Author Topic: Raising the quantity of BTS witnesses & the introduction of vote degradation?  (Read 9234 times)

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Offline fractalnode

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I looked at @FractalNode's spreadsheet and the numbers on rows 6 & 7 make sense, but don't understand the results on rows 8 & 9. The number of nodes for those rows are larger than row 7, but result is less.

row 7 & 8 & 9 are simulations
the more (TOP) standby witness you have, less pay they get

Quote
- allowing a randomly selected standby witness to produce a block and get rewarded is an idea worth considering. If that were implemented, it would certainly require a hardfork. To insure network integrity should be limited to a very small number (1% or 2%) of the total blocks. Only the next N standby witnesses would be chosen for the random drawing, perhaps the top 10 according to voting support.

Actually I do not support this idea, we could just pay them to be on standby mode – because it is not free.
I think this is unnecessarily complicating matters and it will and degrade performance – probably the average performance of these machines will be lower.
This is the place to learn and reserve just in case

Quote
- using collateral to measure commitment is one way to measure, but not the only one. May not even be the best one. Length of service, participation in forum / Telegram, testnet participation, portion of pay reinvested into witness upgrades, contributions to code, community involvement are IMO at least equal if not a more direct measurement than how much capitol you invest.
So I gave this a bad name. The idea is to pay for increasing liquidity, by locking funds under bitASSETS and placing orders to the DEX
Topic: New Bitshares Dividend Idea and my last comment on this, is on  page 3
and this is not related to nodes in this topic.

Quote
I also think the 3rd criterion should involve evidence of competency to produce price feeds, perhaps via participation in the testnet and alternatively setting up some type of "feed test oracle" that isn't used for settlements or an any official capacity, but rather might serve as a point of comparison for official feeds. Now this could be done via a private website or modification to wackou's bts_tools web interface to provide feeds on the tools website but not publish them on the blockchain (which is only allowed by active witnesses).
I agree and I see your point. Thanks for that!
I think therefore that it should merge 3 and 4 criterion.
And let voters decide, on the basis of the information contained in the Witness subject on the forum.

It may lead us to the creation of the model form
with mandatory fields to fill, such as
how long you provided node services for the test network

o gosh :D
this may kill 1 and 2 criterion
if ask proper questions, like
where is you server ?
What are its parameters ?


but what happens if you suddenly lose 75% of witnesses
by some tsunami or WW3
This is the question to which we seek answers:
How to make automatic switch standby nodes to witnesses?
How to encourage the start-up and maintenance of such nodes?

And I do not like the answer: "that then it will not matter"
« Last Edit: April 15, 2017, 02:43:33 pm by FractalNode »

Offline kenCode

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Hardforks can be a pain in the arse for everyone, but there are plenty of other pending issues that will require a hardfork as well, so adding yet another doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore since it would add so many nice new features and fixes to bitshares-core:
https://github.com/bitshares/bitshares-core/issues?q=is%3Aopen+is%3Aissue+label%3Ahardfork
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Offline Thom

I looked at @FractalNode's spreadsheet and the numbers on rows 6 & 7 make sense, but don't understand the results on rows 8 & 9. The number of nodes for those rows are larger than row 7, but result is less.

Although I am very much in agreement with your approach, there are a number of things to consider before it could be implemented.

This will require a hardfork. Those more familiar with the code can confirm if any of this can be done without one.

- having payout based on individual witness performance will require a hardfork

- paying standby witnesses will require a hardfork

- allowing a randomly selected standby witness to produce a block and get rewarded is an idea worth considering. If that were implemented, it would certainly require a hardfork. To insure network integrity should be limited to a very small number (1% or 2%) of the total blocks. Only the next N standby witnesses would be chosen for the random drawing, perhaps the top 10 according to voting support.

- using collateral to measure commitment is one way to measure, but not the only one. May not even be the best one. Length of service, participation in forum / Telegram, testnet participation, portion of pay reinvested into witness upgrades, contributions to code, community involvement are IMO at least equal if not a more direct measurement than how much capitol you invest. What good does it do anybody to lockup a large stake of BTS anyway? And has anyone considered the legal ramifications to the witness role? Remember, when graphene was introduced the witness role was compartmentalized to minimize their vulnerability to the regulators. Not saying a collateral affects that, and it is similar to Dash's Masternode architecture, but I'm not a tyrannical bureaucrat either. Something to consider, as is whether existing witnesses would be grandfathered in, given some period of time to produce the collateral and how will it be escrowed or locked.

