promotion. The other problem the original ambassador program has is in reward / value alignment across tracks. Since the ambassador program is paying out people directly, you will have continuous value alignment issues and complaints around this that need to be continually managed and adjusted. This solves that problem by pushing those rewards out to other collectives to pay out which is ideal because you will have people competent in those areas to determine someone’s relative output value in a specific field. The only payments that an agent would receive from this program is a small stipend and rewards for learn 2 earn. All other rewards would come from a sub-dao or collective that they have integrated with.

One of the first tasks we will be working on is to revamp the program once more to have it be completely unique. Since it was created as the basis of an upgrade to the existing program, I think there are a lot of other changes we can make. I would like to spend some time with the team thinking and rethinking things, to make sure we get the most optimal user flow. We do have user flow diagrams, etc but those were all designed on the basis of an expansion to the ambassador program.

Point 2:
I’m interested in hearing your plans for implementing this effectively and taking it to the next level. Would this system replace, or be a part of the current plans you have?

I am not personally aware of the tech stack behind the existing learn 2 earn system. It’s not really a major cost component in this proposal. We are intending to integrate this program directly into the wallets and users will do most of their Agents interactions, Learn 2 Earn, and more directly inside their wallet. They would get a notification they have a task or learning module to complete. They complete the module or task and the wallet sends an API notification to the backend systems to validate testing results, or to check for some on-chain or off-chain activity.

We will utilize existing content in a cost-saving measure and work on these points will revolve around constructing the learning path for each specialized track (outsourced to existing specialists in those areas). Once the learning paths are outlined, we will source existing content that teaches these topics and build tests from that content.

Point 3:
I’d like to emphasize that bounties such as moderation, events bounty and anti-scam have been successful due to the existing ambassador program. How do you plan to further engage and grow community involvement in these bounties? What’s the funnel strategy for attracting new members, and how will it differ from the current structure?

There is a difference between people who were already polkadot agents that became ambassadors and ambassadors who came in through the ambassador program. Were these successful integrations because of already active ecosystem agents that became ambassadors, or were they successful due to the ambassador program? My understanding is that it’s more due to the former than the latter. I could be wrong though.

This program will require people integrate with existing and upcoming collectives or get ejected from the program. Become an agent “or else”. This also acts as a natural filter, as collectives fill up, joining them will get harder, which will limit growth of this program (as people will get dropped for lack of ability to integrate with a collective). For example, a substrate developer would be required to do things like join the hero builders program, the fellowship, or one of the other upcoming initiatives. We can track their status and activity in those collectives based on the payments and on-chain activity from those collective and bounty addresses to the address of the agent. Their relative value can be found based on how much they receive relative to other payments from that collective. It is up to that collective to determine optimal input/reward ratios and valuing the contributions relative to other members of the programs.

Generally, the top of the funnel isn’t significantly changed, although we will be focusing marketing on getting more substrate developers (targeting existing rust competent individuals) and app developers (targeting existing nodejs, golang and rust competent individuals) in the door. An area that is critically missing from the current program.

Point 4:
While encouraging community members to participate in governance is important, I have reservations about making it mandatory. Not everyone may be interested or able to participate in this way. Can you elaborate on your strategy for activating community members who may not yet hold DOT or have an interest in governance? How will you track and promote this aspect effectively?

Someone who is specialized in an infrastructure track should review and comment on infrastructure proposals. Someone who is specialized in substrate development should be checking costs and making sure cost estimates are reasonable and that the development wanting to be done is feasible or doesn’t create secondary issues. Someone who is specialized in content should be looking at the 9000 media spend proposals we have right now to see which ones are all bot followers, which ones have real followings, which ones we should and should not be funding. Having specialists commenting and reviewing proposals (and eventually collective spending) is a requirement. We need to be sure that we’re not throwing the baby out with the bath water and that the good proposals do make it through.

For example, LV (DaBlock) has been doing this recently for Giotto in the autonomous content collective, completely unpaid, for the purposes of helping the ecosystem. A true content specialized ecosystem agent who sees a problem and is trying to help without being told or asked.

Understanding that these Agents will not be whales and their ability to influence governance votes is muted, I don’t see it as necessary that they vote. But they should be actively engaging in proposals directly related to their specialty. Their agent status and primary specialty will be displayed in their on-chain identity. We will work with the various governance platforms to get this integrated. Just because they have only a few tokens doesn’t mean their voice is invalid. I often look to these people to understand how I should vote on certain proposals.

Point 5: Branding and Program Focus:
Regarding branding, I’d like clarification. Are you suggesting a complete renaming of the program, or is this a separate initiative within the existing ambassador program? The name “Polkadot Agents” may not adequately convey the program’s focus, so further explanation is needed to understand the scope and purpose of this proposal.

