At the end of the outgoing year, an investigation into the activities of Web & Design Subgovernance was published on the Free TON community forum. Jury member Michael Kabanov became its main defendant. The main allegations of the investigation concern the issue of collusion and corruption among the jury.
We believe that in this situation it is important to find out the arguments of both parties and, through dialogue, try to find a solution and develop mechanisms that improve the ecosystem of the Free TON community. Therefore, we bring to your attention an interview with Michael.
- Michael, please tell us what you do in Free TON.
I, Michael Kabanov, co-founder of Web & Design Subgovernance. This “Subgov” was formed on the basis of a common understanding that the visual component of the project should be systematized and directed into a single channel. In addition to the design itself, as a set of pictures, we also want to provide users with the maximum possible comfort of using the Free TON blockchain.
Our preliminary work plan for the current and future can be found on the forum in the appropriate thread. In general, there are quite a few plans, but they are not being implemented as smoothly and not as quickly as we would like. But, we must understand that there are no ready-made solutions with a decentralized control system, therefore we get experience along the way and the dog can grow up well.
- Michael, in the materials of the investigation there are facts that your classmates are the members of the jury of W&D Subgovernance. Please comment on this.
I graduated from an English special school in Moscow near the Belorusskaya metro station. And since you asked, I invited my school friend to our subgavernance — @lelique has many years of experience in design, and follows all the trends. I completely trust his opinion, but I do not always agree with him. Actually, this is fundamentally important in the framework of the mechanism — the diversity of opinions.
There are no more of my classmates in Free TON. If there are, I have not met them in the chat rooms.
- Could you tell us if you still have relatives or old friends on your team?
Yes, the artistic director at GoodPR is my wife. An interesting story, by the way — for one project I was looking for a designer who would help with the layout of the catalog. And who would have thought this designer would become my wife. Since then, in fact, we have been working together like this — I am engaged in business development and negotiations, and Maria oversees all design and art issues.
Alexey has already been mentioned above.
The most difficult projects are websites. It comes to scandals, to be honest. In the landing page competition, we had three applications: two we made together, the third, according to my concept, was drawn by another designer. We wanted to give several options for the vision of the Free TON website — minimalistic, illustrative and within the current style. All works won prizes, but, alas, none of the “Main gov” jury liked so much to get to the honorable first. There is something to work on.
- Besides you and your wife, is anyone else from your agency involved in contests or “sabgov” activities?
When we had enough energy, especially creative energy, we would do a few submissions. Two were in stickers, one in social media, three in landing pages, two in videos, and one submission in postcards. We also had joint work with @lelique — a submission for the Virtual heroes contest.
We also entered the Blog contest. Even though blog.freeton.org has already been launched, we felt we could offer a more attractive and functional design for the community to use in the future. I also wrote all the texts myself (except, in my opinion, two — one of the community members helped me with them) so that our submission fully met the contest conditions.
In general, I think it is correct and I support that the number of applications and multi-accounts is not regulated in any way. If you can make something beautiful — a picture or program code, that’s great. If you have ideas on how to solve the same problem in different ways, that’s great.
- The investigation mentions your connection with the publication “Computerra.ru” — a candidate for partners of Free TON. Could you tell us about it?
After school, I was preparing to enter the Oil and Gas Institute, I planned to do programming in order to later work in game development. But fate turned out differently — literally in the month of admission, I published the first article in the magazine “Home Computer” of the publishing house “Computerra”. Several years later, I became the PR-director of another magazine of this publishing house — Game.EXE. Over time, the paper press began to give way to the Internet more actively, so the magazine closed more than 10 years ago. I don’t keep in touch with my former colleagues — they all fled in all directions.
- Could you explain who is mentioned in the investigation as your clone Anatoly Mishkin — he is also Evgeny Romanov?
This is one of the accounts on the forum from which the work was submitted. There are three of them: Kabanov, Romanova, Mishkin / Romanov.
You can submit works from 10 accounts, the rule is very simple — if the works are good, worked out, offer interesting solutions and consider the problem from different angles, then they definitely increase the value of the network as a whole.
- How was the Web & Design Subgovernance founded, who were the initiators, and how were the jury members selected?
Initially, the Sabgav was formed on the basis of a very diverse team: you already know about me and @lelique; also @eteslov and @pastor_tsong; @ttwozy and @Riemann; @isheldon and @vladgohn; well-known chat admins @Grigoriy2000 and @Dedicate_s; and another one from RSquad developers @inyellowbus.
That is, from the very beginning, the team was quite diversified, they have their own vision of development and future prospects.
Realizing that creative contests will always be perceived very sharply by everyone, we decided to go further — we announced a jury contest, where we recruited 11 more participants. That is, a total of 22 people.
We were asked questions — how do you select, and why, and why him and not him? You know, many factors were assessed in the selection process — not only resume / portfolio, but also activity in chats and on the forum, literacy and clarity of statements. This is, in fact, very important —if understanding does not work out, and then it will simply not be possible to function as a joint working group.
It remains to be seen how much all this will work in its current form – we held only two contests, in each we learned something new, tried approaches and solutions.