I also think the 3rd criterion should involve evidence of competency to produce price feeds, perhaps via participation in the testnet and alternatively setting up some type of "feed test oracle" that isn't used for settlements or an any official capacity, but rather might serve as a point of comparison for official feeds. Now this could be done via a private website or modification to wackou's bts_tools web interface to provide feeds on the tools website but not publish them on the blockchain (which is only allowed by active witnesses).

It is also worth considering what could be done without a hardfork, perhaps though various monitoring tools or bots.

I'll have more thoughts later, but for now that''' do.
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Offline fractalnode

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I corrected my mistake in The third criterion:
it should be "proof of ability"

And I wouldn't group ability (price feeds) and resources (missed blocks(...), server uptime)

Around the globe we could have very different cases. IN some of them, we could have very talented and involved programmers with weak and expensive servers, and in the other hand we could have very good servers and lazy operators.

Quote
As for paying standby witnesses, I assume you mean in a scenario where they would randomly get to produce some % of the blocks.
Actually not (let it be as it is easier), They are needed to confirm blocks, not to produce it
and they are needed as a backup – this is very important!
We also create in this way a trained base of administrators and enter the competition.

maybe 21 + 79 is too much, maybe we could use 34 or 55 :
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YUeO7hJ35OJHV2DsY72-Ma_8MwVPeb56jMl-Hxf1EvY/edit?usp=sharing


I was just trying to group the metrics that pertain to how good of a job a witness is doing.  Seems logical.  But it can be grouped any way as long as each individual metric (not each group) has its own score attached. 

As for backup witnesses, I agree with the reasons to have backups (to develop pool of competent witnesses).  I also agree with incentivizing people to confirm blocks (as opposed to produce them).  Actually, if I understand correctly, this is a more important function than people realize. But how do you pay for that?  I mean, how do we even know if someone is confirming blocks?  Right now we don't.  But I've said in the past that it would be nice if the software could be modified such that the account running it could get credit for doing so.  If one could earn a return on their stake like this, many people would be willing to run a node and lock up collateral.  This could be the Bitshares version of a masternode.  The software could even be made to include the upcoming stealth "trusted setup" to enable wide participation in that process.  I think we'd get a lot of interest and could generate a lot of buzz with something like this.

summarizing:
new rating based elections for nodes
21 witness – 100% (3 BTS)
34 (or 55) backup nodes – 50% (~1,5 BTS) ---------- >>> https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YUeO7hJ35OJHV2DsY72-Ma_8MwVPeb56jMl-Hxf1EvY/edit?usp=sharing

Please also comment on this post – topic : New fee structure on BitShares
https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php/topic,23706.msg302068.html#msg302068


And could you elaborate "trusted setup", is this has something to do with IPFS? I had to miss it.


Offline tbone

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I corrected my mistake in The third criterion:
it should be "proof of ability"

And I wouldn't group ability (price feeds) and resources (missed blocks(...), server uptime)

Around the globe we could have very different cases. IN some of them, we could have very talented and involved programmers with weak and expensive servers, and in the other hand we could have very good servers and lazy operators.

Quote
As for paying standby witnesses, I assume you mean in a scenario where they would randomly get to produce some % of the blocks.
Actually not (let it be as it is easier), They are needed to confirm blocks, not to produce it
and they are needed as a backup – this is very important!
We also create in this way a trained base of administrators and enter the competition.


I was just trying to group the metrics that pertain to how good of a job a witness is doing.  Seems logical.  But it can be grouped any way as long as each individual metric (not each group) has its own score attached. 

As for backup witnesses, I agree with the reasons to have backups (to develop pool of competent witnesses).  I also agree with incentivizing people to confirm blocks (as opposed to produce them).  Actually, if I understand correctly, this is a more important function than people realize. But how do you pay for that?  I mean, how do we even know if someone is confirming blocks?  Right now we don't.  But I've said in the past that it would be nice if the software could be modified such that the account running it could get credit for doing so.  If one could earn a return on their stake like this, many people would be willing to run a node and lock up collateral.  This could be the Bitshares version of a masternode.  The software could even be made to include the upcoming stealth "trusted setup" to enable wide participation in that process.  I think we'd get a lot of interest and could generate a lot of buzz with something like this.

