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Plan for Collators
5hrs 46mins ago
8 Comments

As we have seen, the lack of a clear plan for collators and/or lack of announcements about the number of collators, the tight number of collator spots and opportunistic capital has created a disenfranchisement of much of the early support which helped maintain the testnet and has supported the parachain and application from the very early stages.

So this discussion exists so that a concrete plan for the growth of the collator number is set or if that's not possible, to seek explanations as to why and to build alternative solutions that could help foster the collator community on Zeitgeist in case that the collator number HAS TO remain small.

As we have already discussed it on Discord:
There are two different paths for a governance referendum(s) could be made.

  1. To increase the number of collators to 24 in a single referendum as soon as possible. Thus doubling the possible available spots and including all the interested collators leave it there and create a new discussion if that number is not enough. This number will be significantly lower than Moonbeam's. The main pro is that this will take the shortest to occur.
  2. To increase next to 16 collators as it was originally intended by the Zeitgeist team, wait a week, evaluate performance. If it goes well, move to 20. Rinse and repeat until we reach 32 a number that will be lower than Moonbeam original collator set and will suffice for all the interested collators as well as new collators with enough capital to make a bid. The main drawback is that this is more likely to create supporter disenfranchisement due to new capital and attention entering the ecosystem at a faster rate. This will take significantly longer than option 1.

Alternative options like rotating delegations could be worked in tandem with the collator number increase so they are not mutually exclusive.

This are just numbers based on the appreciation of early participants who have an intention to participate based on https://collatorstats.brightlystake.com/zeitgeist so the numbers and time frame is well open for discussion as well as possible alternatives like rotation of delegations and many other possibilities not discussed here. So the intention is to start a broad conversation which ends up in concrete plans and changes hopefully.

Looking forward to hear the community's feedback

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Hi, I fully support your proposal. Team should decide which option is better for the project or propose their own plan, but with regards to setting clear guidelines with timeframe and support for long term testnet collators!
What has been done so far is a huge waste of computational resources and our money.

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I totally support the proposal. We need to clearly define the collators expansion program so all users who joined and supported Zeitgeist network development from testnet and further on know the exact rules and have a chance to become the active collator. This would also close further discussion and pave a path for further network development and decentralisation.

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We fully support this proposal too. We think that long term project supporters are necessary to set up solid foundations for a resilient validator/collator community and infrastructure, mainly bc those have demostrated that are reliable for running project's infra and help to decentralize and isolate from market trends, and also bc early supporters have invested in infra resources and time.

Open for further discussions on proposal details to set the base for these actions, but the current plan proposal looks solid to us.

Blockscope validators.

Edited
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Hey everyone, after some final discussions with Bob, Head of Community at Zeitgeist, we have prepared the following post.

We’d like to start off by saying thank you for bringing this conversation forward in a constructive manner. We have put a considerable amount of thought into the collator program.

1. What is the plan regarding collator set size increase?
The plan moving forward for increasing the set size is based on our goals for guiding the healthy growth of the Zeitgeist network throughout its early stages.

-Decentralization.
-Stability
-Quality

The plan
Increase 4 slots every month during one year, allowing 1 sponsored and 3 market economy collators to enter the set. The slow increase of collator slots has the following benefits:

  1. It allows us to verify network stability in small steps and to find the sweet spot for the Zeitgeist network
  2. It ensures that there is enough time for the delegators to distill the three most promising next candidates

Increasing the number of slots too fast could result in a sudden dip of chain performance and it could also lead to the situation that low quality collators make it into the set, who can also negatively impact the network performance.

2. How many sponsored slots?
The goal is for 25% of the collators to be sponsored.

3. Why do we plan to fund collators at all?
It is important to insure a healthy network for all who are involved. By sponsoring collators we have the opportunity to help build the robust, reliable, and decentralized network it was designed to be.