To avoid stepping on toes, I would like to launch this program separately from the existing ambassador program. If I’m told by certain people this should replace the ambassador program, I will reluctantly agree, assuming it’s the only path forward.

Final Questions:
In conclusion, I’m excited about the potential for growth in the ambassador program. However, I believe we need a deeper analysis of the current structure and its scalability within your proposed changes. Some specific questions include:

I agree, as we have been working on upgrades, fixes and changes to the existing ambassador program, completely unpaid. It would be prudent upon acceptance for us to spend time to re-evaluate things and make sure what we have is the most optimal approach to on-board talent and man power to the ecosystem.

  • How will new members join the program, and what platform will be used for community building?

Currently anticipating requesting a special category and gated access area on the official polkadot discord to serve as a “meeting place” for agents. Generally, the purpose of this program is not about building a community. It’s about getting the people with the right skills to the places where they’re needed so other people can build their collectives. This is a funnel, not a community. It’s up to the actual communities to build their communities.

  • How will new community members be onboarded without disrupting the existing community’s work?

Existing collectives should have their own on-boarding processes and procedures. These members would integrate with them based on the rules and requirements of those collectives. If a collective doesn’t have room, it would prevent the upward movement of an agent, and after some time they would be ejected from the program due to failure to integrate.

  • How do sub-DAOs and various initiatives fit into the new community member onboarding process?

Polkadot sub-daos, collectives and groups are the ultimate destination point of new members in the on-boarding process. It’s not an after thought, it’s the entire point. As a decentralized HR-style entity, the entire point of this programs existence is to make sure all of these new collectives have the man-power they need to fulfill their missions and carry the entire ecosystem forward.

  • Can we simplify the introduction process for new community members who want to get started quickly?

I think this is one thing that the ambassador program 2.0 did get correct. There should not be a simplification of the process to get people started quickly. Everyone should be required to follow the same steps. What is the value of being able to say “I’m a such and such level ecosystem agent” – if we’re just arbitrarily adding people to the collective “kuz frens”. It kills the value of the program because ultimately you won’t know if the person actually did the things that they were supposed to do to get to where they’re at.

Additionally, I suggest reviewing the current ambassador “candidate” onboarding process for potential improvements here.

I look forward to a more detailed discussion to address these critical points and help ensure the successful growth of the ambassador program. Cheers!

Please reach out to me via element – I already opened a DM with you. There are a lot of things that I just don’t want to say publicly.

4 Likes

This is such an important initiative which will help build the Polkadot and Kusama social capital which will ultimately help propagate our vision, technology and culture to the world.

We have missed being part of the wider community for so long currently we are largely irrelevant in the Web2 and Web3 community. This right here is a step towards tackling that exact issue.

It’s been heartbreaking seeing so many active and highly talented individuals from different parts of the world lose interest in our ecosystem due to lack of an engaging structured program that empowers and supports them in their path to grow the influence of Web3 powered by Polkadot.

Will be supporting this initiative and I’m looking forward to seeing this become a reality! Thanks to the team for brainstorming and coming up with this idea!

This is a really intriguing and interesting proposal!

@tom.stakeplus - where/how can progress be followed?

Are you open to contributions? Have designed a few loyalty programs/initiatives in the past, would be keen to see how I could chip-in.

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The best way to get involved, if approved, would be to join the program. The program will be a starting framework that ultimately will be self governing/self managing. It will be up to the Agents to keep the program operational and expand / change its mission when deemed desirable. Our purpose is to bootstrap the operations, get the framework in place and bring the initial wave of people.

There will be phases during program creation that will be contracted out to the community to fill. But those roles are unlikely to be open to anyone as they require specialists within those fields. (Designing the program educational tracks, selecting appropriate content, and creating tests for that content).

As far as comms, we haven’t set anything in stone yet, but we will figure out ways to keep everyone informed on progress.

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The more I think about it, the more I like this plan–since competent, reliable, available people are a very thin resource, organizing around Ecosystem Agents who have established expertise makes sense to me. I hope people give this a careful examination. There’s quite a bit to chew on.

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@tom.stakeplus this is nice. First time I hear about it. What’s the latest? Any updates?

I’ve been proposing a similar categorization that is based on the Balanced Scorecard model (adapted to decentralized Web3 reality):

How did you arrive at these categories specifically?

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We have pulled our DF request. It’s undesirable to commit to doing something without having the funds to know you can actually execute on it. It was suggested that we should go through treasury for some of it. Without knowing if the treasury request would be approved, we were unwilling to commit. We still fully believe this is the path forward to bring new people into the ecosystem, integrate them into the ecosystem, and provide reputation for work done. Ultimately it would be nice to see someone carry this idea forward even if it’s not by us.

@alice_und_bob what do you think?