Offline fractalnode

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I corrected my mistake in The third criterion:
it should be "proof of ability"

And I wouldn't group ability (price feeds) and resources (missed blocks(...), server uptime)

Around the globe we could have very different cases. IN some of them, we could have very talented and involved programmers with weak and expensive servers, and in the other hand we could have very good servers and lazy operators.

Quote
As for paying standby witnesses, I assume you mean in a scenario where they would randomly get to produce some % of the blocks.
Actually not (let it be as it is easier), They are needed to confirm blocks, not to produce it
and they are needed as a backup – this is very important!
We also create in this way a trained base of administrators and enter the competition.

maybe 21 + 79 is too much, maybe we could use 34 or 55 :
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YUeO7hJ35OJHV2DsY72-Ma_8MwVPeb56jMl-Hxf1EvY/edit?usp=sharing
« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 11:57:17 pm by FractalNode »

Offline tbone

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Do you want to rewrite your outline with the changes?  In the meantime, I'm asking @Chris4210 if he can put this on his radar.

These are rewrited propositions:

The maximum possible total score to achieve 1000.
TOP 21 gets 3 BTS
TOP 79 gets 1,5 BTS

The first criterion: proof of geographical dispersion.
The maximum possible score to achieve 300
we want a large scatter in different countries and on different continents
maybe we could use net latency (to serwer X, Y, Z [some form of triangulation] to prevent VPN fraud) or some form of existing geolocation if we can trust it
We need a developers discussion  how to achieve this


The second criterion: proof of ability
The maximum possible score to achieve 300
Threshold of 50%, if not achieved, the candidate is eliminated completely.
missed blocks(last month, last week, last day), server uptime


The third criterion: proof of commitment
The candidate must provide prices feeds for MPA
The maximum possible score to achieve 300
probably someone would have to evaluate the quality of the scripts – If the script is new and it is not widely used.

The fourth criterion: proof of reputation
The maximum possible score to achieve 100
Points as a result of vote

The first (eg.) 21 candidates will be witnesses, and receives 100% salary.
The next (eg.) Of 79 candidates will not be witnesses and they will receives some less pay (maybe 50% ) for it that they are ready to become a node in case of failure of other nodes
If 1 of 10 witness is down, next 10 takes his place and recive 100% salary.

if such a change would be accepted, I will definitely run one or more the backup nodes in Poland on variety of service providers


Proof of commitment, that is another topic, I see it in this this way:

Thanks for restarting this thread.  Hopefully the idea of more formally applying witness criteria will get more traction. 

Looking at your scoring metrics, it looks like you have proof of commitment twice, once for price feeds and once for collateral.  I think it makes more sense for collateral.  And I think the price feeds can be grouped along with missed blocks under proof of ability.  I would also add latency to that.  So under proof of ability you could have: a) price feeds, b) missed blocks, and c) latency.  What do you think?

It would be great if someone could write some code to measure these metrics and publish them in real time as a resource for proxies and individual voters to assess the quality of witnesses.  Perhaps if this works well it could even be built into the blockchain such that if minimum thresholds are not met, then witnesses can automatically be made inactive (or standby) until they meet thresholds and get voted in again.

As for paying standby witnesses, I assume you mean in a scenario where they would randomly get to produce some % of the blocks.  In the past I have suggested that it might make sense to let standby witnesses produce perhaps 10% of blocks.  This would obviously require a hard fork, but maybe it should be considered.  Either way, it would be nice if we could make some progress on applying criteria as discussed above.

Offline fractalnode

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Do you want to rewrite your outline with the changes?  In the meantime, I'm asking @Chris4210 if he can put this on his radar.

