Contributions log

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With respect to the NRP-CAS

The contributions log is an important module of the NRP-CAS. It is a registry that captures reports of economic activities, deemed to be valuable additions to a value stream. If validated (through a peer review process or other), logs become contributions and are used by a benefit redistribution algorithm, by the role system and other modules. A log can be rejected (through an a ction triggered by a red flag) for being a lousy or a wasteful use of time or resources, or simply for being fraudulent. This is how abuse or gaming is avoided. See more on validation. Therefore, we consider logs as claims for contributions.

Kurt proposed the following principle: A log of activity in the NRP-CAS is considered a contribution if it increases the probability to create something valuable.

Affiliates, also called agents, engage in activities in the context of ventures. Ventures have various degrees of planning (see Planning) using Processes and Workflow Recipes (a structured collection of processes according to a methodology of work). Logging happens within processes if the activity has a defined goal and an end, or if it has clear deliverables associated with it.

All logs need to be evaluated in context, based on their impact on a particular venture or on a specific, identifiable impact on the OVN as a whole.

Types of contributions

Main characteristics of the system

  • Make the process of logging contributions easy, intuitive and fun
  • Dynamically adapt to changes in the OVN: new affiliates, new ventures, new governance...
  • Fit different types of activities: R&D, manufacturing, communications, etc.

See also Design notes for work contribution interfaces


Forms are tools used to input activity data into the NRP-CAS. We identified different types of forms.

  • For R&D activities the open lab book was proposed as interface to log time, materials and financial contributions. Work was done in this direction, but it was not finished.
  • For office and administrative work a task/project management system (with scheduling capability) was proposed as interface to log time-based contributions.
  • For manufacturing a task management system was proposed as interface to log contributions.
  • add others...

Proposed architectures


Sensorica's new NRP system

See SENSORICA CAS tutorials page.

Sensorica's first prototype of contribution log system

Sensorica used Google Spreadsheet to store contributions logs. Three spreadsheets were used in the beginning, for logging time, materials, and cash contributions. These spreadsheets had forms associated with them to ease the logging process. These forms could be accessed from Google Docs (later Drive), or from the Log your contribution webpage on the first Sensorica website. This webpage was not accessible to the public, because the forms were not secured.

The problem with this system is that Google Forms are static entities. For example, it is not trivial to have the list of agents adapt dynamically to data from another spreadsheet dedicated to store the information about all agents.

  • The time contributions log: The agent would pick his name from a list, chose different types of activities from another list, and chose the venture(s) associated with these activities from yet another list. The total time spent was entered into a text box, and another paragraph box was available to add comments or to detail the total time in individual activities.
  • The materials contributions log: The agent would pick his name from a list, chose from another list the type of material (rolling stock, office furniture, office equipment, production R&D equipment, production R&D tools, computer equipment), chose if the material was given (to be part of the pool of shareables) or landed (IF landed what are the conditions of use, duration, etc), estimated value, ventures or project associated with its use,... The total estimated value was entered into a text box, and another paragraph box was available to add comments or to detail the contribution.

8 The financial contributions log: The agent would pick his name from a list, chose from another list the type of financial contribution (cash infusion, administrative expenses, production and R&D, sales expenses, capital assets). Every choice from the types list lead to a specific list or items to chose from. These choices follow normal accounting categories. A paragraph box was available to add comments or to detail the contribution.

This data was processes and different graphics were extracted from the three contributions spreadsheets and displayed on the website.

Psychological barriers to logging

Experience within Sensorica suggests that there are physiological barriers to logging (how others are going to judge me for having logged that?). In order to diminish these barriers, in order to make people more confident in their logging, we need to state some principles, explicitly. We need to post those somewhere to make it visible for everyone. Perhaps a help feature on the process logging page (the place where you log your time in the NRP-CAS).

One principle comes from Kurt: A contribution can be perceived as valid if it increases the PROBABILITY to create something valuebla. This principle is more relaxed than "if it creates something valuable".

Someone tries something that ends up not working

This can be for many reasons:

  1. exploring a path that leads to a sub-optimal
  2. lack of understanding or experience that leads to a mistake
  3. ...

1. There are always different paths to get to a solution, and the best one might not be known until we try. The individual who tries one leading to a sub-optimal solution and documents that, reduces the number of possibilities for the next individual, thus increasing the probability to get to the best solution. This log would be valid.

2. The individual can learn something in this process and became more effective and can even transfer his/her knowledge to someone else. The group improves, because it increased the overall experience and can do more in the future. There's another dimension to this: The individual was the only one available to do something, he/she decided to bite the bullet to do it, his/her intention was to create value, but he/she failed the first time, for lack of proper understanding. We need to encourage people who try to step up to the task more often, when no one is there. Doing that, by creating positive incentives, by not punishing mistakes in this context, we increase the probability of value to be created. Learning and R&D are intimately interrelated.

2. can be gamed more easily than 1. So we need to apply peer review to prevent abuse.

There is more to this. A log is just a claim for revenue. It becomes a contribution if the deliverable is used in the process or if the venture affiliates accept it as a lesson learned or a genuine effort to advance the venture. Tony helped us conceptualize this better.

So ask yourself if your participation increases the probability of creating something valuable and if this participation, once logged, will be accepted as a contribution.

In case of 1. document your efforts, explain why the lead was necessary, as part of the spectrum of possible paths to the solution, and document the lesson learned. The lesson learned is a deliverable that will help others understand why not to try that again, and perhaps it will give them a better idea about which other path to explore first. In case of 2. explain what you learned and demonstrate that your intention was valid. In other words, mount a case for yourself, to reduce the probability of a rejection (a red flag) of your log.

Things you can do before making steps that might lead you into a dead end

If you think you're taking a risky step, meaning that your work might not be considered as a valid claim for revenue or equity, build support for your initiative.

For example, you are facing two possible paths that involve a lot of time exploring or doing them, if you choose one that falls in disfavor from the group your claim might be rejected. In this case, you can socialize the decision making process: pout the issue on a Forum and try to build consensus around one of the other. If you build support, you can be reassured that your log will be accepted, even if it turns out to be a wrong decision. At least you demonstrated that your try was genuine. You can take small decisions on yourself.

The main point here is that we need to make some principles visible and to give people a method for how to think about it, to reduce their insecurity.