- The Christmas card contest you initiated has recently ended. The competition caused a lot of controversy among members of the Free TON community. Please tell us what the main idea of the contest was and how you evaluate its results.
The idea is quite banal — a simple task (if you compare it with a video, for example, or with a landing page), a lot of work, a festive mood. While I was writing the text of the contest, I realized that with the predicted mass scale, there were a lot of prizes to be made. Community contributor @danoneo helped a lot in creating the distribution formula. Ideally, I would like to see about 500 submissions and about 100 prizes, that is, works with 6 or more points. Read it, there is a very interesting model.
As a result, 276 (!) works. Today it is the largest contest in the history of Free TON. The prize fund of 100,000 TON will be distributed among 68 (!!) winners. Ahead of your question, yes, we also participated, and took the honorable 38th place.
We not only used a new model for distributing prizes, someday I will tell you about it separately, we also figured out that such a large amount of work can organically fill Twitter with FT-generated content. Hence, additional points arose in the wording of the contest — to place your work on Twitter with a mandatory set of tags.
And one more very important remark: an unpleasant incident occurred during the voting — one of the jury members made a mistake and evaluated the work on a five-point scale, instead of a ten-point one. Also, of course, it is possible and necessary to work with the jury’s comments. Let’s think — how. In any case, the team of our “sabgov” sincerely apologizes to all participants in the contest. We will do our best to get better with each contest.
- Could you explain why there are two proposals in the Postcard contest?
The explanation is purely technical. The original proposal is accepted by the “initials” after several stages of discussion — internal on the subject of how the contest has the right to life. After that, the idea that has taken shape is sent to the public space — subgov’s profile chat and to a thread on the forum. There, the proposal collects additional comments and ideas from the community for 5 or more days, is finalized and sent to a vote.
Since we are experimenting (see the model in the Video contest) on different reward distribution systems, some organizational errors are quite possible. And we were told that our formula for the distribution of awards in the Postcard contest was posted on Google spreadsheets, that is, off-chain. This is wrong, since the data can be replaced. Therefore, the formula was fixed in a separate annex to the proposal and is stored on-chain in the PDF file.
The participants cannot know all the subtleties, and the jury members are faced with many things for the first time. But there are no secret conspiracies and cheating here. Everything can be verified — the blockchain remembers everything.
- Is there any reason to believe that your approach to voting is biased?
I have no experience of voting in creative contests, because if you participate, you must abstain all works, including yours. But it seems to me extremely doubtful that even theoretically it is possible to persuade all 22 people to vote according to the same template. Such a number of juries allows to obtain a sufficiently high variance of estimates: someone judges strictly, does not give high marks to the right and left; and someone, on the contrary, judges softer, giving higher marks in principle. From here we get some averaged normalized estimate.
Will the dissatisfied be? Certainly. If someone thinks that I am glad and satisfied with all the marks that the jury gives to our works, then you are greatly mistaken. But the jury thinks so. What can I do about it? The only correct answer is to do better every time, give your best, and always take a lower grade as a reason to improve. It is not necessary to splash negative on the jury members.
- What about affiliate works? You probably don’t know about everything, so please tell us about yours.
In fact, there was one episode that I know of. It is not entirely obvious, but let’s refer it to affiliate voting for the purity of the experiment. @lelique voted in the Video contest, while 2 entries from GoodPR participated in it. The work, which was uploaded on my behalf, with the voice of Alexei scored 8.43 points, without his voice the score would have been even higher — 8.53 points. This is because he gave the work 7 points — he considered the mark to be objective at precisely this level.
The second work, which was uploaded on behalf of Maria, received 7.12 points taking into account Alexei’s vote (8 points), without him it would have been 7.06 points. In this case, this vote also did not affect the prize.
Why did this happen? The judging model and the jury themselves are only at the beginning of the journey. Therefore it is still premature to assess the effectiveness.
- The question is rather private, but what do you do with your tokens? Store, Stake, Sell?
Once I tried to trade, just a little bit, but this is not mine. Staking in Free TON is not the most profitable business. I had a sad experience when I kept a lot of tokens earned by honest labor (hello Minter!), which turned into nothing as a result. Now the model is different — I leave only 10% in tokens.
Does it mean that I do not believe in the project? However, if I did not really believe in the project, would I be engaged in administrative activities? Organizational activity is a separate topic of conversation.
Tokens do not fall from the sky; a huge amount of work is done for each contest. Therefore, I consider it my right to dispose of them according to my choice. Everyone has their own recipes.
- At the end of our interview, let us ask you directly: have you colluded with other members of the Free TON community to acquire tokens bypassing the current rules?
No, I didn’t. As I said above, in the case of Web & Design Subgovernance, it is impossible (literally) to somehow take a shortcut and come to the prize by a shorter route. A large number of “initials” and the jury automatically override the option of cheating and bypassing the rules.
- Michael, thanks for your answers. We hope your statement will help to objectively understand the situation. Happy New Year!
Thank you for your time. I wish you and your publishing house prosperity in the coming year. Of course, good health is a must at this time. I wish journalists an inquiring mind, editors vigilant eyes, and, of course, the growth of your blog audience. Happy New Year!