These are rewrited propositions:

The maximum possible total score to achieve 1000.
TOP 21 gets 3 BTS
TOP 79 gets 1,5 BTS

The first criterion: proof of geographical dispersion.
The maximum possible score to achieve 300
we want a large scatter in different countries and on different continents
maybe we could use net latency (to serwer X, Y, Z [some form of triangulation] to prevent VPN fraud) or some form of existing geolocation if we can trust it
We need a developers discussion  how to achieve this


The second criterion: proof of resources
The maximum possible score to achieve 300
Threshold of 50%, if not achieved, the candidate is eliminated completely.
missed blocks(last month, last week, last day), server uptime


The third criterion: proof of ability
The candidate must provide prices feeds for MPA
The maximum possible score to achieve 300
probably someone would have to evaluate the quality of the scripts – If the script is new and it is not widely used.

The fourth criterion: proof of reputation
The maximum possible score to achieve 100
Points as a result of vote

The first (eg.) 21 candidates will be witnesses, and receives 100% salary.
The next (eg.) Of 79 candidates will not be witnesses and they will receives some less pay (maybe 50% ) for it that they are ready to become a node in case of failure of other nodes
If 1 of 10 witness is down, next 10 takes his place and recive 100% salary.

if such a change would be accepted, I will definitely run one or more the backup nodes in Poland on variety of service providers


Proof of commitment, that is another topic, I see it in this this way:
https://bitsharestalk.org/index.php/topic,23706.msg302068.html#msg302068
« Last Edit: March 06, 2017, 09:31:42 pm by FractalNode »

Offline fractalnode

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Do you want to rewrite your outline with the changes?  In the meantime, I'm asking @Chris4210 if he can put this on his radar.

These are rewrited propositions:

The maximum possible total score to achieve 1000.
TOP 21 gets 3 BTS
TOP 34 (55 or 89) gets 1,5 BTS

The first criterion: proof of geographical dispersion.
The maximum possible score to achieve 300
we want a large scatter in different countries and on different continents
maybe we could use net latency (to serwer X, Y, Z [some form of triangulation] to prevent VPN fraud) or some form of existing geolocation if we can trust it
We need a developers discussion  how to achieve this


The second criterion: proof of ability
The maximum possible score to achieve 300
Threshold of 50%, if not achieved, the candidate is eliminated completely.
missed blocks(last month, last week, last day), server uptime


The third criterion: proof of commitment
The candidate must provide prices feeds for MPA
The maximum possible score to achieve 300
probably someone would have to evaluate the quality of the scripts – If the script is new and it is not widely used.

The fourth criterion: proof of reputation
The maximum possible score to achieve 100
Points as a result of vote

The first (eg.) 21 candidates will be witnesses, and receives 100% salary.
The next (eg.) Of 34 (55 or 89) candidates will not be witnesses and they will receives some less pay (maybe 50% ) for it that they are ready to become a node in case of failure of other nodes
If 1 of 10 witness is down, next 10 takes his place and recive 100% salary.


Proof of commitment, that is another topic, I see it in this this way:
Proof of commitment = sum of ( locking funds in orders + collateral)
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 10:59:22 am by FractalNode »

Offline Thom

For some people, running a Witness node is a business, and might even be their sole source of income. I am also trying to introduce people to Bitshares just like you. Referral program, run a Witness node, trading on the DEx, building a profitable company on the platform, etc.

Yes, I and many others are grateful for your efforts. However, I am extremely confident that you Kencode could not sustain your lifestyle on witness profits, nor could most of those that made BitShares possible. Those you speak of that can are in hugely different economic situations. I'm sure there are many of them that are highly entrepreneurial and competent. If you want to put the reliability of BitShares in the hands of such people that is fine, but you will sacrifice reliability if you don't have standards to which witnesses are measured or those such witnesses can look to for how it's done.

We in the west and others have learned the hard way through experience what it takes to run the network and how to insure decentralization, but it's the "wild wild west" in many respects and there are no solid, well documented standards.

And speaking of standards what of the standards related to freedom? We in the west understand that word and how the status quo financial institutions are inherently contrary to the principles and philosophy that underpin why BitShares and many other digital currency projects were started in the first place. I am not confident that vision would be sustained if western witnesses fade away, which might very well happen if BitShares continues to rely on altruism and on subsidies from outside interests to cover the increasing expenses of running the network.
 
If a business' profits are not large enough, then that business must find a way to make that venture more profitable. As for Witness nodes, there are awesome server providers in Slovakia, Poland, Brasil, Mexico and everywhere in between, so just shop around a bit. Make the node more profitable.