Collators will be selected for sponsorship based on the following metrics:

  1. Uptime
  2. Responsiveness
  3. Community activity
  4. Length of participation in the network

4. How will we proceed when new collators are sponsored?

Once more collator slots are available for sponsoring, we will contact the next collators in the sponsoring queue. We will provide the conditions that have to be met before we consider delegating stake to that collator. Those will also include constraints in regards to the geographical location and provider of the server to ensure the best possible decentralization in the network. After ensuring that the collator is ready, we will ask for the collators address to finally delegate stake for that collator.

5. How should we proceed from this point?
We want to achieve our 25% sponsorship goals as soon as possible, but we also want to consider all the factors that will be affected by the addition of sponsored collators into the network. We propose we sponsor 2/12 collators, submit a proposal for an increase to 16 collators immediately, and once dispatched, we sponsor 4/16 collators. This brings us to a 25% sponsorship relatively quickly while allowing for market economy collators to enter the set naturally. Once the 25% sponsorship goal is achieved we swap to the 1/4 monthly cadence outlined above.

6. Reasons to remove sponsorship

  • The collator has a bad uptime and skips too many blocks
  • Decentralization constraints are not maintained
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Insufficient activity

7. What does Zeitgeist do with the staking rewards?

Zeitgeist won’t keep the rewards for their own profit. By default Zeitgeist will redirect the funds to the on-chain treasury, which then can be used for on-chain bounties.

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@sea212
Thank you for the post and your assurance of a sponsorship program.

Here are some specific questions about this arrangement that I'd appreciate to be elaborated on (and assume others would like to know as well):

  1. When a list of whitelisted collators will be revealed and can we also see the rankings?
  2. Can you please include some schedule as to when a particular collator is expected to get sponsorship?
  3. Is it necessary for whitelisted collators to keep running mainnet on high spec hardware if they still have e.g. several months left before they get into the active set with this sponsorship?
  4. When does this plan kicks off?
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@sea212
Thank you for these well-thought ideas on the collator program - I must admit it's one of the best I've seen in the Dotsama ecosystem.

I agree with what @Curu have asked - especially whether can we expect the first list expansion to happen in October?
I would add one more question and that is if you are going to take a collator self-bond into consideration as well (so-called skin in the game).
Again, thanks for this post and discussion and I am looking forward to seeing this in action!

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Thanks for the info @sea212 looks like a quite rational approach.

We are concerned with Curu's questions 1 and 3 specially. We think it would be fair to know the list of on-boarding, to know how many months will it take to enter the collator set. And 3 is quite related to the previous concern, so it will apply on the service expenses that a waiting collator should cover prior to entering the active set.

Blockscope validators.

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5hrs 46mins ago

Hey everyone, thanks for participating in this discussion and for leaving so many great questions!

To answer the questions from @Curu :

When a list of whitelisted collators will be revealed and can we also see the rankings?

We will release this list in the coming days and it will include rankings. However, we are still discussing the last couple of slots in the list and will leave them undetermined for now. In addition to that, the list can also change. While this shouldn't be the rule, it can happen if it turns out that the collator does not meet the necessary quality standard (see point 6 in the post above).

Can you please include some schedule as to when a particular collator is expected to get sponsorship?

We can provide an estimation in case things go exactly as planned. This won't be a binding statement, but we'll try our best to stick to that timeline.

Is it necessary for whitelisted collators to keep running mainnet on high spec hardware if they still have e.g. several months left before they get into the active set with this sponsorship?

No, the node operators on the list already have proven their capabilities and additional nodes are currently not mandatory for the network to operate.

When does this plan kicks off?

We plan to start onboarding next week and launch a proposal to increase the collator set size to 16.

@Polk...ters asked:

I would add one more question and that is if you are going to take a collator self-bond into consideration as well (so-called skin in the game).

No, collator self-bond will be completely irrelevant. The node operators who have been selected for a sponsored collator slot have proven in the past that they are suited for that role with a high probability. We want to keep the economic influence completely out of the equation, because it is solely about improving the network health and quality in this program in ways that the current staking system does not incentivize. If the collator fails to maintain the necessary quality standard, removal from the sponsorship can occur.

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