You can't turn wood into gold, there is no such alchemy. I agree with you in principle, but with the current rate of pay you are limiting who can compete. Unless your labor costs are very low (i.e. non western wages) and you can find reliable cost effective ultra-cheap (no DO or AWS) hosting that fits your needs (language, support, method of payment, reliability, decentralization of locations, etc etc) it's an impossible task. I know, I look for good hosting frequently.

I have limitations that others may not, I require things others may not, such as English speaking support, payment in crypto and flexible locations. Some locations are simply more costly. Try to get a VPS in Australia that excepts crypto payments and you'll see that your choices are quite limited. Same with servers in Iceland. I suspect few of the current 23 witnesses pay much attention to the physical distribution of their nodes. I suspect I'm the only one who even runs 4 nodes. If I must squeeze more out of my existing witness pay to support server upgrades I will have to shut down some nodes.

Not everyone has the same set of skills. I believe you are projecting your abilities onto others with these expectations. You are an example of top tier management with excellent business acumen that most do not possess. I just don't see how the current level of witness pay is a viable business for anyone except those of third world or low ranking economies.

If BitShares could be sustained by competent, freedom loving people from third world or low economic level places around the world whose cost of living and hosting expenses are far less I would be the first to relinquish my witness. I'm not convinced the non-western users of the BitShares community are ready enough to make that happen without sacrificing important core values BitShares was built to establish. It's like asking Thomas Jefferson to have confidence his understanding of freedom would be preserved by a high school graduate raised in the 21st century. Odds are high it won't happen.   
 
Paying our Witness node operators more, will not make them any more productive or efficient.
Please don't make their profitability issues the Bitshares Stakeholder's problem, that is not fair.

Reliability and what BitShares is and the principles it will maintain are very much stakeholder's responsibility. I agree, raising pay does not guarantee higher performance, but odds are very high unless it is raised it will guarantee performance will not improve. You have a year of history that shows that.
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Offline tbone

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I don't think it's reasonable to compare steem and bitshares witnesses.  steem witnesses get paid a ton.  But beyond true witness duties, there's a general expectation they will engage in various non-witness activities that benefit the steem ecosystem.  The value of their contributions is very subjective, and what you end up with is a situation where each witness is contributing to a different degree.  So in some cases, the network may get good value in exchange for the witness pay, and in some cases money is wasted. 

Bitshares, on the other hand, has a worker proposal system that enables us to keep the witness duties separate while being able to scrutinize worker/development proposals and track their progress to completion.  This is much more sophisticated and sensible.  So please, let's maintain the separation. 

Having said that, I do think the witness pay is a bit too low for this important role, which includes price feeds as one of the responsibilities.   Let's not forget that if we want to be considered a decentralized exchange, our value proposition must be rooted in our offering of MPAs.  Otherwise there is NOTHING decentralized about bitshares beyond the core token. 

So let's define specifically what we need from witnesses, let's incorporate an objective witness reliability scoring (WRS) mechanism (e.g. server uptime, latency, missed blocks, etc) into the witness selection process (along with the current reputation-based voting), and let's increase the pay modestly in order to a) create a little more competition and b) ensure the pay is sufficient enough that witnesses won't have to cut corners.  This is just reasonable and sensible.  Let's not be penny wise, pound foolish.
 

Offline kenCode

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[As for raising Witness pay.. I am against it:
 
If there are Witnesses running a profitable business in expensive places like Canada and America, then it becomes very obvious that a Witness node can be run pretty much anywhere else on Earth at a profit too. Hence, no payraise is needed for Witnesses at this time.
 
If your business cannot turn a profit, that should not be the Stakeholder's problem.

You're kidding right? You seriously think the profits returned from a witness constitutes a business?
...
There is little profit.

For some people, running a Witness node is a business, and might even be their sole source of income. I am also trying to introduce people to Bitshares just like you. Referral program, run a Witness node, trading on the DEx, building a profitable company on the platform, etc.
 
If a business' profits are not large enough, then that business must find a way to make that venture more profitable. As for Witness nodes, there are awesome server providers in Slovakia, Poland, Brasil, Mexico and everywhere in between, so just shop around a bit. Make the node more profitable.
 
Paying our Witness node operators more, will not make them any more productive or efficient.
Please don't make their profitability issues the Bitshares Stakeholder's problem, that is not fair.
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Offline BunkerChainLabs-DataSecurityNode

It seems I failed to make my self clear: For sure, I would love to see more active Witnesses, but given how much people have contributed in the past for free in their spare time, I oppose throwing money at witnesses for just being witnesses and not actually doing anything for the money they get except the "very basic" things. I'd rather see competition among witnesses and fresh blood.
It's not perse that I am against raising the pay, but, I would prefer them to show more efforts FIRST!

It's unlikely you will see more competition. Look at what we see in steem. The competition is rather high because the payout is rather reasonable. Nobody gets excited about peanuts.. so those that are left doing it are either people who are filling the void for the sake of the network out of altruism, or people who are in a different economic state where the current pay rate actually is reasonable. Partially explains why more than half of the witnesses now are asian.

I rather see real global competition like what has somewhat been seen in steem. If you want to attract talent, it has to be worth their time and effort. Currently it doesn't look worth it.
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Offline Thom

[As for raising Witness pay.. I am against it:
 
If there are Witnesses running a profitable business in expensive places like Canada and America, then it becomes very obvious that a Witness node can be run pretty much anywhere else on Earth at a profit too. Hence, no payraise is needed for Witnesses at this time.
 
If your business cannot turn a profit, that should not be the Stakeholder's problem.

You're kidding right? You seriously think the profits returned from a witness constitutes a business? It may cover the cost of a couple of 4GB VPS accounts but not a dedicated server, let alone 2. Granted right now the time investment is on the minimal end of the spectrum, and a competent IT tech / engineer can easily manage it, but I wouldn't call it much of a business. Even if witness pay was $300 USD a month that's only $3600 a year, hardly a living wage for one person in the west so that hardly qualifies as a sustainable business.

If you want to attract more witnesses you have to raise the stakes. However, I agree with xeroc that we want to attract more qualified witnesses for which we need to establish clear metrics for performance or to test a candidate's abilities.

I thought the way it worked in the pre-graphene days with delegates worked quite well, in that those wanting to become active witnesses must first get in the que by registering a witness account, putting it into service and campaigning for votes. The community could monitor uptime, missed blocks and what value was being proposed in the voting campaign.

For example, given how much importance is now placed on price feeds, any potential candidate needs to describe how they plan to provide them, including:
1) publish frequency
2) data sources
3) self written script or some other trusted source (xeroc, alt, abit, wackou for example)
4) if self written an algorithm description (for example alt's feed script includes evaluating trades)

If you want to create an incentive for a diversity of feed producers we need to define standards for them and provide a stronger incentive to compete. I don't think there much of one now.

BTW, now that I think about it, when a forced settlement for an asset occurs, what feed price is used? There are x number of witnesses producing price feeds, are they ALL averaged or somehow aggregated into a single value? Is it the most recent price feed published?

If we look at the DEX as a business, as a DAC, witnesses are a crucial element that shouldn't be left to altruistic contributions of labor as they have in the past. Right now the cost of a couple of 4GB VPS systems and the time required to keep them maintained is very close to break even. There is little profit. There is not much dynamic range built in to handle an increase in accounts or trading activity.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2017, 04:03:15 am by Thom »
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Offline kenCode

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It seems I failed to make my self clear: For sure, I would love to see more active Witnesses, but given how much people have contributed in the past for free in their spare time, I oppose throwing money at witnesses for just being witnesses and not actually doing anything for the money they get except the "very basic" things. I'd rather see competition among witnesses and fresh blood.
It's not perse that I am against raising the pay, but, I would prefer them to show more efforts FIRST!

@Thom - I agree with you as well, this forum (ugly UI or not) is still very important. I actually find it quite difficult at times to keep up with all the chattiness going on in Telegram. It will suck valuable minutes from your day if you let it.
 
As for raising Witness pay.. I am against it:
 
If there are Witnesses running a profitable business in expensive places like Canada and America, then it becomes very obvious that a Witness node can be run pretty much anywhere else on Earth at a profit too. Hence, no payraise is needed for Witnesses at this time.
 
If your business cannot turn a profit, that should not be the Stakeholder's problem.
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